Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Every year I like to compile a list of people and things I am thankful for.

It's Thanksgiving 2010 and I have been up since 4am with a kid who is barfing all over my entire home. This is the first time he's ever vomited, not including baby spit up. About 5 minutes before his bath, he puked all over the hallway and then fell in it. For some reason, today, I find this comical rather than a tragedy. It's not that I don't feel sorry for him because I do. His little belly probably hurts so bad. But sometimes when bad things happen, all you can do is laugh to keep yourself from crying.

This year I give thanks for:

My husband John. My partner, my love, my friend. I am ever thankful today for his ability to sleep while I am cleaning up vomit because later today when I pass out from exhaustion, he can take over.

I am also grateful for his support both emotionally and monetarily. I am able to stay home with James because he works so hard. In this economy, that is a rare thing, so I also give thanks for his stable job.

My family. My mom and her crazy sisters. My cousins, my uncles, my grandma.

John's family. I love them like they are blood relatives and I am so happy that they accepted me into their close knit clan.

My son. He is a pistol but I know when he's 25 I'm going to look back and think about how little and sweet he was at this age.

I give thanks for my home, it is humble but I love it. My health and my ability to move, to run, to be strong. The fact that there is food in my belly every day when so many go without.

My cats who like to puke in random places (I detect a theme here) but they bring me joy.

My friends and for all the times we've shared.

There are so many more things I could name but these seem to be the most important to me today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope you are thankful too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Can Never Go Back

You were born large. 9 pounds, 6 ounces, 23 inches long. That is ok because you were a baby and babies are adorable when they have those fat pudgy rolls. People want to just 'eat them up' and drool all over the place goo goo ga ga-ing until their heads explode. It's even ok to be a pudgy little kid because again, it's just so adorable and you're 'such a big girl!' You are praised for not being a picky eater and cleaning your dinner plate. Remember, people are starving in other parts of the world, therefore it is your job to stuff yourself with pot roast and mashed potatoes. You live across the street from your doting Polish grandmother who keeps extra treats of Coca-Cola and candy at her house. You are encouraged to eat these while watching your favorite cartoons at 3pm every day. Your Polish grandmother is also concerned that getting too sweaty makes you sick so whenever you run around, you're forced to sit down and take a rest because you don't want to get sick, do you? Plus, you're probably making too much noise or about to knock something important on the floor so it's best you just quietly watch some more TV or read.

You are well loved though in the best way they know how. You are not lacking for anything and you are praised by everyone because you are such a smart girl. You certainly are not athletic. It's not that you don't want to try but by the time you do, you are self-conscious, picked last in gym and just, in general, shy about these sorts of things. You run like a girl, you bat like a girl, you're afraid to get hit in the head by a Nerf ball. Even the girls think you're too much of a girl.

You aren't fat really, just pudgy. When you do cartwheels in your yard, you are told you're not as limber as those tiny girls flipping around over and over again. When you ask for a skateboard and a BMX bike, you don't get either for Christmas because you are certain to fall and bust your head open.

You are still well loved and praised. You are encouraged to read beyond your level, to take piano lessons, to sing at church. You do take dance lessons for a while but you're not cut out to be a ballerina. You look like a tree stump in a leotard, a very tall tree stump. You are graceful though and you certainly have rhythm but you are not a waif so it is just not the same. Plus you have short boyish hair and that does not work well for budding ballerinas.

Then you turn that awkward age when you get boobs. And boy do those boobs grow fast. Those hips do too. And everything becomes painfully awkward. You are certain the boys hate you. You know the girls hate you more. You are forced to run in gym class around the track and you're lucky if you make it around 2 times without having to walk. You try to play baseball and flag football but you fail miserably. You are good at floor hockey and swimming and you wish those were what you did for gym class every day.

You are still not fat, just pudgy, but you are 12 or 14 and have the body of a grown woman. You are as smart as a whip but painfully shy. You have friends, good loving friends who accept you, but you're not very confident or adventurous.

You get to high school and your first year is miserable. So bad in fact you cry in your counselors office and she lets you take, what the kids liked to call, 'retard gym'. You don't care because you feel like you belong in 'retard gym'. You are not any better or any worse than the other kids because everyone in that class is just as awkward and unathletic as you.

You get by for the next 2 years, put off your second year of gym until senior year and then tell your counselor that you're taking AP English, which is far more important than any stinkin' gym class. She let's you do what you want because you're one of the smart kids.

Oh, you also decide to play golf for 2 years of high school. You aren't very good at it but again, no one cares because they are all a bunch of supportive nerds like yourself. You feel accepted and you get some exercise.

You also join the school play with a totally different group of nerds. You still feel accepted and although you're not gaining any athletic points, you don't care. You fall in love with your first real boyfriend and he doesn't complain about your body at all. You remain a good girl but that doesn't mean he doesn't see you mostly naked. This is the first time you feel ok showing somebody else what you look like under your baggy t shirt and jeans.

You are still loved and praised and accepted by your family. You still eat traditional meat and potato dinners. Your great uncle stocks your fridge with hostess bakery treats and tons of soda because he had coupons and this is his way to say he cares.

You go to college and you feel pretty good about yourself. You are smart, you are young, you are pretty. You aren't thin but you're not so bad either. You still aren't athletic or motivated to be. You are motivated to go to class, most of the time. You are motivated to go to parties, always. You meet boys, you go out on dates with them, you kiss them. They like your boobs, they don't complain about the extra pudge in your belly. Life is pretty good.

You actually don't gain the freshman 15 because you walk a lot and eat a mostly vegetarian diet. You look pretty hot in tight pants. A really cute boy at a party hits on you, he looks like he could be in a fraternity. You mentally say to yourself, 'score' and then you tell him that no, you can't go back to his dorm with him. You're not sure if he's wearing beer goggles but you don't care because you got hit on by a cute boy.

You meet an older guy, he is not a boy, and you really like him. He is very sweet and guess what? He is athletic. This relationship never goes anywhere but if anything he is a friend, he is old enough to buy beer, he is nice to your friends and he really thinks you're pretty.

Then you start dating the man that becomes your ex 6 years later. You still feel pretty good about yourself. He makes you not such a good girl anymore and that is ok because you're going to be together forever, right? He likes your body, compares it to an old painting where the women are fleshy and creamy. You're not sure you like that about yourself but you roll with it because it's the best you have.

He turns out to be a sinking ship and he's taking you down with him. You are depressed, you get fat. You are dirt poor so you eat crappy fast food often. You can eat, in one sitting, your own pizza. You can eat a Super Size meal. You have been known to polish off the largest roast beef sandwich Arby's has to offer. You aren't sure what a fruit or vegetable even is and you don't care to find out. You are never ever active. You enjoy your couch, your computer chair and your food. You hate him, you hate his parents, you hate yourself.

You are still loved, you are no longer praised. You are fat and miserable. You have made poor choices. It is your own fault but you're not willing to do a damn thing about it.

Years pass and you read a book. You become a vegetarian overnight. You start to think about getting healthy. You learn about fruits and vegetables. You are not perfect but you are not as bad as you once were.

You meet the guy, THE ONE. You love his face the second you see it. You stop eating because you are so happy you can't think about anything else. You lose 40 lbs. in 5 seconds. You are happy about this but don't realize how stupid you are because you are going to gain it all back.

You move in with the love of your life 3 months after you start dating him. This is the best decision you have ever made. He is loving, he is supportive, he doesn't care that you gain the 40 lbs. back, he doesn't know what a fruit or vegetable is and he is not athletic either.

You get married and you're a pudgy bride. You don't mind all that much because you really did find the love of your life and you're sure he loves you no matter what. It is true, he does love you no matter what.

You love each other so much you decide to have a baby. You gain 25 or 30 pounds. You live on the couch and have full license to eat what you want. You are pregnant and that is the way it's supposed to be, right? You don't want to become athletic now because you have to rest so the baby can grow. Your true love gains the weight right along with you. He even orders desserts at dinner, something he never did in the past.

You have the baby. You are overwhelmed. You have 2 minutes of sleep per week. You don't feel like cooking and you don't feel like moving. You are the fattest you have ever been in your life and you are miserable and depressed.

You love your husband, you love your son but you gross yourself out. You are still on that vegetarian 'diet' but you're not exactly eating healthy and you never move unless it is to change a diaper or grab another bottle. You feel like a fat disgusting cow and you are miserable. Your husband even asks, "Why do you always act like you are miserable?" This makes you more miserable and you don't even know what to do with yourself. You go through the motions of being a wife and mother but you just don't feel happy all that often.

You are still loved and praised but you don't know why you deserve any of it since you're mostly grumpy and pissed off.

Then one day you go to the doctor for a gyno exam and he tells you to see a family doctor because you have high blood pressure.

You go to the doctor and she immediately puts you on meds given your family history. She also says it may help to lose some weight.

You call your husband on the way home in tears and you say, "I don't want to be old and fat and die young." This sentence makes little sense but you're likening being old to being unable to move. You beg him to support you and be your partner in this. You are ready to change. You need to be alive and you need to set a healthy example for your child, who pretty soon, is going to be old enough to pick up bad habits.

So you start to move. You do it slowly at first. You use the Wii Fit and do the yoga and the step routines. It's not exactly a marathon but you're trying. Your husband tries too. He is wonderful and supportive. The weather is nice so you go on walks together with the baby in the stroller. You both start to notice small changes.

You get the courage to join a fitness class and Jazzercise becomes your religion. You still supplement it with Wii Fit and walks but this is what truly makes you move and breathe. Your husband keeps doing his thing and you both notice bigger changes.

Then you join Curves. You lose some more weight there but realize that it is a giant bore and you're glad to get the heck out of your contract after a year. You and your partner in life are doing wonderfully and although you don't feel athletic, you are thinner, happier and healthier. You feel alive, you are not miserable and you aren't grumpy all that often.

You muster up even more courage and you ask a friend to go to a kayaking and archery event at Kensington. You finish your day and you feel like a warrior because you were never this girl. You'd volunteer for an accelerated reading class but you never thought you'd do something like this.

You join a 'real' gym and you use bikes, ellipticals and the treadmill. You actually really enjoy the weight machines. You build muscle. Your body slims down even more and you are strong.

You decide you need a challenge and you know what a putz you were when it came to running. You were the anti-runner. You were the one who joked with your friend that it would be funny to throw a roast beef sandwich at a man who was running in the cold weather. You said this out of jealousy and you never, of course, would do something so cruel.

You read about Couch to 5k from a friend on Facebook and knew how well she was doing with the program. You waited to try it. You still kept it up at the gym and you were still doing great, but you still really needed a challenge. The gym closed for a week for routine maintenance and you could no longer deny that you really wanted to try this C25k thing. You were hesitant because you never liked to fail. But you started Week 1. You huffed and you puffed but you did it. Then Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 - so on and so forth. You 'graduated'.

You once again felt like a warrior because you challenged yourself physically and you did it. You ran for 30 minutes without stopping. You didn't die, you didn't pass out. You actually decided you'd keep going.

You ran 3 miles. You were full of pride, even if it is one of the seven deadly sins, you didn't care. You also didn't care that it took you 40 minutes. You are not lightning fast but you are fucking persistent.

That pudgy little girl who wasn't very athletic finally challenged herself and look what she did.

Not counting the baby weight, you are 50 pounds lighter than you were 3 years ago. You aren't as afraid to physically challenge yourself. You are happy and healthy. You have energy and a positive outlook. If you still had gym class, you might not even be picked last for a team. You wouldn't be picked first but that's ok too.

And your true love who still gives you butterflies when you think about him? He did it too. He is 60 lbs. lighter than he was 3 years ago. You notice he has more energy too. He no longer subsists on Mountain Dew and Doritos. You learned what fruits and vegetables are together. You learned the importance of setting a good example for your child, the importance of family dinners, the importance of family outdoor time.

You are not done with this journey. You will press on. It is no longer about weight loss but rather the challenge. You know that if you keep this up any remaining weight will melt away but you don't even care that much. You just want keep moving forward. You don't want to go back to the depressed frumpy mom look. You want to be the young energetic sexy mom. You wear a tight shirt because it looks good, not because your belly outgrew it. You want to run a real race for the first time sometime soon. You want to show everyone what you can accomplish when you put your mind, or in this case body, to it.

You know most importantly, you can never go back.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook: The end of writing?

I used to have a Livejournal, well, I still do, I just haven't posted to it in a long long time. I'm not sure exactly the last time but I'm guessing a year and a half, maybe two years? It got me thinking about how I used to write my entire life down, or type it on the screen, I suppose. Most of the time I wrote about my mundane day to day activities like cereal for breakfast followed by an unusually long nap for James. Boring was interspersed with more interesting entries like when I first met John or when I broke up with a long time friend because he was a two-faced big mouth. As you can tell, I've had a blog for a long while - nearly 10 years.

My Livejournal started out as something fun, something I wasn't willing to use as an outlet for every emotion I was feeling. I didn't get into it with the intent to write about life changing experiences, stupid things I did from ages 21 to 25, break up with ex, months of writing about why I hated said ex, new relationship with John, childbirth, you get the idea. But I found that writing everything about myself and any experience I happened to have was fun, fulfilling, cathartic, and best of all, permanent. Forever and ever, until the end of time, or the Internet as we know it, I can log on to Livejournal and remember what I was doing on any particular day starting from the age of 21. I'm sure there are things I'd like to forget. Rephrase that, I KNOW there are things I'd like to forget but every experience, whether good or bad, molds you into the person you are today, right?

At any rate, Livejournal posts started dropping off as Myspace (barf!) became more popular and soon I was being strong armed into getting a Facebook account because, oh my god, you can find the girl you sat next to in 2nd grade.

You see, I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. I admit it, it's mostly love but there is a seedling of hate that lies just under the thick velvety blanket of Facebook love.

Here is why I love Facebook: Spying. I am a snoop to the very core. I love to know what people are doing without actually talking to them. It's more fun if it's people who are not one of your friends and you possibly, just maybe, loathed them in school. You see that they gained 50 lbs and 3 husbands. It's like sweet sweet victory.

It's good to reconnect with friends too. I will admit there are plenty of people I thought about in the past 10-12 years and wondered what ever happened to them. In the past, without attending one of those dreaded high school reunions, you may have never known. But through the miracle of technology, you can now find out what so and so's kids are learning in school and what she's about to cook for dinner.

I love the fun little few sentence updates. It's quick, it's easy, it doesn't upset James too greatly when I stop in the bedroom every so often to see if there are any new updates and to make one myself. Ok, so it's addicting. Facebook is like cocaine except way cheaper. (Side note: I have never done cocaine)

But here is where the hate comes from:

What the hell happened to me writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about myself and my experiences? And maybe I want to know more about the casserole you're cooking for dinner not just simply, "makin' a casserole". I crave elaboration, a romantic backdrop, the details of your child and their on-going potty training.

Long story short: I'm giving it another go. Blogspot, blogger, whatever you are, you are my saving grace.