My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: blessings (page 1 of 2)

Writing From Your Soul to Speaking From Your Soul

I hate public speaking. It makes me sweat. So what did I decide to do? Stand up in front of, oh, 500 people  and share a poem I had just written 20 minutes before.

 

It’s hard to explain how this happened. It was rather surreal, but I’ll do my best. Toward the end of day 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop (you can read about Day 1 of the workshop), Nancy Levin, brilliant poet and event director of Hay House Publishing, led a series of writing exercises. The first was called I Remember. That was the starting point for each line of whatever it was that we were each writing. This was followed by Most Memorable Kiss, Fire or Water, and What I Absolutely Can’t Write About. Besides the second exercise, all of these I ended up relating back to my hyperhidrosis. I was astounded that all of these exercises were coming full circle to exactly what it is that I have been writing about publicly for nearly 2 years on this blog. This is not coincidence. This is synchronicity. Synchronicity is alignment with Source.

 

So there I am, fleshing out these writing exercises and pulling my shirt sleeve down over the side of my palm to keep my notebook dry. The words are flowing, and each time Nancy says the 5 minutes are up, it seems like I’ve just started to write things down. We complete the exercises and then there is time for 3 people to share what they’ve written. The first 3 to make it to the microphone are the ones who get to be heard. I feel myself jump out of my seat and make a mad dash for the mike stand. Alas, I am not fast enough amidst the skinny aisle, ballroom chairs, and bodies crammed into the small space. I walk back to my seat, dejected and wondering what in the heck I was thinking anyway.

 

But then, they decide they have time for more people to get up and share. I get right back up and literally run toward the microphone. This time, there are about 8 people in front of me. I am the last one standing in line. I decide to stay there and see what happens. So I assume my “absorbing sweat” pose: arms crossed over my notebook, palms grasping my sleeves. Then begins the uncomfortable inner monologue: Oh, sweet Lord. I am standing up in front of all these people. Like, 500 of them plus 3 big video cameras and God knows how many people who are streaming this webcast and watching me in their pajamas. What am I doing?! 

 

I can feel my heart thumping out of my chest. I wonder how high my blood pressure is because I can feel my pulse in every ounce of my being. I am fully in fight or flight mode. Slowly, slowly, the line gets smaller. There is a brief set of words spoken followed by applause, and I hear everyone share his or her piece willingly. Thump, thump, drip, drip. It’s a good thing I covered my notebook in clear Contact paper a few weeks ago, otherwise the front and back cover would be shredded by now. My hands are sopping wet, and so are my feet. Breathe in, breathe out. You are well, I tell myself. You are okay in this moment.

 

Suddenly, I am front and center at the microphone. A lovely gentleman on staff at Hay House comes and adjusts the height of the microphone for me. I look on stage and up into the warm and pretty face of Nancy Levin. She is wearing a sleeveless black dress and some killer black heels that she totally rocks. I take a deep breath and say my name. I can hear my voice reverberating back at me in the microphone. I’m really doing it. I am speaking what needs to be spoken. I am standing on the shoulders of the writers whom have come before me from all centuries of this life, whose work I look up to and from which I gain strength. I take another deep breath and read my poem loud and clear. I speak with truth, with light, without apologies.

 

Here is the poem I shared with the world only 20 short minutes after I wrote it, having no idea I’d be doing so.

 

I Remember

I remember once having dry hands
I remember them getting wet
I remember my condition used to not have a name
I remember when I found its name
Excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis.
I remember being seen
I remember being validated
I remember being loosed from my shame
I remember being touched for the first time with understanding
I remember reaching out to others so they are not alone
I remember saying I AM.
I remember launching my blog, My Life as a Puddle
I remember creating hope and awareness one drop at a time
I remember being changed by my circumstances,
but certainly not reduced my them*
I remember that water is the Source of all life
I remember that I am enough exactly as I AM
I remember to love myself through it.

 

 

I remember hearing the audience chuckle when I got to the line where I said my blog name. After all, it is kind of catchy, isn’t it? After I read the last line, I looked up at Nancy, and she had her hands over her heart when she thanked me for reading. I walked back to my seat amidst the applause of 500 people. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was also shaking like a leaf. A LEAF, people. As I sat down, the woman sitting next to me reached into her bag and pulled something out and handed it to me. It was a piece of matted artwork. She said she felt led to gift this to me after hearing my poem. I took it from her in awe, my hands now dry as a bone as I held it up to look at it. That’s when I almost lost it. My eyes teared up and almost spilled over in gratitude. Gratitude for her artwork and what it said, gratitude for this once-in-a-lifetime event, gratitude for having the courage to get up and speak my truth.

 

Here is my new piece of art by MaryLou Falstreau. I also met her husband Alan Falstreau, who co-creates with her. Thank you MaryLou. I will forever treasure your work and the memory now associated with it.

MaryLou Falstreau Artwork

Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry. I was still shaking when I took the picture.

 

 

Since I’m feeling especially daring today, I stopped to visit one of my tree pals on the way home from the workshop to record my very first blog video. So, here’s a spoken version of my I Remember poem. You can’t see my eyes in this one; my future’s so bright, I need shades!

 

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

*This line is adapted from a quote by my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Writing From Your Soul: A Workshop for Writers

Today was day 1 of 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop I’m attending. Dr. Wayne Dyer is the keynote speaker, accompanied by Reid Tracy, CEO  and Nancy Levin, Event Director, of Hay House Publishing. A few nuggets of wisdom I picked up today:

 

If you change your thoughts, you can heal your life.

What are the words you are speaking over yourself and embedding in your subconscious mind? Are you telling yourself negative or positive thoughts? The words “I Am” are powerful, and so is what follows them. Are you speaking “I am unworthy because I have hyperhidrosis”? or maybe you’re saying “There’s something wrong with me. I’m suffering and my life sucks.” But what if the very thing that’s “wrong” with you is exactly what’s right with you?

 

I’m not saying that we should always be happy about our excessive sweating. Let’s be realistic. But you can choose how you react to your condition. I no longer say, Hi, I’m Maria. I suffer from hyperhidrosis. I can now say Hi, I’m Maria. I have hyperhidrosis, and I’m creating hope and awareness one drop at a time. I believe that God gave me hyperhidrosis for a reason. I want to make my sweaty mess my message.

 

Everything in life is here to teach you a lesson. It’s up to you whether you get the lesson. Awaken to your life and live consciously so that nothing in your life is a mistake.

 

Always be a seeker.

Declare yourself an expert on your hyperhidrosis. You are your own best health advocate. Always seek treatment options and therapies that can improve your quality of life. Never give up hope that one day there will be a cure for hyperhidrosis (note: I do not believe ETS surgery is a cure) and that we can enter a dry world like everyone else.

 

If you’ve tried nearly every type of treatment to stop your excessive sweating like I have with no success, perhaps the best treatment is the extreme self care you give your mind and your heart. Re-frame your hyperhidrosis in a different light. If you’re still in the darkness, tell your story and open wide those curtains you’ve been hiding behind so the spotlight can highlight your extra shimmer. Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

 

Detach yourself from outcomes.

Life is cracked. Life is crooked. So is hyperhidrosis. It makes us vulnerable. It makes us scared to talk about our condition. But you can choose to come out into the world and show everyone exactly who you are. And who you are is enough. Plain and simple. You are perfectly and wonderfully made. We are all unique expressions of the source that created us. Let your true self shine. Literally. It is our superpower!

 

Detach yourself from the expectations that a treatment might work. If something does work for you, that’s fabulous. But if it doesn’t, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and further feelings that you are inferior and your body is against you. By releasing expectations of a certain outcome, you can be pleasantly surprised if a treatment works. But either way, you can rest in the knowledge that you are pursuing everything you can to live a better life. It’s all in how you see yourself and your hyperhidrosis.

 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

 Puddle and Dr. Wayne Dyer

I told myself I’d get a picture with Dr. Dyer. Lo and behold, I did!

Hyperhidrosis and the Beach

For my third trip of 2012, I went to Myrtle Beach, SC. If you’re like me, traveling, airports, and sweating are not a good combination (see my post about Hyperhidrosis and Traveling). My family and I went to the beach to celebrate my grandma. She went through chemotherapy and radiation earlier this year for cancer. She kicked cancer’s ass, so we took her to the beach for a family reunion and vacation.

 

The beach at North Myrtle Beach, SC

I feel at home near water.

We flew into Charlotte, NC and stayed overnight with my cousin Jim and his family. Jim was the man of honor in my wedding. I like to call him my personal bitch. 🙂 As soon as we got off the plane and began walking toward the rental car area of the airport, I could feel the humidity. We weren’t even near the beach yet, but I can feel extra moisture in the air way before most people can. I am not a fan of humidity, with the exception being that I can wear my hair curly and not have to deal with my hair dryer and flattening iron.

 

Since my grandma did not know my husband and I were going to be coming to the beach, I decided to make a giant sign that I could hide behind in order to surprise her. My cousin’s wife picked up a piece of poster board for me so I didn’t have to roll one up and carry it with me on the plane. Can you imagine trying to lug around a piece of poster board through the airport? I’d have it soaked and shredded before even making it to the plane, I’m sure.

 

My Life as a Puddle's sign for grandma

My second cousins helped me make my grandma’s sign.

Speaking of paper and airports, what is up with the boarding passes they give you if you opt to do self check-in at the airport? I hate printing my own boarding passes as it is, but the ones you get at the airport are even worse. They are made out of paper that’s like receipt tape. Super flimsy and not sturdy at all. I had to have my husband hold mine until we got to the security checkpoint and the TSA agent asked for my ID and boarding pass. Maybe I should carry a giant paper clip or chip clip with me and use that to grip my boarding documents. Because that would make me look super cool. Maybe next time I will go old school and request paper delivery of my tickets to my house. Those boarding passes are much thicker and hold up to my sweaty hands all over them.

 

The next morning before we left to drive to Myrtle Beach, my second cousins who are 4 and 2 helped me to decorate my grandma’s sign. We used some foam stickers that were self stick, and I had printed some text beforehand at my house and brought it with me. The foam stickers had a backing that had to be peeled off, and thankfully my hands stayed mostly dry when I was applying the stickers. I did, however, use a paper towel to help me stick the text on the poster board. I can’t just glue things down and then smooth them down with my hands. A paper towel is required for that so I don’t smear the ink.

 

My Life as a Puddle holding her grandma's sign

Shhhh. I’m about to surprise my grandma by hiding behind this sign.

We made it to the beach and had a few hours before we had to go to the airport to pick up my grandma. I put on my new flip flops I told you about in my post Hyperhidrosis and Summer, and we walked on the beach for a little while. I didn’t stay out there too long that afternoon since I had already showered and done my hair and makeup. It’s brutal enough getting ready in the summer time when you sweat excessively, so I was trying to minimize my sweating to avoid having to take another shower. The flip flops worked pretty well and were easy enough to rinse off. They also dried pretty quickly, too, but they accumulated so much more sand than everyone else’s sandals did.

Sandy Flip Flops

This is how much sand I accumulated in my flip flops after a short walk from the parking lot onto the beach.

One of my cousins brought a friend with her on vacation. Her name is Jess. She and I got to talking, and I discovered she was a cheerleader in high school. My cousin had told Jess about my blog and that she thought Jess might have hyperhidrosis. Well, turns out Jess does have hyperhidrosis! Major bonding occurred here, folks. This is only the third time in my life I’ve met someone in person who has the same condition I do.

 

On our last night there, we hired a photographer to do a professional photo shoot of our family. It was a lot of fun, but I was worried about my sweating showing up in the pictures. I don’t think it did, since my hands were posed in a way that didn’t really show my glistening. Besides, I was trying to be in the moment and enjoy the photo shoot with my grandma. I wasn’t going to allow my stupid sweating to interfere with quality family time, so I did my best to ignore it.

 

My Life as a Puddle and Her Grandma

Me and my grandma during our beach photo shoot

 

We had a really good time at the beach, and it was such a blessing to be able to get our entire family together in one place to celebrate my grandma. She is such a strong woman. Family is the most important thing in my life, and when I felt my sweating getting out of control, I tried to focus on that and just be in the moment.

"Be" written in the sand

Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

“Resisting and avoiding pain sucks energy—and time…the more you let yourself feel those minute-and-a-half hells, the quicker you’ll start feeling those minute-and-a-half happinesses.” —  Leigh Newman

 

What are you avoiding in an attempt to hide your excessive sweating condition? What are you avoiding so that you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed by your hyperhidrosis? Hyperhidrosis is under-recognized and under-treated because people avoid talking about it to their families, friends, and health care providers. Stop the silence! You are not alone.

 

Begin to test just how far you can go in your daily life to experience people, places, and things that dry people can every day without so much as a second glance, a second thought, or a fleeting wipe of their palm on their clothing. As an excessive sweater, I constantly have to pre-analyze a situation prior to entering it. That’s okay, but it’s awfully tiring. I try to live outside of my comfort zone, though, and most of the time it’s worth it.

 

If I hadn’t endured these minute-and-a-half (or maybe longer) hells, I would never have known what I could accomplish despite my sweating:

 

The launch of this blog

Writing for the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS)

Writing for the IHHS again

Meeting author Jeannette Walls and telling my HH story

Creating a sense of community for you, my fellow sweaters

Getting a massage

Getting acupuncture

Joining a tea committee and hosting a table at an event

Reviewing products because I’ve talked openly about sweating

Creating a sketchbook about hyperhidrosis

This is just a small list, but it helps keep things in perspective. I have hyperhidrosis, but I don’t have to be reduced by it. I’m not trying to be all, Hey, look at me and what I can do. That’s not my intention. But because I choose every day to step out on faith, I have quantifiable, memory-worthy events that I can look back on and be grateful for. I’m no longer hiding who I am. I can’t help that I was born with hyperhidrosis. I can, however, help love myself along my sweaty journey and offer you encouragement to do the same. I’ll even hold your hand if you want.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture

Today I had acupuncture for the second time in my life. Remember my first acupuncture treatment? That seems so long ago, and I’ve come so far in my life since then.

 

I found a new acupuncture place that’s on my way to and from work if I take a certain route. I checked out their website and staff biographies, found that they are ridiculously affordable, and booked an appointment. Their website offered downloadable patient forms that I could print out and complete ahead of time, an absolute must for those of us who have a knack for sweating all over the paper. Plus, I love to hand write things, and I especially enjoy filling out paperwork when I have a good pen.

 

I completed the forms with my Sharpie pen and brought them to the appointment where I was promptly complimented on my handwriting. I went to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go so that I could wash my hands with cold water to help myself cool off. That helped for about 30 seconds. I sat in the waiting room and tried to control my sweating, but it was really hard. By the time the receptionist walked me back to the treatment room, my feet had soaked my flip flops. She explained how things would work and they had me put my purse in a locking cabinet. I asked if I could leave my flip flops on when she told me to put them in the cabinet, too, and she said yes, of course. I also had another bag with me that contained my trusty desk fan that I’ve mentioned before.

 

I was led back to the office of Lisa, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. I really like her. She took the time to review all of my paperwork and asked me detailed questions about why I was there and what areas of my health I wanted to focus on. My main goal is to see whether my hyperhidrosis will be helped with long-term and regular acupuncture sessions. Even if it doesn’t reduce my sweating, I know I will gain a deeper sense of overall well-being and health.

 

We talked for about 15 minutes, and I was sweating the entire time. My feet were soaked, and I kept lifting my toes above my flip flops to try and get some air underneath them. The closer we got to the end of the interview session, the more I could feel myself sweating since it was building up to the time when she would be touching my body to place the needles. Moments before we got up, the air conditioning came on. I could feel that sweet, blessed relief of cool air coming under the desk where I sat. It was short-lived, though, as I was now ready to begin my treatment session.

 

The place I’m going to is a community style acupuncture establishment. This means that the treatments are done in one community room where all patients are sitting near each other. They do have individual treatment rooms, but those are used only for when people have needles placed on areas like their back and would have to be undressed. I bet, though, that if I requested a private room because it might help me with my hyperhidrosis, they would kindly indulge my request. Each patient gets his or her own recliner to relax in. The recliners are draped with sheets, and when you enter the room you grab a pillowcase to place behind your head on the chair.

 

I was worried that my hands and feet would leave sweat marks on the pale pink sheets they use. I asked for a stool on which I could place my fan, and they put me in the chair nearest the electrical outlet so I could plug in my source of air flow. I was really sweaty by this point. Like, droplets glistening sweaty. I positioned the fan toward my feet first, since they were the most wet, and then I ended up asking her to move the fan onto my lap for me since I already had a needle in my hand at that point.  I reclined in the chair and did my best to relax.

 

I think I had 9 needles total in my body. One in my right ear, 2 on my right hand, 2 on my right foot, 2 on my left foot, one on my left elbow, and one in the center of my left palm. Yowza. The one in my palm kind of hurt when she put it in, but she told me to take a deep breath in and then let it out as she inserted that needle. And really, what was one sharp needle prick when I’ve already endured 155 Botox injections in my palms already? Bring it.

 

The goal is for the needles to be strong and deep in the skin to maximize the effects. Lisa met me where I was as far as the deepness went, and she said if it became painful or tingly in a way that I was not comfortable with to simply flag her down or pull it out myself. After all the needles were placed, she asked how I felt, and I told her I wasn’t too sure about the one in my palm. She knew it was intense for me, but I said I’d try to keep it in and see how it went. I was able to keep all of the needles in for the 45 minutes I was in the chair.

 

Acupuncture is hard to describe, and maybe it feels different for everyone. I noticed I was really tense at first and not allowing my body to relax and melt into the chair. So I started at the top of my body and worked down, focusing on relaxing each body part into the recliner and letting it absorb my weight. Then, I focused on listening to the music they had playing. After awhile, each area where a needle had been placed would kind of light up and radiate heat and waves of energy. I never knew which area would start to go off, so it was kind of cool to be surprised by my ear, and then the inside of my calf and then my palm and elbow. I felt relaxed and almost like I was asleep, and I wonder if I actually was entering the first stages of sleep because my legs twitched a couple of times.

 

I stopped worrying about the other people around me. I was in a good chair, too, one that was in the corner next to a wall, so I only had one other person on one side of me. I think I’ll try to get that chair every time I go. My sweating ended up stopping by the end of my session, and not once did Lisa appear grossed out when she touched my feet and hands to place the needles. I told her I felt ridiculous sitting there with my fan on my lap. She said it was totally fine to have it, and I knew it was, too. I got over feeling embarrassed. It is perfectly acceptable to bring along any tools, devices, accessories, etc. as coping mechanisms to help you manage your sweat. People with hyperhidrosis deserve to have experiences just like “normal” people get to have. If I have to bring along my fan to do it, then I will.

 

I left my acupuncture session feeling really relaxed and kind of floaty, like that feeling you get right before you doze off to sleep. I’ll be returning tomorrow for my next session. I could definitely become addicted to acupuncture. And I’m totally okay with that.

 

P.S. I did not leave any sweat marks behind on the sheet! Like I wouldn’t check. 😉


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Getting the Job I Wanted

When I got back home from visiting my grandma, I met with my friend who had created the vision statement for me. She helped me create a quadrant of pros and cons for the two jobs that were now potentially on my plate. The four sections were Big Yes, Big No, Little Yes, and Little No. She asked me several questions about both jobs that helped me to fill in each section. Once we were done, she said I had my answer to which job I really wanted, which isn’t to say that the first job I had already accepted wasn’t what I wanted. They were both good positions that were a good fit for me.

 

Then my friend said something really profound. “Why don’t you just call the second employer, Maria?” Wait, WHAT? Me? Call THEM? It never even occurred to me that I could take charge with an employer and actually fight for what I wanted as their job candidate. By calling them, I could take my worrying out of the equation. I could do everything in my power to create the result I wanted. So, we walked through what I should say when I called, and I went straight home to get the phone call out of the way. So, with sweaty hands and a wobbly voice, I left a voice mail saying I certainly didn’t want to be presumptuous, but that I was wondering if an offer was forthcoming as I had been offered another position.

 

This pro-activeness on my part got the ball rolling a bit faster on their end. It also allowed me to relax and feel like I had done all I could. Oh! I forgot to mention the part that happened before this. The day after I got home, I was sitting in church and noticed a woman a few rows in front of me who looked very familiar. I basically stalked her for the rest of the service, and when she left a few minutes early I hightailed it out of the sanctuary to follow her. She had disappeared! I decided to walk to the front entrance of the church and wait for a few minutes. Next thing I know, she’s right next to me with her son. So I stopped her and said hello. I then told her that she had interviewed me several days ago and that they were doing a reference check on me for the position. She replied that they all really liked me and that she especially enjoyed the writing samples I had provided as part of the application process. Isn’t it crazy how God works?! I don’t usually talk to “strangers”, but I couldn’t stop thinking about making contact with her once I saw her in church that day. It was a good reminder for her to see my face again.

 

So, after seeing one of the people who interviewed me at church and then making the phone call asking for what I wanted, the next day my phone rang. On the other end was the woman who would be my supervisor. She said that when she was speaking with my references, her heart was breaking when they told her about my layoff. My former boss told her that I was on the verge of a promotion and that laying me off was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. Well, it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through as well. Another of my references spoke to how I deal with failure and adversity. She used the specific example of when I was lucky number 13 on the list of only 12 who would be accepted into the Aspen Summer Words Memoir Writing Program. (I still need to blog about that, by the way.)

 

After we got all that out of the way, she offered me the job! Hallelujah and hot damn! Shockingly, I held my sh** together during this phone call. I kind of felt like crying, but I was outside facing the mountains and it was like the sky just opened up and the sunlight poured over me. The outcome I wanted was unfolding right before my eyes. I really took charge of my life over the past few weeks and felt comfortable with how I had performed in my interviews. The amped up level of my hyperhidrosis in all of those interviews was something I dealt with in the moment, but on this awesome job offer day, I was outside in the cool breeze looking west and NOT sweating.

 

I hung up the phone with a huge grin on my face, and if I didn’t care what other people thought of me half as much as I usually do, I totally would have gone to my car while sporting a John Travolta Saturday Night Fever walk. Because that is seriously the song that popped into my head when I hung up.

 

I’d like to thank every one of you for being so supportive and encouraging, and for reminding me of what I have to offer the world when there were days when I truly thought I had nothing left. A special thanks to my parents and siblings, my Young Marrieds and tea committee peeps at church for praying for me, my closest friends (you all know who you are), and to my awesome husband. He has been amazing through these last few months, picking up the additional financial responsibilities with grace and love, and telling me numerous times not to freak out (because I NEVER do that).

 

If you’re facing adversity in your life, keep fighting the good fight. Nothing lasts forever. Well, except maybe hyperhidrosis, but even that shouldn’t stop you from creating the life you want. Never stop believing in yourself. I still struggle with this, but every day I make an effort to remind myself that I am enough. So are you.

 

Here’s to stayin’ alive!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Clearing My Vision

We were at the hospital almost all day, so after my uncle left I decided to go for a walk to clear my head and get away from the heavy atmosphere of the chemotherapy unit. I took some pictures of the downtown area and the college and then walked back in the windy cold, my hands sweating in my pockets.

The-Cathedral-of-Learning                  Trees-Downtown                  A-shedding-tree

Remember those blessings I was talking about in my previous post that I said were gifted to me? As I was entering the lobby of the hospital to go back upstairs, my friend who is becoming a life coach called me. She had been working on a vision statement for me as part of her training and said she felt like she was supposed to call and read it to me that day because there was something I needed to hear. She wasn’t sure what part it was, but she knew I would know once I heard it.

 

I won’t share with you the entire vision statement (it’s pretty long), but the parts I needed to hear were so powerful! You are living the life you love! Among your greatest blessings is your knowing that you are a unique and precious child of God. Because you believe in the power of living a life greater than yourself, you are able to excel in grace and kindness to others. You take risks because you realize the outcomes will be for the greater good. You are constantly aware of your ability to empower others! Your life now makes a blessed difference in the world! You look outside of yourself for ways to serve others. When you complete your day, you have full confidence that today mattered!

 

I didn’t write that vision statement, but my friend was able to glean all of that from the conversations we’ve had. It was exactly what I needed to hear during a hard time of unemployment, family health issues, and my own health concern of hyperhidrosis. I’m taking a risk with this blog every time I write a post. I am opening myself up to judgment from others. But so what? Not only am I writing this blog for myself, to finally live my puddle-riffic truth, I am writing this blog for you. If I can inspire you through the story of my life and make you feel like you’re not alone, that is success to me. There have been many times these past few months where I’ve felt alone, and not necessarily due to my hyperhidrosis. There is power in community. So even if the closest you can get to openly sharing your hyperhidrosis with others is by reading what I might have to say, that’s a start. This blog started out as being just for me, but I feel like there is a greater purpose to it now. Perhaps I am supposed to be a puddle so that I can help someone else.

 

The last blessing I want to share with you was gifted to me by my aunt. The night before I flew home, we ordered takeout from this great Italian place. (Vivo Italiano! I am part Italian.) As we were finishing dinner, my aunt left the dining room and came back with a gift for me in celebration of my new job. We were in a stationery store earlier that week, which is one of my favorite places to go. Kelly Rae Roberts has a wonderful collection of cards, plaques, etc. that I really like, and I had specifically pointed one of them out to my aunt. She remembered and got it for me. The sentiment is very fitting. Here it is:

unleash-your-joy-kelly-rae-roberts

(Image: http://kellyraeroberts.com/)

 

After dinner, I checked my email and saw that the other position I had applied for would be conducting a reference check! All of the thoughts and feelings that had been swirling around in my head during the week with my family were starting to come together: forward thinking, the vision statement written by my friend, clearing my head, the sense of community I felt with my family, and how often I think about you, my readers.

 

So wait. Was the fighting for a job over?


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Coming From a Place of Yes

Since I had left all of my job interviews and worries behind when I went to visit my grandma, I was able to begin some forward thinking and visualization of what I wanted my life to look like when I got home. Rather than telling the universe what I didn’t want, I chose to tell it what I did want.

 

My mom and I did some shopping while we were visiting. I bought a new messenger bag for my new job that I didn’t yet have. I also bought a few new clothes that were business dress appropriate. As one of my friends would say, “Forward thinking, young grasshopper!” So that’s exactly what I did. Just because you don’t yet have what you want or need doesn’t mean that you can’t guide yourself into achieving it. Just like I don’t have a cure for my hyperhidrosis, I can think toward the future and do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

 

The next day, my lovely aunt contributed to my unemployment fund by donating her services to cut and highlight my hair. She owns her own salon and is ridiculously talented at what she does. I went into the salon wanting a change. My thinking was New Year, New Job, New ‘Do. What a difference a good haircut makes! My confidence improved so much from an hour at the salon. Of note, I usually sweat when I go and get my hair cut, especially when the blow drying begins and I’m trapped underneath the cape. That’s always fun. If I’m getting my hair done in the summer, I can never wear sandals or flip flops because all the hair that’s trimmed off will stick to my feet when it falls. Not a fan of hairy feet!

 

The next day, I got a phone call. The company I had submitted the marketing plan to offered me the job! I accepted immediately, as I didn’t really need to think about it. I didn’t think I’d be offered any other jobs, so why wouldn’t I accept their offer? I had thought about the position and felt it was a good fit. If you know me personally, I feel things very deeply and also wear my heart on my sleeve. This can be good and bad. So, what does touchy, feely me do after hanging up the phone? Cry. It was such a relief to know I no longer had to worry about or fight for a job. So, combine my tears with the fact that I just got off a rather important phone call, and I was sweating. I went downstairs and told my family the good news.

 

It was nice to receive happy news before my grandma’s next round of chemotherapy two days later. I thought I was pretty much okay emotionally regarding this, but once we got to the hospital for her infusion of poison I had a really hard time holding my sh** together. (Um, yeah. Did I mention I tend to use profanity at times? I’m kind of a language-oriented person if you didn’t already know. Sometimes you just need a cuss word to round out a sentence.) I was in the room when the nurse opened the port in my grandma’s chest. My mom left for that part, but I decided to stay. It was the least I could do considering what my grandma was going through. She squeezed my hand as the nurse inserted the needle, and I didn’t even allow myself to go through the inner monologue of Super, my hand is dripping wet and she’s holding it. It was so not about that in that moment.

 

After awhile, my uncle came to the hospital, and I met him in the lobby. That’s when I really freaked out. I was crying and pondering why were we doing this? Was it going to affect her quality of life and be worth it in the long run? My grandma is in her early 80s for crying out loud! But she has always had a choice, and she wanted to try the chemo. We’ve all told her that one round is better than none, two is better than one, etc. If at any time she wants to tell the chemo to take a hike, she can do so. My grandma is one tough lady, and I’ve never heard her complain.

 

It’s important to come from a place of yes in your life. (I’m actually reading a book right now by Bethenny Frankel called A Place of Yes. She is hysterical, by the way. I love her show Bethenny Ever After on the Bravo network.) Like attracts like, so by acting like I had a job already it made sense that I bought a new messenger bag and clothes. It made sense that I got a new haircut. It made sense that yes, I love my grandma and was there to support her and hold her hand. It makes sense that my grandma has a choice of whether to say yes to chemo or yes she’d like to stop. How often are you saying No in your life and attracting what you don’t want? Be able to turn whatever it is that you’re facing into a Yes.

 

Yes, I have hyperhidrosis and it makes my life harder. But yes, I can work with what I’ve got and make it work for me to the best of my ability.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Traveling

I was super excited to fly in and surprise my grandma. But the one thing I never look forward to is going to the airport. I don’t mind flying, but I hate having to deal with the logistics of my sweaty hands and feet in the airport. Take the suitcase issue: I hate holding the handle as I roll it around. It gets wet and then dries with this weird coating from my sweat. I usually try to only hold it when absolutely necessary, otherwise I will maneuver it around with the inside of my wrist and lower arm. While one hand is busy with my suitcase, the other hand is holding my ID and boarding pass. These have to be placed in my hand just right so that the ink from the boarding pass doesn’t smear. I have my ID on the bottom and the boarding pass underneath just my thumb. I probably look suspicious to security since I’m so uncomfortable in my skin by that point.

Once they check my ID, next comes the mad rush to take off my shoes, remove all liquids from my bag, and get everything on the conveyor belt. I can never wear sandals or flip flops to the airport. One, I’m not a fan of placing my bare feet on a germ-infested floor where everyone else’s feet have been. Two, who am I to put my bare, dripping feet all over the tile floor so I can leave footprints behind for all to see? Sick. So, I always wear tennis shoes with socks, or some kind of slip-on shoes with socks. I still leave footprints through my socks, but at least it’s a lesser evil. Once I make it through security, it’s on to the tram to get to the gates. I don’t like sitting down on the tram. I feel cooler if I’m able to stand, but at the same time, I have to hold on somehow since the tram moves pretty fast. I try to position myself around a pole so that I can lean into it rather than hold on to it. Also, I always wear jeans to the airport, never shorts. I need the fabric to cover the backs of my legs, especially if the seats on the plane are leather. Plus, jeans have more fabric than shorts, the better to wipe my hands on. I’d like to try and wear one of the longer skirts I’ve talked about before, but that would look dumb with a pair of tennis shoes and socks, so I’ll have to work on the shoes for that outfit first.

So, after dealing with the airport sweatiness and grabbing my bag from the carousel at baggage claim, I was off to find my Uncle Jimmy. He was the brains behind this idea in the first place, and was so generous with his frequent flier miles to get me out there. I was already sweating again after having to wait for my suitcase, but it was magnified in anticipation of the surprise we were about to pull off. I love surprises. I wish more people would surprise me as much as I like to try and surprise them. Combined with my Highly Sensitive Person trait, I could feel the excitement of the environment being pumped up the closer we got to my grandma’s house.

As we pulled into the driveway, the headlights could be seen from the living room and my grandma and mom were looking out the window. I stayed in the car and acted like I was my uncle’s girlfriend who was finishing up a phone call. My uncle went inside and said, “Okay, mom. The rest of your Christmas present finally arrived. UPS finally figured out what happened to it.” He opened the door with a big fanfare, and in I walked. It was my grandma, my aunt, and my mom (who had already been there for 3 weeks) in the living room, and it took my grandma a second to realize that it was me standing in the middle of the room. Once I said hello, her face just lit up. It was a bittersweet moment for me. I was so happy to be there, yet so scared of what she would look like after already having a couple rounds of chemo. She looked better than I thought, so that was good. I shockingly managed to keep my tears from spilling over, and then I looked over at my mom to say hello. She was pretty much dumbfounded, too, and my aunt hadn’t even looked up yet, since I was standing sort of behind the chair she was sitting in.

My Aunt Nancy said she thought Uncle Jimmy had been up to something, since the last time he was over he was walking around with a twinkle in his eye. Yep. That’s my uncle. He has such a big heart, especially for his family, and he spoils us any chance he gets. Now more than ever, I am so grateful to him for helping me to create these memories with my grandma, and with him. It was definitely a positive aspect of my layoff that I can now appreciate. If it weren’t for losing my job, I would not have been able to drop everything and fly out. It got me away from the doldrums of my job search and not having anywhere to really go during the day since most everything costs money. It was at my grandma’s house that I could simply be. Be there for a week of quality family time, forget about the job applications, and just reconnect with people whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. It allowed me to quiet the constant hum in my brain and slow down.

In the slowness of this week, I was able to do some forward thinking. All of the job interviews I had completed were now out of my hands, so there was no use worrying about the outcome. It was much easier to stop ruminating about everything since I wasn’t at home and had people to focus on. Coming up, I’ll be talking about some specific actions I took (and that were gifted to me by others) while visiting my grandma to help create the outcome I wanted upon my return.

Here are a few snapshots from my trip.

Maria and her grandma

My grandma won the Duncan Hines Baking with American Dash contest in 1985 for a recipe she made up. She’s awesome like that.

Maria and her mom

This is my wonderful mother. She and I got some quality time together during my trip.

Maria and her family

This is my maternal grandma’s side of the family, minus my other uncle.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Second-Round Interviews: Where the Sweating Really Begins

So if interviewing the first time with a company isn’t sweat inducing enough, a lot of places may ask you to come back in for another round of interviews. This is a good thing, as it shows they really do have an interest in you. I was called back by two organizations for second-round interviews. I was getting ready to go out of town for a week when they called, so I ended up having to schedule both interviews on the same day, with only 30 minutes in between them! Oh, and did I mention the interviews were on the opposite sides of town? Eek!

I went through my typical pre-interview routine and arrived to interview again for the medical writing web specialist position. I was there for 2 hours since I had to meet with 4 people. Each one of these mini sessions I felt went very well. In one of them, a person and I chatted about the proper use of grammar and how it can so often be used incorrectly in movies on the big screen. I also was able to share my Botox story and explain more about the writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

In another mini session, I felt I was able to convey my desire to be part of a team and my willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. I think they really liked the part when I said “Since when is a job description ever only what it says it is? My last job title was Medical Editor, but I did program management stuff.” They also seemed to appreciate the fact that I said I’d never tell them No. I may ask a ton of questions, clarify expectations, etc., but I will never refuse to do my best to help when and where I can. All of this was coming from my heart and wasn’t simply an attempt to sell myself to them. I told this company in my cover letter that people would describe me as caring, loyal, hardworking, and authentic. When you know who you are, it’s easier to identify the traits and abilities with which you have been blessed.

This is important: be yourself in interviews. Yes, you may have to fake a certain level of confidence sometimes, but underneath all the mumbo jumbo try to remain true to who you are. People can tell when you are being real with them, and also when you’re not. As an example, one of the other people who interviewed me asked me if there was anything else I wanted her to know about me. My response: “Even at the risk of sounding cliché or cheesy, it’s important that you know how much I love working with the written word. Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I am a total word nerd, so this job would be a really good fit for me.”

After meeting with all 4 people, I actually had to cut the interview short since my other one for the marketing and communications manager was beginning in 20 minutes across town. This was kind of awkward, but I had to do what I had to do. I speed walked from the elevator to the parking garage and hightailed it out of there to hopefully get there on time. Remember the I hate to be rushed discussion? Well, the rushing was in full force at this point, and I was going 80 mph down the interstate to get there on time. 80 mph with the windows cracked so I could get some air flow going. I made a wrong turn at one point and ended up blowing through a stop sign while I was at it, but thankfully only one other car was there that honked at me.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was right on time with zero time to spare. I had maybe 30 seconds in the lobby before I was whisked back to meet with the CEO. It was a fairly short interview, and we hardly talked at all about the job itself. We talked more about the revamping of the organization and how only a few of the original employees stayed on with him during the restructuring process. He mentioned what courage and stamina it took those people to decide to stay, and I was able to use this as a segue into talking about my blog and how I understood the importance of courage and standing in the truth of who you are. All in all, it was a very good conversation. Since I only met with the CEO, I wasn’t there for very long the second time around. I was given a mini marketing project to complete, as the candidates they were interviewing didn’t have the marketing experience they were looking for. This project was to gauge where I was creatively. I took the project home and was given the weekend to complete it.

Needless to say, I was exhausted after a day’s worth of second-round interviews, so I peeled off my dress clothes and relaxed in some sweats. I got a good start on the marketing project before I jumped on a plane the next day to surprise my grandma who currently is undergoing chemotherapy. There were many blessings in disguise that resulted from my being laid off, this being one of them. My generous uncle contributed to my unemployment fund by flying me out as a surprise so my grandma could see her first-born grandchild. I’ll be blogging about this next. I am so grateful I was able to board a plane on short notice to see my family!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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