Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2020. — Accomplished!
Publish my updated TBR post. — Accomplished!
Re-organize the filing system. — Semi-Achieved.
Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Accomplished!
Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Semi-Achieved.
Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Accomplished!
Send at least five cards, letters, and care packages. — Did not accomplish.
Continue preparations for P.E.O. Virginia State 2022 Convention. — Accomplished!
I had a really good month. I’m still working from home, as is Al. We are grateful to our companies for keeping us and our colleagues as safe as possible as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States.
I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished with this session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I wanted to add 20,000 new words to the novel I started during NaNoWriMo 2013. Look for a post about that in August.
I’m really pleased with finally getting to cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. I filled a 13-gallon trash bag nearly full with expired food and spices. A lot of it had gotten pushed to the back of the cabinets, and it’s hard for me to reach back there without standing on a chair or step stool. It’s so much easier to find the spices now. The next step is to install either a Lazy Susan system or moving shelves in both cabinets so that it’s even easier to locate what we need when we’re cooking.
The dining room buffet is a work in progress. I finally got the kitchen table cleaned off, and have kept it clean and clutter-free for almost a full week.
The filing system is also being evaluated. I need to do a few more things in my office before that can be accomplished, but I’m hoping to get a few more boxes out of the room this weekend. I also filled a trash bag and three small boxes with old books and DVDs for donation to the thrift stores. My couch is clean again!
I’m excited to buy acid-free paper and sheet protectors to preserve my university newspaper articles. I got a 3-inch binder for free from a sorority sister that was preparing to move, so that should be plenty of space to store everything.
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of July?
I found this on Facebook on July 29, 2020. It was originally shared by Heatherina Lavender on May 25, 2018.
This was utterly shocking to me. I’m ashamed of how shocking it was.
No wonder Americans have issues with eating disorders!
The resounding comment I got when I shared this on my Facebook page/profile was about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Many of my friends have it, but almost all of them were not properly or appropriately diagnosed for YEARS. And that is completely unacceptable.
I remember learning about PCOS in “Family Life.” I think The Care and Keeping of You, by American Girl, may have covered it? I can’t remember for sure. I also read Girlology multiple times through the library.
Here’s some more information about PCOS:
The ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that women typically have in small amounts.
Some women do not have cysts in their ovaries with PCOS, and some women have cysts that do not have a PCOS diagnosis.
The most common treatment is medication, but there is currently no cure.
Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance.
Symptoms: Missed periods, irregular periods, excess body hair, weight gain (especially in the belly region), acne or oily skin, infertility, skin tags, dark or thick patches of skin in certain areas.
I’ve included a list of resources at the end of this post.
I’m not a medical professional, far from it. I’m not here to give medical advice. However – Something I completely agree with in this series of screenshots is this: Unless your child is severely obese, there should be no discussion of weight at their doctor visits, especially not in front of them.
Having worked for two different healthcare systems since 2012, I’ve watched the changes in body mass index (BMI), weight management, diabetes, nutrition, and more. It’s been staggering, and a lot of it has made my head spin. I can’t imagine how it feels for people with chronic pain, autoimmune diseases/disorders, and parents!
Also, the way weight is approached needs to change. A good example is what happened to a family member more than a decade ago, probably 17-18 years ago now. They knew full well they were overweight, and never went to the doctor regularly. Well, this family member ended up with a terrible UTI, and needed antibiotics at a minimum. They went, reluctantly, and the doctor advised bloodwork since they were already there at the office. To no one’s surprise, the bloodwork indicated Type 2 diabetes.
But, here’s the kicker. The doctor didn’t say “I want you to lose weight.”
The doctor said, “I’m giving you a week to improve these numbers. Then we’ll re-evaluate.”
This family member went home, started walking more frequently, and started changing their diet. It’s been a slow process, but the doctor was pleased with their progress in that one week. And the progress continued. Their diabetes is now under control, and has been successfully controlled for the last several years. It’s remarkable what that doctor said. It changed the family member’s life!
I mentioned eating disorders (EDs) earlier. I’ve been educating myself on EDs for quite a while now. I personally have never truly experienced or suffered from (or diagnosed with) anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, or disordered eating, but I know many people who have. It’s mostly women, but I know men who have struggled as well. It’s called a disorder for a reason. Many of my friends, thankfully, have received help.
One blogger who truly opened my eyes has been BeautyBeyondBones. She posts the most amazing and delectable recipes based on her specific eating plan (Specific Carb Diet – SCD – among others), but she has also been incredibly candid about her ongoing journey with ED. She was in treatment, relapsed, and has been recovering ever since.
The other thing I noticed was “thin privilege.” I had to look it up.
In simple terms, it means that I, among others, have never experienced demeaning comments, unsolicited advice, medical discrimination, paying more money for clothes and airline seats, and other shaming instances because I’m “thin.”
Have I gained weight? Of course. I’ve gained about 35 pounds since I met Al in 2010. But, there are reasons why – I graduated from college and wasn’t walking around campus multiple times a day, every day; I started working a job in front of a computer (and that hasn’t changed since 2011, except for getting a sit-stand desk); and I got older. Studies show that a woman’s metabolism begins to slow down at age 25.
If we looked at my BMI, I’m borderline overweight for my height. But, I don’t let that affect me.
Do I struggle with body image? Yes. A lot of it was ingrained in my head from certain family members since childhood, church members, and my ex-boyfriend who was incredibly vain and wanted me to look good for him at all times. I struggled with how to work out properly for years.
Now, in my early 30s, I finally have a healthier mindset. You are not defined by your weight or image. Children are certainly not defined by that. I have vowed to remove this harmful language from my vocabulary!
Today is the day that I have been strangely anxious about for the last several weeks.
Today – July 17, 2020 – marks ten years since I escaped from my abusive boyfriend, John.
While I haven’t written down the entire book of what happened to me from 2006 through July 17, 2010, I wanted to share pieces of it, and things I’ve learned in these last ten years.
Something that Elin Stebbins Waldal wrote in her memoir, Tornado Warning, will stick with me forever:
“… I know what he can be and is capable of so I almost always feel on guard. It’s hard to just relax and trust him. It’s all so weird.”
The abuse started gradually. It was all mental and emotional abuse. John’s words could cut me like a knife. One text message could spin me out of control into What-If-Land, where I was terrified that I’d said the wrong thing. Eventually, even the words “I love you” didn’t feel safe.
John hit me twice in the week that I broke up with him, that fateful week in mid-July 2010. That was the only true physical abuse I endured. I was lucky to get out when I did.
I feel fortunate that I didn’t suffer as much physical abuse as Elin did, but, to be honest, the emotional and mental abuse was worse. The two hits that John delivered on that Monday and Wednesday simply solidified my beliefs that I was not happy, that this was not right, and that I finally had enough courage to speak up, say something, and leave.
John and I dated from July 1, 2006 through July 17, 2010. The first year, and part of the second year, I thought they were great, although there were red flags that I missed. John swept me off my feet. He romanced me. I thought he truly loved me.
I thought we were okay because we’d successfully dated the entire first year at different high schools. Turns out, he completely changed his college plans to be with me. I knew I was going to Longwood in November 2006. He had been accepted to VCU, which was only 45 minutes away in Richmond. But, he applied to Longwood, got in, and decided to go there to be with me. It sounds romantic, but it was the beginning of the perfect storm.
He started isolating me almost immediately. I remember how upset he was that I got to move in earlier than him, because I was going on a retreat with my Honors College classmates the weekend before the semester started. I could hear the anger and jealousy in his voice during the few phone calls we exchanged before he moved on campus. Each phone call made me feel horrible, like I had done something wrong.
It only got worse from there. I spent nearly every break from college crying to my mom, unloading all my worries, anxieties, fretting, fears, and more. Once I dried my tears, I felt better. I picked myself up, dusted off, and moved along. But, the next break, it happened again, like clockwork.
Abuse manifests itself in so many ugly, horrendous forms.
It took years for me to see the light. Even though EVERYONE around me saw right through it, years before. I finally realized, at some point in 2010, that I was not the same Laura Beth. I wanted to change.
The key with abusive relationships (and friendships) is that YOU have recognize that you’re being abused. No one else can convince you otherwise.
When I read Janine Latus’s book in early 2016, I made these observations in my Book Review:
The constant feeling of walking on eggshells when talking to / being around your partner – You never feel calm / relaxed around them.
Being contacted multiple times by phone / text/ Facebook message, etc. – Always checking in, concerned if I was minutes late to something with him.
Restricting time with friends and family.
Manipulating ideas and thoughts (Example: John put the idea in my head that my own mother was one of the laziest people on this Earth, and he convinced me to tell her that. It was absolutely awful. Mom forgave me, but I still feel terrible about that, all these years later.)
Certain habits become routine / expected – John was always hunting for the new trends, and wanted me to go along with him. He wanted me to wear what he thought looked best. He asked me multiple times to change clothes (phrased as, “You’re wearing that?”), even if I felt great in what I had been wearing.
This book hit me harder than Tornado Warning, which surprised me. I remember reading the end of this book while Al was asleep next to me in bed, and my eyes filled with tears as I closed the book, filled with gratitude that I found and married the man who loves me for who I am and doesn’t want to change me.
I’m glad I read this. It renewed my gratitude that I am a survivor, but also renewed my awareness that women (and men) still suffer from, and die from, abuse every single day.
If nothing else, there are two specific terms that I want you to take away from this post: Love bombing, and gaslighting.
Love bombing: The practice of showering a person with excessive affection and attention in order to gain control or significantly influence their behavior.
Gaslighting: manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
My recent mole biopsy was not cancerous. It was labeled as an “atypical mole.” This is on the low end of the spectrum for pathology and dermatology. I do not have to come back for another exam in 2020 unless the area becomes pigmented. If that happens, then they will need to get what are called clear margins, which can be significant. This is what happened at least once with a mole on my back.
I’m so grateful to the staff at my dermatology practice!
Thanks to everyone for reading my earlier post, commenting on it, and offering support. This is one of the many reasons why I adore the WordPress community.
Finish the second draft of my novel. — Did not accomplish.
Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback. — Did not accomplish.
Clean out and organize the linen closet. — Accomplished!
Send the box of consignment items to Darby. — Accomplished!
Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Did not accomplish.
Send at least four cards or letters to friends. — Accomplished!
Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.
Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory. — Did not accomplish.
This month was weird. I was more deeply affected by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests than I anticipated.
However, I was able to give blood! Yay! Al made steak the night before the drive, and my iron level was 14.3, one of the highest levels I’ve had. The baseline requirement for women is 12.5. And, my favorite phlebotomist, Spencer, was at the drive and helped me through it. I struggled to fill the bag, which is completely my fault. I forgot to drink enough water. More fluids!
I shipped off the massive Walmart box to Darby. It weighed almost 25 pounds! I paid almost $95 in shipping costs, but Darby offered me $164 in store credit, so I jumped on it. I’ve gotten a lot of pretty things this month, and I found a beautiful shirt with a flower on it and “Mom” on it for my mom.
I did a lot of other things with the house the month. The linen closet is finally clean and organized the way it should be, at least in my mind.
Al and I also went through our closets, filled two garbage bags full of outgrown clothes, and gathered several other things to donate. I dropped everything off at the thrift store on Sunday.
I’ve been slowly making my way through Just Mercy. It’s a good book, but it’s heavy. Look for a review on the Netflix documentary “13th” coming soon.
The Ebony and Fire Writing Club is currently on hiatus. I was disappointed at first, but one of the organizers wanted to take a break to focus on Black Lives Matter and some other priorities for a while.
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of June?