A New Day

Hello!

I’ve had a brief hiatus from blogging and vlogging. This past year and a half has been challenging for everyone. But throughout it all Kay Jay and I kept setting goals, kept pushing through. We knew this would pass and we wanted to come out of it with some growth.

Even though it may have not gone the way I wanted it to go, I have definitely grown and learned so much in the past year.

First I am grateful I never got sick. Many people died, suffered permanent injuries. Many nurses were so overwhelmed they left the field entirely! We all forget, at times, how devastating this plague was. Not even in the sense of masking and social isolation, but physically killing and wounding millions of people world wide.

I’m grateful for my new role in nursing. I’m enjoying a role that works more closely with physicians and I am learning so much.

I’m grateful for my recovery. I have stayed sober throughout the entire pandemic! Since I’ve adopted my two baby kitties, they have never seen me drink. This is huge in ways no one can truly grasp unless they were with me in my lowest darkest points.

I’m grateful for all my friends and family. I don’t walk through this life alone.

I’m excited to keep learning and growing. I still want to work on my health because after becoming sober, I have used food in ways that aren’t healthy and I am finally at a place where I can tackle these challenges.

I am learning so much about anti-fat bias and I am trying to approach my wellness journey from a place that doesn’t demonize my own fatness or anyone else’s fatness. Fatness doesn’t equate health. I want to improve my energy level, my blood pressure, my cholesterol. I do want to lose weight but I acknowledge this is largely due to society and my own deeply rooted anti-fat biases that I am still grappling with. I have hated my body for a long time and that doesn’t just change overnight or after one podcast (lol).

Thank you Kay Jay for being on this journey with me.

Peace and Love,

Shim Sham

Small Hiatus, Big Changes

Good morning all you beautiful lovelies!

We hope that you have been getting out to enjoy what spring has had to offer us, especially as parts of our lives reopen. Shim Sham and I have taken some time to reassess what we need in our lives, and to give ourselves a little mental health break.

Now, you may have noticed that we haven’t been posting on our YouTube channel recently – and that’s because we’ve decided to put our efforts into a different endeavor, one that we both feel much better about.

We want to come directly to you, together! We want to be able to discuss our ideas surrounding health & wellness, living queer, living sober, and living to our fullest. And we want to take you on that journey with us.

So – be on the lookout for episodes of our new podcast coming soon! Our hope is to get episodes out over the summer as we square away plans and come up with new ideas for content. Look for it on all of the audio streaming platforms late July/August!

As for me right now, I am working on my personal goals in a big way. I’ve been living my life moment to moment, focusing on survival and happiness right now for the last five or so years. I have worked hard to get my life back on track, and I feel that I have succeeded in many ways. I work in an educational capacity, teaching music to multiple generations of performers and music-makers. I still get to dance (and get paid for it!) And I have written more music and recorded more work than ever before in my life!

What I’m saying is that I have a lot to be happy about, proud of, and love about my life.

And now it’s time to level up. I’m working on a five year plan to take myself out of near-poverty and into a much more thriving queer-centered space that will allow for better comforts and more ability to give back to those who need it even more than I do. I am currently creating even more work to put out into the universe, and am allowing myself the space and time to explore exciting new options for where I can go in the future!

And we’re listening to a lot of affirmations and informations through podcasts that break down the stigma of health, wellness, fatness, etc. (looking at you Maintenance Phase)

Big things are coming – and we want you to take you along!

Won’t you join us?

❤ Kay Jay

Balancing My Foundations

Wednesday post pushed to Thursday – but here it is!

I finally got back to my journaling. I have been writing around 3 pages in my journal every morning off and on since 2012, and it has been an incredibly useful tool for me. I use it to write out complex thoughts and emotions, and give me time in an unedited way without an audience to do what I always do – verbally process.

But silently. In writing.

Getting those pages written out felt very cathartic – and I am so happy to have taken the time to write them again. Some good things came out of my processing.

My life these past 6 or so years has been all about striking a balance. Finding that foundation and keeping equal weight between what I need and my natural tendency to try and do for others.

I’m more successful at doing for others than I am for myself. But I’ve been working on that.

Whenever I take time for myself, I feel compelled to balance it out with doubling down on what I can offer to others. It’s like a competition – how much more can I give of my time, energy and resources to someone else than I can to myself? I’ve proven on many occasions that I can really create quite a gap between the two.

And my personal journey gets thrown out of balance because of it.

With everything happening around the world right now, it can feel like there is absolutely no way to do enough. And in some ways, that’s true. One person alone cannot do enough to help everyone. (unless we were to just take all of the billionaires and give all of their surplus supplies out to those who need it…but that’s a different type of post.) But what I mean is that I only have so many hours in a day to give to any particular cause, project, or area of focus. Only so much monetary resources to spread around and maintain myself. The modern world demands of us CONSTANTLY. And giving into the pressure can have devastating impacts on my personal state of being.

I want to help. I want to donate. I want to contact legislators and those in power to urge them to act. And I do those things. But it never feels like it’s enough. My perfectionism and my desire to give to others weighs me down when I realize that I couldn’t possibly give enough to change everything.

But that isn’t the point. I do what I do to help stay connected, to keep my commitments moving and strong so that it becomes a part of my routine. And it will be enough for some people. For others, they will rightfully never see it as enough. It’s a conundrum.

But it doesn’t mean I have to give up. I know what I am doing for myself. What I have gone through. What I have survived. And what I continue to fight through.

I see what others are fighting for. What they are doing for themselves. For others. And I can be both. I can strike that balance between doing good for others, and tending to myself.

I’m not here to seek praise or validation (though I know its nearly impossible to put something like this out there and not have it be seen that way by some). I want to help anyone reading this see that so many of us are unsure of where to start, how to keep going, and how to strike that balance. It is in connecting to one another and really seeing and hearing what is happening around us that we can start to build something better as we seek to tear down that which should no longer stand.

The oppressive systems that govern the world gain traction and maintain their power by keeping us all in a state that makes us feel as though we cannot enact change. They turn us against one another so that we focus on each other and not on the oppressive systems themselves. The same is true, I believe, for the ways we hold ourselves back and hold ourselves down. These systems that seek to control want us to feel weak, incapable, and complacent. They want us to feel that we are unable to love ourselves as we are and want us to focus on mundane things like beauty and weight – not as a means of feeling like our happiest selves, but to continue to strive for something which may be unattainable.

I want to choose something different. To love where I am and continue to build a better self for ME. In this way, I can be better for others as I so desire. I can be there for others as I learn to be there for myself as well.

I will continue to learn and grow.
❤ Kay Jay

Identification is so important

The topic of identifying with others is very important to me. Its the reason why growing up I went to block buster searching for movies with two boys touching or holding hands. I felt so desperate to connect with other queer people. To this day I get excited when I learn someone is LGBTQ!

In order to get sober and live a life of recovery, I needed to identify with other alcoholics. Being friends with other sober alcoholics has been so crucial to my recovery. Getting to know queer alcoholics also just as crucial!

Now I am eating plant based in America’s Dairyland! I again need to identify with other vegans! Luckily my bestie (That’s you girl!) Is a big Ole queer veggie monster. I am finding that I need to listen to vegan podcast to stay connected. I love eating plant based and the past week and a half I am feeling so much happier and healthier! But it can be hard when you feel like the world is eating all the cheese!

I don’t write this because I want to make everyone vegan (I mean maybe!) LOL everyone’s food lifestyle is personal to them. I have discovered these are the foods that make me the happiest! I am feeling so thrilled to be cooking plant based from whole foods and I do not want to lose this momentum! So I’m gonna keep up the podcasts and keep looking for my queer, sober alcoholic veganos lol

Peace, Love and Shim Sham

Insanity

Today’s Daily Reflections “Where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane” -Alcoholics Anonymous page 38

When I was still drinking I would fight all day in my head about whether I was going to drink again. I was in constant battle with myself. I would debate in my head how I don’t want to drink. But I had this underlying compulsion that I couldn’t put into words. It was like arguing with an alien that didn’t speak human languages. I didn’t want to drink again logically. Drinking was just going to make me sick, make me flunk out of school, make me isolate myself from friends and family and ultimately send me spinning into despair. At the end of my drinking, I felt like if I couldn’t drink I would rather die. Yet, the other argument was that if I drank I would instantly be relieved. It didn’t make sense.

Today I am 2 and half years sober and miraculously I no longer need to fight with myself about drinking. Yet, I feel I now fight with myself about food.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I do not have food addiction like my alcohol addiction. My love affair with food can be perverse at times and at times very similar to my alcoholism, but it is no where near the same. Alcoholism was making me miserable to the point of wanting to die. My food addiction is more along the lines of, even though I am full I am craving chips, Cheetos and cheese. So my cravings have nothing to do with hunger or even being satisfied. They are a form of food addiction I believe.

So I have become vegan and I am doing much better in my life. Yet, my blood pressure is still high, I am still on blood pressure medications and I have not lost any weight (weight is not a measure of health but it is a goal of mine none the less).

I want to do better at this. So here are my goals for the week!

  1. I’m going to follow the power plate model of eating. So I’ll focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. I’m not counting calories or logging my meals. I’m just making sure that these are where I am getting the bulk of my calories from. Unprocessed foods. Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes and Grains. Now I know I’m gonna use some processed foods but if the bulk of my meals includes this I know I am gonna feel good. https://p.widencdn.net/ktho8u/Power-Plate-Brochure
  2. Fill up on fiber. It seems like the best way to feel full is high fiber. So I am going to sneak lentils and chia seeds into my foods. I am going to aim for high fiber.
  3. Plan Ahead. I know I do better when I cook multiple meals at a time and I have lots of food at home to choose from (power plate food). I need to make sure when I am in the mood to cook and prep, that I batch it so I can have easy grab and go food. I tend to buy salty, processed crap when I am lazy and there’s nothing already made.
  4. Hydration. I think hydration is always good advice.
  5. Do not eat and watch TV. Eat away from the TV and then watch TV. This is huge! Tonight I did this. I ate at the dinner table, did my dishes and then sat down and I felt so much better!

These are my goals for the week and I know I can do it! I’m excited to be back on the blog and also setting goals again. I took a brief hiatus to just kind of focusing on getting through the day to day. But I know I feel better when I’m eating the way I actually want to eat and moving my body everyday. So that’s what I want to do.

Now a huge difference between craving food and craving alcohol is that you need food to live. I will always love food and enjoy food. That’s good! I don’t ever want to stop enjoying food. But I know I do a lot of mindless eating. Eating when I’m full. Eating because I’m bored. Eating because it’s there. I do a lot of this and I want to be more mindful about it. The goal is not perfection. You can’t be “perfect” at eating. This is about feeling good. This about treating myself with kindness and love. This is about recovery.

Peace, Love, and Shim Sham

More Room

(TW: Body Image, Dieting, Calorie Counting)

Ok, I’m just gonna say it! I’m getting stir crazy! I neeed more room to spread out!

But not in my home space….in my life.

I have spent SO MUCH FREAKING TIME focused on what others think about my life, my choices, my looks, my identity – it’s made me feel trapped, cooped up, stifled.

And anyone who knows me, that is not going to work.

I spent a lot of time and energy on tasks that made me feel terrible about myself – but underneath the surface.

I would count out exact calorie counts for my day – and work hard to stay UNDER those counts. I was trying to constantly maximize my nutrient intake while not eating a sufficient number of calories (Sometimes less than 1500 a day).

I am still doing the work to move past that. To heal from that.

My therapist and I have been talking about ways to feel more secure in my choices and to not feel like I need to restrict myself in order to feel good about myself. And I am really struggling to believe that it’s okay for me to do – to believe that it is a good thing. Struggling to believe that I am not doing myself harm to allow sugar, cookies, chips, candy to be around me – and to sometimes over indulge.

But I know that my overly restrictive times haven’t been any healthier – and to be honest if it worked I “should be” a much smaller size than I am. But I’m not. And I’m learning to love that about myself!

So here we go – this year’s theme (In April) – LIVING FREE. (Free of restrictions, free of things that hold me back from being the person I want to be, free of chronic self doubt and self loathing….I’m going to live free)

❤ Kay Jay