Hanging By a Rope

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

I’ve had a minor health issue for a while, which didn’t bother me terribly until recently. It got worse and was causing a lot of pain and discomfort.

I went to my doctor, who then referred me to a surgeon/specialist and then another specialist. Everyone had something different to say– and all of my “options” come with pluses and serious minuses. I also can just do nothing– or try something minor to see if I notice any difference, which I may or may not notice at all. Oh– and of course, comes with side effects of its own.

I left each appointment feeling more overwhelmed. Worse, when I met with the surgeon, I didn’t think to bring someone with me to ask questions while I sat dazed, overwhelmed and tired trying to follow everything he said. I ended up forgetting to ask a bunch of questions in the meantime, wishing I had afterwards.

Since no one could give me a clear direction on what to do and left it in my hands, I’ve been feeling like I am hanging .. by a thread or dangling by a rope, waiting for some kind of lifeline or answer to come. So far, I’ve just felt mostly paralyzed with indecision.

And then, when I came to a conclusion or a treatment plan or sorts, I then came up against the biggest roadblock: lack of support and help. Trying to coordinate what would happen for my kid and me if I had a procedure in the hospital has been as stressful as seeing the doctors. And feeling that lack of support, I just decided it was better to do nothing.

Until I decided to do further testing … with the hopes that further testing will give me a clearer picture of what I need to do, lifting this sort of indecisive grip that’s come over me. I am just as worried that doing nothing will end up with me feeling worse or regretting that I did nothing.

It’s amazing though what a lack of support can do to a person. It has really caused me to retreat and feel defeated before I’ve even begun. It truly takes someone who actually gives a sh*t to support someone through medical stuff, and I guess I haven’t met someone who actually does give a sh*t yet, sadly. I do know that it could be worse. And for the most part, I am living a healthy life and am active. I try to remind myself of that every day. But the indecision and lack of support, sucks.

Hanging On,

Laura

A Bad, Horrible, No- Good Weekend Day

https://unsplash.com/@ryanxbraxton

I was looking forward to the weekend, until it just seemed to go not as I had hoped. And normally, two bad disappointing days could be just that. Two bad disappointing days. No biggie. But in today’s day and age where Covid has kept us from our normal lives, it’s harder to get past disappointment and sadness. It’s harder because we’re more isolated. And when I do speak to my friends, there isn’t much to say. I’m home most of the time raising my kid. Sometimes it’s easier to not talk rather than rattle on about the mundaneness of it all.

My daughter and I saw my parents outside for five minutes masked the other day, and could tell my mom didn’t seem herself, although she was happy to see us. Maybe this is just how it is when you are losing your memory. Whatever the case, it was just such a fleeting visit and how it has to be during these times. But it’s hard knowing I don’t know when I’ll be able to spend time with my parents again and how my mom will be cognitively at that point. My dad has taken over many things — things my mom once did. Noticing these things it’s like tiny moments of grief for me. Grieving I can’t call her and talk like we once did. Grieving I didn’t realize this would happen.

And as I write this, a family member is in the hospital recovering from a painful and emotionally difficult surgery. One that will take a long time to recover. Nobody can visit and honestly, right now is not the time to step foot in the hospital unless mandatory. The feeling of powerlessness that I can’t help this person is huge. The hope that finally, my family member will feel better after years of sickness, is what I’ve got carrying me through this, hoping she gets better. She’s a good person and desperately needs a break.
Some days I feel like the good people never get a break. We’re not appreciated. We’re not truly ever lifted up as we should be. But that’s how I feel today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s a new chance. A new day. Maybe.

Today was just one of those days where I felt down, hopeless, upset and defeated. Where you’re down and just don’t know what to think anymore.
Then, I somehow hurt my back over the weekend and the pain radiated to my hip, making me feel a bit queasy. However, I pushed through and did everything I had to do today not asking for help once and I ended up paying the price feeling worse at the end of the day.
In the end, a heating pad, meditation, some ice cream and one of my favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, were my go- to’s to try and help me feel a little less down and a little less discouraged in mankind.

Did it work? Maybe. Not really. Not sure. That’s ok. Maybe I don’t know how I’m really feeling.
One minute, I’m grieving my daughter’s lack of normalcy and the next I am thankful for being healthy. A sore back is something I can take care of.
Another minute, I’m thankful for the good people in my life, and the next I am doubting my worth.

But they say it’s darkest before the dawn so I’m just going to hope things get better. The reality is nothing is permanent. Everything changes. At some point, there will be light! Meditation teaches us impermanence. Nothing stays the same. This moment is different than the next.

Breathe Deep,

Laura

How a Single Mom Gets a Medical Procedure

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Here’s the answer. She doesn’t get the procedure done.

I need a test– procedure– under anesthesia in early 2021, however, I have no one to take me. I certainly wouldn’t ask my elderly parent during COVID-19– especially since one of my parents is caring for the other parent, who has dementia.

This is why it unnerves me when people comment how I am strong and independent. I know this. I don’t need a team of people to remind me. I am very comfortable on my own– minus repairs and manual labor. And admittedly, I would love if Lenny Kravitz could do any and all of the home repairs as that man is perfect, but I digress.

It is upsetting to never have a guaranteed person to be there for you. I am strong because I know I cannot rely on anyone and that is a shame.

So the answer is, I will probably not get the procedure/test I need. It is one that tests for cancer that I need every 5 years due to an issue I had almost 15 years ago and I cannot UBER or drive myself.

Then to make my anxiety particularly active, I need to go for general bloodwork to check for anemia. If that comes back badly again, alas, I will need a different larger procedure perhaps.

Overall though, I am grateful that I am overall, healthy, fit and can do renegade push-ups like no other 100 lb woman can.

I feel good generally, and I care for myself. I try to self-care. I try to contribute to the good of society during this pandemic by being careful and following scientific guidelines.

But this strong capable person could use another person sometimes, and I don’t feel bad for admitting it.

Lovingly,

Laura

We All Need to Be Cared For

https://unsplash.com/@priscilladupreez

No matter how old we are or how independent and capable we may be, we all need someone to be there for us. Sure, there are people who protest and say they don’t need anyone and that they’re “OK” on their own, but the reality is none of us is an island.

We all crave human touch, companionship, love, passion and connection. Without it, let’s admit it: we would be pretty boring people. It’s why people take so much time and effort to pursue love, romance, sex and friendship. If it wasn’t so intoxicating, amazing and transformative, nobody would be running after it, writing songs about it, or discussing it in detail with their friends.

When we don’t feel cared for, we are often at our worst. We feel anxious, unsure and misunderstood. We feel alone, powerless and intimidated. These feelings stem into depression or general anxiety. It bleeds into our everyday lives. Not having that connection can feel like you’re on an island or swimming in a turbulent ocean with the undertow taking you further and further away from the rest of the world. This isn’t to say that we need someone else’s care and love in order to be successful and happy, but that with love and available people in our lives, we become the best versions of ourselves. Because when we have people who do not care for us or treat us well, it does dim our light. This is why it is so crucial that we care for others and that we allow ourselves to be cared for and in return, that we give love back.
Having that love is like having a homebase: without a homebase, you will feel adrift, anxious and uncertain. This is the place where we feel our least “best.” It affects our mental health and wellness. But when we have that homebase— that love and care in our lives, we grow long, strong roots and reach out towards the sky with all the potential that is in us. This is what helps us grow and shapes our self-view and stability for the days to come.

Love Others and Yourself,

Laura

6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

If your family’s sleep habits have been out of whack since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you’re not alone. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stress brought on by an infectious disease outbreak can lead to changes in sleep patterns, difficulty sleeping, and worsening of mental health conditions.

As a single mom, I can tell you first-hand that getting a good night’s sleep has been a real challenge for me these last seven months. There were many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with worry and then struggle to get back to sleep. (Thankfully, my daughter’s sleep has remained mostly stable, with a few nights here and there of tossing and turning due to anxiety.)

Read More: 6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Peaceful Slumber,

Laura

Forgiving Yourself Is As Important As Forgiving Others

https://unsplash.com/@thenata

Growing up with parents coming from two different religious backgrounds has so many pluses. One is it has made me more open to others’ viewpoints. At the same time, I don’t feel aligned with any religion really. I do find both Jewish and Christian traditions interesting and meaningful. So, I am spiritual but I’m not religious.

But for the first year ever, I thought about what Yom Kippur really means. Asking for forgiveness for sins and forgiveness of others. Supposedly, it’s the time of year where G-d decides your fate and therefore, you’ve got to make amends, and fast.

I thought about who I would apologize to, however anyone I may have wronged I’ve certainly apologized to. And if there’s anyone out there I offended, well, I am truly sorry!

But I think the person I am most sorry to is myself. For being so hard on myself.
The way I’ve talked to myself and about myself.
The way I’ve judged myself and compared myself.
The way I’ve doubted myself and criticized myself.
The way I talk to myself is most often, much harder than how I’ve talked to anyone else!
It is like I’m in some competition where the goals to be fabulous are so high and not obtainable that I beat myself to death for not being enough.
But if there is one thing I am, it is tenacious and persistent. I try so hard to be my best self. To be better. To do better. Be a better mom. Person. Partner. Friend. Worker. Etc.

Here is what I don’t do: give myself a break. Be kind to myself. Compliment myself. Believe in myself.

So here is a huge apology to myself for being so bad to myself at times.

Lovingly,

Laura

When The Universe (or Whatever God You Believe in) Places Someone Amazing in Your Path

chuttersnap-TSgwbumanuE-unsplash

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I have had some very hard times over the last six years. I have went through things I never thought I could handle. From long-term unemployment to physical abuse to heartache and legal battles, it was a haul.

To say that I have gotten out of the darkness is an understatement and if it’s not clear, I am very proud of how hard I have worked to be where I am today as a devoted working single mother.

But every now and then, we have someone who helps us on our journey– our twisted paths– that helps us even in the darkest of times.

This person for me, is named Rob.

Rob and I have known each other for about 23 years. We met in a gym years ago, and while at first he was just a very funny, eccentric, smart and quirky man of steel, I have learned– albeit I haven’t cracked the Rob code yet– that he is more than that.

More often than not, he has given me a helping hand, smart advice and an ear.

Over this pandemic, I started training with him virtually and to say that I have seen results doesn’t do it justice. I have seen results.  I am a bit timid  and hard on myself, so I won’t post pics, but I have gotten in solid shape.

If you want to train with him and his program, I guarantee you will get results– just show up! I rarely sing anyone’s praises publicly, so if I am telling you he is good, he is good!

On days that I felt overcome with anxiety about living in a state that is full of COVID-19, I showed up to virtual workouts. On days my stomach hurt or my head hurt because I was tired from working, homeschool and being alone/lonely as a single mom, I showed up to virtual workouts. He and his awesome team, have kept me going. He has encouraged me, offered advice, just been a friend, listened and basically been a steady presence throughout this whole scary freaking mess of quarantine.

I am beyond grateful. There were days I literally told myself– “I can’t miss this workout. I don’t want to let myself down. Or Rob.”

Seeing his face on the other side of the computer … just reminded me I am not as terribly alone as I feel.

So, not only has my body gotten an amazing workout, but my mind and heart has felt a bit less alone in all of this.

Some friends are just more amazing than others– and he really has stood by me in a time when quite honestly, I feel terribly alone doing this with my daughter.

Thank you– to someone who showed up when I needed it. Who has been the true meaning of a friend for me in a time when I am vulnerable and anxious and trying to stay positive and zen.

I hope you all have someone who god, the universe or whatever you believe in– places in your life to help you through. We need each other, now more than ever.

Love,

Laura

Why You’re Avoiding the ONE Thing You Really Need

madison-lavern-4gcqRf3-f2I-unsplash

Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash

The one thing I really, really, really needed to do was meditation.

Not just here and there, but daily. I needed it to help me with anxiety and channel my focus. While I am a disciplined and focused person, I am an anxious person– and time and again, it would be suggested to me to try meditation.

I resisted. And resisted. The few times I had tried it before, it felt like torture. Two minutes felt like two thousand.

Besides, I already worked out, danced and tried to take some “me” time to unwind. Wasn’t that enough?

No. It wasn’t.

So I did something different for a change:

Continue reading

11 Things That Make Me Happy During the Covid-19 Outbreak

cibao-chua-7hohUWqBqU4-unsplashhttps://unsplash.com/@cibaochua
It probably sounds ironic to mention the word happy next to Covid-19, but if you’re home social distancing … you’ve got to find some semblance of happiness or you’ll go crazy. And that’s ok,too: losing your mind at times is pretty normal also.

With that said, you have to find the silver linings in all of this or you won’t ever be “ok.”

For me, it’s the following things:

Tyson Chicken

A friend brought me a bag of this crispy Tyson chicken, and I just love it. Even when I’m not hungry due to stress, I’m always in the mood for more CHICKEN.

Tea and a Good Book

I love chai tea and I love to read. These two creature comforts make me feel more relaxed.

Sweet Messages

My one friend always makes a point to send me positive messages, telling me I’m doing great taking care of my little lady or that he thought I looked great and am working hard during a virtual workout.

Continue reading

How Someone Treats You Is a Reflection of Who They Are

roberto-delgado-webb-washV-MnHRA-unsplashhttps://unsplash.com/@delgadowebb

Someone hurt my feelings a bit ago, and I found myself wondering what I had done to earn such behavior. When I dug deep, I realized I had done … nothing. When I spoke to a confidante about the matter, the person said plainly:

This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with this person’s self- view and own issues.

This is good advice.

How people treat us is often an indicator of how they view themselves and feel about themselves, more than anything.
Self- esteem and confidence. Past issues. These factor into many of our behaviors when we interact with others.

So, the next time someone hurts you remind yourself that this person’s actions are a reflection of how he/ she feels about him or herself. It has nothing to do with you.
Not to mention, your actions are in relation to how you feel about yourself.

All we can do is control our own actions. We can’t control if others hurt us or make bad choices. We can just choose how to respond and move forward.

Be Strong,

Laura