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Caution: curves ahead

22 Mar

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This week I watched a recent video of myself that I made with my son.  I was shocked  at the image I saw reflecting back at me. I’ve had a rough couple of years with some things …and apparently, I am an emotional eater….or possibly an emotional drinker… maybe…I’ve found a fondness for red wine and it found a roomy home on my hips.

Over the last few months, I began moving the clothes that no longer fit to the left side of my closet. I’m still flabbergasted  when I’m unable to pull up the pants I’ve worn for the last 10+ years past my thighs….The pile on the left of the closet  is large.

This means I’ve also had to  purchased new pants – begrudgingly. My collection is minimal in comparison. It was either that or go naked… I had no choice in the matter. Yes, leggings work well and are cheap…but they hide the fact that I appear to be growing – out, not up. At this point, my ass could qualify for it’s own zip code…

So, I’m watching this video thinking – How in the world?  Really.  How did I let myself gain 30 pounds? When I look in the mirror I know I’m bigger…but this video.  Lord, please promise me that the camera adds 10 pounds…that I really don’t look that way in REAL life.

But the truth is I’m now heavier than when I delivered both of my children.  I know I’m teetering on the verge of no return….and I don’t know what to do about it.  Don’t get me wrong. I know there are many women larger than myself. This isn’t about them. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. This is about me feeling good, or not, in my own five-foot-five-and-half skin.

This is how my day starts:  I try on a new black skirt that arrived yesterday.  To tight.  I contemplated keeping it for “when I lose the weight” but more than slightly depressed at the likely hood of that NOT happening, I tossed the skirt on the bed to return later.

I then selected white slacks that I knew were a size or two larger. They fit, but the view from behind was not so cute….On went the Spanx – boy shorts.  Spanx, the well-known by ladies around the world (but rarely seen by men) undergarments that are made to make me look skinner.  Yet, I some how now feel like a sausage.  A bratwurst to be specific…But damn it to heck, I have to go with this outfit because I’ve already worn the other two pants that fit me this week.  Tomorrow it’s jeans….

I tossed on a cute shirt from a local boutique that I haven’t worn since last summer. It was a little snug across the chest but nothing terrible I thought…However, the more I moved my flat iron across my hair, I realized it was too constricting.  I no longer liked it.  Crossing my arms at my waist to lift the fabric….I find I can’t. I was stuck. I couldn’t get this damn shirt off my body.  I twisted, I tried….I grunted…I thought, “Imma have to cut this bitch off.”…For a second I contemplated running downstairs to wake up one of my children to help me pull this sucker off….I’m not sure I’d live that one down…EVVAHH… Five minutes and a few tears later, I wiggled out of  shirt looking like I’d been on a subway fight. Red in the face, hair a mess…

I promptly moved it to the left side of my closet.  My first thought?

You know you are fat when you get stuck in your freakin’ shirt. What the hell…

On to work. As I’m walking up the sidewalk I say a little prayer.  “Lord, I don’t like this. I don’t like how I feel about me. You love me and have helped me in so many ways.  Help me to lose this weight.”

Fast forward through my day.

I’m in the ladies room where a coworker asks How I’m doing. “busy. good.” I say.    I tell her she looks beautiful today.  She shrugs, not believing my words, her eyes drifting away from me.  Then she says, “You look good too. How did you gain your weight? Eating too much.”

Yessssss. She said those words.

Before you get riled up and ready to kick ass, please hear her story.

She is from South America. She LOVES curves.  Which until her recent weight loss, she had — curves for dayyyys!  She tells me, almost too eagerly, she can’t wait until she can put on some pounds.  She is serious…This I know.

I tell her I’ll shift her some of mine – If only it were that easy!   She then says with a large grin and wiggling eyebrows,  “I bet your husband is happy” as she points to my zip code carrying ass….

She is losing weight not because she wants to friends, but because of the chemo.  You see, she has breast cancer.  She wears a scarf to cover the hair loss which makes her self-conscious.  She has a hard time looking me in the eyes,  really – looking anyone in the eyes, these days.  Yet, I think she looks more beautiful than in any day prior.  Her warrior spirit is shining.  She is fighting and it shows. Without the distraction of her hair, which was indeed gorgeous, her eyes become the focal point, dancing in the light.  She is simply stunning.

I get back to my desk and think, “You know your fat when…”

Then I stop.  I close my eyes….I sense God’s hand…and I pray.

I thank God that I’m healthy.  Specifically, I thank him for my cancer free body.  With embarrassment, I apologize for believing anything different. A few extra pounds is nothing in comparison. I thank him for this lesson, for humbling my spirit.  I know I have some work to do…and I will.

Ladies, would you please join me in shifting our focus away from who we want to be and allow ourselves permission to be who we are?  Let’s not put our self-worth in our hair, our bodies, our curves – or lack of…

PS – If no one told you today, let me have the honor of doing so.  I love you. You are beautiful.

Put that on repeat.

Perspective.

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In the Eyes of the Beholder….

18 Apr

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In an effort to declutter our home, I’ve posted a few items on Craig’s List.  One item happens to be a heavy desk we’ve had in a spare room for many years without use.  Because of it’s shape and girth, the deal required someone to come to our home for pick up.

We’ve met some characters during this process.  The last lady, purchasing another piece of furniture, and her family came in our home as if they were looking for a place to shack up. Each eyeballing and commenting on the rooms as they passed.  “Oh you have xyz, that must be nice….Ohhhh, and the high ceilings….I’ve always loved those” …..I half expected to find them on my sofa when I came home the next day.

While I find humor in it all, and I like the cash, my husband finds it more burdensome.  Not because he doesn’t like cash….just because you never know what you are going to get when someone pulls up to your house…. and that makes him a wee-bit uncomfortable.

After several messages and missed appointments our buyer for the desk finally arrived….thirty minutes late.  My husband is now shifting his feet, anxious to get this over with as it  dinner time….  And dinner time takes priority over all else in this house!

I meet the young blond outside and noticed his slightly broken English. He states twice in a rather short period of time that he is not from the area so I asked the question, where are you from?  The Czech Republic.

What the heck are you doing here?

He couldn’t contain his smile and his eyes danced wildly as he told the story.  Turns out, he was “finishing university” and applied for a green card on a whim.  He received the notification that he won! His mannerisms and body language  told me that it was a major, lottery size win to get selected for the green card. He was joyous…boundless joy exuded from his every movement.

So, he said, “I packed up my book bag and came over.”  ….

That simple I thought….Just a book bag and a smile.  A new country waiting for you to explore awaits.  How fantastically scary, yet tremendously awesome. Brave!  Good for you!

My husband on the other hand, is now looking at him as if he were crazy…Our travel book bag, for day trips, barely zips with all the crap we tow.  He is thinking…a book bag? Your whole life fits into a book bag?  He clearly does not share our last name!

The young man goes on to talk about the work he found while here, a German based company.  He has high hopes that he will be able to transfer when his green card expires.   He states he will one day need to go back home because he is a “child of one” and will have to take care of his parents. The duty understood and accepted without question.

As he says this, urgency builds and he spins on his heels. He says “I’m sorry. I just need to look”…..pausing…  “This is so beautiful, his arms wide, an effort to take it all in. I’ve never seen anything like this… but in the movies.”

Huh?  My husband I both twist and turn trying to see what he saw.  Nothing.  Our faces perplexed he said, “I’m living downtown and it looks a lot like my home. But here, you have grass and yards, and trees….It’s so…so beautiful.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”  He truly is almost brought to tears.

We smile back, softly….kindly….unable to match his energy.

In our minds our house is nothing special in comparison.  We bought it with the sole purpose to keep our oldest child in the school district we wanted him to attend.  It has never been our dream home, only our in-between home.  In fact one of the reasons we are decluttering is to prepare to sell it over the next few years.  Sadly, we’ve never been in love with it.

His words, his pure wonder and excitement….sit with us through dinner and into the days that follow.

I recant the story to my youngest on our drive to school. He says, “that makes me sad for him.”

“Why?” I say

“Because, what must his country look like if he thinks this is beautiful?”

Taking a few minutes to ponder, I respond, “You know what? It makes me think I need to travel more.  I’d like to see his country. He said it looks a lot like down town.  Because he is so used to that, the beauty has worn off….It just is normal…boring…to him.  Yet people travel from all over to vacation in our city.  Here, with green grass and birds and trees…that is beautiful, because it is different.  I may feel the same about his country if I saw it.  It may be so, so beautiful to me because it is different than anything I’ve seen before.”

He nods in agreement.

Thank you Lukas for the lesson.  I’m not sure I’ll ever look at my home the same.  Your words echo in my ears when I pull into the drive way, and I am grateful.

I pray my young man grows up to be just as courageous one day. Following his dreams with his smile and his back back.  Ready to take on the world, fearlessly educating himself through experiences.

I pray that my eyes continue to open wide enough to see beauty in all things… even the beautifully… normal things.

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#Epic.FAIL….

5 Apr

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SOooooo, I was being just a tad bit nosy last week…cyber stalking a former friend’s page….a little Face Book voyeurism, if you will…
Don’t judge! You know you’ve done it too!
Truth is, I miss her.  She is hysterically funny, loyal and just fun to be around.
She is also pushy, controlling and demanding.
We ALL have our issues, don’t we?
However,  for the latter reasons, and the seeping of such into my world, I decided to end our friendship.  
We broke up.
Truth is, I changed. She didn’t.
Don’t get it twisted though, she didn’t need to change.
She is perfect just the way she is.  Just not a perfect fit into my life.
Through a painful period of self analysis, I realized boundaries were lacking in many of my relationships.  Internally, was bleeding….carving myself up every time I fed the need to please addiction raging under the surface.
Something…had…to…change.
I HAD to change.
Truth is, I needed some time to focus on me….on my marriage….on the boundary lines that had eroded over decades until I no longer recognized myself when I looked in the mirror…only the pencil outline remained of a  perfect mom, of a perfect wife….striving to be even more perfect with every breath.
Truth is, I only had room for one other human on my tattered, old boat. It was setting sail…Pushing away from the dock, I wasn’t even sure it would float with the additional weight. It was already taking on water, puddling and pruning my toes. In the days that followed, we fought for ground through ragging  storms, through silent nights….at times our arms flailing wildly, threatening to capsize the boat.
There were days that I thought we’d die on the water…someone would find our boat floating, empty and lifeless.  Would they even know we were there?  Would our bones remain with the memories? Would they say a prayer for a marriage lost?
Motor less, we had to learn to paddle in sync to make it to shore…. slowly at first… Then suddenly, the water calmed. The sun a little less harsh….we found a bit of comfort in the space…some peace…able to raise our heads and recognize beauty in the small gestures.
Soooo, when I received a notification that my former friend accepted my Facebook friend request…I was stunned. I hadn’t sent it…or at least I didn’t MEAN to send it….
Epic.F-A-I-L.
 
I fessed up through email …acknowledging my nosiness…

A spade is a spade….an embarrassing spade this was, indeed…

I didn’t want to un-friend her….left it up to her to decide how to move forward. In retrospect, maybe that wasn’t fair….
I honestly didn’t want to inflict more pain….and secretly I was hoping that one day, through the slow erosion of the defensive walls we built for self protection, we would be able to find friendship again.
What followed was a bit out of a high school text book…Social media brings out the inner teenager, doesn’t it? I was mistaken to believe we could co-exist without issue. There is still to much pain…to much heartache….
Truth is, she is entitled to feel the way she does…just as I am.
These days, I try to live in a drama free zone…yet I’m finding myself stuck smack dab in the middle of this bulls-eye….
Unfortunately, yet unapologetically, this boat still only has two seats.  Thankfully, K and I are closer to land now than ever before.

Still on the journey but not lost at sea….

Deeply

14 Mar

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I didn’t realize I was angry.

It snuck up on me the way the ocean consumes the sand on windless day. Slowly. Inch.by.Inch.  Before I knew it, there was no place to sit….No way I could deny it’s presence.

I haven’t heard your voice in four years.  I think I miss your wicked sense of humor most.  They way you could shake me out of myself with something hilariously sarcastic..and the way I would laugh for days about it when the memory resurfaced…

How I sobbed when you left.  Strange and deep, from the pit of my soul, I sobbed.  It was unfamiliar and scary.  Honestly, I didn’t recognize my own voice.  Grief had stepped in to guide my ship. His voice interrupted mine…until  I graciously stepped aside.  I didn’t know how to navigate this path.  I didn’t want to.

However those days, and the days that followed, were strangely covered in a cloak of peace. It hung on my shoulders like a winter shawl, beautiful but painful to the touch.

I understood it was time. You were tired.  Your body to weak to fight for air.  Your lungs had failed you.

I could point wagging fingers at DNA or life-style choices….I could….but I won’t

I remember the way you would get so excited to have treasures on hand for T.  No sooner would his feet cross your threshold than you would say, “sit. I have something for you” fumbling with the remote to play back his favorite show, or pointing at the candy dish.

When our oldest S, came over to do lawn work in the spring and summer, you were thankful for his service…but you cherished the conversations shared over a soda the most.  Relaxing together as he cooled down from the summer heat, you hung on his every word.  We laughed when your calls for lawn service became more frequent.  S would grin, knowing that what you really wanted, was some of his time.  The lawn work was just a means to the end.   If S, a man of few words, shared any hint of insight into his life, his dreams, or aspirations, you held on to that nugget like it was solid gold.  Pleased and thankful that he trusted you enough to share.

You loved my boys…and they loved you.

When I hold this baby girl, this beautiful precious great-great-grandchild of yours….when I see the corners of her eyes touch the corners of her smile…I think of you.  I know you would have adored her every movement.

And…. I’m mad that she will never know your voice.  I’m mad that you won’t experience the love that circles in the air when she is around.

I’m mad that you left to soon.

I pulled out the old wooden high chair from the attic last week….the one we thought about throwing away a few moves ago but couldn’t. Couldn’t because it is the one you refinished for S when he was a baby. Who would have thought It would last another generation….as sweet baby girl ate her green beans, I couldn’t help but wipe away a few tears knowing her great-great grandma poured so much love into the seat that held her.

They say the measure of your grief shows the greatness of your love…..

I guess that is true.

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Rest in Peace Gram.  You loved and were loved….Deeply….

Brain Mush

27 Feb

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Brain.MUSH….

As a recovering perfectionist, I hate when I can’t seem to form coherent sentences…or when the words that are on the tip of my tongue don’t form into the vocabulary I’m accustomed to. I struggle for syllables, tripping on consonants…misplacing vowels. Apologizing for my brain mush seems silly…but I do it anyway….

I’m not one to set resolutions at the new year. I do however, set goals for fitness, finance and personal growth. Over the last few years, this odd thing started to happen…Something on the spiritual level started to tug…snag on my day until I acknowledged it’s presence.

It crops up on its own..taking shape before my eyes… and I know…I know it is my job for the next twelve months to work on the assignment at hand.Like the dutiful student that I am, I dive in…Hoping to gain wisdom and find peace on the journey.

The first time this happened, it was the year of practicing patience… THAT was a freakin’ hard year…I had LOTS of homework and on the job training. I still wouldn’t define myself as a patient person…In fact, I don’t do anything slow…but I’ve come a long, long way. I can wait in line now without turning into a two year old with behavioral problems stomping my feet and rolling my eyes.

Last year I worked on loving people for who they are…where they are. Also…NOT AN EASY TASK, folks. Some people are NOT that loveable…Just saying… But what I gained out of that experience far out weighs the pain….

I even became friends with some folks that only move in first gear….as their fastest speed…Trust me when I tell you this used to drive me C.R.A.Z.Y….

Seriously….BAT SHIT CRAZY…who knew they could be so loveable?

So this year, I was a little shocked when the knocking at the door wore a lighter coat….a trench, let’s say. Putting his arm around my shoulders he said, “Let’s work on being in the moment”….

Hmmm….Don’t I already do that?

“Not very well” he replied….

So here I am…Drinking a glass of red wine, sitting on my back porch listening to the birds chirp. I had a very successful work week, watching an event that took months to plan, come together.

I’m exhausted…and will allow my body to rest without pushing for more.

My brain is mush…and no apologies are needed.

Visualizing a job well done…and basking in it’s light.

I’m in the moment…and it feels pretty damn good right about now….

I’m a work in progress…but I’m in it…to WIN it…

PS – during the writing of this blog…I posted to soon by mistake (^ see comment about brain mush)…AND, I lost half the post having to retype it…only for my computer to do a random shutdown and software update….

Guess I could still use some work on patience…because I nearly quit…and a few cuss words may have escaped into the atmosphere…

Downward DOG?

14 Feb

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So….I’ve heard the Yoga pant debate more times than I think necessary….

On the evening news…and in my social media feed.

Each and every time, I feel my blood pressure rising. The internal heat searching for a release….rising to my cheeks and spewing words in rapid fire… I want to scream at the insanity!

Women around the country are vowing to never wear yoga pants or leggings in public…because it may cause a man to lust…. Some idiot in Montana wants to outlaw them….

Seriously…

Yes…I’m SERIOUS….

Let’s stop selling heels and skirts that show our knees…oh, and make-up, and push-up bras….Perfume, maybe?

Feel pretty? Certainly someone finds THAT attractive…

Cue the mob to burn you at the stake! Potato sacks for EVERYONE!

Lord have mercy…a man is turned on by a women…stop the freakin’ presses….This is NOTHING new folks…and it has NOTHING to do with YOGA pants.

I’m from the opinion that straight men love women, because we are women…not particularly because of the way we dress, or the shoes we wear…but because of the way we move in those garments. The way our hips sway, the softness of our skin, the way our hands move through our hair. The way we smell…..Women are sensual. Frankly, I think they should be….It separates us from men….

Oh and men, if you think women don’t fantasize, lust after a man’s-man…Well, I laugh out loud at your arrogance… To think we are incapable of  having those same thoughts….

I’ve had more conversations than I can count of us “lady-folk” tantalized by your confidence in a suit, your jeans and simple white t-shirt, your swagger when you walk in a room…and own it…, by your smile, and the way you bite your lip when you are concentrating…Yes, women are not immune to lust….SURPRISE….

However, to think that any of those things listed above would cause you to behave out of character or cause you to cheat on your spouse….well, I beg to differ.

The world is round…and filled with busty women, large perky butts, legs that go for miles….men with muscles, perfect hair, tanned skin….and tight jeans….

If you have a problem with lust, with controlling yourself, well it is simply YOUR problem. Work on it. Talk to God…make an appointment with your therapist…whatever you need to do…but change YOU….

Don’t for a second think that your lack of control should spill over and  into my life…limiting my choices of attire.

Somehow, somewhere, we have lost the very definition of accountability….

Let’s make that a LAW… YOU are RESPONSIBLE for YOU.

Period. End of Story.

Rearview

1 Jan

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Looking back is nearly as important as looking ahead.  Acknowledging growth, the need and ability, makes it that much easier the next time around…and trust me, it always circles back around.

We are not meant to be stagnant.  If we are not growing, we are dying.

Here is the short list (there are tons more) of lessons learned in 2014 from a recovering perfectionist…(me)

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1) I’m only responsible for me.  My actions, my words, my thoughts…fully and completely.  This sounds like such an easy concept, right? Should be!  As a self labeled, hyper-responsible being, it’s been tremendously hard…

knock-your-head-against-the-wall… H.A.R.D.

But ohhhh the freedom when I aced this test!  I couldn’t have soared higher if I had wings!

Some could say it is an issue rooted in control…maybe so.  I know my intentions were not in that vein… but to make peace…in all situations, even when they weren’t mine to resolve.

….It’s possible  The need to please was rising to the top there too.

Anywhooo…I love that I’m free of those chains.  It isn’t to say that I don’t slip the cuffs on from time to time….but I recognize it sooner…and I know where I hide the key.

2) Let go of expectations.  Letting go of how you think someone should behave opens the space to give freely.  Why? Because you are not evaluating your giving based on their response.   Conflict swells when expectations are not clearly spoken, understood and agreed to.

If you are doing anything with the expectation (goal) of getting someone to respond in a particular way, take a moment to consider why you desire that response… to feel loved, happy or just to feel good about yourself?

Acknowledge what you need, why it’s needed, and if you can fill that void  with or without  the desired response from another…self-awareness unlocks the door to deep satisfaction.

3) There are lots of terrible things in the world. Having someone new to love is not one of them.  We welcomed baby girl into our lives almost six months ago. Their story isn’t picture perfect, but it works. My heart calls her name when we are apart. In her presence, my world stands still.  I’m a young grandma, AND I LOVE IT….every second, every minute.

4)  In the end,  ‘IT’ always works out…Worrying simply won’t change the outcome.  In fact, nine out of ten times, the thoughts rattling around between your ears is worse than the actual problem.

Pray. Do your best. Know when to walk away and when to stand your ground. Communicate.   Your track record for getting through tough times, as of today, is 100%.  I’d say that is pretty damn good…and a pretty good indicator of your future results.

In the mist of trying times, I’ve learned to ask myself, “What is the worst that can happen?”  I walk through the scenario until the answer is “life will go on” and i know it does….Always.

As I say farewell to 2014, I look forward to 2015 with excitement and eager anticipation.  Knowing it too, carries a suitcase of lessons yet to be unfolded. Lessons that will reshape, whittle away, and further define who I was created to be.

I can think of nothing better.

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