I was feeling somewhat adrift when I chose that word. I was often uncomfortable in my own skin. I dressed shabby, still had all my baby weight and was disorganized at best.
I took it for granted that I didn't have time to do my hair. Blow drying it was an unheard of luxury. After so many years of school and training I had made comfort and efficiency a major priority.
The problem is things were getting seriously out of hand. For one, I still weighed what I did when I was nine months pregnant. I wore maternity clothes almost all the time, which looked terrible. Whenever I tried to wear my ill-fitting regular clothes, I looked worse still.
So, I made a small change. I bought a vest. It zipped up, held my phone and keys so I wasn't always scrambling for them. And it covered my embarrassing post-baby pooch.
Ah. I could breath a little easier.
Step two. Where do I go from here? I was driving way to much to and from school at least three times a day, plus after school activities. All with a tired cranky and then still nursing baby in tow. I felt like I was at my breaking point.
Without knowing why, I was asked to join a carpool group. Oh my goodness, it literally saved my life. The baby could now have his nap uninterrupted and I could regain that much more of my sanity.
I was finally getting to the point where I could stop and run a brush through my hair before leaving the house. Most days. Not all, but most. Hey, it was a step forward.
I made another big leap a few months later. Some friends were starting an exercise club of sorts. We started meeting up three times a week to lift weights.
I didn't lose weight overnight. I didn't go through a complete body overhaul. But I gained a lot of things beside muscle.
The foremost thing I gained was support. Lifting weights together is so much better than say doing Zumba together. Because we rest for a minute thirty in between sets we get a lot of time to talk to each other.
I realized how much I had missed real adult conversations during the day. It was also incredible to have people willing to listen and empathize with me over parenting woes. And when things started getting hard with Lakshman there advice and encouragement was invaluable.
I never did start to lose much weight. I am not sure my waist has gotten any smaller but I know that my stomach does not stick out like it used to.
And, I actually started to feel proud of my body again. I always used to struggle carrying Lakshman around in his car seat. A few months in I noticed I could lift him with ease.
I started dead lifting more and more. One day I went as high as 160 pounds. I felt incredible! I have since backed down off that high of a weight but I am so proud that I did that.
Once I started feeling more at peace with my body I finally allowed myself to buy some more clothes in my actual size. I am not going to become a fashion blogger anytime soon but I could walk through without being embarrassed by the paint stains on my pants. (I got paint on my maternity black pants but continued to wear them all the time even though it refused to come off in the wash. I don't wear those anymore).
I went for it at Halloween for once and actually purchased accessories ahead of time instead of cobbling something together at the last minute. Turns out not many people recognize Holly Golightly but it was kind of a lifelong dream to transform into her. I need to wear the lavendar tassled ear plugs around the house more often actually...
The sartorial highlight of the year though had to be my holiday red dress with a flared skirt. I wore it to a grown up Christmas party and to our date night out in the city on New Year's Day.
I don't care if it's tacky, I had to take a selfie.
I have plans for this year too. I can't wear lipstick but I feel like certain hairstyles really don't work without a strong bright lip (hello, granny hair). I still don't know what I want to do with my hair but I am going to try some bright red glasses. I think it will be a really fun change.
Other things are still a work in progress, but I'm proud of the forward momentum. I am taking more time to actually write AND submit my articles to BlogHer. I've had three articles published so far, and hope to write much much more this year.
I love the places that my scrapbooking has taken me too. I got two great features on Studio Calico, first for LOTW and then as member spotlight. I started getting into hybrid scrapbooking more and gravitated towards a more graphic and bold style. Shortly after that I was contacted by Cooca Daisy and became part of a real paper scrapbook design team. And, I love, love, love it. This was a major goal for me recently and I'm so happy to be doing it.
This year was hard in ways, mostly because of everything that Lakshman has been through. A newly diagnosed eating disorder, getting hospitalized and learning how to eat. He still needs therapy multiple times a week for it. It's a long journey but seeing the joy he has in his life every day gets me through it.
There are many things I need to do much much better at.
I kind of gave up on project life but I didn't want to. I want to make more projects with a regular timeline. I want to record the kids milestones again. I want to stop and reflect on them more and record it as I do on a regular schedule.
I need to stop checking facebook so much. It's ridiculous and completely unnecessary. My solution is to do more purposeful reading. I love the library app for audio books but I have started to check out books for myself more too. Time to make a list!
I still haven't picked my word for 2016 yet, but I'm so happy about the adventure that Shine has been.