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Choose your superhero team- www.superheroliving.blog

Choose your Super Team

It takes a whole team of people to support a super hero. Whether it’s Felicity Smoak, Pepper Potts, Albert, Jimmy Olsen, or Wally West, every superhero needs a whole team of sidekicks to keep them in tip top fighting shape. How do we make that a part of our superhero living? Well, let’s dig deep.

First of all, often, a super hero’s team often has different strengths from them. Or at least, complimentary ones. Computer geniuses? Drivers? Archers? Pilots? Superheroes can’t do it all- we need a team of people underneath us, helping us and teaching us.

So, the next question is this: who’s on your team?

Still working it out? Me too, but maybe my list will give you some ideas.

I’m very lucky that the first members of my team are my parents. From listening to my hare brained ideas to cautioning restraint to telling me, over and over and over again that I can do it, my parents are the most supportive, wonderful, kindest people on the planet. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Similarly, my brother is definitely on my team. He’s my business advisor, and a rock solid support.

From there, the team includes a lot of people, of course, but the day to day people are my sister and about five very sweet, very supportive friends. People who are with me every step of the day. And people who have been with me through the highest of highs and the lowest, lowest, lowest of lows.

If you read my post The Origin Story the other day, then you know that the way to become a superhero hasn’t been smooth for me. And I have needed the people on my team to keep me going. When I was struggling with the second hard bite of my disordered eating, my sister was there, googling, researching, threatening and cajoling me to eat. My mom has listened to me for hours on end as I process things out loud to her. Every time I have screwed something up, my dad has been there, and met me with grace and peace and wisdom. My friends and family have cleaned my apartment, walked my dog, done my laundry, insisted I stop working, taken me out, sat on me until I relaxed.

And when I have felt like my life was ending, when I was sure that nothing would ever be the same again, people from all over the world were there. Finding the spare pieces of me and shoving them back into place until I felt whole again.

But here’s the crux of the matter: you have to have people on your team. But if your team is in place, you have to let them help you. You have to. You don’t get to pull the “I’m cutting you off so I don’t hurt you” card that so many of our superheroes pull. You don’t get to cut them out. You don’t get to kick them off of the team for their own good. I’m not saying you can’t kick people off the team ever- we’ve all done that. Or we’ve had people quit the team. Or people who found they didn’t have time to be on the team. And that’s ok- and a whole different post. But you don’t get to kick people off the team to protect them.

Because you’re on their team too. See, unlike comic books and tv shows, we’re ALL superheroes, if we want to be. And maybe that sounds cheesy to you. I don’t care. We all have that potential within us.

So as much as you need someone on your team to support you, to love you, to teach you, to have your back? The people in your life need that from you too. The people in your life need you to love them. Protect them. Support them. Teach them.

This is how we build a superhero network. This is how we get better. This is how we live out Superhero Living. By being the best version of ourselves- and helping others to fly.

Superhero action of the day: reach out to someone on your team and thank them for their role on it. And then ask them how you can be a better team member for them.

The Power of Being Silly- superheroliving.blog

The power of being silly

Maybe it’s just me, but do you ever spend time thinking about what super power you would have if we all suddenly developed powers? Not which one you’d LIKE to have, but what your personality and strengths lend themselves to?

Just me?

Well, that’s alright. I still haven’t landed on a solid answer to that one. Maybe telepathy? Maybe something else. I’m not sure. Regardless, I think there’s one superpower that is liable to get overlooked during this self-examination: the power of being silly.

We all know someone with this superpower. My grandfather was one. That man could make a funeral look silly. In fact, when he died, we talked about all wearing funny hats during the service- he would have loved it. Games, silly songs, toys, junk food, he never, ever, ever grew up.

I went to a friend’s birthday party this afternoon. This is a friend who is in his early 30’s, and has, for time immemorial, had a squirt gun fight at his birthday party, in his parent’s lawn. And today was no different.

The Power of Being Silly- superheroliving.blog

I’ve participated in that squirt gun fight before- it’s a riot. A bunch of grown adults, chasing each other around the yard, screaming and shooting each other with water guns. is a sight to behold.

Today, however, I didn’t participate. I had things to do after the party, and I had Penelope with me, and she doesn’t much care for being squirted, so I decided to just watch. And as we were standing there, watching my friends fill up their guns and take up positions on the opposite sides of the yard, I found myself smiling in anticipation. And when the fight began, I was laughing along with the rest of them.

Letting ourselves be silly is a form of vulnerability that can be a little scary for us to display. ‘What if they laugh at me?’ or ‘That’s not very grown up!’ can be common deterrents. It can be scary to put aside our fears and inhibitions and take off running across the yard screaming and firing a squirt gun into the chest of a friend or acquaintance.

But if we can learn to master that fear, a couple of magical, superhuman things happen.

  1. We reset ourselves. When we do something and immerse ourselves fully into it, it causes an emotional and spiritual reaction. We lose track of time, we relax, our worries and anxieties drift by the way side. When we’re finished with whatever it is, we often feel drained, but refreshed too. When we immerse ourselves in something silly, it often means that we will spend a lot of time laughing, and laughing has about a million and ten benefits, everything from lengthening our lives to making us more likable. This helps us to reset spiritually and emotionally.
  2.  We boost our productivity. Sure, it may not feel very productive in the moment, playing games, or riding a skateboard through the office, but in the long run, we can focus better after having a little bit of fun.
  3. Silliness boosts our creativity. And I don’t just mean that’s true for us artsy types. Every person on the planet is born creative. Maybe you’re a brilliant painter. Maybe you have a way with words. Maybe you can create systems and tables to show and analyze data. That is creativity. Humans are better when we can be creative. And silliness is a great way to open up those floodgates, especially if they’ve been closed for a while.
  4. Silliness promotes better relationships. This is true of all kinds of vulnerabilities, but silliness is pure fun. When we allow ourselves to be silly in front of the people we care about- and with them- it lets us open up to them and it creates trust with them.

So let’s not overlook the superpower of Silliness. Maybe we can even dare to practice it a little bit.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: find something that feels a little silly to you. Do it. Maybe that’s throwing a solo dance party while you put away laundry. Maybe it’s saying hi to a stranger. Maybe it’s trying out the slip and slide. Whatever it is, do something silly for yourself today.

Saturday Adventures: Yoga On Tap

Happy Saturday, all!

Did you get to do something that fed you today? I hope so. How are you living out Superhero Living this weekend? I want to hear all about it! I’ll start.

Today, I tried something brand new to me. I went to a yoga and beer class. I don’t know about you, but it seems like there have been a LOT of these popping up on my radar recently. Brewasana classes, stretch and sips, yoga on tap- whatever you call it, it seems like there are lots of options to go to a bar or restaurant, do some yoga, and enjoy a favorite beverage. I’ve been wanting to try one for a while now, and today, at long last, one fit in my schedule this morning- so off I went, yoga mat in tow!

The specific class I went to is called ‘Yoga on Tap”, and is hosted by a Dayton pizza place called Old Scratch Pizza. If you’re a local and you haven’t been there yet, it’s worth a trip, yoga or no. It’s gourmet, Neapolitan style pizzas and craft beer. They have some great salads and appetizers too. It’s a very fun, casual spot, right in downtown.

Anyway, Old Scratch also does a lot of philanthropic work, and they host one Saturday morning yoga class a month. For $15, you get an hour of yoga and a pint of beer afterwards. Every now and then, the proceeds from the class go to a worthy cause. Today’s cause? Honor Flight Dayton.

If you aren’t familiar with Honor Flight, let me begin by assuring you that it is a very worthy cause. Honor Flight’s mission is to get as many US veterans as possible to Washington DC to see the memorials dedicated to the wars they served in. My grandpa got to go a few years ago, and I saw first hand how meaningful that experience was to him.

So: an hour of yoga, a beer AND I get to support a cause I really and truly believe in? Absolutely, I’m there. Win-win-win!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I would say I’m at an intermediate level as a yogi, but going to a new kind of class is always a little nerve wracking. The tables were cleared away to show the bare floor of the restaurant. I signed in at the counter, and found a spot for my mat. A few minutes after 10 (when class was due to start), Stephanie, the instructor, called us to order. She told us a little about Honor Flight, and a woman in the class spoke a little bit about her personal experience with them.

Stephanie told us this would be a “heart centered” practice, which are my favorite. The class itself was gentle. It was cool in the room, and I barely broke a sweat. That was fine with me. We worked our way through Sun Salutations, Warrior Sequences and some lovely heart openers.

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The one glitch in the whole process, for me, was that at the end of class, we all got in line to pay for class and claim our pints. This resulted in waiting about 10 minutes to get through. That was fine with me, but it seemed a little overwhelming to a few lunch customers who had a reasonable expectation of the place being pretty empty. No big deal, and certainly not a deterrent to me returning for another class.

I then had the great pleasure of talking with Stephanie and another class member over our beers. One of the reasons I love going to places alone is that it helps me to meet and get to know good people. Talking to these two women was a true joy, and I left feeling like this was $15 well, well spent.

So, if you’re looking for something new to do, I would encourage you to look into these kinds of classes- they’re light hearted, breezy and fun. They draw good people. And if you get lucky, they might even support a good cause.

 

Whatever you did today, I hope you did it to your very fullest. I’d love to hear about it!

 

Superhero action of the day: Ask the people around you what they did today. Ask questions and gain a new experience through them. Enjoy your day!

50 fun and (mostly) free things to do

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!

Do you have time off work? Are you celebrating the end of the school year? The beginning of Summer? Or are you just thinking about trying something new this weekend? Well! I have a list for YOU!

 

Money is tight for me this summer, so I thought it might be fun to look at all the different things we can try to do for cheap or free- regardless of where we live. So, without further ado, 50 things to do, Memorial Day Weekend style:

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  1. Go for a hike! Grab a friend or a dog and look up some local hiking trails. Penelope and I like to eat ice cream afterwards, but that’s optional.
  2. Take a picnic and sit in the park to eat.
  3. Go to a neighborhood you find interesting and explore it
  4. Find an outdoor performance and enjoy it
  5. Check your local park service and see what they have going on- mine has free yoga classes sporadically this summer!
  6. Go for a bike ride! If you don’t own a bike, a lot of cities have places you can rent them for pretty cheap
  7. Go to a nearby small town and wander through the downtown area. Explore.
  8. Go fishing! Parks often have poles to rent.
  9. Go birding- there are free apps to help you recognize what you see
  10. Grab a blanket and drive a good long ways out of town at night Sit in your blanket and look for constellations
  11. Go to the library and pick out some new books to love!
  12. Take a long bath
  13. Give yourself a home mani pedi.
  14. Go to a museum and enjoy
  15. Clean out your closet. Make a game out of it!
  16. Do a home decorating project
  17. Rearrange a room of your home
  18. Look through old photos and upload some fun ones to facebook for laughs!
  19. Plant something green- indoors or outdoors!
  20. Revisit your itunes collection and rock out. Get really wild and dance around!
  21. Invite a few friends to bring snacks and have an old fashioned movie night
  22. invite a few friends and have a board game night! Ask them to bring snacks!
  23. Arrange a clothing swap with some fun people- take your old stuff and trade them for their old stuff!
  24. Volunteer somewhere. All kinds of places need helping hands, and you’ll be surprised at how fun and fulfilling this can be!
  25. Try a new recipe and throw a dinner party
  26. Have a photo shoot! If you don’t like photos of yourself (you totally should) find cool things around your home, neighborhood or city
  27. Think and journal about your short term and long term goals, and think about your dreams
  28. Look up a youtube video on something you want to learn, whether it’s figure drawing or calculus, and watch a few videos about how to do it
  29. Wite a letter and mail it old school to a friend or loved one
  30. spend some time coloring!
  31. Move your body! Try a youtube video or go to a class
  32. Try a new restaurant
  33. Plan your dream vacation
  34. Spend some time writing
  35. Find someplace to swim (if its warm enough!)
  36. Have a squirt gun fight!
  37. Put away all the evidence of winter in your house (boots, coats, etc.)
  38. Go to a sporting event of your choice (minor league, major league, or just for fun leagues)
  39. Work on a jigsaw puzzle
  40. Find a public garden and explore it
  41. Get on the water! Go kayaking, canoeing, tubing or boating- there are lots of cheap places to rent in a lot of places
  42. Find a local festival and go go go! Festivals are great for an afternoon or evening of fun!
  43. Go to the farmer’s market- enjoy looking, at the very least!
  44. Find a u-pick farm and enjoy picking your own produce
  45. Go camping! Some outdoor stores rent gear for reasonable rates
  46. Find a beach and play on it! Even us land locked folks often have some lakes we can play in and around
  47. Check out a local play or musical- many companies have cheaper matinees, and lots of cities have some cheap or free outdoor options!
  48. Go to a local cemetery and think about what memorial day is all about
  49. Attend a parade in honor of the weekend! There are lots of local parades, and they’re cheesy, but fun!
  50. Spend time with the people you care about, whether it’s a barbecue with family or a night out with friends

 

I hope this gives you some fun ideas to look at on this long weekend! Whatever you decide to do- enjoy it!

I’m hoping to make Fun and (mostly) Free Fridays a series- so stay tuned!

 

Superhero action of the day: what fun and (mostly) free things do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments and hopefully I can check it out!

 

Bravery in the face of fear

People tell me pretty regularly how brave I must be. You’re so brave, going to Europe by yourself! You’re so brave going to events alone! You’re so brave, walking the dog at night! You’re so brave, making this leap in your career! I wish I was as brave as you are.

 

And you know, I used to kind of brush those comments off- no, I’m not brave, this is easy!

 

And then one I day, I thought about it. I took a minute and really thought about it.

I think we have a bad perception of what the word ‘brave’ means. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word ‘brave’, I get impressions of sword fights, suits of armor, dragons and billowing hair. And I suppose that is one definition of the word, right? Brave Sir Galahad, saving the fair maiden from the dragon? Sure, I’ll buy that. That’s brave.

But there is another definition, and one that I think we can relate to much more easily in this computer addicted, routine loving, safe feeling world. Brave. Brave means determined. It means having a dream and refusing to give up. It means running full out, dead sprinting towards something that makes you feel alive… or away from something that is slowly killing you. Or maybe it means having the courage to be the person your friends need, not the ones they want. It means telling them, nicely, gently, with love, when they’re losing themselves somewhere along the way. It means sticking to that, even if it costs part of your relationship. It means learning what you believe in and then planting yourself and saying, “no, you move.” It means waking up in the morning and staring fear, or depression, or anger, or resentment, or hopelessness, or worry, or pain in the face and telling them to get out of your way.

 

And it also means learning to take a long, hard, objective look at yourself and say to yourself “you screwed that up.” It means learning to take responsibility for your triumphs and your failures. It means being able to take a hit as well as give them out. That’s what brave means. And if that’s our working definition of the word brave, then being brave is what Superhero Living is all about.

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And if that’s our definition, those people that tell me I’m brave? They’re right. I do seem brave. But every ‘brave’ decision I’ve made has come from a place of deep and abiding fear. I was terrified to go to Europe, stay with people I’d never met, go to a country where I knew none of the traditions, language or culture and stay for three weeks. I have had full out anxiety attacks on my way to an event I’ve been looking forward to, simply because I’ll be showing up alone. I’ve had nightmares about making ends meet because maybe I am not making the right career choices. I’ve spent hours and days walking with Penelope, afraid that I’m making the wrong decisions, afraid that I’ll lose people by being myself, afraid that I’m lost somehow.

 

And I’ve moved forward anyway.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing everyday that scares you”. And every time I think to myself “no way, you can’t do that” I take a deep breath and I think hard about doing it anyway. Because a lot of the time, something you’re afraid of doing is exactly what you need to do to help yourself grow. And being a superhero means growing. It just does. It means finding that tiny seed inside yourself and helping it to sprout and grow.

 

If I can do it, you can too. I promise.

 

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that you’ll wake up tomorrow and suddenly be able to boldly make decisions that will change who you are, your relationships, and your life. But I AM saying it is possible. And I’m saying you should TRY. Find one thing that scares you. And do it. Find another thing tomorrow. And do that too. Make the first phone call. Write the first chapter. Make a difficult move. Lean into that fear. There are two ways out at this point: fear either paralyzes or motivates. Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the “paralyze” pool. It’s easy to do. But don’t let it suck you in! Find the motivator in there. Think about how upset you’ll be if you never write the book. Discover within yourself the desire to help your spouse alter a damaging habit. Then wade into the fray, sword held high, and slay. That. Dragon. You’ve got this. You’re brave.

 

Superhero action of the day: identify three things that scare you, whether they’re personal, professional or something else. Take the first step on conquering that fear. Today.

The Origin Story

IMG_1380I was always the fat girl. In my elementary school, I remember my skinny friends grabbing their flat stomachs and saying, “look at my rolls!” And I remember thinking that they had no idea. No idea how embarrassing it was to shop in the misses or plus sections at stores from 6th grade on. No idea how shameful it was to change clothes in front of them. No idea how badly I wanted to wear a bikini and just… couldn’t.

 

Now, 15 years later, I can say with confidence that although I am still fighting the good fight about body positivity, I can (and do, on occasion wear a bikini, change clothes in front of people and I know that we all, no matter our sizes have rolls on our bellies when we bend over.

 

But I didn’t know that then.

 

When I was in high school, I decided to put a stop to it. I was going to lose the weight. I started getting up at 4:45 in the morning. I started counting calories. Obsessively. And then, somehow, I got it into my head that I could only eat the amount of calories that I worked off on the stairmaster that morning. So, I’d go to the gym and climb stairs for 40 minutes. It would say that Id burned 450 or so calories. And then I would only let myself eat that many calories.

 

The weight did come off. I lost about 35 pounds. I was feeling great.

 

It didn’t take long for it to not be sustainable though. It didn’t take long for me to be exhausted and cranky all the time. To have perpetual headaches (that continue to this day, actually). I was starving myself, and I didn’t even know it.

 

At the same time, my personal life was in major upheaval. It was my junior year of high school, the majority of my friends were seniors and my mom and step dad were getting a pretty messy divorce. My mom and I weren’t getting a long well at all and everything was a mess.

 

That’s when I discovered the joy of controlling food. Not eating was one thing I could control about what was going on in my life. Maybe I couldn’t control everything that was happening around me, but I could control what I put in my body. I was obsessed.

 

This pattern continued, off and on throughout high school and into college. Finally, in my senior year of college, I made another very concerted effort to lose weight. I purposefully did it with good nutrition this time, but I definitely didn’t come at it from a place of self love. I hated my body, and exercise was a way to beat it into submission. Oh, I tried to tell people it was about body positivity, but the truth was, I hated being fat and I didn’t want to be anymore.

By the time I graduated from college, and throughout the following summer, I worked hard. By the fall, I was at about 170 pounds, which on my frame is getting very close to goal weight (my ultimate goal weight has always been about 150). I was running regularly, lifting weights and I felt good in my own skin. But it was a brittle sort of confidence, untested and kind of false.

 

And then I fell in love. And I fell hard. And, as is sometimes the way of things, I stopped paying as much attention to myself. Slowly, over the course of the next two years, I gained about 65 pounds. My relationship fell apart (for other reasons) and I found myself broke, single, depressed and fat.

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That was a rough winter. But I have this dog. This wonderful, sweet, energetic dog. Who needs a lot of exercise. And my new place, at about 550 square feet, and no outdoor space, did not leave me any option except to take a lot of walks. Penelope (the dog) and I walk three times a day. Often just around the neighborhood or the block- but we’re very lucky to live a block north of an extensive river walk area. That first winter, we did a lot of soul searching and walking. Well, I did. I can’t speak to Penelope’s state of mind.

 

And the weight started to come off, again. We started running together. The weight came off, and my confidence grew and grew. More walking, more soul searching, more healing. Spring.

 

It was at this point that I found the Whole30 and completed my first one. It really did change my life. I lost 10 pounds (by this point I had lost about 55 of the regained 65), and I felt AMAZING. But it was more than the weight, although I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a big part of it. I felt like I knew who I was again, as an adult, and that had been a long time in the making.

 

That was two years ago. Although there have been ups and downs for certain, those ideas around physical fitness, health, wellness, and nutrition have shaped me. So have the ideas about living intentionally, choosing happiness, and being at times painfully honest with yourself and the people you care about. It’s worth it. So that’s it. The Origin story, or part of it. This is how I became a superhero.

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Superhero action of the day: Look at your past. Where are the hiccups? The triumphs? How have they made you who you are? Where are you headed next?

 

Welcome!

Welcome to Superhero Living!

 

I’m so glad you’re here. This has been a pet baby project of mine for over two years, and I’m so excited to show it off to the world now.

 

Here’s what to expect:

This is a lifestyle and wellness blog. Topics will be pretty broad, but will include things like:

  • Health and fitness
  • Nutrition
  • How to get more out of your day and your life
  • Crafting/sewing tutorials and projects
  • Recipes
  • Adorable dog photos (because I’m obsessed)

 

Why now?

Yes, really, I’ve had the idea for this blog in the back of my head for years. This isn’t even its first iteration. So why am I launching it now?

 

Well, I’m glad you asked.

First of all, I have time. For the first time in my adult life, I have some extra time on my hands to get this thing off the ground and rolling. Secondly, I am feeling more and more like I’m being pulled in this direction. Third, I am starting to do some wellness coaching and this is another obvious outlet for that. I’m also increasing my personal brand on the internet and want to be able to boost this at the same time. Finally, and this one is perhaps the most important reason: because I want to. And I’m ready to. And I think both of these things are super important.

 

Why Superhero living?

 

That’s a long story. It starts in the summer of 2015. After a long haul in the emotional and self esteem department, by Summer of 2015 I was feeling really good. I’d lost a lot of weight again (I’ll tell that whole story at some point, but not today), and I was looking for good ways to really get strong, particularly in my upper body. At the same time, I’d become fascinated by all the superhero stuff in our culture right now: tv shows, movies, etc. I decided, more as a game for myself than anything, to become a superhero. It just kind of spiraled from there.

 

In September of 2015, I joined a boxing gym. It fulfilled two things I was looking for: It is an AWESOME upperbody workout (although, really, it’s a total body powerhouse), and also, it makes me feel like a superhero to go to class. I’ve said on multiple occasions that I feel like if I’m going to protect my city, I need to learn how to throw a punch.

 

The lifestyle part of it developed from there. I found a group of images on Tumblr that made me really examine how our superheroes might live in between episodes.  Well, they probably eat food that helps them fuel their training. They develop their minds. They try (and fail sometimes) to maintain good relationships. They do the right thing. Well, great, I can do that.

 

But somewhere along the line, it became more than that. When I’m practicing my Superhero Living, I feel empowered. I walk a little taller, laugh a little louder, work a little harder. I focus better. I look at life as an adventure and I want that. I want to live that way. I want to live a life that’s full and rich with experiences. I want to have stories to tell. I want to kick butt and take names in my career, at the gym, at home. Superhero Living gives me the confidence I was so badly searching for outside of myself. When I’m a superhero, I can do anything. And it’s just a state of mind.

 

In my full time life, I’m a costume designer. Clothes are a huge part of who I am. But I don’t need a mask and a cape to be my best self. I don’t need tights and body armor. But putting on my smile and my favorite jeans has a similar effect. Suddenly, I feel absolutely unstoppable.

 

And I want that for you, too. So it may seem silly or childish to say we’re practicing Superhero Living. I’m ok with that. Because the truth of it is, it’s so much more than dress up and crime fighting. It’s learning how to be your best self.

 

I’m working on it, every day. I’m far from perfect, but I’m getting better all the time.

I hope you want to work on it too.

 

Superhero Action of the day: follow my social media accounts! I’m charisweible on Instagram, Superhero Living on Facebook and @charisweible on Twitter.