Friday, January 31, 2014

Just Keep Going

This is the famous couch that I sat on for months watching stupid tv and
doing a whole lot of nothing.
I set a goal on January 1st. (Actually, Little Miss Type-A set 37 goals for 2014, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll tell you about one).

Goal #12: I will work out everyday in January.  (So cliché, I know).

And you know what?  Except for one day, I actually did it.  30 days of working out.  Trust me, I’m more shocked than you.  I’m equally shocked that:

a) I’m actually confessing that I didn’t work out one day, and
b) I’m (trying) not to beat myself up over it. (Really, one day? Ugh.  Fine, moving on).

Progress (sorta)!

I learned 3 things from this little experiment: 
  1. Losing weight is freaking hard.  Especially as I get older. 
  2. I love working out.  I reconnected with my crazy bone that absolutely adores, and is now completely addicted to it.
  3. No matter what, I had to just keep going.  There were days that I didn’t want to do a darn thing.  But I realized if I did something, anything, it always motivated me to do more.

I’ve been thinking about how it would have been great to take my own just keep going advice at other times in my life.   I thought of one example in particular.

Last year when I lost my job and moved to Newport Beach, I had no job, few friends, and LOADS of time on my hands.  Do you know what I decided to do?  Take daily 4-hour hikes, become a gourmet chef, devour Forbes’ Best Business Books of 2012?  Nope.  I thought it would be a great idea to sit on my couch and catch up on Mad Men.  

For months, I felt very sorry for myself.  I questioned what the heck happened to my seemingly perfect life.  And God?  I was downright pissed at him, wondering why he’d let this happen to me.

(Side note: This was really weird behavior for me.  I’ve always been a positive, successful little fireball.  So my friends and family were pretty worried.  Luckily, good things came out of that sad little chapter in my life.  As in, really good, miraculous things).

Back to my point (I swear I have one).  Life will always throw me curve balls. I can choose to knock them out of the park, or wallow in the dugout.

I choose to stay in the game*. To just keep going.

Because that’s when the magic happens. 

Those are the times when I need God most.  Those hardships are when I’m being refined.  And he’s with me, comforting me, strengthening me, every step of the way.

So if you’re going through a rough time, I get it.  We all do. 

Just keep going. 

*This baseball analogy came out of left field.  Ha! Seriously, I will stop now.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Like Cookies

The site of the now-famous "Two Cookies" incident.
My dad asked me yesterday if I’ve always been a writer.

Geez.  I’m a little insulted he didn’t remember my award-winning kindergarten haiku that went something like this:

I want a cookie
Oh cookie
I love you

This was inspired by a true story: my mom was called to my kindergarten class because I was only supposed to have 1 cookie, but I lied that I had dropped my cookie so I could have two. 

Teacher: Kalei lied about dropping her cookie.  We’re very concerned.
Mom: Um, I think she just wanted another cookie. 

Love you, mom.

Most recently, I had a dessert blog*.  Which let me tell you, for someone who loves food, had an eating disorder, and was a self-described Sugar Addict, I’ll go ahead and chalk this up to The Worst Idea I’ve Ever Had.  

But it was kinda fun.  I elevated dessert eating to a fine art.  In fact, I made it a full-time job.  And at the time, I was living in New York City, so holy sugar rush, I had deliciously dangerous options at every corner.  (Shout out to my homies at Levain Bakery, Sugar & Plumm and Momofuku Milk Bar.  I will be back.  Oh yes, I will be back).   

However, I just recently reconnected with writing, which I sorta forgot was a passion of mine.  And it’s funny because now, I. Can’t. Stop.  I’m seriously vomiting all over you nice people every day with the crazy chatter in my head.

It’s been cathartic.  It’s been scary.  It’s been wonderful. It’s been downright terrifying.  I mean, I’ve always been a pretty private person, and now this?  I’m definitely a dive-headfirst-into-the-pool kinda girl.

But I have to tell you, the scariness of sharing crazy, kooky me is far outweighed by what I’ve gained. (Seriously, Kooky is one of my nicknames.  I have like 14 different ones that range from Loolies to Cassius but this is one of my favorites cause it’s awfully fitting). 

Because being honest and authentic--there is so much freedom here.

I wish I had figured this out sooner.  It would have been nice to have this freedom a long time ago.  But my dad told me recently that he wished he had learned everything I’m learning at my age.  So I guess I have no regrets.  Everyone learns, or chooses not to, in their own time. 

Here’s my biggest lesson to date: I’m so grateful. For the people and experiences God has hand-picked and placed in my life.  For everything he has shown me and continues to show me.  My journey hasn’t always been easy, but all in all, it’s been quite an amazing ride.

And I have a funny feeling the best is yet to come.

*If you’d like to read some of my disturbingly obsessive dessert stories, you can check it out here:  You’ve been warned.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Struggles Suck

Talk about struggles...I struggled not to eat this entire plate
of delicious little treats at my friend's birthday tea.
I’ve been thinking a lot about struggles lately.  Mostly, that they’re not fun.

I’ve had my fair share, and subsequent moments of despair.  That’s when I call my friend Amy.

Me: My life sucks!
Amy: No it doesn’t.  I understand you’re going through a rough time.  And I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s all happening for a reason.  God has a plan.
Amy: Oh honey, I know.  But it’s gonna be ok.  You know it will be.
Me: Ugh.  FINE.

(I know, I’m so mature).

I came up with a Checklist of My Favorites.
  •  Pastors Kid
  • College in cold, foreign places
  • Depression
  • Overachiever
  •  Eating Disorder
  • Being Hypersensitive
  • Hating my Body
  • Hating Myself
  • Divorce
  • Dating
  • Moving to NYC- twice
  • Losing My Job
  • Starting my own company 

Check! Check! Check!

My point is not to brag (cause I’m sure you’re super jealous).  We all have our own lists.

But what I could not, would not see at the time, was that they were gifts.

Come again?

I now see them not as struggles, but as messy little gifts. 

God was giving me gifts of strength, courage, resilience.  Gifts that have taught me compassion, empathy, understanding, patience, love.

I know my checklist will grow.  I mean, I’m only thirty- (ha choo!)  Excuse me.

And I would be a big, fat liar if I said I was looking forward to a longer list.  But the truth is, I now see that only through these struggles have I grown, learned, become a better version of myself.

In my devotional* today, I was reminded that our character is built through crisis.

We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 
Romans 5:3-5

This is new for me, this whole seeing my struggles as gifts.  Because trust me, if you had told me when I was going through my divorce that it was a gift, I would have told you exactly where to shove it.

I guess I’m growing. 

*My small group is currently studying Rick Warren’s Transformed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hiding Sucks

This is my little niece sharing her
 "big belly."   I always learn a
thing or two from her. 
I’ve been brilliant at hiding for most of my life.  I mean, I was downright exceptional at not letting people see the real me. 

Why?  The truth was too scary: I. Was. A. Mess.  And I didn’t want anyone to think I was anything less than perfect.

There’s a reason why until recently, even the closest people in my life had no idea what was going on behind the scenes:

I was really, really good at it.

Call it a PK* skill, but hiding my struggles, and what was actually going on, just came naturally.  Not only did I not want to burden anyone with my little problems, I didn’t want anyone to know I had any problems.

It was so much safer for me to pretend that I was fine, everything was fine, in fact, darling, my life is just AMAZING! 

Q: “How’s the diet going?”
A: It’s going really well.  I’ve lost 2 pounds this week alone!
(In reality: I starved myself for 5 days eating nothing but soup broth, so last night I binged on a bowl of raw cookie dough, 3 giant blueberry muffins and an entire box of chocolate macadamia nuts.)

Q: “How’s your job in New York?”
A: I’m learning a ton, meeting incredible people!  It’s been such a great opportunity!
(In reality: I was told I’m losing my job next week and I’m completely falling apart.)

Q: “How’s married life?”
A: It’s so wonderful!  Blissful, just like everyone says.  
(In reality: My marriage is crumbling and I don’t know what to do.)

True story: When I finally ended my marriage, only two of my friends knew we were even having issues.  My family was in complete shock.  So were the rest of my friends.  I literally had to repeat myself several times to my mom because she couldn’t fathom what I was telling her.

I preferred to keep my problems to myself.   I would tell myself, I don’t need anyone.  I’ve got this.

That philosophy didn’t serve me well.  In fact, it was utterly exhausting. 

What I’ve now learned:

There is so much power in sharing your struggles with others.

There is so much power in knowing you’re not alone.

There is so much power in just being you.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I’m not advocating shouting your problems from the rooftops.  (Seriously, please don’t do that).    But, being open and honest about my struggles has opened the doors for others to relate, and for me to experience healing, acceptance, grace.     

I’m beyond lucky that I’ve found an AMAZING group of women with whom I can be completely authentically me.  And oddly, they still love me.  (Shout out to my P31 homies.  Love you ladies).

That’s what I wish for you, too.

*I’m a PK, aka Pastors Kid.  Yep. Right now, I bet all kinds of fun stereotypes are banging around in your head.