Where does the time go? Seriously. These days I mostly live for Monday evening, then Thursday noontime then Sunday morning. For a few weeks now Monday to Friday has flown by and I feel like I was standing still. I struggle to feel like I accomplished anything that would move my life forward in terms of finances, career, or relationships.  Each week that seems to slip passed me leaving me the same underachieving lonely sad mess that I was last week, threatens to bury me in hopelessness.

I said seems and threatens to undermine me. Yes, I am blogging from my phone, still in bed at noon and have a stabbing headache from sugar and alcohol. Yes my sleep schedule is off AGAIN and every joint in my body aches. Yes I gave into bad behavior about 1 am, but, and this is important, overall I did a great job this week and probably grew a mile emotionally.

Seeds4Life was dead on for me the last few days.  Those posts reminding me to steer clear of negativity and how my thoughts bring me my reality couldn’t have been better timed. All week these posts have fed me the good stuff I have needed. They have been like little daily guides as I rewrite my own story. My upcoming blog is not so cheery. It is not so calm and Zen. The Work to get to these places of achievement,  positivity, and using the laws of attraction for our betterment is often not pretty. I write of the struggle.

My struggle this week was pretty darn good. I added Balance to My Life in the last week or so. I finally have the budgetary resources and goals for a gym membership. I NEED A GYM. PERIOD. My body is the sort that must, must, must be physically active 4 or more times a week. I have always known this.  Since about the age of ten, I have been consciously making sure I exercise enough. For me it is not “oh, I should exercise to stay in shape” or anything like that. It is closer to a physical need or craving when I am in an otherwise normal-for-me state of being. Oh, for sure starting out after a long while out of the habbit is tough, just like everyone else, but once I launch myself for a solid week or two, I can’t NOT do it. So good news is, my body has been literally begging me to take it swimming for months now. I mean really begging complete with sensory memories of the cool pool-blue water splashing against my head, making my eyelids cold, filling up my ears, resisting against my downward pushing arms, flowing down my torso, caressing my fluttering legs. The coolness of the water awakens me. It’s movement revitalizes me and refreshes me as I make my own way known. Water has long time been my friend.

Pools have been my escape from the real world. There the dangers are known and safey is unquestioned. Yes I have been a lifeguard and a swim instructor. If I ever had Glory Days, those were them. I love the smell of chlorine.  It’s like home for me. When I am swimming laps, I like water filling my ears. It drowns out all the other noises. By my 5th or 6th lap my head is quiet. My head is almost never quiet. The Committee was there in the pool with me the first few days, three, I think. But not after that. Their nagging, judgements, I-told-you-sos, and directives can’t complete with the sound of my breathing. The best memory my body throws at me to get me back into the water is the sound of my breathing as I course through the coolness. There’s a crackling in the background of my ears. If I consciously stop to remember, there is also a little pain as water goes up my nose and into my sinuses once or maybe twice. Initially I hate that, but later when everything drains out again; it’s like using a netty pot and cleaning all the crap out. Looking back, I bet that this very thing is what kept my allergies somewhat manageable when I didn’t even know I had them. I always remember as a kid feeling really clean and clear after a day of swimming. As a teen and young adult I always felt healthier at my pool jobs. Some of it was probably the benefits of exercise and sun. The last day I swam I went to work right afterward. Throughout my shift I could smell the chlorine evaporating with my sweat and felt the familiar itch as it dried out my skin. It was weirdly comforting.

I felt normal. I felt like a large piece of myself had returned. It is normal for me to want to, to need to, to go swimming most days.

I am NOT the same underachieving lonely sad mess that I was last week.  It was a huge accomplishment to spend ALL of 2013 on my number one Core Goal of attaining Safety for myself,  by myself, for the long haul. My monthly budget is sound enough to handle a gym membership without struggle. That is FREAKING AWESOME. To develop this safe, sound, comfortable budget on a small income and ward off fears of creditors; I’ve had to develop Patience. Patience is not easy for ACOAers. It is not easy for co-dependents and even harder for counter-depends. Addicts are not patient. I tend to not be patient when I am covering up Shame. I felt shame over being an overweight-sad-underachieving- lonely-poor-single-drop-out-loser. In my mind, a gym membership hides a lot of those shameful problems. Reality sucks. Until last week, two and a half years after moving to a new place, after walking away from a life not about me; I FINALLY have a gym membership again. A gym with a pool. With a clean pool. With towels. My gym also has parking, low theft, no violence, new equipment (even the ones I actually will eventually use), and is easily accessible as I won’t go if it is too far away or a pain to get there. The only negative is the hours suck. I closes by 7pm on Friday, 5pm on Saturday, and not open at all on Sunday. WHAT???? You say. Ya. The reason is sustainability. 

I spent ALL of 2014 on making sure every single thing in my life is sustainable for the L………o…………n…………g haul. This means anything in my budget has to fit the way it is RIGHT NOW. I cannot, no, I will not pay for anyting that require extra hours, a second job,  shuffling my bills around, credit, borrowing, or counting down to some end date. Nope. I’ve spent ALL of my life that way. Done. My finances have to be stable. I may be an overweight-sad-underachieving- lonely-poor-single-drop-out-loser, but I am an overweight-sad-underachieving-lonely-poor-single-drop-out-loser on sustainable budget. And the sucky hours? If I go 54 times by Sept. 30, next year is FREE except of course for the tax.

So, this week I had a major accomplishment for my Core Values 1,2 and 3. Safety, Sustainability and Balance. The Character trait developed to be safe is my growing patience with myself, mostly feeling shameful and embassessed. Sustainability for me, requires the character trait of Honesty. I have to be honest with my Budget first and always. I have to be honest with what I need and want, but those things must line up with my income. Period. This is extremely hard for me the sometimes spoiled co-dependent good person victim that I am. Knocking off this crap is awful. There are days I think I cannot do it. There are days I toy with picking the crazy back up and going back. I dream for 1 minute about some disaster “saving” me yet again. I think about some guy and wonder if he will come back for me. HELLO!!!! WHERE THE HELL DO I think that came from? I have to be honest with myself all the time. Am I hoping my parent comes back and finds me good enough? This crap is deep!

I have been able to move on to my next core value of Balance. (I think I fixed my bold type problem! )  Balance is my Core Value for 2015. I know the times in my life that I have been at my best and mostly healthy, I have been fairly balanced. I have worked enough but not too much, I swam often, I pursued education, spent time with friends then later my child, I was involved in community groups, and in the last decade I went to church. I know how to be balanced when I am not in survival mode or scared out of my mind. PTSD is a real thing. It totally cripples otherwise functional and mostly normal people. Even with being frightened normally most of the time, I still functioned pretty well. Even with Dysthymia, GAD, panic attacks, dissociation, and other not-so-great things that I struggled with, I did well. So well, most people had no clue I was such a mess on the inside. PTSD stripped me bare. PTSD took me down. I ceased normal daily functioning in terms of self care. I was alive, but in a heap on the Pepto-Bismal Bed.  Coming out of that and regaining some sense of normal daily functioning has been a ton of Work. I have done it! Going to work is not a problem. Picking up extra hours is not a problem. Doubling back,  double shifts, floating, dual roles, switching roles, call offs, working sick and under psychological stress, is doable again. This week I swam 5 times, a minimum of 500 yards in 15 minutes or less AND doubled back for a double shift. As beat as I was the next day, I felt totally triumphant! Last night I did get aggrivated when it got insane and I was without help, hence the headache today, but overall it’s been a damn good week.

It was like I was working on my issues but not being drowned by them.  Seeds4Life was like a friend infusing positive reinforcements with each challenge that came my way. Words of truth delivered to my smartphone reminding me of the truths I missed growing up, but do know when I calm down and forcus on my Work. There truths remind me of what I have accomplished.

I will lose 28 pounds. But swimming isn’t about weight for me. It’s about finding peace in the water. It’s about my longtime good healthy relationship with and the honoring of my body. Swimming balances my mind and my body.

Off I go. The pool will be closing.