For those new to my mindfulness blog/project, each month I do a mindfulness challenge where I take something out of my regular routine and add something in. I write about my challenges and my gender identity journey here on this blog. So, my personal challenges for the month of August were: no swearing and focusing on social media.
I failed miserably at not swearing. The most surprising thing was realizing just how much I do it. On the bright side, I have a bunch of money in a swear jar to contribute to a good cause now.
Focusing on social media was a difficult challenge as well. I’m going to be blasphemously honest here: I don’t like Twitter. I’m going to keep using it and exploring all of the social media that I can, but it is so darn time consuming! Throughout the month I had some ups and downs when it came to posting. There was about an entire week where I barely touched any of my social media. This is the busiest time of year for me at work wrapping up one school year and starting another, so I had to let my focus on social media slide just a bit. Our pre-k kids graduated last week (I miss them already), and we have 24 new infants under a year old starting tomorrow! Gah! Super stressful, but how can you really be upset with all of the cuteness around?
My September challenges are a little different, only because they are not quite for the entire month. I started these challenges at the end of August. The first challenge is another sober month. I have been sober for a little over a week now, and will resume drinking to celebrate my cousin’s birthday on the 23rd and I am so excited! I like doing two sober months a year. It’s always good to take a break. This time of year is good because I really need to focus on work. It’s important to end each school year strong and focus on setting ourselves up for another successful year. January is my other usual sober month, because after the holidays we all need a bit of a detox - am I right?
My other challenge for this month is something that I had mixed feelings about going in. I am doing the 21 day fix challenge through Beach Body. I don’t usually like doing these types of video workouts, but my aunt Mary has had a wonderful experience and inspired me to give it a shot! The challenge includes doing one of the workouts (accessible through their on demand portal) each day, and sticking to a healthy meal plan. I am really enjoying this challenge so far. The workouts are only 30 minutes long, and the meal plan is very similar to the way that I was eating when I was my healthiest/happiest. One of the things that I constantly relearn about myself is that I easily slip out of my good habits. I don’t think this is a unique experience to me either - eating cheaply/conveniently often means letting health/nutrition slide. I need something strict like this to kick me in the butt and remind me what it looks and feels like to be eating well and exercising consistently.
Now, there is a slightly different motivation for both of these challenges than usual. I have been struggling recently with depression/anxiety. These are both things that I have been dealing with for years, and continue to learn how best to manage. In the future I hope to write more about my experiences in this arena, but I am not quite ready yet.
One of the things that helps me manage my mental health is having a healthy lifestyle. Eating well and exercising - even for one day - reminds me what it feels like to truly take care of myself. I’m eating the way I was when I was my happiest, healthiest self. Why is it so easy to lose track of what that looks and feels like? The way that I need to live in order to feel my best - mentally and physically - is not necessarily easy to maintain. All that I can do, however, is realize when I’ve strayed too far and try to pull myself back to it. My main struggle is consistency. I usually do really well for the duration of a challenge (I am not one to back down), but then once it’s over I start to be more and more lenient with regards to diet and exercise. What a slippery slope that is. Here’s to new beginnings. If I don’t like starting over, I need to stop quitting. More accurately perhaps, I need to focus on finding and maintaining the balance.
One of the other things that I have been focusing on is cleaning out/creating a comfortable space for myself. Anyone who knows me well knows that I rearrange/redecorate my room with a bit of frequency. It is a way for me to calm myself and feel fresh and light. I don’t know if I will be redecorating anytime soon, however, because I feel more calm and at peace with my space than I have in a long time. I even got a desk since I’ve been doing a lot of work from home recently! Check out my room below. I’m very happy with/proud of it.
With regards to my gender identity, I have been in a bit of a connundrum. It has been difficult for me to navigate the spaces where I am E versus the spaces where I am still “Eileen.” I haven’t yet figured out how to fully embrace my identity in all of my spaces. To be fair, I haven’t been “out” in this way for very long. I know it is going to be a long, continuously unfolding journey, but I hope to embrace my chosen name in more and more spaces in the future. I just need to figure out how to do it.
The other difficult thing, something that I didn’t realize would be so difficult, is reminding people of my chosen name/pronouns in the spaces where I am out. I don’t know why it is difficult for me to bring myself to remind people. Even though I know it is ridiculous, part of why I don’t police people about my name/pronouns regularly is that I don’t want to be annoying about it. Why do I feel that way?! I know this i just a mental block. I’m sure if I just reminded people politely it wouldn’t be an issue. It still makes me feel weird inside though. I’m working on it. I’m practicing talking about it. I’m sure it will get easier as time goes. Any input/suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated.
So, here’s to another month!
As always, thank you for reading. I love you.