change · cleaning · denial · goals · home · Michele · resolve · stress · unemployment

Fear of the Unknown

If I were a Harry Potter character, I’m fairly sure the Sorting Hat would not have placed me in Gryffindor, simply because I’m not really a brave person. Yes, at times in my life, I’ve been able to stand up in front of the crowd, singing or acting, and I was, for a long time, very good at making new friends. Not so much any more. The last few years of my life have left me a very different person, and so many things scare me these days. It’s difficult to be in crowds, and the idea of having to talk to too many people I don’t know is terrifying.  I’ve had panic attacks in public places, including the local Fred Myer, where I wound up crying in the manager’s office. These events had been getting farther between, until recently, when certain things began making me very nervous.

If you’ve been reading this for long, you know I share a home with my extended family: my parents, who are 78 and 83; my younger sister and her two children, who are 10 and 20; plus two cats and a dog. During the last year my father lost his job, and hasn’t been able to find another one; he has also begun showing signs of dementia, which is difficult for all of us. Mom hasn’t worked outside the home in years; they have some Social Security coming in, but no savings. My sister hasn’t had a steady job in over a year, just temp things, and my while my niece has a full-time job, she doesn’t help out much. Hence, the only real income in the household now are my SSI/SSD checks every month, and Mom & Dad’s Social Security. Not a lot for all these people to live on. Jolene & I both get food stamps, which helps, and for now, all of our medical expanses are taken care of. The big issue is the house payment; we cannot afford this house.

When I moved back in here two years ago, my goal was to stay a few months and then get a place of my own. But things went downhill very fast; I sank into depression after the breakup and Michele’s death, and still haven’t fully recovered. It was easier to hide in this room than get on with my life. But now, I don’t have a choice, and this scares me. My parents are talking about selling the house, and this means we’ll all have to move. Sure, they’ve been talking about selling for years, but this time they’re actually doing things to put it in motion. Getting the basement presentable. Talking to realtors. Getting rid of things. And scaring the hell out of me.

My tiny room is full of stuff, and I have dozens of boxes in the garage. Every few days I’m encouraged to begin sorting, getting rid of things, both so the place will look better for prospective buyers, and so it will be easier to move. Jolene has done a bit of this in, but I’ve yet to begin, even though I’ve nothing but time on my hands.

At first I thought I was just procrastinating, as usual, being my normal lazy self.  I’ve had several conversations about where I’d go when the house sold with different people. Jolene proposed we get an RV, put Max in online school, and tour the country. I’ve discussed getting an apartment with my ex-husband and friend, Charlie (we get along well, and he’s easy to live with), but it’s never gone farther than discussion.  But recently I realized that I honestly have no idea what is going to happen to any of us, and this is nerve-wracking.  Some part of me believes if I don’t do anything, the unknown will stay far, far in the future, and I won’t have to think about it. Denial is my favorite river, and I swim deep in it.

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Talking about things helps, so they say. I’ve discussed this fear with Jolene, and Mom, and now you. Let’s hope it helps, because I cannot continue doing nothing, as much as I might like to. Getting past the fear is going to be hard. I may have to channel my inner Steel Magnolia and remember “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Colorado · Facebook · finances · goals · Portland · resolve · seizures · writing

First Step

After months of being unsure about what to do with the next in my life, a Facebook post on conversation with an old friend has clarified some things. I know what I’m doing next. Kind of.

Yesterday, my friend Elissa, who I’ve known since wee both were students at what was then Mesa College in our hometown of Grand Junction,  posted that she’s thinking of opening a school. After five years of saying no to God’s prodding, she’s saying yes. She called, and we talked about it, and about the possibilities of my joining her in this venture (along with the reasons for the school, which I won’t get into, because that’s her story, not mine), and somehow, we got into a discussion about my returning to school for my Master’s degree.

I have a BA in English, and a few years ago, right after my divorce, I began classes for the graduate program in Early Childhood Education at Portland State University. I enjoyed the classes, but I was very nervous about taking the test required for actual admittance, and my financial aid was shaky. So I quit. (I’ve quit a lot of things in my life; it’s a pattern I’m not proud of, one I’m trying to change.)

I always loved being in school, and I miss it. If you look at my college transcripts, that’s obvious: I studied at three different schools, changed my major a number of times, and took ten years to finally graduate! Then I took courses at two community colleges later!  Up until the last four years, I’d spent most of my life in a classroom of some sorts, either as a student or a teacher. No wonder I’ve felt so lost these last few years; I’ve away from my native soil!

With a Master’s degree in ECE, and all my years of teaching experience, I could qualify as a Director of a preschool, which would be pretty nifty. I’ve not made a decision yet what degree to pursue, just that I’m going to do it.It’s at least the beginning of a plan. Taking a step forward in my life, even if it’s a baby step.And oddly enough, I’m not scared at all this time.

God will put me where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. I’ve always believed He had a plan for me, that He was watching over me for some reason, and I’m pretty sure that sitting in this chair watching Golden Girls reruns isn’t it. He kept me safe – well, alive, anyway – through all those seizures, and accidents caused by seizures – car accidents, falls in the shower, tumbles down stairs,  all that crap –  and I don’t think it was so I could end up sitting around, doing nothing, wishing for a different life, making no impact on the world around me, or even the world within me. He didn’t create me to be this barren landscape.

change · eating · exercise · fat · food · goals · happy · resolve · skinny · weight

The Incredible Shrinking Jonna

Food & eating is a strange thing for me. While I don’t actually eat large amounts of anything, I do have a tendency to snack on things like potato chips. Easy enough to fix–if I don’t have it in the house, I can’t & won’t eat it. Same with my major weakness– Pepsi. I’m a junkie: I can’t have just one, and if it’s in the house, I’ll guzzle it until it’s gone. But if I’m not around it, I’m okay. So I don’t buy it.

I’m the wrong person to take to those “all-you-can-eat” type restaurants, because, I am not a big eater, and I never eat enough to justify the price. Everyone else is going back for thirds & fourths, and I’m sitting there, waiting to leave, drinking my sixth glass of Pepsi.

At regular places, I’m fine, because while I’m somewhat picky, I also like to try new things. And because my eyes are bigger than my stomach, I always have a doggie bag to take home!

My boyfriend, Steven, asks me at least once a day “Did you eat anything today?” because he knows I get involved in what I’m doing, and forget, until suddenly it’s five-thirty in the afternoon, and all I’ve had all day was that cup of coffee at nine. No wonder my head aches!

You’d think that someone who seldom eats, or eats very little would be a tiny little thing, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I was nine-years-old! When I had my tonsils out at age 13, I lost about 20 pounds, because I refused to eat for 2 weeks (I was scared it would hurt to swallow.), but that didn’t last. Again, at age 35, I lost quite a bit of weight as a side-effect of an anti-seizure medication I was taking. The pounds just fell off, and I felt great–while it lasted, which was for about 19 months. And then it all came back, with friends, after changing meds. Of course, now I know that my body chemistry, my thyroid & pancreas, and a whole bunch of other things are all messed up, and have been since I was about nine, which is part of the reason I’m fat. But a bigger part, I know, is that I don’t eat well, and I seldom, if never exercise.

Yes, I admit it. While my internal chemistry may have triggered the weight gain, I’m responsible for it staying. (Never thought I’d actually say that out loud. And I didn’t– I typed it. You can’t prove this is even me…)

Yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve heard all this before. Fat girl gonna change, Yadda yadda yadda.. Since last September, when I first posted, I’ve actually lost weight, in spite of myself. In spite of doing very few of this things I said I would do, for various reasons. Seems as if whenever I make & declare plans, the Universe says “Oh, no, you don’t!” and throws up a roadblock. Well, look out, Universe, I just got a GPS that’ll get my by whatever you got! In September, I was weighing in at about 206 pounds, on a good day. (Another thing I never thought I’d tell the entire world.) Today, the scale says 188. I’m pretty damn happy, considering that I’ve not been able to get to the treadmill since before Christmas!

Still on a body that’s only 5’2″, with small bones, 188 is a lot of weight. So I am determined to make sure those numbers continue to go down! The picture above was taken in August 2010, and is my official “Before” shot. Look for pictures of the incredible shrinking Jonna coming soon!