“Hindsight: Plaguing Unintended Incest-Perpetrators Since Luke Met Leia”

“Hindsight: Plaguing Unintended Incest-Perpetrators Since Luke Met Leia”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Hindsight is always 20/20.”

~Billy Wilder, screenwriter

 The Foda’s Take: Well, sure. We all have things in our life we’d like to change if we could. If we could map out the pivotal moment IT entered our lives, there would be no such thing as regret. But that’s not quite possible. After all, if we all knew the future, Luke would have never kissed his twin sister. So don’t feel bad you didn’t see your #fail coming- he’s a Jedi with powers of premonition and he still fell in love with his fellow womb-buddy.

 Hi everyone! How goes it with you on this fine, fine day? Did you attempt my Five Days in Five Ways Smile Builder challenge? I hope you did!

I’ve been very nostalgic this past week, and thinking a lot about the past. It’s amazing how fresh some memories are. I was lying in bed a few nights back and remembered something particularly embarrassing that happened in high school, and actually covered my head with the blanket. Like that could shield me from it. I know. I may have rolled my eyes at myself on that one. And embarrassing memories are like dominos- once you remember one, your mind starts to seek out all the other times you felt like crawling under the covers and hiding from the world. Which is not conducive to sleep, FYI. (And no, I’m not going to share my humiliating tale. Nosey.) 

So I decided to break the cycle and think happy thoughts, all Peter Pan-esque. Like the wedding I had three years ago when I danced every dance with my husband. I will always be so grateful for that day. I had been sick in the months leading up to it, but got better for the event. I became symptomatic over the honeymoon, but still- I got to have my perfect day, and I still got to climb mountains and chase waterfalls in Hawaii.

I thought of my silver cat, Yoda, who follows us everywhere and looks like a rabbit when he rolls on his back from the fluffy tufts of white hair on his belly. I thought of the day I finished writing my first draft for my novel. Or the day my father and I timed the sword-fight scene in the old movie “Scaramouche” to see how long it was. I’m pretty sure it was around seven minutes long- for all of my actor friends, can you imagine how long it took to block that out??!!! Or the times my mother and I would sit in front of the piano and just sing. The time my sister sent me a picture of her just days before she went into labor, sending a hilarious message to her husband to pick up his dirty clothes…. by putting them all on over her pregnant belly and swaggering around the house before snapping a selfie. (Although this was before selfies. So it was way cooler.)  And finally, the time I crossed the finish line for the Hartford half-marathon with my fists punching the air because I had ran the whole way, never stopping once. And invariably, I thought of how much I missed being able to live the active life I used to have before chronic Lyme. Enter hindsight.

We can learn a lot by looking back. But when our present is challenging, it becomes so easy to get overwhelmed by how much better our lives used to be, and spend more time mourning its loss than nourishing the present. And I get it- some days, you just have to allow yourself to be sad. At times, fighting it will be more exhausting than just recognizing you need some time to feel what you feel, and then move on when you’re ready. Unless, of course, the mentality of “I’ll only be happy when ____”  begins to take over.

So here’s my remedy. Happiness is not a destination. It’s not when I get better or when I snag that swanky job or that new car. Happiness is more subtle than that. And I’m going to be completely honest with you- it sometimes feels like no matter how many good things happen to me, it will never mean as much if I still can’t walk out my front door and just go. Which means I need to focus on appreciating the small things, and the things I have now.

So give me a moment here while I strap on my tool belt and start whistling. “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s back to the small things we go…”

Cheers,

The Foda

“The Smile Builder: Five Days in Five Ways”

Hey, everybody! First of all, I want to apologize for the absence of the Chronic Funnies over the past several weeks. It’s not that I’m discontinuing them, it’s just that I haven’t been feeling particularly funny during my latest dip. But fear not, because I have a plan! This is why I created a 5 day challenge I’m calling The Smile Builder. I hope you join along with me and give it a go!

 The Smile Builder: Five Days in Five Ways

 Warning: Excessive silliness, improved mood, and lack of caring what others think may be a permanent side effect.

 Day One: 

  1. Sit on a firm pillow and meditate for 5 minutes.
  2. Pick a favorite song and sing it at the top of your lungs
  3. Find a mirror, look at it, and say: “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”
  4. Write down one good thing that happened that day and stick it under your pillow. Read before bed.
  5. Choose either five minutes of yogic stretching focused on hip area, or if too fatigued, choose to attempt yogic laughter: the act of forcing yourself to laugh for as long as you can. Tip: attempt with a partner or mirror for maximum results.

Day Two: 

  1. Sit on a firm pillow and meditate for 6 minutes.
  2. Pick a favorite song and sing it in the shower. Whilst serenading your shampoo bottle.
  3. Find a mirror, look at it, and say: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
  4. Write down two good things that happened that day and stick it under your pillow. Read before bed.
  5. Choose either five minutes of yogic stretching focused on gentle spinal twists, or if too fatigued, choose to attempt yogic laughter.

Day Three: 

  1. Sit on a firm pillow and meditate for 7 minutes.
  2. Pick a favorite song and sing it at the top of your lungs while deliberately subbing in words that make you giggle.
  3. Find a mirror, look at it, and say: “You would not part an old man from his walking stick?” Double points for speaking in a British accent.
  4. Write down two good things and one random thing that happened that day and stick it under your pillow. Read before bed.
  5. Choose either five minutes of yogic stretching focusing on hips/spine, or if too fatigued, choose to attempt yogic laughter.

Day Four: 

  1. Sit on a firm pillow and meditate for 8 minutes.
  2. Pick a favorite song and sing it at the top of your lungs while patting your fingers over your open mouth really, really fast. Other option: sing into oscillating fan.
  3. Find a mirror, look at it, and say: “Expecto Patronum!”
  4. Write down two good things that happened that day and one prediction for tomorrow, and stick it under your pillow. Read before bed.
  5. Choose either five minutes of yogic stretching focusing on hips/spine, or if too fatigued, choose to attempt yogic laughter.

Day Five:

  1. Sit on a firm pillow and meditate for 10 minutes. (Yes, we are skipping from 8-10. Don’t worry. You can handle it.)
  2. Pick a favorite song and sing it at the top of your lungs while taking out all the consonants. In other words, make like a flying monkey from Oz and sing only with vowels. (Sidebar- anyone else used to think they were singing “oreo”?!!) Ooo-eee-oooo….. 
  3. Find a mirror, look at it, and say: “Better out than in, I always say!”
  4. Try and remember every good thing you wrote down over the past four days and put it under your pillow. Read before bed.
  5. Choose five minutes of gentle yogic stretching focusing on hips/spine, or if too fatigued, do it anyway.

Hope you enjoy this 5 day challenge! Feel free to let me know how it goes by tweeting me @thefemaleyoda and using #smilebuilder.

Putting the Cheer in Cheerio,

The Foda

“The Choice”

“The Choice”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart… Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

~Carl Jung

 The Foda’s Take: I have a feeling that Carl Jung is also a pretty big believer in mindfulness.

 Hi, everyone! So last week, Mandalf and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary. This gave me a day where I could flip through old pictures, relive the most beautiful day of my life, and remember the moment we danced hand-in-hand into the reception as man and wife- to- I kid you not- the bombastic Star Wars theme. (Come on. With a handle like the Female Yoda, did you really think I wouldn’t marry a fellow Star Wars lover?) Yes, the wedding party proceeded us by boogying down to the Cantina Song. And yes, it was AWESOME. And no, I didn’t have my parents/in-laws come in to the Darth Vader theme song… although I’m pretty sure it was discussed… all in good fun, of course… But I digress.

Now, when you’re dealing with a chronic illness, special occasions can sometimes be tough- you know how you’d want to celebrate, but sometimes what you want and what you’ve got to work with just aren’t in the same realm. For example, Mandalf asked me what I wanted to do- and what I wanted to do was hop on a plane and spend the day drinking margaritas and eating shrimp tacos on a beach in San Diego. But considering my current capabilities? Not an option.

So the night before, knowing I didn’t want to spend our special day being sad that I couldn’t celebrate it the way I would have if I was healthy, I made a choice. I could either focus on all the things I had and could do, or on the one thing I didn’t have and wanted more than anything. I chose to focus on what I could do. And it was a wonderful day.

So often, when we have something that we want so incredibly desperately, it’s easy to feel like nothing else will make us happy until we get it. And I fall into this trap a lot. So I get it. But over the past several days, I’ve been struck by just how much energy goes into moping and pining after something out of your control. And considering how I have a very limited amount of energy to begin with, shouldn’t I be spending it on things that can make me happy right now? Consequently, the past several days have been some of the most productive I’ve had in a while. (Closing in on finishing draft three of my fantasy novel! Woohoo!)

I know special occasions are going to continue to be bittersweet while my life is in this holding pattern. I get that. But I’m starting to really believe that you can still move forward while your life stays “stuck.”

Cheers,

The Foda

It Is Easy Being Green: Alima Pure Makeup

It Is Easy Being Green: Alima Pure Makeup

 Howdy Folks! So, I promised I was going to start a Green Living segment, and here it is! Every now and again I’ll take a break from exploring smiling through the chartreuse cast of the Lyme-light and instead focus on what so many of us who battle chronic illnesses strive to do- live Greener, leaner, and meaner. Okay, not meaner. Although for those of us who made the choice to give up gluten, dairy, and sugar in a bid to rid our bodies of any excess inflammation, that first 2-4 weeks may have come with an extra side of screaming… Amazing how much one misses cookies and pizza once one cannot ingest them… But one may digress.

So today’s Green Living topic is… drumroll please… all natural makeup featuring my favorite safe, non-toxic brand: Alima Pure! Fun fact for you party people: Did you know…

(Pssst. Hey. Hey, you. If you want to keep wearing your designer/drugstore makeup, you may not want to hear this “fun” fact. Because it may ruin you on “conventional” makeup for life. Still with me? Still curious? Okay, you asked for it!)

Did you know that it only takes around 23 seconds for something you put on your skin to pass through to your bloodstream? 23 seconds!!! That means, ladies, essentially, that unless you would take a big spoonful of your fancy foundation or moisturizer and swallow it down the ol’ pie hole, it should not be going on your skin. Because your skin is a ravenous, porous monster ready to eat everything it should come in contact with like a crazed Rancor!

Freaked out? Hey, I warned you! Solution? Alima Pure Makeup. I’ve tried countless “green” brands (many of which said they were natural, many of which were still laden with toxic chemicals) and this one is by far my favorite. Over the past year, I’ve switched out my entire makeup bag, and the Alima Pure line has replaced 98% of my old staples. Their products are safe, highly pigmented, long lasting, AND they let you buy samples so you can have total confidence in what you buy. (Prepare to have your mind blown- they have over 60 mineral foundation shades to choose from! Whaaattt???!!!!) Pretty sure color selection won’t be an issue.

But the best part? Is that every day when I glide, tap, and swirl their soft, rich, natural products onto my face, I know my b-e-a-u-tifulness doesn’t come with a toxic price.  (Sidebar: I have absolutely no affiliation with this brand, no one is paying me to say this. I just luuuuurrrveeee them. Ahem. In a respectable, decent, totally nonchalant manner.)

So this concludes my first Green Living segment! If you’d like more info on this brand, check them out here, comment down below, or tweet me @TheFemaleYoda and let me know what you’re interested in hearing more about. Welcome to the wonderful world of Green!

Huzzah!

The Foda

“Tale as Old as Lyme”

“Tale as Old as Lyme”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.”

~Brian McGreevy, Hemlock Grove 

 The Foda’s Take: Amen, McGreevy. A. Men.

 Howdy, folks! I hope you all had a great Independence Day weekend! My fabulous mother, Professor Momgonagall, was born on July 4th, so it was a dual celebration for us. (I know! Fireworks every year on your birthday! How cool is that!)

Anywho, it’s been a really rough stretch of days, and it’s been extra challenging for me to find ways to tap into the hope maven I so aspire to be. I’m sure, dear reader, you’ve had times like this- times when if you hear one more well-meaning person say “When God closes a door…” or “This too shall pass…” you kinda wanna throw a Death Star sized cream pie in that person’s face. Well, that’s been me. And my silvery lining just hasn’t been so easy to find these days. So, of course, after a few days of Woe is me I had to find a way to re-frame my situation to make it more palatable. And today, I found it!

Now, I don’t think I ever told you this, but my childhood dream was to be on Broadway. And as of seventh grade, my ultimate dream was to be Belle in Beauty and the Beast; the most magical show I’ve ever seen. So today I was humming the overture in my head, and I remembered how once in the castle, Belle could only see the outside world through using that magic mirror the Beast has. And I was like- that’s me! My connection to “normal” life outside my house is currently pretty exclusively seen through “mirrors” such as Mandalf, social media, etc. And while you may be thumbing your nose at me, asking in a snooty voice why in the world I found this helpful, all I can say is that re-framing my horribly difficult situation through a favorite childhood story really helps. Also, I have brown hair and I look really great in blue. So, there’s that.

I can’t change how fast I heal, and I can’t see the future. I also can’t just sit back and wait for this Lyme to go away, because it’s already been years, and I will not let this disease win by stripping me of any happiness or purpose I can achieve right now. So, like I said in my previous post, all I really have to work with is my imagination. And right now, it is way better to think of myself like Belle trapped in an enchanted castle than as me trapped in a broken body.

Sidebar:Yes, I hear how crazy this may sound. Yes, I am comparing my life to a Disney character’s. But since I’ve seen a zillion quizzes titled “What _____ Would You Be?” floating around Facebook lately, I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one who likes to compare herself to fictional characters. In. Your. Face. Ha! 

So this fine Sunday, I ask you- what difficult situation in your life would you like to re-frame? How could you look at it to make it just a bit more fun or bearable? After all, who says make-believe is just for children? And to that point- aren’t children usually happier than adults? See where I’m going with this?

Off to See if my Spoons and Candlesticks Will Sing for Me,

The Bellisima Foda