Monday, August 19, 2013


Like many people it seems, I'm going through a rough patch. Nothing horrible or monumental, just a time when the negative voices in my head are so much louder than all the positive in the world, and I'll tell you those damn negative voices are hard to silence- stubborn and persistent little buggers!

To fight the negative buggers, I have been working hard to do positive things myself, not rely on the outside positive, so the voices in my head start to become more positive. I mentioned earlier that 2013 has turned into an epic year for me, and I want to keep that going in a positive manner. 

A few years ago, a friend suggested I watch Sex and the City. I had never seen it when it ran originally, so that winter I used it as my dreadmill running show. I liked it alright, but frankly didn't quite get all the hype. However one episode has stuck with me since I saw it.. The Catch. It was after watching that episode that I bought Michelle Branch's Breathe single. I can't really tell you much more about that episode other than the song, that Carrie goes to trapeze school and her ending quote has always struck me.

When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Then, you grow up and learn to be cautious. You could break a bone or a heart. You look before you leap and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not always someone there to catch you. And in life, there's no safety net. When did it stop being fun and start being scary?- Carrie Bradshaw

At some point in the last couple of months I heard someone else mention trapeze, and it got me thinking, trapeze would be amazing to try, terrifying but amazing. I have a fear of heights, probably more correctly, I have a fear of falling. When I climbed Mount Washington a few years ago, I was terrified of falling, which I did. On my face. The bruise was amazing. The van ride down from the top was in fact the greatest and most welcomed car ride of my life.

I did some research and found a trapeze school about 2 hours away and knowing that stepping off that platform would be terrifying for me, I asked this guy to go with me (by the way he's the foot, not the hammer or the fish)

I've written about him before.. he'll hate that I'm bringing it up again. Here's the thing with him, I'm pretty sure we've been around a few times together, we have this connection, we just sort of fit. He is one of a handful of people that I can sit in silence and be comfortable. He is, geographically the closest of those people. I knew that the car ride down would be pretty quite, my mo is to go inside myself when I am nervous or anxious, and I knew that he would be encouraging while we were there. Of course he would make fun of me on the way home, after he congratulated me, but it would be in good fun.

But the timing didn't work out, and he couldn't go, well he could go, but he couldn't go this weekend, and it became almost irrationally important to me that I go NOW and do this. In the end, that really was probably the best, if only in that it forced me to look fear in the face by myself and do it, just step off that platform.

There it is. That's what I saw when I got there. My feet were a little sweaty. 

I was quiet and pensive during the ground school, and really the shaky nerves did not kick in until I climbed the stairs to the top. What you don't see in any of the pictures, is that you have your 10 toes over the edge, your left hand on a metal vertical bar attached to the platform, your right on the trapeze bar, and a human holding your belt. Another human is on the ground holding your safety ropes. My first jump, I am guessing it took me 5 minutes for each step, feet over the edge, 1 hand on the bar, and then to take that 2nd hand and put it on the bar, because at that point you are hanging over the the edge of the platform, held only by the human behind you. But what I realized during those 5 minutes, was not once did I think, turn, walk away. I just kept telling myself you can do this you can do this. And I did.

I love this next picture, look at the instructor behind me, see how happy she is that I was less scared the 2nd time? And each time it got progressively better.

And here is one of the things I realized, you see below the instructors switched, and now this guy is the human holding me. I was way less scared. Not because he was male, but because he was bigger, he could certainly hold my weight. It was at that moment that realized, even though I see that new number on the scale, I still see myself 88 lbs heavier, and it isn't a fear of falling, it is a fear of my big body, of what it can't do, that people can't hold me. For safety reasons the school has a weight limit, and I am well below that weight limit, on the scale, but not in my mind.

 Here you can see how you are leaning over the platform held simply by the strength of 1 human.

This is one of my last flights, I did 7 or 8, I lost count. I could have done more. Each one get mentally easier, my muscles were sore, but I am used to that, what completely surprised me was how raw my hands got- I hadn't considered that, and it became really painful to hold the bar because of the blisters that were forming- well earned rewards for my hard work.

I learned a lot about myself today. I can look fear in the face and say I just don't care.  (thank you P!nk). I learned that I need to become more aware of my new body, of how completely powerful and strong it is, and that I can do pretty much anything with it. I need to trust myself more, to realize what I am capable of and make sure my heart and head both know that.

This quote actually hung at the top of the platform before you jumped off:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.- Eleanor Roosevelt

The negative voices have quieted. My soul is full. My muscles ache from a day of hard work. It was an epic day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Let me preface this by saying, there will be adult words, and it has taken me a couple of weeks to write this because the first version would have been nothing but adult words, so give me some credit for that.

A few weeks ago an article ran on several of the major 'news' sites on the interwebs about a study done that shaming obese people doesn't work to help them lose weight. First, really? And I mean really on so very many levels.
* Has shaming ever worked to help people?
* Who, who would pay for such a study?
* Who would suggest doing such a study?
* and, really? No shit!

I can't actually bring myself to share the link to the article, but if you search the interwebs- you will find it, very quickly.

I have some very judgement responses to my questions above, and maybe I'm wrong, but I'd bet chances of that are slim.

Who wold suggest doing such a study? Someone who not once in their life has struggled with their weight, has no idea what it feels like to be fat or overweight, and is probably very attractive in general.

Who would pay for such a study? Someone very stupid who wants to waste their money? Or someone who I am willing to bet fits the same categories as the person who suggested the study. Or someone who has way too much money on their hands and could use it to do something way more important like I don't need feed the hungry!

For those of you who don't know me in the past 7 years I have lost 88 pounds. And up until about a year ago, I would say I have been fat my entire life. I no longer fit that category, so I am, what you might say, an expert in the whole being fat/obese arena.

I also know that I have lost a lot of opportunities because of my weight, at work, romantically, friendships, or just activities I was afraid to take part in.

Allow me a few side track of what that article/study made me think about:

My office, like many today, offers an annual screening of height weight, blood pressure, sugar levels and a couple other basic health stats, it is free, so I take advantage of it every year. For the past couple of years it has been the same company, so they have the previous year's records. This year, the woman looked at my report, the amount of weight I'd continued to lose, the drop in my bad cholesterol and the rise in my good cholesterol and said. 'So what are we going to do about you losing some weight?' I can only imagine what my face looked like. But I said, 'I'm sorry did you see how much I've already lost?' She said 'yes- but you need to lose more, you need some help with that.' I said, 'I'm done here thank you for your time', and proceeded to get up and leave.

I watch the Biggest Loser. Both Sunshine and I enjoy it. But I often sit back and wonder what I would do if Jillian yelled at me like she is so apt to do? Would I walk off the show? They don't always show all the previous contests, but there are certainly times when they do that the contestants have gained back a portion (sometimes a significant portion) of their weight. There is no golden rule here, there is however, a certain percentage of overweight people who have very low self -esteem, you think yelling at them helps with that?

About 8 months ago I added another exercise element to my journey, building in weight training and different cardio, for me it has helped improve the other aspects of my activity strengthening my core and my body in general, I am usually less sore after long runs than I used to be. I signed up with a trainer where I do online workouts, and can email him etc. I watched an exchange on facebook between my trainer and another discussing how a client said "I'll try" and the trainer didn't like this. He wanted the client to say I can. I don't know the other trainer, but I went to high school with my trainer, so I know he has always been fit, and a natural athlete, so I get it.. 'I can' is a natural part of his vocabulary. But what I also get is sometimes the hardest thing ever for someone who is overweight is to say "I'll try" instead of I can't. That, that is a huge leap forward. Start with 'I'll try', 'I can' will follow.

I have written several times, and shared with Sunshine, that one of my greatest fears for her is that she would be a fat child. Just saying those words makes my heart flinch a little. Making fun of fat people is, as far as I can tell, still quite acceptable. And just last week, a woman at work getting ready to go on vacation walked by my desk and said- "The fat lady has sung". I was in that moment transported back to my Junior year in High School- folks that was a couple of decades ago- when on a bus, several boys tried to get me to sing 'LA'. I found out later, their reason- so they could say the fat lady had sung. Decades later folks, and I can still feel that aloneness and ache I felt when I found out what my 'friends' were up to.

So back to the study by who the heck knows. I can't help but feel real sorry for the people who took part in the study. Will some one pay to get them therapy? What awful things were they told as part of their shaming? Do they believe the words that were used against them? Can I take the researchers and shame them about something in their life?

I have watched several of the videos that have been and currently are circulating aimed at the LGBT community, specifically LBGT teens and young adults telling them that things get better and it will be okay. They are so very powerful and profound and I hope that people hear those words. What I want to tell you is that it never gets easier being overweight. Adults will still make fun of you, even if they don't make fun of your sexual preference or your skin color or that you have the wrong Jordache purse. Take for example the recent articles on Melissa McCarthy's weight.. pretty dang successful and amazingly funny women, but people still feel it is acceptable to write about her weight.

Everyone has to make their own weight loss journey, for their own reasons,with their own motivation. Doesn't mean there aren't cheerleaders along the journey- those are so very important. But the people who shame you or belittle you, you don't need them- throw them by the way side. And, if you aren't ready to take your weight loss journey now, it is okay, as I have learned with age- timing is everything.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Recently I've seen several really well written advice blogs floating around the interwebs. You know things like, what you need to tell your daughter, or son, or what I wished I'd learned earlier in life, what I would tell my 20 something self. So, as you can imagine it got me thinking, cause well, I can over-think my way out of a paper back.

Sunshine, have I given you all the advice I should of? And I thought about what advice my parents had given me. I am sure there was a lot, but the one that sticks with is "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Grandma used to tell me that all the time.

Now, let me tell you, that was the worst piece of advice I could ever have been given. Grandma meant well, and now I get the point, but as a kid, I took it too literally. If I am nice to people, they will be nice to me. I'm here Sunshine, to tell you that is not true. There are mean people in the world, people with agendas and ulterior motives, people who do not have a clue how to be nice or how to be a friend. And no matter how wonderfully you treat them, they will rarely ever treat you that way back. So that one little line, with all the good intentions it holds, set me up for some major disappointments in life.

I hope that in your life you have seen how I carry myself and behave and that is the best advice, I can give you. There are things I have learned in the last 7 years of changing my life that I certainly wished I'd learned decades ago, but perhaps that wasn't meant to happen.

As I look at you moving into 7th grade and remember how remarkably terribly I was treated in middle school and most especially high school, I feel like a squirrel preparing for Winter, what other 'things' do I need to show Sunshine, tell her, how can I prepare her for what were, for me the worst years of my life filled with such unhappiness and torment that I would do anything to wrap you in a cocoon and keep you safe in my house until you are say 22. I know realistically that can't happen.

So, if I haven't shown you these things by my actions, I'm going to tell you them here.

1. As a general rule, girls/women can be super crazy mean to each other. Don't be the mean girl. And don't let the mean girls get to you... see the problem with Grandma's advice was no matter how nice you are to the mean girls, they will always be mean, and you will fight a never ending battle of why aren't they nice to me when I'm nice to them? Don't stoop to their level either. Walk away.

1a. Because girls were so mean, I found myself making friends with boys. This is, both a blessing and a curse. To this day some of my dearest and closest friends are boys. Thing is, it can sometimes be hard to separate the friendship and potential romantic feelings/physical attraction. I'm still advocating for surrounding yourself with good people male or female... just know that friendships with either gender are work- just make sure both of you are working at the friendship- if not, walk away, it's okay. There are no prizes for the number of friends you have.

2. Use your body. (I've seen this on a lot of the aforementioned blogs floating around). It took me almost 35 years to realize this one. Moving and using your body gives you confidence, helps you process your stuff and is just down right good for you.

3. Learn to be a human be-ing. I am still not good at this, but learn to just be. To sit and watch the grass grow or the clouds roll by. I am an example of an amazing human do-ing. Just sitting and be-ing in the moment is just as important if not more important than do-ing.

4.Your heart will be broken. You will make mistakes. You will lose. Own them, feel them. Move on. It's okay to hold them in your heart and be sad and mad. But don't dwell. Despite outward appearances, very few people have the lives and perfect-ness that they want you to believe. We all make mistakes, owning them and admitting to them is so much greater and takes more courage then ignoring they happened. Broken hearts happen. I think, in reality they don't get easier, but you learn to pick yourself up and try again- whether your heart was broken because of a boy or a friend or not making a team or not getting a part in a play. Similarly, you will lose. No one can win all the time- boy would that be amazing. But it isn't reality.

5. Trust yourself. Understand how amazing you are. How smart you are. Trust your gut and your instincts. And don't let anyone make you doubt yourself.

I tell you all this and know that you'll forget some of it, and you'll be the mean girl one day, not on purpose, but you'll be mean to someone and hurt them, and not have meant to. Or you'll let the mean girls get to you. Or you'll forget how awesome you are and will doubt yourself. Here's the thing kiddo.. we all do those things. Most of us have a pretty good idea of how we want to live our lives and who we truly are in our hearts, the world can be a very noisy place and it can be hard to remember. So that's when you look back here, or you remember how I tried to act and live around you, how I treated people and how I owned my mistakes (most of the time).. that's the advice I give you.