Hair, weight…Results are in (Part 3 of 3)

"True Mirror Image," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

“True Mirror Image,” photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

So what happened after March 2009?

I decided enough was enough.  I was sick, tired, self-pitying, angry at the world and at myself, and just generally feeling that I was inadequate that my existence was quite pointless.

I wasn’t able to participate fully in either my personal or professional live.  It was hard.  When I looked in the mirror, the image smiling back at me was still sad.  I decided then that neither Fibromyalgia nor my mind nor my surrounding was going to stop me from finding a way to live.

"Not the self-destruct button" found at http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/4100.  I had to include this image... It was just too funny not to do so.

“Not the self-destruct button” found at http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/4100. I had to include this image… It was just too funny not to do so.

I decided to do what I could do…take one step forward.  I joined up with two other ladies to do a walk/run for 15 minutes for most mornings.

I decided to do Weight Watchers Online for three months to learn more about nutrition and to be inspired by others who were taking positive steps to make effective changes in their lives.

I decided to become vegetarian, slowly (and I mean very slowly) removing meat products from my life.

I decided to begin learning how to love myself as I was in that moment, not lament who I had been.  I wasn’t always successful, and sometimes I still struggle with that.

I acquired the following books:

I decided to become more natural with my medication, finding ways to decrease the amount of medications that I had to take.  It took consulting with my doctors and taking time to research, but it was worth it.

I temporarily joined a Fibromyalgia Support Group (though I did not always find it supportive, especially when it came to improving my physical health).

I began to speak out more about my needs and take steps at work to make sure that others understood the nature of my illness.

Waiting, photography by April Rivers (Fall, 2010)

Waiting, photography by April Rivers (Fall, 2010)

The Result?

After almost two years of doing this work, I found myself a bit more than 70 pounds lighter.  My blood pressure which was unreasonably high was lower.  My body that I could barely move most days began to move more.  My mind was less foggy.  I began to wake up to many realities of which I was not aware.

And finally, I became aware of something that I knew to be psychologically true…but never imagine I would ever experience.  I became aware of the fact that people were angry about my changes.

I had to deal with rumours about my weight loss, i.e. how I lost weight, for whom I lost weight.

Of course, when you go from a larger size to a smaller size, you need new clothes.  I was fortunate to receive some vintage clothing from April’s grandmother, which were more fitted to my figure.  Wearing these clothing turned into gossip that I was trying to attract men…even though these people knew that I was married and highly committed to my marriage.

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

“The Revenge of Pride,” photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

There was also a humorous side to all of this (actually, I found the rumours humorous too).  I discovered that suddenly people felt more comfortable giving me compliments.  I even had someone say that they were surprised by how good I was looking lately.

Suddenly, too, many people were ready to chime in on my general appearance:  how I should look, what I should wear, what my weight should be.

I guess you could say that losing the weight brought me both joy and distress.  I was happy to be free from some of the physical difficulties posed by my weight gain…but I was equally distressed by the growing hostilities coming from various parts of my life. Still, I do not regret it.

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And then…

I cut my hair and moved to Rome, which brought on a whole host of other issues, of which you can read about in earlier postings in my blog.

———

Until Next Time,

D.

P.S. Check out School Psychologist and Professor Nina Ellis-Hervey regarding mind and body well-being. Link to her website here. Also visit her YouTube site “BeautifulBrownBabyDol“…You won’t regret it.

Packing the playlist…

“Fragments of Freedom,” photography by Dolores Juhas (http://www.dolores-juhas.tk)

As I prepare for NaNoWriMo and am engaging in studying for exams, listening to music is becoming a more prominent feature of my daily experience.  Whether it is listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Gotye‘s Heart’s A Mess, I find that music helps me to focus my mind, and streamline my thoughts and emotions.

And so….I’ve been trying to put together  a playlist specifically for NaNoWriMo.

Selecting music for a playlist is a bit like packing a suitcase for a long trip.  You need to make sure that every item there serves a purpose.  I am still not certain of my list as it stands.  Thus,  I am looking for suggests for instrumental as well as vocal music.  Ethereal and dark sounds are welcomed.

I have about fifty selections at the moment (even though there are only forty listed below).  I would like to make it an even hundred (100).  So, make some suggestions!  At the moment, my playlist is as follows:

  1. 3 LibrasA Perfect Circle
  2. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  3. Con Te PartiroAndrea Bocelli
  4. Moonlight Sonata – L.V. Beethoven
  5. Invasion – Bleach Soundtrack
  6. Morning Remembrance – Bleach Soundtrack
  7. Short Skirt, Long Jacket – Cake
  8. Hello AloneCharlie Winston
  9. In Your Hands – Charlie Winston
  10. Viva la Vida – Coldplay

  1. Lovesong – The Cure
  2. Makedo – Darko Rundek
  3. Titanium – David Guetta
  4. Didn’t Cha Know – Erykah Badu
  5. Here Comes The Rain – Eurythmics
  6. Cosmic Love – Florence and The Machine
  7. Trista Pena – Gipsy Kings
  8. Un Amor – Gipsy Kings
  9. Eyes Wide Open – Gotye
  10. Heart’s A Mess – Gotye
  1. Somebody I Used to Know – Gotye
  2. What Do You Want? – Gotye
  3. Now We Are Free – Lisa Gerrard
  4. Anna Molly – Incubus
  5. A Long Walk – Jill Scott
  6. Really Believe – Theo Eastwind
  7. Still Doll – Kanon Wakeshima
  8. Michiyuki – Kaori Hikita
  9. Got the Life – Korn
  10. Bram Stoker’s Dracula Soundtrack
  1. The Piano Soundtrack – Michael Nyman
  2. Little Earthquakes Album – Tori Amos
  3. Desert Rose – Sting
  4. What You KnowTwo Door Cinema Club
  5. MapsYeah Yeah Yeahs
  6. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  7. Not in Love – Crystal Castle feat. Robert Smith
  8. November RainGuns ‘N’ Roses
  9. Live at the Acropolis Album – Yanni
  10. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Soundtrack

Vrijeme po mom satu, (Photo of the year: Cahayabox – http://www.cahayabox.net), photography by Dolores Juhas ( http://www.dolores-juhas.tk )

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Hearing my voice again…

Suppleness Of The Moment, photography by Dolores Juhas (http://dolores-juhas.tk)

It is cold today.  The kind of cold that conjures to the mind apple orchards, pumpkin pie, and children running around in costumes.  It’s that kind of weather today, and I am sitting outside.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be.  Perhaps I should go inside.  I won’t though.  At least, not until I have finished enjoying the feeling of being outside.

Living in the moment is an art form.  Being able to say “Yes, I will acknowledge you” to the goings-on around and within you is not easy.  It takes time to soothe the fear of the unknown known, or to learn how to live comfortably with it.  I believe it is a lifelong self-dialogue.  Today, I was able to give an affirmative to myself when I felt the desire to sing and play guitar.  I worked through the fear of having others overhear me, or being disruptive, or sounding like crap, or whatever.  I am glad for it.

Singing today brought about the realization that I have long missed this mode of expression.   To find the right sound, the right words that reach within to evoke all that is so very difficult to state in regular speech, or in poetry, or in stories…

The sound of my voice has changed over the years.  It is more  melancholic, darker…still, I hear that clarity of old, which is something about which I can smile.

Now, if I could only sing like this… 😉 piano…piano

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

 

Self-portrait by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

An art to nothingness…

Angel at Protestant Cemetery, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011).

Haunting the grounds of the non-Catholic Cemetery in Testaccio is one of my favourite pastimes.  No, it isn’t a morbid preoccupation with death.  Rather the grounds remind me more of a garden filled with statues than a place within which the dead find their rest.

There is a strange comfort there, a silence amidst the chaos and cacophony created by the permanent flow of traffic on Via Marmorata.  Amongst the blooming flowers and ripened fruit, the lush grass and aged stones, the stalking black cats and the cawing of countless birds; one can find peace. One can find joy in being and not being.

A home to artists of all modalities and various nationalities, the Cemetery captures in death the beauty of what a life can be, or rather how in death a life can be celebrated and remembered.

You may wonder why I have chosen to write about this today.  Perhaps it is because I hold this place dear and find it offers me solace during this winter that, in many ways, has been so very isolating. Perhaps it is because I wish that more people knew about the Cemetery and would visit it in order to experience its beauty.  Truly, I have no definitive reason.

"True Mirror Image," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today a conversation with a young friend on the subject of needing and seeking attention gave me pause for thought.  It made me wonder why we sometimes desire so strongly to be acknowledged as separate from, unique, and at the same time yearn for admiration from others… so much so that we sometimes end up creating walls between ourselves and others in an effort to validate and justify our existence.  At the end of it all, is it really so meaningful to perceive of differences between ourselves and others?  To perceive of ourselves as better or worse than?  To harbour desires  for continuous acknowledgement?…

There is an art to nothingness, to letting go of self-definition, to letting go of existential crises, to opening oneself up to a connection with others that may mean a perceived loss of self, even if temporarily.  It is the moment when our combined silence is more profound than the air that usually escapes our lips in order to give shape to words that ought to give meaning but rarely do.  It is the moment when we find ourselves without need for labelling others, including ourselves, and see that the barriers we thought stood between us only existed within our minds.

The struggle to defend the “I” of who we are as individuals ends as we come to realize that we are all equally “You.”  We are created alone and uncreated alone.  What lies in the midst of this process need not be solitude bred from defense of self against others, bred from  the desire to achieve somethingness.  For what are we all to become in the end?

Until next time…

Best,

D.

self-portrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Apparently being ill has some benefit…

Suppleness Of The Moment, photography by Dolores Juhas (http://dolores-juhas.tk)

For years I searched to discover its name, this world that was now home.  As a result, I learned many things about myself and people.  I learned too that it is difficult to understand your reality if it is routinely questioned or denied by others… and even yourself.

Growing up, illness was an expense, financially, physically and emotionally.  Then the only option was to “always” be healthy, to deny your discomfort, to deny your fear.  Now acceptance has become a way of life.  Acceptance of a body that becomes ill, becomes fragile, becomes older.

When I finally knew the name of my world, I gained a new perspective of myself and also the world in which I did not know I had been living.  Fibromyalgia was its name and I was one of its many inhabitants.  Some of us were better off than others.  That, however, is the nature of any world.

Under Pressure, photography by Dolores Juhas (http://www.dolores-juhas.tk)

You fear the unknown.  You fear yourself.  You fear the isolation that seems inevitable.  Even though you share with others a common experience, yours is still unique.  It becomes an isolating world.  But solitude has its benefits.  It can force an unrealized willpower to emerge and build a future.

One that is not free of its reality, but that uses it to help you to begin experiencing happiness, experiencing love, experiencing togetherness, experiencing life. This world of illness is mine, but it does not define me.  I exist in it.  I strive to make a difference in it.  I reap the benefits of it–living.

—–

Two  things:  life is a profound and brief miracle, live it as well as you can.

My thoughts are with my friends and acquaintances, who within the last week have lost loved ones or feared such loss.

Until next time…

Best,

D.

self-portrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Cleaning house…

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today the universe reminded me of this:  you know that you are right with your world, when you are smiling more than you are frowning… when you are feeling happy more than sad… when you are lighter in your step more than feeling weighed down by your body… and when you choose to surround yourself with only those people who bring greater meaning to your life more than those who bring devastating chaos…

I am cleaning house today, emotionally and physically.

I hope you are too…

Until next time!

Best,

D.

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

So… Into What? Pretending…

"Arms Full of Words," photography by Dolores Juhas (2011). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Truly, no one owes anyone else an explanation for his or her relationship preferences.  When it comes to breaking the news to someone else that you cannot return romantic interest, then it becomes important to consider what you say as well as when and where you say it.

Think back to the first time or last time (or any time) that you have told someone that you “liked” or “loved” or were “interested” in him or her.  How much courage did it take?  Did you deliberate over it for some time alone?  With friends?  With family?  Did you feel vulnerable telling this person how you felt?  Were you worried about being rejected?  Were you concerned that he or she would never speak to you again?

Use your memories of emotional vulnerability to guide your words when speaking to someone about your feelings (or lack thereof) for him or her.

So, what might be good to say, if not “I am not that into you” or “I am not into you” or something similar?  Well, I am no dictator.  I believe each person can find his or her own words through the experience of empathy.

I am so into…

I might, however, suggest some guidelines (truly, this is in no particular order):

  • Focus on the positive of the person. Compliment who he or she is.  What you like about him or her.
  • Be honest about your incompatibilities.  You know… things like, interests, values, religion, culture, height, age, sexual preferences, psychological baggage, relationship status… Whatever “schtuff” (as a former colleague of mine would say) it is that you get hung-up on when you are considering someone for a relationship. Really… be honest with yourself too!
  • Be truthful.  That is, do not lie… I promise, it will come back to haunt you.
  • Be honest about what type of relationship you think can work between the two of you.
  • Be open to dialogue and encourage the other person to speak about his or her feelings, i.e. if he or she wish to do so.  Either way, allow the person to know that you are available in the ways that you can be in that moment (everything has a time limit… and the duration of that time limit should be relative to the nature of the already established relationship)
  • Be clear.  Do not leave hope.  That is, do not say things like, “Perhaps in the future…”  or “Maybe one day…”  This only causes confusion and leads the person to hang on/remain hopeful.
  • Compliment the person on his or her ability to speak with you about his or her feelings.
  • Move on… from the subject.  Normalize as quickly as possible.  This will help to alleviate the feelings of awkwardness between the two of you.  There is no need to have a long and drawn-out conversation about the issue, especially if you are clear.  If the person needs space, then allow him or her to take it… and then move on from the situation yourself.

So, what might a conversation be like?

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Well, let’s pretend ;) 

———

Person A: I really like you… and I was wondering if you would like to go out some time.

Person B: Wow, that was an unexpected compliment.  Thank you so much.  I like you too.  Going out for coffee would sound interesting, but I could only do so as friends.

Person A: Oh… I… I thought you liked me…

Person B:  I do like you, but only as a friend.

Person A:  But why only as a friend?

Person B:  Well, because typically I tend to date people who share the same interests as myself, and I know that we don’t share many common interests.  It would make things difficult.  Also, although you are a physically attractive person, I am not sexually attracted to you.  I know that that is probably hard to hear and I hope it doesn’t hurt our friendship.

——— This would be the move on point———

Okay, so… Some people might say that this statement is harsh and hurtful.  Well, it may be hurtful in the moment and for a moment.  It is, however, clear and caring.  That is, Person B is direct that there is no hope for a romantic relationship now or in the future, but she or he really wants to maintain the friendship/relationship that is already established.  Above all, it is respectful. 😉

After that interaction, I would suggest that if Person A felt wronged…. then grab a friend and a copy of the film “He’s Just Not That Into You“… watch, commiserate, laugh and learn… then come back and read my blog. 😉

Until next time!

Best,

D.

 

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Mental Gossip… Allowances & No Rewind

"The Girl With The Field Of Dreams," photogragh by Dolores Juhas (2011). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

“Try hard not to create too much hope and fear, for they only engender more mental gossip.” – Sogyal Rinpoche (Glimpse of the Day)

Today, I was gripped by a sudden feeling of anxiety for someone, whose path is now divergent from my own.  And I allowed that anxiety to take possession of my entire physical and mental being, and a profound worry for this person’s well-being overcame me.

I even went so far as to attempt to make contact to send well-wishes, because I had this fearful thought that “something horrible had happened or is happening.”

Upon reflection, I do not nor did not regret either making contact or wishing this person well.  I wondered only why I allowed this feeling of anxiety to take control of my thoughts and actions… Then I realized…

The anxiety stemmed from one thought, “I no longer know what is happening to this person, whether this person lives or dies. I am not privvy to this knowledge.”

My immediate emotional reaction to that thought was fear/anxiety.  I began to worry whether or not this person were in danger, whether or not this person lived, whether or not this person needed help, etc.  You get the idea here… There was a lot of worrying going on in that moment.

The point is this: Instead of going to the utter negative, i.e. “Something horrible is happening to this person and I am scared,” I could have gone to the positive, “Something wonderful is happening to this person and I am glad.” 🙂

Allowances…

So, allow the thoughts of former loved ones, friends, and acquaintances to come into your mind as they will (seemingly randomly… Although they are probably caused by something in the immediate environment that illicits a memory).  Allow your mind to wonder about where these persons are now, how their lives have changed, and what future they hope to have.  Allow, too, the worries that may come or other feelings that you may find challenging to manage…

Remember, however, that our feelings are based upon our thoughts.

We can paint in our minds images of positive happenings for those, with whom we are no longer connected.  We can see them surrounded by joy, by loved ones, by success, by good weather (I’m just seeing if you are paying attention here ;)).

Yes, even for those who may have caused us great hurt, we can still imagine them being surrounded by happiness in our minds.  At this point, you might ask, Why, D?

Well,  focusing your mind on the positive brings about positive emotions.  Yes, there may be a part of you that wishes that things weren’t going all that well for a specific person.  Remember, however, that spending time focusing on those negative thoughts only brings about more of those types of emotions… You know, the ones that you may find challenging or negative.

And really, who wants to spend all, or even some, of their time feeling angry, sad, envious, guilty, ashamed, fearful, and disgusted?  And if you do, then… you should contact me…

Rewinding the clock

If I were able to rewind the last two hours of my life (because this really all just happened now), I would have done a couple of things differently:

  1. As I mentioned above, I would have reframed my thinking.  That is, I would have confronted that initial thought that provoked such disruptive feelings and found a way to disprove the thought, in order to replace thought.  Seriously, what proof had I that “something horrible” is happening?  None.  Equally, I have no proof that “something wonderful” is happening either.  It is, however, more beneficial emotionally, psychologically, and physically to focus on the positive as it helps me to maintain a manageable stress level (which in general I keep quite low).
  2. I would have waited at least until the morning to decide on whether or not to make contact.  I often find that a good night’s sleep does wonders to refocusing our emotional space and in clarifying our plans of action. (I will make allowances for myself today, because I had a touch of insomnia last night 😉)
  3. I would have contacted a friend.  Talking to friends about the situation is helpful.  Going over worries with someone who knows us well and/or the other person can help to bring necessary objectivity, which will help in gaining insight into our feelings.
  4. I would have written a letter or written in my journal.  Writing our thoughts down truly helps to “get it all out” of our system and offers a creative outlet for expression.  We may even be able to write our way through the problem to a reasonable solution.
  5. I would have remembered that this person is an adult and care take care of his or her own life.  If he or she needed me, then it is easy enough to make contact in this age of technology.  That’s right.  No one has somehow destroyed all cellular phones, computers, regular phones, the post office, or this person’s feet.  If he or she wanted to be in contact, then he or she would find a way.  Trust me.

All in all, it was good to think of and envision wonderful things for this person today (i.e. after the panic).  I am glad that our paths crossed.  And no, there was no response to my attempt at contact… but that was never the point. 😉

Until next time!

Best,

D.

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr