Friday, December 23, 2011

A Foot in Two Worlds...


This morning, as I sit in the airport at 4am, (having not slept) even though I am ready to fly back to Seattle, I have so much I want to write about I feel compelled to get it all down in my blog before it slips through my fingers as I hustle to make connections and flights...

Having half my life on one coast and the other half in the midwest hasn't been easy. I often feel like I have a foot in two very different worlds. It really hit home for me last night. My goddaughter and I were driving to Meijers to pick up some groceries for my BFF so I could make her Christmas side dishes. She ended up hosting Christmas Eve dinner at her house and unlike previous years, I won't be there to help her on the actual day of the event. I have my own Christmas Eve dinner to make clear across the country.

Even as exhausted as my BFF is, she is so gracious she is hosting some of her family for Christmas Eve. This year, however, as she sat in her comfy chair, in her comfy nightgown with her knitted hat covering her very hairless head, she knew that as much as she wanted to, she was too tired to cook or make the dinner happen. Not to fear, I was happy to come up with a plan! I had her make a list, we checked it twice and off my goddaughter and I went to get groceries. I made side dishes for her, got her a ham that is easy to warm up and she can do her best to stay relaxed for her family. I know she felt relief because she told me so. Sometimes, I think because she is so strong and so positive, the people around her don't realize she's actually physically at the limit of what she can do just to be a mom and a wife all the while trying really hard to keep it together because she loves her family and her friends. I know sometimes she's scared and I know she doesn't say anything to most of the people around her because that isn't who she is. But this trip I was reminded again how very glad I am that I have one of my feet in her world. I love her so very much and thank god every moment that she is part of my life.

On the way to the grocery store, I had one of those moments (this trip seemed filled with them) that caught me off guard in its simplicity and how deeply it reached in, grabbed my heart and made me remember what love is and how beautiful love can be. My 11 year old goddaughter M and I were sitting in the car together. We were talking about why I don't care for Justin Beiber and we were laughing over which song I was willing to listen to on his Christmas CD. There were only two songs I was willing to listen to and they weren't the songs she liked. In the midst of our teasing and laughing my boyfriend texted me. It was a short,  sweet little text that said, "Have fun shopping and I'll see you in just over 24 hours!" I glanced down at my phone, read the text, and had one of those warm moments you have early in relationships when you feel all giddy. M looked at me and said, "Let me guess... your boyfriend?" She smiled and had that edgy teasing tone only 11 year olds can get away with. I grinned, a bit embarrassed and said, "Yes, he texted that it's only 24 hours before we get to see each other again." She looked and me and said, "Humph! Tell him to wait! You are MINE for the next 24 hours and no one gets to take you away until then!" And she looked at me with a smile on her face.

And even though she was smiling and we were still laughing with each other, for a moment her smile faltered. In that moment I saw how scary the world can be to an 11 year old... Not that it is easier for a 44 year old, but I recalled in a flash what life feels like at 11. I saw how hard illness can be on a family. You'd think I'd remember this from my own experience growing up, but it's easy to tuck those memories back away from the light when you are an 'adult'. I have better coping skills now and even though the world may seem overwhelming sometimes, I know that I'll be okay; I will put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. For her? There are likely many moments the world is big and overwhelming and that 'certainty' isn't so certain.

I wasn't sure what I was going to say, but I looked at her and opened my mouth and said, "M, you don't need to worry about sharing me.  You own a part of my heart that belongs to no one else. It is all yours. Always. There is plenty of my heart to go around. There's enough for you, for him, for your family, for mine... but you have your very own corner and no one can ever take that away. If you ever feel far away, you can touch your own heart and find mine right next to it."

She looked at me, smiled, and the moment passed. But it reminded me of how hard it is to have so much of my love in two places. One foot in Ohio and one foot in Seattle. A part of me wanted to stay, to take care of her and her family. To somehow make them all feel safe. If only I could! Alas, I do not have the power to make that happen. What I do know is that my heart is big enough for both of those places and all of those people. And the more I open my heart to grace, the more I learn about patience and love, the better person I am to the people I love and the healthier I become. Although I haven't been so healthy on this trip, I know even after a stumble that I will get back on that 'healthy' horse. Being healthy is too important now. Not just for my own future, but because I want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible for those I love.

As I sit in the airport crying because I'm leaving, I also know that I am looking forward to getting home. In the future there will certainly be moments when I feel scared and overwhelmed. I am not so different than that 11 year old. But I also know, like her, I am surrounded by people that have shared parts of their hearts with me. I know whatever the future holds, for me, for my BFF, for my family, the people in my life that I love know that I love them and I know that they love me. Whatever happens in the future I'm no more alone than M is.

They are calling my flight - time to put away this blog and head back to Seattle. It's a 10 hour flight I have booked this trip. Ugh.

Before I go, I want to take a moment to wish you all a blessed holiday season. I hope you have much joy however you celebrate - even if you don't celebrate at all. May the spirit of love and light that seems to shine brightest this time of year, shine in your homes and your hearts.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

'Scheherazade Revisited' or '1001 tales about my life'...

I've probably tried to lose weight a thousand times – Like Scheherazade there are easily 1000 tales of my determination to conquer my weight issues. That is not hyperbole. I've tried, and honestly? I set down my pen. I gave up on that story in my life. Instead, I wrote about learning to be content with my body and my life. Even when I started this blog, it wasn't about 'losing weight' it was about getting healthy. I was afraid of failing again, of dusting off that old manuscript and writing yet another chapter on how "This time I am REALLY going to do it!"(no… really, I am) and then having to face not only a private failure but a public one. I just didn't have it in me to even try.  

It was after this summer that things changed for me. I don't remember making a conscious decision to try again to write that tale. I don't remember some big ‘ah-ha!’ event this time where I went back to that well-worn story with no resolute conclusion and got out my quill and ink. There was no fanfare, no big announcement about 'I'm losing weight!"  I just noticed I had a different relationship with food. This summer I had a sense of renewal in my life - a new perspective that also seemed to apply to my relationship with food.

What I didn't realize, was that while I stumbled to try again to write my tale of life, the Universe was already writing the tale with much more flare and delight than even I could conceive.

I expected to write the tale about once again trying to lose weight, alone. I thought it would be a tale of sharing how, on my own, I finally conquered my lifelong goal of losing weight.

I did not expect to find someone to share this experience with.

Funny thing how the Universe works, because for the last 30 years I have tried to do it "on my own". I thought I could "conquer" my weight issues by myself. Even as I deeply desired someone to love me for who I was and someone who wanted to make those changes with me, I felt like my weight issues were something I could ‘control on my own'. I didn't need anyone's help.

Thinking back on it, the most successful attempt before this at losing weight was when I lived with my sister. We were a team and worked hard to lose weight together. The connectedness and the teamwork between her and I made all the difference.

I only stopped when I freaked out in the dressing room.

Soon after that moment, I moved out from my sister’s apartment. I kept up with taking better care of myself for a while, but then slid back into my unhealthy relationship with food. Patterns and habits are so hard to break.

Then this summer. And that moment in the parking lot when I grokked* what it meant in my life to surrender – that moment when I stopped trying to tell the Universe what to do and how to do it, when I stopped trying to control everything and everyone in my life. That moment when I realized I was done trying so hard to force the world to my will. The moment I let go and realized control was an illusion and fighting for it was exhausting.

As my relationship to myself shifted so did the relationship I had to food. I realized that if I couldn’t control the things around me, I could control how I reacted to the things around me. One of which, was how I reacted to food. Once I understood that no one could ‘make’ me feel safe, I knew that I could take care of myself. It felt empowering. It felt satisfying. And I stopped running to food to comfort me and found better ways of comforting myself. I also realized I could better love someone because I didn’t need anyone.

I stopped trying to write my story and realized it was time to allow the Universe to work some magic and write the novel of my life for a while.  

Not long after I stopped expecting anything, when I realized I didn’t ‘need’ anything is when I found something. Or... someone. 

Unexpected, but not unwelcome. 

I'm fortunate to have met someone supportive. Someone with the same goals. Someone who's emotionally healthy and who desires to be physically healthy as well. I'm not going to write a lot here about the relationship. It is what it is and this blog isn't about another person, it's about me. But having someone to share the journey has been a wonderful bonus in my efforts to take better care of my health. While I know I can do it on my own, it is so rewarding to know I don’t have to.

I look at the scale and realize there are 30 pounds less of me since I started paying attention around the end of August. It is partly Weight Watchers, although honestly? I've done WW no less than six times. I think it has to do with a different outlook on my part, and having a partner who wants for himself the same things I want for myself. Sharing meals and the experience - the ability to talk about struggles with success and failures has been a great way to build a strong foundation on many levels.

Last weekend, I went through my closet and found things I had long ago put in bags for Value Village because they didn't fit. As I tried them on, I realized not only did some of them fit, but some of them were too big for me! I started dancing around the room, liking what I was seeing and feeling.

Turns out? Underneath all my weight, I'm hourglass shaped. Go me! *laughter* Granted, at the moment, it is a rather large hourglass but when I tried on the silver silk dress I couldn't even get past my chest two months ago and saw that even though it is tight, it fits – I could see the shape my body is moving towards. And it felt good.

Really, really good.

I have a long way to go, but to paraphrase the Tao, ‘the journey of a thousand stories starts with the first word’.

I am invested in being as healthy as I know how to be. I've done all the mental thinking about it I can do. There comes a time to act. There comes a time to ‘do’. Now? I am acting. I am doing. I count myself fortunate not to have to do it alone. My newfound strength to make better choices isn't dependent on someone else, it is enhanced.

I'm not gonna lie – sharing this experience is way better than trying to do it on my own. So hey, thanks Universe for knowing what I needed, even before I did!

By this time next year, I suspect I'll be pretty close to my goal. I know it won't be easy, and I have a LOT more weight to let go of - but when I tried on those clothes that were too small for me just two months ago? I knew I was on the right path.

Perhaps I finally understand that I'm not just letting go of trying to control the world, but letting go of the physical barrier that kept me apart from the world – and from living an emotionally, spiritually, physically healthy life.



* grok·ked, grok·king, groks Slang. To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

State of Grace, or, Once Upon a Pair of Pants...


About ten years ago now, I lost a lot of weight. Enough that I could fit down about three sizes of clothes. To celebrate my newly unwearable wardrobe, my sister, one of my best friends Lori and I went shopping. I was excited and tried on some pants I normally would never even consider wearing - leather pants. I walked out of the dressing room and my sister and friend teared up. They told me how beautiful I looked. How sexy. They told me they had never seen me look so hot.

I went back into the dressing room, took off the pants and started to cry. I kind of shattered into tiny pieces. I wasn't ready. I was terrified. My sister came back and asked if I was okay. I lied and said I was. Within a month I gained back all the weight I lost and then some.

I haven't really tried to lose weight since then. I've played around with the idea, but haven't really been willing to put myself out there and make it happen. My weight was comfortable. I felt safe. I felt... fine. But starting this blog last year was a step in a new direction, and this summer? Was in many ways the destination.

This summer, parts of me shifted. You can read about my summer here, but it was a wonderful, complex, difficult, insightful experience. I learned more about myself this summer than perhaps years of therapy could have ever taught me. (Not to knock therapy, I had some very meaningful insight in that process and highly recommend it.) This summer I learned about grace.

Grace sort of snuck up on me. Having lived my life thus far thinking I could control everything in my life, grace showed up and laughed at me. If I learned *anything* this summer,  I learned that I can't control everything. Heck, I can't control 'anything'. I realized I can't fix my friend's cancer, I can't make this experience 'okay' for her, her daughter or the rest of her family. One night, exhausted, unable to make myself drive that RV for one more day, full of grief and barely able to find one ounce of patience or compassion for myself or my friends, I had a breakdown in the hotel parking lot outside of Disneyland. I couldn't stand up and I couldn't stop crying. I sat on the slowly cooling asphalt and couldn't get my act together. Just like all those years ago in the dressing room, I felt all that anxiety and panic and fear overwhelm me.

But this time? When I put myself back together, I think I might have put the pieces back better. Instead of wrapping myself back into my weight, driven by my fear, I let go. Instead of grasping at the shore after the paralyzing wave of emotion washed over me, I let go. I moved away from the the idea that grasping onto the detritus along the shore was safer than moving through the current of my life. I let go of believing  that the shore was safer than 'swimming with god'. I let go of holding on to all the crap and allowed myself to be carried into the water away from shore. I felt liberated and I felt something inside me move out of the shadows and step into the light. I found the strong core of who I am step forward and act as a rudder in my life.

From that emotional low in the parking lot, I moved into what I can only call a 'state of grace'.  I wish I could explain it better. I wish I had the words to tell someone else what this feel like. Where I am in my life. But I feel... different. (I kinda want to break into the Westside Story classic, 'I Feel Pretty') I feel this sort of peace in my life. I realize I can't 'control' anything, but I can move with the flow of the water. I've been told that the only thing that moves with the flow of the water is a dead fish, but I disagree. I think that moving with the flow of the water is the best way not to drown. Learning to swim with the current is a heck of a lot less exhausting and much more fulfilling.

I started weight watchers again. I'm glad I did. The even nicer part is doing the program with someone. It's nice to cook for two and share the experience. There are three of us doing it together. God knows I have done WW probably 5 or 6 times, but this time? It feels like it is only an accessory to an already changed perspective on how and when and why I eat. I don't feel that desperation I felt before and I feel like I have a different relationship with food, with myself and with others. We are just doing the online part, not going to meetings, but so far I haven't missed them. I'm combining WW with the 12 step philosophy of taking things one moment at a time. Mostly, I'm just trying to remember to breathe.

This new space doesn't mean I didn't overeat this weekend. Doesn't mean I'm perfect by any means. But I do feel excited this time and letting go of ten pounds in the first week felt AWESOME. I don't expect those kind of results to continue, but I feel like this time if I follow the program, I'll see the results quickly.

This time, I'm going to come out of the dressing room happy and confident in who I am, no matter what shape or size.



Sunday, October 02, 2011

Reflections on Writing: Musings at the Edmonds Write on the Sound Author Conference.


October 1, 2011
(I wrote this yesterday while attending a writing conference. I think it is a good 'getting back into the groove of blogging', post)

I lasted 30 minutes in my first Writing Class today. After such gems as "The Internet is 'interactive'..."  and "You deserve the things you need to succeed..." I knew I might try to take the woman down... another big piece of insight? "Daily achievement comes from daily attention." Really? Bah. I walked out. I came outside to sit and look out at the water. Much better way to spend the morning. I wonder sometimes why in the world I don't do this more often. Just wake up, grab my computer, drive somewhere and just be. No agenda, no *need* to do anything or go anywhere. Just be outside near the water or the October leaves or whatever and just... be. Note to self... stop wasting the chances to make moments.

I love Edmonds. I would live here again if I could. I forgot how much I resonate with this part of the area. I may have lived in the rattiest shack with barely any indoor plumbing and no heat, but it was by far the best place I have ever lived. And I miss it. I miss smelling the water in the morning. Hearing the ocean roar in and out. Fishing out of my living room window - or at least being able to. Walking up and down the beach at any hour when the tide was low. Hearing the sea otters play outside my living room window. I miss all of it. I think I miss how I felt in the morning most of all. That feeling of waking up and knowing I was in exactly the right place in exactly the right moment. I feel that way when I wake up now, but there was something about waking up to the play of the water reflecting onto the roof of my bedroom that made it all seem almost surreal. I suppose I had to move on from the boathouse, but of all places I could have found to do some healing, it was certainly the most powerful.

There was one thing the woman said in the class I just walked out of that stuck with me - "Don't let anyone diminish your enthusiasm." I have a history of doing the opposite. In love, in life... it can be easy to set aside what makes my heart sing. I don't want to do that. What makes me passionate is my delight in living. As I sit here on this chilly Autumn afternoon, I sort of realize I haven't been able to really share that side of myself before with a partner. My friends delight in it and actually seek it out, but for the most part, my partners have not. Oh they've wanted *some* of me, but all of me? No. In fact, what I find interesting, is that I feel like in many of the relationships I've been in, it seems like my partner enjoyed making small cuts about that part of me. Like paper cuts to my heart that hurt like hell and bled for days. Tiny little comments. Tiny little digs to remind me that life *isn't* all that great and I'm juvenile to think that it is. After all, magic is nothing more than tricks of light and special boxes designed to deceive. Thinking I hear the voice of the Sound is romantic nonsense. I can remember apologizing for laughing too loud... or singing too loud... Or feeling happy. I sit here with my nose freezing, feeling the cold breeze off the Sound, staring out at the cloudy mountains and I realize in the last two years or so I have effectively eliminated those people from my life. And I feel good about that. I don't feel this connected to my world every day, but when I do? I want to be embraced for it, not belittled. It's this side of me that allows me to have an open heart. It's this side of me that nursed me through 'bitter' and 'angry'. It's the Tao of me. The part of me that is connected to the flow of everything. And it the part of me that I think has the most value. It's the part of me that loves. And while I might not be in this space all the time (which is clearly a good thing), when I am feeling like everything is right in the world, I want to be able to share it. :). 

Frankly, I can't even *blame* the people in my past. How angry can I be? We teach people how to treat us, and after all, *I* stayed. No one forced me to get chipped away at, and frankly most of my friends told me to get out. But, I wasn't strong enough to protect that fragile part of myself. I didn't stand up and say, "You know what? Don't talk to me like that." I just ate it. ALL of it. All the anxiety and fear that something was wrong with *me*. That somehow loving life was a negative thing. And too juvenile. But now? I'm not willing to do that anymore. Maybe that is a big part of why I am enjoying where I am in my life. Time for new patterns and new ways of being. One of which is going back to Weight Watchers. I've danced a few times with the program, and frankly? I kind of feel like I am in my groove about things without it, but it is always good to have accountability. So, I signed up and am looking forward to seeing the program from a new perspective.

I feel so connected today, so fully present. When I close my eyes... I hear the leaves making their crinkly autumn crunching. When I open my eyes, I see the bees making their last furious attempt at gathering pollen. The lavender behind me sways in the breeze. If I had to design a perfect day, I couldn't color it or scent it or craft it any more beautifully. More than anything, I want to bottle how I feel right now. I want to hold it and not let go. I want to taste each of these moments and remember what it is to be alive. Life isn't like that though, and what makes these moments beautiful is the letting go part. The not holding on. The trusting that there will be more moments... and each one will hand me its own secret. Maybe in my life, I really am learning not to hold on so tightly to that which I love...

I want to curl up in a cafe by the beach with my little mac laptop and write. I want you to sit next to me and just be there. I promise you don't have to say anything. Bring your favorite book, or a book you have to read for school, or pens to color your world. Just come share this moment with me. I think, today... I could sit and write and say nothing at all for hours, I hope you don't mind I don't feel like talking.

Thank god for my summer. Thank god for shattering into tiny little pieces. Because I am enjoying how I have put myself back together. I'm enjoying who I am. And I'm enjoying sharing it with you.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Beginnings, Endings, Beginnings...


So here it is - 100 out of 100. Goal? Met. Do I feel healthier? Yes, I suppose I do. Am I fifty pounds thinner? Alas... not so much. I am not sure being 'thinner' was ever my goal but I do feel like I have come through a difficult year stronger and more sure of myself. So I count the first 100 blogs a 'win'. People have told me they have enjoyed reading it and that means a lot to me, but really, the thing that makes me most happy is how much I have enjoyed writing it. I am glad that people read and respond to what I write, but the willingness to write and process what it means to me to be healthy has been incredible. It took me about one year to write 100 blogs... I started Aug. 16 2010. I'm both anxious and excited about the upcoming year and what's ahead in my life, in this blog and in the new one I am starting (more about that in a bit)...

I've decided to make a top five list of my favorite blog posts from the 100. Perhaps in the comments you can list some of your favorite? Then? Let's talk about the future :).

5. The blog where I realize I like myself: even though I feel like my life has gotten more complicated lately, I realize this understanding of who I am is still my center.

4. My second blog post about feeling like the little lunch boxes I was using wasn't enough food: it was really eye opening to me.

3. My thoughts on 'home': although people didn't leave comments on my blog, they left a lot of comments on my facebook page. This idea of what 'home' means to me and to others really touched a lot of people. I never know what topics I write about will mean something to others... I was really surprised about this one, but pleasantly so.

2. My letter to my goddaughter:
I loved this entry, I loved writing it and remember what it was like when I learned Santa wasn't real...

1.  My very first blog:  I was so nervous and worried no one would want to read it. And I would run out of things to say... clearly neither of those things happened, but I like the enthusiasm and humor of the first blog post.

Now? What's next. First, I plan on continuing this blog. I will likely start it back up full time in September. In August, I will be writing in a new blog called Open Road: Open Heart -
This will be the story of what my best friend, her two kids, her cousin and I do on our big "ROAD TRIP" this summer. This trip is especially important because it is time together we may not have again.

Some people have asked me if they can 'donate' to the trip this summer. At first I balked at the idea, but as the expenses for all of us to go, plus gas and wanting to go to the parks and and and add up, I realized if people wanted to feel part of the party, I should put away my pride and create a link. If you'd like to donate? Wonderful. If you can't and just want to donate prayers and even ideas, you can leave them on the new blog.

It has been a wonderful journey for the first 100 entries. I'm looking very much forward to the next 100. Much love to all of you!



Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Storms

I'm sitting here waiting for my ride up to the lake to see my dad. There is an extreme summer storm happening. Full on lightning, thunder, pouring down rain.

I love Ohio summer storms. On the radar? This one is *red* it is that heavy and strong. The lightning flashes through the house and the thunder shakes the windows. It's a sexy storm. *smile*

We'll see how well the video loads. 

I don't know if you can see it, but there is actual hail in the video and photo.

Already the storm is almost over. Serious but brief. It's amazing how some things in life are also serious but brief. It's mostly been a good day today... minus a few rough moments. :). It was C's last day of radiation that was really good. (happy dance)

Mads and I made crock pot lasagna. C said she wanted Mads to create a cookbook of recipes she can make for her and her dad and brother. So Mads has a 3ring binder full of paper for her to write down recipes and keep together. Crock Pot Lasagna is the first one she wrote in her new book.  It was fun, and   cool because I never write these things down I can ask her when I get old how I made things! *hahaaha* The lasagna turned out awesome and now she can make it herself. :) 

Recipe and photo... :)

Another good moment was enjoying breakfast with a high school friend that I haven't seen in 25 years. It was really lovely, unfair that she looks the same and I have aged, but hey... ;). I think what I got out of our conversation is that we have both grown up in such a strong way and that the storms I experienced in high school? Were the same storms everyone else went through. We were all in our uncomfortable, unsure, awkward space thinking we were hanging out there alone. I see the students in my high school today doing their own struggling and I see the eternalness of the tempest that is ages 12 - 19. I have a lot of empathy for myself when I was that age. And honestly, I'm really sorry I missed my 25th reunion. As anxious as perhaps I might have been going? I am going to do my best to manage to make it to the 30th.  As Traci said,  "We're all adults now, right?"   :)

So as the storm fades and that storm-colored yellow/gray sky starts to clear a bit, I find myself oddly calm. The furiousness of the storm has been a mini emotional release. I'm meeting Mads, her brother and her dad at Great Wolf Lodge next week. I'm looking forward to playing in the water and getting out from the heat. Because like the weather, things hit the boiling point today and having vented the steam, I'm looking forward to the calm and the visit with my dad.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Come and Gone and Come...

It was good to be home for the three days I was there. My cat got over her stoney hello and purred happily, (until I left again), I got to connect with my support network there and I went to work to finish up a few things before I left for Ohio. I love my home. It is airy, and quiet. I get centered there. I am lucky to live where I do.

Mexico was amazing. My batteries were recharged and I regained my sense of delight and joy.

Ohio? Has been an adventure so far. The first day I arrived, C had just returned from the hospital. She was sick, unable to keep down food, everyone was in a state of chaos and I... quickly lost the centered feeling I had when I left to arrive here. I don't know why I didn't make the connection that C has been in the hospital for almost 2 months. She is weak, tired and on a lot of medication. Her personality is still as strong as ever, and as she gets better and better we have more and more conversations, but she is exhausted. And she is struggling to manage just the simple things. And I? Had no idea of the situation I was walking in to. I had no idea what it meant that she had two pulmonary embollisms in her lungs (two blood clots in her lungs). She's been in pain, she's recovering from hip surgery and the radiation is knocking her out. The main thing I find myself doing, is just loving her. Everything is secondary.

I have been accused of not liking it when things are unsettled. I've written a journal about it here, and my issues haven't really changed a whole lot. However, I am realizing that feeling uncomfortable also has to do with feeling like I have little or no control in my life. That is a big part of what is going on with me right now.

I feel so out of control. Each day I feel like I get my footing more solid, but it's solidly on beach sand. A wave comes, washes away the footprint and I start over again fresh. I am learning what she needs and what she doesn't need. I know better how to navigate her family. I know how to navigate her mom. I see how to connect with the kids and we have all been enjoying our time together. Her husband and I have had some time to reconnect as well.  I have all these plans in place. I have plans for my plans in case they don't work out. I have plans for my plans for my plans. I am a planning machine.

Yesterday, I was talking to my sister. I told her, I'd like to get a Yurt. I have wanted one for about 15 years; I think it would be a sanctuary in my life. I have been studying them, reading about them for ages. Anyhow, when I told my sister, she immediately started asking me about cost and practicality. I had to tell her to stop (which I don't do very often). One of the things that makes me who I am, is my need to dream. And when I dream? I tend to dream big. I need right now to dream about things that I feel are in my control. I want to be able to dream about having a yurt. I want to contemplate it. I want to design it. I want to think about how it will fit in the yard of my house and what it will take to build one. I want to have all kinds of dreams about it. For some, dreaming impractically must seem pointless. For me it is the best mental health exercise I know.

Sadly, for many of the people I love and have loved, my dreaming has ended up being a source of frustration. When I start to dream, I dream with passion. I dream with conviction. Even though it is just a dream and I know it might very well not happen, I have to have the space to explore it. I want to think I'll be able to do it. Like my big plans to go to India and Africa as a treat for myself when I turn 45. I plot and plan it all the time. Will I do it? Who knows, but I want to sit and dream about it and plan it.

And what I need when I am in that mode? Is for someone to dream with me, not tell me why I can't do it. And I think that is hard for the people I love. Because the devotion I exhibit is hard to deny. My enthusiasm is infectious. But then, when I change my mind, or move on to my next dream people get left behind. They get upset and angry. And I feel terrible. I don't know how to fix it when I move on to my next 'dream' and they are still left behind in my last dream. I often make my dreams happen, but I am generally not attached to how to make them happen. And sometimes I realize it is going to take some time for those dreams to happen. And I send them off to work while I move on in my mind to something else. But the people who are invested in my dreaming... they don't move on. And they get upset that I am not still on the bandwagon. Or worse they think THEY have to do something about my dream. They think THEY have to find the money to buy property on Orcas Island. Or a small summer home by the water or or or. My ex especially freaked out. To the point where he told me not to share that sort of thing with him anymore. I was absolutely crushed. If I can't share my dreams? What is the point? The person I love I want to be able to laugh and dream with.

I suppose it must make people think I am flakey and unreliable. I'm not. I'm at my bff's house helping her and her family. I am reliable. I can be counted on. But when I am in dream mode? I just want to be in dream mode... and what good is a dream if I can't share it? I try to take a certain responsibility for my dreams... But I know sometimes, they get away from me and become something else entirely.

This RV trip? Might be one of my dreams. It might not happen. C is really sick right now. I know if we had planned it for July? It for sure wouldn't happen. However, I am still enjoying dreaming about it. We keep talking about it. Madalyn has informed me she wants to go to the Wizard of Oz museum in Kansas. *grin* That made me smile. I have an alternate plan. If C can't go, I'm taking Madalyn and her brother with me and we're going to drive to Seattle on a different route. There will be some sort of a trip this summer. I have no idea what it will look like. But it will happen.

Maybe that is why I dream. Because dreaming brings things into life. Will my trip go the way I think it is going to go? Who knows. Do I particularly care? No. Because I know it will happen and we'll have a good time together, no matter how things emerge from our collective dreaming. We are all fluid right now, and as difficult is that generally is for me? I am learning to make peace with the uncomfortable feeling of dreaming on shifting sand.



Monday, July 04, 2011

Dolphin Days 

I don't know how swimming with dolphins has anything to do with being healthy, as is the intent of this blog, but I'm going to chalk it up to mental health and go from there.

I swam with dolphins today. It was something I have wanted to do my whole life. It was wonderful.. and? I want to say magical.. except... yeah. I'd be lying. They were incredible, and the two dolphins I swam with didn't seem to be miserable or unhappy.

Not gonna lie, the dolphins were way cuter than I was. *laughter*. Clearly they understand photogenic.

In the end? I am glad I went, although I am still not sure how I feel about dolphins in captivity. I like the idea that on many cruise ships and in the Bahamas, you have an 'ocean' pen where the dolphins swim freely. They choose to allow you to swim with them, then they can leave when they are done. It seems more... free that way. The irony of swimming with captive dolphins on the 4th of July has not escaped me.

Do we, as a species have the right to domesticate animals? We domesticated the wolf, the horse, the cat (or as a wonderful friend once said to me, when we were domesticated by the cats)... is that such a horrible thing? To have domesticated dolphins?

What I know? Is that the dolphins were beautiful. They were loving and gracious to us humans that swam around them. I rode one, got pushed by my feet around the water with one, petted them... connected a little with them, but it is true about their eyes. Their eyes say so much... They are incredibly intelligent creatures. I hope someday, when we look back on our treatment of animals, we don't cringe at what we thought we knew...

 And find out, we didn't know anything at all.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Hola mi amor...


I don't know what it is about Mexico. I don't know if it is the food, the people, the culture, the ocean... but there is something about Mexico. When I come here, I feel so much better. I feel like I can breathe. Or perhaps I just remember to. The first day we got here, the woman that picked us up had to stop at a wedding on our way to the condo. All I wanted was a shower, but the wedding was lovely...
flower girl

Granted when I am here, I get to live a 'fantasy' life. There is something to be said for that. For staying in a penthouse with this view:
bedroom view
There is something nice about laughing with friends and understanding the 'quirks' of Mexican electrical wiring. About drinking fresh orange juice on the porch and listening to the surf in the morning. About little land crabs that come to a wedding as a surprise guest!
land crab
There is something wonderful about sleeping in... not *having* to get up early unless I want to. Last night it thundered and there was so much lightning I asked for mercy from the Mayan "Chaac" who strikes the clouds with his lightning axe to produce rain and thunder. He was certainly busy last night. :)

bit too much sun!
I've already had a bit too much sun, I've spent a few too many hours in the pool, but it doesn't matter. I'll survive the sunburn and I'll move from spf 50 to spf 70 and not care.

bedroom view

I remember when I was in college and when things in my life got dicey, I'd run away to Mexico. Culminating with hitchhiking through Mexico with a friend and sleeping in a whore house. Swimming with the whales... ah those were the days. I don't know that hitch hiking through Mexico these days would be such a good idea... people seem to 'disappear' a bit too frequently around here for that... which is a shame. Because this country, these people are good people and being here is still an amazing adventure. And apparently? For me? It still works as a balm to my soul to be here. Last night I ate shrimp the size of your hand, with their heads still on. I did not, no matter how much Zimmern says it is tasty, suck the stuff out of the head. I ate their tails and enjoyed some tequila served in a cucumber (it was some unlabeled tequila... and *yes* omg it was good) and laughed all the way back to the condo.

shrimp and steak
tequila in cucumber glasses

I am enjoying this vacation. I really needed it. It's been a long year from this point last year... a divorce, my dad's heart attack and thyroid cancer, my best friend's situation...
eternity pool

Although this time? I'm not running away to Mexico. I don't feel like I need to escape here. I'm older and I'm not looking to 'find' myself here either. When I lived in Guadalajara, when I traveled here before, it was always with this edge of longing. Of feeling a bit lost. Of hoping I'd find part of myself in Mexico. I've matured a great deal from those days.  I know more now about who I am. For me? Returning to Mexico is returning to the embrace of an old love. The feelings are still there, but they are just a deep simmer instead of a raging fire. I'm not saying I won't get into a bit of trouble... and hey... the pool guy is *so* cute ;), but I am not here for an adventure (although adventures *do* tend to find me) I'm here to relax and recharge. And honestly? I don't know of a better place or country to do that. 

My friend on the balcony drinking fresh orange juice

Even with her bumps and bruises of being in a bad situation right now, Mexico is a land of great beauty and great pride. I feel honored to be here, I feel enamored with her charm and grace. And I am humbled by the generosity of friends who have allowed me time here to reconnect with my battery, recharge my spirit and look forward to all I have to accomplish this summer. I appreciate all the friends back in Washington who are staying with my cat, watching my garden, watching my house, etc. That helped make this happen for me. 
beach waves in Ixtapa

Gracias mis amores. Gracias.



Friday, June 17, 2011

A Long Strange Trip...


"It's in my brain, my lungs and my liver, MK."

Those were the words I heard this morning when I called my best friend. For a moment I allowed myself some tears. Then instead of asking about prognosis (do I really need to ask that question anyhow?)  I told her I had rented an RV.

We are going camping. I hate camping. I just want to be sure y'all know that. However, I'm going to love camping like I have never loved anything before.

My bff's request is to get a big RV and drive across America. She is so excited about it. We talked a good twenty minutes about all the things we want to do. It is the way to get around the big white elephant in the room.

We're going to pack the kids, her, me, a family friend into the camper and go. C wants to go to the Grand Canyon. I told her whatever she wants? I will do my damnedest to make happen. Right now? I'm not even going to worry about cost. At this point, what is money, anyhow. My dad has been amazing and saved money for me to use as a downpayment on a house or retirement someday. I'm going to talk to him about letting me have some of it. I refuse to worry about money.

*I* want to spend the night in hotels. SHE wants to camp. Lord. The things you do for the people you love. My mom understood things well when she said, "My idea of camping is Howard Johnson's".

I want to make this happen. For her. For her kids. For me. I am selfish enough to want to spend as much time with her as I can. Sitting under the stars, talking. Because... well... yeah. I don't need to go into it. There isn't a single one of you out there, with a very very best friend... who doesn't know why.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Uncomfortably Numb


The last four days of my life have been very difficult. In order to explain, it is going to seem like somehow my issues are more important than my best friend's issues. They are not. My life, in comparison to hers has little struggle, little strife and few battles. 

Many of you know my best friend has survived breast cancer for two years. Thursday I found out the cancer had returned and eaten through her hip and was in the bones of her back. She's had severe neuropathy in her face for the past month. She couldn't look at lights or use the computer and was pretty much bed-ridden from the pain.

Yesterday, she found out the cancer had reached her brain. When she called me yesterday morning to tell me, we cried together. I felt my life shift sideways.

My best friend is one of the most amazing women I know. And I know a lot of people. She has always been my cheerleader. Always supported me. Always loved me. We met almost 20 years ago and from the first time our energy connected, for me? It was like the world had been put right. I have not met a woman so strong. I have not met another woman so determined, so loving and so giving. She is my best friend and my life is full because she is in it. Always the first to offer to help, the first to suggest things in my life to support me, the first to rush to my defense, the first to hold my head when I cried over ended relationships, the first to come out swinging by my side. She is an incredible mom, taking her kids to COSI, museums, listening as her daughter grows up to be her own person. Talking about the complicated issues. My best friend and I planned on growing old together at the lake. Driving in our golf carts, mumu's and bath robes over to each other's house early in the misty mornings to drink fresh coffee and gossip about her kid's lives and her grandchildren and our lives. Even now, as I sit here, I can see us in those golf carts up at the lake, tooling around, laughing and loving each other. I am not ready to give that up. I am not ready to give up, period. 

Saturday, we both cried. We didn't say anything about the future. I tried to be strong, but I wan't very successful. By Sunday, she was ready to do whatever she needed to survive. I don't know what that will mean, likely radiation and the surgery on Monday (today) to do a hip replacement. Right now, she can't walk.

My best friend has two children, my beautiful goddaughter and her wonderful brother, 11 and 8. She also has a loving husband who also has his own battle with cancer he's fighting. If anything happens... well... besides being without my greatest cheerleader, as the godparent, my life will change considerably.

I am not ready to concede to cancer. I do not want to look down that road to some end that seems inevitable. At first, when I found out, I held on SO tightly to my life. Thinking that my life mattered. That my job mattered. That my house here mattered. Having had a day or two to process? I realize it doesn't matter. What matters is doing what I am called to do. Because in the end, I am lucky in my life to have a friend like her. I am lucky to have so many wonderful friends in my life, period. But when you make a promise to a friend, especially one involving her children, that promise is your bond. At least in my world it is. And if the day comes I have to navigate that, I will find a way to do that.

I feel grateful to every single one of my 'family' who have supported me. Even people I *just* met have been incredibly kind and loving. To every one of you with a kind word to me and a prayer for her and her family, thank you. To the amazing ladies in my writing group, who found me sobbing in my kitchen two hours after I found out about the brain cancer and who loved me and loved on me and helped me focus on my writing for a while and not my shattered heart? I love every one of you. <3

This chilly Pacific Northwest morning, I have my feet (mostly) back on the ground. I am alive and so is she. Today? That is what I have. Tomorrow? I will deal with tomorrow.

I will be leaving for the summer to spend my time in Ohio with her and her family. She will require 6 weeks of therapy to be able to walk again. I will stay there as long as I can. I won't be able to do the triathlon, but my friend Perry is going to help me ship my bike there, so I will have a bike to ride with my goddaughter this summer. (Thanks Perry! You are such an awesome guy!) I'm going to try to keep up with my swimming and walking. Perhaps when I get home, my friend Trish and I can find another smaller triathlon to do in September. I don't want to give up on the idea of doing a triathlon, I just realize I can't do the one in August.

Again, just in case I haven't had the chance in person, I love you. I say it to my family whenever I talk to them and I am saying it to you, because in the end, it isn't *really* blood that makes a family, is it?



Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Well, who is that lovely lady?


Today one of my students who is all of 18 asked me if I had any idea what it was to know someone who could finish my sentences. Who understood me in a way no other person had ever understood me. If I knew what it was to be so in-love with someone you felt your soul open up. And to know it is someone you can’t have. Someone who can’t return what it is you offer. Someone you loved so deeply and so desperately that life without that person seems empty and barren.  I told him I knew that feeling, yes. I knew the feeling of loving someone and realizing it is unattainable. And? I told him that truly being in-love is reciprocated. Truly feeling that amazing feeling of belonging, of connection, of love is something that comes from two people, not one.

But I'm wondering now if that is true. If maybe, in order to be ready for that amazing feeling of belonging between two people, you gotta master it with the only 'one' that matters.

Recently, I have made some deep realizations about my life. And getting to this point hasn't been easy. There have been tears. Lots of them.

But I think I get myself now. Maybe for this round of understanding I've finally made it to the other side of the river. And I can see where I have come a little better from the this side of the rushing water. 

For many of my 43 years on this planet I have been searching for 'the one'. It has driven my life. I felt that if I just found 'the one' and I looked in his eyes? I would see that I am okay. That I am loved. That I am whole. I thought once I looked into his eyes and he thought I was beautiful? *I* would finally feel that way about myself. Once I looked into his and eyes and *he* said I was smart? I'd believe that about myself as well.

Except in my life? That hasn't happened. And in my life? It wasn't going to happen. Not because I haven't or won't fall in-love, but because finding that space to realize I am beautiful and that I am worthy doesn't come from outside myself. It comes from inside. And for most of my life, when I looked in the mirror, I saw someone fat and unattractive. I chose relationships that reflected that back to me. Guys who loved me... but weren't in-love with me. Guys I could pour my heart out to that could not return that sort of affection. Guys who were as emotionally crippled as I was.

I did this, not because I chose bad men. Categorically, the men I have chosen in my life have been good guys. Every one of them. But I chose guys that couldn't dig into problems and be honest with themselves or with me. And I chose men like that because *I* couldn't do that fully with myself. I couldn't look in myself and see that I was worthy of what I needed and wanted in a relationship. That it was *okay* to want and need things within a relationship. That I didn't have to give myself away to be loved. It was naive of me to think that some man was going to take care of those things for me. That some partner was going to 'heal' that need for safety, security and that deep deep need we *all* have to feel loved.

A few weeks ago, I was putting on makeup in my bathroom. And when I was done, I said to myself, "You look so pretty today." As I walked out of the bathroom, I had an OMG! moment. Followed by tears.  I realized I had said that to myself and NOT added "if only you lost 80 pounds", or "on the inside", or "if only you could make that nose smaller" or "if only you didn't have scars on your body" or or or. A lifetime of "or's" and "if only's". And in that moment? I knew I finally got it. I understood what it was not to be waiting for someone ELSE to tell me I was pretty. Or I was special or I was worthy of being loved.

And I realized? I was done looking. Well.. done looking for THAT ONE guy that was 'the one'. I realized I was fully ready to be who I am. Solid in the knowledge that I like me. I'm not going to drag someone to dinner with me, or keep trying to force someone to hang out with me, or continue hanging out with someone that doesn't add something amazing to my life. I may meet a thousand more people before I find a partner I want to be with as an equal. I'm okay with that. I know I will make a lot of friends on the way and? I'll meet some people who are not people I'll keep along the way. And that is okay as well. I do not *have* to like everyone. I can be kind, I can be loving and I can be honest without being cruel.

And if I am 83 and I am not partnered up? I will go dancing with my goddaughter or her children and walk the beaches by myself and think... dang woman! You've lived an incredible life! What an amazing lady you are! 

And I know I'll say this because right now? I finally understand I already am.



Thursday, June 02, 2011

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I was pretty sure I knew everything. I was pretty sure I had it all figured out.

Recently, I learned of another young person passing from the world. I wasn't close to her, but I have memories of loving her very much when she was younger. I particularly remember one day we walked together and talked about how hard it was to be 'different'. I don't know if she had any memory of that walk, but I do. I think of it from time to time. Her mother was a woman I respected and admired a great deal (I still do but present tense didn't quite fit the paragraph *smile*) and I felt lucky and honored to have known both her and her daughter. I am sure this isn't an easy time for their family.

J, a longtime friend of mine, asked me my thoughts on death. She asked if I thought the Creator gave all of us a certain 'amount' of time on this planet and when our time was up? Our time was up. Fifteen years ago? I would have had an answer. Now? I have a vague 'knowing' that is nothing even remotely like an 'Answer' with a capital A.

Here are my thoughts J, and these are only that... just my thoughts. But oddly, to tell them, I have to talk about my favorite Deep Space 9 character. The character's name is Odo and his species is called "Changling". Essentially, he can be any creature he wants, or a tree or any object he chooses to impersonate. He thinks he is alone in the universe, only to find out his species thrives and has sent him to learn all he can about the universe. Eventually he hears an internal 'program' and he returns 'home'. There he 'melts' into the liquid pool of his people and all that he is becomes all that they are. All that they are, become all that he is. Every time I watch the episode where he returns 'home', I cry. I cry because it calls to me. And something about it? Speaks truth.

That liquid pool of community? Well, I sort of see death as a returning of each of our spirits to the 'all there is'. How long we reside in this human experience with the notion that we are outside that pool of 'all there is'? Isn't nearly as important as the joy and sorrow, the success and falters, the passion and the apathy wrapped in all our experiences we bring with us and share of the time we are apart.

Do we all have a certain number of days all metered out that we get to use up until there is nothing left? I don't think so. I don't think it works like that. I think, perhaps, what we do here, what lives we touch and what moments touch our lives is much more important than how long we get to do it. Whether we die young or old, we hold a unique set of experiences that we will eventually share with 'all there is'. God is defined for *me*, not apart from us, but existing in the collective 'all' of us.

Quite a few years ago, I came home to Ohio during a particularly difficult time in my life. I felt lost; I felt my identity had disappeared with the end of a relationship. I had no idea who I was anymore. One day, while I was up at the Lake, I went swimming. It was evening, and I was the only one around. I stepped into the Lake and for a moment I was overwhelmed with memories of my past. As I walked deeper and deeper into the water, more and more memories of my childhood and life spent in connection with the Lake surfaced in me. I had the distinct feeling that the Lake had been holding my memories for just such a moment. A moment when I would come and ask to be reconnected to myself. Without getting too esoteric?  I felt the Lake reach out to me to comfort me. I heard many of the whispered prayers I had, over my life, imparted to the Lake. I felt the Lake giving back to me what it had been holding. As if it had been waiting all along for me to return.

Do we have a certain amount of time on this planet? I do not know. Do we have an arrangement with God before we get here about what we will do and who we will do it with? I do not know. What I do know? Is that all things we do are sacred. All things we do matter. Because all things we do connect us. There was no judgment in the memories the Lake held for me. To me? There is no judgement from God when we return to the 'all there is'. There is only love for us when it is our time to return home.

It is those of us left behind, believing we are apart from those we love, that weep.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You're Welcome

Short little story:

A woman who works at our school is very into physical fitness. I've been wondering if she is a personal trainer, but wasn't sure and hadn't bothered to ask her. I'm really anxious about this triathlon. I'm doing 'okay' at training, but don't really feel like I am getting anywhere and I certainly don't feel I am in any way ready. August will be here in no time, and I am still 'dancing' around training without being very serious.

Today I walked by the front desk where she was working and I heard that 'voice' in my head. It said, "Hey go talk to K about personal training."

I ignored it.

"Hey, GO ASK K ABOUT PERSONAL TRAINING!!!!!" the voice was SO loud and insistent it was difficult to ignore, I felt almost 'compelled' to turn around... so halfway to my office I listened, turned around and went back to the front desk.

I talked to K and asked her if she did personal training. She said, "yes" and we started talking about this mini-triathlon I am doing and how I feel like I need more accountability to get myself ready. I feel like I can do all the little pieces individually, but am not sure about putting them all together. We talked about strength and endurance training, etc. We talked for about 5 minutes or so and she said she'd email me with some thoughts and costs for what she could offer to help me really get ready for this nutty choice I made to do a triathlon, even if it is a small one :).

I thanked her and turned and started walking to my office.

Halfway to my office I heard that same voice say, "You're welcome."

I stopped walking, laughed out loud a little, nodded my head in acknowledgement and walked the rest of the way to my office.

I <3 days like today.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another day another rapture...

I woke up this morning. That in and of itself is probably fantastic, although I figured I'd be here in the morning no matter what the outcome of yesterday's Rapture.

I had some time to think this quiet Sunday morning about the whole mania over the 'big event' yesterday. I realized how fascinating it is that a human being would desperately cling to the notion of such a cruel god. Of a god that would slaughter so many for a handful of 'chosen' people. It is why I have always had an 'issue' with the idea of some big "God" event where some people would be more loved than other people. Perhaps it is why I end up with a more 'new' testament view of divinity than old testament. Of course... my view of god is bigger than either of those tomes...

I'm not a parent, although I sometimes play one on tv... or well at least at work. I find that while I like working with some of my students more than others, I don't 'love' some of my students more than others. As a parent, you may like some of your children more, but do you love some of your children more? As a healthy parent, do you play favorites with your kids? Do you refuse to love them if they don't follow everything you say? Do you hate them if they go off and live a lifestyle you may or may not choose to live yourself? Do you condemn them because they are different or they want pink hair? Do you resent their freedom and the beauty of life that they get to make crazy choices you wouldn't make if it was you? Do you deny them access to their home because they are different than the way *you'd* like things done? When they come to your door hungry and perhaps even strung out on poor choices, do you throw away the key and say "you aren't good enough to come into this house!" Now, I am not saying that if you bring in a child that is strung out that you give that child more drugs, but when the child is ready and asks for help, do you not find them a place or a person to help them? Is that not the weight of love?

My god is a god that doesn't throw me out at the door when I come home. My god is a god that if I don't live quite the way my god would like, my god knows that I am a child and I have to make my own choices. My god has given me some solid suggestions on how to live my life, but in the end? My god has also given me free will. My god loves me. My god says, "Hey, wanna sit and talk for a while? No? Too busy? Okay MaryKate, well I love you and I'd love to chat with you when you have some time." And I realize I am neglecting that part of myself and I sit down and have a chat with god. I don't blame my god for the bad things that happen in my life, any more than I blame my dad for that time I fell riding my bicycle or my mom for that time she didn't come get me from school when I was sick. Or my cat, who just brought a bird into my house, played with it but didn't quite kill it. And as I sit here holding the bird wrapped in paper towels to comfort it in its last few moments of life, it's tiny little black eyes not quite yet empty of whatever it is that makes a bird a bird and not just moving feathers and feet... I do not hate my cat. I do not throw my cat out for doing what a cat does. Granted, we humans can make different choices than cats, but in the end, I can not get angry at my cat for its very nature.

My god doesn't love me and smite all the others, my god loves. There is a difference.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oprah 100 x 100 


I'm watching a show on Oprah. I don't watch Oprah that often. But for some reason I caught the beginning of tonight's show and found it very inspiring. It's a show of 100 people who have lost over 100 pounds.

I started watching the show and the first thing I wanted to do was go into the kitchen and eat. I suppose that probably sounds funny, but really? Not so much. I sat here processing the anxiety watching this show made me feel. It brought up a memory in me from about eight years ago. I was with my sister and one of my dear friends doing some clothes shopping. I had lost about 50 pounds. I tried on a pair of leather pants and came out of the dressing room. They were in a size I hadn't worn since I was in my teens. I have been heavy since I was eight years old. So, for me? Getting back into a size I wore when I was a teenager was amazing.

So, there I was... in HOT, new, black leather pants. I walked out into the store and Lori and my sister had this look in their eyes. It's hard to explain it. But it was joy, happiness. Love. They both went on and on about how amazing I looked. How sexy, how beautiful. They had tears in their eyes. I started to get anxious. I went back into the dressing room and started crying. Full on sobbing. Couldn't stop. Took off the pants and within six months I had gained back all the weight and didn't lose it again.

Tonight, watching Oprah, feeling that anxiety and the desire to eat it bought up, I realized I still have some issues with food. The difference in my life is that tonight? I didn't get up and eat. I didn't get out of my chair. I'm working my way to a triathlon. I'm trying not to obsess about the scale. I've given up my pretty solid diet of wheat, white sugar and dairy. On occasion I have those foods, but I'm not making those staples in my life anymore.

I had someone say to me the other day that he felt fat people were just lazy and undisciplined. In his defense? He did say he was realizing that it was much more complex. I know it is for me. It is so easy to pigeon hole my weight issues as my being 'lazy' and 'undisciplined'. It's so much more than that.

And here is the best part. As the Oprah show finishes up, I feel more excited to keep on my journey. Tonight, I moved past the old desire to eat over feeling anxiety and am now just enjoying her show and finding it motivating.

I know I have a long way to go. I know this isn't my 100th blog post. I still have 11 more of the first 100. I'm excited to focus those last ten on how much I have grown and changed in the eight months I have been writing this journal. And the best part is that I'm not stopping at 100, the next set of 100 will be continuing my journey to be more healthy and sharing whatever twists my life takes next.

It's important to know the original issues I had with food and weight haven't just 'disappeared'. Anxiety/Emotional eating are still a part of my life. But by paying attention to what I am feeling and by recognizing the desire to eat that isn't hunger based but emotionally based,  I can stop myself from mindlessly going into the kitchen and eating something to numb myself.

I have awareness, determination and a belief that I can make a change in my life. It's already happening.