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The Village

ittakesavillageI know I have said it many times and maybe even wrote about it here a time or two, but it goes without saying that i couldn’t do any of this without The Village.Yes, it sounds cliché. Its corny. We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village” But there’s a reason that saying has been around forever, because its true! Well, at least for me it is.

So to my Village, this is my love letter to you.

 

Dear You,

Yes you. You magnificent human soul who for some reason or another has chosen me to be your friend or to just check in from time to time. We have an amazing kid. He’s 14 now, smart, kind, humble, sassy, sometimes moody, beautiful. He has freckles and is tall and clumsy and talented. He loves little kids and animals. He memorizes facts and remembers little details. He has this laugh, this incredible laugh that he doesn’t realize has saved him from so many moments of getting fussed at. He has insomnia. Has had it from the day of creation. There has never in his life been a night he has slept through since he was born. And remember the laugh? well its how he starts his days, its how i know he’s awake. He sneaks the TV or phone on and watches something, and even though he tries to be quiet, he has this belly laugh. It wakes me up, nearly every day. And i sit there quietly listening, because it is my favorite sound in the world. I don’t care if it is 2 a.m on a school night, ill never interrupt his laugh, hell never get in trouble for being awake as long as i hear the laugh. He has no idea i sit and listen.

He’s confident and wise and seeks counsel. He researches and researches things until he understands all sides before making any decisions. Hes fair. He is a sm20190517_181802art ass, just like his mama. He is musically talented like his father. He is an old soul. He is amazing. He grates my last nerves, he talks back, hes helpful and curious. He is thoughtful and sweet.

And he is partly all of these things because of you.

Many times, I’ve called or texted or posted on social media my concerns. Many times, ive told funny stories or asked about what I should do. Remember that Harlem Globetrotters Jersey he wanted to wear for days on end? It was you who told me to let him stand up for his conviction. When i freaked out about the high school courses? it was You who walked me through my concerns. When i bought our first home, you celebrated with us. When he’s been in the doctor’s office yet again for another sports related injury, you checked in on him. When he was sad and giving me hell, You let me bring him over and drove around with him to get his head right. When he was getting on my nerves and talking back, You made him run the football field for an attitude adjustment. When he wanted to play basketball that year and i couldn’t afford it, You paid for it. When he got slapped by that kid for the Yo Mama joke, You cheered because it meant he won! You have been there for every first day of school. You have shared your lives with us and included us in your prayers. You have shared your stories on growing up and how racism or bullying had an impact on you. You told us about how it was growing up in split household. You are a part of our life even though you may not see us everyday. You fed us. You picked him up when i was in the hospital. You threw him in the pile as if he was your own. You scolded him when his brain froze and he lost his mind. You sent me articles about dinosaurs. You celebrated Pi Day or helped us vote on our next Halloween costume. You came to take care of hims o i could work. You are my Village. You are my support. You are how i get through this. And so i thank you!

But were not done, we still have to get through high school, prom, driving, first jobs, college applications, kisses and sex and drugs and liquor and late nights. We still have to get through testosterone and independence and rebellion. We have to deal with heartbreak and first loves and possibly the death of his first dog in a few years (she is also 14) Our work is not done. And I hope you stick around and realize that friend, family, internet friend or support you are a part of our lives our Village and we couldn’t have done it without you, and i hope you see him as your own.

Love,

Denise

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If It Doesn’t Bring You Joy

lifeDepression can really keep you away from the things you love. I’ve been “away” from this blog for exactly one year. Its crazy. To me it had just felt like a mere few months, but that’s how it works. It robs you of your time and if you don’t get a hold of it will take away your joy. Life is hard for all of us. For me 2018 was a blur.  To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. There were with issues with my son, my health, stress, i performed CPR on a guest at my job who had passed away and ultimately it was just too much for me to handle mentally and i checked out. I felt like I was watching myself participate in life but i couldn’t really feel any of it. I tried in vain to run it off, tried Yoga, read all kinds of books and then would end up alone in the house and would concoct these scenarios in my head.

catsMy most recurring fear was that my son was going to move away and i would live in this great big house alone. I would die undiscovered on my recliner and my poor cat would have to eat my face to survive and then by the time they found me it was way too late and it would affect the resale value of my house because I’m sure the carpet would be ruined.

No one said depression scenarios were pretty. Knowing that something was really off and probably PCOS related, I made an appointment to see my endocrinologist. I had been gaining weight after my Lap-band removal and just couldn’t get a handle on it and i was certain my hormones were out of wack. The nurse practitioner, an angel, diagnosed me with depression and prescribed me some medication and realized that yes, i was deficient in some vitamins and all that could lead to depression.  It had to be tweaked a few times but eventually it gave me the clarity that i needed. My son and i were able to go to therapy to just deal with all the life we had been handling on auto pilot for the past 5 years. Life as a single mom had definitely taken it toll on me, but even worse it had taken its toll on my child, who missed his father and was taking his absence out on me. The teenage years are not for the weak.  I’m glad to say that we are now healthier in spirit and mind.

 

I share this because even in 2019 I feel that there’s a stigma with mental health and there really shouldn’t be. If you don’t feel yourself, please get help. My only regret is that i had gotten so used to feeling awful and decided that it was normal and  didn’t speak up sooner about my stress or how badly i had been feeling so i could feel better sooner. Of course, i know that this is easier said than done.

 

marie

Once the clouds were lifted, it did force me to take stock of my life and I realized that I didn’t have to put up with feeling bad. That it was not worth one more moment of my time. I had spent so much time feeling awful that i wanted to try my best to do my part. In my case that meant that I had to really take ownership of myself and my attitude. I had to reevaluate some relationships and I decided to live by the mantra ….If it doesn’t bring you joy be done with it. (This was pre Marie Kondo, for those that are now applying her awesome techniques to your lives) but the same concept applies. If it tastes bad, spit it out. If it’s a bad book, stop reading it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. No is a complete sentence. I realized that i had to stop punishing myself for my past and trying to make up for it and let it go. That i needed to live for the future and start to write my own story rather than letting someone else ghost write my life for me.

So I tried a few things. I ran my first half marathon. Well, let me correct that, i walked, jogged and almost died at mile 12 of my first half. I traded in my old car that was breaking down a lot, I attended weekly therapy sessions. I started to unapologetic-ally tell the truth (sucked for others but for me it was liberating, this year I’m working on a softer approach without sacrificing the honesty)  I turned 39 surrounded by amazing beautiful women (the sisterhood is a beautiful thing) and i decided that i was just going to go for it. My most courageous thing that year? on New Years Eve, when my son left to hang out with his dad and i was alone i decided to get dressed and go to a bar to bring in the new year. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most. But after a year of practically being a  shut in other than work and kid practices, trust me anyone who knew me personally was celebrating. I also joined the new Kiwanis club they were starting in the area and became President. Crazy pants I know.

 

 

So that’s it. I’m going to commit to blogging more. There are some fun things coming up. But I wanted to just let anyone out there know that there are better days, even when all you see are clouds. It took me a year, but I’m back and i missed myself terribly.

I also wanted to add that sometimes, talking to your loved ones about your depression is hard. And calling one of those help lines feels weird. But I know that this new era has made texting really comfortable, so if you need to just talk, you don’t have to be suicidal to get help, you can reach out to https://www.crisistextline.org/depression/ or text the number below for help.

Text+HOME+to+741741+for+free+24+7+crisis+support+in+the+US

Keep being awesome guys and thank you for listening.

❤ Denise

The Aftermath

After losing nearly 100 lbs ive developed the opposite of what people may think would happen. Insecurity and body dismorphic issues. Which is at times overwhelming and drowns out rational thinking. I was looking through photos last night and found a face picture that for the first time really let me see how far ive come. Because, you see, I dont see the current day me. I see the old me. The one who I have been for the better part of my adulthood. This was the face that was with me when I became a mother, when I was at my lowest, my highest, when I got my first grown up job, bought my first house became fiercely independent. I made soul mate friends with this face. This was the face in front of the heart that said “You’re beautiful. Size does not define you” I drank up all the body positive kool aid and celebrated my curves. I was wearing a two piece at the pool at 294 lbs and dared anyone to have an issue with it. I didn’t care about fat arms or cellulite. Didn’t care about scars. I ran races, I did mud runs. I offered no apologies for my space in this world and I was there to back up my bad assness if need be. I would slap on bright red lipstick and had no issue bringing attention to myself. No one was ever terribly unkind.

And then I made the decision to have my surgery. Mainly because it was hard to breathe going up the stairs. I was knocking at the door of 300 with no slowing down in sight. I was out of control, had a heightened sense of self worth and was literally headed towards health issues at 120 mph. I was embarrassed that I needed to get surgery but decided ultimately it had to be done.

And the pounds started to come off slowly. 1 pound a week on average. Which doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up eventually. People would comment on me losing weight and I would roll my eyes, thinking “guys 10 lbs isn’t going to make that much of a physical impact when I have 150 to lose total”. What no one prepared me for was the paranoia that I would feel thinking people were watching me, judging what I put in my mouth, wondering why I was losing so slowly. So I became concious of every bite. I felt shameful when I would eat. I thought that people would think that I was going to fail and that silently they were judging me. I had never had those thoughts before.

As the pounds eventually added up to a significant amount – around 50 lbs people started to be very vocal about my body. Positively but very vocal. They congratulated me and encouraged me. But with every positive word I became even more insecure. At around 75 lbs loss, I went to my reunion, one that I helped organize with love and was really excited for. I tried on dress after dress, nothing was right. Suddenly I realized that I had excess skin on my arms that would have to be removed surgically. And that my breasts weren’t as full or my stomach. And I remember standing in the mirror changing my dress and feeling like a failure. I went down to the reunion and people were just amazing and we all looked great and people mentioned my confidence and congratulated me on the loss. With every compliment came the toothy pageant smile and thank you. On the outside I was gracious and appreciative on the inside I felt like it was overwhelming.

Then came 100 lbs. This I was excited for. I had finally arrived at a major milestone. I fit into smaller clothes. This was where i felt the most proud. It was bitter sweet, the fat had melted off, I decided that I only needed to lose another 27 lbs not 50 and for the most part looked great under clothing. I knew I would have to save up for skin removal surgery eventually. But that was ok, because I could just tell people “but I lost 100 lbs!” And they would be understanding and I wouldn’t have to apologize for the batwings. Which is insane, because I never felt like I needed to explain myself before. But now I felt like I had an asterisk by my name that gave you an explanation as to why I was where i was. And the truth is no one really cares. People aren’t that awful in real life. This was a battle I was fighting within myself.

The 100 lbs was short lived, as you all know I got really sick and had to have the band removed because of slippage. I was admitted into the ER for emergency surgery as my body began to shut down. I made the decision to not have it fixed because the whole ordeal had been so traumatic that I was scared for my life. Besides I only had 27 lbs to go to goal, I could surely do that without the band.

That was 2 months ago. Since then I have gained 25 lbs. I hadn’t eaten in 10 days when I was in the hospital because of complications, so I knew when I started eating again that I would gain some back. That my body would hold on to it because it was starved for almost 2 weeks.

My new pants and dress that I was so proud of fitting into, doesn’t fit anymore. But that’s ok, I would change the way i eat and work out. Eventually I will find my way back right?

No one really noticed the 25 lbs. People still compliment me but I started to feel really insecure. I started to feel like a failure. Again, I felt like I needed to explain that ive lost 100, but gained 25 because of surgery and that I was working on it. I felt that asterisk by my name come back except this time I added an apology for failing.

I have become incredibly insecure in the past few months. Depression has set in. I’m back in the same cycle I fought so hard to get out of. I joined weight watchers, I’m taking pills, I joined the gym. But I can’t make it to the gym because I’m overwhelmed and insecure and those people there don’t know that I had lost so much, they just see me know and I have so much work to do.

I’m wearing long sleeves. I’m sad about summer coming (my favorite season) because of the excess skin and I can’t afford to have it fixed because I’m still paying for the original surgery, plus the emergency surgery (my insurance didn’t cover any of it) and I feel like if I step out in this body and people see the excess skin, that they will think “I’d rather stay fat than have that skin”

I’ve started to walk with my head down in the grocery store ive lost motivation to do things. I don’t want to meet new people because I don’t want to have to apologize for my existence. When I look in the mirror I see the before picture not the real one. My best friends talked me into getting a haircut recently and I kept saying how I didn’t want to go short because I had a really round face. They tried to show me that it wasn’t the case. I sat in the stylists chair and explained that I wanted it short but I was insecure about my big cheeks and she lovingly pointed out my face shape and cheekbones and tried to explain to me that what I saw wasn’t what she saw. So I chopped it off. And I felt great and I felt powerful and I sashayed out of that salon like a powerful goddess.

The next morning I woke up, as I was getting ready for work I became overwhelmed. I was trying to style my hair and realized people would be looking at me because it was so dramatic. My hair was past my shoulder blades and now it was in a cute lob right at my jawline. And so I started to think about the attention it would bring and suddenly my clothes weren’t right. So I changed. And that wasn’t right. So I changed again. I changed so many times that there was a giant pile of clothes all over my bedroom. I was late for work, I had to get my kid to school and I was having an epic teenage level threat con alpha meltdown that all my clothes didn’t fit right, they looked old, I looked old, and my skin looks like it’s melting and fuck, nothing in my life is ever going to be right again. Eventually I pulled myself together and made it to work. I mentioned to my friends my fit and they were supportive and said we would go buy new clothes. I’ll tell you as a side note, if you don’t have supportive girlfriends, please go get some they are literally my lifeblood and the reason I function day to day.

I came home later and sat on the couch. There’s alot going on in my life right now. Parenting has been tough, the house has been tough, financially its been tough. I’m sad all the time. And because of these issues I can’t really do anything about it. I feel frozen and stuck. My friends have mentioned that I need to get out more, that I need to date. My son says the same. But I feel paralyzed. The thoughts that have made me feel so insecure are so loud that all I have done lately is sit on my couch and it makes me sad. But I can’t muster up the mental strength to go out and apologize or explain my existence.

There is enough rationality left in my brain that ive recognized that I am most likely in a state of depression and I have a doctor’s appointment in a week to see if it’s hormonal or mental or both. But I know I can’t keep up. And I know that this is no way to live. And I know that what I “see” as far as physical doesn’t match up to reality. Even as I stare at this side by side, I dont see the “new” me I see the girl who I was. The one who wasn’t afraid. The new me is weak. I don’t even know what she likes. But so far she really sucks and sits at home all the time and cries and then puts on a fake face to go outside. I wore red lipstick the other day and couldn’t wait to take it off because it called too much attention to my face. “Fat Denise” was fearless, a walking goddess who deserved love and took what she needed. A motivator. I would flirt with the cutest guy in the room because who could resist this? Lol I was cocky and brave and funny because I had to be. This new Denise is a hot mess. I feel like I’m trapped inside a melted suit. Like my body is some sort of hand me down that doesn’t quite fit.

No one prepared me for that. I don’t have the luxury of a supportive partner who loved me then and loves me now and who’s seen all the scars and marks. I’m out here trying to sell a beat up clunker of a car while competing with this year’s newest model with all the features bell’s and whistles. If you don’t know what I mean, go take a look at these dating apps and see what you’re up against. These women are beautiful and young and their skin is tight and I’m supposed to stand out how? Suddenly being 38 a single mom and my body looking like it does is more of a “ooh I found this can of dented soup in the discount bin– do you think its safe to eat?” And then it gets put back because for 20 cents more you can buy a can that isn’t dented and avoid potential botulism.

I told y’all it was dark in this brain of mine. And I don’t know when it will get better. If I ever save up enough for skin removal, will the insecurity of the skin move switch to scars? Will I then have to apologize for looking like Frankenstein?

And these are the thoughts that now keep me confined to the house because I don’t have the energy to explain. And I know that I have to try to heal my brain and heart and thoughts one day at a time. And I have to figure out a way to drown out the mean thoughts about myself. I have to try to remind myself that this is just a shell and that internally I’m still the same woman I admire. Even if i can’t find her when I look in the mirror she’s still there and she needs me to get my shit together. I don’t know if anyone really could have prepared me for this.

If you got this far, thank you for reading.

Get Rid of 100 Things: Chapter 1

Happy New Year everyone!! Its been a while since I’ve written and it’s simply or rather not simply been because the latter half of 2017 was whirlwind. It happens. I helped plan our high schools 20th reunion this past September, Kiddo was struggling with turning in his work on time and grades were suffering because 13 year olds…amirite? And then the holidays of course. I ended up having emergency surgery in December to remove the LapBand that I only had for 18 months. The good thing was I had lost 100 lbs, the sad thing was it almost killed me by slipping, and even worse I still owe $7,000 on that surgery and lord knows what the bill for this will be. I didn’t eat for 10 days and well the icing on the cake was a tree hit my house on New Years Eve. Clearly in  a past life i angered the gods and apparently their time to shine was fourth quarter of 2017. It wasn’t all bad here’s a trip down memory lane for the year before i get to the reason for my post.

 

So now that that is out-of-the-way onto the Getting Rid of 100 Things. When I saw my friend on Facebook post it, i had to pause and i thought hmm how would i do this. The woman who posted it is full of wisdom and always inspires me to think so i knew not to take this lightly. Sure we can look at it physically throw away 100 items. Easy. But I thought I could mix it up to just try to improve my life in general. Yes, there will be a physical purge at some point but i thought it only right that my first thing to “Get Ride Of” is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

It’s a new year. If you haven’t been constantly reminded of it by all the New Year New Me posts on Facebook then you’re lucky. I don’t normally make resolutions because I have a hard time committing to anything. Hell, I’m surprised me and my shadow still hang out. But I bit into the hype as one does and mixed in with having my LapBand removed and the fear of gaining weight i decided to sign up for a Women’s Half Marathon in November and that I was going to go on a low carb diet to get these last chunk of lbs off. I figured that i would lose 23 lbs in a month (WTF) AND RUN. Can I tell you that a week in  I was sticking to the diet, worked out but jumped on the scale and i was 15 lbs heavier. Now before you oooh and gasp I need to remind you that prior to this I had emergency surgery, had not eaten for 10 days and then was on a liquid diet for a week so in that time I lost 25 lbs. Its only natural to gain it back for the health of your body as nourishment comes back to sustain you.

But I wasn’t reminding myself of that. I had failed. I gained weight back (which after weight loss surgery, it becomes your biggest fear) i had jumped into bad habits of thinking negatively, I stopped telling myself nice things in the mirror, I criticized my body who really did work very hard this year. I ate sad high protein food and punished myself when I didn’t lose 5 lbs overnight. I found myself crying and depressed and basically had resigned myself to dying alone, undiscovered for years on my couch. Yes I have a flair for the dramatic and it gets the best of me from time to time.

When I saw my friend post the #GetRidOf100Things i sat and thought and came to the idea that my first trash out for the new year was to get rid of the negativity. And that meant, for me. to Get Rid of Unrealistic Expectations. Not only as it pertained to my health, but overall when interacting with people. So ill break it down in the areas where I think this could benefit.

      1. UNREALISTIC BODY EXPECTATIONS: Yes run that half marathon, do it for fun for camaraderie, do it for the adventure. Do not get mad if you don’t finish by a certain time, half to walk a little or are the last one to finish. Do not feed yourself sad food that makes you feel even sadder. Yes make better food choices, portion control, but if you want a piece of pie eat the damn pie. There’s no such thing as bad food enjoy the moment in moderation. Understand that a 23 lbs weight loss in a month isn’t healthy. When I had the LapBand I lost up to 1-1 1/2 lbs a week and i was ok with that. Eventually it got me to a 100 lbs weight loss (OK 85 now that I’m eating again) but if I was happy with a lb then, why all of a sudden is anything less than 7 lbs a week unacceptable?! Who wants to live like that. Stop setting myself up for failure of the heart and mind, I’m not going to win Miss Hawaiian Tropic and I’m OK with that.

the big bang theory burn GIF

      UNREALISTIC RELATIONSHIPS: Honey if he’s just not that into you, there is nothing you can do to salvage that. This year I held onto, clawed and grabbed and tried to feed an unhealthy relationship because we had been friends for 15 years. I figured if the moon aligned right, i won the lottery, dressed pretty, was agreeable and the moon rose over Capricorn (whatever the eff that means) that it would just come together and guess what? all the sweetness in the world couldn’t make that work. In the end this person couldn’t even call me on my birthday and refused to sit with me in the hospital while i was waiting emergency surgery. Lesson here: You can’t get blood from a turnip. And I’m done trying to sell myself the story that i can. Next time ill read the room early and leave in time to enjoy the day.

 

ellen page shrug GIF

    1. UNREALISTIC TIME CONSTRAINTS: If I can do it I will, if i cant oh well. It is what it is

 

 

chris pine any moment GIF

      1. UNREALISTIC FUTURES: I have a vivid imagination. Oftentimes it gets the best of me and I go dark. Like real dark. I tend to think about the things that i don’t have and spiral down from there. Well circle back to me dying on the couch. In this scenario, I’m 38 years old, I’m unmarried and a single mom of one child, a dog and a cat. Often i think about how my son is almost a grown adult and will be going away soon to college or start his life. I imagine he wont call or come home often (even though he’s been raised better) and my married friends and family are all far away. I’m too old to date (nonsense) and I’m going to end up old and alone and no one is going to hold my hand as i leave this good earth. What the actual macabre shit brain!? So I’m going to try my best to not doom and gloom myself to the point of insanity. The next time I’m home on a Saturday watching TV and the cat is in my lap and my kid is upstairs ignoring me it’s just what it is. It’s not an indicator of what is to come and i will not in fact die on the recliner alone with the cat eating my face……you see what i did there? this ones gonna take work 😉

diamonds lyric video i choose to be happy GIF by Rihanna

      UNREALISTIC COMPARISONS: I will refuse to compare my journey with others. I will not look at Facebook pictures and get sad because my life isn’t like XYZ or that I cant buy a car like XYZ or that i wish i could buy those expensive xyz like XYZ. Not gonna do it. Its poison and leads to ungratefulness.

 

And that’s it. For my first throw away I am going to choose better health and get rid of Unrealistic expectations. What 100 things can you get rid of? I’d love to hear!

 

Help me Tom Cruise,  Oprah and Baby Jesus 

I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart.  I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I  have entered the wonderful world teenage years.  This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are,  they test boundaries,  they grow,  they dont need you,  but still need you so much.  To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone and lots of eye rolling and back talk and a tiny mustache. This is also the part of your life where as you’re wading in fresh attitude hell,  you apologize to the heavens and your parents for being so awful. I put my parents through pure hell and on a few occasions they both lost their patience with me.  I get it.  Payback is a beyoch and I’m in the throes of it.  

My son is gifted academically and this month alone hes been sought out to be in leadership groups,  invited to take his SATs in the 7th grade and to participate in a 5 year program for kids which will eventually lead to scholarships (I’m a single mom struggling so this is HUGE) hes had to apply to this program by today and write an essay to get in,  get letters of recommendation etc.  He puts it off until this morning. I wake him up, I’m sitting here trying to help and in fussing at him because lately he just has an “I don’t care attitude” and honestly I just want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing.  Im stretched thin.  His grades lately have dropped for no other reason than “school is stupid” and well my baby is sullen,  ornery,  and wants to play basketball or video games all day.  This is normal.  This is expected.  There comes a day where you are no longer the favorite human,  the best friend and more of a bother.  I’ve prepared for this,  but what I didn’t expect was the attitude. 

  Going back to this essay that he’s writing,  I ask him “why he didn’t care ” and he says “cuz I don’t,  I’m doing this for you.  You want me to do this,  you said it was for scholarships” 

  So I just was crushed,  because yes he’s 13 he doesn’t realize the opportunities that he has that I never did and how this will help his future.  No 13 year old sees that.  

 

 So then I go into a speech about how I wish my parents had helped me in school, not because they wouldn’t,  but because they didn’t know of these opportunities or how smart I really was and well in the 90s, I didn’t know how to ask for help either. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, so that’s all I knew.  Work hard,  make an effort and it will work out. (Great lessons. Mom and Dad don’t feel bad) i explained to him how I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs to pay for college that I had to drop out of because I couldn’t afford it, (I’m still paying for college loans with a high school education and no degree)  that if I had a chance at an education I wouldn’t be working at a hotel for 20 years and not following my dreams.  That I wanted a different life and if I had the chances hes been given I’d be a success.  Then I realize ive said this crying. And maybe I am projecting my failures on him and I’m trying to keep him from growing up to be me.  

He looks at me blankly.  This is what parenting a teenager is. 

This parenting thing is so hard and all i think most of us want is for them to be better than us. To be happy and healthy and good kind people.  I know he will be,  I have faith that this will all work out.  He’s too awesome and I just have to remind myself to be gentle and loving and patient because this won’t last forever.  

  Hugs to everyone parenting a teenager….. lord knows I ain’t seen nothing yet.  

Fat Girl PSA

    Its been a while since ive written, so its only natural i go in gung ho about a pet peeve of mine. As you all know,  Ive been very open about my weight loss and that i had Lap-band surgery. Ive told you guys i did it for health reasons and not for vanity (but if i did it for vanity so what #TreatYoSelf) As of this morning I have lost 84 lbs, so suffice to say its a big difference. I get that. People are going to notice, they are going to react. No one prepares you for the attention you get positive or negative. Our bodies are literally on display wherever we go. People will offer unsolicited advice, congratulate you on a job well done, make judgment on what you eat, police your moves, invite you to a dozen FitBit challenges when you would rather melt in to the couch. All well meaning and I get  that.
But here is what bothers me the most- 
   Today i was at Sam’s Club with my friend for work. We frequent SC weekly for over 10 years so the workers know us pretty well. There’s a nice guy who means well (bless his heart) and today as i was walking in he loudly exclaims:
Sam’s Club GUY: “Look at you! You’ve lost so much weight!”
Me: (awkward smile) Thanks! yes i have
SCG: (To my friend) doesn’t she look beautiful now?!
Friend: Shes always been beautiful
Me: Uh, Ive always been beautiful ( I laugh sweetly and awkwardly)
SCG: Yes! Yes! i know, but you look more beautiful now!
Me & Friend: *eye-roll*
Friend: She was beautiful before
Me: I get what your trying to say, and thank you, but it implies that i needed improvement and that’s not why i lost weight, Thank you for the compliment, I also thought i looked fine 84 lbs ago.
SCG: (Wont let it go)
We smile and keep walking.
Whats the problem you ask? The implication that I was not as attractive or beautiful until i lost weight. it may seem that I’m ungrateful for the compliments. It may seem i need to ease up. Maybe I’m one of these liberal feminist snowflakes that just cant let it go. But here’s the thing- Not everyone who is “fat” is ugly, being skinny doesn’t make you automatically beautiful. The outside has changed and rearranged itself, but I’m still the same person on the inside i was almost 100 lbs ago. I don’t put all my self esteem  in my looks, in these 38 years i realized that there’s a whole lot of ugly walking around with a shit ton of make up and designer clothes.
 My issue is the message that we send women in society. That you have to check off some crazy perfection checklist in order to be considered worthy. That you breasts have to look a certain way, that you have to “bounce back” from childbirth within a certain time frame. – What the hell does that even mean? Bounce back? You know whats bouncing back? My uterus after creating life and it hurts!
Ive had people say, “What are you going to do with all this attention when you reach your goal weight?” Me: Uh….watch Netflix. Its like there is this magical day waiting for me where i will wake up and a million little vermin will sew me a dress and clean my house and i will get swept away by a man with a foot fetish and a bad memory. What? That’s NOT what Cinderella is about?
  Let me tell you what will happen. I will wake up like i do every morning. I will take a steaming hot shower that would melt the devils skin off. I will yell for my son to wake up. I will sing or talk to myself while i get dressed and then tell the cat to stop yelling at me to hurry up and feed her. I will brush my teeth, and drive to school/work/ wherever. I will laugh with my friends, call my mom and get on FB to announce i made Goal. Life will go on in whatever fashion seems fit. What i will not do, i bash my former body. I will not say “I was gross, or ugly or let myself go” Because this body, the one that’s under renovation at the moment has given me 13,870+ mornings, noon’s and nights. That’s 13,870 days of seeing the sun and experiencing life. My legs have probably walked the circumference of the Earth by now in steps, my womb held my son safely. I nursed from my breasts. My skin, may have scars and stretch marks- but its literally held me together. My arms hugs people, my hands comfort. My favorite part of my body? My brain- it has made me pretty fearless and unstoppable. How could i turn my back on myself now?
  There was a saying when i was younger that we used to sing “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold” Except when i look at my “old self” there’s nothing brassy or tarnished- it still glitters.
  All I’m saying guys, is that mind your words when giving people compliments. You may mean well, but try to just give a compliment without tearing down the person you are speaking to. Beauty fades, memories last forever and people will never forget how you made them, feel.

One year later, 50 lbs down

A year ago today I took that crazy leap into bettering my health and sat in the pre op room waiting for my doctor to arrive.  A year ago i decided to take a serious look at my health and did something drastic about it.  Facing issues with PCOS, high blood pressure, pre diabetic, insulin resistance, stress i knew that i had tried and failed one too many times.  It wasn’t an easy decision to decide to have LapBand surgery but i felt i had no other way to turn.  My doctors had prescribed medication, i had tried personal trainers, dietician, hypnosis and a slew of other things.  Finally being told by my endocrinologist that my body was just working against me and that without intervention it would get worse.  I still enjoyed obstacle races and hiking but it was getting harder by the day and i felt myself changing internally for the worse.  So i took out a hefty loan and went for it.

Today is my one year anniversary.  I’ve lost 52 lbs and went from a size 24/26 to a 16/18. You might be thinking “wait if she had weight loss surgery a year ago, shouldn’t she have lost a whole lot more than 50 lbs?” And my answer to that is No.

First the science.  I have a metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and in insulin resistant. All that combined in laymen terms means that it is so easy for me to gain weight but takes a thousand times more effort for me to lose a lb. The other part of the answer is that LapBand surgery is different from the other surgeries.  With LapBand a silicone band is placed around the stomach that connects to a port that is sewn into a muscle.  The band has little pillows that the doctor adjusts with saline.  It can restrict the amount of food and allows me to learn portion control and better food choices.  My stomach is not cut or re-routed. Because it is less drastic the weight loss expected for my surgery is about 1 -2 lbs a week.  So 52 weeks and 52 lbs down.  Now I also chose this surgery because I wanted the slower weight loss.  I know, crazy right? But seriously i wanted out to be paced so my skin would have time to shrink down with it and the chances of my excess skin being  out of control might be minimized.  Another reason was simply, i didn’t have the surgery to be super skinny.  Miss Hawaiian Tropic 2017 was never on my radar lol. I wanted to live and have a better quality of life.  I wasnt suffering from self-esteem issues, i still considered myself to be attractive and i knew that being skinny wasn’t going to be the key to success.  What was going to be the key was how i thought and handled this process.  And that all starts with the mind and heart.  So I’m quite proud of the 50 lbs and i have a quite a bit more to go to make sure that physically I’m at my best so i can do the things i love and be here to meet my future grandchildren one day.

So cheers guys.  It’s been a helluva ride and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Go out and be awesome ♡