Thursday, May 1, 2014

Epiphanies Come in Threes

Yes, I do know that statement usually applies to celebrity deaths and plane crashes but good things can come in threes also. And even though some realizations are as painful and difficult as childbirth both usually result in extreme joy.

I've been realizing a lot of things about myself lately. Sometimes we just have to wait until our eyes open up so that we can see. I think that is the nature of an epiphany, it is usually something that was there all along but then one day there is a flash of genius and you finally become aware of a great truth. I guess it is true that we see the light when we are ready for it but some of mine have been a long time coming.

One thing I've realized and this is because I laid out the puzzle pieces of my life a few posts ago, hoping that it would spur me into finally getting started on some long term goals. Then my DHC challenges of late have all been about prioritizing and deciding what is most important and what is not. I started thinking about how I spend my day avoiding working on this house and also how, all of my other plans and activities have mentally hinged on getting the house done. At least that was how I was seeing it. Suddenly my eyes opened on this one. I remember a bible verse that said something about where you spend your time is where your heart is. I don't think that is necessarily true. It should be true but in my case it is not. I've neglected my horses, I've neglected my art, I've neglected my body and health all because of this obsession with a huge and overwhelming task that I'm getting no where on. So, epiphany number one: spend more time doing the things I love, making progress in areas that I can, controlling what can be controlled and hopefully, those puzzle pieces will finally start falling into place. And even if they don't, I will be much happier just because I'm spending my time where my heart truly is.

What have I been spending my time on lately, unpaid work for other people. I've been trying to arrange our high school reunion and I've been doing it all on my own. Everyone else wants a reunion but no one is lifting a finger to help me. It's frustrating, it's scary because I have to get enough people signed up, agreeing to attend to get the price down on the place, meal and activities and so far, only half the number I need have been courteous enough to even respond. I also have been helping a friend with a charity run that he's planning to do. I'm more than happy to help with this but at the same time, frustrated because my friend seems unable to think about anything but the actual run and no one else is stepping up to help out. Being me, I've taken it on myself to create the website, design the Tee, organized the tag along runs (it is 113 mile trek he's taking on), take care of the financials and send out press releases. I'm wondering where all those people are who said they'd help with fund raising and organization? Still, I'm happy to do this work but the stress is really getting to me. I'm tired, depressed and moody and my face has broken out. I've not been a happy camper but still I keep trooping along. Once this work is done and the project is rolling along smoothly, I have to get together my graduation gift for my nephew, Charlie. I took photos of him and his girlfriend before their prom and I want to get those printed and possibly put into a book for them. Great idea but that too takes something I'm short on lately, time. There are a dozen other tasks and commitments that I'm behind on and none of them are bringing in any money for us or getting me any closer to those long term goals for me and my life. Which brings me to epiphany number two: I have to start valuing myself and my work enough to get paid for it. I've been working nonstop for several years now and not getting paid for anything. I have to stop giving work away and I have to get over this fear or embarrassment of actually expecting people to pay me for the work I do. True, the three examples above are not ones where I expect payment but there are plenty of other cases where I let people talk me into doing work for free or talk me into deep discounts. It isn't right. Even though I made my living at art for over 25 years, I still feel as if people look at me and say, "Oh, that's just Sande. She's not a professional. Her work isn't worth anything." Maybe no one thinks that.....but me. It's time that changes. It's time that I say, "NO MORE!" and I begin to value myself and my work enough to say, "I deserve to get paid for this and I'm good enough to expect a fair value for my work!" You're getting a Sande Elkins original, damn it! Expect to pay for it.... mucho dollars....mucho, mucho dollars!

Okay, I did say three epiphanies........ A huge part of my problem is and always has been that I'm a people pleaser. I try my best to keep everyone happy. I bend over backwards to help others but rarely is the favor returned. I've always been the family peace keeper and always end up getting hit from both sides when the mud starts flying. That all has to stop, too. My self worth has been built on other's opinions of me. The problem with that, those people almost always have their own agenda. In other words, the "opinionated" usually knock you down just to build themselves up. The second problem with that, I'm judging my own self worth on the opinions of people who usually aren't important in my life. I've spent too much time trying to please or trying to impress all of the wrong people. I've listened too often to critiques by people with ulterior motives and judged myself based on those critiques. It's time that I gained a little confidence and a whole heap of self worth. I need to stop basing my actions and beliefs on the way anyone else feels about me but myself. I've never understood that statement, "What other people think of you is none of your business" because I've always been way too sensitive to what other people were thinking. But the truth is, whether or not it is my business, it shouldn't matter. They are going to think what they think but in the end, only I know the truth behind both my actions and words and my own feelings and in the end, my thoughts, feelings and opinions are the only ones that matter to me. I have to get not only confidence but I need to get a little gumption and say, how I feel and think is just as important as what you feel and think and my opinion of myself is the only one that matters because it's the only one I have to live with and be responsible for.

So, I'm growing. Fifty-eight years old and still learning, who would have thunk it?

One more thing and maybe this is an epiphany as well....but then that would mess with my theory of threes so we will just call this an add on........ I've started eating gluten again. In fact, I've been binging on foods that I have not eaten in four years but in the past few months, they haven't just been staples of my diet but obsessions. The good news, I'm losing the urge to eat breads, pastries and pasta and I'm starting to crave healthy foods. So, I'm hoping that this gorging of myself on whatever I desire is coming to an end. It all started after that week when I was too sick to eat anything.... or at least couldn't keep anything I ate down. I guess starving made me appreciate food more and when I was able to, I indulged! That was two months ago and I've been a very, very bad girl. I have to get back on the program and start eating a healthier and more balanced diet...... and exercising and sleeping well again, neither of which I've done since being sick. For the last twenty years, I've been saying that I need balance in my life but so far, I have not achieved that goal. I have to decide what is really important in my life. I think with health and nutrition and everything else in my life, I haven't been seeing the forest for the trees. It's time to change that and start setting mini goals, little hills, and forget about those major mountains until I get to them. Once I climb all these little hills, that mountain just might be a piece of cake.

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