Welcome to the November round up! It’s been a crazy year, though I think we can all say that pretty much every point of our lives.
As for the blog silence… It’s still weird to me that when things get crazy I don’t write, since the point is to write about what’s going on. However, I think we all know that it’s really hard to share with people when things aren’t going well.
But, the new Internet is about capital-V Vulnerability. So, here’s a peek in a general form roundup of all the stuff going on:
Seafood-Only Paleo AIP
I am on day 21 of seafood-only AIP elimination diet. I never thought I could do this, so part of me is in awe and the other part just feels a little dead. Lent has always been hard for me, and that was just fish-only Fridays for four weeks. This is something completely different, and it’s been damaging in a lot of ways (even if I’m seeing the benefits of it physically).
It feels weird to say that my identity was wrapped up in meat, but I think it’s more that meat was the final frontier of food that I really thought was safe for me. Meat was what I still had in common with so many people in the world (“Yeah, bacon, right!”) not to mention the only non-sugar portable thing I had (I could almost always find jerky when I was in a food crisis). It was a satisfying, versatile, safe thing with the building blocks of everything someone with active autoimmunity needs (good fats, amazing vitamins, crazy healing powers).
For pictures of a beautiful cat + daily meals + daily walks, Instagram me @LifeCommaEtc
Now, though, my diet feels naked. Without gelatin, there’s no AIP Paleo baked goods. (I can still hack it by refrigerating things after I bake them so that the coconut oil solidifies, but that doesn’t work for breadsticks). Without bacon, there’s no emotional rescue of “No matter how many foods I’m missing out on, at least I have this very satisfying indulgence.” And without accepting grey area foods like I used to, there’s no restaurant respite. We have our anniversary coming up this week, but the reality of finding a place I can eat is daunting. There’s one nearby – Pescados – but it will still be a risk, and I know I’ll want them to leave the goat cheese in that beet salad (I haven’t decided if I’m going to let it happen yet, it will probably depend on how strong I feel the night of our anniversary).
Even though I’ve made a choice about pursuing this elimination period, there’s still a big choice I have yet to make. I’m wallowing on the edge of it, dancing between feeling empowered and feeling crushed by the pending results of whether fish-only will be a way of life or a short-term nightmare.
I can decide to let this new way of living break me and be sad about everything (walking around a specialty grocery store like a ghost, looking at all the fake-food and real food I can’t eat, which I may or may not have done over the weekend while Josh was out of town) or I can decide that things can only break me when I’m standing on something breakable like what our culture fed me for the first 25 years of my life.
Instead, I can decide to approach this process as a religious experience, a challenge God made uniquely with me in mind, considering all my weaknesses and personal struggles I need to overcome to be the saint I’m meant to be, and that overcoming it will be far more satisfying than something like “health,” “weight loss,” or “fertility.”
Clearly, option 2 is the healthiest one and the most empowered one, and I am all about being empowered. However, I’m simply not there yet, and I need to be okay with that. I’m still sad and mourning, but I’m working on this knot with a few different resources (my supportive friends, my new small group at church, my homeopath, and a counselor).
All that said, there’s no denying how healthy this way of eating is for my body. In general, I’m just kind of shrinking and feeling more myself every day (besides the mourning, of course). My thyroid goiter is also shrinking, giving me a real neck for the first time in a long time, and my daily walks are making my legs crazy strong and slimmer. I’ve also enjoyed more reading and thinking lately (weird, but true) and I feel like I also laugh more.
Finally, though I think this is more due to a change in medication, my blood work is slowly dropping down when it had been trending up since forever. My TPO (general inflammation) and TSH (pituitary thyroid function) — two important indicators of health — are both dropping in just 30 days of different medication and 15 days of fish-only AIP.
Between the two of those things, I have a real chance/glimpse of what a healthy life could look like for me if I can dig deep and make this commitment to prioritizing nourishing food over habit-food, desire-food, or indulgence-food. (I’m not even remotely tempted by fake-food like soda or McDonald’s, or gluten-food like straight up bread or pastries anymore, so that’s a blessing. I struggle most with bacon and paleo treats that aren’t AIP like full-fat dairy, coffee, chocolate, and Against the Grain bagels).
Business has taken a back seat to the emotional and health things in the past month. Before that, I was really struggling with workaholism and stress. Because everything else felt like it was failing (my thyroid showing signs of active autoimmunity, my emotions being unpredictable, my mood being unpredictable) I couldn’t seem to separate my worth from how hard I work (the worse I feel about other things, the more my Type-A self pours into work because I’m really good at it).
For about two weeks, though, I’ve gotten a little bit of peace about that. The book Weird by Craig Groeschel helped me put it into words, but it was becoming more clear that I was on the road to putting work and income in front of anything harder (family, relationships, being myself).
This is natural, of course, because doing something you’re good at is easier than doing something you struggle with. But it’s not good in the long run.
I’m still a little more worried about “doing more” all the time than I’d like to be, but I’ve been more kind to myself about stopping working when I was tired or taking time away from work (like today, when I have a 1pm appointment, and it’s noon now, and I haven’t done any work).
It’s really, really hard for me, but as the print I picked up this weekend from Emily at Joyful Papery reminds me:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
My business is not going to be successful based on how frantically I work, trying to be successful. It’s completely in God’s hands. It’s my job to be curious, to do good work, and to rest. Nothing else is up to me, no matter how many billable hours I bully myself into or how long I sit staring at the computer wondering what opportunities I’m missing out on.
Tangled up in this is a new site I launched, www.FiveFigureWriter.com. The most popular posts are Where to Find These Mythical High Paying Clients and 4 Strategies I Used to Invoice $10,000+ Two Months In a Row.
I’m not sure where I’m taking it yet (I just turned on the mentoring page), but I wanted a place to write unprecedentedly helpful things about freelancing. Soon I’m going to push it toward peace and stress-relief for freelancers, because I don’t think it’s fair that freelancing is such a wonderful way to work but comes with such crippling stress. Once I figure out some surefire ways to help others deal with it (and see more consistent results for myself), I’ll be launching a new eBook for the site based on that.
One huge accomplishment was climbing my way toward passive income. My goal is to make $1800 per month in eBooks (my baseline “must earn” salary each month). Usually I make about $150-200 per month, and October brought in $515 (mostly from Life After Teaching as I gear up for a 2016 version release). I am very grateful and very pleased to see the growth, because it means one more empowered teacher who doesn’t have to struggle with what I struggled with.
The rest of the year is going to be a battle against my ego. I want to push the envelope and max out my income so that I have a big, fat impressive number to share about my yearly income. But I’m also deeply aware that that’s an unhealthy way to live my life (when would the competition against the unknown ever end?) and it would be a shallow victory. Also, who am I trying to prove myself against? What would ever be enough for me, if I choose to compete with myself? These are important questions.
Personal Life: We’re Not Moving
There is a lot going on personally, some of which is not the time to share. But one major change is something that most of you might not have known about… how close Virginia came to losing us!
At the end of the summer, JHubbs and I made a plan to permanently relocate to Nashville next summer to get closer to a musical network and live somewhere we loved. It was a dream come true, both terrifying and exciting at the same time, and we’ve been on a debt and savings plan (paying down $3,000 of debt per month, all 2015 taxes) to save up $15,000 and move without a job for JHubbs.
Well, we made a plan and God laughed. Late last month, JHubbs interviewed and received an offer for his dream job where we are now. With JHubbs blissfully happy at work (obviously every job comes with downsides, but this is a job he’s wanted for about two years now), there’s much less of a push to move out of state or pursue Nashville.
This is bittersweet, because I had just come around to really saying good bye to Virginia and embracing the risk that comes with pursuing such a crazy dream (I also let a lot of business contacts know we were moving, which is awkward now)…. but at the same time, it’s a relief to have the stability of Josh happy in a job surrounded by everything familiar to us.
That’s all for now. This afternoon is another new adventure. I’d love to hear about what you’re working through in the comments, or maybe a link to wherever you write things out. As you write, I leave you with this awesome song from Matt Maher’s Saints and Sinners album, my permanent soundtrack lately: