Yule (B)log: Day Four: Change is Hard

I'm calling this day four because it's my day four of Yule (B)logging, but the truth is that I failed miserably on Friday. My sincerest apologies.

When babies and small children are about to hit a growth spurt or hit a developmental milestone they are often fussy or unsettled as well as sleepier than usual, as they are channelling all their energy to that physical or mental growth. I'm in the middle of completely overhauling my relationship with food, including trying to break bad habits I've been clutching onto for dear life for 30+ years, and I feel like an infant about to roll over. I'm tired, I'm cranky, and I just want to lie in bed all the time with my heating pad and KenKen games. These changes are taking a great deal out of me physically, as my body adapts to more veggies and healthy fats and protein and less sugar and dairy and empty carbs. But more than that, my brain is just processing all these changes, constantly having to make judgment calls to decide if I'm hungry or bored, or if I really want that (insert delicious sugary treat here).

I've been more successful in this endeavour thus far than I've been in any other eat adjustment in my entire life. Gone are the morning chai lattes. Gone are the afternoon hot chocolates. Gone are the boxes of Smarties. I'm working on keeping my blood sugar at an even keel, which means eating balanced meals and snacks regularly, with as little added sugar as I can manage. 

But it's so hard. So so hard. And even though I'm probably eating on plan 70-100% of the day, that 30% off tends to be spectacular and...not worth it. Trying not to let those moments I go off plan be the impetus for the beginning of a "fuck it" cycle is a challenge. I'm trying very hard too not to be a person who talks constantly about her diet, because I think that can alienate people if you're not careful, but it's such a big part of my life right now. And have to tried cutting back on sugar at Christmas? Have you?

I'm trying though. I'm working hard. I'm taking every day as it comes and just trying to make the best decisions I can make. And if that means the occasional Subway cookie? So be it. Just don't tell my nutritionist...

Yule (B)log: Day Three: A Room of One's Own

When we decided to move in with David's mother after we were forced out of our apartment, I declared from the first instant that I would be taking over the finished basement room. As it stood, it was just a storage space for books, furniture, and a lifetime's worth of National Geographic Magazines. David said I was welcome to it, but that he did not intend to spend any time down there, as he had never enjoyed being there as a kid.

It took a while for me to get everything organized, including the acquisition of a reading chair and the expulsion of a lot of stuff that was going to Belleville, but it really became my own space this summer. I have my desk and my laptop, plus bonus screen for when I work from home. I have my big TV and cable. I have my reading chair and all the books I decided to unpack (which was mostly the ones I am very attached to or haven't read yet). I have the bar cart. I have snacks. I have room to do yoga. I even have a bathroom.

I always took Virginia Woolf's essay to be metaphorical in a certain sense, but I have a room of my own now and it is GLORIOUS. With David gone during the week, I have dinner and make small talk with my mother-in-law, and then I change into my soft clothes and head into my cave. Everything I need is down here, so I can work, watch TV, read, or nap as I like. I particularly love weekend days in the winter where I can just come down and loll about without feeling guilty about enjoying being outside. If I bring snacks I don't have to leave for hours.

The most interesting thing is that, despite all David's protestations that he'd never come down, he comes down all the time when he's home. Since my MIL never comes in, it then becomes our sanctuary to have a quiet conversation or watch a movie or just sit quietly on our phones with the cats.

My Sian Cave is something I will fight to keep even when we don't live with my MIL (someday), especially, I think, when we have kids (eventually). I don't need a craft room or games room, but I do need a room where Momma can be herself no matter what. 

Yule (B)log: Day Two: The Wayback Machine

For reasons I don't fully understand, December tends to me a month of enormous nostalgia for me. It's partly the Christmas season, as my family has pretty entrenched traditions . It's partly that there are a lot of important birthdays and anniversaries this time of year, and those always make me think to those celebrations in year's past. But I also have this intense feeling of thinking back to the way I used to be versus now.

To say I'm focused on self-discovery right now would be an understatement. While I outwardly evangelize self-care, the inverse of that is a great deal of pressure to practice what I preach. The extension from that has been...do I like what I see when I look in the mirror? Am I the person that I want to be? Am I the person that I need to be?

The answer to that is more complicated than I expected. I'm proud of the woman I am today. I fought hard to be her, against people who thought I was (mostly) too much. But I'm a grown up lady now too, who has big ambitions in work and in life and that sometimes means being a little more poised. I'm in the space where I'm trying to figure out what parts of my personality and life I cast off because they don't serve me and which I just sort of lost along the way. 

What would I tell 19 year old me, in her third year of university? I'd tell her that he wasn't worth it. I'd tell her to trust her instincts because it WAS fucking mono and strep throat at the same time, and that feeling that sick wasn't normal. I'd tell her to enjoy the moment. I'd tell her the man of her dreams was actually already in her universe, she just didn't know it yet, and that he'd find her when she was ready. I'd tell her that she's capable of big things, if only she could just buckle down and do the work. 

But she wouldn't listen even if I could tell her, I know, because she and I have never liked being told what to do. Ever. And that fierce independence is the core of what makes me who I am. As long as I have that, I'm going to be ok.

Yule (B)log: Day One: Soft Clothes

One of my favourite internet people is Amber Adrian. I don't even remember how I started reading her, but in the last year she's launched an endeavor surrounding supporting writer's in their creativity. She also live-tweeted her father's death, which gave me great comfort for when I am faced with the same eventuality, and wrote a beautiful piece on the miscarriage of an unplanned pregnancy (which I recommend you read if you're in an emotional place to do so). At any rate, she decided to undertake a project called Yule (B)log, wherein she'd blog every week day in December and Twitter nudged me to take part. Here I am.

I am having a terrible day. It's one of those days where everything is going wrong, nothing is within my control, and I am serving as a go between for (seeming) lunatics who are at cross-purposes. So that seemed like a good opportunity to talk about what of my recent obsessions: soft clothes.

I have stolen the term from Judge John Hodgman (who in turn gives credit to Paul F. Tompkins), but I believed in soft clothes even before I head the word. Basically, soft clothes are the clothes you change into when you get home from work. They are not pajamas, per say, but comfortable garments you can lounge around the house in. You do not leave the house in them.  I am a great believer in soft clothes that are not pajamas, because I believe it's a great way to signal to your body that it's time to relax (but not sleep). When it's time to go to bed, then you roll out the pajamas. I don't workout in soft clothes or even do yoga (unless it's specifically a bedtime series). Soft clothes are for reading on the couch, watching TV, or even messing around on the computer.

The most important part for me, as a lady with ladies, is a soft bra. There is no greater feeling then coming home after work and peeling off the old underwire. But I don't necessarily feel comfortable going bra-free, so I got this amazing bra that is soft, comfortable, and sufficiently supportive for around the house. With it, I have a pair of modal lounge pants, tank, and a long-sleeved shirt from Banana Republic (sadly, they don't make them anymore). I actually keep a set in the apartment in Belleville too, so I am never without.

Investing in soft clothes that make you feel safe and happy is a worthy act of self-care that signals to your body and your brain that the workday is done. Particularly in the winter months, there is no better feeling than walking home in the chill knowing that you have soft clothes (and everything else they entail), waiting for you.