Tag Archives: health

My Top 3 Sex Related Problems As A Woman

Let me start this out by making a couple wild generalizations about sex.

First, we’re all having it.

Of course, that’s not actually true; some of us haven’t had it yet, others are going through a drought and some choose not to have it at all. But in general, it’s a widespread phenomenon. Which is good, since it’s what leads to the propagation of the species.

Second, while it’s an extremely common experience, we don’t really talk about it.

We don’t talk about it with each other (as in, the actual people we’re having sex with), and we don’t talk about it with others, even those we’re close to. Again, yes, there are exceptions to this, but generally, not so much.

I humbly submit that this is a major issue. Because it’s easy for things that are kept hidden or secret (whether accidentally or on purpose) to lead to feelings of shame, confusion, and hopelessness. Plus, what we don’t talk about, we can’t get support with. And we need support in this area; sex and sexuality are fundamental to who we are as human beings.

So in the spirit of more openness, I present my top three sex problems, as a heterosexual woman:

1) Men being too rough with their hands.

I’m a pretty experienced sex-er. I’ve had a lot of it, with a wide variety of men. But I can count with just a few fingers the number of men who were good with theirs.

That’s right, I’m talking about fingering.

Even the word sounds kind of… violent. It presupposes that the “goal” or “point” of the activity is penetrative—for you to jam your finger up my hoo-ha, often in a simulated version of intercourse.

Okay! Just a few problems with this. First, most of the time when I play with myself, I don’t get all up in the inside. I don’t use a dildo, I use a baby bullet, which is just a very small vibrator that actually never goes inside me.

I stick with stimulating the clit, which is way above the vulva (the opening of the vagina).

Second, even if a man does get that The Clit Is It, he often applies so much direct pressure to it that it hurts. I feel bruised and notice that my clitoris gets numb; it loses sensitivity because it’s been so overstimulated. Again, when I play with myself, I do so gently, especially at first. The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings; no wonder it’s so sensitive!

Before I get admonished for not speaking up about the issue at the moment, I want to say that I do say something a lot of the time. If he starts out so rough that it hurts, I often say, “Gentle gentle gentle!” Or even as it’s starting (before the pain), “Listen just so you know, the lighter the touch, the more I feel.” But I find that a lot of the time this only works for a few minutes, and then it’s back to the jabbing.

Part of the reason this is such a problem for me is that I find myself distracted. I’m trying to protect my body while also accommodating the person I’m with (not shaming him about what’s not working). So not only am I not turned on, I’m actually anxious. I feel my stomach twist into knots when a man starts putting his hands down there because my body is so trained to expect pain.

As I write that, I sense just how sad it is. I also find myself curious as to whether other women have a similar experience.

2) Initiating.

Honestly, I prefer for a man to initiate sex with me. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem. We all have preferences, and that’s mine.

But I feel like I’m not good at initiating… ever. And that feels like a problem.

What holds me back? In a word, fear.

Fear I’ll be seen as wanting too much.

Fear I’ll be seen as slutty.

Fear of rejection.

And one more that’s a little harder to describe, but perhaps the most true: fear of “making him” feel obligated.

I intellectually grasp that any man I’m with would probably love for me to initiate. But when it comes to actually doing it, I hesitate. I don’t want me initiating to have him feel like he has to have sex with me. I want him to be inspired to do the dirty with me, not do it because he should.

Realistically, this says far more about me than about men. It says that my psyche often interprets someone asking something of me as not requesting, but demanding. So I think my own request for sex will be interpreted as a demand—and I don’t want that. Since I don’t trust that my partner will “be able” to give me an honest no, it feels safer to just wait for him to ask me.

Do I feel obligated when it comes to a man initiating with me? If I’m very, very honest, yeah, I kind of do. I don’t always allow that feeling of obligation to “win”; if I really don’t want to have sex at the moment, I speak up. But most of the time, if my partner wants sex, I’m probably going to say yes, and not always because I’m totally in the mood and really want it.

Again, I’m curious as to whether other women have a similar experience.

3) Finding men who are both cocky and heart-y.

I don’t mean cocky as in arrogant. I mean literally cock-y: men who have a strong relationship with their cock (their sexuality). These are men I feel would be able to truly take me. They’d push me up against a wall and mean it. They’d pull my hair without asking for permission. They’re comfortable with what I call “fuck energy”—the desire to just fuck someone.

Listen, I’m a strong woman. I can get shit done. But while I have a lot of masculine energy (I can do, create, make things happen), when it comes to sex, I want to be in my feminine. For me, that requires a man who can be dominant in the bedroom. I’m not into hardcore BDSM, but I do want to feel like I’m not in charge; instead of having to lead, I get to be ravished.

At the same time, I want to be able to feel a man’s heart and know that he can feel mine. I’m not talking about needing him to be a therapist or something; I just mean feeling connected on both a sexual and emotional level (even if it’s just for one night).

In other words, I don’t want an insensitive bro who’s solely fucking me so he can check another Tinder swipe off his list, and I equally don’t want a sensitive new age guy who can talk about feelings but has disowned his “fuck energy.”

I find I end up attracting either one or the other, and that’s a problem.

The fact is, most of us learn about sex in bits and pieces as we grow up, either in hushed conversations with siblings or friends or from pornography. It’s not the easiest thing to communicate about, so it’s easy to just not. But that’s a disservice to both ourselves and others.

I think having the sex we really want (in or out of committed relationships) starts with getting real about what doesn’t work for us—what we struggle with.

So I’m curious:

What are the top 3 problems you have when it comes to sex? What blocks you from pleasure, keeps you from enjoying your body and/or the body of your partner?

I wonder if more of us share the same problems than we think. I wonder whether men and women share the same problems.

And how much better would the world be if, on a regular basis, we all got to have stimulating, sensual, spirited, soulful, scintillating, satisfying sex?

Author: Melanie Curtin

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Glaring

…undeniable truth of our current climate, society, economy, social/familial morals and values, work ethics, priorities, preferences dreams, goals… the list is endless. We have gone so far that going back is impossible. This generation of sub-humans are lost and we are not even aware of it. We simply don’t care. We watch the fruits of our irresponsible acts and negligence detached pretending it doesn’t have a negative effect on the environment, wildlife, and humanity not to mention the entire planet. We are in denial. Our focus is on extremes. We lost regard of quality and everything that matters. Pleasures, materialism, insatiable desires and appetite for ownership and appropriation whatever the cost are the driving forces of today’s minds. The appeal of acquiring toys comes to lie not in their use anymore but in their status as possessions. Whatever makes us looks good to the eye of our peers must obtain to set us above the rest, to feel powerful, to be in control. And so we think. Even if we wake up and start doing what supposed to be done it’s already too late for us. But it’s not too late for the future generations. We can still right what we have done wrong, not anymore for our own sakes but for those who will come after us so they can teach their youngs the responsibility of taking care of what is truly important. Can we still do it? Of course we can!  Let’s start now.

EarthDay

The Invisible Domestic Violence No One Talks About

There were times when I wished he would hit me.

You know, a nice punch to my face. That way, I could have walked to my neighbors and said, “Look! Look what he did! Please help me!” But with me, as with many other women, it wasn’t that simple. It seldom ever is.

Domestic violence has existed as long as humans have walked the Earth. The majority of abusers are men. Most, if not all, were abused as children in some way, shape or form, and were lacking in affection, self-esteem, and good role models. The causes and methods of abuse are many and varied just like the people involved.

Abuse of any type is often a byproduct of years of low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, being abused oneself and a million other things all tied together in a vicious knot. It’s a complex and sometimes difficult situation to read.

So too are the circumstances for the victim. No one stays with someone who abuses them physically or verbally because they like to be abused. Most have come to this point because of childhood trauma, a long-term relationship with someone who is an expert at controlling and manipulating their victim, and numerous other issues with self-worth.

The reasons for abuse are almost always the same: abusers need to have power over someone else to help them feel better about their own deficiencies, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.

Women who are in abusive relationships will often defend their abusers and stay in the relationship long past the time they should have left. It is often the female who blames herself and keeps trying to make things work. Sometimes it’s the subtle mind games of the controlling, manipulative partner that cause a woman to doubt herself and her feelings.

This is often difficult for those who have never been in an abusive relationship to understand, but there are many reasons for this. Some are easily understood, some not so much.

Sometimes it is low self-esteem that holds them in place. My therapist kept asking me one question at the end of every session: “Why did you stay?” I kept answering, “I didn’t want to hurt him.” Then one day, it hit me like a brick. Because of past traumas reinforced by my relationship, I didn’t feel like I deserved any better.

Sometimes it is simply fear that holds them in place. It could be fear of retaliation from the partner should they seek help, or, especially in cases involving verbal abuse and controlling behavior, they feel no one will believe them.

Many times women have taken a stand and decided to leave only to have the abuser decide to end it for all concerned. There have been many cases of this resulting in the death of the woman, and sometimes the children, family, and friends, before the abuser turns the weapon on himself—finally putting an end to the vicious cycle.

Many think that that non-physical abuse is not as harmful or dangerous. This can be a huge mistake. Unlike the women who have been physically abused, there are no outward signs of mistreatment. All the wounds and scars are deep within the psyche—branded in the soul of the abused.

Verbal abuse, and the controlling, manipulative behavior that goes along with it, are the silent killers. Instead of taking a physical life, these abusers will kill a woman’s spirit slowly and painfully. Those who are adept at manipulation do this without anyone imagining the truth of the situation. Outwardly they may appear as the “perfect couple.” Inwardly the woman is in tremendous emotional pain and turmoil. She may not trust her own judgment any longer and may think that this is just how things are meant to be.

The signs and symptoms are many and varied, but they all share the same core issues. There are some subtle warning signs to look for. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A woman who is overly critical of herself and always defending her partner.
  • Someone who never socializes without her spouse or partner being present.
  • An overbearing partner, or one who treats their partner like a child.
  • Partner is constantly correcting or showing possessiveness with their actions.
  • And the obvious: unexplained or suspicious bruises, burns and broken bones.

As a society, we must learn to see and recognize these signs and reach out to help in whatever way we can. It may be nothing more than just assuring them that you’re there if they need to talk and really listening if they do so. And if at all possible, let them know they have a place to stay should they need to leave in a hurry. Keep the Domestic Violence Hotline number handy in case they want to call. Sometimes this is all you can do.

We can all learn to listen better, to see more clearly when someone in our life needs help. Sometimes all these women need in order to seek help is non-judgment, kindness, and presence. Chances are they will open up if they feel safe with you.

There comes a time in all types of these relationships when the victim can’t bear it anymore. She must walk away and seek help. Simply having a friend to go to at such a time can be a lifesaver in every sense of the word.

Leaving a long-term abusive relationship is not as easy as most would think. Women tend to blame themselves and keep hoping that things will improve. If someone comes to you for help, please don’t judge. Accept the fact that things are not always as they seem, and reach out a helping hand.

Relephant: Via Deb Avery

Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall

Love Your Body

Little babies love every inch of their bodies. They have no guilt, no shame, and no comparison. You were like that, and then somewhere along the line you listened to others who told you that you were “not good enough.” You began to criticize your body, thinking perhaps that that’s where your flaws were.

Let’s drop all that nonsense and get back to loving our bodies and accepting them totally as they are. Of course, they will change—and if we give our bodies love, they will change for the better.

The subconscious mind has no sense of humor and does not know false from true. It only accepts what we say and what we think as the material from which it builds. By repeating these positive affirmations over and over, you will be planting new seeds in the fertile soil of your subconscious mind, and they will become true for you.

I Love My Body

My body is a glorious place to live. I rejoice that I have chosen this particular body because it is perfect for me in this lifetime. It is the perfect size and shape and color. It serves me so well. I marvel at the miracle that is my body. I choose the healing thoughts that create and maintain my healthy body and make me feel good. I love and appreciate my beautiful body!

When you practice affirmations to Love Your Body, stand in front of the mirror and repeat each new thought pattern ten times. Do this twice a day. Also, write your affirmations ten times during the day. Work with one affirmation a day. You can also write your own positive affirmations. Then if there is any part of your body you still dislike or have a problem with—use that particular affirmation daily for at least a month, or until positive change takes place.

If doubts or fears or negative thoughts come up, just recognize them for what they are—old limiting beliefs that want to stay around. They have no power over you. Say to them gently, “Out! I no longer need you.” Then repeat your affirmations again.

Where you stop working is where your resistance is. Notice the part of your body that you don’t want to love. Give this part extra attention so you may go beyond the limitation. Release the resistance.

In this way, within a short time, you will have a body you really love. And your body will respond by giving you excellent health. Each part of your body will be working perfectly as a harmonious whole. You will even find lines disappearing, weight normalizing and posture straightening.

I love and appreciate my beautiful mind.

I love my eyes. I see clearly in every direction.

I love my nose. I am the power and authority in my world

I love my back. I am supported by life itself.

I love my hips. I carry myself through life in perfect balance.

I love my legs. I move forward in life, unencumbered by the past.

That which we constantly affirm becomes true for us.

– Appreciate Every Inch Of You by Louise Hay

the-nude-maja-by-francisco-goya

Once Upon A Time

For many years I was in an extremely destructive relationship with someone who has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and during that time I was regularly subjected to a variety of emotional, mental and physical abuse.

Every day I walked on eggshells, living in fear of saying or doing something that might trigger an aggressive response.

Many people might wonder why I, or anyone else, would remain in this kind of environment, but by the time I fully recognized that I was in extreme danger, I was already badly emotionally and mentally weakened and debilitated.

I was living in terror waiting to be attacked at any moment and yet I did not feel as though I had the strength or courage to remove myself from it.

Abuse doesn’t always happen overtly and it isn’t always easy to recognize. Often it is a covert, insidious, invisible drip that slowly poisons the victim’s mind so they don’t trust their own judgment, is unable to make life-changing decisions and feels as though they don’t have the coping skills necessary to get help or leave.

It took me a long time, and everything I had, to pull myself from the bottom of the deep dark hell I existed in and to get myself to a place of safety.

By the time I walked away, I thought that the nightmare was over. But in so many other ways, it had only just began.

The terrors of the taunts, torture and torment that had become my normality didn’t subside. They remained alive and relived themselves in the form of intrusive, regular flashbacks.

Many months after I had left the relationship I discovered that I was suffering from C-PTSD, (Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.) C-PTSD is a result of persistent psychological trauma in an environment where the victim believes they are powerless and that there is no escape.

C-PTSD is slightly different than PTSD, which is brought on from experiencing one solitary, traumatic incident, or it can develop due to an accumulation of incidents. Although both C-PTSD and PTSD both developed from my experiences, I identify more with C-PTSD, as it was the effects of the prolonged exposure to repetitive and chronic trauma that I felt I couldn’t escape from that affected me the most.

For many months after leaving the relationship I struggled to sleep at night, and when I did I often woke trembling after experiencing terrifying reoccurring dreams. On many occasions when I did eventually sleep I would sleep solid for at least 24 hours, in such deep slumber that I would struggle to wake from it and when I did I would feel fatigued, spaced out and as though I was numbly sleep-walking through the day.

I was easily startled and panicked at the slightest sudden movement or loud noise.

I was ultra-sensitive, on edge and highly alert most of the time, which I believe was my mind’s way of forming some sort of self-protection to keep me aware so that I avoided similar potentially dangerous situations.

At the mention of certain words, names or places I felt nauseous and dizzy and would become extremely distressed. A painful tight knot developed in my stomach every time something occurred to remind me of the trauma.

I still have difficulty remembering large phases of my life, and for a long time I struggled to stay focused, and my concentration abilities were very poor.

I would get upset easily, especially if I was in a tense environment. I had constant anxiety and was regularly in fight-or-flight mode.

I didn’t eat properly. I had no motivation and suicidal thoughts regularly flooded my mind.

I had lost my spark.

One aspect of the aftermath of the relationship that affected me most was the daily gaslighting that I endured. This left me finding it difficult to believe anything people would tell me, and I analyzed, questioned and dissected everything.

Forming new relationships, whether friendships, or romantic, was almost impossible as I struggled to trust people’s intentions and felt scared of possible underlying, hidden motives and agendas for their words or actions.

I dissociated from most of what I had been through and pretended, even to myself, that the abuse wasn’t as serious as it was. Partly because I felt ashamed that I had not left sooner and also because I wanted to defend and protect the person I was involved with, as I still cared for him. Therefore, I rarely mentioned the relationship to anyone and froze and shut down through stress (sometimes resulting in a meltdown) if anyone tried to talk to me about it.

It got to the stage where I withdrew completely as leaving the house became overwhelming and a major ordeal because I wouldn’t/couldn’t open up and connect and I felt terrified of everything and everyone.

One thing that became apparent and harrowing was that although I had gained enough strength to walk away and I felt empowered by the decision knowing that it was the right choice for my emotional, mental and physical health, I was suppressing all my emotions and feelings and I was far from okay on the inside.

There were many rollercoaster emotions trapped inside me and trying to ignore and contain them was doing more harm than good. In many ways the ending of the relationship had signaled closure to one phase of my life and had opened up a new chapter that was going to take a little time to get used to.

It appeared that while I was in the relationship I had become so used to enduring a wide variety of narcissistic behaviors that they had almost become normal and acceptable. Stepping away from all that I had known felt like I had walked from one planet and onto another and I hadn’t got a clue how to navigate it on my own or how to relate to anyone on it.

I soon realized that unless I started to focus on healing myself, I would remain a victim of my previous circumstances as the build up of emotional injuries, wounds and scars needed urgent attention. Otherwise, they would seep out and silently destroy sections of my life without me being aware that the past was still controlling me.

It was up to me to rebuild my strength and confidence, otherwise I would end up alienating myself and causing further damage.

I had a lot of inner healing work and restructuring to do and trying to convince myself that just because I had left the relationship everything would be okay, was not going to be enough.

The first and most significant step I took was admitting and fully accepting that the carnage I had experienced was real and had a huge impact on my emotional and mental wellbeing.

I had been surviving by a fragile thread in a domestic war zone and for far too long I had been intimidated, manipulated, lied to and threatened, amongst many other toxic and dysfunctional behaviors. The whole relationship had been an illusion and resulted in me having serious trust issues as well as losing the will to live. I not only struggled to trust other people, but I also realized I had no faith at all in my own intuition, perception or judgment.

Finally, I gave myself permission to take as long as I needed to heal, even if it meant I would spend the rest of my life slowly putting the pieces of my life back together. I came to terms with the fact that there is no timescale to healing and there was no hurry.

I allowed myself to grieve the relationship and the loss of the person I had separated from. This was extremely difficult to do as I had so many mixed emotions due to the scale of the abuse. For a long time I denied my grief, as it was complex to come to terms with how I could miss someone who had been responsible for vicious behavior towards me.

One of the hardest parts to dealing with this grief was feeling as though I could not talk openly to anyone, as I believed no one would understand how I could remain in such an abusive relationship and still miss many aspects of that person and the life I had with them.

The reason getting over this type of relationship can be so difficult is that many narcissists display both “Jeckyll and Hyde” type characteristics, one minute appearing extremely loving and affectionate and the next crippling, cruel and cunning.

It is not easy to explain that I deeply loved and badly missed one side of the person I was involved with, and disliked, feared and never wanted to hear his name mentioned at the same time. Even thinking about this can make one feel a little crazy as it does not feel natural to love and hate the same person.

One essential step toward healing from narcissistic abuse, I believe, is finding someone to really confide in and who doesn’t judge or question anything that is said. Being free to talk openly and comfortably without having to over explain is vital to start putting the accumulation of experiences into some sort of context. If there isn’t a friend on hand, it is worth taking time to seek out a good counselor with an understanding of C-PTSD deriving from abusive relationships.

The most important thing that helped me to heal was focusing more on healing and rebuilding myself. Although I took time out to research and gain knowledge and understanding of the type of abuse I had been subjected to, I spent far more of my time indulging myself in whatever felt good for my soul.

Slowly and surely I rebuilt myself, formed new friendships, learned to trust people and forgave all of the past. There are still days that it haunts me, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and although it can be difficult to believe that when you start walking through it, as soon as you take the first steps of acceptance the path ahead begins to become clear.

Healing comes by taking one small step at a time, with gentle, loving care and without hurry…

Author: Alex Myles

Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall

Why I Will Always Choose To Be A Little Bit Fat

How we can all feel good about ourselves, whatever our size.

I saw an article a few weeks ago with this incredible before-and-after set of photos of an overweight, post-baby woman who then became totally “bikini-worthy.”

So I had to click the link, of course, to have a look. No question about it—the “after” photo of this woman was a stunning shot. She looked fit, toned, healthy and gorgeous. I read on, eager to discover what her secret was; what profound magical method it was that she had used to shed however-many-number of pounds.

There it was, a long and detailed tract of the super lean, restrictive diet she had put herself on for a year. No carbs, no dairy, no fruit, no nothing. The sample diet she had shared in the article seemed to consist of little more than hummus, celery and endless amounts of steamed fish. Healthy—yes. Exciting, delicious, fun lifestyle—no.

I decided in that moment that I would choose to continue being a little bit fat.

Yes, I could do with losing at least about 10 pounds so that the Bébé dress I bought earlier this year would fit that much more snugly. But if it’s at the expense of not eating fruit, freshly baked breads, Greek yogurt and honey for a year, well then, I choose emphatically to continue being 10 pounds more than I should be.

Science is a wonderful thing. It’s revealed so many revolutionary ways of understanding the way our bodies work and the effects of new foods, super foods, bad foods and good foods on our health. It’s sad though that “health” has so often come to be equated only and necessarily with thinness.

The glut of diet programs, weight-loss fads, fat-burning supplements and specialized bikini-body workouts are now as much a part of our daily consumer choices as the aisles of (“forbidden”) food in supermarkets. There seems to be no excuse not to be “healthy” (read: thin) given the huge number of aids, YouTube videos and literature on the subject.

Articles like the one I read aren’t necessarily always an encouraging, inspiring thing. They don’t just tell the story of an overweight person who chose discipline and a healthier lifestyle. There is often also a more sinister sub-narrative that raises its eyebrows at the reader and challenges her—“If this person can lose xx pounds, why can’t you?”—even if the reader may not actually be unhealthy or overweight.

The titles of these articles alone are almost always weight-centered, like “I lost 120 pounds, ask me how!” or “How one man lost 200 pounds in a year.” Rarely are these articles presented through the perspective of someone choosing a healthier lifestyle, discarding bad nutritional habits or incorporating fitness into their daily routine.

There it is: the continuous, unceasing reminder that we should all be striving toward thinness. From cabbage soup fasts, to low-everything diets, to 20-minute fat-blasting workouts, the desirable end result is usually almost and entirely about becoming become a thinner version of ourselves.

I am not ignoring the fact that for a percentage of people who are facing the health risks of being dangerously overweight, losing weight is a part of becoming healthier. I don’t discount that and understand how important it is in these cases to count calories and lost inches.

Problems arise when that very same method is being adopted by people who aren’t facing any health risks—who may, in fact, be completely healthy, fit people—but who still feel that they would be healthier if only they were five, 10 or 20 pounds lighter.

So I’d like to suggest flipping things around a bit; looking at things through another lens.

Let’s focus on being healthy—and just that.

Logically and biologically, it would follow that by following a healthy way of living, eating and exercising, everything else will find its proper balance. We would lose weight if we needed to lose weight, we’d gain muscle if we needed to gain muscle, we’d balance out all the other things that come from not being healthy—stress, cholesterol, diabetes, poor complexion, hair loss etc.

And what does it mean to live healthily? In the face of all the new diet and exercise schemes, I think that actually, we all already know what it means to live a healthy, balanced, feel-totally-awesome lifestyle, without having to follow any fad or buy any specialized products.

Intuitively, deep down inside, we do know the basics of living well. We know when we’ve had enough to eat, what kinds of foods are good for us, what makes us feel good and what makes us go into a slump, how much exercise we need to do, when to stop when we’re exhausted and when to rest.

We know this not just intellectually, but physically—our bodies are always telling us what we need to do; we just need to listen.

One’s body will tell us when it feels like a massive binge on Chinese take-out. It will also tell us when it’s had enough so we don’t insist on finishing every last fortune cookie. Our bodies will take us dancing, running, swimming, trampolining and playing; but they will also make us rest and sleep.

I read something beautiful a while ago, about how we shouldn’t change our bodies so we can love them.

Instead, we should create change in the way we treat ourselves because we love our bodies.

Ultimately this is about focusing on health: the physical health of our bodies and the emotional health of how we see and relate to our bodies. We love our bodies—this temporary shell on loan to us for this lifetime—so we treat them well, nourish them, feed them, move them, hug them, stretch then, let them dance, discipline them, give them a treat sometimes and most of all enjoy them.

Enjoying our bodies is to indulge in the beautiful, sensual things like good food, good sex and the rush of an energetic run in the mornings. But also, I think enjoyment is about ensuring our bodies are at their prime health so that they truly get the most out of these things and appreciate, at our body’s fullest capacity, the good food, good sex and energetic run.

This is true whatever size we’re at, whether we’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, whether we’re severely overweight or dangerously underweight.

This is true because it’s a matter of health and of helping our bodies be at their optimum functioning levels, not merely a matter of what we look like.

Yes, ideally, I would still like the scales to tell me that I am 10 pounds lighter and to see my dress size drop to a single digit. But then, I have to ask myself what it really is that I’d like to get out of being that much thinner. I don’t have any illnesses, I live a happy, active life, and I’ve been medically cleared for good, prime health.

So what is it? To be more attractive? To feel more energetic? To turn more heads? To tighten that gap between me and the Victoria’s Secret models?

I realize now that if I only just went back to focusing on being healthy, everything else would find its rightful place. When I’m feeling healthy, my skin glows, my hair is shiny and I’m a face full of radiance. When I’m feeling fit after a big run and deep session of yoga, I’m also confident, joyful and there’s an extra bounce in my step.

Automatically, without being a single ounce lighter, I realize now that being healthy alone is enough to be more attractive, feel more energetic, turn more heads and gain almost as many admirers as the Victoria’s Secret angels.

With a focus on health, instead of weight, I find too that I enjoy life a whole lot more. I eat without guilt and play with abandon. I move and shift and indulge the very real needs of my body instead of spending good hours of my day fussing over diet plans, exercise schedules and meal replacement shakes.

It isn’t only when I achieve a vision of thinness that I am deemed healthy and attractive.

I am attractive because I am living healthily.

And if that means I shall always be a little bit fat, with a few extra pounds to shed, then that’s exactly what I shall be.

-via Jamie Khoo Conscious ReThink Elephant Journal

mindfulness

Transformation

Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair. 

I am going through a process of life-changing transformation since I’ve been diagnosed with auto-immune disease few years ago. You can read the details here.  I rarely talk about it. Not even to my nearest and dearest. I don’t want to talk about it. Not even when the reality is staring me right in the face. No, I am not in denial. I long past that stage. I just don’t want to concentrate on it. I rather focus on the positive side of things. Make the most of what I still have and can do instead of what I cannot do. My options are limited and keep getting narrower by the day but I still refuse to give up.

Okay, I can’t hike 25 km anymore, but a four km evening walk will also do. The pain keeps me from sleeping so, I write instead. Good exercise for my slowly rotting brain. I still garden but not intensive. Only when I feel I’m up to it. I can’t work for a company anymore. My condition is so volatile to adapt to a normal working schedule so, we set up our own small design and technology company and try our best to get if off the ground. Life is not easy. Never been. I’m used to that. But I am far from resigning. I recently published my first E-book  And there are five more in queue. 

Maybe nobody would buy them. But what counts for me is the fact that I did it and it’s out there. In between, I’m busy writing my memoirs and another novel I am planning to finish before my brain will fully deteriorate. I can still enjoy loads of things, like golden hour, reflections of something on the water, the colors of flowers, droplets of rain on their petals; rainbow, birds in my backyard, architecture, smiles of strangers and random kindness.

I will continue pushing my boundaries despite of obstacles. It is better to be out there fighting than sit and wait for the inevitable to happen. Not every day is roses and moonshines. In fact, seldom. But those little wonderful moments when I can think clearly and feel passionately I’m holding on and use as my anchor to keep me grounded and strong when the tide is fierce and there is storm looming in the horizon. Not so many people would understand. Especially when I show no weakness. Playing a victim will never be my forte. I don’t want understanding or compassion. Those are tricky to get anyway. Genuine ones I mean. I just want to continue minding my life the way I see fit. Without prejudices, without judgment from others.

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One Down, How Many More To Go?

I vowed in my previous post that I will honor my previous cancelled appointments with various medical specialists. So, today at ten past 10:00 a.m I went to the hospital and had a brief hostile talk with a neurosurgeon. Hostile because he was very curt with me. Maybe it was my fault. I can imagine myself emanating distrust towards these people and somehow they can read it. Of course they can. They are trained to spot these sort of attitudes. But who can blame me?

We started off on the wrong foot. He greeted me at the door with an almost friendly “How are you?” It took me a couple of minutes to get around the question and give some answer, by that time he already irritated by my silence and decided to be brief with me. But I find that what he said was out of place. I was there with him so, obviously I am not fine. Anyway he was borderline rude.

After he checked the images of my head, shoulder and neck on his screen he told me that my cervical vertebra is leaning backwards instead of normally curving towards the front. When I asked him for a reason why, he told me he doesn’t know yet since we just met five minutes ago and if there is someone who knows why it would be no other than myself since I am the one feeling the discomfort. What a charming guy he is.

He handed me a paper to give to the medical secretary for another appointment next week Oct. 14 to the nuclear medicine department to have some scan I’ve never heard of before. Whole body this time. The woman at the desk told me I have to be injected with something, wait for three hours before they can go on with the procedure and come back the week after, Monday Oct. 19 to talk about the result with that  brusque neurosurgeon again who by the way sent me to the other side of the hospital to get my blood taken. He handed me a form with a list of things that have to be checked. Most of the terms are foreign to me but what else I can do but obey? As long as he is not suggesting to tinker with my essentials and vitals via some form of operation, I’m okay with it.

I’m home now writing this. Then I’m off to bed to have some sleep. I’ve been awake again for two days straight and have to gather my wits to write poetry later for Writing 201 assignments. Lord, I’m in pain! But I need to train my brain to keep sane that’s why I keep writing despite of everything.

Till later… 

 

Tunnel Vision

I went to the hospital for MRI scan the other day. I arrived there around 6:30 in the morning. My appointment was at 7:00 o’clock. My GP said I had to be there 30 minutes before. That means I didn’t sleep that night, no breakfast either. Appointments terrify me. Especially medical appointments. I hate hospitals (fancy that considering my work background) and anything that includes spending time in a waiting room. Patience is not one of my virtues. That’s why I rarely take a bath. Waiting for the tub to be filled bore me to death.

The lobby was practically deserted when I arrived, except for the cleaning lady who told me I had to wait for someone to sign me up before I can proceed and no, I really cannot go straight to the radiology department even though I had an appointment so, I contented myself watching her driving this noisy machine over the floor. I noticed that she missed several spots. To think that these people often earn more than caregivers and they don’t have to work in ungodly shifts and not liable for anything. Unfair. I quickly shifted my forced interest to a cake cabinet standing haphazardly in one corner next to the entrance to the cafeteria close to the window of the gift shop next door. It housed some unappetizing bunch that looked like some forgotten morsels from a distant  birthday party that have gone wrong. I shuddered with the thought. yuck!

More people arrived. I tried to distinguish patients from hospitals workers. Not easy when everyone wear casuals. Anyone could be anybody. I gave up. When my numbered flashed on the monitor overhead I went to the window and was shocked to find a girl behind the computer screen. How old was she? fourteen? fifteen? She was wearing some gothic fashion rings which in any other circumstances I will find beautiful and probably wear myself, but in that setting… I half-expecting her to open a bottle of neon colored nail polish and start painting her nails. No, I am not being judgmental. Just saying how I felt at that moment.

I made it to the waiting room without any accident. They gave me some form to sign. Pretty basic information like pacemaker, pregnancy, operation, claustrophobia, that sort of things. I was glad I was the first to arrive. It means I can get out of there soon and go to work as if nothing happened. When they called the first patient, it wasn’t my name; I was puzzled. My appointment was at 7:00, it was almost 30 minutest past, I begun to wonder about under what kind of file system these people are operating. I walked myself to the information and asked. They didn’t answer my question but promised me I will be the next. That was good enough for me.

True to their words, after quarter of an hour they sent me into a cubicle with two doors at both ends. A woman told me to lock the door closer to me, strip naked and put on  the hospital gown which was folded neatly on a chair.  There were 3 hooks on one corner of the wall and a mirror next to it. As usual, they were too high for me, but they provided a chair for me to stand on, no?

It took another quarter of an hour before the door to my right opened and the same woman called me in. By that time I was so nervous I could jumped out of my skin. You see, I can (and I did numerous times) jump from the top of a train bridge knowing there were submerged pillars under the water to tie boats and trains can pass by any moment, or somersault from the top of waterfalls while from up there I can see there were rocks underneath and if I don’t hit the right spot it could cost my life. I roamed around in cemeteries in the night playing spirit of the glass. I broke in empty dilapidated/abandoned houses just for fun, climbed on roofs to watch the moon and rowed boats in the middle of a storm but I am terrified of MRI scan I was practically shitting in my pants.

The radiologist instructed me to lie down and told me not to move an inch in any circumstances for whatever reason. She locked my head in one place by placing some sort of frame over me after giving me earplugs and placing a huge headphone over my head. She also informed me that the process will take 15-to 90 minutes and handed me a sort of rubber ball attached to a hose which strongly reminds me of a giant perfume sprayer. It’s a bell she said. In case something will happen.  I wanted to shout: Something could happen??? But I keep quiet. The sooner I get out of there, the better. I was happy enough she didn’t need to inject me with contrast dye like the last time. I closed my eyes and started counting. I can never managed to open them during the procedure. I have this feeling that if I do that, some radiation (I know it’s magnetic)  will rendered me blind for the rest of my life. Also, I am scared to see the inside of the cylinder and how tight it is. I am not claustrophobic but during every MRI scan I underwent, temporarily I am. So much so that I have a very strong urge to bolt upright and run away from there as fast as I could.

Counting didn’t work so, I started breathing slowly and deliberately. When that failed as well I tried singing Two Less Lonely People In The World by Air Supply, my favorite band. Though I can recall the lyrics perfectly well, it failed to do the trick. I noticed I begun singing them higher and higher in my head till it reached a hysterical pitch. How long I still have to wait? How long is 15 minutes (or more) in this torture chamber? My knees started twitching and I  was in danger of opening my eyes and sitting upright. It took all the courage I could muster to lie there perfectly still.

Just when I  thought I could not handle it anymore, the motorized bed slid down and I was told it was over. I never been more relieved to be dismiss in my life than in that moment. I dressed in record time, jumped in the car and drove in search of a bakery. I desperately needed some donuts, my current addiction.  I glanced at the paper next to me in the passenger seat. It contains some information I need to check to find out the result of my scan online. I decided it could wait. I know that I will find there nothing new, only worse…

TunnelVision

Alert!

We seem to be experiencing deadliest heat wave these last few days and there is no improvement in sight according to the weather forecast. Today the temperature soars to staggering 37 degrees in the shadow and still is at this moment (19:30 hours) my (established) plants look dead even after soaking them pretty good this morning and yesterday evening. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel… Hopefully it ends soon.

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