Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Big Weight

While stretching at the gym this evening, after a killer run and some weight lifting, a girl who couldn't have been more than 11 years old sat down next to me and started talking to her mom. "I've lost weight, but I know that I shouldn't."

I glanced over and snickered - this girl was the size of a twig, and also, too young to be talking about weight.

Her mom replied, "You are getting a little chunky."

STOP THE MUSIC!

Did the not-so-skinny-herself-mom next to me just tell her daughter that she's fat?!

At this point, I stopped listening to the conversation. 1. It is none of my business what a mom tells her daughter at the gym. 2. My brain wouldn't shut-up about the fact that a mom just told her CHILD that she's chunky. 3. I still had stretching to do and sometimes my breathing gets loud.

I grew up with an eating disorder. I didn't realize that I had an eating disorder until earlier this year, when I was talking to a friend about high school and her own eating disorder. I just figured my eating habits in high school were normal... I guess. I skipped breakfast and only ate an apple for lunch, drank water all day, and nibbled on dinner. This went on for the majority of my high school career. I looked fantastic. I really did. At least, I thought that I did. No meat on my bones and a body that most girls in high school couldn't achieve. Because they ate more than an apple for lunch. Somehow, I sustained myself on that tiny bit of food and now that I think about it, maybe that's why most people thought I was a bitch. How can you not be in a pissy mood when you have no food in your body? GAH! Wow. When you really stop to think about things, you realize that you were NOT the person you thought you were. And for some reason, that really makes me laugh.

If I remember correctly, I think that my unhealthy eating habits followed me into college (if you can call what I did "going to college"). I don't remember eating much during that time in my life either. All of that changed when I moved to California and started waiting tables. When one of the perks was free food... oh man did I take advantage of that shit. Clam chowder for breakfast? Why the fuck not?! Every day?!!?! YES PLEASE!!!! Lunches were just as awesome, and dinners typically consisted of something creamy with pasta. I ballooned up and didn't realize it until one day, as I was taking a shower, I looked down and couldn't see my toes. I had gained 20 pounds. I have a very tiny frame, so 20 pounds was A LOT.

I did the Atkins diet-thing and lost most of the weight within several months. It was not the healthiest way to lose weight, but it did work. Throughout that time, I realized that I absolutely adore food. I love to eat. I love the way food tastes. I love cooking. And I love eating. I've managed to stay pretty fit over the last few years and only gained 10 pounds after breaking my ankle last December. I'm working to get rid of that weight, but it is slow going. I certainly can't run like I used to, but it's happening, and I'm not going to push it. When my ankle says that it's done running, despite my brain's best efforts to convince my body that it needs to keep moving, I listen.

Admittedly, I have a huge complex about my weight. Hence the eating disorder, and the fact that I obsess about my weight while shoving a handful of chips and salsa into my mouth (my favorite snack). Without going into great detail about the people who have attributed to my complex, I will say that I entertain the pressures that they put on me to stay thin. This has been going on my entire life and it started just the same way that the little girl at the gym's weight-issue complex is going to start. Why in the world would she even feel the need to comment on her weight? It made me so incredibly sad for her and the path that she is heading down. At this point, the only person who can fix that is her mom, and her mom isn't doing a very good job at that. I just hope she realizes that size and weight isn't everything before she forms her own eating disorder.

Now that I've thoroughly bummed myself out. To add a little hope to this blog post...

Although I'm working toward losing some extra poundage, and I have my areas that I'm focusing on, I'm happy with my weight and my body. The fact that I've managed to stay fairly fit after almost a year of inactivity is incredible. And I did not stay away from food. In fact, I think I upped my serving portions, despite knowing that it wasn't the best idea for someone who wasn't moving much. We all have hangups about our bodies. I don't like this. I don't like that. My solution? Find a place in your house to hang a mirror that lights you from above and behind. I've found that place. It's in my bedroom. When I look at myself in that mirror, I'm the most gorgeous person I've ever seen. And I look like I'm sporting 6-pack abs. I just make sure that that is the last mirror I look in every morning, because if I leave it up to the bathroom mirror, I'm doomed.

My point in writing this blog post, is to share that everyone has issues with aspects of themselves. And the conversation between a mother and her daughter this evening, at the gym no less, really hit a chord. I've had people tell me that they hate me because I'm too skinny. And I've had people tell me that I'm getting a little thick around the middle and need to lose weight. I've also had people tell me that my boobs look awesome when I gain weight. At 34-years-old, I am here to say that that shit never goes away. People discuss your body because they're not happy with their own. Do your best to be in love with your own body. Once you can do that, you realize that you do look damn fine in that rockin' pair of jeans. And forget about the people who lead you to believe otherwise, why the hell should their opinion matter anyway?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Somersaults

I have been inspired to write tonight. My opportunities for writing have been hiding and tonight, I'm crawling in and chasing them down, so that I can have even just a few minutes to put thoughts on paper the internet. As I sit here trying to figure out just what to write, my cat sneaks onto a chair behind me and my dog nudges my elbow with his cold, wet nose. A second cat walks into the room and I understand why the first one was sneaking around - she didn't want to be seen, she only wants to sit in peace. I am like that cat. I don't want to be seen by anyone right now, I just want to sit in peace. Sit in peace and try to pull my thoughts together into something worth reading. Something worth writing about. Something that I can publicly share without dooming myself to be one of THOSE people who will delete whole blog posts because she probably should have considered the ramifications of what might happen should someone, who's not supposed to, read this blog. Oh. Wait.

This year is coming to a crashing end, only to open up again in a weeks' time and present new opportunities to succeed and fuck shit up. All at the same time, mind you. This has been my 2014. And 2015 is just around the corner.

That's the funny thing about these years. They always move forward. Or maybe that's the funny thing about time. It is constantly moving forward only to leave moments in the past. There it went again. The past. It's gone now. And so is my hope of writing something funny or profound.

Let's try this again...

I was talking to a friend today about school and sports and I was reminded of the time I tried out for the girl's softball team. I was in seventh, maybe eighth, grade. I wore a dress. It was the first day of school! What did you expect? Actually, my mom told me to wear a dress and look like a lady and my dad said, "you should try out for the softball team." So, that day, I did both. I wore a dress and tried out for the softball team. While I had never played softball in my life, I did play baseball with my brothers and my dad, and I even knew how to keep score for the games. I got out on the field with my glove, because for some reason I walked around with my glove even though I didn't play, and tried to catch some balls. I think that's called fielding? I don't know.

I missed most of the balls that came my way and I was really feeling the pressure to prove that the girl in the damn dress could play ball as well as the rest of the girls on the field, so I got ready for the catch of my life. I squatted in the field, hands and glove at the ready, and watched the ball come toward me. I kept my eyes on that ball, just like my dad taught me, and I jumped to reach it. I'm pretty sure I caught it, but at the same time I did a backwards somersault and landed in the grass, dress and legs askew, panting and looking around for the ball. I could have sworn that thing ended up in my glove. It didn't. I have no idea where it landed.

Needless to say, I did not make the softball team, nor did I ever try out again. I did manage to snag a spot on the junior varsity gymnastics team based on my awesome somersault skillz, but had to quit that when I "became a woman," because I was only allowed to wear certain feminine products, and you can't wear those with a leotard. Yeah, that's an entirely different story that I may, or may not, ever write about.

I grew up in a very sporty family. Both my brothers played baseball and soccer, and my sister and youngest brother both played basketball. I tried. I really did, but I just didn't have it in me. Instead, I turned to the arts and followed my dreams. I'm still chasing those dreams, and every day I feel as though I get a little closer. And who knows, maybe every day is a dream. But as I leave 2014 behind and head into 2015, and my 35th year of birth (oh seriously not liking that number), I realize that I am fortunate to have experienced all those past moments. To fall in a dress in the middle of a softball field at the tender age of 13, or 14. That's huge! That changes the course of someone's life! And it also taught me to only wear dresses on special occasions, like never.

Hmmm.... that exercise of forcing myself to sit down and write proved to be of some benefit. I may not have written what I'll never get the opportunity to write, but I wrote something and I feel a bit lighter for it. Although I'm a day behind, blessed Solstice and may the returning light bless you with peace, happiness, and good fortune. Namaste.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventures in Healing: ONE year anniversary

December 4th approaches with mixed emotion. It will be a year since I fell on ice and broke my ankle. A year since my life changed. A year since I became a different person. I love that my injury changed my life in such amazing ways, and at the same time, I hate that it changed my life. No matter how hard I try, I still walk with a limp. It goes unnoticed by anyone but me. I can see it when I watch myself walk in front of a camera and I can feel it every time my foot hits the ground. At the same time, I can use it to my advantage - it is just an interesting part of me now, an aspect of my life and my body. Not only has it changed me physically, it has also changed me mentally. All it takes is closing my eyes, or walking past the spot I fell, to be thrown back to that evening. To see my foot hanging off my leg. To feel the pain and watch my dog frantically run circles around me in the dark. My heart skips a beat every time I think about it, while at the same time I yearn for the surgery following my fall where I had the deepest sleep I've ever had in my entire life. To wake up and not know where the hell you are... that's bliss... and if I'm lucky, I never have to experience it again.

Life-changing moments in time are what life is made of. Any moment can be life-changing and any moment can be a mundane aspect of a truly unspectacular life. It all depends on how we look at it.

On Thursday, November 27, 2014, I ran my first 5K since breaking my ankle. I was told that I would not be able to run for an entire year. Well, guess what? I broke that by running one week before my anniversary. I ran a 5K and I didn't stop to walk for a single moment. That road, that run, was all mine. I kept telling myself, "Eyes on the Prize," in some weird 80's fashion. What prize? The prize of knowing I could do it.

The morning of that 5K I woke up ecstatic. I couldn't contain myself knowing that I would be running my first full 5K. Oh, I'd attempted running a 5K in the past, but at some point during that run, I had always stopped to walk for a bit. I kept telling myself, "There's no shame in walking." And I inherently knew that. I still know that. There is absolutely no shame in walking, but my body wouldn't let me stop. My body and my mind, kept me moving. It was a slow run, but it was running none-the-less and as I crossed that finish line every aspect of my being sang out. I wanted to cry, but was too overwhelmed to even do that. The finish line was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a year, and it was all mine. I crossed it, while strangers cheered me on and scared my dog. I crossed it before I was supposed to.

Life is like that 5K. Life is like this past year. I was given the opportunity to start over, to experience life with some of that new joy that (in my opinion) only children get to experience. The joy of taking your first step. The joy of finally removing those crutches from under your armpits. The joy of doing something by yourself. The joy of doing something for the first time. The joy of being independent.

This past year has been a whirlwind of amazing accomplishments and devastating failures. Prior to falling and breaking my ankle, I wanted a change. I wanted life to lead me. I wanted something to happen that would change my life forever. Be careful what you wish for. I got all of that and more. And even today, just a few days before my one-year anniversary, I am reminded minute by minute that our wishes do come true and life is ours for the taking. No regrets.