No Tankini Required

d24235920d4e68736ea61a1b44fe59c5_female-runner-on-beach-700-469-cThis week has been a struggle in the running department. It’s a combination of hot, humid weather, too much on my to do list, and just being worn out. But, I ran.

Early in the week, I nearly made a snarky social media post, because I had been noticing men taking more than just a passing glance at me while I was running. It bothered me — my immediate thought was that they had no right to assume that I was out on the sidewalks of my town trying to be eye candy just for them.

But, the to do list won, and I never made the post.

I did, however, keep thinking about those stares and my reaction. Why did it offend me so much? I dress more than modestly for my hobby — I wear capris and a t-shirt. I even get the same kind of stares when I wearing a Camelbak for my long runs. (I have to be careful about heat injuries and dehydrating.)

Was I giving in my culture and my personal history again? I obviously assumed that the men looking were thinking sexual thoughts. How could I know that?

What if?

As I continued studying my reaction, I started thinking about the what-ifs.

  • What if these guys were, like my husband, simply trying to identify movement and color they had noticed as they were driving? (Yes, that is what my husband does — he stares at everything except people working out as he drives. It’s an interesting experience!)
  • What if some of them were actually thinking that it was refreshing to see a woman with her body modestly covered?
  • What if they were wondering how in the world I could tolerate the heat with that much clothing on?
  • What if I noticed guys staring, but I blew off women staring? I’m not exactly dressed in common running fashions.
  • What if I made a point to practice giving people the benefit of the doubt and assume their intentions and actions are innocent?

 

The runs are still hot, humid, and difficult, but much more pleasant than at the beginning of the week!

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Change is in the Air

changes-are-coming

Some who have read this blog or know me personally  are aware that I submitted my letter of resignation as a teacher on May 1, 2017. Since that time, I have been trying to “decide what I want to be when I grow up.”

In the next few weeks, I will be making that announcement. I’m sure there will be a few more announcements as I put all of the plans in place. As I do, I realize that I’m having to completely change my perception of who I am. I’m also going to be making a few changes to this blog.

Anyone Else Frightened?

Change isn’t comfortable. The things that we have always known and the things that we have always done become our comfort zone. They become to us like that favorite stuffed animal or blanket that we carried around as toddlers. It doesn’t matter how filthy and nasty it gets — it’s what we turn to for comfort and security.

As far as this blog is concerned, the changes won’t be that big. I’m mostly going to be working through a process of claifying my purpose for this blog’s existence, solidifying the message, and (hopefully) making it a little more interactive.

As for me? Well, let’s just say I hope I’m holding on to my hat tightly! I’m trying to convince myself that I’m ready to get rid of my worn-out, dirty “lovie” and move into the world with more wisdom, maturity, and confidence than I have in the past.

Life is Ironic

irony-2

So, at the end of my teaching career, the boss that had given me so much grief was selected for the top award our district can give. To put it mildly, Ouch! Talk about feeling invalidated for all that I went through this year!

True to my nature, I stopped to ponder.

Realization #1: There are no absolutes in life.

This means that no matter how much I would like to believe that this boss is evil, she’s not. She’s a person who is trying to make the best decisions she knows how to make. She will make good ones. She is very astute about marketing her school. (To be honest, I’ve been studying her methods because I recognize how astute she is in this area.) She seems to have a weakness in the area of understanding and working with a diverse set of people. That’s not evil.

Realization #2: My perception is not the only correct one.

In this case, I found myself imagining walking around a sculpture or a crystal on exhibit. Every time I shift position, it looks a little different. Different people have different perspectives of my boss. There are those who thinks she’s awesome. That’s life.

Realization #3: This was not an attack on me.

The district did not decide to give her this award to salve her feelings, and they didn’t give the award to her to make a point to me. In truth, I doubt anyone has time to really think that way, and most wouldn’t push the boundaries of policy that hard! The award had criteria, and they felt that she met them the best. If my actions have given her pause to think and to possible make positive changes, then I can actually support the selection. If it hasn’t, then her house of cards will eventually fall.

So, I accept the irony, and I accept that the turn of events doesn’t fully sit well with me. I wish I could support the choice without reservation. From what I can tell, my boss enjoys awards and accolades, and she is enjoying her moment. I find awards and accolades to be a unfulfilling way to measure my worth, and prefer to know that, when I look in the mirror, I’m seeing a woman who is trying her best to be a person of quality. I have my reward.

Things may be ironic, but they are not always as unfair as I want to believe.

legacy quote

My Codependency Breaker

Broken

I wish I could promise that I am going to unveil some quick and easy formula for removing codependency from your life forever. That would be nice, but overcoming codependency is a long, hard process. Even though I believe that I have been in recovery from it for years, there are still times when I feel myself leaning toward those habits and patterns.

Sadly, that’s actually what this post is about — what I do when I feel like I am falling back into the habits and patterns that plagued me for most of my life. I certainly don’t want to go back there again!

I like to keep things simple, so I’ve managed to narrow the process down to these two sentences:

I am ONLY responsible for what I think and what I do. I AM NOT responsible for what anyone else thinks or what anyone else does.

Sounds easy enough, right? It can be, but there are days when it’s the hardest thing in the world to do.

  • Recently, I was in a position where I felt it was necessary that I write and submit to human resources some pretty harsh accusations about my boss. It was definitely a struggle, because I not only feared what my boss might do in the event that she found out, but I feared what others at work would think of me. I felt dirty and tainted, even though I made very sure to only write what I believe to be the truth.
  • I have seen many collected evidence that there is someone at church who is spreading nasty rumors about me behind my back, and that there are some people who have believed those rumors almost without question. (Talk about a test of faith — that’s a topic for my other blog.) Not only do I have to accept that it’s not my fault, but I have to accept that there really is nothing I can do unless the opportunity arises to address it directly, one-on-one. It hurts to know that there may be people who never gave me a chance at a place that is supposed to be filled with the love of Christ, but again, I am not responsible that they chose to believe gossip.
  • My children have adopted some beliefs and made some lifestyle choices that are directly opposed to what I had hoped and what I am pretty sure that I taught in my home. Does it feel like their choices reflect badly on me? Sure — but it’s not true. I am responsible only for my negligence and willful ignorance as a parent and not for the influence of others on my children. It hurts, sure. I’d love to see them make choices that I feel will lead them to a more lasting happiness than some of the ones they are making now, but I happily cheer them on as they make their best efforts in life.

 

So, even understanding the extent of my personal responsibilities in life doesn’t stop me from feeling disappointment, from being misunderstood, or from having to make painful choices.

What it does do for me is give me guidance that helps to prevent me from making things worse because I am bent on forcing things to match my definition of better.

I am ONLY responsible for my thoughts and actions.