Exposing Myself

Take in 2006 when I first started teaching.
Take in 2006 when I first started teaching. A photo I would never have allowed on-line back then.

For much of my adult like I have been a big girl.  The plus size section has been my home, when it comes to shopping.

Once, I proudly pronounced that I was a size 14.  Now, I am a size eighteen, if the jeans are kind, and my boasting has ended.

As a teen, I was never petite. In fact, I don’t remember a time when my thighs didn’t touch and booty didn’t jiggle. My cleavage has become more impressive over the years, but mostly the body I have today is one that I am used to.

Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I loathe it.

And no one ever told me I was fat. There was a girl in high school who informed me that I had child bearing hips.  Twenty years later, my hips are bigger and I am still childless.

Somewhere along life’s journey, I learned that my size was a negative in finding love and happiness. Maybe it was my birth father always trying to get me to go the gym. Maybe it was that my first couple of serious boyfriends all leaving me for someone far more slender than I have ever been, or will ever be this side of starvation, and I never could understand how they could have ever loved me if they now loved on someone who was my opposite, size wise.

A Summer Dress and a brand new smile.
A Summer Dress and a brand new smile.

I am not my size. I tell myself this. I tell myself that the right person to start a family with will come along and that I am doing the right thing by waiting.  That there are other things in the world besides having a family.  Right now, I work three jobs to help pay off my debt so I can go back to school.  When I am not working, I’m writing or trying to write which sometimes involves gluing myself to a chair.

I tell you these things; expose myself to you, so that you will understand that weight and body issues are not just about self-esteem. They are mixed up in all the stresses of modern life.  The stresses of being single at an age when everyone is paired up, or grouped up, with significant others and lovers and I go to bed at night alone. (I love you, Luke, but you aren’t human and as much comfort as you give me, I need and crave human touch.)

Cuddle time with my main man.
Cuddle time with my main man.

I have also lived with depression most of my life along with arthritis in my knees and a heart that beats to its own beat.  (Once, when learning to drum someone told me just to beat out my heart beat.  My heart beats so fast at times, I can’t breathe. He never tried to give me another lesson.)

I tell you these things, expose these things, so that you will understand why posting a picture of myself in a form fitting dress on my Facebook page was probably one of the bravest things I have ever done.

Professional and fun.
Professional and fun in the dress that started it all.

I know how cruel the internet can be; I am a high school teacher. I have seen students fight over things they saw on-line. Hell, I have gotten angry over things I have seen on-line and laughed at things I never would chuckle at in real life.

At the same time my horizons have been expanded by reading more diverse materials including fashion blogs for plus sized ladies.

Tess Munster and Georgina Horne are two of the divine goddesses responsible for me coming out of my shell and reaching out into the world.  They helped me see myself as beautiful and worthy of love. They have helped me open the doors to more self-love days and close the door on many self-loathing days.

My students asked me if I had a new man in my life.  I told them no. I was happy to tell them that things in personal life hadn’t changed.  They told me again that I was just different this year. Maybe I am. Maybe I am finally getting to a point of self-love where my inner self accepts the shell it was born into as a gift. It makes me shine. It makes me bold.  It makes me a better me.

So I bare myself to the world, one Facebook post at a time. I know that one day soon some of the comments may turn negative, but love, I believe, always wins.

 

Playing with hair and make-up what every thirty something should do.
Playing with hair and make-up what every thirty something should do.

 

To Weight or not to Weight

That is the question; at least when it comes to weight loss. Do you weight or measure yourself? Or both?

I like the first option and have been doing so nearly every week for the past two years.  This past week, I hit the scale and discovered that I have lost a total of thirty pounds. There is a chart recording the journey on my frig.

Thirty pounds and only one dress size.

I have told myself again and again that what the scale says doesn’t matter.  But, when it goes down I am ecstatic.  Still there are days when the mirror returns an image I would rather not see or the numbers go up instead of down.  One that I despite the kind things come from friends and family.  Is it society or years of negative self talk?

Or maybe it is being told that people have a problem with my body or that they should have a problem with it. I know that is weird, but dating sites include turn offs like excessively heavy.  Exactly what does that mean. At nearly 5’10”, most folks never realize that I am overweight. They see I am not skinny, but wouldn’t say that I am overweight well at least not to my face.So am I excessively heavy being overweight? I have also been told that my cleavage is disgusting and that I should be ashamed of myself for exposing it.

I am not a size eight, I am an eighteen, yet when I go into shops catering to curvy gals I often find tents on hangers instead of clothes or people looking down on me for not being big enough.  I am serious on the last one.  On more than one occasion, I have gotten looks that I give to skinny folks when they talk about being fat when I have talked to others about my weight concerns. Since that day I have been more cognizant of the looks which I give to others. Size discrimination goes both ways.

It isn’t the size that I am working on shrinking. I am not really trying to shrink anything. The main goal of walking twice daily and watching what I eat is to be healthier.  When I was twelve years old I was injured in an ATV accident. Both my knees suffered hairline fractures.  As puberty progressed other things developed and jogging was not an option for me.  It hurt both my legs and my chest from physical activity.  (Sports bras are your friends, ladies. Always try them on.) I am also severely gluten-intolerant which means that if I encounter gluten bad things happen like my abdomen swelling to the point I couldn’t where pants. Good thing, I have great legs.

The scale is a double edged sword for those seeking to be healthier.  It can mark milestones or cause enough frustration that some people quit.  Thirty pounds seems like a lot of people tell me they can see the difference, but when you are still in your old jeans it is hard to feel accomplished. That’s when I slide into chairs in the school district’s auditorium and didn’t feel like I was in a vice grip.  Seats at the movie theater have also been easier to move in and out of.  The final test for me was when I boarded a plan yesterday and was able to sit comfortable in their seats.

You have to determine how you are going handle what the scale says and remember that it is only a number. My scale is at school and doesn’t come home with me in the summers.   I use it and my chart as a way to remind myself that I have made tangible steps towards my goal.

This summer after I get back from this most delightful break(I’m in Denver), I will be back at finding ways to incorporate healthier habits into my life. When I get home I will be ignoring my scale until the fall and just concentrating on staying on my better me track. Do I have an ideal weight in mind? No, not really, I want to be more comfortable in my own skin, run a 5k and all and all just be healthier.

Downward Facing Dog Day

6 A.M. ~ Sunday Morning and I am falling off my yoga mat in my living room.  Literally.  Thankful that it is just me, the puppies and my friend, Sonia.  It was Sonia’s brilliant idea to wake up and early and work out.  She also took mercy on me and ended our experiment shortly the warm-up.

I love yoga and have always dreamed of being able to attend classes on a regular basis where I could glide with pride to the back of the class.

The downward facing dog pose doesn’t look hard, but my muscles seem to reject it as soon as maneuver myself up.

Kermit the Froy
Kermit the Frog showing me how it is done.

The day went south as I raced off to work only to have the check engine light come on with a wicked engine rattle.  After work plans were canceled thanks to the rain or should I say  mini-monsoon, which closed rides at park for nearly two hours. Dropping my car off at the shop, I came home to find my new roommate sitting in a tub on the front porch with the door wide open talking to guy with pants down to his ankles. I felt like suddenly I was the parent of a teenager when the young man skidded off the porch.  It was a bit weird.  Especially, when you are used to either living alone or with a quiet sedate roommate who keeps to himself.

The day was just like the pose, a tumble of events with laughter intermixed.  Today, I am going to downward facing dog again and everyday until I get it the form right.  I am also going to work on keeping the philosophy that my days will always be right so long as I continue to mix them with laughter, gratitude and humility.

Life Does Not Stop

It does not slow because we are having a bad day or just can’t deal.  Forward, always forward. That is the way we have to go.

We can not look back to the good old days.  They really weren’t that good for everyone other than those at the very top.

We need to stop lying to ourselves. We must stop believing that we are weaker than we truly are just because people say that they couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to handle our lives.

Life goes on and on.  Even in pain and grief; time to regroup is not giving up. It is time to find a new way to move.

Forward always forward that is the way to go, even if we move a little slower than others or are unsure.

Life moves on with or without us.  We can either go with it or be dragged behind it.

Missing Something….

Yep, no Friday book review.  I fell short of my goal.

Normally, I would be kicking myself  and re-examining the last week so I could do better the next go round.  With this failure however, I realize I set myself up with a task that was unrealistic.

Yesterday, when I would have been finalizing the review, I was in a doctor’s office trying to fight with the insurance company.  Before that I was reconnecting with one of my best friends sleeping due to neck pain and celebrating my sister’s birthday. None of those were things that I regret or would change.

Then there is the matter of my own novel which has sadly been neglected.

All of this, including my own professional work, has lead me to realize that I, myself, set up a fail.  I love reviewing books, writing and teaching are my passions.  It is in those two areas where I will be sinking my energy.

As a result, the schedule will be modified, so that you, my dear readers,  get what you like and I can work on my goals.  Book reviews will be published bi-monthly at a minimum; more as life allows.