The Sneaky Hate Spiral: Antidote

Today’s Happy Note: Got a lot of work done!  I was in my office from 9-4 (very productive!) and then did stuff for my other job (phone calls and computer work) from 4-5 and 7-9 (hit the gym in between!).  About ten hours total, which is a lot, but I don’t feel so overhwelmed, and not feeling overwhelmed is the best feeling in the world.

Happy Note #2: This post from Joanne.  I thought I was the only young twenty-something woman who wanted to go on real dates!  Apparently there are other people who are not into the frat party make-out scene and who don’t consider sloppy drunken dancing romantic.  Yay, I’m not alone!

Okay.  So.

Have you ever read Hyperbole and a Half? It’s definitely one of the funniest blogs on the Internets.  If you’re ever feeling down, the first thing you should do is go there.  My point in all this is to reference the ubiquitous Sneaky Hate Spiral post.

Allie describes it better than I ever could, but in sum: the SHS occurs when a bunch of little, annoying things start building up and you get more and more angry until an explosion results.  My SHS began first thing this morning when I woke up fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be at work.  I have been doing this thing lately where I wake up to my alarm, press snooze a few times, then press “dismiss” (i.e., “off”) and close my eyes and think “oh I’ll just lie here for another minute.”  Then, of course, a minute turns into a half an hour.  So I woke up at 8:45.  I was only fifteen minutes late though!

Anyways, the SHS continued with the worst headache of my life accompanied by a terrible feeling of misalignment in my spine and neck.  It felt like someone had twisted up my back like a rope.  And the head pain:I  felt like I was 50 feet underwater (I used to be a diver and regularly dove down to the bottom of a 20 foot pool; this was approximately 2.5 times worse).

There honestly weren’t that many other serious things, but the headache just magnified every tiny nuissance.  I ran over my big toe with a cart at work.  Then I dropped an interview and all the pages fell out and came out of order and I had to put them all back in by hand.  Then I started getting really angry at L (who I didn’t even see today) and could not stop thinking about how much I suck at therapy.  Things just sort of continued in this pattern.

But then.  I only had twenty five minutes to book it home from work and make it to the gym before five (I have a student membership, so I can’t go between 5-7:30 BUT I can go at 4:58.  Ha.).  I was determined to get there, if only so that I didn’t feel guilty later on.  I was just going to make myself get on the elliptical and sweat it out for 30 or 40 minutes.

When I arrived, I noticed that there was a 5:30 kickboxing class.  I thought, “why not?”  I lifted for about 25 minutes and then headed in.

I think this kickboxing class changed my life.  Let me restate this:

I am in love, my friends.  Sadly, there are no boys involved in this relationship (unless the super hot instructor counts).  But there is me: a very strong, sweaty me.  I have no idea what happened in that 50 minutes but the SHS snapped.  And not only did I rid myself of the SHS monster, I left happy. It was a deep, pervasive happiness that I haven’t felt in a long time.  I am not sure if the relief came from the hundreds and hundreds of punches into the punching bag or the me time, or what.  But a little thing inside me clicked.  I realized that I can manufacture my own happiness. And maybe this means going to a kickboxing class, rather than coming into some sort of serene internal peace.  I don’t care.  Happiness is happiness, and I’ll take what I can get.

I left the class headache-free and practically glowing.  At the beginning, as I was looking in the mirrors, I was fiercely angry at my body — “why can’t my thighs be smooth, and why do I have this massive bump of fat on my stomach, and why are my breasts so painfully large?”  At the end, I actually felt a confidence in my body that has not been around in a long time. I felt so strong; like I could take on the world.  I felt better than I ever have lifting weights or pounding away on the elliptical (both of which are considerably fun).  I felt like I could actually see my muscles firming up.

I was no longer angry at L.  I was no longer angry at myself.  The anger just poured out of my body.  And I am so unbelievably thrilled.  And content.  Right now.

Have you ever had a workout that left you feeling strong, confident, and healthy?  Has a workout ever turned your day around completely?

The eats:

Swirly raspberry overnight oats.

I refuse to give up my once-weekly diet Snapple with aspartame.  I have a little pile of empty bottles that I’m stashing behind my computer at work — I don’t think that we have a glass recycling container and I am feeling too lazy to take them outside.

Monster leftovers lunch topped with a two-egg puff and a side of granola bar.  Snacked on a TJ’s single-serving bag of trail mix before my workout and many handfuls of WF chocolate cherry trail mix afterwards (SO good!).

Blueberry-banana smoothies are so good.  I was craving a muffin, so I walked to WF to get one (theirs are always good and fresh).  I meant to just get a muffin, bananas, and a non-dairy milk.  I left with said muffin, coconut milk, dark chocolate, dried mango, mushrooms, trail mix, and coconut milk.  The muffin is chocolate chip.  Nom!

Dessert was a few pieces (this is a really small container) of banana chip bread with melted dark chocolate.

Mmmmm, meltable.

Overall, today was a bad day that turned into a good one!

Have you ever had a Sneaky Hate spiral day?  How do you get rid of it? Sometimes I feel like you just have to let it run its course…

Also: Mama Pea (one of my most favorite bloggers; she is so sweet) is giving away a cookbook! Check it out.

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Workout/Gear

Today’s Happy Note: I have heard.  From an Exclusive Upper West Side source.  That there is a Trader Joe’s planned for 72nd and Broadway.  Breather, Caronae.  Breathe.  This is the greatest thing to happen in New York.  Since Union Square Trader Joe’s.

Today was decent but would have been much better if my sleeping hadn’t been so…disrupted…last night.  I kept waking up tangled in my sheets in deep panic that either (a) there was an axe murderer in my closet or (b) my fan, which has creepy red lights on it, was an evil monster.  I forgot to take my sleep medication last night and I am guessing that was the cause.  It was a very eerie experience.  One minute I would be wide awake craving a moment of sleep, the next moment I would be waking up from a nightmare never wanting to fall back asleep again.  Very bizarre.

I left the office early to do stuff for my other job and just ended up passing out back at my apartment.  Meh.  I had a great workout after I woke up though!

40 minutes full-body strength training.  I lifted hard and heavy for a lot of different exercises.  My arms, back, abs, legs — everything was screaming afterwards.  It felt amazing.  I love when you have a great strength session and you feel physically and mentally stronger afterwards.  I hit up the elliptical for an insane 30 minute HIIT sesh after the weights.  Not sure why it felt tougher than usual but I was drenched and my heart was racing!

I have made an important discovery of which I must inform you: I have found the most comfortable, fitting, soft, stretchy, breathable workout shirt ever.

It’s a pink Under Armor tank with a criss-cross back. It is dry-wicking.  The best thing about it is the way it fits.  I have sort of a strange upper-body and it is very hard to find workout tops that fit right.  For one, I have a very long torso.  This shirt is amazingly long!  My other problem is that, compared to my relatively thin waist, I am, well, rather well-endowed.  I have never found a tank with a built-in sports bra that supports me.  This didn’t just provide plenty of support and coverage, it also seemed to make my chest look somewhat normal-sized!

Okay, so do you want to know the deal-breaker?

It was $12 at TJMaxx.  Everyone has a different body, but if you have any features similar to mine, I would highly recommend this.  I literally can’t wait to do the laundry so I can wear it again. 🙂  Your favorite workout gear?

Eats hodgepodge: had three delicious meals today, plus plenty of delicious snacks.  There are a few things I haven’t minded eating hot lately — namely eggs and wraps/quesadillas.  There are something about warm cheese and hummus that just melts my heart.

Love fun tops on bottled iced tea!

Giant colors salad!  Red, orange, yellow, many shades of green, white.  What are your favorite colors to eat?

About to enjoy some new ice cream/sorbet finds and maybe frozen fruit!

Therapy Monday

Today’s Mini Goal: Per Monica‘s February Health Goal, I am going to work on putting an end to unnecessary after dinner/late night snacking.  Ocassionally, I’m hungry, but I think this is primarily an emotional issue.  I feel lonely, bored, or worthless, so I consume food.  Not a ridiculous amount, typically — I don’t binge, or anything, but I just want to work on addressing the actual cause rather than covering it with food, and practicing listening to my body.

So, as you may have noticed, January’s positive notes have morphed into February mini goals!  I am going to try to focus on something relatively small (today’s is sort of an exception) each day.  I’m not going to be mad at myself for not achieving everything; I just want to be aware and have the ideas/plans in my head.

No “exercise” today, but I ended up walking about four miles to stretch out my leggies a little, and I might do some abs tonight.  Lots of speedwork tomorrow!

Happy eats:

Last night’s dinner: steamed sweet potato with cinnamon, salad, and a new stir-fry invention: pineapple, carrot, cashews, tofu, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper.  Muy tasty.

Overnight OIAJ perfection.  Layers of oats, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin, and cinnamon.  Nom nom nom.

By the way, you should know that I sliced open my thumb trying to scrape the paper of the jar (it was Maranatha) so that you could see my creation.  That’s food blogger dedication.

Baking happy face!

Banana walnut chocolate chip bread for Cindy, the highest bidder for my baked good from Diana’s Bake Sale for Haiti!

I have been so in love with dried pineapple lately.  It feels like I’m eating a little piece of sunshine.

It’s Therapy Monday!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I just wanted to note that I don’t mention everything I’m working on in therapy on the blog.  Although I love all my new blog friends and am totally open to sharing my experiences, I don’t want to share things that involve family members or friends that they might not want shared.

Onto today.

We mostly talked about boys (men?) during today’s session.  I’ve done a little dating in the last few years, but not very much.  To be honest, it is something that makes me both fearful and anxious.  Because I hated myself — my body, my personality, my thoughts — for so long, I assumed that everyone else, including potential romantic partners, would hate me too.  Apparently, this is wrong!  Of course it’s wrong.  Well, I don’t actually mean wrong in a harsh way, but it was sort of distorted thinking.  I was telling my therapist about how I feel like I’ve just been having more conversations and interactions with guys lately, and she helped me realize that maybe they were always interested (not everyone, of course, but perhaps a few people), I was just too closed off to notice.  I think this is probably true.  Actually, my mom told me something similar about a year ago, but I think that was when I was in my deepest throes of self-loathing and unesteem, and I absolutely didn’t believe her.  Now, I think there’s a posssibility that I am not so horrible.  This is a major improvement for me.  I even hung out with a boy over the weekend.  For quite a long time, I thought that not only did I deserve to be alone, but that my deep feelings of sadness over this painful existence were merely part of my lot in life.  I’m an extremely emotional creature, and I think that I need someone to share this with.  I have my close friends, of course, and certainly my family members (I fiercely maintain that my mother has always been and will always be my best friend), but it might also be nice to have a new kind of relationship in my life.  I have come to the conclusion that this is something I am both ready for (finally) and desirous of.  I also think I have begun to understand some of the things I am looking for — not an extensive understanding, but a beginning, nonetheless.  Most of all, I want to know someone who is deeply passionate about things in their life.  I find this very attractive.  He doesn’t need to have the same passions as me — running, baking, books, for example — but he needs to love something very deeply.  Maybe I see this as an innate proof that he will be able to love me.  I’m not sure.  Whatever the case is, this is something that I am finally truly ready to delve into, and I think that therpay has given me the confidence I needed for this.

Now, how do I meet one of these men…

After classes today I was feeling really anxious — my evening schedule wasn’t working out exactly as I had planned it, and this always upset me.  So I went for a walk around my neighborhood, and stumbled across the peace garden next to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.  I’ve been to both the garden and the cathedral before, bu they seemed to be saying new things to me today.  I see a (light-hearted) post about spirituality in my future.  The garden, the fountain, the miniature animal sculptures, the massive and ornate church all immediately calmed me down.  I was a little awe-struck by it all, actually.  I took lots of pictures to remind myself of the beauty and happiness all around me.  

Ghosts?

Birds!  You may or may not know that I’m obsessed.

Until tomorrow my friends.  Have a happy Tuesday!