Monday…..

Today was a long rough day. I don’t have a lot of energy in me today all im gonna say is this month is gonna be about diet and rolling with the punches. When I have a bad day I am gonna come home and treat my body to some vegetables, that is the only way it will recover.

I used to use bad days as a reason to binge eat and not anymore. Tasty and healthy food is what is gonna get me through.

Peace and love,

Shim Sham

An Out of Order Post to End 2020

Hello Mama Shim Sham and everyone else!

I decided to switch the order of my posts for this week to give me more time to make my video. I have some ideas for how I want to end out this year and I want to take some more time to get it done.

Instead I want to talk today about where I’m at, what I’ve done, and how I want to move forward. We have all had a hell of a year, and everyone’s experience has been incredibly difficult to varying degrees. All of our experiences have been collective as well as painfully individual – and some have suffered a great deal more than others. Many of us focused on survival mode this year – and that made it difficult to take stock in the day to day and moment to moment.

We have had to set new boundaries that may have felt threatening to others and even threatening to OURSELVES – a difficult dichotomy to deal with. Just today, I had a moment with my partner which forced me to walk away from a conversation regarding activities in the winter. I don’t feel safe out and about right now – I’m asthmatic with upper respiratory issues. My doctor has made it clear which activities are unsafe for me. We are still in the middle of a pandemic which continues to make life difficult the world over – and there is no clear end in sight. I have had to set boundaries which make me feel rigid and cold – and I have had to deal with that. It puts me at odds with others who have set different boundaries. My partner and I don’t always agree right away about what is safe and what isn’t. But we continue forward and we work together.

We all need to work together.

This world needs all of us to take better care of one another. We need to be better at chronic empathy – and take others into account more when we make decisions. Things will not get better if we just ‘wait for it to happen.’ I was reminded yesterday by a friend that the ‘oft forgotten step to manifesting and magic’ is the ACTION step. We need to DO things in order to change things.

That doesn’t make it more desirable. Or easy.

The same is true of our own personal journeys. I have been through a YEAR. My life has been upended at a pivotal time. I graduated from Grad school at a time where I can’t put my degree to use. I am being expected to begin paying my student loans back (a considerable amount given my family history, level of inherited wealth, and personal income level) beginning in February with no end in sight of this current chapter of our very (at times) stupid timeline we are living through.

And yet, I still managed to accomplish.

I completed this Master’s program with a 4.0, while having my entire thesis project postponed, changed, and creating months of extra work to a program which was to end in April.

I made it through.

I have recorded over 3 hours of music this year – with over 2 hours of this original music. That is an accomplishment that I would not have thought possible even 2 years ago.

I am teaching professionally. I am performing professionally. I am finally involving myself in the performance arts scene in the Twin Cities. Things are actually looking up in certain ways I would have never been able to imagine.

These are reasons to CELEBRATE.

I need to take stock of these and the significantly smaller (but no less important) ways I have made positive changes in my life this year. I am reconnecting to my spiritual side in meaningful ways that felt lost forever. Stolen by the church and religion I grew up with that not only rejected me, but showed it’s true face while I was in my most vulnerable years of coming up and coming out.

I found strength to reconnect and take that back.

I found new layers to my identity.

I found the courage to come out and to live more authentically.

I found new skills and new loves, new passions.

I sat and watched more TV and learned about new genres that I never knew were there for me to learn from and enjoy.

I walked around my neighborhood more than I have EVER done in the 3 years I have lived in this apartment – and now have a better sense of where I live and thrive. That is HUGE.

There are a number of ways I have grown and suffered, and learned and developed. I need to take stock of it.

And I hope you all will too. We have all been through a lot. And we aren’t done yet. This is a time to develop a new world and to forge new connections. And that takes major changes to our daily lives. And that’s scary.

It’s HARD.

But we need to start by recognizing our own beautiful lives and see how we have changed and developed during all of this. Connect to ourselves and see how we can connect to others.

There are a lot of reasons to despair. But there are still reasons to celebrate – and I believe we should do both. As much as possible. There are so many ways to be human – so many walks of life. I hope to experience more, and I hope we all will as we turn the page on this calendar year and continue into the next. This story isn’t over.

And hopefully we will all do our part to pen a new storyline for the future.

❤ and a Happy New Year from Kay Jay

Last week of 2020

So, this is not going to be a long post reviewing 2020, maybe next week.

Right now I am going to celebrate my win today. I meal prepped yesterday and today stuck to a healthy diet. Thats amazing! I feel better, and I am so glad I did it.

This is the proof. This is the pudding! I need to meal prep to be successful during the week, and I’ve developed a strategy in my head.

Each week I will bulk cook a pasta dish full of veggies and beans. Then each week I will have salad ingredients at the ready and also have frozen veggies available. They are so easy to pop in the microwave and throw on some mustard or hot sauce or spice.

Then I will also bulk cook a soup or stew in the insta pot. That way I can cook the pasta dish on the stove and the other one in the instapot and have two meals going at once. If I do this thats my meals for the week!

I will expand on this but for now this plan I think will help me. I will make sure I eat veggies at every meal and during the day I can snack on fruit or veggies.

I am going to finish 2020 feeling good.

I still need help getting exercise and sleep, but this is a process.

If you have any advice let me know and let’s finish 2020 feeling good!

Peace and Love,

Shim Sham

Merry Christmas!

So, I wanted to title this post merry Christmas because this year more than most, I feel almost no excitement over the holidays. 2020 has been a shitty no good terrible year. I have had a lot of experiences this year and not all of them bad. I need to focus on the good and stay positive because this December has felt dark and depressing. This month I have strayed so far from my wellness goals and I feel sluggish, fat and sad. Not every day and not every moment but its been a rough month.

But I am going to keep going! I am going to keep setting goals cause I know that I will accomplish them. Its been a rough month, we all have rough patches. Some things are going great. I am employed, I have a house, I have family and friends and I have stayed sober this entire year. I have a lot to be proud of and I will always keep fighting, keep going and never give up.

Love you so much and Merry Christmas,

-Shim Sham

Holidaze

I’m having trouble believing that it’s almost Christmas. Here in the upper Midwest, we had a relatively chilly autumn with a sizable snowfall in October before Halloween. Now, it’s volleying backing and forth between unseasonably mild and quite chilly with no snow on the ground.

The weather is not helping with the sense of confusion this year has cast over most of us. Time is all over the place and there isn’t much we can hold onto in terms of typical markers of the passage of time.

It’s chaotic and I’m feeling very off kilter.

To cap it all off, I’m left feeling like this isn’t ending anytime soon. I fear that people are going to take the promise of a vaccine for Covid and prematurely go back to their idea of business as usual. Or the crowd of nearly 75 Million Americans who decided 4 more years of this nightmare was what we all need will essentially destroy any sense of stability we have been working for.

It’s maddening and terrifying, to say the least.

I have no interest in going back to any sense of ‘normal.’ Not only do I not really believe that word exists for many of us – the ‘normal’ many hope for only benefits a portion of majority culture and leaves many of us left out, left behind, to a variety of varying degrees.

I don’t want to go back to that. I want to help build something new.

And that goes for myself as much as it does for the outside world. I don’t want my life to go back to how it was pre-covid. I was CONSTANTLY hustling so much that I barely had time to catch my breath, and often only had exhaustion to show for it. It wasn’t more profitable, wasn’t making me any happier, and didn’t allow for any time to relax or to enjoy my day to day.

That isn’t a life I want back.

And that has me thinking about my goals. About being mindful about what it is that I want, and how I am working towards it. I have been working hard to rewire my brain and reparent myself to love my process, love myself where I am at AND where I’m going. To really take stock of what I’m learning and grow from it.

I have been working hard on taking control of what I have control over, and still leaving room for wonder and discovery. And now I am taking stock of where I go next.

I know for sure, beyond the holidays, I want to continue focusing on a plant based, whole foods diet. And I know that it will NEED to include some indulgence here and there. Being too restrictive with myself leads to intense cravings and a desire to throw in the towel entirely. I don’t want that. So that means sometimes I will bake some cookies. Or buy some chips. I may even allow some alcohol back into my life. I’m not sure yet. These are decisions I will need to make day to day, and assess.

As I stated yesterday, I am hoping to speak to a dietician who practices “health at any size” and learn more from a professional one on one what it truly means to eat healthfully and still enjoy life without being overly restrictive or judgmental of myself.

So here we are, in the middle of the holiday season, navigating where it is we want to head as we continue to fight through everything this year has thrown at us.

I’m so grateful to have a home to sleep in, food to eat, and a part time job I can do from home while staying safe, warm, and still living. And I don’t want to take that for granted.

Anyone else taking stock of where they are at and assessing their growth and where they want to go as we enter a new phase? I’m curious to hear from you.

I also just want to leave you with this message from Lizzo, that really resonated with me yesterday.

Stay safe. ❤ Kay Jay

Coming Out of a bad weekend

Hello!

So this past weekend was my last weekend of homework for the semester. To cope I ate badly and stayed up too late and did not get any exercise.

Now today at work I was lethargic and got a migraine. It is ok though because I have eaten healthy today and I am getting back on track!

Every week amd every day I am recommitting to my goals. Today was long and exhausting but I did not waver and tomorrow will be a much better day!

As always,

Peace and Love

Shim Sham

December Developments II

HELLO MAMA SHIM SHAM! And hello world!

Just a quick update here from Kay Jay, your friendly neighborhood genderfluid queermo!

This month is already flying by, and it will soon be the changing of another Gregorian calendar month. I have been feeling much better the past few days about my overall sense of self. Over the weekend, I was able to participate in a livestream performance which allowed me to showcase two pieces off of my new album, and was also a gender affirming experience that I needed from the holiday season.

I have gotten on my mat all but one day this month (and the day I missed I did make it out on a walk and did involve myself in some stretching – just not officially on my mat)

I am also working on trusting my own instincts on what is ‘best’ for me as I navigate my way through this wellness journey. I love watching documentaries, and I really love to learn about nutrition, corruption in large industries, and what I as a consumer and a human can do to have a meaningful, positive impact on the world around me. What I have noticed on my most recent rewatch of many of my favorite films is that the movies are often framed from a ‘thin = good, fat = bad’ mentality without even meaning to do it.

Now, weight gain can be a factor in many health issues, and I know that I feel best when I am eating a certain way and when I am moving a certain way. I am not denying that. However, sometimes, even the best intentioned films end up ‘fat shaming’ more than they mean to, and that can also be damaging to making positive change.

I cannot frame my journey from a strictly weight loss mind set – there are certain factors that come into play that I may not be able to change. While it is true that a lifestyle change can bring positive benefits (I am experiencing them even as I type this) I know that there are genetic factors that have an impact. I may not ever be able to have the body I once envisioned myself having, but that doesn’t mean I’m not healthy.

Framing extra weight as a moral or social failing of individuals is a damaging mindset that has put a lot of people in a box that they don’t deserve to be in. I don’t want to participate in that culture anymore. Not towards others, or myself. I will slip up and I will be fighting against my conditioned brain, probably for many years. But it is a fight worth continuing for my own personal growth and my viewpoint on the world around me.

Well…that went on longer than I expected when I first started typing. Clearly, I had more to say than I thought.

These feelings are wrapped up in a lot of very real, very difficult discussions I have been having with myself, my own body, and my therapist. I know that I want to focus on my intake of added sugars and more oily foods. But I can eat a little, feel okay about it, and then move on. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world if I indulge a little and it does not have to mean that the day is ‘ruined’ and i should just crash and burn. That is a real thought I have had so many times, and I really want to move beyond that limiting way of thinking.

And I have been doing fairly well this past week! I have had a few treats, and I have been framing them as such. And I am able to have relatively guiltless enjoyment of them, because I know that I can say no to more if I want to. And I have. Being mindful about my intake of food doesn’t have to become cruel restriction that feels like a punishment.

And it truly has been in the past, believe me.

Instead, I want to treat my inner child the way I would any other child in my life. Indulge their whims and their cravings a bit – but still remain a little firm on where the line is. I don’t need to be too extreme on any end. I already have dietary needs that steer me away from certain foods because of how they make me feel – and I love that I am able to say ‘no thank you’ to many of them with ease now.

Things get easier with practice. And I want to practice more loving care of my own sense of self. I want to get along with my body and treat it with care and love. And we’re getting there.

Little by little.

❤ Kay Jay

PS: If you have the means and want to support a local artist, you can check out and purchase my very first full-length album ‘Well, This is Something New’ on Bandcamp. Help a queermo out this holiday season!

https://kayjayolson.bandcamp.com/album/well-this-is-something-new