Thursday, June 17, 2010

To fail or not to fail

I had an epiphany.

Yeah, another one. They just keep coming and coming and coming. Apparently that’s what happens when you get old. Or so I’m told.

Next month, I will have been a college student for an entire year. Wow.

I made it a year the first time too. And then life happened. Or my commitment wavered. Or…

So I got to thinking, what have I accomplished in the last year? Please imagine wheels turning, smoke coming out of my ears and then the sound of machinery breaking down.

So back to the question of what have I accomplished? Let’s see, I have made a baby blanket, sort of, I hired out my mom to do some of it, and she gave it to me, back in December. I hope I can finish it tonight. I rescued Bailey, but then again, I think he is rescuing me, so not sure if that counts. I’ve attempted to keep the DVR cleaned off. Have yet to succeed. Except for when it crashed and I lost everything.

Sure I’ve maintained a mostly A average. What can I say; Algebra kicked my butt, both classes. I’ve done my homework even when I didn’t want too. Instead of hanging out with my parents I’ve gone home and studied. Sure I’ve taken my laptop to places that I probably shouldn’t have, and times when I shouldn’t have.

Yet, I know that I will fly through next month, and I’ll wake up and it will be August and I’ll be started my last block of classes. My last 2 classes. The only thing that will stand between me and an associate’s degree is….well, me.

I’m my own worst enemy. I’m also my biggest fan.

So how does all this fall into that whole epiphany thing?

Well, I joined Wei.ght Watc.hers* a few months ago. To say that I have fallen off the wagon is an understatement. I’ve fallen off, laying face first in dirt, and the wagon periodically comes and runs me over, you know, just for good measure.

So I got to thinking, that if I had put forth as much effort, and the attitude towards losing a few pounds as I had towards school, where would I be now? I don’t want to think about that answer, because I know it, and I don’t like it.

When Algebra got hard, it’s not like I just decided to blow it off, and not do my homework, instead I put in more effort, I researched, I made sure that I allowed extra time to get assignments done, in case there was a problem. I tried hard, and then when hard wasn’t cutting it, I tried harder. I pushed and I pushed and I did everything that I had to in order to pass the class.

So why is weight loss any different? Or quitting smoking? Or going to church?

It’s not. As much of as cliché as it is, you get out what you put in. I put in a ton of effort with Algebra, and I earned a B. I’m very, very proud of that B. I would have loved an A, but I couldn’t be more thrilled about my B.

I have put a lot into school. I hardly read books for fun, I don’t cross-stitch much, or crochet, or cook a lot of complicated meals. I spend that time studying, putting effort and time in. And my reward – well, I haven’t gotten that yet, but 6 months from tomorrow I will graduate with my associates’ degree. I can’t see myself quitting now. All I can see is that piece of paper with my name on it. I have dreams about it. I can see myself out celebrating with my husband and my parents. I can taste it. Yeah, it just tastes like really expensive paper.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t been permanently successful at weight loss. Maybe that’s why I didn’t finish school the first time. Because I didn’t see the end result. I couldn’t imagine how different things would be. Granted, with my associates’ degree, my life won’t suddenly be different, I’ll be the same person, I’ll just have spent a small fortune to get it, but it’s just a stepping stone to getting what I really want. But I can still imagine what my life will be like. I can imagine having the money to buy our house, and not worrying about just getting by. I can imagine that. I can see it.

Maybe that’s what the problem with the weight loss is. I know what I want as an end result, but I want it now. I have had a hard time sticking with it because I wanted instant results. You know, weight loss inside, just add water. I didn’t have that impatience with getting my degree, so what’s different?

Me. I’m different. Maybe it’s that whole getting old and wise thing. Maybe instead of blaming various things, I’m not doing the research, not putting in the effort to finding out why.

Hmmm, maybe I’m onto something.

Drum roll please.

If you want to see any results, you have to be patient, and you have to be prepared to stick it out for the long term. (Cymbal crashing) Yeah, that was new.

Whether it is in weight loss, school, a marriage, kids, building a house, or even watering the dog. It all takes time. It all takes work. It all takes starting the task, and seeing it through to the end.

Maybe failure, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? What are you waiting for?

~There is no failure except in no longer trying. ~Elbert Hubbard

~One fails forward toward success. ~Charles F. Kettering

~The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When I say deaf, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably something to do with hearing, or ears. Or your children when you are trying to get them to clean up their room.

I think that there are a variety of “deaf’s”. I think that you can’t hear because you physically have something wrong. I think that you can’t hear because you don’t want to hear it. This one is often put into place for bad news. I think that you can’t hear when your child, spouse, or pets have needs that aren’t being met. These are those silent words, the ones that are usually conveyed by a look or a request that is pleaded onto tired ears, and you are distracted and give the answer that they want to hear, but don’t follow through with the actions that prove you heard their needs.

So now that you have had that little trip down definition lane, let me give the official dictionary version.

Deaf – adjective – 1. lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing. 2. unwilling to hear or listen : not to be persuaded.

Maybe Webster and I were related in a former life or something.

I think my dog (yeah he is staying) Bailey, is deaf. At first I thought he was just unwilling to listen, which is politely saying ignoring your happy self, but now, not so much. When I walk down the hall and call him, his ears perk up, but I think he is straining for something, just trying to hear my voice. He sleeps so soundly that I have to touch him to wake him up to go outside of a morning, and other times, I think that his sense of smell takes over and he smells my scent better as I approach and gets up on his own.

Watching him sitting in the living room straining to hear me, or listening intently, I don’t really know, has made me think, how we are so similar. We are capable of drowning out our husband as he talks about work, we are capable of drowning out our mother on the phone while we watch TV. We are all guilty of being deaf. Sometimes we just don’t hear, and other times, we just don’t want to hear. We hope that by ignoring it, the problem will go away, and instead, the problem usually ends up bigger than we could have imagined. We end up alienating our spouses, our children, our parents, and our pets.

The last few weeks I have been busy with work, school, and various other things. You know like cleaning, and laundry, and remembering to run the full dishwasher, and writing papers, and taking quizzes. I’ve also been deaf. I’ve worried about me, looked out for number one, and my husband, my dogs, and mostly myself have suffered because of it. Instead of being able to go home and relax, I’ve had to go home and play catch up on laundry and cleaning and homework. And I haven’t got to lay in bed at night and love on puppies, and I haven’t thrown a toy and played with Blaze. I’ve been deaf to their needs and their wants. I’ve missed my husbands’ pleas for time together that don’t involve homework and cleaning.

So like Bailey, I’m going to have to stop what I’m doing, and hold my breath, and strain just a little to catch what I’m missing. Because if I were to die next week, I wouldn’t want them to wish that I hadn’t been so deaf for so long and to wonder how different things would have been if I had paid more attention. If I had just took the time to listen.

~Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem. ~Benjamin Hoff

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~Epictetus

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Something odd happened today. Something that, for the first time in my life, has given me a rather massive regret.

I ran into someone I went to high school with today. She hasn’t changed much, she still has gorgeous blonde hair, and green eyes, she is married, which is certainly different. She has kids. In that aspect she is like me, getting old, moving on in life, doing the things that people expect people our age to do.

She saw me before I saw her, because frankly I was focused on finding a cold beverage and getting the heck out of dodge, when she came over and asked me if I was there to get the stuff to make a baby blanket for her, as she is expecting her 4th baby in October. (I have made the comment several times that I’m working on finishing up a baby blanket for a friend’s baby on facebook. I know I know, I spend way too much time on facebook.) We stood and chatted a few minutes, and then went our separate ways.

On the drive home I got to thinking about the friends that I had, and the friends she had and the things we did on Friday nights. Taylor and I weren’t close friends growing up, but we did start in kindergarten and worked our way through until we graduated. We had gone to school for 13 years together, often sharing similar classes. So I knew her as well as you know someone whom you have spent your entire life with. Needless to say, our paths rarely crossed, we had different friends and did different things. I figured that she saw me as the band geek with the strange friends. Most of my friends were nerds too. Sorry guys, but we were.

As I left and drove home and put away the groceries, I wondered how different high school and JR. high would have been, if I had tried harder. If I had put more faith into some of the other kids at school, kids that I secretly wanted to hang out with, but figured that they saw me for the loser that I was so sure I was. Then it hit me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have any faith in them, I didn’t have any faith in me.

And that hurt.

I have always thought that I have so little to offer that why would anyone want to be my friend. I have never been the partier, the drinker, the dater, or the wild child. Instead I loved to read, and even at 12 and 16, loved to cross stitch, and work on the farm. I wasn’t interested in playing sports. I actually wanted to play a few but my own lack of faith in myself stopped me from doing it. My fear of looking stupid and the teasing that I was so sure would come after I screwed up.

So instead I did band, because in those uniforms you all looked the same. I did UIL in accounting. I said I was a nerd. I went to an occasional basketball game, because Amber would beg me until I relented. I went out on Friday and Saturday nights and made the drag, in my awful first car. But those kids, who weren’t really the popular kids, instead of getting to know them, of seeing if we really had anything in common, I let my own insecurities make me friend-light.

It has been the same thought process with this blog over the last few weeks. My husband and parents keep heaping on the praise, and I have let that little inner voice tell me that they are lying, that they really don’t like my writing, that I sound stupid – LOSER!!

I have tried to write posts, and the words just won’t come. Well actually they have, but that little insecure person in me wouldn’t let me save them. I started dozens of posts, but none of them were worthy. None of them were good. None of them were thought provoking. They all sucked.

Realistically – I probably deleted some really good stuff. Do I regret that? Absolutely. I regret that I let any moment of doubt make me think that my writing, therefore my life be unworthy of anything. No, not everyone is going to like it, it might not mean as much to one person as it does to another, but that’s OK too. God knows who needs to get the message and who doesn’t.

I regret that I walked through JR. and High school thinking that I had nothing to offer to those people. That I wasn’t worthy of their time of their friendship. I regret that I didn’t find a way to squash that inner voice sooner. I wonder how different those years would have been if I had put more faith in myself instead of in believing that doubting voice.

I can only imagine.

Then I realized that, as an adult, I have only 2 friends, and while I adore them both, we aren’t really close friends anymore. We go weeks in between talking, and most of that is done via email; and months and years between visits. I then realized that I’m friend-light by my own choice. While it isn’t subconscious, it is still by my own doing. And that hurt even worse.

You know what the kicker is. I bet to a certain extent they have that same little voice. That same voice telling them whatever they see in themselves when they talk to me. They just manage to tell it to shut up before it takes over.

So instead of putting my faith in all the things I see wrong with myself, like the overweight, the nerd, the bookworm, the cross stitch-aholic. I’m going to try putting my faith in me. So I’m overweight, I am an amazing cook. So I’m a bookworm and a nerd, it means I can have a cool job that no one really understands and make jillions of dollars at. So I’m a cross stitch addict, I can make absolutely beautiful pieces, that most people wouldn’t have the courage to even attempt.

This all kinda makes me wonder how much less stress I would have in my life if I would have faith that I CAN do it, instead of just waiting for that little bastard in my head to cheer when I fail, to tell me “I told you so”.
So instead I’m going to put my faith in me, and if the first 100 don’t like, if they don’t think that I have anything to offer, then I just haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe I’ll find them in the next 100.

~You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. ~Alan Alda

~All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
~James Thurber

~The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. ~Muhammad Ali


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