I cried.

I can’t remember the last time I had a good cry. I can’t remember the last time I had a bad cry. Even though I tend to be an overly emotional person, for some reason over the last year or so I have not cried. When I needed to cry, the tears wouldn’t come. When I wanted to cry, the time or place wasn’t conducive to a good sob fest. So I have not cried in probably over a year.

Until yesterday.

Crying Eye

Work has been supremely stressful for the last couple of weeks and although I’ve been able to deal with it (and by deal, I mean stuffing myself with Oreos), yesterday I had enough. We’ve been implementing a new data entry system, and to say it has been challenging is an understatement. Do you remember those old slide puzzles? The ones where in order to get the picture, you have to slide the pieces around and if one piece isn’t moved right, then the whole puzzle gets screwed up? That’s what this system is like. In order for it to work correctly, everyone has to do their part JUST RIGHT, and let’s be honest here – NO ONE ever does their part just right.  So guess who has to clean up the mess? That’s right – me.

I hit my breaking point just as my coworkers were about to leave (my shift starts and ends an hour later than everyone else – I like it this way), and one coworker knew that the dam was about to burst, but he just said a few kind words and left.  After everyone had left, I let it go. I put my head down on my desk and I cried.

I cried.

I cried for the stress I was feeling, I cried for the frustration that had bubbled up and over the brim, I cried and cried and cried. After a few minutes, I realized that I was not just crying over this stupid system, I was crying for a year’s worth of bottled up pain.

I cried for the Coworker stress that happened back in February and still exists today (but is only about 10% of what it was); I cried because I stuffed my feelings down with food and gained 20 pounds; I sobbed big wailing sobs because money is so tight and it’s Christmas time; I cried because Shawn hasn’t worked in over a month and his business might not pick up again until spring. I bawled because I am almost 40 years old and I have turned into the very thing I never, ever wanted to be: a frumpy, tired, stressed out, overweight office drone and I’m afraid it’s too late and it’s going to be too hard to change.

So I cried at my desk. And I cried on the drive home (so hard that I thought I was going to have to pull over on the side of the road until I could get it together). When I got home, I went straight to my husband’s arms and I cried to him (and he said and did all the right things – including cooking dinner!). I cried until my eyes were literally dry and hurting.

God, it felt good.

Today I feel refreshed, cleansed. I feel like my “reset” button has been set and I can continue on with my life. Yes the work stress will still be there, but I can deal with it. Yes, I’m still overweight but I can deal with that too. Yes money is still tight, but when is it not?

Today I feel lighter and better able to deal with all the stuff that a 39.75 year old frumpy office drone has to deal with. I will never again underestimate the power of a good cry, the power of letting all out no matter how red and puffy and tear-streaked it may be. From now on, I will make time to cry if I feel the need. I can’t push aside this stress-relieving resource any more.

If you haven’t cried in a while, find a quiet place and some alone time, and let. it. go. I promise, it will do your soul a world of good.

 

(picture source)

It all takes TEAK

Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit - Who Killed...
Image by Brandon Christopher Warren via Flickr

Man, this working from the inside out stuff is hard! Dealing with the emotional is so much harder than dealing with the physical, but I find it to be much more rewarding. While working through Karly’s course, one sentence jumped out at me: “Trying to change ingrained habits takes time, effort, awareness and kindness.” Always the sucker for a good acronym, I came up with TEAK as a way to remind myself to remember these 4 points.

TIME – I’m not so good with the being patient and all. I want it fixed yesterday. I’m learning though, that taking the time, and taking my time, to process the things that I am learning will help my head absorb them more fully. Going slow, being in the present moment, being mindful and accepting of where I am on the path makes it easier to savor all the lessons I’m learning. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

EFFORT – Also, not so good with the effort. I want this to come easily to me because for the most part, everything else in my life has. Good grades in school, finding a husband, having kids, getting a job – all of these things have come easily to me with little effort on my part. That’s not to say I coast through life injury-free, but I’ve posted before about how someone has always been there to take care of things for me. This is something that I have to take care of myself and it’s a hard thing to learn to do at the age of 39. This is also another reason why taking things slow is helping me – I’m learning to put forth effort a step at a time, and I can see the value of the effort. This one is instantly gratifying.

AWARENESS – Sometimes I think I’m aware, but then later I realize I rush through things and miss a lot. Slowing down helps me become aware, being aware helps me slow down. It’s a win-win for me! Being aware of what I’m feeling when I head to the kitchen, being aware of how something actually tastes (instead of how I want it to taste), being aware of the anxiety of turning down food because it won’t solve my problem du jour – it helps me realize that I have buried my head in the sand in the past and ate to cover up a lot of stuff. This awareness makes me want to deal with the real deal instead of avoiding it.

KINDNESS – I’m about 50% with this one. I’m much MUCH better at being kind to myself than I was 3 or 4 years ago, but instead of beating myself up outright, now the abuse is much more subtle. I no longer call myself names, but there is still a sarcastic, disapproving tone to the voice in my head. For example, instead of saying “you stupid cow – you just ate a thousand calories of crap!!” the same situation might elicit this response: “way to go Jill, that was a brilliant move. Now you’ve ruined your appetite for dinner.” See the difference? Neither response is kind or compassionate. I’m working on taking to myself in the plural – “We ate too much. That’s okay though, because we can just skip our afternoon snack and then we’ll be hungry for dinner” – it’s a joint effort. And I just realized how completely crazy it sounds!! But it’s working, and anyway, I never claimed to NOT be crazy, so there!

TEAK. Putting them together this way also helps me remember that they all go together. It takes ALL of these things, not just a couple (for me, anyway) in order to heal my overeating, so I have to keep them all in mind while I go through this.

What do you all think of TEAK? Do you have a favorite acronym that you use to get you to your goals?