Ready, Set, Reset! (Or not- That’s Ok)

2019! 🎉🎉🎉

Does that number sound bizarre? For me, it sounds like a “Jetsons” era year. So,  where are the flying cars? 😂

Actually, I’m excited for a new year. 2018 was incredibly challenging for me, emotionally and physically. I said goodbye to a lot of friends in Guam, moved to California, dealt with months of unemployment, experienced a sudden loss in our family, learned I have fibromyalgia,  and spent the last few months wondering if I had breast cancer. Two biopsies later, I found out that I am cancer free (the questionable area was an overgrowth of cells). Thank God!

Learning the news that I didn’t have cancer made me feel as if I’d been handed a golden ticket.  Like I was told, “here is a free pass to do whatever you want.” My resolutions aren’t necessarily resolutions,  but more about the choices I make. I’m not wasting time any more on frivolous things or worrying about issues I have no control over changing.  I’m not letting toxic energy from other people dampen how I feel or what I choose to do.

For instance:

1. Revisiting a Dream. I’m a singer, and not to brag, but I’m pretty decent at it. I spent years in musical theater, sang for special events, and have taught several students over the years. As I’ve gotten older,  I let the idea go that I’d ever get to record or appear on Broadway. However- when I saw that THE VOICE is auditioning singers in San Francisco, I signed up without  hesitation.  Why not? If I don’t try now,  then when? What’s a dream you’ve let go of? Maybe revisit it this year? Or maybe the dream accomplishment looks differently now?

2. Make a Passion My Work. Definitely the toughest struggle of being a military spouse is the constant changing of jobs every few years. I left a job teaching theater in Guam that I LOVED and I’ll admit that I mourned that loss pretty heavily. It’s hard to let go of something you’re passionate about. Looking back over this year, I know one of the reasons why I struggled with finding work is because I was chasing positions “I would be good at,” versus “what I’d be happy to do.” That being said, sometimes you have to do what you need to do to get by (and we’ve all been there and done that!). Being a theater professional definitely has taught me how to make my own opportunities. So, I signed up with a service (Musika) to match me with prospective voice students, and at my new job as a Youth Programs Instructor (!), I introduced my background to my supervisor, who was excited about the experience I have with performing arts. So- it may be possible I’ll get a job from the job I have! Do you have experience, skill, or a passion that could work for you? How could you implement it into what you currently do? Or how can you start a side gig? 

3. Find Alternative Ways to Exercise.  One of the most frustrating aspects of chronic pain is getting fit without making the pain worse. I have a double whammy of sciatica and fibromyalgia, which on some days I feel fine,  but once a flare happens, I can barely get around without pain. However, I am determined to be strong, feel confident, and be healthy.  I started doing more yoga based exercise,  Ballet Barre (which my dancer’s heart loves!), and looking at other body weight exercise. It’s not about being a particular weight or size for me anymore. It’s about how I feel and manage the pain easier.   Start easy. Listening to the body is important.  Celebrate your progress; don’t compare yourself to others.  

And yeah…

If you don’t feel like a “reset,” that’s ok too! 

Maybe you’re fine with what you have going on.  Or maybe you’re not ready to make changes.  It doesn’t matter. Sometimes the beginning of a new year can feel like pressure to change your life. Truth is, we can change it at any time.

So if you’re hitting the reset button, awesome! If not, that’s cool too!

Here’s hoping 2019 is a great one for all of us.

Looking forward to the flying cars!

Love, laughter, and lipstick (My new tagline!),

Melanie.

 

 

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Lady Gaga and I Share Something in Common

Hello Lovelies,

I recently watched a fantastic documentary on Netflix called Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two, which chronicles the recording of her Joanne album, her prep for the Superbowl, and her struggle with chronic pain.

I cried along with her when she was in her doctor’s office, saying “I just need someone to fix me.”

I wanted to stand up and yell that as well.  “Please, just FIX me.”

Chronic pain is one of the most unpredictable, stressful conditions one can have.  I could feel fine one day, but the next can be an entirely different story- depending on what my activity level Is, or my stress factor, how much sleep – or even what I eat.  It’s hard to pin down and tricky to diagnose and treat nerve damage.

What’s the most frustrating part of having chronic pain is that many times I can be like Gaga- working out, performing, dancing- then it hits like a ton of bricks. Strangely enough the sciatic attacks (which feel like fire running up my leg) have happened when doing every day things like grocery shopping. I was literally stopped in my tracks with my shopping cart and had to call a friend to get me. While waiting, I flagged down a store clerk to get me a motorized cart. I was so embarrassed and upset. Not only is this pain messing with my life, but I have to involve others with my struggles.

I don’t wrote this post to elicit sympathy or bring attention to myself.  This is something that I’ve been told that I may need to deal with this for the rest of my life (which I’m not exactly accepting; we’ll see about that). But I write this because chronic pain is something many people are silently dealing with, and some are in real dire need of help. Some have turned to narcotics to try and get through the day and unfortunately end up hooked. Others drink. Some grit through it with basic pain meds. I’ve been dealing with it with basic meds, but I would just love to not have to take medicine anymore.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying all that I can and seeking that something that will fix me.  Lady Gaga- I feel ya, girl.  Hang in there. We’ve got this.