Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventure Day 31 – Second Attempt at #19 Buy a piece of lingerie and wear it

Ok so I woke up yesterday and was absolutely determined to complete this task – determined. This item really was not that difficult, or was it?

I came home from my second night shift in a row in a great mood. I had gotten the most sleep I ever had before and I was fairly certain I could go about my day nap free. It doesn’t get much better than that (not that I mind a good nap but days that require them to tolerate myself are a bit irritating – since I am up writing this at 4 am I am left to wonder if tomorrow might be one of them).

Anyways, I came home, caught up on some e-mail and showered up. I was energized and ready to do something fun for the day. It’s at this point I wonder how in the world I decided that lingerie shopping would help with my great day, I guess I felt THAT good. I had also decided that I would treat myself to a mini shopping spree. You see since Wally went back to school I haven’t been able to just spend some money on myself (aside from my current 40 day experiment). I honestly only have three decent tops to wear in the summer (other than my work ones) and I just wanted something new.

You must understand something (if you haven’t figured this out by now), I am not much into fashion. I don’t like tight stuff, uncomfortable clothes or really anything that has a remote sense of style – it just doesn’t seem to fit my personality. I don’t collect purses, shoes or ever buy anything ‘different’. In fact over the past several years I have been only allowing myself to buy clothes in the size I was 4 years ago after I lost 26 pounds, determined that that would help me stay thin – clearly that wasn’t helping, only making me feel worse for my failures. I just started reading a book (recommended by one of my blogger friends) that is slowing transforming the way I think, thus giving me permission to buy clothes that fit and feel good. Yesterday was the day I would indulge a bit and help me feel better about myself, I couldn’t wait!

I chose to begin my day with the lingerie store I had visited a few weeks ago, having my mind set on purchasing something (maybe I’d even try something on - gasp!) I walked confidently into the store, charged right to the back once again and began to look over the potential buys. I quickly grabbed 5 items I would try on, things I’d never considered before, I went into a change room. That’s when it happened …

I was half naked and wrestling with this crazy contraption that I seriously wondered how one could put on without the help of at least two other people, and then how the heck you’d get it off in the ‘heat of the moment’ – I’ll never understand how some articles of clothing came to be. That’s when I began to over hear a conversation between two women outside of my little cubicle. Here’s how it went:
‘I lost a lot of weight in the past few months so I’m looking for a new bra.’
Sales lady: ‘Oh that’s wonderful, let’s measure you up!’
Sound of measuring tape.

It’s at this point in the conversation I had been able to maneuver my body most of the way into one of the ‘articles’ I had brought with me, and I was rather dissatisfied with what I see. Not because I there’s bulging where there shouldn’t be bulging or anything (although that did come to my attention), actually quite the opposite. I looked in the mirror and noticed that the apparatus fit around my body ok but the ‘cups’ were not overflowing, in fact the cups weren’t even partially full, creating an interesting look with my possible new attire.

The conversation outside my door continued…
Sales lady: ‘Hmmmmm … it looks like you are a 40 with a double D cup’
Woman whom I now despise: ‘Do you have anything here for me?’
‘Well various styles fit differently on different people so it’s best to try on several types and see what might work, however generally we only go up to (some size I’ve never had to pay attention to).’
‘Oh’ says the despised with some disappointment (that’s when I felt a pang of discontent for her) ‘I guess I’ll try back hear again later, when I’ve lost more weight’.
Off the lady went.

I’ll admit it was hard for me to feel too bad for the lady since I had just spent 15 pointless minutes getting my hair caught in hooks and breaking out in a sweat only to find out it was all in vain. She would find what she was looking for at another store that may not give her the pride she would have felt had she bought something at this particular place, but she would find it. I however, was a different story.

I’m not sure how these stores make money, is everyone the perfect proportion? I’m sure I’m not the only one out there whose boobs aren’t as voluptuous as her hips. Whose thighs are more endowed than … well anything else on her body. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. It was with this truth that I decided to accept defeat for another day regarding the lingerie. I am determined that I will buy something somewhere that is ‘out of my element’ in this area of my life, it just may not be as ‘spicy’ as I first wanted to challenge myself with – oh well it’s accepting the challenge that’s the main thing right?

I made a choice after this little adventure, I would not let this reign on my good mood. In fact I was more ready to take on my clothes shopping than ever! Off I went in a pursuit for the perfect jeans.

Now ladies out there, you know that this is mostly a pipe dream of all of us to find the ‘dream jeans’ right? (Especially if we are not wanting to spend more than $25 bucks). Well, I was hopeful so I entered a store across the parking lot with purpose.

After scanning the store for an unmeasured period of time I collected 8 pairs of pants, I was leaving no stone unturned, somewhere in this store there would have to be a pair of jeans that I would LOVE. As I went through my selections and created the ‘definitely not’s’ and the ‘maybe’ piles I learned that my goal was not as simply as I thought. I tried on my final two ‘possibles’ a few times to compare and chose the pair that happened to be on clearance. It wasn’t my ‘perfect pair’ but they were new and comfy and that was enough for me (even though I had mentally set out to only buy pants that I loved). I tried on a few other pairs of pants and found a winner; quickly I decided to go home with those as well. It was then I figured would be a good time to carry on to another store. To the check out line I went.

As I waited for the person in front of me to finish my eye got caught on something … more jeans. Hmmmm … I wondered. Is it possible that the perfect pair is still out there? Maybe. Should I try one more time and see? Yes, I should. Over I went, once again, to examine the options. This time I just grabbed one more pair to try. They were a style I never would be drawn to at all but in the back of my mind remembered was recommended for people with my body type. I thought ‘Yeah, but I never agree with fashion people – they’re way too out there for me. What the heck, it doesn’t hurt to try.’ I quickly got into a change room to see what the outcome would be.

Before my very eyes were my perfect jeans. (I’m certain I heard choirs of angels singing – for real, they were there!). I changed back into my clothes and practically ran up to the counter to pay, like the jeans were going to disappear if I didn’t pay for them instantly. I was so rejuvenated that I marched across the parking lot and walked into a bunch of stores I never usually go into. That’s when it continued … a new openness for style. I sought out only clothes I wouldn’t normally buy. Buy the end of my 4 hour excursion I ended up with a pair of perfect jeans, a pair of great pants, Capri pants, a casual dress, two tops that were waaaaay not me, and one of those scarves the ladies are wearing now a days as accessories – all for $125!! I thought that was pretty good. Not only that, I even walked into not one but two shoe stores and didn’t leave the second I saw shoes for more than twenty dollars (I even almost bought a red pair to match my new purse from a former adventure day, but they were horribly uncomfortable).

When Wally got home I modeled some of my finds, most of which he loved (all except for one sweater that made him ask what happened to the sleeves – it was the style, he wasn’t entirely convinced).

Adventure Day 31 was amazing for me. It was a day that was completely impromptu and full of application. Application of what I’ve been learning through some of my little self challenges. I realized it felt good to experiment with my appearance and see what all was out there for me to choose from rather than go to what I was used to. I can’t believe how much little things can change how you practically live your life. This lesson keeps tracking me down somehow, but I’m glad, because I’m starting to really have fun with it.

I wonder what’s next?

Adventure Day 30 - #39 Plan my next vacation

This item was a suggestion for my list by one of my readers. It was a good one but I have to say I had no idea how challenging it would be for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I think I have), that Wally and I each grew up in families that didn’t travel much at all – they couldn’t really, neither one had much money at all. My family did a lot of day trips to places, some camping and lots of visits to a certain lake. Wally’s family didn’t do that much. A couple of trips up north to visit family and that was about the end of it. Needless to say this has affected our courage to travel, in a couple of different ways. For one, putting two of us in a car with a map and an objective is just dangerous. Wally has a decent sense of direction, I have absolutely none. Wally can navigate a map, my skills are again lacking in this area. Wally likes to get it right the first time, stay on track and find where we are going. I do too, for the most part, but when our two personalities combine in a vehicle for a long ride we don’t generally have a blast – things just get too tense when we are unsure about what we are doing.

This is a huge theme in our life overall (if you hadn’t noticed), that is one big reason for my 40 day experiment. Vacation planning was another big challenge. I have to say though when I initially put this on the list I was thinking that it would be more of me planning a vacation for the distant future. Wally and I both realize that when school is done we won’t be able to say to our new employers ‘we’re just going to start our jobs off with 2 weeks away – we’ll send a post card!’ However, with me getting this new position starting in September, we realized that the week before we go back to school may be our last chance for a good year to year and a half before we could indulge in travel. The debate began.

Where would we go? How long would we stay? How much did we want to spend? What would we like to do? All questions that we gave differing answers on. You see because of my motto of ‘Don’t wait to experience life – do it now!’ I wanted to go on a great vacation with gusto, to explore new things now. We’d never gone on a vacation that didn’t include staying with friends or family (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wanted to see what we could do on our own). Especially after this 40 day adventure I wanted to see new places, do new things and really appreciate something completely different. I was set on it. In my mind I had it all planned out. I just needed to purchase our plane tickets, book some accommodations and plan some excursions. I was so excited.

During the discussions Wally was much more conservative in his thinking. I hadn’t worked full time yet (though there was money in the bank for our trip), we only had a week and we still had to get our lives ready for the whirlwind that would begin with school, my job and the changes that would have to happen for all of that to work out. He wanted us to be able to go with peace and a sense of enjoyment rather than worry that we weren’t going to have enough money, time or sense that we needed to relax. That was the point right?

At one point we had even agreed upon going to my desired destination, the deal was we would just go for one less day, and cover less area than we had originally planned. We went to book our tickets and that’s when we realized it likely wouldn’t be worth the trip to spend so much money on flights when we couldn’t stay all that long. I was crushed (to say the least). I laid in bed with tears running down my cheeks trying to explain to Wally why this was so important to me, I know it didn’t make that much sense – we still planned to go in a year or so, but that was my problem.

Since my aunt died, I have tried to live apart from saying ‘someday this’ and ‘maybe later we’ll do that’, a sense of urgency has grown in my heart about life. If something is truly important for me to do I plan on doing it. If it’s something I think could change my life and help me grow I plan on it sooner than later. Anything that takes longer than a year to get to I don’t concentrate too much on. It’s not that I think it won’t happen I just feel a peace that it doesn’t need to happen now, meaning if it’s not important to happen now, I’m ok if it doesn’t happen at all. These are things I’ve had to deal with regarding having our family. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ok if I never have a family and I have contentment about it – it doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow a family, it just means that I’m not currently pursuing one, which means if it doesn’t happen I’ll be ok. If I die tomorrow I have no regrets about what I have or haven’t gotten to.

This trip meant something to me; I felt that I needed it in some way. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of seeing someplace new, doing something different or the idea of overcoming a challenge we’d never had nerve to try before – but I felt a sincere urgency to do it. When I say urgent, I mean urgent – bordering on hyperventilating urgent, almost fearful that if I didn’t do it now, I’d never get the chance. In many ways it seems like a very juvenile reaction, perhaps it was. However it is this need, to do things now, that I am able to live a fuller, more determined life. I honestly think, most of the time, in the realm of ‘if today was it for me or you, what would I choose to do or say’. I’m not kidding I really think it. I won’t lie, I don’t always choose the right thing to say or do, but the reality of life is very present in my choices. I don’t know of many people that are important to me right now that don’t know how I feel about them in some way – bad or good I guess.

This trip was obviously no different. After some time and deep thought I let go of it and accepted some new possibilities. I looked into a destination we could drive to a few hours away. A place we could both relax at and try a bunch of new things, something that was within our budget, yet still out of the ordinary for us to spend money on. Within a day I had booked a place then cancelled and found another one more within our price range and way nicer for one less day. I have to say that planning a vacation is not really my idea of a good time. It’s a lot of trouble shooting if you have nothing to build on. There’s a lot of risk involved. What if the place you go to is terrible, the service is bad, and there’s nothing to do? What about the money, is it worth putting out so much and not knowing if you are indeed at the right place?

I know I’m probably over thinking it all, I need to relax and just get excited, but these are things our parents never taught us: that it’s ok to spend the money to travel, relax and enjoy some time away. My parents are only beginning to do this. For years we felt guilty about doing these things because we were supposed to be ‘poor little us’ who couldn’t afford to do stuff while everyone else did. We were supposed to be mad at others for prioritizing travel and rest times in their lives. A few years ago I put a stop to that ridiculous school of thought and determined to not be like that. People earned their money and with that earned the right to do with it what they wanted. Now I had that same choice. To be honest I think some people are irresponsible by not taking time to go away and rejuvenate themselves, or challenge themselves to discover new places and activities. It’s disguised as being poor, when many times it’s being scared.

All of that ranting to say, I planned a wonderful 5 days and 4 nights away at a beautiful bed and breakfast a few hours north of us. We’ve got a room that sits over a river with a wonderful view. We will be able to try canoeing (we’ve done this once and I was rather terrified – my new desire to experience things should help with this one), kayaking (never done this), and paddle boating (it’s been forever). There’s also hiking trails and other fun stuff too. I am so looking forward to trying these new things and spending some time with my Wally. I can’t wait to tell all of the fun stories that I’m sure will find us!

Adventure Day 29 Part 2 - #38 – Go out for coffee with Pumpkin

Yes this day was a full one for me – I jumped from one sibling in my family to another in Wally’s family, but I was all a go and ready to switch gears. I say that because it is much different going from one person to another in a matter of minutes - especially considering the kind of conversation I had with my brother.

Here’s some background … Pumpkin is Wally’s younger sister. She is 6 years younger than me and seven years younger than Wally. She’s the baby of the family, just like me. She is creative, talented in many things, strong willed and loyal to those she loves dearly – I’d like to think we are similar in those things too (nothing like building yourself up). Pumpkin and I have had our ups and downs. When I came on the scene she was just turning 12, a scary time for every one that age, (along with everyone around them). It was not an easy adjustment to have her brother fall for and become enthralled with another girl – I was the competition and to be honest I was winning. That is by no means to say Wally loved me more than her, obviously it’s totally different, but his time and thoughts were all about his new love and that wasn’t easy for Pumpkin.

Wally and Pumpkin, in my opinion, were/are quite close. I think she looked up to him (both literally and figuratively) and it wasn’t easy to watch his attention stray from home. I probably would have felt the same if I had that kind of relationship with my brother. Needless to say we had a strained relationship at the beginning, we’ve tried through the years to work on it and there have been good times and some rough times. We have just not clicked naturally – some people just don’t and that’s ok, but I want to at least be able to figure out something that will work out for both of us, because once again I think there’s potential. Thus the reason I put time with Pumpkin on my list.

Let me be honest, sometimes Pumpkin scares me – she’s not someone I would whip my opinions around freely with, mostly because with every opinion I have she has one too (as does everyone really). When ever you have two people with strong ideas you have a potential brawl. I like to avoid brawls if I can, so I do try to be careful of how much I say my true thoughts around her. I don’t want to intentionally offend her or unintentionally offend her. I care for her a lot and I want a good relationship with her. Whenever you try to be safe guarded like that (with anyone) it does produce a sort of wall between you. Sometimes that’s the best for everyone and sometimes it just plain sucks. By intentionally taking time to hang out and talk my hope was that we could continue to build on something.

I picked her up around 11am and she was ready for lunch (as she hadn’t eaten yet and had already worked the morning). We headed off to a fast food restaurant and I was saddened to miss out on some yummy grease, however the smells were quite fulfilling. I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time to ‘connect’ in that restaurant or get conversation going so I offered to take her for some yummy ice cream, she was game.

After sitting we began talking about her pending marriage in October, the challenges that pre wedding stress produces, as well as regular relationship stuff. It was nice to have something in common to chat about and share together, I don’t know about her but I really enjoyed connecting. I’m not sure how it came up exactly but my blog was mentioned, as well as some of the items on my list. She started asking some questions like where I got the idea to do it, what had happened to change my outlook on life, what were some things on my secretive list? It was kind of weird, for the first time I feel like we were really talking and listening to each other – even though we’ve known one another for over 11 years.

Pumpkin never came out and asked me for the address to my blog but I knew deep down she wanted it. I didn’t blame her – with the secrets it holds and all (ok I’m just kidding). The whole thought of her being privy to my inward thoughts is scary because I know we don’t agree on everything and to be honest I don’t want to offend or hurt her with my honesty, or for her to take anything the wrong way (it’s easy to do when you can’t give tone to your voice). My first temptation is to sugar coat what I think so I won’t ‘get into trouble’, but I have promised myself to be honest and real on this blog and I am trying hard to do the same in life, and knowing that she’d be reading my deepest thoughts though intimidating it is freeing as well. At least then I wouldn’t be hiding, even though so often I’d like to hide what I think from others.

I knew I had a choice to make: either ignore the possibility of opening up my world to her, or just dive in and allow her the opportunity to hear my true thoughts in a safe venue for both of us - if nothing else unlock the possibility of her understanding me a little more.

I dove … welcome to my head Pumpkin. No matter what my thoughts are – know that this blog is my place to think things through, and challenge myself as well as others.

Most of all: always know that I love you.

Adventure Day 29 Part 1 - #4 Go out for breakfast with Marshmallow

This was the day – finally!! I had eventually tracked down my brother for a breakfast date. This was no easy task as he is a truck driver that does long hauls across the country every week. He works five weeks then is off for one. He does get about a day and a half off between runs, but it’s then he usually sleeps, visits Mini and gets ready for another trek out. I was lucky to get him when I did.

I showed up to his place around 9am and he had just gotten home. He was dirty (I’m not sure why), tired and minding the heat. I wasn’t sure how this would go - oh well. He quickly relieved my fears and changed his shirt, it still had holes but covered more area. In minutes we were on our way out the door.

After deciding on a little all day breakfast place, we parked and soon found some seats. On the way he had inquired about some secretive stuff that was going on in our extended family. He was a bit upset that he seemed to be the only one who was ‘out of the loop’. Though I probably shouldn’t have, I filled him in – making him swear he’d never let on he knew anything. I felt it was information that he should hear from me and know. I also was aware that more and more people in our family were aware of it, so I took liberties (I bet the secret is killing you eh? It’s too much to share right now).

Our conversation grew around that topic, we had some deeper moments of discussions and some not so deep. But there was something pretty serious on my mind, something I’d wanted to share with him for a few years, something I wanted to know from him. However, as many of you know I’m sure, it’s not always easy to just blurt out certain things, especially if they are topics you avoid with your sibling. But I needed to try.

Now I feel as though I need to tell you first what I shared with Marshmallow before I tell you his reaction. Many of you may have a hard time reading this, even learning this about me, but I’m ok now and I know that often sharing things you have gone through with others helps those who are listening as much as it helps you to share, so I hope you will be ok with my honesty here.

When I was around 10 years old I was molested by a great uncle of mine (that adjective so does not fit in that sentence). I always feel like I have to specify that the molestation (I really hate that word – it’s so awful) was not the worst it could be – it really only included touching, but with that I realize that the symptoms of that happening to someone are the same whether it was just touching or a more intrusive type of violation. No matter how someone hurts you the effects are the same: often a withdrawn personality, feelings of unworthiness and dirtiness, negative attitudes, low self esteem and a feeling that it was your fault. I had all of those things. (By no means am I equating the two kinds, rather I am stressing the fact that either way if you don’t seek help you can end up really messed up).

Though I knew what had happened to me at the time I didn’t know what to do with the information. It occurred while my brother and I went over swimming at my uncle’s house one summer (we went almost everyday), my mom was usually with us reading a paper or a book. He would go swimming with us and would just play along. But there were times he would hang on to me and not let go – I would scream my head off and he just held on –not in the right places. Anyway (I’m so sorry if you don’t want to hear this – please feel free to skip this post), by the end of the summer I was tired of it and had a feeling what was going on wasn’t right. Both my mom and brother noticed my lack of willingness to go anymore. They had each actually come to me and asked if what he was doing was the reason I didn’t want to be there – they never asked specifically but there was an underlying question of his motivations.

I denied their suspicions right away and just said I didn’t want to go so I stopped. If it wasn’t for them asking me and one specific memory I have, I probably would’ve gone on in life without even remembering or knowing why feelings about myself and him had started to change. By the time I was in high school a mentor of mine finally came out and just asked me what was with my negative attitude and low self esteem. I was shocked she noticed and shocked with myself that I even knew what was wrong. I had buried my memories so deeply I had nearly forgotten about it. But when she pressed to know more it flooded out of me and I shared with her what happen. She listened and loved and directed me towards some great counseling.

It took a while but I can honestly say I am fine now. I mean I’m ok. My scars from that experience have healed, along with my heart and I feel all the more beautiful because of it. But one question still lingered in my mind…my brother, had anything ever happened to him. You see, he is a hard person on the outside but so soft and ready to melt on the inside. He had rough teen years in a lot of ways, he spent a lot of time with this uncle of ours, but through the years and by the time my uncle had finally passed Marshmallow had grown very bitter and angry with our uncle and I never knew why. I have to mention too that my brother carries around profound hurts that go unexplained to me, do I think it was reasonable for me to ask if perhaps he too was hurt by this man.

Though I was very nervous I was set on finding out the answers to my questions, but I didn’t know how to bring it up, that’s probably why I shared some of the stuff I shouldn’t have with him earlier – it gave me an in. After eating some of my food and allowing the conversation to trail here and there I eventually brought it up. I told him what happened, that I got help and was ok, but left my ponderings open for him to guess what I was getting at. Finally he said it. He said that nothing like that ever happened to him. I looked him in the eye and saw that he truly wasn’t lying. On one hand I was relieved, on another I was completely confused (as his personality and reaction to much of life had me figuring he too had been abused), and again on a different note I was a little sad. I know the last feeling sounds horrible, like I wanted him to feel the pain I felt, but that’s not it.

I was shocked that I was the ‘chosen one’, that I was the only one. I was banking on having shared this wound with him, but I was alone. When he told me he hadn’t been hurt I just stared at him as if to say ‘You are kidding right? Tell me you are lying. Tell I wasn’t the weak one he prayed upon. Please tell me.’ But he didn’t. He locked my eyes and said nothing ever happened. I so much wanted to cry. This seems weird to me, because I really am ok (seriously not in denial), I worked through so much and truly forgave my uncle – I never liked him but I did forgive him, for myself. (By no means am I telling anyone else who’s gone through it they have to do this, but I was able to and because of it felt freedom). It just surprised me that there was that little bit of an unresolved piece to my puzzle that I hadn’t dealt with – I couldn’t’ have dealt with until now.

I quickly let go of that part of the conversation and moved on to what my brother was discussing. We continued to share different experiences and talks he’d had with my one grandfather that meant so much to him. It was serious breakfast conversation, but good too. We chatted for quite a while and finally got the bill. He paid (this was very cool because for years and sometimes still now he’s not had a cent to his name) and took his little sister home. He must have enjoyed the time because from what I hear he called my parents up right after and told them we went out. Since becoming facebook friends we have communicated more than we ever have (there are good points to facebook). In one of the last e-mails I got from him he told me he loved me for the first time that I can remember – and now I’m crying, stupid sentimentalness.

We decided (or maybe I decided) that we would have to make the breakfast thing happen more often. I never thought I would have a close relationship with my brother but I think there is room for it to happen. The whole being vulnerable thing is so hard for both of us; we weren’t raised like that at all. I think if we keep things up though there’s hope that things will change.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in life though, don’t wait for comfort to break the mold, just go ahead, grab a hammer and do it yourself. There’s no time to wait.