Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The end of an era

So, I've been having weird dreams lately; and by lately I mean every night since finals started. And by weird, I mean they involve my ex, Eric, and me at present time back at MSU. Eric says it's because I'm trying to close a chapter that deals largely with Michael.

I haven't shared this with many people, and unless you're one of the very few who read my blog, I won't have really shared with that many more people by the time I post it.

I never actually graduated from college. Yes, I finished all the components of my music degree, and all but 3 of my minor classes. I've been working on this degree for over 12 years now. And most of years I spent with Michael, living life, muddling through school, and getting some really craptastic grades, all while not really applying myself the way I should've as a musician. Many of those years were filled with pain I didn't know I was in, apathy for that pain, and the general malaise that was my life with him. Everything was about him, and I never really got the bug to finish school until I started losing weight and realized that I wanted something more for my life than what I had. That, friends, has been written somewhere else.

6 years after leaving MSU to move here, I'm FINALLY going to graduate this week. It's not that this is a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is in some respects one of the hardest things I've ever done. I spent most of my teenage years simply surviving in a house that was chaotic at best, I spent most of my young adult years fat, depressed, and never able to finish anything. Now that I'm faced with finishing the thing that has haunted me the most, I'm scared to death and excited all at once. Graduation means the freedom to really, truly, honestly move on with my life. I'm praying that MSU has enough faith in me to let start grad school, and take the next step to doing what truly makes me the happiest.

There are only a couple things tying me down to that old life (and those are on the New Year's Resolution list). I'm not talking about starting a new chapter; I'm talking about closing a book. When Saturday comes, I'll be starting to write a whole new book. Saturday, I'll be a graduate for real, and I can finally be proud of my education.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking back and looking forward

I love watching The Biggest Loser, and I've watched it religiously for 3 years. I've just recently had my 3 years anniversary with Weight Watchers, and every time I watch a new season I relive the first time walking in those doors. It's hard for me to remember that girl and how she was. It's hard for me to openly admit how much I hated myself, and how much I hated looking in the mirror. I ate anything sugary I could get my hands on because it kept my brain sedated enough to not let reality sink in. By 27, my dad had congestive heart failure (the 3rd generation on the Piatt side that killed my dad's father), my grandfather had had one heart attack and an aortic aneurism repaired, my grandmother has hardening of the arteries and God knows how many stints, and my other grandmother had had a massive coronary that nearly killed her on the table, plus high blood pressure. Since then, I've lost the only grandfather I ever knew, but grandmothers and my dad are still kicking hard thanks to modern medicine (even though I'd love for my dad to get a clue about his health). No doubt I was pre-diabetic, and it was just a matter of time before the family ailments started to show up.

Watching the new season always sends emotions flooding back through me, and I always end up in a puddle of tears because I take a couple minutes to remind myself of where I came from. I look at that girl in the picture on my fridge, where I see her every time I open it. It's hard to believe that was me. It doesn't even look like me, more like a relative who kind of resembles me. And people who meet me now don't believe me when I tell them about the weight loss; some even go so far as to want to see the picture on my FB page of me as a fatty.

I know that fat girl has been almost been banished from my person. I know this because, walking by Lane Bryant the other night on my way to Aeropostale, Eric said I pranced by the store. I used to live for that store, and now the only thing that fits are the bras, and I have to order them online because they don't carry sizes that small in the stores! But, I finally feel like I don't belong in that store anymore. I don't belong in that world. I can walk into virtually any store and buy clothes off the rack, for the first time in my life. I can wear my mom's running clothes, for Pete sake. I'm finally getting to the point where that fat girl doesn't exist anymore, except in allllll the pictures of what seem like some other person's life.

Come December, I'm going to close a very long, very painful chapter in my life. I'm finally going to graduate with the degree I've been working on since 1999. I'm going to get a divorce, and let go of my 20's and all the craziness that came with them. I'm going to start a whole new chapter. I want to finish losing this weight, and if my goal weight ends up being 175 pounds, then so be it. I'll be 175 pounds of solid, kick your ass and make you muffins female. I'm hoping beyond all hopes that UCF sees enough potential in me to look past my not so stellar test scores and crappy grades from a time in my life when I was utterly unfocused and unhappy, and lets me into their Counselor Ed program. If they don't, I'll focus on becoming a personal trainer, and try again with UCF after taking the GRE again, and doing better.

I think it's so important to never let go completely of my past, good, bad, ugly or otherwise. It's part of what has shaped my life, and made me strong enough to face my future as a whole new young woman. But, while it's good to keep the memories, it's always better to keep them at arms length, in a box on the the shelf at the back of my mind, where I can peek into it occasionally and then duct tape it shut again. Those memories may always be there, but the promise and hope I have for my new chapters is so much better that it makes looking back something I don't need to do except a couple times a year, when the new Biggest Loser season starts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Losing it is half the battle

        I'm insanely busy with teaching and homework, but I feel the need to get some things off my chest that are really bugging me.  Let me just start by saying that this is partially a rant and partially me complaining about a few things, so read on if you're interested or not, I don't care.
         First off, nobody told me when I decided to lose all this weight what would happen to my life.  They said, "Oh, you'll feel and look so good".  I though, Ok, sure, let's do this.   What they didn't tell me was that, after losing all this weight I'd be left with alien looking skin that's nothing short of appealing and disgusting.  What used to be my stomachs(yes, plural for the upper and lower), is now something akin to an empty balloon, complete with wrinkles and all.  And when I flex my abs, these little folds show up in the skin.  It sweats, it chafes, it looks like muffin top and wearing girdles everyday isn't something I'm into.  It sucks to have this shit hanging off the body I've worked so hard sculpting.  A trip to the plastic surgeon two days ago revealed that I need no less than an extended tummy tuck(to the tune of $8,500) followed by a breast lift/augmentation to fix all the damage from losing this weight.  Luckily, my arms in great shape from playing piano, so at least I don't have to have skin taken off there.
          Second, nobody told me I'd lose tolerance for any and everything to do with being fat, or the attitudes and ways I had when I was fat.  I find myself being overly judgmental towards fatties these day because I feel like if I can do it, why can't you get off your ass and stop eating at Golden Corral and make a change!  I forget that before I started this journey, I was so miserable and addicted to sugar so insanely that I couldn't see past my next stop at the Publix bakery.  I know so much of this journey is mental, but I just wanna shake people until they get it.  You're eating yourself into the grave!  Stop eating that!  Go take a walk!  Disconnect your cable!  Do something!  I'm just dying to help people, but I don't know how I'll react to the fatties that come to me and say I can't.  I'll probably be the second coming of Jillian Michaels to be honest. 
           Third, if changing my mind was as easy as changing my body, I'd be set.   My God, how long does it take before I figure out that my old habits have to die, not just hide or become less prevalent, but die altogether.   I know sugar is bad for me, and is like walking down the road to Hell.  But, in times of stress, I go right for it.  Pisses me off to no end!  Granted, I'm getting better at controlling the urges, and I at least recognize my destructive behavior when it's happening.  I just wish it would stop happening.  I'm not fortunate enough to be able to eat sugar and not be passed out like a junkie 20 minutes later.  My body physically rejects sugar to point that it makes me nauseous, yet it's compulsive, and it's everywhere.  I just wish my mind could catch up to my body. 
            Fourth, I wish my family would stop acting like children.  I'm being punished by one of my brothers for divorcing my ex because my brother really liked him and blah, blah, blah.  So, in spite of my requests to cease all relationships and communication with my ex, my brother and his wife has ceased a relationship with me.  How fucked up is that?   I don't want to cut off anyone in my family, especially because I have 2 nieces and a nephew that I adore, but I will if it becomes destructive to me.  Why can't adults act like adults?  Why is that so hard?  Why can't you understand that your family is important than anyone else in this world? Why is it so hard to treat each other with respect?  I just don't get it.  No family is perfect, but I love fiercely and live fiercely, and if you can't respect that, you don't belong in my life. 

My 3 year anniversary with WW is coming up, and I've lost almost 110 pounds since I started.  Let me just say, that 3 years ago, when I walked into Weight Watchers, I never dreamed all this would happen.  My life has changed for the better by 100%, but nobody ever told me about the residual effects.  The stuff that isn't so amazing and positive.  The stuff that breaks my heart in pieces.  Nobody ever talks about it.  Hell, I don't talk about it, until it gets to me so much that I need to write it down.  People may read this, they may not.  But, at least it's out of my head, and I can let some of it go.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mind over, well, everything

I feel like the last 3 weeks of my life have gone by in a blur or stress, anxiety, and too much not so great for me foods. The process of getting into school this semester practically had me ready for the mental institution for 2 weeks, trying to get into classes, sending countless faxes to the school for financial aid purposes, getting books, emailing professors. What I thought was only going to be 2 classes, ended up being 4 classes, and all of the sudden, I'm a full time online student! So on top of running a business, just running/cycling/lifting, and general daily life, I have at least 20 hours a week of school stuff to do. Not to mention that I'm taking a math class for the first time in over a decade, and I. HATE. MATH. I also harbor frustration towards many of the people on the discussion boards because, while they mean well, they're idiots!!! How did you make it to college? You have no concept of coherent or grammatically correct thoughts!

Needless to say, I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around. Especially this past week, with school starting and me trying to just get the hang of the classes. I'm not really certain if I really can have it all, and do it all, and stay sane without torching the very few meaningful relationships I have right now. The other factor into all this is, that I'm financially strapped. Last month wasn't so great in terms of business, and this month is right on the edge of the same. I will pick up more students as the Fall moves forward, but right now, I'm totally broke. That said, the student loan fairy will hopefully be showing up sometime next week(fingers crossed), and that will take some of the stress off the business a little. I'm also struggling because I love teaching, but it's not my lifeblood the way it used to be. God is clearly sending me down a different road, far, far from being a music teacher. I'll always do it, but it'll be nice someday when I don't HAVE TO DO IT to be able to eat.

I have a very powerful mind. It's capable of great things. It's the kind of mind that will make me a great counselor someday. But it also makes me a little crazy now, when there are 50 things I'm thinking about all at once. I didn't use to operate at this level, partly because my brain was always cracked out on sugar, but mostly because I wasn't ready to embrace my potential. What I've learned about my life over the last couple years is that I can do anything I set this mind to. I can lose the equivalent of a 10 year old, I can run hundreds of miles through pain and all kinds of weather, I can start my life over again, and I can manage to live by the mantra "mind over matter".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This one time at band camp, I almost died......

Yesterday was a very special day in the history of my life, a weird anniversary if you will. Those who know me well, and have known for any length of time, know that I suffered a traumatic injury when I was a teenager that effects my life to this day. If anyone has every had a paradigm shift, especially at a young age, you know that you never forget the day it happened, and you know that the people who were there with you will never forget it either. I'm not telling the story here in detail, because that's hardly the point of this post.

August 10, 1995 was a band camp day. I lived for band camp, and as an incoming freshman, I was so excited to finally be getting to high school. It was also my band director's birthday, one I'm sure she'd love to forget. It started like a normal band camp day, and by the end of the day, I was nearly bleeding to death in a hospital bed after falling though a plate glass window in our high school office. The accident happened around 10:10 in the am, and I laid in an ER bed for almost 8 hours before finally being taken into surgery to repair 3 severed tendons and 2 severed nerves in my right wrist/forearm(requiring over 100 stitches and 75 staples) and numerous flesh wounds on my left forearm.

With a cast from fingertips to elbow on my right arm, and some heavy duty bandages on my left arm, my parents were told by the surgeon that I might not ever play the piano again, I might not regain full function of my right hand, and that I'd definitely have permanent nerve damage in my right hand. So, after 3 days in the hospital, my mom took me home. I couldn't do anything on my own.....anything. I couldn't eat, pee, put on clothes, brush my teeth(clad in brand new braces), nothing. Imagine how mortifying that must be for a 14 year old. Not to mention getting a bath from my mom, in the kitchen. HA! It's funny now to look back on it, but it sucked so much then. People would come and go to visit me, and I loved seeing my friends and kids from church. I looked forward to our daily outings to Wendy's for lunch and the video store for fresh movies. Mind you, this was the ONLY time I was allowed outside. And because it was the dead heat of summer, infection from sweat was a very serious risk, given the severity of my wounds.

In 7 weeks, the cast came off and the stitches came out, and what was left was pretty gruesome. It looked like someone has slit my wrist(and still does). I couldn't even make a fist with my hand, the muscles had atrophied so badly. I had to relearn how to write, hold a fork, brush my hair, brush my teeth, button buttons(which I still can't do), and relearn how to play piano, all at a very slow pace. It took months for me regain enough strength to do many of the mundane activities we take for granted everyday.

Stay with me, I'm getting to the point right now.

Flash forward 16 years.

Yesterday, I had $5 to my name(I have $10 to my name today, so I'm better off today than yesterday), my bank account is in the negative, and I got a shut off notice on my electric because I'm having a really tough time right now financially. The upside? God decided to remind just how freaking lucky I am to be here, able to play piano EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE better than ever, how I have 10 fingers that function( even though 3 have no feeling in them), and mostly that I'm alive. I could've bled to death from my injuries in front of my classmates 16 years ago. I didn't, and thank God for that. As frustrated as I was with my life yesterday, today I got the point. Sometimes he doesn't make easy to understand why life is what it is. But yesterday, on my anniversary of the one time at band camp I almost died, I was just happy it's 16 years later, and that I'm here.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So it's been a while since I've posted, mostly because I haven't that I could write much without being super negative. But I'm feeling the need to get some things off my chest. Be forewarned, this isn't a posting all about rainbows and butterflies. I've decided that financial stress is the root of all evil. Couple money problems on top of soon to be exes and a university who isn't really interested in helping students graduate, and I've got a mess on my hands.

I pride myself on running a friendly small business where people can learn in a fun environment and I can have some fun while working. The problem with a small business is sometimes life happens, and when other people can't pay me, I can't pay the people I owe. It's a really nasty trickle down effect that I don't care for so much. Anyway, the summer has always been a tough time to get through teaching privately, and I thought I'd pretty much made it unless this month. 4 people couldn't pay me on time, and couple people had to drop, and I lost a couple more students to college. It's the typical ebb and flow, but I still haven't paid my power bill, and the cable just might get shut off. That's life, though. At least my rent is paid. And I HATE asking people for money. It's my least favorite part of running my business because I feel like one of the bill collectors I despise so rabidly.

I'm also trying to tie up some of the loose ends in my life. One of those would be getting divorced. It's not that I haven't wanted a divorce, I do more than anything, but it's a process. We had zero assets, in fact, we had only debt. That's not surprising for anyone who knew us. And as much as I'd love to sue his ass for all the money he owes me, I know that he'd never pay it, because he's never paid for anything else in his life. Why would I be any different? But, somehow my mom found his address, which he's refused to give me up to this point, so I can get started on the filing process. The $495 court fees won't be fun to pay, but it'll be a relief to get it done, and finally be free of the past.

Academic struggles are a whole different type of stress, and at this point, I'm simply dealing with a bureaucracy that really doesn't care about helping people succeed. I have to have patience with the process, and hope that luck and mercy are on my side. I'm almost at the finish line; and I have faith it will all work out, God is just testing my staying power.

Being in a relationship brings its own unique brand of stress to the table. How to deal with my partner's stress without making it my own is a struggle for me. I want to help, but some days, I'm so deep in my own pile of poo that I can't help him. But, for his own sake, he has to be able to deal with his life independently of me. That's what makes a strong pair of people, is being strong individually then combining those strengths so that they compliment each other. For the most part, we succeed in that, but some days we falter, just like everyone else.

There is no upside to having stress in my life, except to try to make tomorrow better than today. I try to chip away at the stresses one at a time, and hope that at some point, they will start to go away one by one, just as they came. It's all so exhausting, but it will end at some point. I refuse to live my life like this. I did it for 11 years while I was living married, and left because I didn't want that life anymore. I still don't want it, but I'm working on it, and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An act of kindness

It's not everyday that I get my heart broken. It's even rarer that it breaks in public with strangers just passing by watching it happen and not bothering to even care. Yesterday, I realized just how self involved we, as a culture, truly are. We feel that whatever task is at hand is the single most important thing in the universe and can't possibly be bothered to stop and help someone in need, even when she's bent over a tiny animal in the middle of the road, sobbing almost uncontrollably.

I went to the gym yesterday, like I always do on Mondays, to lift weights, and was riding my bike home, when I noticed a lady's dog stopped staring intently at an animal lying in the grass. I assumed this animal was dead, and that someone would pick it up. As I rode by, I waved to the lady, but then kept looking back to see that she was examining the little animal closer. And that she lingered there for quite some time with her dog. I did a couple mile loop, and decided that I had to go back and see what the fuss was about. On my way back down the street, I noticed a dark thing in the road, and my heart sank. The little animal on the side of the road in the grass hadn't been dead, and it had managed to drag it's body out into the street.

Regardless of traffic, I hopped off my bike and parked it in the middle of the lane. Much to my dismay, a little black tabby cat lay in the road, barely alive, and badly broken. He had gnats flying around his face, and his little body was sunken in and emaciated. He had been this way for quite some time, and nobody had bothered to notice him. I was in tears the moment I saw him, and positive I could hear my heart breaking audibly. I talked to him, mostly to make myself feel better, but to let him know that someone cared and that he didn't have to be alone any longer. His little tail started to twitch and I knew that he knew I was there for him.

Cars passed by. Even a cyclist passed by, stopped to make sure that I was ok, and then went on his way. A man in a SUV stopped and handed me some paper towels, so I could at least move the kitty out of the road, and then told me he couldn't help me because he was late. The image of the white rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland" popped into my head, and I wanted to cuss at him, but resisted the urge. A kid in a minivan stopped, and I asked him if he lived nearby and could he get a towel for me to wrap up the kitty. His response? I have to pick up my prescription, but I'll see if you're still here when I get back. I unrolled several layers of paper towels and laid them out near the kitty, and as gingerly as I could moved him onto them. I could tell when I moved him that his little back was broken and that just the act of breathing must be excruciating. Not sure what to do next, and with a line of cars just going by one at a time, all staring mind you, but none stopping, I got ready to move him out of the road. My next move was going to be to call Eric, who was on his way to my house for our canoeing adventure. Before I could, a young man in a pickup truck came out of a side street and pulled off to the side to help me.

By the time he got there, I was nearly hysterical, and pissed beyond belief at the humans around me. He opened the back of his truck, put on his Winter Park firefighter coat, and came over to talk to me. It turns out, his mom has been out walking, gone home and told him he needed to go get the cat off the side of the road. I told him the kitty needed to be taken to an animal hospital to be put to sleep because his back was broken. We discussed which vet to take him to, and agreed on the same Dr., my vet, and he called them to apprise them of the situation. He picked up the kitty and put him the back of the truck. And I tried my best to comfort him, but he was so scared. As the guy closed the top on his truck bed, I had to really talk myself out of climbing in there and riding along to comfort him. I walked back to my bike, and really just let it out, which apparently worried the man. He came over to make sure I was gonna be ok, and that I wasn't hopping back on my bike immediately. I calmed myself down, and tried to really grasp what was going on. When I hopped back on my bike to head home, I called Eric to let him know why I wasn't home when I said I'd be there. I was over 20 minutes late getting back, but I didn't really care.

Nothing was more important than stopping to help a creature in need. We've all experienced pain, and we all know what it's like to be in need. We've all asked for help at one point in life, and been grateful to have received it. What makes one life more important than another? What makes a stray kitty lying in the road less important than the pampered kitty who's asleep on a pillow in my bed right now? NOTHING. All God's creatures deserve our love and respect, no matter what species they are. Why was I the ONLY ONE who stopped to help that poor soul? Why didn't the person who hit him stop? Did they even care?

The act of kindness here has two meanings: 1, is simply that I took the time to stop and help him and 2, is that to help him meant ending his suffering by getting to the vet and not leaving him to die alone and in pain. I couldn't save him, but in the end of his life, he knew there was someone there who cared enough to take care of him. So I gave up 15 minutes of my day, big deal. Look up from what you're doing. Take a minute to slow down. Don't forget that outside of your existence, a huge world of swirling life is happening, and that yours is but a speck in the universe. Life is bigger than you, what you do today to help another can effect everything else you do. We should all be so lucky as to commit an act of kindness, least you should need one at some point.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Price I pay

The other day, I was having a seriously shitty day, and was gonna do a post, but decided it best to wait for the anger to subside. I don't want my blog to be negative, and I don't want people to think I'm negative, even though I do have my days from time to time when I'm just not happy with anything or anyone. That said, today's blog is about the price I pay for having the life I want.

I live a mostly great life. I run my own business, which pays my bills (and not much else), I decide when and for how long I want to work, I don't work 40 hours a week, and my commute involves walking down the steps from my bedroom and around the corner into the living room to the piano. I have free time most mornings that I can use to work out 2 hours a day. All in all, that's pretty f'n sweet. Except for the fact that I'm the paycheck. I don't get paid by someone else every two weeks, and I don't get vacation time or sick time. I get paid once a month. If I don't work, I don't get paid. And, if people decide to be disrespectful and give me short notice on discontinuing lessons, it puts me in a serious bind.

My anger the other day was directed at one person. He knew that money was due the last week of the month, and gave me the runaround about paying me for days. Finally, on the 5th of the month, after I had paid rent and bills, and was basically broke, but still trying to go to New Orleans for the weekend, he decided to tell me via text message that he was discontinuing lessons. Really? This, compounded with someone else who dropped and someone else who couldn't pay me til mid month, really meant that the trip away that I so very desperately needed, would be cancelled at the last minute. So, in a matter of a couple hours, I was broke and not going anywhere this weekend, and not going to get a chance to see my friend. This, of course, pissed me off even more.

I went to the gym, and really tried to run it out. Then, I tried to lift it out by killing my legs on the weight machines. Really, I felt more like throwing the weights AT people, instead of lifting them. But, knowing that I had worked off some of that aggression meant that I felt a tiny smidge better. A good cry whilst sitting on the floor when I got home went a long way in helping me feel better, too. But the reality was/is I'm mentally exhausted and badly need a break from my life to go on an adventure or do something new.

The bottom line here is this: I love teaching. I HATE running the business. I take it too personally when people treat me badly as a teacher, and it's exhausting my mind. Running and lifting and cycling only go so far in helping me clear my mind of all the shit that swirls around in it. I'm a sensitive person, even though I look like a died in the wool athlete who could kick your ass for looking at me wrong.

Everyone makes a choice at some point about how they want to live life. What kind of life you want, what job, car, house, diamond, dog, or clothing you want. There's a price we all pay for those decisions. I had to give up my vacation so I could make sure there was food in my fridge until August 1, but everything happens for a reason. And my hardship pales in comparison to others'. Some prices are higher than others, like the people in this month's issue of Runner's World who have battled or are battling cancer. I've realized that my decision to live like this will cause casualties in my life(in the form of friends, trips, and sometimes family), but I'm certain the payoff in the long run(pun intended) will be worth all the crap I have to put up with right now. This is the life I chose, and so I'll pay the price, even if it hurts sometimes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Out of my comfort zone.

A few weeks ago I got a new student, and he's a little different than my other students who are mostly interested in classical music or music theater singing. He told me sings in a rock band and needs some help. Then he gave me some tickets to a charity rock concert. That concert was last night, and it was decidedly out of my comfort zone.

Part of the problem I have these days is understanding that I'm not fat anymore. But I spent my whole life being overweight, and the ramifications of that are long lasting. One doesn't just lose 100# and automatically be ok with herself. I'm not edgy or cool. I don't dress hip or sexy. I'm just not that girl. But maybe I'm not that girl because I haven't tried, or think I can't pull it off. Given the chance to really step out last night and wear something HOT, knowing that a lot of people there would be dressed the same way, was scary for me. So, I went with what would make me feel comfortable, which was my favorite denim skirt that is way too big for me, red and white layered tank tops, and my trusty silver Birkenstocks. Even being comfortable in my clothes didn't make me feel comfortable in my own skin.

I live a rather solitary life where I don't put myself in the position to feel insecure, but it's in the moments that I do something new and different that I realize just how unsure my footing is. But that's a juxtaposition for me as well, because for the most part, I don't give a rat's ass what people think of me. When I run, I look like a total nerd, and I don't care because I run for myself. When I teach, my students know that I'm a little crazy, and I don't care. I say what needs to be said in all aspects of my life, and don't really care how if affects others involved. But when it comes to stepping out into a room full of scantily clad rocker Barbies, why do I pick that moment to care what people think?

I was uncomfortable for an hour or so, until my student's band took the stage, and then I let myself be just another face in the crowd. I let myself listen, and feel the music, and turn off the teacher instincts. I tried to ignore some of his bad habits, the ones I see each week in lessons, but haven't gotten around to fixing yet. And like some of my other students performing on stage before, I watched him scan the crowd for my face. And then the rocker boy found his teacher in the audience, pointed right at me and smiled because he knew I was there way past my bedtime, he knew I had to run today and wasn't happy about being out so late, and he knew I was out of my comfort zone. After that, my comfort zone disappeared.

My friend and I went upstairs after the last band's set to see if they'd be by their merch table, and I wanted to see some other friends from a different band. It's in those moments when I get insecure again. When the rocker Barbies are swooning over the rocker boys. But as another friend of mine pointed out, "You're one of the Barbies now. Every time I see you, you look better." Barton and Scott are two of the nicest guys I know, wild, but nice. They've known me since before I started this journey, and every time they see me, they tell me how amazing I look. Last night, after several beers, the "wow, you look greats" turned into, "DUDE, YOU"RE SO HOT"(mind you, one of them has a girlfriend clad in a corset, tiny hotpants and fishnets). After a chat and a picture, I decided that walking out of my comfort zone had been a great idea. I had a lot of fun last night, and was reminded of how amazing it is to just move to the music, whatever kind it is. I was reminded that once upon a time, there was a rocker girl inside of me who lived for Aerosmith concerts.

The concert last night was a leap of faith I had to take on my own. It was a necessary evil to helping me realize that hiding behind my former self isn't acceptable any longer. Last night, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and it took on a life of it's own, so that today it's much bigger.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

People are strange when you're a stranger.

It seems people like to talk to me. Strangers, especially. Everyone from the deli guy to the seafood guy to the cashier; they all like to talk to me. Even when I'm not in the mood to talk back. Apparently, I have the type of personality that invites conversation. Mind you, it doesn't really bother me, but it is a little annoying sometimes. Weird thing is, it hasn't always been like this. I've noticed over the course of the last couple years as I've gotten skinnier that people are nicer to me. It leads me to really believe that the vast majority of people are prejudice against fatties. I really try deep down to not become one of those with prejudice, but sometimes it's hard when I see people abusing their bodies the way I used to. It makes me think, if I could do it, why can't you? But then I remember, I had to get to the place where I was ready to do it. Some people never get there.

I never really noticed it before because I didn't want anyone to look at me, much less talk to me when I was fat and miserable. Even though I always dressed really nice, did my hair and makeup and made sure I looked presentable before I walked out of the house. But, people didn't talk to me then. Come to think of it, the only people who really talked to me were other big people I ran across in my everyday life.

I try to encourage people I see out on the trail or at the gym who look like I used to, because I forget sometimes how much a stranger's enthusiasm and motivation meant to me. Now that I look the part, fewer people give me thumb's up, or atta girls. So, I try to pass it along. I am turning into that person that people come to for help changing their lives. I've come to grips with that, accepted it, and am ready for the challenge. I am okay with being the girl that everyone wants to talk to, tell their problems to, and get advice from. I'm excited about it even. It's a paradigm shift for me, and sometimes it makes me very self conscious, I'm not gonna lie. But, it's what the universe needs from me. So, go ahead, strangers, talk away. Tell me what's on your mind, ask your questions. Don't be offended by my answers, and don't fancy me a snob because I say things like, I ONLY ran 10 miles today. That's my reality, and it's very different from many other peoples'. But, I'm here to listen, so talk away.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A true milestone

So in October of 2008, I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. I was skeptical at best, and was greeted by an over zealous leader who made me want to smack her before she even opened her mouth to greet me. I was wearing the only pants I owned that still fit me, a pair of elastic waist knit gauchos in a size 24 that were best described as tight and a size 22/24 Avenue T-shirt that was also bulging at the seams. I sat through the meeting, and listened intently, to these people talking about points this and core that, and then listened to them celebrate their losses.....and their gains. When it came for joining up, I dutifully stepped on the scale and winced, waiting to hear my starting weight. Mind you, I couldn't tell you the last time I'd been on a scale before that, and I wasn't in any hurry to hop on this one. However, it was what had to be done. The computer beeped, and she said, "Your starting weight is(and she whispered it so I could barely hear it) 289." I was crushed. "Really? I'm that big?" I'd never been close to that size in my life, and a wave of shame washed over me. I didn't seem that big when I looked in the mirror. But then I remembered the pictures from summer vacation that year, remembered looking at them in disgust.

The lady behind the counter, Mary, handed me my beginner books and such, and said, "one pound at a time is the way it's done, Dear." I listened to the leader's getting started session, and thought surely I'd fallen into the 7th circle of Hell or something like it. She talked to me about 5% and 10% goals, and what my ultimate goal weight should be. She touted portion sizes and the importance of weighing and measuring. Ever the skeptic, I listened. The woman in front of me, Helen, was over excitedly talking all about how she had lost 80 pounds, and how WW had changed her life. And so I thought, perhaps it can change mine as well.

I went home from that first meeting, and didn't exactly take to the plan with open arms. I decided to try core first, and after a few weeks of doing it my own way, I caved and started sticking to the points. I worked out diligently riding my beach cruiser and learning to "run" the loop around my neighborhood. Months passed, and the weight slowly came off. I trained for my first 1/2 marathon, then my second, then my third. I logged countless hours at the gym, on the bike, and running the roads. Neighbors and passersby watched me shrink before their eyes and would stop me on the streets to commend my efforts and tell me how inspirational I was.

Life inside my house was a nightmare. Mike had gotten a terrible staph infection, then lost his job, then we lost the Jeep, then he decided he didn't really want to work. I tried to stick to my plan as much as I could. He didn't want anything to do with exercising or keeping the candy out of the house. I started to change, and to not be okay with mediocrity and irresponsibility anymore. I had taken control of my body and started being responsible with it, and thought I should apply those principles to the other aspects of my life. Unfortunately, he didn't really take to that either.

I completed my first full marathon in January of 2010, after losing 70 ish pounds. Life would never be the same. I kept at my plan, and kept losing here and there, but I was going to school and auditioning for grad school, and was desperately seeking a way out of my life. I decided in April of 2010 to leave, and start my own life. Quickly, the pounds started to shed again. I trained for more races, and ran all summer last year. I trained for my second Disney marathon and ran it in January of this year. I pulled someone across the finish line with me who would've quit had it not been for me talking her through the whole thing. I realized my calling that day. Whether it be personal training or counseling, or both, I am meant to coach people.

My own weight loss has stalled at -90# for months on end. My body had gone through muscular changes, but not lost weight. Only a few weeks ago did I start serious weight training in addition to the massive amounts of cardio I do every week. Sunday, life changed again when I came home from running long. I hopped on the scale, as I do every morning like a psycho, and it popped up a number I'd never seen before:186. I nearly passed out. Not only had the scale moved, but it had lept from the 190's into the 180's! And, it had ran past 189, which put me well past the -100# mark.

When I look back at the last 2 1/2 years, it amazes me what I've come through. I never dreamed in a million years that the life I had when I was a fatty wouldn't even resemble in any way the life I have now. I never dreamed I'd be happy living by myself, running a successful business, and carving out my niche in the world. I never dreamed I'd survive the break up of my marriage, or be the one who did the breaking. And I certainly never thought that losing weight would change me on an elemental, cellular level, but it has. When I started WW, I never thought I'd be the person telling people at the meetings how much I've lost and watching them look back at me with adoration, envy, and joy. I'm so close to meeting my goal, and I will not stop until I get it.

Losing 103# is a true milestone, one in a long line of milestones that has changed my life for the better. I have been changed for good. I hope I can help others change for good, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A fresh start

I'm restarting my blog as I restart training after that effing staph infection sidelined me. Before 5.2.2011, I was in the best physical shape of my life, at my lowest weight since 7th grade, and ready to conquer the world. 10 days off, and I'm back down in the shit where I was months ago.
I"m gonna try to post daily, and get out what I need to say about life, training, family, and business. I'm just not a "sit still on the couch person".

I went running today, and managed to keep my paces down below 11/mile for 3 miles......that's all I could handle, a crappy 3 miles. Granted, I've survived 2 massive rounds of soul sucking antibiotics that drained the life right out of me, but still. 3 miles? BARF. I also can't discount the fact that I have an open pit on my shin the size of a dime that looks mildly better everyday. And after my early morning run today, I came home and Cloroxed everything, and I mean everything! This is the second time is 8 months I've had a staph infection. They said I got this bug from the surfaces I touch everyday, and by God, they'll all be clean if it kills me. Next on the list is my car.

I'm heading to Ohio tomorrow for a family wedding, and I must say I'm having a more than serious amount of anxiety about it. I don't get alond well with one of my aunts, who is quite possibly one of the most miserable people I know of. She just doesn't like me. Idk if that's because I'm my mother's daughter and she hates my mom, or if she's just jealous of me that I could actually get out of a bad marriage and live a happy life when she's hiding behind her Bible to keep her in a sham of a marriage for the last 30 years to a man who flagrantly cheats on her. Idk if she's jealous because I'm fit and healthy and kinda hot now, and both her daughters are now the fat ones. It's hard to tell. My goal is to avoid her and her family at all costs. I'll be cordial, but I'm striking up any conversations.

Also, there are some personal milestones happening this weekend that are giving me anxiety. tomorrow will mark the 1 year anniversary of me leaving my husband. I"m trying to not really think about it too much, but it's weighing on me. I'm also going to a wedding for two young people who are broke, without good jobs, and struggling to survive, which might as well be a mirror image of he and I when we got married. I don't advocate getting married under such stress. It didn't work for us, and the stress never really went away. Granted, Idk what their relationship is like, but still, my 7 year weddking anniversary is 2 weeks away, and the similarities are striking and sad.

You see? This is what happens when I sit on my couch for a week! My brain does nothing but think. This is why I run. I run to get my mind some relief from thinking. And even now that I'm back to running, 30 minutes just isn't enough time to decompress my brain. I really hope my legs come back soon, and that I can be out there running 10 miles sooner than later, because at this rate, I"m gonna think myself to death.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A thousand steps in the right direction.....

As the next marathon comes closer and closer(it's now only 11 weeks away), I find myself struggling to juggle all elements of my life. Even though I don't have kids, I have so many things going on at once that I feel like everyday is scheduled out hour to hour. Between training, going to school, teaching, and trying to get a divorce, I'm exhausted at the end of every day. Granted, I pile all this stuff on myself, but geez, it's hard.

I keep reminding myself everyday that I'm doing all of this for a reason: to get where I want to be. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to be a motivation and inspiration to those around me. I want to be instrumental in getting my community off its couches and out on the sidewalks taking a thousand steps in the right direction.

Some days, like today, all I wanted to do was stay in bed because my legs were tired. Why were they tired? I killed them yesterday. I decided to take it easy today, and only kill my arms after running 4 miles. On other days, I feel like I could run forever, and sometimes I do. But I have to say, it's the days I don't feel motivated that I'll put on my running shoes and hit the road, only to come home and share my run and find that my run has motivated someone else. That's one of the joys of Facebook, I guess. I've had so many people tell me they log on everyday just to read my posts.

So, today I feel a little overwhelmed by life, but tomorrow is a new day. And, everyday I run, I take a thousand more steps in the right direction. I just wish I could find some people to take them with me. Maybe I'll start my own running program.......hmm.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

An overdue race report

It just dawned on me that I never posted my draft of the race report from the Disney Marathon. So, almost 2 weeks later, here it is. Mind you, it's the draft from the day after the race, so it'll be written about "yesterday" even though it's from 2 weeks ago.

My morning started at 2AM, when the allarm went off. I was too jazzed to hit the snooze button, so I got up and ate some breakfast. I started packing all my gear into my Fuel Belt. We headed out at 3:47, and arrived at Epcot at 4:15. All runners had to be at the start line and in their corrals by 5, so Eric and I made the 1 mile walk to the start line with thousands of my closest friends. After 45 minutes of waiting in the freezing cold, in shorts might I add, a great singer did the national anthem, and the first wave took off. There were fireworks and pyrotechnics, and music. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy all had on track suits and were dancing. It was good fun.

My goal pace for this race was 12/mile, and so I kept a clost eye on my Garmin for the first couple until I could feel my toes again, just to make sure I wasn't doing anything crazy. I have to say the the first ten miles kinda went by in a blur. I remember some ladybugs from the Mainstreet Electrical Parade(my favorite old school parade at Disney) at mile 2ish, and then running around The World Showcase and ginormouse Xmas tree to mile 4. The next thing I remember is handing Eric my jacket at Mile 10 near the Contmporary, and then running through the Magic Kingdom. I had to get a picture in the same place as last year, with me on Main Street in front of Cinderella's castle.

Once we left MK, it was kinda boring. Running along the back side of the property, there wasn't much to look at, and the road narrowed quite a bit, which meant that we were pretty crowded, and that made it tough to really run well. We ran through the composting and water treatment facility, which was quite smelly, I was super happy to get through there. Around mile 14, my legs started to cramp, and I thought that was because I had slowed down a little bit, so I kept running. By mile 16, my legs locked up completely, and I was running straight into the wall. At the turn of mile 17(somewhere near the back of Animal Kingdom), I stopped, stretched, called Eric for a pep talk, and doubled down on clig bloks and water. As I started back to running, I slowly started to feel better. About then, I noticed a runner who I'd passed before, who'd then pass me, and so forth. She looked like she was in intense pain, and so was I, so I struck up a convo.

It turns out, Gail had been left by her group because her knee was hurting her so much she had to slow her pace way down, and had made a stop at a medical tent for some taping. I asked her if we could run together for a while, and the miles started climbing. My iPhone earbuds had died, and I could use the distraction as well. We talked about kids, weight loss, jobs, animals, hobbies, food, running, you name it. As we ran together, her pain worsened, but I kept up motivating her and changing topics. Mile 18, 19 clicked by and I reminded her at mile 20, that a 10k was nothing. Through Animal Kingdom, we ran the canal between AK and the back gate of Epcot. Gail was in serious pain, and I was hurting pretty well at this point. By mile 23, I had become the motivator to several people running near us. "A 5k is what we eat for breakfast", I said. By this point, we weren't really talking much, just trying to survive the rest of the run.

As we got through the back gates of Epcot, we hit mile 25, and there were a lot more people cheering on the runners. In a lot of pain, I kept reminding Gail that no matter what happened, when she crossed the finish line, SMILE! If this is gonna be your only marathon, at least make sure you have a good picture, right? I found myself being frustrated that the spectators weren't making much noise, so I started getting them pumped. Once we saw that big ass ball, we were at mile 26, and I pushed it into overdrive. Around the corner, there were tons of people and we could see that blessed finish line waiting. I split up from Gail, and reminded her to smile as best she could. With a huge smile on my face, and 2 fingers in the air, I ran over that line, and I can honestly say, it was one of the happiest moments of my life! It was the moment I shoudl have had last year when I ran it, but happily took this year instead.

Once we got our medals, Gail found me, and gave me the biggest hug. She told me that she couldn't have made it to the finish without me, and that I have a great gift for motivating people. She also said that someday, I'm going to make a huge difference in the lives of people who need it most. Between finshing the race and what she said to me, I was in tears. I made my way through the food line and found Eric, stretched, relaxed for a bit, and then went home.
5:29:29 was my finishing time, which makes me super happy. Overall, it was a great experience, and one I will repeat next year as part of my quest to complete the Goofy Challenge!