Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding your calling, and then some

Be regular & orderly in your life, so that you may be violent & original in your work
- Gustave Flaubert

I love that quote, always have. I am just now starting to see, however, that there is a distinction made between "life" and "work", as if the two circles don't quite link together... and I'm not sure how I feel about that. That's beside the point, however, as I am here to share with you this amazingly wonderful news:

I think I've found my calling.
(I'll give you a couple seconds to get the laughter out.)

Go ahead. Take your time.
Have you heard of the term "clicktivism"? Basically, it's the idea that one engages in activism by sharing something online - so, every time you click 'Share' on a political photo on Facebook, you are, essentially, becoming a clicktivist. You could also argue that it's an example of slacktivism, and I wouldn't necessarily try to stop you. Before my inbox is flooded with hate-mail, note that I don't see anything inherently wrong with either of the cutesy-termed categories as, really, at least something is happening. Some message is being spread... just not enough to make an actual difference.

When cheering for a cause is cooler than serving the cause.
Then there's "creative activism", where the aim is to explore and encourage creativity as a means to promote citizen activism. A lot of times, it employs the same tactics as click-and-share methods or petition signing, but never does it stop there. Some of the objectives of a creative activist (and one group, specifically), include:
* Humanitarian Outreach
* Neighborhood Crime Watch
* Urban Exploration
* Empowerment and Awareness Outreach
* Specific Operations
* Law Enforcement Support
* Environmental Outreach
* Community Emergency Response

... notice a difference?
Going back to the quote for a minute, I think I see some room for interpretation. Remember how I wasn't too sure how I felt about the distinction between "life" and "work"? I think that's a true statement, that the two things are distinctly different and separate entities... until you find your calling. Your calling is that place where your regular, orderly life collides with the violent originality of your work, forming something so uniquely balanced that the merge between "life" and "work" is made without any effort on your part. That's how I'm feeling about what I've found.

Can it sound any more New Age, hippies-are-attacking-at-dawn, hide-your-patchoulie? Probably... but, even as-is, I don't care. After having bounced around in the career field, going to school, starting a family and dropping an entire human's-size of weight, I've found something that allows me to make a difference in a way that encourages me to be myself... that challenges me to improve, constantly, and without excuses... that connects me to people across the country... and that, yeah, may let me indulge my crazy writing/social networking/self-defense/badass obsession just a wee bit.

I don't know how this will shape up, other than me being drawn in more and more. I don't know what kind of impact this will have on my children, other than knowing it WILL have an impact on my children. 

I don't know how this will frame the rest of my life, only that I'm excited to let it do just that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diabeating your children

"When parents feed their young children, who do not know better or aren't given any healthy options, pure crap, resulting in juvenile onset diabetes. This should be considered child abuse." - Urban Dictionary

I subscribe to Urban Dictionary's "Urban Word Of the Day", and that little gem was waiting for me when I logged in to my computer at work this morning. Glaring grammatical errors aside, I find myself in agreement with this particular definition.

Maybe it has something to do with remembering a part of my own early childhood; my mother would pick me up from daycare after working graveyard and take me straight to the AM/PM down the block. I could (and did) load up on whatever I wanted, and would have most of it finished off by the time we got home, a mere three miles away.

Maybe it has something to do with the way I felt when, at age 21, I saw in the endocrinologist's lobby and just knew what the test results were going to say. I remember Anne calling me back to a room, and then breaking nurse protocol by holding my hand as she set my chart down and confirming my fears: adult onset diabetes, Hashimoto's, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome.

At 392 lbs, it wasn't exactly a shock.

Now, seven years and 180+ lbs later, I can see the unhealthy relationship that we introduce our children to out of convenience, fear and, at time, laziness. Why else would my mother take me to a gas station convenience store at midnight? (Don't answer that.)

All of this to say, I believe I am justifiably paranoid regarding what food my children are presented. Whether it's mealtime at our house, a dinner out or the ladies at church offering them candy whenever my back is turned, I have a vested interest in what my kids ingest. Go figure.

Lord knows the Man-Mate and I are not perfect in this regard. The Bruiser is currently obsessed with chicken nuggets, pizza and GoGurts... and the Dominatorinator has, well, that kid will eat anything you set before him (including your purse, ladies, so watch it). However, I am cognizant of how easy it is to fall into the "zap-a-meal" trap, and strive to make what I call "Sneaky-Mom Additions" to their meals - basically, finding a way to hide super-foods like spinach or blueberries or fish in their preferred meals. It's... difficult. It's worth it.

Lest I turn into one of the outspoken, uber-crunchy moms that I truly cannot stand, I will end on this note:
All it takes is thought.
A thought towards your child's future; what do you want it to look like for them? What kind of experiences do you want them to have? What adventures would you love to see them take? Who do you want them to become?
Food plays a vital, inescapable role in how we turn out (there are reasons entire cultures are based around the many aspects of 'food'). Too much, too little... both can, and do, shape the way we view the world and how we are viewed by it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hard shell cracking

I'm having trouble gaining traction on this particular post. I don't know if it's this shitstorm of a week or this morning in particular, but every step feels like a battle. Every keystroke a mental tug-o-war with my Desire to Break Through This Funk on one side and Some Unknown Issue on the other. Who will win? I guess we'll see if once I get this entry posted.
When I was a kid, I used to take two M&Ms and pinch them together with the goal of guessing which one would crack first. The process was usually a long one, as I was cautious in how quickly I applied pressure, not wanting to go too hard too fast and run the risk of sending them flying... but, every once in a while, I would inevitably choose one or two candies that had weaker shells more susceptible to frissure and cracking under my deliberate pressure.
I think I'm cracking.
Instead of my pudgy, sticky fingers applying pressure, its a series of life events, circumstances, obligations, responsibilities, relationships and conditions... most of which are of my own doing.
In true Krystal fashion, I have piled more on my plate than any sane person would think to - or, so I've been told.
Personally? If I don't have multiple plates spinning, brightly colored balls flying or blinking deadline reminders parading across my screen I start to sink into a depression so intense that the only thing I can manage to accomplish is polishing off a package of Double Stuff'd Oreos in front of 'The Notebook' and then brutally poking my fat rolls while wailing and weeping and gnashing my teeth. It's not a good look for me.
Unfortunately, something seems to be different this time. Maybe I have more on my plate than I have ever had before? Maybe my advancing age is rendering my brain incapable of fragmented thought? Maybe I have taken on too many important tasks at one time and not scheduled enough time for ME?
... and that's it. THAT'S the ticket.
... but when do I have the time?
Because I work better with lists...
  1. Wife - full time with evenings, weekends, etc.
  2. Mother - full time x2 with evenings, weekends, etc.
  3. Worker - full time with evenings and increased responsibility
  4. Student - half-time with evenings and weekends for the next 5 years
  5. Author - _____-time with as much time as I can allot
  6. Family Member - full time with evenings, weekends, etc.
  7. Girlfriend - full time with evenings, weekends, etc.
I think this explains the amount, don't you?
I think this also explains the reason why I am struggling to find time away... time to just be by myself.
I think this explains why I'm cracking.

The tug-o-war continues, but at least I've been able to think about why... and maybe, just maybe, can start formulating what a good bonding agent would look like before these cracks get any deeper.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Perks of Working Downtown - The Series

If you have met me, you will have undoubtedly been presented with my love of all things Seattle. I have, on occasion, made such proclamations as "I'd marry it if I could", "Is it possible to make love to a city?", and "Mmm, Seattle". It's safe to say that I, Krystal Bishop, am a Seattlephile.

On my way back from lunch a scant four minutes ago, my nutrient-starved brain started making a list of all the things I love about working downtown. Oh, sure... there are pages and lists galore online touting the many amazing reasons why one should visit downtown Seattle (most not moving past Pike Place Market, the Space Needle/Seattle Center/EMP, and the Ducks)... but where's the love for Seattle's faithful proletariat?

It's here.

Perks of Working Downtown - #1:
This one may/should be obvious, but the close proximity to and and everything is kind of key here. Whether it's food you need or errands that won't wait, the convenience factor is HIGH.

Maybe it's the nice li'l flood of endorphins talking (hello... desk job!), but I am one happy girl.

I mean, come on, we have our own VILLAIN.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Want Some Fat With That Whine?

Have you ever had a dinner guest that stayed longer than you intended them to?
The meal is over, dessert and coffee have been consumed and pleasantries by the door were over 15 minutes ago, but instead they have taken up residency on your couch, loosened their belt and asked you where you keep the spare toothbrushes.

That's how I'm feeling about certain bad habits that I've been trying to shake. I've gone through the formalities (Identify the Problem, Make a List, Visualize), but there they are, camped out on the love seat of my psyche. Still. I mean, it's been years people. YEARS.

The primary habit that I want/need to address is likely the root of all (my) evil: Procrastination

I could do/have done literally nothing of any import for hours when I've had a deadline screaming towards me, only because I'm scared that it (the project) is going to be a lot of work that I might end up failing at. Yet again, I let the opinions of others color my better judgement. Yet again, I make excuses for why I shouldn't get started on a task. Yet again, I disappoint the only person that matters: myself.

So, I've Identified the Problem. Super. I don't really feel like making a list because, let's face it; a true procrastinator knows how to dodge even the most well-crafted lists... and I am a Master List Maker. It's like my brain equates making a list about the shit that needs to get done with actually getting said shit done.
"See, Krystal?" My brain asks - apparently not knowing that it, too, is a part of the entity known as 'Krystal'. Dumb, dumb brain. "You DID something! You tackled the problem! YOU DID ALL THE THINGS!" When, in actuality, I just laid out all the steps that I already had a handle on in my head, and brought them into stark relief to glare up at me from the paper.

The secondary habit that I want/need to address is a known contributor to my state of mind: Poor Health Habits

Do you know how many pins are in my Healthy Making Stuff-ery board on Pinterest Hm? There are six pins, I'll have you know, and they consist of exercises you can do to to slim your inner thighs, tighten your tummy, tone your ass, have smart cardio intervals, and even a workout designed for a curvy body type. Out of those, how many do you think I've put to use in the last ever?
... you're a genius.

Oh, sure... I've made some fairly good strides lately. Gone are the whole milk caramel macchiatos, replaced with nonfat or soy. Gone are the bowls of instant mashed potatoes for lunch, replaced by something that actually contains high amounts of protein and low amounts of fat. We are now having healthy, homemade smoothies for breakfast every morning. I am buying the low-fat/low-sodium version of just about everything. Hell, I have even flipped off Top Pot Doughnuts when I walk past them in the morning/evening.

None of these things will make any difference, flip-offs aside, without some good old-fashioned exercise. Yaaaaaay. When to fit that in?

Here's my weekday schedule:
5:00 a.m. - Wake Up And Not Kill The Husband And Children
5:00 - 6:00 a.m. - Get dressed, make lunches, make smoothies, gather the day's accoutrements 
6:00 - 6:35 a.m. - Take Steve to work, and kids to daycare
**7:10 - 7:45 a.m. (ish) - Carpool to work with my Mother-in-Law**
8:00 - 12:30 p.m. - Work
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch
1:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Work (unless there's an evening meeting, then it's 8:30/9:30 p.m.)
**5:00 - 5:50 p.m. (ish) - Carpool home with my Mother-in-Law**
5:50 - 6:50 p.m. - Play with kids
6:50 - 7:50 p.m. - Make dinner
7:50 - 8:20 p.m. - Eat, clean up after dinner, make Rex's night time bottle
8:20 - 9:00 p.m. - Snuggle Bruce to sleep (Steve has Rex)
**9:00 - 10/11:00 p.m. - Time with Steve, my first/only break in the day, time to write...**
10/11:00 p.m. - Sleep...
** = Will be changing in tasks/actions starting May 7th, when school starts**

I'm sure there are ways I can tweak my schedule to allow for exercising. I know there is a lot that I can do at my desk (see Healthy Making Stuff-ery). I'm just having trouble getting past that all-consuming fear of failure, inadequacy and laziness. It's amazing the ways that Life can really push your buttons.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


... or, as I have come to call it, "Let's not get fat again, m'kay?"

I sort-of feel sorry for whoever is reading this blog - if anyone - because, really, this first post is bound to be the single most confusing/off-putting mental diarrhea I have ever put out there. I promise that the posts will get better (more composed, a large serving of humor, etc.), but now? My brain has been constipated and needs a little relief.

Still interested?
Read on!

I am officially sick of hearing myself talk about getting in shape and improving my diet. These little 'catchphrases' are of particular annoyance:
"I'm just stuck in a rut right now..."
"I'd exercise if I could find the time..."
"Well, I tried that, but..."
"If healthy food wasn't so expensive..."

I'm allowing my health and well-being to be stopped by a mental block, time constraints, past effort and money?
It would be one thing if I didn't already spend money on groceries... but I do. Or if I couldn't find a source of inspiration... but I can. Or if I couldn't learn from past experiences... but I have. Or if I didn't have friends to kick my ass whenever I threw out some lame excuse... but they can (and will).

Enter "Year of the GETOFFYOURASS", or what I will be referring to as GOYA.

Unless you and a calendar have not made contact in a while, you will have undoubtedly noticed that it is not January 1st... rendering this either an extremely tardy New Years resolution, or me a highly accomplished procrastinator - only one of those is correct (the latter), but that doesn't matter. This is all about G-ingOYA, after all, and I fully intend to flip-off any guilt and G my A in gear.

Categories I'm focusing on:

1. Bachelor's Degree
2. Exercise
3. Voice-Overs
4. Food
5. Writing

What that entails:

1. Enroll in an online bachelor's program.
a. As-of last week, I have; I'm starting at WSU Online on May 7th, taking two classes for summer semester. 
b. Look into increasing my course load for fall semester; with only 43 credits needed to graduate, it's tantalizingly close.
c. Carve out (and, really, it will be a viciously bloody carving) the much-needed time to study - nights, weekends, days-as-of-yet-invented.

2. Um... exercise.
a. Something. Everyday. Not hard to do...
b. Zumba? Kickboxing? Dance? Swimming? Running (ohdearlordno)?

3. Training... and then getting out there.
a. As-of 5/20, I will; I've enrolled in a 4-week course/workshop with a local expert... and might do another one.
b. Get a demo together (WHERE? MONEY?)
c. Head shots (WHERE? MONEY?)

4. Don't be stupid about food choices.
a. Candy is not a meal.
b. Smoothies are.
c. If it's highly processed, it's probably a "stupid".

5. Put pen to paper. Repeat. Bask in the glow of accomplishment.
a. As-of June, 2012, I am published; Cascadia Community College's annual magazine is publishing two pieces of mine - a flash fiction and a poem.
b. Make time once a week to write (SET A PAGE GOAL?).
c. Keep a notebook on myself at all time, and become that creepy girl taking notes on seemingly random things.

See? Mental diarrhea.
I suggest washing your hands.

More (better-ly constructed word-things) next time...