Saturday, September 28, 2013



Saturday, September 28, 2013


Today is the twenty-eighth day in a row that I only eat what I can cook at home. 


“Eat IN September” was born out of the blue for me.  I just wanted to challenge myself to go a whole month without eating outside the home.  (I think in the back of my mind, I wanted to save some money, but this was not the driving thought.)


Then my friend Maggie decided she wanted to join me.  I didn’t ask her to, beg her to because, “I just can’t do this by myself, I need someone to keep me accountable!”


Nope, it just happened. 


Even though the concept came seemingly “out of the blue”, I now believe that there was a reason for it.  There was a reason I chose this particular month, in this particular year, in this particular season of my life.  I’ve had some changes at work that require me to drive more, and had I not sacrificed eating outside the home, I may have found myself in the red financially this month.  I’m also trying to pay for my trip to Orlando in December, for a national talent showcase that I’ve been invited to participate in.  The money I’ve saved from eating IN will help me pay for that trip.  I realize now that it was not an accident that this idea dawned on me this particular month.


It was also not an accident that Maggie decided to join.  I believe she’s learned a lot about herself this month too, and has also opened her eyes to some things in her budget that she may not have seen before. 


I think it’s most of all been empowering.  I really DON’T have to let the machine of consumerism control me! I really CAN step out and CHOOSE to do something different, small a thing as it may be.  This month has shown me that I still have that willpower I remember having in my teenage years, before jobs and incomes and stress and work and freedom. 


One of the coolest moments that happened this month was with my friend Jodi.  She lives in a tiny town about an hour and half’s drive away, where she teaches music.  She and I had been trying to schedule a Friday night/Saturday for me to come visit her for about a YEAR now!   Well, this month, I finally made it happen, because I wanted to make it happen before the weather changed and then I had THAT excuse as to why I couldn’t make time to go see my friend. 


Well, in scheduling my visit, I said, “So, the thing is, Jodi, I can’t eat out this month.  I’m doing a month-long challenge and I can only eat what I buy in the grocery store.  So…we may have to get creative.”


Her response? 


“Oh, okay! I have tons of food!  Will you want dinner when you get here? We can figure it out!”


We then proceeded to plan how we would shop for the makings of a picnic lunch on that Saturday morning.  Which we did.  And where did we picnic? IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  On her family’s farmland.  Surrounded by fields and nothing else, with the sun warming our backs, and the bugs trying to share our food. 


It was awesome.


What was more awesome was the fact that Jodi said, “I’m so glad you did this no-eat-out thing; I’ve never been on a picnic before in my whole life, and I wouldn’t have been able to today, if we could have just gone to a restaurant for lunch!”


Epic win.


I took video.  It was that exciting. 


It was a first for me, too.  Eating in the middle of nowhere, that is. 


This month also went by really fast.  After the first week and a half, it was already a habit to just cook at home, pack lunch, eat before I leave the house, take a snack.  I can’t believe I only have 2 and a half days left! 


I may end up carrying on with this.  Maybe I can finish out 2013 eating at home. 


Dare me?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breaking Up after 5.5 Years

September 15, 2013

Today is Sunday.  Two days ago, on Friday, I celebrated my one-week anniversary of a breakup. 

This relationship had been going on for 5 and a half years. 

I had been trying to end this relationship for the last 6 months, and struggled.  I had to wean myself off.  I had myself fooled into thinking that I still needed the daily contact, as if it was a comfort, a safety zone for me.  I had come to not even know how to function without having it in my life.

So, startinAg this last spring, for 3 months or so, I was torn.  I knew I wanted to challenge myself, be my own person, to not need it in my life anymore.  Then I decided to be brave and tested myself to see if I could start surviving on my own, learning to be on my own again.

I started by reducing the intensity, the dosage I was allowing myself to partake of.

Then, I reduced contact.  I limited myself to only making contact once every other day.  At first, I had to fight.  I felt the pain, the cloudiness, the murkiness of the withdrawal. 

For the next several weeks, I sometimes felt that it was too much to do it on my own, and would run back to the pacifying arms of the embrace I had come to know so well.

 But I kept fighting.  Deep down, I had known for a while that it was time for it to come to an end.

I reduced contact even more, limiting myself to only once every 2 days.

This was where I saw my strength starting to shine through.  I realized with each passing day that I truly had gained the skills, confidence, and courage I needed to be on my own.  I had learned that being on my own is more difficult sometimes, but I also saw that if I just let my patience rule my will, I really was capable of processing any life event, emotion, or circumstance, on my own two feet. 

It came to the point that whenever I did make contact, I felt no different; no worse, no better.  It made no difference to me whether I made contact or not.  I became immersed in my daily routine and my personal goals, and I really didn’t even notice when I hadn’t made contact.  I had to actively remind myself, “Hey, try and make time for that today.”  It was no longer part of my routine.

 So I ended it. 

 On Friday, September 6, I started counting.  I started counting the number of days I could go on my own.  I think I had actually been on my own for about a week at that point, with no contact, but it was subconscious.  I wanted to be fully aware, to have a date, a bookmark on this page of my life so that I could look back many years from now and know when the day was that I finally said goodbye.

For the last 5 and a half years, I had been taking antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. It is the relationship with this medication that I ended.

The latest one, Pristiq, I had been taking for 1 year and 9 months. 

Before that, it was Lexapro (which didn’t go well), and then Paxil, which I took the longest, for over 2 and half years. 

 Paxil ended up being my happy medium, the one that gave my brain the chemical balance that it needed.  It was a great medication.  It quite possibly saved my life. 

 But I don’t need it anymore.*

 I have learned the coping skills and life management skills that I need in order to do life on my own.  I have re-created the chemical balance in my brain by creating a life that makes me happy, a life I believe to be filled with purpose.  Between my friendships, other relationships with other people, my Christian faith, and my ability and desire to be a lifelong learner about various topics, including the human body and mind, and physical, emotional, and mental health wellness, I have all I need to be successful.

 And today I celebrate that.

((*Don’t worry! This decision was made alongside my wonderful primary care physician.  It was a carefully monitored process. ))