:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

COFFEE Post 10: Enough already…Then, ENOUGH. (Stephany)

OMG!!! HOLY SNOW! We survived. I’m actually, legitimately stunned in a way that we did! You read about the cluster that Snowpocalypse 2011 (SP11) created in the Tulsa, Okla., area. I’m here to tell you that SWMO was in pretty much the same boat, although we didn’t get quite as much of the evil white crap the second go-round that Tulsa did. But we got ENOUGH, for sure, MORE THAN ENOUGH. It’s been COLD, nasty, and actually a little scary. The school district I work for was closed for NINE school days; our last day of school was Jan 31, for Heaven’s sake. ENOUGH time off already! We just went back yesterday (2/14). Granted, we were able to get around some after about the 5th day, but it was still fairly slick, so we didn’t run around just for the sake of running around. Needless to say, this “lovely” weather (note deep sarcasm) has put a SERIOUS damper on my COFFEE goals, at least a few of them… So, with that, a quick update:

1. U 2.0 – It’s U 2.0. It’s my life. It’s a work in progress, just like me.

2. Training for the Half – Not only have I not run a single mile outside on the road, I have run less than 10 on a treadmill in the last two weeks. I DID get in six core workouts and a couple of weights sessions, but I’m in trouble here, folks. Really serious trouble. In just a few days and two months, I am running 13.2 miles for charity. I have paid money and recruited friends to join me in this endeavor. THIRTEEN POINT TWO miles, and I’ve run less than ten miles in the last two weeks… yeah. That adds up, doesn’t it? Um, if it does, I would like to talk to you. Now, though, that I can actually see some pavement, I will be getting back into my training and praying like heck that I’ve done enough work to be able to pull this out of my butt. Cross your fingers, say your prayers, send me some mojo – I need it ALL. Gracias, friends.

3. Book project – I said last post that the fire was lit and I was ready to get back to work. Well, I’m not. I did some work on this project during our two weeks of snow-induced hell, and what I’m seeing is that I’m running everything together. It all sounds the same. I’m trying to tell important stories about the lives of incredible people, and I’m mucking it all up. A good friend looked me in the eye and spoke much-needed truth: “You gotta get your own sh*t in order, Steph, before you can deal with other people’s sh*t and do it any justice.” I had no response. She was ABSOLUTELY, completely right. SO, I’m granting myself a break. I swear to you (already swore to myself) that I will come back to this project when I have a little more of my own sh*t in order. I think maybe once the divorce is final and all that’s behind me, I’ll be worthy of even HEARING these stories, let alone trying to tell them. I need your help with this, too. I need you to ask me about my sh*t and if I’m getting it together. Give me a couple months and let me tell you I’m divorced first, but then you have my permission to ride me like a racehorse until I can honestly tell you I’m back to work on this project. Thank you in advance, by the way.

4. Pondering studenthood – I’m narrowing down my list of potential schools and have talked to several more people about what I need to pursue in terms of which degree, and I am feeling much more equipped to make this decision. Application deadlines for fall semesters are the end of March, so it’s go-time. I’m excited.

5. Co-parenting – The kids are pretty pleased with the arrangement we have right now, this sharing of the children poop. I hate it, personally. It gives me whiplash, and he doesn’t deserve this. THE KIDS, however, are happy, and THEY deserve both parents. SO, I am biting my tongue and praying for peace about this mess we’ve made. I know of nothing else I can do.

6. Awareness of Others – I spent some time during Snowpocalypse looking out for a couple of my neighbors who are older, and it was really nice to know that they felt better knowing someone was concerned for them. I also got to spend TONS of quality time with my kids, and to be able to focus that much on THEM and doing stuff they enjoy was really terrific! Instead of running around from practice to practice, game to tournament, we got to sit down, watch movies, play cards, bake stuff, read stories, do puzzles, play on the computer, snuggle and talk… It pains me to realize that the evil snow made this possible, but I’m grateful. Good times. I’m making it my mission this week in particular, as my students are returning to school and routines, to really focus on my students, too. I can’t spend lots of extra time with them, but I can be more observant and careful with the time I do have with them. I’m going to really be more aware of these kids and what’s up with them. I think it’s going to pay off. I don’t know how or why exactly. I just do. Stay tuned…
I spent some time during SP11 doing some things for me, too. I spent some time with friends, albeit online, who are in the same boat as me. We got to talk and commiserate and share and vent and laugh about our lives and the poop we’re going through. It was actually good medicine. Much-needed medicine. Check this out:

I choose to live by choice not by chance; to make changes not excuses; to be motivated not manipulated; to be useful, not used; to excel, not compete; I choose self-esteem, not self pity; I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.

I remember reading this for the first time on one of the boards and ROLLING MY EYES. Gag, I thought. PUH-LEEZE. I read it again about a week ago, and it was like I’d never really seen it before. Yes, I thought. Absolutely. Church, girl, preach it. So I stole it. And I’m sharing it with you. To whoever it is I swiped this from, thank you. (I did intend to give you credit, but I can’t find your post now. I’m sorry. Surely you don’t mind me sharing your – or, whoever you stole it from, their - wisdom.) I have read and re-read this quote and broken it down piece by piece, which leads me to the following… (stay with me, okay? There IS a point, I promise.)

Also during this break I got seriously caught up (and WAAAAAYYYYYY ahead – ahem…) on facebook. (P.S. If you’re a COFFEE chick, and we aren’t facebook friends, please send me a request or be on the lookout for a request from me. This should NOT be. We are sistas in COFFEE, thus should be FB friends. Jeez.) One of the best things I read/saw on FB the whole two weeks was posted by an old college friend from one college I attended and another college roommate from the school I graduated from (who do NOT know each other), within two days of one another. I do believe I was meant to watch it. I believe you were, too.

This video is a bit lengthy, but it cut to the heart of so much of what I was able to feel and learn about myself from ruminating on the quote above and the whole of much of my adult life. Yeah, I know. Admittedly, I haven’t done my research on this lady, but what she says in this presentation is spot-on, in my opinion. She nailed ME, anyway, squarely on the heart. Ironically, the message at the end of this video is exactly the same message that my Bible study group has been studying. This is the concept of being ENOUGH and allowing yourself to be ENOUGH… In fact, I am seriously contemplating having this single word tattooed on my person: ENOUGH. I am enough, doggone it! And so are YOU… I could say so much more about this, but I really feel led to just put this link in front of you and leave it up to you to watch and evaluate and feel. Watch and see what you think.

I have to tell you, COFFEE chicks and followers (thank you, by the way, for reading what we have to say even though you aren’t posting with us!!!!!), that I feel like you are all very much a part of my coming back to life after all the turmoil and, well, POOP from the last couple of years. You help me open up, share, be vulnerable, allow myself to be seen, really seen, and to choose the good over the bad. You are the voices of support (I’m sorry. I really dislike that word, but I can’t come up with anything else that seems to fit right now.), of reason, and of love… So, in light of the fact that it was just Valentine’s Day, please know that you are all appreciated, and you are all good. Much love, COFFEE friends, much LOVE.


patresa said...


i'll have to come back and respond to your whole wonderful post later. right now i'm just a little speechless about the brene brown talk.

1. she referred to "data with soul" in the first minute or 2. i designed a training for work called "data with soul."

2. everything else she said about the fear of vulnerability, about authenticity being the key to connection, about inability to selectively numb...

wow. awesome. what a perfect thing to watch this morning when i'd originally planned to do some yoga. this was beautiful brain yoga.

thank you, stephany.

Steph said...

You're welcome. I have watched this at least six times already, and each time I find something I missed before.
I'm a "numb-er," always have been. She was right, though, about numbing EVERYTHING when you try to numb only something... totally right. Ouch.
Beautiful brain yoga, indeed! <3 you, P.

amy said...

Stephany...I'm with P--that was an awesome brain yoga, yes! My brain feels centered and calm, yet all abuzz. So many things to say, and only so much time to say them.

1-I really DID need to hear what Brene has to say about it all. In fact, my soul did about 1,000 jumping jacks for 20 minutes straight. I laughed, I cried (particularly at the part about how we view our children, and particularly because I just got done reading an AJC opinion piece agreeing with Michelle Rhee that we're not angry and harsh enough toward our children), and I said--out loud--at the end, "That was the most important, beautiful thing I've watched/listened to in a long, long time. That Stephany! What a good egg."

2-I'm going to pass this video on to a friend I know will appreciate it as well as publicize it on my facebook page.

3-Half-marathon mojo: sending it, will continue sending it. Even if it just helps you walk to the finish line, you have it.

4-A pox on snowpocalypses! (But they are both blessings and curses--you get your laundry done...but you're singing Dora songs to yourself all day. You get to spend a lot of time with your kid(s)...but you really wish they'd take a longer nap.)

5-You and Tawni make my snow week look like a walk in a lush Botanical Garden. I'm pretty sure I would have lost my mind if we'd had 9 days and more than that 2 feet of snow to contend with.

6-Your (beautiful) quote reminded me of a documentary I watched on Sunday. It was about Carla Bruni, the singer/songwriter/former model turned 1st Lady of France. I thought she'd be kind of snotty French and all skinny model-y and annoying, but no, no. Her songs are beautiful, and she's beautiful inside and out. And smart--Carla Bruni is really down to earth and smart.

What stuck the most with me was that she said what set her free and helped her find true happiness finally was realizing she was responsible for her own life. Every experience she had, good and bad, was because of choices she made. Every choice, even bad ones, lead to growth and learning, and she thinks this is the most important thing we should teach our children--no one is responsible for you but you. You choose your own life, you make your own way, and embrace your imperfections and poor choices. They make who you are. Once you realize this, you'll be free.

7-From now own, I'm only ever going to listen to people my soul does jumping jacks for. Powerhouse women like Brene and Carla are good, and I want you to know I think you're a bit of a powerhouse woman as well. You've got a good, courageous heart, and the love is right back at ya, S.

Steph said...

@Amy, I think I'd have enjoyed that documentary. First, I like pretty people. I know, shallow, but I like pretties. And pretties who match on the inside are my faves... she sounds like a special soul.
I tell my kids that all the time. The only person responsible for you is YOU - how you feel, what you say & do, where you go, how you turn out... it's all on YOU. I can guide you, will help you, pick you up, give you advice, but ultimately you (and only YOU) decide what to do what you get. I know of nothing more important I can teach them... and I wish someone would have kicked me in the butt and made sure I knew it LONG before I hit my 30s!
And thank you... I appreciate the kind words, especially from someone I believe to be a powerhouse woman! Love ya!

Steph said...

sorry, I meant:
Only you decide what to do WITH what you get...

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

I love your positive mojo. I mean, I really really smile when I read what you write, and I swear I can see you writing with a smile and a few genuine whole hearted smirks.

I also love that you are making it a priority to be in the moment with your neighbors, kids, students and just people in general. That's simply cool, and man, how lucky are your people. Totally.

I would also like to jump in and say snow sucks a-wad, and we have not appreciated it in KC either. Bug off Snow, seriously. NOT WANTED.

You will rock the writing, school, the race, parenthood (which you clearly already are), and just about anything you put your noggin to. :)

Your fan,

blj said...

Wow. Brene Brown is my new idol, right after Patresa (and now Steph:)) I attended P's Data with a Soul workshop and felt the same way I did after that as I did after watching this video. Which is awed and inspired. You guys really did speak to my soul. There were so many good moments in her video, but I think my favorite is when she said... "Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love. I have a vulnerability issue and I need some help, but no family stuff, no childhood shit. I just need some strategies.” I’m going to think about that and write more later . . . Thanks, Steph!

Holly said...

Stephany, we need to meet. We will meet at this 1/2 marathon. I have so much more to say about vulnerability and authenticity and ENOUGH, but must go to work now. You are a beautiful soul, and you and I are going to get through divorce together. We're going to raise strong kids, and we're going to run 1/2 marathons. Your going to get your shit together and then write about other people's cool lives and maybe your own cool life! you're going to teach me what you know about writing, so I too can become a writer. Hang tough COFFEE sista. The only way out, is through, sugar.
Peace out and stand tall.

Wendy said...

Stephany, First off, woa. NINE days of no school!?? Holy buckets, I can't imagine. But I also think it's really awesome that you got those 9 days to bond with kids! That right there is a memory they can always have (and you too).

Love that video (once I finally got my computer to play it well enough to get the gist.) The quote that Becky mentioned, specifically that vulnerability is the "birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love"... woa. Gulp. I am starting to see why I feel so stifled. Fear & vulnerability are major players in my life and this is something I'm realizing needs to be dealt with tangibly more than just contemplated. Thanks for posting that video!
I also loved the stuff about religion and politics. I've read people say things on FB about how they've defriended non-Obama supporters and I think "wow, since when do we have to agree on every religious and political point to be friends?" And I totally agree, that narrow-mindedness is based on fear and an unwillingness to be vulnerable to others who's ideas may challenge yours. And it's like a virus. I read stuff like that and it makes me feel even MORE vulnerable - what if I say something that offends someone? What if they disagree and decide they no longer like me?

Go get 'em on the marathon you wild woman! As Arnold would say "you can DO it!"

T-Free said...

NINE DAYS of school closings! That makes people realize very quickly how much the snow affected us all. There was a weekend in there, too! Sheesh, it really messed up a lot of stuff we were hoping to accomplish, didn't it? But we're going to get it back in gear this week, I just know it, she said optimistically. :)

I will be sending you prayers and mojo training blessings aplenty, hoping you will be ready for your big run. You can DO it!

I am so glad you're giving yourself a break in the book project department. Divorce is such a tough thing to go through, and it's hard to focus on anything else until you get your life straightened out. I had the ex who fought the divorce, so my own childless, simple divorce took fourteen months. I was a wreck. I just wanted to end the limbo and move on with my life. So I hope you get it behind you quickly, get some closure, shake off the stressful yuck, and move forward unfettered and clear-headed, ready to tackle any project you feel like. Please let us know when your divorce is final so we can raise a toast to your new future.

I noticed the snuggle time factor with the snow too. Okay, snow. We can see one positive thing about you. Haha.

The quote you shared is amazing. Thank you so much. It is especially timely for me to read those words today in particular, and I appreciate so much that you've shared it with us.

Enough. I am enough. I will make myself cry if I say this out loud a few times, but I still try, in the spirit of positive affirmation. I need to get "keep your perspective" tattooed on one wrist, and "I am enough" on the other.

You are such a sweet, kind, wise person, and I'm proud to be your COFFEE sister! :) xoxo.

Katie said...

Stephany, first of all, thanks -for the link to the Brene Brown video. I am forwarding it to my boss and the social workers I work with. It really touched me, and made sense to me on a level that hits both my academic and emotional interests in the nature of human behavior and outlook. It was really profound, and I'm really grateful you passed it on.

I didn't want to post until I had a chance to watch the whole video and it's been a busy week, so sorry about the lateness of my comment!

9 days of snow. Holy. Crap. Ola. I think by now you should be contacted by people looking for training in mental toughness when exploring the Arctic. Good lord.

Mojo, prayers and crossed fingers coming your way for the 1/2!! You will be great!

I think your friend sounds wise. And wise friends are the ones to have when the crap hits the fan. They help you clean it off. Sounds like she's a handy one with a paper towel! I'm always in favor of a break, especially when it's needed, and this sounds needed.

Being equipped to make decisions! Yes! And further studenthood is exciting. It feels like you're nearing a horizon.

Ah. Co-parenting. I have no experience with this, but I believe firmly that you are doing what you do for the kids' best interests. That's very noble and good, but I think it also must be horribly hard. I'm so sorry.

And snuggie time with the kids!! Sounds like the silver lining to 9 days of purgatory-like trials.

Steph, you're a good 'un. I'm glad you're here.