Tag Archives: achievement

Finding My Inner Athena- Me: Version 7.2 (Part 2)

Standard

Cat with Halo

Epiphany: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany

So this epiphanic event occurs, if you recall, one day in November, as I’m counting down the days to graduation from Penn State. Remember, I’m 44 years old. Turning 45 on November 13. Finally graduating with the college degree I’ve idealized throughout my entire life . At almost 45, I’m feeling this major shift within me. A big one.

The youngest-of-three-kids-in-me becomes the grown woman who asks her father, “Now do you see me?” The baby sister of two other siblings now says, “Check it out. Looky what I just did. I done growed up and finished somethin’. AND, I freakin’ ROCKED the GPA too (patting self on back, cuz I was a C/B, only very occasional A- student in high school when I had nothing but school life to manage and damn proud of my 3.53 GPA as an adult student in my 40’s!).

I was really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel; really starting to feel the pressure lifting… of deadlines, papers, exams and endless hours at the computer. Oh Hallah-freakin-JULIA, I could feel it and damn, it felt good!

NOTE: “HallahJULia!”… That’s what my kid use to say when he was like 3 or 4. “Oh, HallaJULia” Mom! I’m so glad you didn’t hit that dog with your car, or something like that… He was constantly mispronouncing things like most kids do at that age, but that was one of my favs. That and the time he waltzed in to my office singing, “My Hairy Mountain” to the tune of “Climb Every Mountain”. Always scrambling things up in that crazy head of his, that one.

Going back a few years – around about the time my son was turning 11 – I woke up one weekend morning, rolled over and started a conversation with my husband about how much I reeeeeally didn’t feel like 6 hours at the computer, to get the rest of a paper done that was due by midnight that day. My rule was usually to try to be done all my school work by the weekend, so we could at least have Sunday as a family day, if possible. That rarely happened, but it was a nice idea. Anyway, Kevin and I were lying in bed talking about my feeling depressed. Depressed about not having more time for the fun things we wanted to be doing. More time for things like lying in bed doing things other than talking about being depressed about school overwhelming my life.

I was feeling like we had no time to connect as Meg and Kev. I was stressing because at the part-time pace I was going, I knew I’d still have a couple years to go to finish, long after my kid turned into a pimply –faced, ball of hormones. I wanted to be fully present in my son’s life when he turned into a teenager. He may not want me to be, but I knew he’d need me to be, whether he realized it or not. It was during this conversation with Kev that I talked about taking some time off from school, for the first time since starting back in 2008.

Kev wasn’t having it. He spent the next 20 minutes reminding me of all the reasons why I wanted to finish in the first place and why it was important to me. And besides he basically told me he’d kill me if I quit now. I’d come this far. The end was in sight. No giving up now! My cheerleader. What the Hell would I have done without him through all this? Man…

What resulted from the conversation was a decision to go full-time instead of part-time.

Sure. Throw more on my plate. That makes sense.

Meg: “I’m depressed, stressed and tired. I’m worried I’m neglecting my family. Also, I don’t have enough time to take care of our house or my body. I look like a homeless blob, always walking around in fat pants because the sedentary lifestyle I have as a student hostage to my books and computer leaves no extra time to exercise. When I get home from my work day and back from soccer practice then finish whatever school work I have at oh say…. 11 p.m. or so… I have just enough energy to sit my fat ass on the couch for a half hour with you so we can catch up on DVR’d shows. I haven’t played ping pong with Nathan in like 3 months. This is nuts.”

Kevin: “You should go to school full-time. This will solve all that”.

Problem solved. Why didn’t I think of that?!?

Why Didn't I think of that Image for Athena Part 2 Blog

(Do I need a citation for this pic, since The Crafty Blog Stalker stamp is ON the picture?  Whoopsy, if I did! Sorrrrry…)

Seriously though – we talked this through and speeding up the process did seem to make sense. My priority was getting done sooner, so I could be fully present in my son’s life as he entered probably the most important phase of his young adolescent life. I didn’t want to miss a thing.  Certainly not the chance to show him all the pictures I could of rotting penises and genital warts to accompany the chats in school about abstinence during Health class.  It’s my duty as a parent to keep him virginal until he’s 30, right?

Thanks for staying with me.  I work in digression like Picasso worked in oils.  I stole that from A Christmas Story.  Crap. Another citation blunder?  Hmmm…

Anyway, I wanted to be fully present in my son’s life, so I decided to go from part-time to full-time school.  What’s the word I need here? Drive? Sticktoitiveness? NoDoze? No…Gumption maybe…I needed that. To manage it all and not lose my mind. And focus. I needed to focus on the end result, which was something I’d always wanted: To own a piece of paper that proved I was capable of finishing something. Also, that I had learned how to predict what color eyes a cat would have, born from a mom cat with two tails and green eyes and a dad cat with one blue eye, one brown eye and three tails. Punnett Squares. Like they’ll ever come in handy for the rest of my life. Except for when I need to help my kid study Punnett Squares in school, which loops me back around to the whole point here again. I just needed to finish. Also, that I scored big by marrying a Science geek like Kevin, cuz he totally “got me through” genetics classes in college. Freakin’ Punnett Squares.

 Mickey and Minne Mouse Punnett Square problem for Athena Part 2 Blog

(Seriously????? Everybody knows Minnie cheated on Mickey and slept with a mouse with small “ears”.  It doesn’t take a Punnett Square to figure this out).

So, bringing it back to 2013 again, I started my countdown toward graduation around October. Things were really starting to wrap up at this point. I was ordering my cap and gown, registering paperwork for my name in the commencement ceremony program, booking a room at State College the night before commencement ceremonies, so the three of us could attend a graduation reception the night before and do some celebrating. Things were getting exciting. It was at this time, I started to really feel like I could start to focus more on what my life might feel like or actually be like post-graduation. The first thing I ‘saw’ was a healthier me. I set a goal to lose some weight by graduation date. This was a massive agenda: Education and weight loss/healthy lifestyle. These were major challenges throughout my life as an adult woman.

My goal for weight loss was 30 pounds but I knew that was unreasonable given the October 1 to December 25 time frame. I just told myself I wanted to feel better and be a fitter version of me. I wanted to wear a new, little black dress while walking across that stage on graduation day. And I did. And now, here goes the epiphanic account…

Epiphanic Humor about donutsNo, the epiphany was not about the donuts. They were making me fat, but I figured that out way beforehand.

It’s November and I’m a month and a week and a half or so into a Couch-To-5K running program. I can’t even believe I’m able to run more than a minute. I could barely run the day I started training but at this point, I was running a few minutes, in spurts. Holy hell that was hard. And I know I sound like a total girl, saying I couldn’t run more than a minute without dying, but I sware to you – I couldn’t.  Plus, I am a girl, so…

At any rate, my lungs were heaving in riotous gasps for air and my legs felt like telephone poles. I was a slug. The first three weeks were the hardest.

Each day, as I ran through and pushed the last few minutes of the workout, I thought I’d die. I focused on a spot on the wall and meditated on a personal thought that gave me strength and drive to finish. I won’t say what that thing was, but it made me do it. I can say that as I focused on that one thing, I also prayed. I prayed to God. I prayed to the Universe. I prayed to the powerful and strong being inside myself I knew was clawing her way out, after years of believing she couldn’t achieve these things; these things that were all just within reach (the education and the determination to be healthier/fitter!). I could literally feel myself getting stronger each day, physically and mentally. And people – this just in… I felt myself growing stronger spiritually, too.  Swear to Buddah 😉 My mother always told me not to take the Lord’s name in vein – so there ya have it ma. Damn Catholic guilt.

It got to the point, during the last 3 minutes of a run, where I’d literally be praying thanks to God, The Universe and all that is holy, energetic and moving through me, giving me energy, will and determination to go and push.   I’d just fall in a heaping pile of sweat and cry tears of joy and pride that I’d finished yet another step of training and another phase of the new and improved ME.

“Fuckin’ A!”, I’d say.

“Where the HELL is this strength coming from!?” I could only imagine it was coming from “within” but what was allowing me to “tap into” it?

GOD.

In whatever form or name It/He comes – I believe it was God. I was asking. I was showing up. And God was seeing me. Hearing me. Watching me. Pulling me through one of the most challenging times of my life as I neared the end of school and that really stressful time as well as an immensely physically challenging undertaking. Affirmations were flying out of my mouth that I’d never be caught dead saying out loud. Things like, “You ROCK girl!” “You freakin’ GOT this.” I started believing in me and in the spirituality I always knew lived inside me but I didn’t know how to tap into because I’d always gotten it confused with religion.

Graduation day has come and gone. I walked across that stage in my new black dress and got my diploma.

IMG_3755Nay, Me and Kev on Grad Day070

I had my family and my girls with me on the second most proud day of my life (I’ve had three I guess: Graduation from Massage School at age 28 #3, Graduating College at age 45 #2, and giving birth to my son at age 31 #1).

I have my Bachelor’s degree. I have new found recognition of the spirituality in me that can move me to do great things and as of the time of this writing, I am 27 pounds lighter than I was when I started out in October.

Moral of the story? Find your inner Athena people. Seek her/him/shim (remember – Athena is androgynous?). It’s in there somewhere.  Aspire to be greater and believe in yourself.   Seek and ye shall find!

Now say me a HallahJULia! 😉

 086

This is my crazy “HallaJulia” kid whose genetic predisposition for coo-cooishness, makes him try on “Hamden Hon” glasses at the ophthalmologist while Kevin and I have eye exams.

NOTE: Reference for “Hamden Hon” for the non-Baltimorons… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampden,_Baltimore

Hampden Hon pic

(Pic of actual “Hon”)

 

Advertisements

Finding My Inner Athena – Me: Version 7.2 (Part I)

Standard

A Brief Psychological Overview of Athena

IvyIvy

Athena – extroverted and independent temperament — represents the goddess of wisdom and civilization — concerned with career, motivated by the desire for achievement, acquiring knowledge, she possesses a keen intellect, concerned with education, culture, social issues and politics. Athena is father’s daughter. She enters the male arena in the outer world. Athena is also known as one of the three Amazon women. (The myth of the Amazon women spoke of a society of fierce warrior women who lived entirely without men.) The story of her birth: she emerged, fully-grown, out of the Head of Zeus.

She is an androgynous ‘virgin’ goddess who develops a relationship with her own inner masculine part rather than partaking in marriage to an outer male. Her awareness is focused. She relates to men as intellectual companion (sic) with whom she shares ambitions, career goals, and ideals. If a primarily Athenian-type woman chooses partnership, she seeks one who possesses sufficient self-confidence and who will appreciate her ambition and autonomy (http://goddess-power.com/athena.htm).

 Ivy

OK – so those that know me may be saying, “concerned with politics, whaaaaaa???” But I am “a father’s daughter” and I do have a competitive nature, so the whole entering a “male arena” thing is spot on. Emerging “fully-grown, out of the Head of Zeus”, not so much. Same with “androgynous ‘virgin’ goddess”. How is that latter one even possible? Androgynous/virgin/goddess??? Isn’t that like a triple oxymoron? If not, it seriously should be. But all the rest? Spot on. Which is why, I finally settled down with a man like Kevin Delaney.

So why all this talk about Athena? Because I found her! Or mine. Or the one that figuratively lives inside me. Though by all accounts, according to the whole “emerged out of the Head of Zeus” thing, I suppose could also live literally inside me as well. If I were a Greek God or Goddess. And lest I remind you that virgin goddesses can be androgynous, I could be a God or a Goddess. Holy crap – I really just said all that? See – this is why I never studied Greek mythology. Confuses the snot out of me. Totally NOT for the ADD impaired.

So – Athena. I found mine. And this is the story of how, and the progression of her growth within me over the years…

I haven’t written in quite some time. For self-pleasure that is. I’ve done a lot of academic writing over the last 6.5 years, while finishing a Bachelor’s degree I started (and stopped and started) many years ago. Of course, I’ve been working, working too, at my massage biz (SHAMELESS PLUG: http://www.megshealinghands.com) and as an independent contractor for a massage center in my area. Then there’s the whole wife, mother, homeowner, soccer taxi, cat crap/yak/ belly-gunk cleaner upper thing.  That’s a whole blog of its own, but be forewarned – you’ll want to be sure not to have eaten before reading! So yeah, all things combined – I’ve been somewhat busy. So busy, my neighbor friends have all likely disowned me and probably think I’m some sort of social deject, except for the ones that are just nice enough to remember me when they need to borrow a few bucks or at times send a thoughtful FB message in response to my post that I’m hanging on by a thread.

Megan Is Hanging By A Thread FB Post for Mish Mash Post 012914

Anyway – I totally digress, which my husband will cheerfully (sarcastically) tell you, NEVER happens…I wanted to write about my journey over the years toward a college education and how as I was actually finally approaching the last few months, I also found the motivation to accomplish another pretty amazing thing for myself (cool your jets – I know you’re DYING…it’ll come. Breathe deep). As it happens, my journey toward education actually became one of enlightenment or empowerment or whatever groovy, new-age word sounds just right in this sentence. The point is, all sorts of good things have been happening.  🙂

For me, college started in my 20’s instead of right out of high school. I did it as a sort of an “I can be as smart as my brainy sister” maneuver, after the über-brainy- maneuver of marrying the neighborhood Italian stud, at barely 18. Yeah – that was me – super brainy. I made all kinds of awesome and cerebral choices that were all about paving the way for a great rest of my life. THAT awesome, blink-of-an-eye-marriage ended in an inebriated pop in the mouth, while driving home from having attended a sock-hop with his family. The jackass cop I RAN to FROM our car, at a stop light to get away from the punches being thrown, was kind enough to deposit me at the nearest International House of Pancakes. He bought me a cup of coffee and a phone call (cuz back then you still actually put a silver coin in a phone on a wall). Super swell of him, huh? I called my sister and brother-in-law who came and got me, took me to my mother, who immediately drove me and my busted mouth to the court house. It wasn’t long after that, I set out to get my life in order and started taking classes at a local community college.

NOTE: Dear ex-sister-in law of ex-husband #1, of whom I am actually quite fond (the ex-sister-in-law, not the ex-husband. Not that I have anything against ex-husband #1 these days. We were young and stupid. The both of us. And, yes readers, there is an ex-husband #2…I call this my “burger and a beer” story) forgive the “bashing” if that’s what it feels like. It was what it was. There were pics of my face and a court hearing to prove it despite the denial on anybody’s part. It was a nightmare for me that I can look back on now and have gleaned strength from. Oh the dumb things we do and mistakes we ALL make. It’s a part of my story, so I’m writing about it. 😉 We good? Good. 🙂

Anyway – digressing again.

Squirrel Dog  from UP

The beginning of college… I made it about a semester and a half. The Astronomy class was stellar (see what I did there?) and I always did like Psychology and English. But, love beckoned again and this time, it came in the form of a distinguished and cultured man (enter husband #2). And, by distinguished and cultured, I mean 15 years older. And this time, he for sure wasn’t Italian. He was Sicilian. And let me tell you people – Sicilians are NOT the same as Italians. At least that’s what Italians will tell you. Anyone that comes from anywhere south of all the stuff that is actually attached to Italy itself is just from Africa. Check it out. All the years of school and college and I’m literally, just figuring out that Sicilia is an island. I think those Italians are on to something. But man can those Italfricans COOK, because my mother-in-law, Lydia, who was only Italfrican by marriage, taught me how to make the world’s best pot of sauce and meatballs and my father-in-law Salvatore made a killer side dish, he served at our annual Christmas parties called Capantina (Pronounced CAH–PAH–NAH–TINA). It’s this delicious, simmered, sweet and sour concoction of diced, fried eggplant, onions, olives or capers, celery, peppers and some other things in vinegar and sugar. I can’t remember Sal’s recipe (never learned how to make this one) but this Italian blogger has a great recipe and some fine pics: http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2012/9/11/sicilian-caponata.html. Clearly I was far too busy learning to cook authentic Italfrican cuisine to be worried with staying focused on finishing college. Then there was all the partying with friends almost twice my age and all the cool traveling we did. Priorities.

After 8 years together, we divorced and I started sowing some serious oats. I was hanging out at a restaurant bar in Canton, Baltimore where I had gotten to know the bartender and manager by name. I liked it there. They gave me free things. I was 26 at the time, a saucy little red-head with a big personality and a sense of humor, maybe a little flirtatious…so what can I say? They liked me. They fed me crab dip, stuffed jalapeno poppers, Amstel Light and Sambucca shots. Wait for the memoir – if I ever get the guts to write it – for fear of pissing off all my relatives and in-laws, but long story short, over the next 8 years I ran around with, ultimately fell in love and had a child with the manager, but we never married. In the first 2 years of that relationship there were no thoughts of resuming college at all. We broke up for a couple of years and I put myself through massage therapy school. That was an 18-month program and my answer to some sort of direction in life again. Ultimately, I was still just bumbling around trying to find my way, with no real purpose in life. I had no goals. No real bills to pay, other than some credit card debt I racked up living in a hotel for a few weeks at one point and my car payment. What a hot mess I was. The only thing I knew for certain at this point was that I missed the boyfriend I had broken up with and wanted to try to make a go of things again with him. We got back together and as agonizing and difficult as most of our moments were over the next 6 years, the one amazing thing that came of all of that, which I can never regret, but only thank God for, is the birth of our son. When the time came for me to grow up and out of my need for financial dependence on this man, I realized I actually wanted to be a single mother, versus living in the turmoil I was at the time. I needed out. I needed to be strong and independent and on my own. I needed to know I could stand on my own feet and raise this boy! With the help of my sister and then brother-in-law, I took 6 months to get on my feet while living with them, found an apartment for my son and me and started my new job…WITH TUITION REIMBURSEMENT.

“Aha!”, you say. “Finally, she’s getting back on topic.”

Now in my 30’s, I worked at the local hospital in hospital administration. For the next 3 years I plucked away at a class here and there, on the hospital’s dime. It was great!  It felt so good to be self-sufficient, paying my own bills, raising my son and chipping away at classes again. At this stage in my pursuit for learning, it was all about getting the education so that I could provide for my son and create a better environment for him. I was working full-time, going to school part-time, raising my infant-to-toddler kiddo, in our little 2 bedroom apartment there in Harford County, Maryland and life was grand. Until the hospital let me go. They gave me 60 days to find another job within the system but I found nothing. The reason they gave me was redunkulous and to this day I still don’t buy it or believe it but I literally applied for everything I could that paid close to what I had been making. I was black listed. There went my free education. Yet another setback. And just when I was getting’ my educational freak awn!  Man…

The next year was abysmal. Unemployment. Unemployment skills training, job hunting, grabbing up any massage gigs I could find on the side… after all, I still had that education and skill to fall back on. There was always still help from my son’s father, but at times that was an emotional struggle between the two of us, and I knew that I just needed to continue on the path toward financial independence.  Ultimately, I knew he would never deny his son, but personally, I did not want to have to depend on him.

Within that year, I contacted an old friend who I had worked with years ago, during my time with the restaurant manager boyfriend. She was now the Director of Admissions for a technical college in Maryland. Ultimately I went to work for her making great money, for 3 years until my marriage to my now hubby Kevin resulted in a decision to move to Pennsylvania. It was during our dating relationship that he and I started talking seriously about my finally finishing my degree. Now, in my 40’s it was all about my son seeing his mother persevere; teaching him that women can be all things (moms, massage therapists, freelance writers, wanna-be-entrepreneurial-baker-divas, small business owners, keepers of the house, wives, social coordinators, soccer carpoolers, carpet cleaners [see future blog on cat yak/belly gunk], adolescent hair do’ers and advice givers, etc. etc.). It was also very much about fulfilling a life-time goal of my own at this point. Finishing something I’d started many years ago. Coming full circle, into my own. Finding myself. Finding my inner Athena. I found her alright, and she’s now not only educumacated, she’s also 25 pounds lighter!

HGraOffacebook-workout-posts-fat-photo-threat-ransom-cards-ecards-someecards

Part 2 of this post conveys the massive epiphanic episode that occurred in November 2013, about a month before graduation. I call it “epiphanic” for a reason. Read on to find out why.  🙂

NOTE TO READER:  If epiphanic is not a real word, it should be and now that I’m educated, I hereby proclaim its official entry into the world of “real words”.  And while I’m at it, I’ll offer an explanation of “Version 7.2”:

Meg Beta Version  – Embryonic Stage

Version 1.0 – Birth

Version 2.0 – Childhood

Version 3.0 – Marriage to Neighborhood Italian Stud

Version 4.0 – Marriage to Cultured and Distinguished Italifrican

Version 5.0 – Long-Term Culturally Diverse Relationship: Helped catapult me into INDEPENDENCE!

Version 6.0 – Living As a Single Mother On Own.  Financial Independence.  STRENGTH.

Version 7.0 – Marriage to My FOREVER MAN.  Solidified concept of SELF ACTUALIZATION!

Version 7.1 – College Graduation from The Pennsylvania State University – December 2014

Version 7.2 – Health, Fitness and Long-Term Weight Loss Goal of 30 pounds