Friday, March 30, 2012

Allergies, allergies, allergies! (Or a cold.)

Hola, dumplings. I hope everyone is having a nice TGIF morning. Thus far, I've spilled hot tea on myself, sneezed about 74 times, and contemplated leaving Stella outside with a "Free to a mediocre home" sign around her neck. I just turned on my current favorite playlist though, so I'm optimistic that my mood will improve shortly.

This weekend, I realized that I've let a few aspects of my life fall by the wayside this past month. I haven't been eating as well as I'd like to. I think I'm in a bit of a food rut. Eating seasonally has been fantastic, and I definitely recommend it. However, after a winter of limited fruit and veggie options, I'm getting really antsy for the spring produce to show up. As a result, I haven't been eating as many fruits and vegetables as I usually do. I'm just a little sick of eating the same 5 things all winter. I also haven't been doing yoga nearly as often as I would like to. I got in the habit last year of doing yoga every day. I've recently dropped down to once or twice a week. Part of that is because, as of November (when I got a new car and started doing solo dog walks instead of huge group walks), I went from walking a couple miles a day to about ten miles. I'm just more a little more tired, and I'm getting more exercise, so it didn't seem as necessary. I still love me some yoga though, and it's really good for my hamstrings, which get pretty tight from all the walking. And, I've been a bad rat mom lately and haven't been snuggling with the rats as often as I should. All these things had been piling up and making me feel kinda crappy, so this week I resolved to work on them.

Then I got sick. Well, I don't know if I'm sick or if it's just allergies. I'm outside for about five hours every day, so I get hit pretty hard with allergies. It doesn't really matter what the cause - the result is I'm a sneezy, coughing, tired, congested mess.

At first I thought, "Sinuses be damned, I'm gonna asana/carrot munch/rat snuggle like a boss!" Here's how that went.

I tried to do yoga. I couldn't hold any of the poses because my sneezes kept throwing my balance off. After face planting into your own snot about three times, the whole serenity kick kind of dies.

After dwindling my food supplies down to some rice and pasta sauce, I decided to go grocery shopping. Now, I don't know about everyone else, but when I have a cold (or allergies), my brain operates like I've just downed two beers. Despite having a list, my sickly brain decided, upon arriving at the grocery store, to just free ball it. Forty five minutes later, I returned home with kale, wine, and several types of beans. Oh, good, Katie. Just what you need to get you through a week of healthy meals. Perrrrrrfect.

I tried to hold the rats. I forgot that I'm allergic to them. (I'm allergic to all rodents. For some reason, I've had rodents for the past six years. Obviously.) Usually, as long as I don't touch my face while I hold them, and wash my hands after, I'm fine. Unfortunately, rat allergies + pollen allergies (or a cold) = nonstop sneezing that fills my heart with misery and the rats with terror. Sigh. Back in the cage you go, little guys.

It's evening out a little bit. I went back to the store the other day and grabbed a few more essentials. Now I can make myself huge ass protein-packed salads for dinner (with spinach, not kale. I used all the kale to make kale chips. Of course.) and pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast, so at least my diet's a little more balanced. And I realized that I can still stretch out and use very little energy by doing this:

Splits against the wall for the win.
As for the rats... sorry, boys. I've been giving them lots of people food to cheer them up. I should be able to get back to regularly scheduled cuddle time in a few days. 

So things are looking up. Here's hoping I don't undo all my health progress when I go out drinking tonight...

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Instead of writing a proper post, boring little me has decided to share some songs with you. And start speaking in third person.

And, because I like to spread misery:

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Finding My Backbone

I never thought I had a strong backbone.

From my earliest memories, I have always been drawn to people who seem to need less of me than I need of them. I have always hero-worshipped those closest to me, assuming that they are cooler, smarter, and somehow better than me. I have always felt that I had to impress them, to work very hard to keep them. From a very young age, I have lived in fear of people realizing that I don't bring as much to their lives as they bring to mine. I have always been afraid of being left.

I'm not quite sure where this came from. My self esteem has always seemed decent, and I have never cared much what strangers or society as a whole thinks of me. However, there is something in me that has seemed determined to seek out those who have a certain aloofness to them. Or maybe I always imagined them as being aloof. Maybe they were only aloof because I allowed them to be. Either way, this has resulted in me being forgiving to a fault.

Forgiveness is a beautiful trait to have, and I'm sure in many ways, it's one of my better qualities. My forgiveness, though, has always come from a lack of faith in my own self-worth. Although I never consciously thought this, when I look back at all the times I forgave things that secretly I still thought were unjust, I realize that my forgiveness was motivated by necessity. I think I was always afraid that if I didn't forgive someone, if I put my foot down, they would leave me.

Something tremendous happened to me in this past year. I'm not sure exactly how or why, but I found strength, self-love, and peace that I hadn't even realized I was missing. From being someone who desperately feared being alone, I have grown quite happy and content in my own company, confident that, when the time is right, someone will come into my life that will complement me. I find joy in every day. I had always thought of myself as happy, but I have felt so good this past year. It's shocking to me that I didn't realize before what I was missing.

Then, earlier this year, something happened that rocked me to my core. I didn't melt. I barely cried. Instead, I felt an anger unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was powerful, cold, and malicious. I could never have imagined that I had the capacity to feel something like this. I fought with all I had to keep finding the joy in every day, to keep being happy. And I was able to, for the most part. But beneath every moment of happiness was this anger, lurking, waiting until my mind was quiet to start whispering to me.

It's strange, but in a way, I kind of liked my anger. It made me feel strong, and that made me feel safe. In the past, I would react to something like this with self-doubt and sadness. This time, I knew with every fiber of my being that I had been wronged. I respected myself in a way I never had before (how could I have been so lacking in self-respect without ever realizing?), and I knew that I deserved better than this. There was a fierce pride in my anger, because it represented my appreciation of my own worth.

As time went by, though, my anger began to eat at me. It wasn't fading, and it was making me feel so bad. Now, though, I couldn't seem to harness it. I felt it had run it's course, and I was ready to move on, but this rage had set up shop in my head and wouldn't leave. I was telling this to a friend, sitting in my car and feeling hollow. My friend said, "You know how your body tries to tell you something by hurting, or by getting sick? I think maybe that's happening here. This anger is here for a reason. I think there's a lesson here you haven't learned yet. So instead of trying to fight it, maybe try and figure out what it's trying to tell you."

The next morning, the solution hit me with frightening clarity. As soon as the thought entered my head, I started to shake. I shook for half an hour after coming up with my idea. And then I severed I tie that I never dreamed I would have the strength to sever.

When it was over, I expected to feel relief. I didn't. I just felt the same pounding anger, maybe even stronger than before - only now I had nowhere to put it. I had been calm, cold, collected, disdainful, and I had said everything I wanted to say. I could not for the life of me figure out why I still felt so bad.

It took me another day to realize it. Cutting someone out of my life wasn't going to stop the anger. The only way to stop feeling angry was to stop being angry. And in order to do that, I had to stop imagining a villain and start seeing a person. And so, I met up with the person I thought I would never see again, and had a conversation.

I think, in a way, it's easier to think that someone just doesn't care about you. That they just aren't a good person. It's harder and much, much more painful to accept that someone can love you with all their heart, even as they are hurting you so deeply. That it doesn't make them a bad person. That something can be right and wrong at the same time. That really, most people are doing the best they can every moment of every day.

Forgiving someone has never been this hard for me. Really, I forgave very selfishly. I didn't forgive for anyone else's sake. I did it because not doing it was destroying me. And once I left from that conversation, I felt a weight lift. I felt so at peace.

I came up with the idea to get a tree tattooed on my back about three years ago. I wanted to get it to remind me to have a strong backbone, because it's not something I ever really felt I had. I thought it was a good idea for a tattoo, and I even found a picture that I loved. For some reason, I never felt the same drive to get it like I did with my other three tattoos. And so it stayed a small file on my computer, a small thought in the back of my mind. Something I would get maybe, when I had more money, when I was sure I could commit to such a large tattoo, when I felt more passionate about it.

Monday afternoon, I was thinking about everything that had happened this weekend. All of a sudden, I realized, with a clarity I had never had before, exactly what that tattoo meant. Five hours later, I was in the waiting room of a tattoo studio.

It's important to love yourself enough to be angry on your own behalf when you are wronged. You should be as protective of yourself as you would be of a good friend. It's also important, though, to recognize the necessity of seeing someone for who they are, for all the beautiful strengths and complexities and flaws that go into making them. It's important to love yourself enough to let go of hate and let in love. I don't think there's anything that requires a stronger backbone than love.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The internets took my old pic, so here is a lovely replacement.

Before I get into anything about spring, I just need to share this other picture that came up in my image search for "spring":


After the most disappointing winter of my existence, I am looking towards springtime with new and hopeful eyes. Of course, yesterday, the day I decided to make this transition, it snowed. Instead of murdering someone, I decided to put on a happy face and write about all the things I am excited about this spring, in hopes that I can wish them into existence, a la The Secret*. And so, because lists seem to be the only way I know how to express myself, we begin

 Shit Katie's Looking Forward To This Spring

1. Flowers. Obviously. Because I work outside, I get to watch the full progression of flowers very closely. After 6 weeks of hating the little crocuses and snow drops that have been peeking their little heads out of the ground, I am finally happy to see them. I don't think I ever saw crocuses in Severna Park (where I grew up), but they are everywhere in Takoma Park (where I work). Yards are completely covered with pink, purple, white, and yellow flowers. And at this point, daffodils are also in full bloom. I love the dainty, delicate flowers of spring. They make me want to put them in my hair and pretend I'm a princess and make a strong gentleman carry me around. (At this point in my life, the strong gentleman will probably be you, Jame, so prepare yourself.) 

2. Spring produce. Last year I decided to start eating seasonally, which I would completely recommend. I buy my produce pretty exclusively from my local farmer's market. Not only is this environmentally awesome (low food miles, supporting local farmers, etc), but food tastes its absolute best when it's in its peak growing season. After eating a ruby-red May strawberry, picked yesterday by the farmer selling it to you, you will never again be tempted by those mostly-white flavorless rocks Giant tries to pawn off on you. I also feel like my body gets the kind of food it needs the most depending on the season. The only downfall here is that I've been living off squash and kale and apples all winter, and I am really ready for some asparagus and strawberry rhubarb pie. 

3. Spring clothes! I spent this winter sweating through my sweatshirts at work when it was in the upper sixties, refusing to wear a tee shirt in January. Now, however, I am more than ready to frolic about in flowy pastels and bright colors. I celebrated this impending shift in my wardrobe by going out Sunday and buying three pairs of shoes in coral, turquoise, and some kind of glorious neon orangey-pink color that sounds hideous when I describe it, but trust me, is cute. And then, right on cue, it snowed the next day. 

So, yes. I am delighted about the shift in seasons. True, the weather gods have sensed my joy and decided to make this week frigid and unpleasant, but right now, from my sun-soaked living room, I can't tell that it's actually 37° outside. Positive thinking, my little muffins. I shall will this season into existence. 

*Has everyone else heard of this? My friend Hallie just informed me of it this weekend, and I'm pretty sure it's a cult.