Sunday, November 25, 2012

What do you mean I have to go UP a size?

          Everyone who knows me, knows I've been working diligently for 4 years to change my life in all aspects, but especially in the weight loss/fitness/lifestyle arena.  And, for the most part, I've succeeded in doing so.  I started at 289#, a size 26, and am now at roughly 195#, a size 12.  I have tree trunks for thighs, shoulders like a rugby player, and a bum you could bounce a quarter off of.  Most of that, I attribute to running and cycling.  For about the past 6 months, I've been lifting weights and working on improving my upper body and core strength.  Very recently, I've started lifting heavy and trying to actually gain some muscle to support my new found addiction to triathlon and my decision to train for an Ironman 70.3.  Not to mention, with a fairly large and muscular lower body, I felt the need to even things out a bit.  This is where the trouble starts.

           Take a step back in time with me.  I remember fondly the first time I could fit into an XXL at Old Navy, and I also remember fondly the first time I fit into a Large at numerous stores.  Up until last night, I was still happily fitting into all things Large.  Then came the moment I realized life was about to change again.  I tried on the cutest dress, convinced it would be perfect for Christmas, only to realize it wouldn't come close to zipping past my waist.  Some might think that's about the bust, but it didn't even make it up on my shoulders.  Enter (insert melodramatic tri-tone music here), the next size up.  THE NEXT SIZE UP?! NOOOO!  But I've worked so hard!  Eric dutifully went and got me the XL.  As I put it on, it zipped happily over my shoulders and fit my upper body perfectly, only to realize it was HUGE around my hips.  Sigh.  Enter dress number two...I couldn't even pull it over my shoulders.  After the third non-fitting dress, I gave up on dresses.
          Then came the super cute fleece zip up.  It fit like a glove on the body, just the way I like it, but looked like my arms were crammed in it like sausages.  I bought the XL because I wanted something warm and cozy that would also be comfortable too.  And we can't forget the cute trouser jeans I a 14.  They're slightly huge in the waist, but fit the quads and booty with no room to spare.  What's a girl to to?  I need pants, right?  Wear a belt.

            So, standing in Old Navy last night, I realized a grizzly truth.  I'm destined to wear one of two things: shirts that fit my arms and nothing else, or stretchy athletic gear that makes me looks like the jock I really am on the inside.  And as for pants, forget it.  My legs have always been big, but they're getting harder and bigger, not to mention the ghetto booty from all the squats.  I suppose asking for the best of both worlds just isn't going to happen, unless I hurry up and get my Personal trainer cert, then I can dress like a jock for work.  If I really want the muscular, athletic body I have worked so hard for, clothes shopping isn't gonna be as much fun as it used to be.  And, I may just have to be ok with the next size up.  I mean, there are worse things....I just can't think of any right this exact moment.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

At least you didn't give up....

          As I'm sitting here on a Saturday night looking over all the new "friends" I've acquired on my Facebook page, it dawned on me that I've been remiss about writing a blog post recently.  So, here goes.  

       Yesterday, I did my usual Friday morning thing: up, eat, bike to gym, beast out, ride home, eat, work, sleep.  While at the gym, I did an extra long weight routine because I want some bulk before heading home for Christmas.  It's my deepest hope that if my shoulders are Hulk enough, the family members with whom I'm not so popular will leave me alone.... I digress.  Once finished, I hit the treadmill for 3 miles at a higher intensity than I'm used to.  Just as I was ready to start my cool down, one of my running/gym buddies hopped on the one next to me.  Mind you, she hadn't seen me for about month, because I took off time before the Marine Corps Marathon and after to get some rest.  This is a brief paraphrase of our conversation.  

        "Hey!  How's it going?  I haven't seen you in a few weeks, and I was starting to get worried!  How did Marine Corps go??"
        "UGH.  Marine Corps was a near disaster.  The weather was crappy.  You may have heard....there was this little HURRICANE that slightly affected conditions.  It was 50* and 20mph wind.  My legs were shot from sightseeing before the race because we knew the city was gonna shut down our last day there.  I ended up in the med tent with hypothermia and dehydration after nearly passing out in a was awesome."
         "Wow, that really sucks.  I'm sorry to hear that, but at least you didn't give up!  You'll have a great story and you got to hug hot Marines!  What are you gonna do now? I can't imagine you'd want to to another anytime soon...."
         "ME?  Screw that, I'm doing ING Miami marathon January 27th!  Onward and upward.  What doesn't kill me makes me run faster, right?"
         "You're a better woman than I am.  I think I would've called it quits for a while after that.  But I think it's gonna make you even more determined to train harder and do better."
         "You're right, it has.  I'm more committed than I've ever been to clean living, eating, and training.  And I'm gonna train as hard as I can for the next four months to make it happen."

         As I sit here with arms and shoulders so sore from yesterday's lift that I can barely move them, this conversation is resonating in my mind.  There are so many times over the last 4 years that I could have and sometimes should have given up.  Through the first marathon at Disney being a actual disaster, to running races in the rain that ruined phones, to weathering the split from Michael, to the nervous breakdown last spring, to having to pawn my grandmother's diamonds to pay the electric bill this past summer, I should have stopped training and taken care of business.  The thing is, I am the business.  And so when I keep training and stay focused, what I'm really doing is taking care of business.  Right now, I'm enjoying more success than I've ever had in my life.  So, for all the times I could have given up, the Marine Corps Marathon is just one more time I can look back on and say, "Rebekah, at least you didn't give up."  And I'll say that to myself every time I look at that swagtastic, spinning, sparkly medal hanging proudly on my rack.  Then, I'll go get another one to hang next to it.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The heart of an athlete

The Olympics have always been a huge event in my house.  I grew up with brothers who were serious athletes; they played football, basketball, and did track and field.  Both of them ultimately went to college on full ride track scholarships, and so watching the Olympic track & field trials, and the games, was something we waited for every 4 years.  My mom loved the gymnasts, and I loved the swimmers.  We would sit and watch the opening ceremonies and comment on the parade of nations, searching for our favorite athletes to walk by.  And, of course, we'd watch every event in hopes that our person would be amazing enough to win the ultimate prize, an Olympic gold medal.  With the 2012 Olympics opening ceremonies a couple days away, I find myself reflecting on the last Olympic games four years ago, and how very different my life is waiting to watch these games versus the last ones. 

Quite honestly, 2008 seems like a lifetime ago, and looking back at the pictures, there was a different person living in my body, so it almost seems as if it was someone else's life.  I have a picture from that summer hanging on my fridge, and the girl who kind of looks like me was 295#.  I remember coming home from the family beach vacation that year and thinking how gross I looked in the pictures.

A few weeks after that vacation, the Beijing Olympics opened, and there was buzz about who would win the marathon, whether or not Michael Phelps would live up to the hype, and if the US gymnasts could hold their own against the Chinese.  Track and Field and swimming were always my favorite events, and so I watched every moment cheering like I was there.  I remember thinking how much I missed swimming (although never really competitive, I was on a swim team for 2 years as a teenager), and how it would be a great way to start getting some exercise.  I remember being heartbroken when Lolo Jones hit the 9th hurdle and lost the gold medal, and when Deena Kastor broke her foot and had to drop out of the marathon (which I still considered an insane person's endeavor).  And I was so elated when the US relay team beat those dumbass French swimmers by a wisp of time to snatch the gold medal from them.

Long story short, those Olympic games inspired me to change my life.  I started riding a bike and in September 2008, went to the Track Shack and bought my very first pair of running shoes, pushing 300# on the scale.  I started my journey with Weight Watchers and lost 100#, but gained so much more.  4 years after those Beijing Olympics that shocked awake the heart of an athlete, I'll be watching the London Games a full blown muscled bound, marathon running, cycling, swimming, weight lifting athlete.  I've come farther than I ever imagined possible, and I'm not even close to finished.  I'm finally becoming the person I was always meant to be both inside and out.  Being an athlete is a huge part of who I am now, and I wouldn't have it any other way, nor would I give it up for anything or anyone.  We come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life.  And while I'll never be an Olympian, I can sure as hell try my best every single day to keep the heart of this athlete beating.

Friday, June 29, 2012

To meet the family....

So tomorrow I'm getting on a plane, and taking someone home with me to meet the family.....for the first time in 13 years.  Have you any idea how fucking terrifying that prospect is??  The last time I took someone home, it didn't turn out so well.  Anyway, I'm excited and full of trepidation when it comes to pulling that trigger these days.  I love Eric, and he knows it, even if nobody ever says anything to that effect.  And after 2+ years, it's time he meet the really important people in my life.  He already knows my mom and the man who has become my dad, but it's time to meet (cue horror music) my Grandma.  You know, the feisty little old lady who lives on the farm.  The one who is everything a grandma should be, knowledgeable, a little saucy, full of stories, who loves me no matter how it's been since we talked, and who will always give me a huge hug and a smile when I walk through the door.  Granted, it's still hard for me to go home and not have my Paps sitting there to greet me, but she's enough for me.

Meeting Grandma Staker means a news broadcast across the family that Rebekah has moved on.  That she's brought home some tall, skinny, handsome, super smart, charming guy who is at least 1,000 times better than the last pitiful excuse for a man she brought home (that would be the margaritas typing).  I digress.  I told Eric that she's kind of like the Godfather of the family.  Once she meets you, she calls everyone else.  Including my aunt whose daughter (my 1st cousin) still hangs out with my ex and his ugly, fat girlfriend.  But if you manage to get Grandma Staker to like you, who cares what the rest of the family thinks, because her word is kind of final.  If she doesn't like you, you're fucked.  Bottom line. 

Then there's my other mother of sorts, Betty Jo, and the kids that I adore more than any other living beings on this earth.  While they're not my children, they're my babies, nonetheless, as I was there to hear their birthing calls, just like their mother was.  I watched them grow, and walk, and lose teeth, and turn into amazing, brilliant, beautiful young men and a lady.  What they think of Eric is extremely important to me.  They're the closest thing to children I may ever have, and so what they have to say carries tremendous weight with me.  They loved Michael, and he loved them.  And I don't wish for them to be disappointed again with all my being.  And so I've waited a long time to bring anyone back into their lives on my behalf.  I owe it to them to bring home a good person who won't disappoint us a family. 

So here I sit, in a slight bit of denial over the situation.  I"m getting on a plane tomorrow and taking someone home with me for the first time in over 2 years.  That's some scary stuff.  But in true Eric and Rebekah fashion, it'll probably much ado about nothing because obviously I'm amazing and he's amazing, otherwise, why would we be together?? It's just time to let the rest of world in on that little secret.  ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Go ahead, JUMP!

I find myself recently feeling like I have just started to realize and live up to my potential as a person.  Like I have spent my entire life doubting what I am capable of because I always had someone telling me I could do better instead of applauding what I had done.  For the longest time, my mom has said to me, "As long as you do the best you can, I'll support you".  All the while, she knew I was capable of so much more, but she, in her German stoicism, left it to me to realize.

The thing about someone like me is that I've always been the fuck up of the family.  My older brothers were athletes, and scholars, who went to college on full athletic scholarships, and I was fat, little musician sister nobody really expected anything from.  And I had a father who expected perfection, but never could manage to deliver anything close to it himself.  The point is, I did the best I could, not really knowing what my best actually was.  I just kind of wandered around, doing what I thought I was supposed to do by studying music, but not really ever doing well at it.  Even now, as much as I love to teach, I'm not interested in going back to school to learn more about music.  I'm a little over it and all the pretentious, ego-maniacal people who fill the positions of upper level voice teachers.  Quite frankly, I don't care what degree you have, if you're an asshole and treat me like a second class citizen because I don't have a fancy degree, you're not good enough to even waste my breath on, better yet consider you my colleague. But I digress.

Now that I have seen just a glimpse of what success could look like, it makes me sad to know how much time, energy, money, and hope I wasted just getting by.  I never really wanted to push myself to do better, even though I know I should have.  In the last several days since I let my skeletons out of the closet to play, a switch has flipped inside me that means there is really no turning back from this point on the timeline of my life.  It's not that I want perfection from myself, but I do know that I'm capable of impressing graduate school professors and doing perfect score worthy work.  I know that I can work myself to edge of actual insanity and survive it.  I know that it's time for me to finish the weight loss journey by asking my body and mind to do things it's never done before and pushing harder than ever.

Every time I go out my door for a workout, I expect more from myself than I gave yesterday.  I know I can run faster, I know I can get stronger, I know I can work harder, I know I can live a better life once I get this enormous pile of shit out of my yard.  More than anything, I deserve more from my life than I've ever given myself permission to ask for.  Now that I know what I want more than anything, there is nobody to stand in my way except me.  And I, as human being and kick your ass then make you pancakes woman, am learning day by day to let go of things.  To get angry about things and direct that anger to the correct place, to allow myself to cry because I'm so sad on the inside that some days it's all I can do to get out of bed and lace up my running shoes.  I have never been allowed to feel all these things for fear of what someone else would think, and therefore, never really gave myself a chance to live up to the potential the universe has blessed me with.

There is no more denying it, I'm tapping into that potential, and it's a scary thing, the unknown.  What I do know about the unknown is that, while I may never be a legendary singer or performer or an amazing teacher, I will be a star in my own right.  There is no nobler deed than helping another person reach their potential.  I have a team of people, including me, who are helping me reach mine so that I can go out into the world and eventually help other people reach theirs.  There is nothing more scary than standing on the edge of a cliff and picking the right moment to either jump off of it or walk away.  Ask yourself these questions: Are you really living the life you want, or are you settling for what you think you want?  Are you really living to up to your potential, or are you too scared to take the leap of faith?  Go ahead, jump!  It'll be the most amazing, terrifying, exhilarating thing you've ever done.  And when you land, you'll look back up at the cliff, and wonder why you didn't do that sooner!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Change and gravity

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  She fell in love with a boy, and that boy cheated on her for almost a year with another girl.  When he decided to leave the first girl, she begged him and pleaded him not to go.  He looked at her with sea blue eyes under long, think eyelashes and said, "The only things in life you can really count on are change and gravity".  Then he left her.  Almost 12 years later, that girl is this girl, and little did that stupid boy know the force of nature he was dealing with when he crushed her heart.

I talk about the universe swirling and how I can feel things coming before they get here.  I talk about having anxiety so deeply that I wake up each morning with knots in my stomach bad enough I can barely choke down half a bowl of cereal.  I talk about feeling things that are beyond myself and things that didn't happen to me in this life.  I have intuition beyond my own understanding.  I'm not psychic, but I do feel things other people can't.  I have dreams about people and they come true, I have feelings about things I can't explain, I sat at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans overcome with a sense of loss so profound all I could do was sit and cry.  I have past life experiences.  I sense things.

For that reason, people are drawn to me.  Sometimes it's in an attraction kind of way, which I'll admit, I'm mostly oblivious to, and sometimes it's just a "let me get to know this girl". People are intrigued by me, I guess, who knows.  It's not something I ask for, having gravity, but it's something I deal with.  It's part of what keeps me in my house a lot.  I read people very quickly, and I can get right down to the nuts and bolts of what makes them tick so fast that it scares people away sometimes.  I'm an intuitive, and people who are brave enough to actually get to know me either stay very superficial with me or understand that I know how they tick and are ok with that.  It's what makes finding friends, good friends so hard for me.  My personality is quirky, cute and funny, and a little snarky, but quirky.  

But back to change and gravity.  When I said a cosmic storm was coming, I knew that everything would change.  What I didn't realize was that my gravity would pull everyone around me into the storm.  The thing is, each person who stands in my storm path doesn't really know what's coming at them.  They don't realize that every decision I make while standing in the eye of my own storm affects them.  They don't realize that I'm bringing a storm to them.  Things happen around me and to me and to the people I love in a way that I cannot change or affect.  These things don't happen because I want them to, they happen because they must.  Like a gravitational pull that keeps our tiny little galaxy in order, when I change, the things and people around me must change or be left behind.   

Change is never, ever easy.  Nothing will be the same when the storm clears, but everything will be better.    The universe in all its glory has a way of cleaning house from time to time.  Nobody ever likes it; nobody ever wants it.  The thing about the universe is that it never really gives you what you want, it gives you what you need.  And sometimes learning to want what you need is the battle, not the other way around.  I don't cause events ,but I do watch them happen and help people explain why they're happening at the same time.  There are things happening around me and to me right now that are all connected, woven together like a basket, where one piece cannot stand alone without the other, but must also exist independently.  All I can do is lock hands with the ones I love and stand in the middle of the perfect storm.  Knowing we are each trying to stay upright on our own, but holding onto each other just in case one of us comes close to being swept away.  My gravity attracts change, and it's what keeps me on the ground.  I'm holding on tight because the storm just started, and you better believe I won't allow any of my loves to get pulled out of my gravity.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Silence and the road to recovery

As all of you know, I'm going through a really hard time in my life right now.  Among the ages old wounds I'm nursing, I'm also single for the very first time since I was 18 years old, and that's pretty freaking scary.  I'm also learning for the first time in my life how to listen to myself. 

I started seeing a counselor and she gave me some homework.  Listen.  Write it down.  Go out.  Meet new people.  All of these are hard for me.  I'm great at listening to other people and helping them with their problems; which is why I've gotten so good at NOT listening to myself.  Meeting new people is altogether awkward and scary because I'm quirky and odd, and I'm not really sure who I am anymore.  This whole former fatgirl thing is really a weird social experiment.  So, I try to think through some of things whilst running.

Sometimes when I run, my mind is so full of things that I can't articulate them into coherent thoughts, and therefore can't actually accomplish any worthwhile thinking.  But something amazing has happened the past two days: my mind is silent.  Yes, I think about my to do list, my bank account, who I'm teaching today, etc....  But the things that have been eating at me have been silenced a little.  Part of this recovery process is actually saying the words to another human being that I was too scared to say.  Once it's out of my mind, whether it be on paper or in conversation, it loses some of its power. 

It's come to my attention, through both my own reflection and the observations of others, that I have anger issues.  I go from 0 to 1,000 in the blink of an eye.  Not only am I under direction to write down all my volcanic eruptions, I know that I can channel that negative energy into something positive.  If I'm going to be single, and not spending every waking moment that I'm not working with a partner, I'm going to spend it at the gym, or on my bike, or rock climbing, or canoeing or whatever else I can get into.  I haven't taken group exercise classes since I was a teenager (except for spinning), and I figure that sounds kinda fun, too.  Although, I'll admit, I suck at dancing, so Zumba may not be a great plan..... I want to hit my goal weight this year, and finally be done losing weight.  I want to run my fastest marathon, and make new friends.  I want to find some peace and quiet for myself.  I've started to find a little silence on my road to recovery, and if I just so happen to run several hundred miles this year down that road, then so be it.  As long as I can be still enough to hear it, the sound of silence just might deafen me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In Preparation for War

I've started many a blog post out like this, so here's another one.

I never knew losing weight would lead to so much pain.

For me, being obese was a symptom of addiction, and hurts that were so deep I didn't even know they existed.  After losing 100#, I thought I'd already come through the storm.  I'm coming up on the two year anniversary of leaving my husband, I've lost all my friends, my family barely speaks to me, and I completely changed my life, including my career path.  One would think that might suffice on the pain scale.  Apparently, I was dead wrong.  All of those events and choices were just a warm up for what I'm about to go through.

Everyone who follows my blog, or knows me, knows that I've battled a food addiction, and am winning at the moment.  Although, it is always lurking in the shadows waiting for the opportune moment to swallow me back up.  Sometimes my God does things for me to help me along.  This time, he laid anxiety on me that literally has inhibited my ability to turn to food for comfort in my time of pain.  It's the ultimate irony, really.  The one thing that could make me feel better, my drug, makes me violently sick.  I know how junkies feel when they take a hit and it makes them puke.  I digress.

My decision to share this isn't a hard one for me.  I'm a private person, but when I have a public platform that should be addressed through my own experiences, I'll put it out there for the world. 

I've spent my entire life the child of not only an alcoholic, but a drug addict.  I don't remember much of my childhood, and for good reason.  For probably the first time in my life, I'm trying to own that I was abused in various ways by my father, who was likely too high or drunk to remember any of it.  My brain has locked up my memories to a certain age, and what I do have is memories of shame and humiliation and fear, always fear.  He's a pathological, habitual abuser, who didn't start with me and didn't stop with me.  But the monster that lives in my mind is rather quickly becoming more than I can bear.  It's changed me from the happy, healthy person I had become, to someone who is full of anger and resentment.  And for the time being, it has destroyed my ability to be with the one person who loves me and supports me, and has wrecked the little life I've built for myself here.

I have spent so many years in denial over his addiction, my addiction, and my role as an abused child.  Now that I'm old enough, God has seen fit to make me strong enough to say it out loud, to own it.

All the people I've lost and war I've already fought was just the spring preview game.  I thought when I mourned the loss of the fat girl i used to be, the friends I used have, the man I used to love, that I'd be done.  It turns out, confronting the monster that made me, and then mourning him while he's still living, letting go of my guilt and shame, will be like standing in the middle of a hurricane.  I'm going going to say it once, and then never again.  I'm a victim of just about every kind of abuse that exists.  But that monster is no match for me.  I'm may be just getting warmed up, but by God, I will rip your arms off and beat you with them, and then watch you bleed to death in the floor.  And when you're dead, I'll walk away, close the door, and burn the fucking house down around your body.  You don't own me anymore.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You gave up what? For What?

Yes, I gave up sugar for Lent. What's Lent? It's the 40 days before Easter that are meant to mimic the 40 days Jesus spent on his own being tempted by the Devil. Those of us depraved enough to practice it, are supposed to give up something special to us, something that makes us feel like we're being deprived. Some people give up drinking, soda, bedtime snacks (that's my mom's Lenten challenge this year).

I chose to give up added sugar as I have done for the last 3 years. Added sugar is the stuff that makes all the tastiest things in life tasty. Anything with "cake" in the title is something I could dive into face first and burrow through to the other side. Also, anything frozen with fudge, peanut butter, and ice cream.

What people don't realize is just how much sugar there is in just about EVERYTHING. Spaghetti sauce, for example, is loaded with added sugar. Bread, cereal, crackers, fancy Greek yogurt, soda of course, and a myriad of other lovely and delicious foods are jam packed full o sugar.

What this means to a sugar addict (yes, really), is that I take away all my temptations and don't even let them in the house for 40 days. Deeper than that, it makes me face my compulsive need to eat sugar head on. It means I have to actually deal with my shit rather than stuffing it down with a cookie or froyo. It also means that exercise becomes my sole companion for getting my aggression out.

The thing that people may not understand about a compulsive eater is that we do the same thing with food as an alcoholic or heroin addict does with their substance of choice. There is so such thing as just a "little heroin". There is clean or cracked out in a bathroom stall somewhere. I'm either off the sugar and living clean, sleeping better, not having mood swings, and thinking more clearly, or I'm eating everything I can get my hands on that contain sugar in copious amounts. Once I start eating the stuff, I'm nearly consumed with an overwhelming need to just keep eating it. Even as we were leaving the restaurant on Fat Tuesday (having eaten so much I felt sick) after just eating beignets, I actually suggested we stop for froyo on the way home. This was after Eric actually had to stop me from eating the powdered sugar off the plate with a spoon. I was almost sick when I got home from all the heavy food and grease that my body isn't accustomed to eating. I didn't sleep that night, and I felt literally hungover from food yesterday.

But still it remains, my craving for sugar. Today is the second day without the stuff. After tomorrow, it'll get better. My body will stop asking for it, and just walking near a bakery will nearly make me vomit by Sunday.

The problem with being a food addict is that my "crack" is everywhere. It's not like being a pill head or junkie who has to hide in an alley or be secretive about getting high. My drug is in almost everything you can imagine. Sugar is everywhere. It's the thing I fight with everyday. I have a dysfunctional relationship with food that very few people understand. And, for at least the next 38 days, I have to stay on the wagon and get one step closer to controlling the addiction. There you go. Now you know. I'm an addict. It's such a dirty word, isn't it?

Happy Lent.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Still letting go?

One of the things I've found most challenging about my transformation has been how easy the physical things are compared to the mental/emotional challenges I've gone through. As much sweat, pain, tears, and agony as I've gone through losing the weight, losing the people I loved has been 10x harder on me.

Everyone knows I left my husband after almost 11 years together. This is mostly attributed to me deciding to take responsibility in all the aspects of my life, including health and finance. These were and still are issues he refuses to address. What everyone may not know is that I've basically lost all of my friends, too. Fatties like to hang out together, that's no big secret. They like to eat, drink, be obnoxious, and make each other feel accepted within a group because they're all fat. You know what sucks? When you're not fat anymore, they hate you for it. And in the end, I didn't fit in anymore. My outlook became more positive, I no longer needed to be loud and obnoxious to deflect attention from my physical appearance.

My best friend abandoned me when she realized it wasn't just a phase. My other friends slowly became less relevant to my life, or moved away or whatever. I let go of another "friend" who only showed up when she wanted me to do something with her, like come to one of her parties or her bridal shower, or her wedding, but could never be inconvenienced to do anything with me. So, she's gone.

The very last one, the one who weathered my split and with whom I weathered her split, had to be let go. At a time for me when the tides have all turned, and my life is finally heading down the right road, and my daily outlook is so positive, how can I possibly justify keeping someone around who makes me feel bad? She's just toxic. Everything she says is negative beyond negative. Don't get me wrong, I'm snarky. There's a huge difference between being snarky and being negative. She's like a black hole. She sucks the energy out of a room. I have watched her spiral downward instead of learning to thrive; worst of all, she's in such denial about it that my words fall on deaf ears. It hurts to see someone I care for suffering. But, I can't help her; she doesn't really, truly want my help. And so, I'm letting her go. It pains my heart, and it makes me sad. She's the last person really, really connected with my old life. Just as I mourned the loss of the person I used to be, like an actual death, and mourned the loss of my husband, best friend, and family relationships, I'll mourn this.

Rest assured, when I'm done mourning all of this, my heart will truly be ready to embrace this new life I've built and continue to build. Only good things can come from bad if I'm willing to let my higher power take the reigns. Who know losing weight was the easy part?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The good, the bad, and the addict

As I was riding my bike today, I passed the local golf course. What I saw brought back a memory so strong for me, I had to slow down and press back the tears. A little girl with blond, bouncy hair followed her daddy through the parking lot holding his hand, as he carried his golf clubs over his opposite shoulder. She was literally skipping next to him through the parking lot.

While I have a great deal of bad memories from my childhood with my father the addict and alcoholic, I have peppered memories that are amazing. They're the ones I hold nearest and dearest to my heart, of the times when he was my daddy, the man who made the stars shine. Some of the most amazing memories I have are our Tuesday afternoons on the golf course when he was in the Elks Country Club League. Mind you, being a member of the Country Club used to be a pretty grand status symbol, and I drove a golf cart for judges, lawyers, pharmacists and doctors. Everyone knew us. Later in life, I came to realize that everyone knew us for not so savory reasons, but as a child I thought it was awesome to hobnob with these people. I also came to learn that I got to drive the cart because my dad was usually too drunk to drive it for us, which also explains why we would ALWAYS spend a couple hours after the round in the clubhouse eating dinner.

But I digress. These tiny snippets of my memory, of growing up a country club brat, are some of the places I retreat to when I really start to hate the person I see him as now. When you live with an addict, you spend years trying to see the best in them because you find it too difficult to see them as they are: diabolical and manipulative creatures who prey on your weaknesses to get what they want from you. You see them like that until one day, you decide as I did, that I'd had enough, and that you don't get to control me anymore. You no longer have power over me. The problem is, once you do that, they toss you away like trash because they don't need you anymore. If you won't give them what they want, they'll find someone else to manipulate. And eventually, you have nothing left to talk about.

My dad and I barely speak. My 3 little siblings don't speak to him at all. It took me 27 years to see him for what he was. And now we have no father, like he died. Only he didn't, he just can't see through his denial. And maybe he never will. Maybe he'll never see that his life is what it is because he chooses it to be so, not because someone DID it to him.

The little girl skipping with her daddy today reminded me that once upon a time, I had a father who loved me in his own twisted way, who wanted to give me the world with the best intentions. As I think back to my visit home at Christmas and how awkward our visits were, and how much I miss my dad, I remember those days on the golf course when my daddy was the apple of my eye, and I realize that's all I'll ever have.

When you love an addict, you can't like what they are, you can only love them and know that they're not capable of anything else. When you love an addict, all you can do is remember the good times you hold close to your heart, instead of all the ones that break your heart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Contrary Motion.

Contrary motion is a term used in music to describe when two melodic lines are going in opposite directions, yet still moving the composition forward. I feel like I'm stuck in a state of contrary motion all the time. There are bits of my life being shoved violently forward, while other bits of my life are always trying to go backwards, all while time marches on.

I put myself under and through a great deal of stress last semester with all that graduation business, and was happy to do it because I reached a goal that has eluded me for some time. In the process of doing so, I let my fitness slide backwards because I was spending so much time doing schoolwork. Because my fitness slid backwards, my weight loss stopped and I even packed on about 10 pounds I'd worked so hard to lose.

So here I am again. In contrary motion. Going to grad school full time this semester will either be the best decision I've ever made or the worst. I've never been the best at time management, and at the start of this new year and semester, I find myself struggling to get a routine set up. I can't seem to get in bed before 1am no matter how hard I try, which of course, means I don't get up as early as I'd like. And my days tend to snowball from there. I desperately miss working out and the routine and stress relief it provided me. I also miss the deep, deep sleep that resulted from my 5 days/week bodily punishment. And, not for nothing, I AM NOT OK WITH WEIGHT GAIN.....ever.

That said, while contrary motion is music is amazing, in life, it's simply not acceptable. At least in my life, it's not acceptable. If I'm going to survive this semester and reach all my goals, I'm gonna have to make some commitments that are hard and fast, and happen every day. And just so I'm held accountable, I'm making them here in my blog.

1. I'm gonna get my ass out of bed by 8am everyday.
2. I'm gonna eat a small breakfast and go directly to put on my workout clothes, do not turn on the computer, do not turn on the TV, do not pass go, or collect $200.
3. I'm gonna track my food, and eat like I know what I'm doing instead of sabotaging all the work I've done because I'm busy and lazy, and being a brat.
4. I'm gonna commit to studying a little each day instead of waiting until the last minute to do everything, because that was what caused most of the stress last semester.
5. I'm gonna spend time with people who make me happy and feed my soul, and maybe just make some new friends along the way.
6. I will not get sucked into other people's drama. What happens in your life, stays in your life. I can't fix your problems, so don't ask me to or make them mine. You won't like the answers you get if you ask me to.
7. I will succeed. I have to.

Should you see me faltering, don't be afraid to call me out. I'll hate you for a minute, but love you in the end. Just because I give tough love doesn't mean I don't also need it from time to time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taking stock

As I sat with a group of people celebrating Eric's birthday this evening, I realized just how very completely and dramatically my life has changed. Nothing is the same. Every single person who I considered near and dear to me has fallen out of my life (including some family members) like the last leaves on the Fall trees, clinging for just another moment before they go back from whence they came.

None of the faces are the same (except my Mom and stepdad who's more like a real dad than my own), and while that strikes me with a sorrowful feeling, I can't say it's a bad thing. Why? Because the people who have fallen away were friends with someone who doesn't exist anymore. She's dead and gone. And just as I have mourned her passing, the new person that has come forth strives for a better life with better people in it. And just like a tree, new leaves have grown. The roots of the tree are the same, but her leaves are different. And her branches much stronger (and way better toned).

The group of people I call my friends these days are more like me: positive, supportive, creative creatures who feed my tree what it needs to thrive. Everyday, with more opportunities facing me than ever, a bright and shiny future on my horizon, and more determination than one person needs, I find myself boundlessly optimistic that as long as I keep growing my branches, new leaves will come along to fill them. As long as I can continue to understand that dropping old leaves and growing new ones is a natural part of human life, I think my tree will keep growing and growing and growing, and someday, she'll be so full of life nobody would dare cut her down again.