Yesterday I was so inspired by one of my colleagues and it really stuck with me. Enough that I am back on the very blog I have been avoiding for a while as I try to navigate what the last few months have been like in a very tumultuous time in my life.

We’re learning if we have jobs in about a week, possibly a little bit later than that. There aren’t enough for all of us and we know that. There could be people that are sitting on job offers for other parts of the company, but we don’t know. We just know right now the climate is strange and we’re all staring at each other wondering which boat we’re going to be in and if we’re going to be employed after the next 7 months. It’s strange.

In our meeting yesterday, one of my peers shared that she didn’t post for any of the job opportunities. We were shocked. She just didn’t want to post. She didn’t want to stress in her life and she seemed completely and utterly at peace with the decision that she made. We’re not particularly close, but in that moment I was just so impressed with her.

I didn’t apply for all the positions that were available and I think I am at peace with it but some days I am not so sure. I haven’t actually admitted that to most people, in part because they haven’t asked and in part because I am trying to convince myself if next week comes and I don’t get a job offer I am going to be totally fine with it. I want to be totally fine with it because I want to be that kind of person – the person that my colleague is.

She’s not going to have a job in 7 months and she seems completely contented and happy with life. She’s going to pursue something, but she doesn’t know what and it doesn’t bother her. She’s not making plans. She’s just going to ride this out till the building closes and then she’s going to figure out her next steps. I can’t help but think how freeing that feeling must be to not be bogged down by this entire process, but instead to be able to come to work, enjoy what you do and then go home every night, leaving it there, knowing the impact it has on your life and no longer being in limbo about it because you’re not waiting for an outcome. It may seem like I am romanticizing this, and to a degree I am sure I am, but that just seems like a really nice place to be.

Over the last few months, Ryan and I have talked a lot about the future and what it looks like. It’s basically been the only thing we’ve talked about. Every night we have similar conversations that are just basically us word vomiting out what we feel that day about the situation. It’s been kind of great in a lot of ways – we’re communicating a ton and we’re really leaning on each other. We talk a lot about what our lives will look like depending on where we end up and we’re extremely optimistic about everything, but we also sit in a constant state of not knowing and that’s the place we’ve been in for almost three months. It’s daunting to be there, but yet to have to go to work every single day and stay engaged, keep your people engaged, empathize with them and their situation, knowing your situation is similar or possibly worse than theirs. It’s a lot to take in and it can be entirely draining. Couple that with school, with a pregnancy, with a toddler and you have a recipe for what could feel like the most stressful period of your life. Taking a page from the book of my colleague, I’m reminding myself and my peers that this is not within our control, but it is almost over. 🙂

When you feel like an imposter

We’re going through big changes at my job, which are in and of themselves going to warrant a completely separate post. Though it is insanely early in the process, I can feel myself growing and I can feel myself growing already because I an extremely uncomfortable and for the first time in a few months, it’s not because I am pregnant.

I watched at TED Talk today and I’ve seen it before. It’s not new and you can find it here. It’s called “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.”

In it, Amy, the presenter talks about feeling like an imposter. She had a major brain injury from a car accident and although he had major challenges, she found herself at Princeton and felt like she didn’t belong. She felt like she was an imposter. I relate to this so much.

I’ve had conversations with Ryan fairly regularly, at minimum once a year and usually during periods where I am trying to figure myself out and I feel like I don’t belong. When people give me opportunities, I find myself feeling like I don’t deserve them or I don’t belong in the room with the other people that are sitting there. I tell myself frequently that I need to sit at the table, but that doesn’t mean I actually do it and it doesn’t mean I always believe myself. There are times when it seems like the people around me are believing in me, but I am standing there wondering when they’re going to realize that I am not capable of everything they think I am capable of.

I haven’t been found out yet, which you’d think would be something that would remind me that I do belong and I am NOT faking it. I actually am good at leading a team. I actually am smart and I actually do have good ideas. It hasn’t fully translated there yet and I don’t really know when it will.

Today I had an epiphany though, and I realized that I am not faking it. I’m not. I have become what I thought I was faking this entire time.

I was sitting in a room last week staring at 16 different faces of people that I care very strongly for. These people are my employees. In this moment, they’d just found out that by the end of 2018, we may not have jobs. All of us, not just them. They were staring at me for guidance and honestly, hearing the news just the day before, I wasn’t sure if I was actually prepared to give them the guidance they needed.

The night before (or rather, the night of this conversation), I was up at 1am. I came to work with the biggest coffee that Starbucks had to offer. I stood there and watched hundreds of people learn the news I’d only found out 24 hours prior. Then I went to debrief with my personal 16.

I felt like I was at an impasse. In these moments, you learn who is and isn’t a confident leader. You have to become the leader that you want to follow and if you don’t, you really haven’t maximized the opportunity you’ve got to learn, to leverage, to empathize. These situations don’t arise that often in a person’s career and they can be make or break.

For the following hour, I talked with them. I lamented. I told them I had a plan. I told them what we were going to do. I lead them. There were people laughing and people crying. What there was not was a bunch of negativity. Instead, there was empowerment. I felt like I gave them a chance to see what they could control in this situations. I shifted the focus to what we could all do now and took it off what we can’t control. I did it and they were not afraid. They are still not afraid. We’re taking action, we’re not letting life happen to us.

Today, in watching that TED Talk, I realized I am not an imposter anymore. I don’t feel that way. I’ve spent years feeling like I have been given opportunities and chances, not that I earned them. I DID earn them. I am still earning them. I’m not an imposter. I’m a leader. I wasn’t an imposter the entire time I felt like I was, but I let myself get in my own way. In empowering others, I find myself empowered by extension. That feels good.

New Year

Yesterday was filled with everyone on my timeline commenting on how their 2017 went and how 2018 is definitely going to be their year. I recall reading these at the end of 2016. Initially, I laughed a little bit. I mean after all, how many times are people going to say the same thing about every single new year.

The answer: probably every year.

Then I got to thinking to myself that maybe that’s not such a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a better year than the year before. In fact, that should kind of be an innate goal for everyone, right? To continue to improve and live your best life – whatever that might actually look like. My original thoughts stem from the fact that we see this all the time. People go into the new year and they make these resolutions. Gyms are geared up to collect memberships for people they’ll see maybe 4x before they quit and are just paying monthly for a service they don’t use.

I’m guilty of all of this, so don’t think I’m dogging you. I am sitting right next to you doing the same thing.

Last year I did the word challenge instead of a resolution. I wanted to be intentional with my actions, thoughts and words in 2017. I don’t think I followed through with it all the way, but it was in the back of my mind every single day and at work. I was intentional with what I did. It didn’t mean that I didn’t fail – I did. It also didn’t mean I accomplished everything I was hoping to get done.

I’ve strated to try and reset my mind on these types of things. You don’t have to wait for the year to turn a different digit in order to change yourself. There are things I have been steadily working on the past few months that I’d like to continue and even some things that are much shorter term.

For example – I have meal-planned successfully for almost 2 weeks. Laugh, because 2 weeks really isn’t that long. But that is approximately 13 days longer than any of my other meal plans have lasted. We’re actually eating AT HOME. This is something we’ve steadily been working on for almost six months, but really probably longer. We’re actually doing it now though and we’re celebrating the fact that we’re saving a lot of money by simply eating dinner at home and ordering our groceries. Baby steps. This is small.

Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling better and I am getting out of this drained pregnancy rut. I hope it lasts, but in case it doesn’t, I have been doing everything I can to take some stress of Ryan, who has been keeping our entire house and cooking dinner and mostly doing all the hard labor childcare for Elle while I try to make it through a 40 hour work week. I am celebrating that and hoping to continue it. Baby steps.

I feel the same twinge of excitement when a new year rolls around, because it does feel like an inherent fresh start. I am trying to change my views in that I need to prove to myself that I don’t have to wait for a new year to make a big change in my life. I can do it now, in the moment, when I realize it. It’s empowering, really. I’ve also been giving myself a lot more grace in things – recognizing that I am not going to be able to stick to a budget the first month I make it, but I can make some cuts. Finding those small goals in my day to day life is helping me move forward in my goals because I am measuring them incrementally. In this moments, I am playing the short game and rewarding myself for those tiny achievements, recognizing that the fostering of these positive behaviors ultimately should and hopefully will result in my long-term goals.

I’m not perfect and I am definitely not going to do everything right in this, but I am trying. New Year’s always seems like the best time to come forward with resolutions, but I would challenge everyone not to think about it as a resolution, but instead to find those tiny, bite-size areas you really want to improve upon and work on those. Maybe instead of saying you’re going to work out every day, you start with working out once a week. If you make it more than once, you’re a superstar, but if you make it even once, you’re at least doing more than you did before. Then kick your goal up. It takes 21 days to make something a habit, but you have to start somewhere.

Remembering 12/26/16

Brace yourselves, this is going to be long.

This time last year, I woke up to a basic Monday. I had the day off because Christmas was on a Sunday and I had no real plans that day.

I was coming off a somewhat bittersweet holiday. My sister-in-law informed the family on 12/23 that their 20 week baby wasn’t likely going to survive and it broke my heart for a thousand different reasons I can’t explain. I felt so deeply for them. Ryan and I were considering flying home just for that three day period to be there with them, but we also didn’t want to act rashly and impede where a family needed to grieve, so we stayed home.

At that time, there were three people pregnant in my family. My sister-in-law Annie, who got the bad news, my sister-in-law Megan…and me. I hadn’t told anyone yet because we were only sitting around 8 weeks and I hadn’t had any form of an appointment. Despite my concerns from my prior history, I couldn’t find a doctor in Tacoma who was willing to see me earlier than 10 weeks. I realize there’s minimal things they can do, but the fact they wouldn’t even see me to discuss my past medical history before then was not something I was thrilled with or comfortable with.

On Monday when I woke up, I was going about my business and then was met with telltale signs that I was having a miscarriage. I knew there was something wrong. I tried explaining to Ryan that I didn’t feel right and knew there was something wrong, but sometimes people just don’t really understand – not for lack of trying, but just because they aren’t you.

Against my better judgment (because I knew there was basically nothing that could be done for me), I went to the hospital to get checked out. Elle was sick and I had to go by myself.

This is where I’d like to point out that I think the only real reason this majorly sticks with me the way it does it because of the way I was treated at the hospital.

I was there the day after Christmas by myself for over 10 hours. I never saw a doctor. I never actually went back to a room and got to stay there and lay down. I was bleeding and cramping and I felt terrible, but I had to sit in a waiting room with a bunch of sick people for the entire day.

I never saw a doctor. I saw someone else (can’t remember the title). She’d do an exam, then she’d turn around and have me get completely dressed and go back out to the waiting room and sit there. They’d draw blood, then they’d send me back out. They did an ultrasound and the ultrasound tech was absolutely terrible.

“Are you sure you’re pregnant.”

“Well, I am here because I don’t think I’m pregnant anymore.”

“Are you sure you were ever pregnant?”

“Yes, I took 12 different tests and they were all positive.”

Over and over and over again. She’d tisk to herself. She’d ask me if I knew what being pregnant felt like. She asked if I had other kids. She’d tisk some more. Ultrasound techs aren’t really allowed to say much and she didn’t,  but what she did say was both telling and rude and made me feel absolutely terrible. Like I wanted to crawl into a hole and die because I felt stupid and violated and as if my concerns weren’t valid.

Finally, several hours in, they tell me my levels are very low and that I am either newly pregnant (which I knew I wasn’t) and it wasn’t showing up yet OR I was never pregnant OR I had a miscarriage. I already told them this when I got in there. I wanted it confirmed and checked on. What I did not want was them talking to me like I was a child and reassuring me that maybe I am just not far along, perhaps I just got pregnant, etc.

No. I knew what I knew.

They sent me home with pain pills, gave me a shot to make sure my body didn’t reject any further pregnancies, and a $2700 medical bill for a 10 hour day in hell.

To say I wish I never went is an understatement.

Somewhere along the day, my phone died, so I really was all alone. The few people I was talking to weren’t able to talk to me because I had no phone charger or service. I was tired, hungry, sad, frustrated, violated. So many things. I cried the entire way home and then when I got there, I didn’t say much and just laid on the couch and pretended I was fine.

But I wasn’t fine. I was extremely depressed. In the few days that followed, I tried to go to work, but couldn’t because I developed a fever and didn’t feel well. My body felt like I got hit by a freight train and it was a constant reminder of what was going on.

I process things differently, so I don’t really think that I was mourning the loss of a baby at the time. I think I was just sad because of all the things that had transpired over the weekend and didn’t know how to react. Physically I felt ill, but to say I was attached to a baby at 8 weeks is a stretch for me personally. I know many people who are attached easily, but I have never been someone to form a bond so quickly.

I knew there was something wrong before I actually miscarried. I didn’t “feel” pregnant. 6 weeks came and went and I didn’t have morning sickness, where with my daughter I had HG. People reminded me that “every pregnancy was different,” and they’re right, but I knew. I had some spotting and people reminded me that “it was normal,” and they’re right,m but I knew. Something was not right and nobody would see me in a doctor’s office to quell those fears – and then suddenly I was the one that was right and I didn’t want  to be. I would love to be wrong.

I think it took me several months to admit to myself that I was feeling something about it. To everyone that already knew I was pregnant, I just texted them and said I wasn’t anymore and that I didn’t want to talk about it. I lost 14 pounds in a week that December and in photos, you can see how gaunt my face looks, but you don’t know what I am hiding.

I hid it from everyone else. At the time there was so much hurt and pain surrounding my sister-in-law that I protected everyone else from feeling anything for me.  I didn’t want him to think I was affected and I didn’t feel like he was affected at all. I didn’t tell anyone at work except the person who was covering for me. I just told them I had a fever. I came back and acted unaffected. Or for Ryan. I tried to protect him too. To this day, I don’t really feel like he was affected at all. That’s his right. It does hurt me a little to think he’s not affected, but people process things differently and I remind myself of that every time I think about it.

Over the next few months, it was like one thing after another. Grant (my nephew) was born in February and against all odds, appeared to have a fighting chance. I was down there when he passed away and although he was not my baby, it felt like losing a baby all over again and I was extremely affected. Again, I did not show it. I cried in the bathroom and shielded my sister-in-law and brother-in-law from the pain I was feeling. I was there to comfort them, not the other way around.

The day of Grant’s funeral, my grandma died. My friend lost her baby at 16 weeks along. About 2 weeks later, my grandpa died. I was functioning, but I was not really coping. I was sad, but I didn’t have time to mourn any losses individually. I lost 4 people in three months and it was impossibly hard.

By March, there was only one person left pregnant in my family and it was not me.

When August rolled around and my sister-in-law who was a week ahead of me in pregnancy had her baby, I was reminded that I was also supposed to be taking a baby home and didn’t. I was greeted with different news – that we were expecting another baby. Happiness was met with a twinge of sadness because the timing was curious, but I do feel like the timing was exactly what it was supposed to be.

Today is somewhat hard for me. Physically I am sick because of this pregnancy, but I am so, so glad that I am sick because for me, it means that things are going the way they should be going. We’re almost 24 weeks along and I have been waiting for viability this entire time, holding my breathe, hoping things will go okay and so far they have. I am lucky and counting my blessings, while also remembering that I should have a 4 month old right now. It’s bitter today, but it is also sweet. I will not forget this day ever and I do not look back on it fondly, but the weeks leading up to it, I remember and feel good about that small window. People will think we have 2 kids and I will know that we have three. I will keep that to myself in almost all conversations, but am sharing it now. I will always remember.

Ryan and I were having an interesting talk on Friday over our holiday dinner and oddly, it came up again last night with some friends we were eating with.

Why, when everything seems to be going well, do some people suddenly get anxiety about life and grow concerned about whether or not their luck will run out?

For the record, I’m one of those people. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am and my entire life I’ve literally just wanted to be normal. Come home, make dinner, clean my kitchen, go to bed at a reasonable time (I know, sounds desirable for everyone I’m sure). I wanted predictable – and only unpredictable when I do something spontaneous. That’s it.

I know for me it stems from a childhood of unpredictability and that’s where my desire for normalcy and repetition comes from in that regard, but what about everyone else?

A friend’s daughter is applying to med school, but she hasn’t gotten in yet. She’s worried her luck in life is running out and she won’t get in as a result. But why? You don’t get into med school because of luck, just like I didn’t get to where I am with luck either. It was hard work, dedication, lots of sweat and probably more tears than I’m willing to admit. It wasn’t luck. Nothing was handed to my friend’s daughter and it wasn’t handed to me either, so why do we feel this way?

For the record, I haven’t solved this. The somewhat intrusive thoughts I get about my concern that things are going to go awry soon stems likely from the thought that I’m in a phase where I am so happy, I almost feel like I don’t deserve it. Nothing is going particularly wrong, but everything is going my version of right and that feels good.

In these moments, we need to remind ourselves that we’re worthy of what we’re reaping. It’s great to be grateful (and I feel extremely grateful), but don’t like that move into feeling like you’re not worthy of what good things are going on in your life. Everyone is worthy of good things. Don’t be surprised when the work you do pays dividends in these areas and don’t shy away from it. Above all, don’t let these thoughts consume you.

Ironically, my phone broke yesterday so maybe that was my “bad thing” that was going to happen. Now maybe I can move past it and relax a little.

Girl Mom

When I told my sister I was pregnant what feels like 1,000 years ago (because time moves at the rate of a snail on top of a turtle in quicksand when you’re pregnant), she immediately said it was a girl. Why? Because she feels like I’m a girl Mom.

That’s not her saying that I couldn’t raise a boy. In fact, I don’t really know what she was saying she I’m not sure she actually knows what she was saying either because she never really elaborated she said “you just are.”

Not vague at all.

But, the more I think about it and consider it, she’s totally right and maybe not for the reasons she even considered or thought about.

I’m a girl Mom because I’m continually encouraging my daughter to stick up for herself. I remind her in even the most overt ways that she’s capable. She’s bright. She’s strong. I purposely choose adjectives to try and empower her and I try to set an example that one day she might want to emulate in her own life.

I want her to be a good human. I remind her that being a good human costs her nothing, even at age two.

I originally bought her somewhat gender neutral toys and purposely filled her toy room with things that were interesting, not gender specific. Do I care if she’s playing with a Barbie or a baby doll? Absolutely not. I hope if she wants to have kids in the future, she does and I hope she’s a great mom to them. I want her to have options. I want her to know that she’s as much as she wants to be – whether that’s a stay at home mom, an astronaut or the PTA president. I don’t care. I just want her to be her and not as a result of me confining her to any one specific box.

I will teach her to respect herself and her body. I will teach her that others need to do the same. I will teach her that she needs to respect others as well. That no means no and that door swings both ways. That she is not the sum of her circumstances. That she is responsible for her actions, good or bad.

I’m a girl Mom because I realize now that I am absolutely supposed to be. That everything I emulate and stand for comes from my desire for my two girls to live a bright life of possibility. Her dad is a girl dad because he understands that and not even just understands it, but champions it.

My girls will be raised to understand their rights, stick up for themselves, and most of all, be good humans. I hope they stick up for the voiceless and leave a little sparkle wherever they go – in whatever form they want.

Good call sis, you were right.

Can we stop caping for Matt Lauer now?

I get it. The world is completely baffled that poor, innocent Matt Lauer did something terrible to someone. It’s highly likely that he did though and that information is coming to light. It’s also highly likely that he did it to more than one person. If you think differently, you might want to check out this article The Atlantic posted –

People are coming forward, yet here we are shaming them for doing so. Yet then you question WHY they waited so long. I mean do people hear themselves when they talk? For some of these victims, they’ve held onto this every day of their life only to come forward for justice and have people essentially rip them to shreds over it. People are more upset about Lauer being accused than they are concerned for the person that was the actual victim in this situation. Yet, we’re sitting here stumped as to why that individual wouldn’t want to talk to us about their situation. You know, because that reaction of sadness for Lauer is so accommodating to the people that are finally speaking out against him.

Stassi Schroeder recently posted (and then quickly deleted a podcast) where she more or less claimed that nobody could make her do something she didn’t want to, in turn indicating that girls in these situations probably aren’t forced and if they are, they’re of weak willpower. It’s none of those things. She claimed that it was taken out of context, but I find myself wondering in what context that would even be appropriate or okay and might “make sense.” Still searching, let me know if you find one.

This isn’t becoming more common. This has been happening for years. To assume it is more common now is likely an error. What is becoming more common is people holding others accountable for their actions. Ask yourself why it is okay for a guy to brush your thigh on the way to the copier at work? Did you brush it off and let it go? Okay, that’s fine. Could he not have found another way to get to the copier? Could he not have waited? Why is that okay? It’s not okay at all.

People in power being held responsible for their actions – this shouldn’t be such a shocker.

It also shouldn’t be a shocker that people don’t speak out about it. Simply google “Why don’t victims come forward?” and you’ll find a wealth of information and understanding. Sure, there will be people out there crying wolf occasionally, but what fame does saying “I was sexually assaulted” actually garner? People are ripping these victims to shreds. How amazing it must be to see your name in the lights while people simultaneously tear you down. I call BS.

We need to  be standing with these victims. News stations have been aware of the Lauer investigation for months. He wasn’t fired on a whim. This was a long time coming him. The fact their fired him and didn’t suspend him says something, doesn’t it? It’s probably substantiated, that’s what it says.

If something like this has never happened to you, congratulations. If it has happened to someone you know that you’re actually close with, you probably have feelings about it. If you don’t know anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted, I want to live where you live. This happens more than we know and just because you’re not privy to someone’s story doesn’t mean it is a false narrative. It just means maybe they didn’t want to tell you about it and that’s their right. It is also their right to speak out against it when it happens. Quit trying to take that away.