I Am Amazing: How ‘Thinking and Acting Like a Man’ Changed My Self-Perception

When I was four-years-old, I saw a commercial for Disney World and decided I wanted to visit Cinderella Castle. I started telling my extended family that my parents were taking me to Orlando (much to my parents’ surprise). One year later, my dad took my hand and walked me through the breezeway beneath the princess’ towers.

But somewhere between five and 30, I lost that unwavering confidence. I never considered myself beautiful, smart or strong. I was quiet and invisible. I worried that if I appeared too confident, others would think I was vain and shallow. I had to be perfect, of course, but others didn’t need to know how hard I worked at that perfectionism. I never wanted them to see how inadequate I truly was.

So, even though I had built a successful life for myself on the verge of 30, I felt completely dissatisfied and unhappy. With such a skewed self-perception, it’s mind boggling that I had even accomplished that much. I pretended to fly under the radar in my career, knowing full well I was capable of more. So, with the help of a life coach and a supportive network, I re-entered the job market. Continue reading

Advertisements

Have Some Self-Compassion This January

January has always been a difficult month for me. With less sun and warm days and days off to look forward to, it’s easy to fall into a depressed state. I’ve been sleeping a lot more, and I have less energy to do the things I love.

The difference this year is I acknowledge it’s January (so simple, right?), and I know where my lack of energy is stemming from. For the next three weeks of the month, now that I’ve recovered from the holidays, I am making a commitment to write every day (not necessarily on this blog). It doesn’t have to be much — yesterday, I wrote two sentences — and it can take the form of any medium.

But I hope by making this commitment to myself, I can keep the winter blues at bay and find some fulfillment on the most challenging days. Sometimes, a little self-compassion and confidence can go a long way.

A few months ago, I was feeling a bit lost on my personal and professional paths. I was being particularly hard on myself for getting wrapped up in what I called “failed initiatives.” I had put myself out there, and I felt rejected. So, taking a cue from Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer when it comes to self-compassion (she wrote the book on it), I wrote a letter to myself, from the perspective of a close friend (I’ve included an excerpt below). Continue reading

A Year in Review (as Dictated by Normandy the Cat)

I’ve never been a big fan of “a year in review,” even in blog post form. But seeing as how I never send holiday cards, I thought it would be fun to attempt such a narcissistic task in the most light-hearted way I know how, as dictated by my six-year-old black and brown tabby, who is currently rolling around on the floor high on catnip.

Here is Norm’s 2018 Year in Review:

Continue reading

Saying Goodbye to Mrs. Butterworth’s®

A few years ago, Norm (my six-year-old brown and black tabby) developed severe allergies that resulted in excessive biting and licking of his skin. We put him on a series of steroid treatments to relieve the itch and help the wounds heal until his allergy shots have a chance to kick in (which could take 12-18 months).

The only downside to so much steroid exposure? It increases his risk of developing diabetes. When I learned this vital information, I looked down at Norm and said, “Sorry, bud. We can only have one diabetic in this family.”

Fortunately, Norm has not developed diabetes. But that doesn’t mean the rest of my family has been so lucky. In the nine years I’ve had Type 1, I’ve watched friends and family endure the trials that come with gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

For a quick refresher: Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Fathers

It was hard to say goodbye to my dad today. He flew in from Kentucky on Friday to visit me for the weekend – his first solo visit. He hasn’t been to DC since his last visit in 2016. Our relationship has really changed over the years. We’ve become close, and one thing I do regret about moving away from Kentucky is being so far from family.

I wasn’t close to family when I was in Kentucky. It’s funny what distance does – what perspective it provides. I also didn’t have diabetes when I was in Kentucky. They knew a different Tracy, and on some level, are figuring out what Tracy with Type 1 means. Maybe I am too, for that matter?

Today at brunch, my dad asked me about what prompted them to admit me to the hospital when I was diagnosed. He asked about my blood sugar levels. It’s not that he doesn’t know. He’s just never had to deal with it on a daily basis. I only see my family once or twice a year (sometimes three, if I’m lucky). I once wrote about Christmas in Cookietown – how when I visit home, it can be fun to “play pretend,” forget that I have this disease that affects every fucking moment of every day.  Continue reading

A Year of Forgiving Myself

On a hike along Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, my best friend and I reminisced over past relationships and our current single states. We evinced pride for putting ourselves first and focusing on our health and well-being. But then my friend mentioned something about forgiving herself – that even as we heal, we sometimes forget the blame we put on ourselves, even when we’re not to blame.

A month ago, I took a leap of professional development faith and attended a Bossed Up Bootcamp in DC. I had heard about the organization and its founder from a friend of mine, and I came to respect the organization and its mission even more when I listened to Emilie Aries on the podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You. I didn’t really know what I wanted out of my career anymore, but as a woman, I wanted to feel empowered. I wanted to find the strength and stamina to continue to fight for the issues I believed in.

And while this may come as a surprise to many who know me, I actually do well in strange social situations. There is something about no one knowing who I am and where I’m from that gives me the freedom to play different roles and practice different personas. I love being in a room full of strangers. But it does take a lot of energy out of me.

Except I didn’t feel so free and excited at this Bossed Up Bootcamp. I had trouble connecting with folks. I felt excluded even though no one was excluding me. I couldn’t find the energy to “play pretend.” I couldn’t even find the energy to be myself. So, I just let myself be. I did get to know some amazing women, and I connected on an individual level with a few members of my cohort.

When I left that weekend, I felt exhausted and depleted. Why had that been such a struggle? These women all seemed so sure of themselves, and so sure that they were going to make it in the world. There is nothing wrong with that, but for some reason, I couldn’t emulate their excitement. I could only envy them for their energy.

At the end of Bootcamp, we were introduced to the Life Tracker. We chose a vision for four areas of our professional and personal lives: Work, Love, Wellness and Other. Then, we created three action steps for each vision. We gave ourselves motivations for achieving those action steps. And then, most importantly, we chose one vision to prioritize for the month, above all else.

It didn’t mean we couldn’t continue to work on all visions, but that we acknowledged doing everything at once is not always achievable (hear, hear, Type A persona). So, as much as I wanted to focus on my writing and my work for the month of February, I acknowledged that what I really needed was love. And my vision for love was “feeling supported.” Continue reading

Being Adventurous with Diabetes

The holidays are always a tough time for someone with Type 1 diabetes. I’m constantly surrounded by holiday treats and carb-heavy foods. Holiday parties tend to be the worst culprit.

This could be why I’ve been a bit anti-social lately. I don’t want to be tempted. This past year, managing my blood sugar levels became increasingly more difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my body is less resilient? Maybe it’s because I “cheat” more than I used to? Maybe it’s because I’ve had this disease longer, and it’s starting to take its toll on my mental and physical health?

Maybe all of the above? I recently took out a life insurance policy. That felt weird. And although I do my best, I know there is no guarantee with this disease, and in case anything terrible should happen as a result, I want my loved ones to be taken care of. But in the meantime, I’m still rooting for me. Continue reading