Authentic Self

I love waking up before the rest of the house. Except the cat, Sam is always the first to rise. It is quiet and still. A good time for coffee and reflection.

Yesterday I returned from my fitness spa trip to Utah. I would not say it was transformative, it did help re-ground me in what I want to find important in my life. Where to spend my time.

I love moving. That I can push my body to cardiovascular edges, pick up weights and watch my muscles flex and build in a mirror, that even after all this time I can still find things that challenge me both physically and mentally.

That I can reconnect with something like “guided imagery” and learn meditation practices that I lost 20 years ago. I told our meditation leader that I want to not be tense all the time. He asked if I ever was “not tense” and I said yes. I thought back to my 20’s before I had a responsible job, a child, a partner, a pet, a mortgage, etc, I could just go on…

I want to start writing again, mostly to help get shit out of my head. I am torn about doing this online versus paper. I know, I’ve heard, and do believe that writing physically with a pen is a different experience. I also can type faster than I can write (and my spelling is better, for some reason I consistently drop a letter from every word when I write with a pen, maybe that is important). So here I am back on my blog that I haven’t touched in at least a year (I’m not going to go check, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and I’ll leave it at that). I don’t know if I’ll keep writing here. If anything, this one post is me saying my intention is to start, practice and ingrain new ways to get out of my head and hopefully live more centered on a more regular basis (not 100%, that would just set me up for failure). A practice to reframe my thoughts when I’m feeling disconnected and floating away.

This morning I meditated, for 10 whole minutes. It’s a great start.

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September & October 2012 Monthly Quote

So, where did September go? And how can it be October 12th already?! The start of this school year has been busier than normal. Plus all the PTA stuff (we are loaded heavy this fall, for fundraising) and kidlet trying out for the play. Plus ramping up to my project launch, Norman having travel and his own client launches. It’s been busy to say the least!

September 2012

Every

Thing

Happens

for a Reason

— American Proverb

I suppose I didn’t write a September post because I was angry at the quote. We had to put our dear Katie Cat to sleep last month. It was somewhat unexpected. She had been sick for awhile, was doing better, and then just took a bad turn. None of us were ready for it, it rocked the family. I still expect to hear and see her when I open the door after a shower (one of her favorite things *ever* was to go drink the shower water, which I think is disgusting beyond belief, but I’m not a cat) It gets easier of course, the grief fades, her spirit is still strong in the house.

I was also floating in and out of being sick – achy, tiredness, slight fever, congestion and blah-de-blah. I’m still a little off, but definitely better than the last few weeks!

October 2012

Insist on

Yourself.

Never

Imitate.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not resonating with the October quote either. I think I insist on myself all the time. Realistically, I know I lapse at times.

I’m working on reconnecting to my health. Illness aside, I let myself go a bit this summer. Not drastically, most people around me did not recognize any shift in my appearance. I could feel it though, my clothes were getting just a hair too tight. I was also drinking and indulging a lot more than I usually do. Enough that I recognized the difference, yet I didn’t care. What snapped me awake? Every October I do my measurements with my trainer to see what kind of progress I make over the year. Last October I had a great showing, had gained muscle and lost body fat. Probably the most fit I have ever been in my life. The thought of facing a slide backwards was not pleasant. I figured, I have 6 weeks to turn it around and get back to the healthy living I’ve grown accustomed. (funny enough, Norman went through a similar realization himself, we both made changes at the same time) My measurements are in two weeks and we’ll see where I end up. I must also remind myself to feel grace and acceptance of wherever I land. So much more important than the numbers on a piece of paper.

The deepest roots of the eating disorder never go away. I would describe it as fading away, losing grip, until a moment of weakness arrives and those roots grow a bit stronger.

Next up – reflecting on my Singapore trip, one year later.

Size DOES matter, but it really shouldn’t

HSDC_Run_2010

That is a picture of me and my niece, V.  We were at the HSDC Fun Run two weeks ago.  Do you know what my first thought was when I saw this picture?  OMG I look so thin!  Seriously, first thought in my head.  I stared at that picture for a few minutes longer and it dawns on me. OMG I actually look like that – for reals!! 

As a refresher – I used to have an eating disorder.  I have many tools in my arsenal to combat the thoughts and desires to ever go back there again.  It happens.  I don’t know if it will ever be erased from my mind.  Regardless – I’m so far beyond that at this point in my life.  The body image stuff?  Yeah…not so much.

It’s been a journey.  There is so much I could share with you about my battle with my body.  The last few years have been interesting.  I’ve been working out with the same trainer for almost 3 years now.  LOVE her.  She has a gentle (militant) way of pushing me beyond my comfort zone to advance to the next step.  Shortly after I started working out with her, I told her I wanted Linda Hamilton Terminator arms. (side note – crickets, girlfriend is too young to get the reference)  How about Holly Hunter/Saving Grace? (almost there)  Once she visited the internets and knew what I was talking about she made it an obtainable goal.  I’ve always wanted nice, toned arms.  I’ve got ‘em now.  And I still want more.  How’s that for obsessive?

But the Jeans.  Ah the jeans…

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with denim in my life.  It has never fit quite right, too big in the waist, not big enough in the thighs – oh how I’ve hated shopping for jeans!  Two years ago Norman convinced me to walk into Nordstrom and have the friendly sales professional help me into a pair of premium denim.  That was a different journey all together.  That first pair sat in my closet for months waiting for me to wash and get them hemmed.  Months.  Finally done and really enjoying them, I decided to go get another pair.  The second were quite tighter than the first, I referred to them as my Skinny Sausage Jeans.  Cause if I was bloated there was no way they were getting on my body.  Sure, they always tell you the denim will stretch and form better to your body.  The Skinny Sausage Jeans took quite a while for that to happen.  Or perhaps – maybe – I had just lost some weight?

hmmmmm

Last fall I decided to get more jeans at Nordstrom because those first 2 pair were kinda loose.  Seems I had gone down a whole size from the first foray.  A size!  Seems that torturous hell-on-earth my trainer puts me through on a weekly basis has helped the tone of my muscles.  Then right after the holidays I was perusing the clearance sales to Martin & Osa (one of my favorite stores for T’s)  The clearance rack had jeans that after additional deductions would have been $19.  Wow!  $19 jeans?  I’ve never paid $19 for jeans.  Sure, yeah, I’ll try them on.  I took a deep breath and grabbed the size I know Nordstrom had fitted me with a few months before.  I pulled those on in the dressing room and you know what?  They fit like a dream.  I nearly started crying. 

All this body image stuff came flooding over me.  For years I have had a perception that I am not one of those girls that can shop off the racks for nice clothes.  My body was too fat, strange shape, too short, too tall, too expensive, looks cheap – I’ve done it all.  Then they are never the right fit, too loose, too tight, lays weird on my waist – I had every reason in the book.  There was a period in my life of long, flow-y dresses and skirts to hide my personal shame.  Or the men’s jeans.   Or dress slacks that were probably way too big for my body even though I felt good in them.  At those times in my life, I would not have been ready for a Stacy and Clinton intervention.

Anyway – I bought those jeans.  That day, I walked out of the store thinking, OMG all the time I have wasted obsessing about my body.  That a number on a pair of jeans and the fit on my body triggered some secret lock and key I wasn’t really aware of.  I wanted to write about it back then.  But I didn’t.  After all, it’s just so much easier to stuff it down and ignore. IGNORE! IGNORE! 

Isn’t perception the craziest thing? 

I’m not quite sure where I am going with this next.  Honestly started writing about my commit to Turn The Page and March Forward with positive intent.  OK – let’s be realistic here, I will commit to starting the process.  To begin with acknowledging my true image and what I love about my body.  Don’t try to boil the ocean Jen, at least not today.

One. Step. At. A. Time.

Thoughts on Glee

If you all aren’t watching Glee now – you should catch up soon because it is so fucking good!!

Anyhoo – today I’m watching, what I will call, The Body Image show (or Home as the writer’s termed it).  Mercedes is grappling with peer pressure and unrealistic expectations on image and acceptance.  Then you see Quinn, the bitch of all bitches early in the season, be the one reaching out to tell Mercedes one of the biggest lessons she’s had since she got pregnant – if she can adjust to do the right things to take care of her baby, why wouldn’t she do it for herself as well?

So what I wonder – who is getting these messages?  I honestly, truly hope that there are teens out there watching this and taking it in.  That maybe they will show up at school tomorrow and tell that bully to kiss off.  And I mean the girl bullies, the ones that cut you with their words not physical acts.  Perhaps watching the characters like Quinn transform and learn lessons in high school that some of us didn’t even figure out until after college?!  One of the things I love about this show are those stories, the examples of real-life lessons that most of us may not learn until later.  Can you imagine if an army of teens got it 15 years earlier than most?  Although it may be a detriment to the mental health community – the rewards far outweigh those risks.  How fucking powerful would the future turn out to be? 

I may not allow A to read the Twilight series – but I sure will sit her down to watch Glee when it’s time.  I don’t want to control my daughter.  I want to help her avoid those extra stupid mistakes I made along the way.  How much time, energy and money have I wasted on body image and all that’s wrapped up in those two little words.  It scares me, it really does.  Because a few weeks ago, she started asking me how much “fat” was in the food she was about to eat and how she doesn’t want to eat any “fat” and that’s not good for you and she likes that she’s thin.  She’s 7!!  I cannot tell her enough times it’s about smart choices and moderation and getting exercise – that a human body does need fat to survive and isn’t it so much better to eat olives or nuts or regular yogurt than some crap off the supermarket shelf that has multiples-more chemicals listed than actual food product?  I should have known this was coming early. I still want to cling onto the innocence of being 7 and in 1st grade and enjoying her life – not have to reeducate and battle on the “fat” or body image with her. 

Please just give me some more time with the innocence.  Please…

muscles – hurt

Last fall my Gadget Boy brought home a Wii.  Initially, I was not happy. I consider this a “major” purchase, or at least one that deserves a conversation between two, consenting adults.  Then, as with most of his gadget/electronic purchases, I used it and was hooked.

We bought it early enough in the season that there were still Wii Fits on the shelf.  Aw – we’ll get one for the holidays (she says).  I finally got one about 2 weeks ago.  Got right on there and tried some yoga.  Earned points, etc etc.  Then I didn’t touch it for two weeks.  This last weekend I decided it was time to move forward.  Did more yoga on Sunday. Yay!

Then my usual Monday gym – 40 mins cardio, 20 mins core.  And Tuesday, well – I’ll just get up 30 minutes earlier and do some more yoga.  I felt the burn yesterday. Today – again my usual gym rat routine.  And, my muscles are *tired*!!  I sent a mail to my trainer explaining that I may  need a different kind of work out tomorrow since I’ve worked out 4 days in a row and I usually don’t push that hard.

She laughed.  Made some comment about people underestimating the Wii Fit.  You kinda brush it off ’cause it’s a video game right?  Yet working to stay in form and keep my center of balance in that yellow bar, holy crap that is hard. 

Looking forward to my yoga prowess and keeping on track to get my Linda Hamilton terminator arms. uh-huh, you know it, you want guns like mine…