Why Some of Me is Never Coming Back

Why Some of Me is Never Coming Back

I love having this little space to write in.  Even if no one ever read a word of it, I would still write.  It’s my place to ponder, rant, purge, verbally regurgitate, and pontificate.  It gives me a window into my own history, a walk down memory lane, a recall button for emotions and events.

So why have I been missing?  It’s not because I haven’t had anything in my head.  My head is its usual cauldron of mental pot luck, chock full of everything from heart squeezing poignant moments, to exquisite frames of amusement, to guilt inducing rage-fueled fantasies of throat punches.  You know those people who are emotionally flat?  Yeah, I’m the opposite of that.

But I couldn’t write.  Not coherently, anyway.  And while I’m usually ok with just rambling down whatever path my keyboard takes, this was a different kind of jumbled.  I’ve really only been able to focus on one thing:  me.

I had to burn some vacation days between Christmas and New Years, and since my husband was in Canada (THAT’S a whole ‘nother blog topic), I got bored.  I was cruising YouTube, and I watched a video documentary called FatHead.  I’m not sure how I learned about it, but knowing that it was done by a comedian (Tom Naughton), and that it was a response to Morgan Spurlock’s shamelessly inaccurate Supersize Me gave me two reasons to sit back and click PLAY.  So I did.  I wasn’t disappointed:  it was funny, and it made Spurlock look like a fool.  But there was more to it.  It made sense. I watched it again.  And a 3rd time, because I figured that I’m kind of dense at times and really wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

You can click the link below if you want to watch it.

FatHead The Documentary

Then I cried.  For something like 3 days, give or take.  Because, you see, weight is an issue for me.  I could go with the common “I struggle with my weight” cliché, but that is entirely inaccurate.  I surrender to my addiction to food. The referee already counted to 10.  TKO, weight wins.

I eat to manage stress, and to celebrate, and to soothe.  I justify that as acceptable because, you know, abusing food isn’t a big deal.  I don’t drown my troubles in alcohol, I don’t use drugs, I don’t shop til I drop.  I eat.  Nothing comforts me more than a chocolate bar….or queso and chips…..or cheesecake…..or onion rings…..or hot bread out of the oven, slathered in butter.  I love to share my addiction, too.  For those I love, there are always big feasts full of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, French silk pie,  or Mexican extravaganzas. “I love you… I made you a lasagna.”  I’ve actually spoken those words to my middle child.

Just to clarify:  if you allow food to be your security blanket and your demonstration of affection, you get fat.  A little at a time.  My clothing sizes eek up ever so slowly.  Then I “diet” by eating salads with low fat dressing and low fat yogurt and boneless, skinless, flavorless chicken breasts with a baked potato with fat free sour cream.  And I lose 2 lbs. in a week, but I’m starving.  Then something triggers me, and I find myself eating an entire bag of Doritos or a hamburger and fries and I panic.  My loved ones tell me that it’s ok, because they don’t want to see me upset.  My husband brings me a candy bar because I’ve done really well and it’s ok to take a break for a minute.  One Heath bar isn’t going to ruin my life.

The 2 lbs. not only comes back, but it made a 1/2 lb. baby while it was gone and brings it back, too… and my next pair of jeans is one size larger.  Probably only because they’re “cut differently”, or because I want them a “little looser” in case they shrink when I wash them..  Whatever makes me feel better.  I stop buying clothes I like, and start buying clothes that hide.  I see photos from a recent birthday party and can’t believe that’s me in that picture.  Eating cake.  I go back to that salad and low fat dressing, and the cycle continues.

So, anyway, after practically memorizing FatHead, I started doing some additional research. I read, and read, and read some more.  I verified.  Then I pulled up the recently taken Christmas pictures, and looked at myself.  Really looked.  Cried some more.  Dusted my bruised little self esteem off and said “ENOUGH”.  So, I’ve been on a bit of a mission to concentrate on myself and my dysfunctional food relationship. (I actually just sang that in my head, to the tune of “Me and My Shadow”, and it doesn’t work at all.)

It’s  so intense, that I can’t really concentrate on anything else besides the necessities:  family and work.  So, that’s why I’ve been missing.

“How much weight have you lost?”  I get this question regularly.  Here is my answer.

This much fat

I’ve lost this much fat.

15 kg catI’ve lost the equivalent of the world’s largest domestic cat.

35 lbs grapefruit

I’ve lost this crate of grapefruit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve lost this pile of leaves.

35 lb wheaton terrier

I’ve lost an average Wheaton Terrier.

15 kg fish

I’ve lost this big fish.

15 kg dog foodI’ve lost this great big bag of dog food.

35 lbs allison

I’ve lost an entire 4 year old granddaughter.  (That’s Allison…my real 4 year old granddaughter.)

And that’s not all.

I’ve lost the stigma of identifying myself as “fat”.  I am not fat; I *have* fat, and I’m losing it.  I’ve lost my confusion over how food works in my body.  I’ve lost my shame in my shape.  I’ve lost my urge to camouflage my size with oversize blouses and accessories.  I’ve lost my fear of failing at this epic battle of Woman vs. Food.

I’ve lost the woman on the left, and I hope I never see her again.  I’m still creating the woman on the right.

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If A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

If A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

…then this post will save me a rant.

Parents, I feel for you.  I really do.  On the one hand, you want to provide your child with every advantage. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like when you do that, you’re feeding quite an unhealthy beast.

More than any other generation, today’s youth feels as though they have a right to things that used to be defined as wants, or even privileges.  It’s all about gratification (the more immediate, the better!) and comfort.

Buck up, parents.  Build character, not a video gaming collection.  Teach them to be picky about their standards, not their food.  Reward hard work rather than be held hostage by temper tantrums.  Strive for excellence, not ease.

How about some reality?

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putgroceriesaway

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Best. Elves. Ever.

Best. Elves. Ever.

 

 

 

 

Warning:  this post is sickeningly sweet.  It’s about an early Christmas surprise that made me cry.  If this description makes you roll your eyes or let out a big sigh, you might want to scroll on past.

The older I get, the less I want gifts.  Especially at Christmas.  I want to spend time with my friends and family.  I want to watch the wondrous anticipation on my grandchildren’s faces when we go to see the lights.  I want to laugh.  I want to cook, and eat, and bake, and eat some more.  I want to chortle through “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and cry through “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  I want to see parades – the local ones with floats made from farm trailers and hay bales.  I want to make wreaths, decorate trees, light candles, and spend every waking minute with Christmas music playing.

Yeah, I’m one of those.

This year, my Christmas spirit has been a little muted.  Steve’s Dad took a fall in mid-November, and the injury was much worse than initially thought.  Just before Thanksgiving, Steve headed to Canada to help out while his Dad recovered.  I had put my Christmas spirit on ice a bit, wanting to wait until Steve was here to do it all with me.  We both kind of knew that Christmas was a long shot, but decided we’d jump off that bridge when we came to it.

Last week, we jumped.  No doubt about it, we’ll be spending the holiday 1,000 miles apart, for the first time in 17 years.

On the bright side, it’s been too many years since his Mom & Dad have had Christmas with both of their children, and that makes me really happy for all of them.  This will be Steve’s first Christmas with his niece and nephew, which he’s really excited about.  On the down side, it’s really throwing us all off.   The grands miss their Papa something fierce, and I miss him more than that.  He doesn’t realize it  (hell, *I* didn’t realize it), but he’s kind of the frosting that keeps our gingerbread house together, even if I’m the one that makes sure all the gumdrops get put on.

This is my world without Steve

This is my world without Steve

Bottom line, I’ve been wallowing and whining more than I’ve been decking the halls.  I’ve made some half-hearted attempts at leading the  HoHoHo charge.  I changed the regular porch light bulbs to colored bulbs.  I put the tree up (but didn’t decorate it), put the Santa head on the door (which isn’t nearly as gnarly as it reads), and threw up some wreaths.  I even made my own pine roping for the front porch.  I was trying, by God!

Regarding the creation of 50 feet of pine roping:  if you’re already in the throes of Christmas joy, you will find the scent of the pine intoxicating, and hum Christmas carols while you patiently attach small sprigs of holly among the pine.  You’ll sigh with a warm heart when you see the completed project.  If you’re NOT yet basking in the glow of the season, making your own pine roping will cause your arthritis to flare, you’ll fall off the ladder while gathering your cuttings, and it will take you 3 days to get the sap off of everything.  Care to guess which experience I had?

Pine Rope Creation 101:  Wear Gloves

Pine Rope Creation 101: Wear Gloves

I digress.  The bottom line is that rather than swimming in a pool of Christmas bliss, I’ve been flailing around in a bucket of Yuletide pity.  I even traded the Sirius Holly station (channel 17, if you’re still looking for it) to CNN.  You know, nothing like listening to endlessly depressing news to put you in a good mood.  December blasphemy.

Last week I was off on my final business trip for 2014.  I was rather grateful for the distraction.  3 long days of meetings and spreadsheets and budgets, a few good meals, and no boxes of ornaments staring at me at the end of the day.  I’ll take it.

My daughter Krista agreed to stay at the house with the dogs, as Moose is really too old to be boarded any longer.  A further testament to my funk, I stocked up on frozen pizza and cereal for her and Ethan before I left.  The real me would have made her a pan of lasagna (her favorite), and made sure the E-man had Nutella and biscuits.  Welcome to Slacker Central, and I hope the milk isn’t sour.

I came home on Thursday afternoon, buoyed by on time flights and decent weather.  One more work day before my holiday vacation started.  I was, once again, trying to rally my holiday mood.  I picked up Lexi on my way home from the airport since she was exempt from finals (smarty pants!) and needed something to do for the next couple of days.  She’d be a great incentive to get the tree done, and maybe even put out a candle or two.  I flipped back to Sirius channel 17 and focused on happy things.

Since Krista had my house key, she left the back door unlocked for me.  Lexi offered to run around and open the front door while I unloaded luggage, and dogs racing out of the house to greet me (even the hobble-race by Moose) was a welcome sight.  It was nothing, though, compared to walking in the house.

It had been transformed.

Spotlessly cleaned.  Christmas tea towels on display.  Ornaments and garland hanging from the tree.  Table runners.  Winter pine candles.  Most stunning was the removal of a built in, room length table in the dining room that I had wanted to destruct for months, but didn’t have the energy to do it.  It’s gone, and you’d never even know it had been there.

Lexi was beaming.

“Did you know about this?”

Nods.

“Who did it?”

She pointed to a gingerbread train on the kitchen island, with a note.  “Mommy and Aunt Krista and Uncle Alex.  Surprise!”

Best. Elves. Ever.

Best. Elves. Ever.

I wiped my eyes and started dialing the phone.  One after the other.

“Merry Christmas, Mom.”  “I hope you like it.”  “We wanted to help.”  Each one downplayed their role and filled me in on the efforts of the other two.  Of course they did:  these are my kids.  My selfless, giving, children.  If I had known what fabulous adults those little snot buckets were going to mature into, I probably would have grounded them less as teenagers.

I can’t adequately articulate what they gave me this year.  Not just a boost, an attitude adjustment, a helping hand.  All of those things, certainly, but much more.  They reminded me that we’re a family, and families pick each other up.  That when our chain gets weak, they won’t let it break; they link arms and fix it.  They gave me their time and energy, even though they have their own houses to clean and decorate, and their own families to tend to.

They gave me a great big “I love you” Christmas.

And I’m crying again.

Yesterday, Lexi and I went on a whirlwind thrift store adventure.  We bought enough stuffed  bears and bear accessories to create an outdoor Bear Family Display.  We looked up some Pinterest pins on gifts she wanted to make and gathered supplies.  As we arrived home, my kids and the other 6 grandchildren were pulling in, preparing for our Holiday Baking extravaganza.  We laughed and disciplined kids for jumping on furniture and talked about how much we miss Steve and snuck bites of cookie dough and ate sandwiches.

The ManHeisHolShop Bear Family

The ManHeisHolShop Bear Family

We celebrated Christmas.

Just like my friend the Grinch said

Maybe....Christmas means a little bit more

Maybe….Christmas means a little bit more

Enjoy your day, my friends.  I’m going to head into the kitchen and help Lexi with her Pinterest project.  Then some shopping.  Oh, and a lasagna to make for someone who will really love it.

Never doubt how meaningful an act of kindness can be for someone.  You can give someone their best Christmas ever without spending a dime.

Merry Christmas.

merry christmas