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GlitterGleeandGrit

The musings and life of a girly and uncoordinated want-to-be kickboxer.

Failing to Reach a Goal: Part Two: The Fall

Sorry for the delay with Part Two everyone. The period after I walked away from rowing I was pretty depressed and couldn’t figure out how to approach my experiences and my feelings. To avoid doing so, I would do anything to not be alone thinking. Which in all honesty, often meant going out and in general not being my true self. I consider this part of my life as lost, so this post was a hard for me to breakdown internally and structure. I hope to represent the shift in my world that occurred and speak to the trouble I had understanding it all …

These ladies have been my friends since grade school and have been there through any high or low.
These ladies have been my friends since grade school and have been there through any high or low.

As you do when your life takes a detour, I called a friend of mine that had some experience in the athlete to civilian transition on my way home from my trainer’s office. I wanted, and needed, him to tell me it was going to be alright and that I was freaking out for absolutely no reason. He had been a football player his entire life, until two knee surgeries led him away from the field. At that moment I had no idea how true his words were when he said, “You are not going to know who you are for the next year. You are going to make choices you never thought you would make. It is going to be confusing and frustrating.”

People set big goals that they feel passionately about. No goal is set with the intention to quit or to walk away, they are set with the purpose of succeeding. Once you fail you need to begin a new journey and  it can take some time to figure out what that journey will be. During that halt in forward movement, you take a step back in order to understand the person you have become. For some its easy to evaluate and move forward, for me it was not. I felt like I was falling and at that time I was totally incapable of figuring out how identify myself. The way I had related myself within the world had changed and that had a huge impact on my relationships with myself and basically anyone that had contact with me during the fallout.

The strong reaction of your family and friends that is caused by your own failure can be surprising and sometimes painful.  Some will come out of the woodwork to support you, some to celebrate your failure, some will attempt to keep you in that state of nothingness and some will abandon you all together. The vulnerability and frustration of failing to reach a goal is hard for those around you to understand and makes their words and actions more powerful than ever before.

As I said, there were those that helped me and those that said some pretty hurtful things to me during this time. But people have no idea how powerful their words are, how they stick with you and how they have an impact on your relationships with others and yourself. Your goals may not have been as important to them and it is usually only yourself that had limited your identity to that one facet of your life. So when you come to the end of a journey many may not understand why you can’t ‘just get over it.’ Your friends may be stoked that you have more time to spend with them and your family might be happy to see you ‘settle down.’ They will likely not understand the feeling of loss that you feel.

When you fail, you wonder how many people had expected it, or worse how many people are happy. In my mind, I was no longer the friend, daughter, cousin, etc. that was training for the Olympics and that meant I was not as important as I once had been. Fuel for self-doubt came from casual questions of what I ‘did’ or when someone I love once said “We always wondered when you were going to get over that dream. We knew you would. It’s time for you to move on and settle down.” Not only did I not completely trust my own judgement at this time but I felt as though I couldn’t even trust the well intended but sometimes misguided support of those around me.

Through the fall I stumbled and fell as I tried to piece together  my life, my values and what I wanted. The fog finally cleared when I realized two things. First, that goals are amazing, exciting and of course motivating. However, it does you no good to pin your entire identity to one facet of who your are as a person. My pinpoint focus on my goal had prevented me from pursuing development in any other aspect of my life. I needed to re-explore myself and diversify. Secondly, I realized that I needed to rely on myself, not only for support, but also to define my self-worth and what success meant for me.

This failure would not define me and I needed to write the blueprint for a multifaceted, fun and love filled life.

Even if they may not always understand me, my parents have always surrounded me with love. This was one of our last nights before I moved to New Zealand.
Even if they may not always understand me, my parents have always surrounded me with love. This was one of our last nights before I moved to New Zealand.

Positivity Challenge Day Four and Day Five

Like all long weekends my husband and I spent more time running around than relaxing and I have a serious dislike for writing with just my phone. So I made the decision to hold off and just start the week off with the things I have been thankful for over Labor Day Weekend.

I have really enjoyed this positivity Challenge and I have decided that I am going to try and keep it up. Not every day but every week. So once a week look forward to a post about all things awesome in this world.

Day Four:

1) Sleeping In: On Sunday I did not have the chance to sleep in but it reminded me that sleeping in is something I savor when I get the chance to do it. For ten years I was up before 5am. Now, the two indulgences that I find so very decadent are not setting an alarm and/or hitting the snooze button. Now that I am married sleeping in is even better. I always tell Dion there is actually no better way to start my day than waking up and being able to linger in bed with him. We don’t get those moments often, but when we do, I spend the day a little happier and a lot more grateful.

2) Gluten Free Beer: This may sound shallow or stupid to some but I am so grateful that people figured out how to make some tasty GF beers. After my car accident I kept getting sick and found out that I had developed a gluten allergy through all the trauma and stress. That was right around the time that I had also realized there was more to beer than Coors Light. Gluten Free brewing was not really a thing yet or, if it had been, I didn’t know about it. I love good spirits and wine but sometimes you just want to chill out and sip on a beer like a normal person. When GF beers started popping up I couldn’t help but get excited. Every time I am able to order a beer at a bar there is a split second where I am just so stoked to be normal.

3) Meghan Trainor’s song ‘All About That Bass’: First of all, high five for spelling your name with a ‘H.’ Second of all, my poor husband has had to pay witness to me car dancing to this song far too often this weekend. I recently saw an article that said she may have stolen the beat/melody from a K Pop artist and, although that’s a serious allegation, I love this song and do not care. The whole body positive movement is so freaking awesome. I wish I had grown up with images, songs and stories that empowered me to love my body for what it was capable of and not what mold it didn’t fit. I am very grateful that I will not be a sole voice of reason to our future super hero children about how strong and capable they are.

Day Five:

1) RibFest: I went to school in Texas and that made my love of meats, cooked low and slow over some hard wood, even stronger than before. When I lived in New Zealand BBQ Ribs were basically impossible to find. Dion and I did find them at two places and, while they were good enough to make it until the next visit home, BBQ is something the we (the US) do right. So when Dion and I found out that the RibFest was happening this weekend we knew we HAD to get our butts down there. On Labor Day we had a casual latte, made by yours truly via our awesome espresso machine, and suited up (ie: everything stretchy lululemon) to make our way to the festival. I bee-lined to a stall from Magnolia, TX and although I knew Texas brisket was heaven on Earth I got the combo (it is RibFest after all). It was glorious and the only way brunch should be done, getting a tan and eating yummy smoked meat and pickles.

2)Orange is the New Black: Dion and I are automatically suspicious of any critically acclaimed shows. Because of that we didn’t start watching GoT until this past Fall, and on a whim this weekend we decided to give Orange is the New Black a go. I was immediately hooked, Dion, not so much. However as we got a couple episodes in we both couldn’t help but get invested in many of the characters. So after attacking the RibFest we sat on our couch and watched a couple, ok probably three, episodes in a row. It was lazy and glorious and I loved it.

3) Clean Sheets: Seriously, is there any better tiny pleasure in this world? While Dion and I watched Orange is the New Black, we washed any and everything we could get our hands on in our apartment. The only thing better than taking all of your sheets out of the dryer is knowing that you will get to snuggle up in them later. After a day of RibFest, binge watching TV, working out, working and a family BBQ our clean sheets were crisp and amazing and the prefect end to a laid back long weekend.

For those of you that have continued to follow my Positivity Challenge, I hope it has inspired you to look for the little joys in life… and over see my grammatically challenged writing. Over the past five days I have found myself taking in even the smallest of things with more gratitude which is why I hope to continue posting weekly Positivity Posts.

Have a great week everyone!

 

Positivity Challenge Day Three

Today has been a pretty cool day in the Sekone-Fraser household and because of it I am going to dive right into my three things I am grateful for today.

1) Our Espresso Machine: I am a coffee fiend and Dion puts up with it hahaha. For our wedding we were given a Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine. Today I woke up determined to pull my first shots of espresso. So after watching 20mins worth of how to videos I made two lattes. Not to brag but they were so good. I can’t wait to make two more tomorrow!

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2) My Friends: The past couple of weekends I have had the chance to catch up with friends. When I first met Dion, I told him how lucky I have been my whole life to be surrounded by strong and awesome ladies. Every time we have the chance to spend some time together I am amazed by how much we have grown and how fortunate we are to have each other through it all.

3) The Drive In: Ok, not some much the drive in, more the idea of it all. Dion and I came to Pittsburgh last October. Ever since we moved we have had so much fun chasing down firsts. Earlier in the summer we went for Dion’s first drive-in and it was so much freaking fun and magic filled. Last night and tonight we went to the drive-in trying to soak up the last few days of summer. Having My Kiwi hubby here reminds me of how much magic surrounds us and for that I am grateful.

Positivity Challenge Day Two

I am a day late with this one because I had such a busy and awesome day yesterday. I started work at about 6:30am which meant I got to get home early and spend some time with the husband. It’s such a gift to get to steal some extra time with him!

So without further rambling here are the three things I am/ was grateful for on Friday, September 29th, 2014.

1) My Family: There are no words to describe how important my family is to me. For better and worse they have challenged me, supported me and made me the woman I am today. I have a feeling I will talk much more about them all as this blog continues and you get to know them well. They are crazy and I love them hahaha.

2) My Pup: First of all, Ollie is the best. She is a total weirdo and picky with who she gives her attention, every kiss and tail wag is well thought out hahaha. She is also the most emotionally intelligent pup I have ever seen. When a Disney movie causes me to let a couple tears go, her head is on my lap before the first one falls.

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3) Dry Shampoo: I am pretty sure this stuff has existed for longer than I have known. When I did find it, my hair and life was changed hahaha. I have straighter than straight, fine hair that usually needs washed and styled everyday and dry shampoo has saved me at least 15mins every morning. That’s 75mins of extra sleep a week people and for that I am grateful!

Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day Weekend !

Positivity Challenge: Day One

So a day or so ago, I was challenged by my mother to take part in the Positivity Challenge and I am so game. So for the next five days I will be posting three things I am thankful for. And although I am supposed to ‘nominate’ three people each day, I think this is a great exercise in spreading good vibes, high fives and gratitude. Therefore I challenge anyone that reads this to start the Positivity Challenge.

I am having trouble composing Part Two of Failing to Reach a Goal. It is about the dark time I experienced after I quit rowing and honestly writing about it has been bringing me down the past couple of days. Not cool. So, I am going to begin this challenge today and continue it alongside that post to hopefully balance it out. Gotta keep up my #PMA.

1) Life: I know it seems obvious, but seriously, I am so grateful to be given this day and to be healthy and capable of spending it chasing my dreams and goals. Just think about that for a second, let it sink in. When we wake up in the morning we are given an opportunity. Some days we might gain an inch, some days it may be a mile, but each day is another opportunity to get closer to our dreams.

2) My Health: I know I spoke to health in my last one but, when you have had the injuries I have had, a day in which I don’t feel pain and can go to kickboxing, lift some heavy stuff or go for a run is always something to be grateful and downright stoked about.

3) My Husband: If you are new to my blog, or me in general, let’s get it out there. I freaking love my husband, he is amazing, awesome and I cannot stop myself from talking about him. He allows me to be the geek that I am and the impact he has had on me as a person has been so positive. I cannot wait to see how much cooler we get as we grow old together. Every morning I wake up next to him I am so grateful to have him in my life.

My lovely husband and I enjoying a night out with friends.
My lovely husband and I enjoying a night out with friends.

So thats it for day one everyone. What are you thankful for today?

Sunday Cherry Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

So I have been on a bit of a roll with my cooking this weekend. I am on a constant quest to sort out an awesome paleo chocolate layer cake. Once that is up to snuff I will upload it. One of my favorite things to quickly whip up is a solid chia seed pudding. They are tasty, will cure a sweet tooth and are packed with goodness. Our grocery store has had these awesome organic frozen cherries on sale so I have been using them in any and every way possible.

I hope you enjoy this treat. This recipe only takes a few minutes to whip up and makes about 2-3 servings. I one hundred percent support the doubling of this recipe 😉

Cherry Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Cherry Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Cherry Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoon of cashew or macadamia nut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1.5 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cherries

1) Whisk together the almond milk, coconut milk, nut butter, vanilla extract, honey and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.

2) Mix in the chia seeds and the chopped cherries and refrigerate for four hours.

3) Mix up the pudding before serving as the cherries may have sunken while chilling.

4) Enjoy!

Crafting with Meghan: Flower Walls and Backdrops

I don’t want my blog to be consumed by heavy heavy posts so I thought I would post one of my DIY projects before getting back to my series about failure and moving forward.

As many of you know, Dion and I have been lucky enough to have two weddings. One was in Dion’s hometown in New Zealand and one here in my hometown, Pittsburgh. Both of the weddings were pulled off on a smaller than normal budget  and contained the blood sweat and tears of this avid pinner. Our wedding in New Zealand was pretty much 90% DIY and I could write soooo many posts about all the projects I did for that day, and I probably will along the way.

Side Note: Anyone that says Pintrest is silly needs to spend time with me. I have seriously used, or plan on using, a majority of the things I have pinned. I firmly believe that  it’s only silly if you waste your day pinning pictures of puppies and tattoos you will never get.

Our wedding here in the US had two major DIY projects and today I am going to share my favorite. Our glorious flower wall. The reason we came up with it was because the venue had a curtain/screen to hide the room dividers, all around said curtain/screen they had attached and draped this weird brown fabric. It made no sense and didn’t match anything. Seriously though, I had nightmares about this thing. So clearly, I had to turn to Pintrest to find ways to cover it up. The final product is below.

The Finished Project
The Finished Project

What I used to make this:

  • Tissue Paper: More that you ever knew you needed
  • 2 Rolls of Thickish White Paper (This was actually the hardest thing to find)
  • Pipe Cleaners (color does not really matter)
  • Super Tacky Glue (regular may work but I don’t mess around)
  • Hot Glue Gun ( I bought the cheapest one they had because hot glue is hot glue #amIright)
  • Glue Sticks: For the hot glue gun. You will use more than you ever though you could use (I think I used about 200, not a joke).
  • Foam Core Boards (I used about 6)
  • Zip Ties and pipe cleaners to attach the boards to the rails
  • A Glass, or bottle, of Champagne

1) About 2-3 months out gather all of your tissue paper, craft paper, glue/s and pipe cleaners. Then immediately try to find people to help you. When I say people, I mean people who love you dearly and are crafty because, although I thought these flowers were easy, they left many good people in their wake.

2) I stuck to a few different types of flowers to try to get into a rhythm. I did four ‘types’ of flowers over all: tissue paper flowers, giant rose/poppy type hybrids, dahlia and giant daisies. At first I tried to make them perfect, but, I am going to save you the heart ache because by the end my motto became ‘nothing in nature is perfect and symmetrical.’  I also wish I would have made a few medium-sized versions of my giant flowers just because I really liked the detail and texture they gave

3) Since I didn’t take pictures of the making of these crazy paper flowers I am going to give you my tips for each type of flower and the blogs I used for help. As I made them I tried to find ways to make them look different from one another and do it faster.

  • Tissue Paper Flower: Play with layering colors and textures. Mix petal shapes and don’t forget you can even add a layer of ‘leaves’ to these guys. These flowers made up the bulk of my wall and were easy to knock out while watching Netflix.
  • Giant Rose/Poppy: The biggest thing I can say is get the right paper. It can’t be super thick but has to have some guts to hold its shape. The other thing I will say is cut a ton of petals and then start putting it all together, trust me it’s faster that way. I also used hot glue to attach petals to add some bones to it all and it dries quicker.
  • Dahlias: Gosh these ones are time-consuming. Seriously I only made three of them because they sucked my soul. That being said they are very different and add texture. Like the rose/poppy I would say make a ton of the cones and then start gluing them together.
  • Giant Daisies: Use the same gutsy paper you used for the rose/poppy flowers and make the cone/petals in bulk then start gluing together. I think these had a lot of impact and were quick and easy.

4) Once your entire apartment has been taken over by paper flowers and you are a week out from the party/wedding/celebration you can start gluing the flowers to the foam core boards. You may get nervous that it won’t hold but I promise, with enough hot glue anything can hold 😉 What’s great about the foam core is that it’s lightweight but holds well and can be easily cut to fit any area. Just make sure to poke holes to thread the zip ties through to attach the flower panels to the rails.

5) On the Day: Its time to string those bad boys up. The hard work is over. Once you figure out how to attach it all you will breeze through it and have time to have that glass, or bottle, of champagne.

You would think the second time around we would have it down...
You would think the second time around we would have it down…

I cannot take all the credit for the idea or the exact ‘how to’ for this post and since I made the fatal mistake of not documenting the process I need to give credit to the blogs I used to help me survive this DIY. I made some changes as I went and learned what worked best for me. I will try to get some more posts up in the future.

For Layout and Over All inspiration:

Dream Create:http://www.dreamcreate.ca/diy-paper-flower-wall/

Pancakes and Glue Guns: http://pancakesandglueguns.blogspot.com/2012/07/love-paper-flowers_24.html

A Beautiful Mess: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2011/11/diy-wedding-day-flower-wall.html

For the Flowers:

For the Tissue Paper Flowers: Party City:  http://www.partycity.com/content/tissue+paper+flowers+how-to.do                        or: Rust & Sunshine: http://www.rustandsunshine.com/2012/05/tissue-paper-flowers.html?m=1

For the Rose/Poppy Hybrids:Hostess with the Mostess:  http://blog.hwtm.com/2014/03/diy-giant-paper-flowers-tutorial/

For the Dahlia: Love, Pomegranat House: http://www.lovepomegranatehouse.com/paper-dahlia-wreath/

For Other Ideas: Damask Love: http://www.damasklove.com/easy-paper-punch-flowers/

Failing to Reach A Goal: Part One: My Journey

A funny thing can happen when you spend a majority of your life focused on one major goal; you can lose yourself. At the end of it all, success or not, you do not know who you are, what your purpose is or where to go without that one major goal. It is confusing, crushing and freeing all at once. My goal had been to make a US Olympic Rowing Team.

While I don’t want this series of posts to purely be about my past endeavors, I do think providing the back story is appropriate. When I was 15 years old my friends and I decided we wanted to start a rowing team. I was a chubby (weighing in at about 235lbs) and unathletic kid that had tried every sport possible, desperate to find something I would spark with. I found that spark in a boat.

Fast forward about ten years and I had lost around 60lbs, had won some races, had made a Junior National Team, spent four years rowing for a less than supportive college coach, completed an undergraduate degree and was working full time while training 4-6 hours a day. I had been denied jobs because of my training, moved across the US multiple times to train with different coaches, rowed through multiple injuries (to prove to myself just how badly I wanted it) and made every single choice, no matter how small, throughout each day as if that would be the one thing between myself and making the Olympic team. There was no time, or energy, for personal development or to begin a career. For those ten years, my sole life’s purpose had been to crawl, drag and inch myself closer to my goal.

After heading out for a little row in Canada. This lady has saved me from myself many times.
After heading out for a little row in Canada with one of my very best friends. This lady, has saved me from myself many times.

What stopped me in my tracked, and derailed it all, was one lunch time trip to my Austin apartment to take my dog out and grab a 10 min nap. On my way back to work I was side swiped and ended up going full force into a concrete barrier. My airbags did not deploy, my car should have been totaled and I did not have health insurance. I was rushed to the hospital repeating to every official looking person, “I am not hurt. I can’t be hurt. I have trials in a month”. I was pumped full of anti-anxiety meds, anti inflammatories, painkillers and muscle relaxers and when x-rays did not show anything I was kicked out into the world with no follow up.

With no one telling me to stop I kept going. I was back in my boat within a week and raced at the event the next month. I had done something right, placed well and was offered a spot training with an elite team in Washington D.C.. Life in the Capitol was the same as usual, except it wasn’t. I couldn’t get a job, there was more pressure to preform, I was constantly told to lose weight and every time I rowed my arms and  legs went numb and the pain made me see white. So the cycle began of training for 3 months and then taking a month off. I was continuing to get faster but I was inconsistent and couldn’t be depended on for team boats (my only hope of making a team).

Getting ready for races and cheesin for the camera.
Getting ready for races and cheesin for the camera.

One of the last times I was in a boat was trials for the women’s double. Leading up to the race I could tell my back/body were hating me but I had a great partner and the best chance I had had yet. I figured I would deal with it later and focused on the opportunity rather than the pain. The final was the race of my life, it was also my last. After the race I could not feel my legs and realized that something was truly wrong. I booked an MRI that week. Eight months later, two months into trying to come back to my passion, I re-injured my back lifting and found myself having a conversation with my trainer that no athlete wants to have.

I needed to re-prioritize my life. I was officially a civilian.

 

Let Me Introduce Myself…

I am going to go ahead and assume at this point very few people will read this post as it is my first one for a personal blog. That being said, doing a personal introduction and explanation of why I decided to start a blog seems like a good place to start.

If you are not my mother or a friend that found my link on Facebook, my name is Meghan and I am a 29 year old wife, athlete, adventurer and middle child. I have never thought about myself as someone that has stepped outside the lines or done a lot of ‘cool’ things. But when you are busy having fun you are too busy to realize you’re awesome. Just jokes people. In my 29 years I have traveled far and near, spent countless hours training towards a big goal that I never quite reached, broken many bones including some vertebrae, lived on a dairy farm in New Zealand, met and married a man that surpasses my dreams, graduated with a Masters in International Business and boomeranged back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

Today my life is a balancing act and like many ‘young professionals,’ or whatever generation I am actually a part of, I don’t often have the opportunity indulge in self reflection and peel back all the layers of my life. The mission of this blog is storytelling, plain and simple storytelling. I would love to claim that I am a profound thinker but I think I may be more of a pinball,  intensely bouncing from point to point. I hope that Glitter Glee and Grit is often funny but life unfortunately isn’t always funny, so that may not always work. My hope is that by taking a step back and poking a little bit of fun, I help myself and maybe even a few others strive for new levels of self acceptance. If that fails I hope I at least make you laugh from time to time.

So here’s to being your unapologetic and sometimes embarrassing 100% authentic self.

My lovely husband and I enjoying a night out with friends.
My lovely husband and I enjoying a night out with friends.

 

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