Remembering to Be

I need to say this aloud:

I am engaged.

I am house hunting with my fiancé.

I am five weeks away from my biggest fundraiser of the year at work.

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HOLY SHIT!

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The reality of my current situation struck me hard on Saturday as we pulled up to view our first potential wedding venue. Mr. Darcy and I were talking about our stress levels and I totally abandoned him when he needed my support and comfort.

My first fail as a fiancé.

I just realized in that moment that I can’t do all this and not lose my mind. People think since I am an event planner this will all be a breeze. Or they assume since I am usually so organized and together that I will thrive under all the pressure. Or since I’m type A I have already planned our wedding (I have a Pinterest board and an invitation list- that’s about it). The reality is that I can’t do all this at once. If I try, I fear it will break me and completely remove me from feeling any joy- and there should be an abundance of joyful feeling during this happy time. And there is! But not when I am panicking about getting everything accomplished and doing it right.

So I told Mr. Darcy I have to put something on the back burner lest I lose my shit and be a terrible fiancé. I’ve asked if we can hold off on looking for a house in earnest until after my fundraiser on March 20th. I just can’t successfully look at potential houses, stress about getting all our financial stuff to our broker, lose half a weekend to looking at houses or venues and not go crazy. I need down time on the weekend to recharge for the insanely busy week ahead. I need time to doing fun stuff with friends and family. I want time to just enjoy being fiancés. I can feel the joy slipping from my fingers and my shoulders rising up to my ears from pent-up stress. I have had a hard time sleeping past 5am since we got engaged, waking up with ideas for the wedding running through my head interspersed with house hunting thoughts and worries about the upcoming fundraising luncheon (will my youth speakers PLEASE CALL ME BACK ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!).

Excuse me. I slipped right there.

My mantra right now is : Be In The Joy. I take deep breaths, I say this to myself, and I look at my darling love who has asked me to spend the rest of his life with him. I try to grasp the enormity of that- the absolute amazement that this man that makes me laugh, feel safe, and feel utterly accepted and cherished wants me. Me! All that other stuff pales in the realization of that.

BE IN THE JOY, damn it.

 

The Ring

First, ohmygoodness THANK YOU for the outpouring of love on the last post, on Facebook, on Twitter, the texts and emails and calls. We are overwhelmed in the best way possible with all the congratulations and joy people are showering us with!

And who knew there were so many readers out there? You guys came out of hiding to comment! I’m still wading through all of them but in the meantime I thought I’d give you photos of the ring since it was a bit hard to see in the video. People really do ask you “have you set a date yet” right after you tell them you are engaged. I’m like “whoa! I just got this ring on my finger!” And while, yes, I am an event planner by trade and yes, Mr. Darcy and I have been talking about this happening for some time, we do not have a venue, a date, or any of that important stuff. BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN ENGAGED FOR 4 DAYS.

We are going to see a venue option this weekend so we’re working on it pretty quickly as we’d like to get married sometime in October if the stars align and we get the location and the photographer we want. That means I have 9 months to birth this wedding. It can be done- but while in the midst of my busiest season at work and while we house hunt in earnest? Please just remind me everything will be fine in those moments I utterly lose my mind.

But enough of that. This blog will not become a wedding planning blog, promise! And to demonstrate that- here are shots of the ring. (ha)

It’s difficult to take a good shot of a diamond ring. But here is my beauty- it’s a round brilliant cut diamond with a platinum baguette shape on either side (for those who care).

Here’s another view of it. So dreamy. I love old rings. We got it at Pacific Galleries Antique Mall in Seattle. We looked many months ago there and saw a few sets we liked and then left the store to think more about it. I looked on line and we stopped into a jeweler in the mall and none of the rings were catching my eye. I didn’t want something I could see other women wearing. We even tried on his grandmother’s ring when we visited his family for Thanksgiving but it needed a lot of repair and Mr. Darcy said he thought it didn’t sparkle enough for me. So then we went back to the Antique Mall and this ring was still there. I tried on a couple sets from the 1940’s and ’50’s but this one just felt right. Mr. Darcy agreed. And then I tried not to throw up from excitement/nervousness.

It’s a set which really sold us. I love, love, love the band with it. So delicate and pretty. The band has 5 single cut diamonds in it.

There will be more to share, you can bet on that but for now, enjoy the pretty view of my pretty ring. I’ll be back tomorrow to post about something non-wedding related!

Burst or Build

I am not particularly good at expressing my deep down wants. I tend to be more practical and I weigh all sides of big decisions. There is a part of me that has that “gut instinct” but when it comes to things like buying a house, picking out a ring, deciding on the person I am hoping to spend the rest of my life with, I don’t just jump in. I always thought I was impetuous but upon inspection, that is not the case. For me the feeling builds and when I listen to it, I begin to trust it.

I expressed my worry and disappointment in myself to Mr. Darcy. “Why can’t I just feel that this-is-the-one feeling? Maybe something is wrong with me? Other people say they feel it, but I don’t.”  He explained that it’s not that I don’t know what I want but that I am cautious when making big decisions and very pragmatic about my approach to them. For example, when I looked at engagement rings I was clear that I liked this one or do not like that one but that feeling of OH MY GOD THIS IS IT that people say they get? I don’t have that. I’ve spent my life tempering my deepest desires with a practical protection from being that vulnerable and raw. I get the why of it; I just feel like I am missing out on something.

I’ve talked to friends about this as well. Some people are more easily in touch with that flare of feeling whereas others are like me in that they know what they like but it isn’t this dramatic overwhelming feeling. What type are you?

When Things Break

The moment you declare you are aggressively saving money, the Universe will throw back its head and laugh. Then make the screen on your 1.5 year old flat screen television go out.

We were not in the market to buy a new tv but we bought one this weekend, much to our savings account’s dismay. This is after having to buy a replacement computer since my old desktop was constantly running its fan and had a virus. And of course, after Christmas shopping which is always like a Joanie Greggains aerobics class for my bank account.

(Does anyone remember Joanie Greggains? I used to work out to her show on tv as a kid with my Mom.)

I digress. The point is we’re set back a bit on the savings and January is going to wear a very tight belt. That’s okay. I’m going to be on a strict eating/working out regime anyhow so the belts will be tight all around. I’m trying to have a non-panicked attitude about it. It’s ok! It’s just money. And we’re lucky to be in the position we are, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda. Mr. Darcy’s mom sent us a holiday card with 3 wise men on it. She said she’d heard that if you put it above your door you will bring wealth to your home. I stuck it up there immediately. Within 5 minutes it fell down. So I put more tape on it and stuck it up real good because COME ON FINANCIAL SECURITY!

If it falls down again, I’m just going to staple it to the wall.

Besides freaking out about money, I cried a lot this weekend. First, I thought it was because I didn’t like my new haircut. I went in to get the same exact cut as last time since I loved it so much but then she got over-zealous with the scissors and left me with a very short ‘do (even for me!). I’m disappointed since I had my heart set on a certain look. The bright side is my hair grows like weeds so this shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks. I just feel very EXPOSED and my face feels big and long without the bangs and hair over my ears. Oh vanity, you are not becoming.

I wasn’t really crying about my hair even if my sadness over the cut sparked the feelings. I’m still not 100% sure the root of the crying but I’m pretty sure it had something (everything) to do with fear. Just fear about the future, about finances, about the big choices looming before us, about Mr. Darcy potentially proposing to me in the near future. I was talking to my book club friends about that this weekend. I told them how I was never that girl who dreamed of her wedding or planned it in her head as a kid. I never thought I would get married. I never let myself think someone would ever ask me. I was so desperately afraid I’d never be asked that I convinced myself it was something I didn’t need or want or desire. My low self-esteem drove that thought process and I’m still, at 38, trying to come to grips with this notion that someone wants to spend the rest of their life with me. A lot of feelings of unworthiness bubble up. I worry I will fuck it up, that he’ll change his mind, that we’ll hurt each other or worse, lose one another. It’s twisted to think that by avoiding the commitment and the depth of caring I’ll somehow save myself heartache when in reality, it’s no way to live not connected to your own emotions and your heart. To not take the leap and risk it all.

So I am trying to feel the feelings and let Mr. Darcy in. I push away a lot but he persists and I can’t thank him enough for not giving up and for loving me, even when I am a weeping, red-faced girl who doesn’t have the words to explain that I want this and him and our life so badly. I do. I do. I do. I’m hoping the tears made way for new feelings – good ones like hope and trust and love.

Fashion Forward #5

I’ve known about eshakti.com for years but it wasn’t until I happened upon a motherload of custom eshakti dresses at my favorite thrift store that I actually bought one. What luck to find a dress at a fraction of the cost and in a custom size that actually fits. Bonus: It has pockets! It’s hard to see but the top has small pleats that lie flat and the waist is empire.

Please excuse the blurriness. Mr. Darcy has a knack for taking blurry photos.

I liked this dress so much I splurged on a custom order for myself from the site.

This is an up -close view of the pattern of birds. And, uh, of the plunging neckline.

I took the measurements myself and I think I may have mis-measured when it came to the bust area. I actually have to take this dress in to get altered because I spend 96.4% of the time adjusting the damn thing and worrying about flashing everyone my bra.

Again with the pockets. Again with the blurriness.

It’s really well made and very comfortable and flattering. It’s only $7 more to submit your custom measurements. What a steal! I have a few more dresses I want to get from there when funds permit.

Magenta dress from Target (on clearance) with boots & tights.

This is another steal I got from Target. I have very little practical winter clothes I am discovering as the temps dip under 40 degrees. Tights and boots and cardigans and scarves to the rescue!

Paired with a Gap velvet blazer from days gone by (thrift find) and you've got yourself an outfit.

And while it is dresses and scarves and boots 80% of the time around here, I do give ample wear to my work out clothes (not pictured) and my mumu (not pictured, you’re welcome and YES I wear it around the house- it’s so comfortable!). 10% of the time I will wear jeans. I do so love a trouser jean.

It's hard to see but I am wearing trouser jeans I got from Lane Bryant ages ago with an orange top I scored at Target and a yellow/white print cardigan I found at the thrift store.

Not pictured are my awesome shoes that tie with a pretty bow. I really liked this outfit. I felt pretty in it. Maybe it was the heels.

On Being Different

For the majority of my adult years I have defined myself as a person who is an adult child of an alcoholic. I  let the circumstances of a handful of years shape my identity. Yes, I am an adult child of an alcoholic. But I am so much more than that and I am starting to actually see it and believe it.

I’ve noticed that I haven’t been thinking about my dad like I used to. What I mean by that is, I don’t feel choked by the grief of it all anymore. My father was many things and among them, he was a drinker, and his drinking impacted my life. But it does not have to set the parameters for my emotional state.

I think about my dad now, miss him, and sometimes wonder what it would be like if he had lived and we had gotten to know each other. As a grown up, I feel a deep sense of sadness for him because I can empathize with how much he struggled against his demons and ultimately lost. And while I feel sad I also think that his life was a lesson for my life. I have been in therapy off and on for most of my adult life and through it, have found an acceptance of myself and a sense of peace I don’t know if my dad ever felt. I didn’t really know my dad, the man he was inside. I’ll probably always be sad about that on some level.

But, and this is a big but, I no longer want to define myself within the confines of the role I played in a dysfunctional family dynamic. Not wanting it and not doing it are different though. The awareness of my role and how it has shaped me is one thing. The unlearning old patterns of behavior is quite another. But I’ve been doing just that- working diligently to not do the same old shit with results that are less than satisfying. I don’t want to be the one with all the answers, the one who handles everything, the one everyone can rely on no matter what, the one who says “it’s ok” and dismisses my own heart when my feelings have been hurt.

This is a new thing- this saying “that hurt me” to someone. I have spent my life being the strong one. I have avoided vulnerability because I didn’t want to live without my protective armor up. The other day I had an angry reaction to something Mr. Darcy did. I was on my way home and was just stewing in the negativity of the feelings but I couldn’t seem to pinpoint the WHY of it. I knew there was something deeper than the surface issue. So instead of going home and ripping Mr. Darcy’s face off with a diatribe of vitriol, I called a friend. Luckily she answered and through venting to her, I found out what the heart of the problem was for me.

Two things are amazing about this: 1) I called someone instead of just going off half-cocked and being reactionary or arriving home, clamoring around the apartment angrily but saying I was “fine” (old way of being, meet new way of being!) and 2) I was able to sort through to the deeper issue that was triggering me. It was not the surface issue that was the thing getting under my skin. It was that I didn’t feel valued and I needed to tell Mr. Darcy that.

GULP.

And tell him,  I did. It was not an easy conversation because I was trying to be brave through the fear of admitting that I had been hurt. And I had to manage my own disjointed, chaotic emotions while being confronted with his reactions to what I was saying. But I did it. And that’s the point- I stopped an old pattern and tried a new way. It was scary and uncomfortable and . . . the right thing to do. Loving Mr. Darcy helps me grow in an abundance of ways. I’m so grateful to have a partner who works through this muck with me.

This is just one of the ways I am noticing my shift in my definition of myself: I’m actually embracing the fact that my feelings matter.

 

Hairstyle: Vote for your favorite!

I’m getting my hair cut and colored on Saturday. I’m torn between having longer hair on my forehead or cutting it into more of a pixie.

This is what I look like (in case you forgot).

There are the two options that I am vacillating between. I realize I am splitting hairs (HA! I’m punny!) between the two but indulge me.

OPTION 1

Longer over the forehead, shorter in the back, showing some ear

OPTION 2

Textured at the forehead and short all around.

My whole live I have been drawn to hairstyles that aren’t entirely suitable for my hair type. I have very thick, wavy, full bodied hair. I like hairstyles for women with less hair that is more fine and has no wave. MY LIFE IS SO FULL OF CHALLENGES.

(I’m being sarcastic.)

So help a sister out and vote for the one you think will look best on me.

A Lovely Weekend

Mr. Darcy’s parents made the trek out to Seattle from New Jersey for the weekend. Because they fly last-minute on military flights, we don’t really know for sure if they are coming until they are already on the plane. Thankfully, this time they took our advice and stayed at a hotel not far from us instead of all the way out in Kent (about 40 minutes by car from where we live but closer to the base they fly in or out of) which afforded us the luxury of spending more time with them and showing them OUR Seattle.

Since they were seeing our apartment for the first time, I made a long list of chores we had to accomplish before they arrived. Mr. Darcy’s all “but they are just my parents” as in it’s no big deal. And I was all “but THEY ARE YOUR PARENTS” as in it’s totally a big deal. I won this debate and the apartment was clean and welcoming for their visit. It’s nice that they now have some context for our lives- that they can imagine our home, our cats, our building, our neighborhood- when we tell them stories. I even got to make them dinner which they thankfully loved. It just felt really homey and comfortable and really enjoyed their visit.

We even took them around to some open houses in some of the neighborhoods we are considering so they could picture it. Most of the ones we went into were not for us but it was a good exercise in a) not walking in the door saying WE ARE JUST LOOKING & AREN’T READY TO BUY (ahem, at least for me) and b) seeing how vastly different the photos can be from the actual size of the home. Since Mr. Darcy’s parents are a huge reason we can afford to be looking at buying, it meant a lot to have them there chiming in and sharing the experience with us.

Side note: We are meeting with a loan officer and a realtor this week. Eek! Yay!

It was a lovely weekend spent with my future in-laws.* I feel very lucky to be welcomed into such a sweet family where I feel so comfortable and accepted. I’m looking forward to our trip back east in a few weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving with all of them.

Mr. Darcy and his parents hanging out in our apartment.

*No! We are not engaged. You think I’d bury that kind of announcement in a post? Hell no!

Cycle 2 Recap & Results

Today is my first day on Cycle 3 which basically means I get to eat carbs on a daily basis. I can even have a whole wheat pita if I want. GO CRAZY! I’m kind of looking forward to it because I found Cycle 2 to be a real pain in the ass.

On Cycle 2 you have to alternate Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 menus every other day. Essentially that means that one day I could eat a small potato or a bowl of oatmeal but the next I was back to all veggies and lean proteins. Rinse, lather, repeat for 17 days. To keep track of this I had to mark which cycle day it was in my calendar. I found it annoying and cumbersome. I get that the idea behind it is to trick your metabolism into not plateau-ing and continue losing weight. It’s just a hassle to go back and forth like that.

I’m trying not to feel discourage based on the results thus far. I feel like I have been very diligent in sticking to the diet give a glass of wine here or there (on vacation, at a dinner party). I have had exactly one square of dark chocolate to appease the PMS gods. I’ve all but eliminated refined sugar and white flour from my diet. It feels good to get back to that kind of eating. I really do feel better when I don’t eat sugar.

My digital scale has been wonky. One day it’s all “you’ve lost 15 lbs!” and the next it is all “you gained 5 lbs.” How is that possible given there were only 24 hours between weigh ins? I have no idea. But today my scale told me I weigh 207.4 lbs which means I’ve dropped 12lbs since I started this diet 35 days ago. That seems like not enough given how much I work out and how well I have been eating but thems the results.

Starting Weight: 219.4

Weight after 17 Day Cycle 2: 207.4

Measurements: 2 more inches around waist & hips

Once I hit 2olbs lost, we’re gonna have a party. That will mean I’ve hit my first goal of going under 200. I’m still going to see this third cycle of the diet out to its completion and then reassess. I’ve read the results of other people on this diet and they seem to have more drastic weight loss than me. I’m not sure if the fact that I have consistently been working out for an hour 5-6 days a week during all the cycles has done anything to impact this? Or if I need to add in strength training to my dance & yoga routine? I’m considering going back to the pool 2x/week for a different work out to keep my body guessing. Mr. Darcy and I keep talking about going on walks and so far, have gone on zero.

For the most part, I feel good. My clothes are fitting better. I can see parts of my body getting smaller. I am eating less and better. This is just the first leg in a long journey towards changing my body. 34 days is a good start. 12lbs and 3 inches total around my middle lost is progress. I’m not giving up.

(I promise this is not going to become a weight loss blog.)

 

Cycle 1 Recap & Results

Today is my first day on Cycle 2 of the 17 Day diet which means I can introduce some whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes into my meals (thank god!).

Cycle 1 was. . . a challenge. I ate a lot of taco salads (without any tortillas), salads in general, chicken, cauliflower pizza, kale and poached eggs, non-fat plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage- I did a taste test), berries, clementines and grapes (other fruit is allowed but these were what I gravitated towards). I drank 3 cups of green tea a day and 8+ glasses of water (the water intake is normal for me).

Being on a limited menu like this requires a lot of pre-planning. You have to know what you are going to eat at each meal because you also experience hunger differently. Without all the carbs and sugar to distract my metabolism/digestion I could tell when I was hungry- often because I was becoming spacey or bitchy (sorry, Darcy). The worst is being caught without any snack to eat to stave off a meltdown. It’s not that easy to find approved food on Cycle 1 when you are out and about. Needless to say, I kind of avoided going out these past 17 days. It was just easier to control my intake.

Plus, with the restriction of no alcohol, going out seemed even more difficult. A lot of socializing centers around drinking. I miss my occasional glass of wine (or 3), I’ll admit it. I think the thing that was the hardest was no grains. I am looking forward to having some quinoa and some oatmeal. I’m also excited about beans. Beans and quinoa, people, that’s what is making me salivate. What has this Cycle done to me?! I’m not really missing sugar which usually is true for me after a couple of weeks avoiding it. I feel 110% better when I avoid refined sugar and processed foods.

I kept my normal workout schedule of 1 hour of dance 5 times per week plus added in 20 minute workouts at home on the days I didn’t go to class. This cycle said to do 17 minutes each day but I didn’t want to do less than what I already had been doing for months. I’m going to add in some pool time in this next cycle now that my tattoo is healed.

I told myself I wasn’t going to weigh in until the end of the Cycle but I lied. I had a few meltdowns about the whole process, wondering if I was doing the right thing, if it was going to work, feeling like I was going to be a fat failure forever (I’m dramatic, ok?) and so I hopped on the scale once or twice during this cycle. Today, I recorded all my numbers and in the interest of full disclosure I’m going to put them here.

Starting weight: 219.4

Weight after 17 Day Cycle 1: 213

Measurements: lost 1 inch around hips, waist, bust, and thigh

Now I move onto Cycle 2 which allows me to alternate Cycle 1 with Cycle 2. So every other day I can incorporate whole grains, beans and other meat and fish options. I’m giddy with the possibilities. I’ve got a bunch of recipes I’ve been holding for this part. The hard part might be alternating between eating those things one day and being back on Cycle 1 limited diet the next. I’m committed to going through the three cycles to see how this all pans out. I already feel better about  my body have just dropped that inch around and those 6 pounds.