What I Learned from my Teen Daughter…

I am learning as much from my children as I think they are from me.  As I am settling or adjusting into my role as a teen parent, I can firmly say that nothing that I was told and/or read could have prepared me for how I would handle it.

It’s been over a year since the depths of teen despair, and, as I reflect on the subtle and not so subtle changes I’ve made in how I interact with my daughter, I realize now and accept that I was as much a part of the issues we experienced while she was figuring-out who, what and why.

In the past few months, I’ve consciously been saying and doing a lot less and, consequently, been hearing, seeing and allowing her to assume her space on her own terms.  It’s been hard to bite my tongue and let her be but what I thought was best for HER is exactly what she was protesting because she was screaming, “I am me”, literally and figuratively.

As I listen and watch as she navigates her path into who she is and will be…it’s a beautiful thing that I’ve learned and allowed her to be.

chapters

The Power of words…

holidayusThere will always be those who will disagree, judge and toss-out negativity but, as a friend wisely advised, “don’t allow others to choose your future”.

As a Mom of a teenage daughter, I am not only aware but sensitive to the power of words. To an adult but especially a teen who is navigating their way through life and establishing an identity, a negative comment can have the power to be not only unsettling but somewhat debilitating.  Our children model our behavior and words and so, it is our responsibility to live with compassion, care and kindness.

After reading the book entitled, “Odd Girl Speaks Out” by Rachel Simmons, and seeing the movies “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Lone Survivor”, I believe the message is the same and, that is, when our lives are at stake, it’s basic emotions of love and kindness that matter and override any pre-existing prejudices, judgements and negative feelings towards others. We are kind and loving by nature and negativity stems from pain, anger and hurt.

“We can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond”.

My Facebook Addiction…

FBcartoonMy relationship with Facebook started innocuously 5 years ago to reconnect with old friends, stay in contact with existing friends and family, to network and share information.

It’s been 2 days since I decided to deactivate my account and with most addicts, we think we can control our addiction but, the reality is more likely that we can’t, which is why I decided to go cold turkey, deactivate and not log-on for a while, if ever.

There is nothing wrong with Facebook.  It was how I interacted and used it that became an issue.  I started to live two realities: my Facebook and in-person reality when posting with intention to stay in contact and share information became posting to elicit a response that now had the power to dictate my mood and quality of day by likes and comments.  Instead of real-life experiences nurturing and nourishing my self-esteem and confidence, I had allowed a social media platform to assume this role.

A recent Huffington Post Parents article describes how we, as parents, have become so consumed with recording our children’s performances on electronic devices that we actually miss the performance seeing it from behind a lens.  And so it was with me, as the editor, photographer and writer of my very own Facebook reality magazine.

Two days ago, I posted a photo just to post so I thought but deep down, I realize it was related to my self-esteem by seeing how many likes and comments it would receive.  The post ignited a conversation with a close friend who left me to ponder my Facebook addiction with “that’s BS, you’ll be back on it tomorrow, you need it”.

There are many reasons for ending this relationship, but, in a nutshell, I did it because with all addictions, it was unhealthy. Since deactivating my account, my mind is more focused, more present in the moment but, most importantly, in more control of my reality and life.  Everyone is different and I am not passing judgment on Facebook and/or Facebook users.  I am sharing my own experience and also letting my family and friends know why I deactivated my account.

We define our reality by the daily choices we make.  Believe!

Lifestyle plan…

colinYesterday I had a conversation that left me thinking again about health and fitness.

I feel fortunate that fitness has become part of my lifestyle and is a passion and serves a purpose. I never set-out with a particular goal but I have been asked how and what. I attribute how I am to part genetics, eating (though I am far from a model example) and a regular routine of exercise. I have been asked on a few occasions about how to get arms like mine? I am now tempted to say this:

I have been on a 6 year program of regular exercise and mindful eating without depriving myself of the occasional treat. I still enjoy my daily granola/oatmeal mix and venti peppermint mocha but I realize I can not eat everything I’d like at any time.

There are days when I’m tired but I’ve identified a facility where I enjoy their group fitness classes which serves my purpose and which I complement with yoga and running during the week. I don’t know when this plan will end as I intend it to be a lifestyle plan.

Giving thanks…

NicoleheartHappy Thanksgiving! Thankful for a lot on this day and for my family’s encouragement to share my journey…helping one person find strength in making a decision/creating an opportunity will be but a bonus to the therapeutic exercise this page and my blog has provided me this past year.

There will always be different interpretations of experiences in life but our choice as to which one we choose. Believe!

drawing credit: daughter 12 years