SOL: A New Outlook

So today I’m starting something new, and I figured it would be a great way to begin sharing it here in a slice. So, What is it? Well, after some soul searching this weekend, and a not so easy conversation with my husband, I’ve realized that I have been really down on myself lately, and  I need to change all the negativity I’ve been feeling.

I did bring up the conversation with my husband Saturday night after talking with my mother in law. In passing she had mentioned to me at dinner that at a certain age women stop caring so much about their appearance and just accept themselves for who they are. My thought to this was, “Really?” When? When will I finally get to that place?” Somehow this remark stuck with me after dinner, and on the ride home. I kept thinking about myself and mentally listing all the things that bothered me about my looks.

When we got home, I brought it up to my husband and he admitted that I have been extremely hard on myself recently and that it’s been really hard for him to hear and see. He told me that he doesn’t think I believe him or even hear him when he gives me compliments about the way I look. Truth is, he’s right. I don’t.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been really “good” with compliments. I don’t know why, bu they make me feel uncomfortable. The truth is when he says “You look cute today” or “Wow, you look fit.” or any other positive comments he makes about my appearance, I DON’T believe it. It’s not that I think he’s lying to me, or that I don’t believe that he feels it, but it’s more that down deep, I don’t believe it myself. This is not an easy thing to admit. Now it’s even at the point when he says something nice to me about my appearance, instead of saying “thanks, honey”, I usually say something negative about myself in response. “Ugh, I’m so bloated.” or “No, I don’t. I look tired and old.” Something negative, and something self-deprecating.  It is really upsetting to my husband and he told me it makes him sad that I can’t see myself the way he sees me. Truth is, it makes me sad too.

So, I have come to realize that I need to change my own self perception and I need to give myself some self-love. To start, I figured I should try to come up with at least one positive thought about myself every day.  Since my husband and I spoke on Saturday about this, I need one for Sunday, Monday and today. So here are the three I came up with:

  1. My body is strong and surprisingly flexible which makes me a pretty good dancer and a pretty solid yogi! ( both Yoga and Dance make me feel wonderful so I need to add more of them into my life.)
  2. I have pretty good skin tone for my age. (just turned 45) Luckily I inherited my dad’s olive, Italian skin.
  3. I have a good sense of humor and at times can be quite funny. I love to make my family, friends and students laugh. (I really am quite hilarious to most 11 year olds!)

So that’s a start. I’m not going to pretend it was easy to come up with three positive things about myself, especially my face as sometimes all I see when I look in the mirror are the dark circles under my eyes. However, I did it and hopefully will continue to moving forward. Life is way to short to spend it obsessing about these things that are keeping me from being happy and enjoying my life. I deserve more than that, and so does my family.

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SOL: MCAS Day 1

Well my 5th graders are all hard at work right now. First day of the ELA MCAS test. So it begins. I feel that they were ready and as prepared as they could be. It is such a crazy thing to me, these standardized tests and the weight they are given. I’m looking around my room at my 19 students and know that some of them are going to nail this, as it just comes easy to them. Some are going to put in 100% and do great. Others are going to try their best and do okay… and others won’t do so great. It just is the way it is. Then they are going to get a score, a score that’s going to be a reflection on how “Well” they did this year, How “Well” I did this year. The grades on their report cards, the work they did with their groups in Science creating water filters, the research they did on the causes of the Revolutionary War, the presentations they did on their Historical Fiction books of choice, won’t “count”, however this ONE test will.

I think of a few of my students in particular and how far they’ve come this year in their reading and writing. How much they’ve grown in these last few months. Yet, that won’t be taken into account either. It breaks my heart. They and I will be “scored” based on how they do on this one assessment. It is just so depressing to think about.

On that note, as I look around and watch them work, I feel proud. They are great kids, they are doing their best,  and I know that each and every one of them is much more than a score on a test.

Strength…

Have you ever listened to the words of a song and thought it might have been written for you? Even if it’s a song you’ve heard over and over and then just one day you actually listen to the words, and it’s like, “Wow. That’s so me.” I felt that today listening to the radio on my car ride into school. The song is “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence. A song, I have heard thousands of times, and never really paid attention to that much. However this morning, I really connected with it. It reminded me so much of myself  a few years back when I was in a very, very dark place.

I try not to think about it too much as it was really tough time for me, however I’m also pretty proud of myself for how hard I worked to pull myself through it.  It was not easy to finally face and deal with some pretty horrible things that I had experienced in my childhood. No to mention, the painful losses that my husband and I experienced at that time as we tried to become parents. It was a horrible, dark, scary time for me, and for a while there I truly believed that that was just the way I was going to stay. Cold, sad, disconnected, numb. I just felt beat down and damaged.

Luckily, I didn’t stay that way. It was a combination of being a new mom after going through the grueling international adoption process, and realizing that my marriage was falling apart, to realize I wanted to be happy again. So, I started therapy, I worked through all the memories I had somehow managed to surpress, all the feelings I hadn’t allowed myself to feel, all the pain and the scaries, and the ickies, and the sadness that came with it. I worked hard on healing myself, and then on my marriage, and thankfully I came out of it feeling stronger and whole. Now, My relationship with my husband is healthy and solid, and I’m a better mother, friend, teacher, and just a better version of myself now.

Truth is, I’ve been through a LOT, more than most will ever have to endure. Yet, I survived. I didn’t let the darkness win. I chose to be happy and live my life. I am lucky enough to have an amazing husband, a beautiful son, and am blessed with a loving family and friends, and a career that I love. I am healthy, I am strong, and I have so much to be thankful for.

This is Forty something…

I am feeling old today. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. The hubby and I had a late night out in the North End Saturday night with some of my cousins and their spouses, and the 8 of us had a blast. Drinks, Dinner, a comedy show with drinks, another bar for more drinks, and finally getting the Uber home at 2:00 am!! What?! We are in our forties, we can’t roll like this anymore. We don’t have the stamina of my thirty something cousins. Not to mention, I still woke up at 8:00 am and had to be a “mom”! Tired was an understatement.

Unlike my hubby though , I WAS able to get out of bed yesterday, go to the grocery store, clean up around my house, do some laundry, and even completed one of my assignments for my online class. Okay, so the 3 mile run I planned did NOT happen, but I was somewhat “functional”. I went to bed early and had every intention of getting up at 5:00 am this morning like I do every week day for my workout. Although, today when the alarm went off, .I shut it off and fell back asleep! I never do this. I usually can will myself out of bed, knowing that if I don’t get up and do it, I won’t get to it later. Instead though, I rolled over and slept for one more hour and needless to say, that workout never happened.

So, now I’m feeling guilty for not getting up and working out, but at the same time KNOW that my body just couldn’t do it. I am playing catch up. I’m still so tired from Saturday night and I needed that extra hour. Not to mention, by the time I was done with teaching all day and a staff meeting, I was not feeling it. What I am feeling is old. I get tired so much easier than I did 10 years ago. I eat right, I exercise and I take good care of myself, yet I can still see myself aging. The darkness under my eyes, the little wrinkles in the corner of my eye when I smile, the gray hairs that I never had before that are popping up here and there. The 5:00 am workouts that used to be much easier, are a bit more of a struggle. I always feel great when I’m done, but it’s not as easy as it once was, and that makes me a bit depressed. Sigh.

I’ve thought about getting braces again to realign my teeth that have shifted some in the last 25 years, or to get surgery on my under eyes,  but then I wonder if I just need to somehow be okay with what is happening to me. Just accept these changes.  I am healthy. My family is healthy and happy, and I have a pretty good life. I have a job I love, friends, a husband who loves me and thinks I’m beautiful no matter how “hard” on myself I am, and overall… things are pretty good.  I need to focus on that good and learn to be okay with the fact that I am forty-four years old. That I am getting older and it’s okay.