Wal-Mart isn’t someplace I normally associate with life-changing moments. Although if you’re going to have a public freakout Wallyworld does have a lot to recommend it: Not only can you buy tranquilizers, Natural Calm and fuzzy socks (just me?) but it seems like there are always a bunch of people around to call 911 if you actually make good on your promise to pass out. Yet when I decided to start hyperventilating, I went into the bathroom to hide. Nothing like a public restroom to guide you! Instead of two-roads-diverging-in-a-yellow-wood ambiance, I had two stalls in a peeling yellow bathroom. (If you mis-read that as “peeing” know that’s how I first typed it. I’m not sure I was wrong either way.)
Guiltily I took the bigger stall, the one with the large blue disabled placard on the front, because, by golly, I needed my space — if not for my person, at least for my huge emotions. Plus I was the only person in the bathroom. And I was totally prepared to bolt out with my pants around my ankles should I hear a wheelchair rolling in. Promise.
Have you ever played rugby? I haven’t. I had the chance once. The super rad Jen Sinkler (you may know her as the strong-woman who coined the phrase, “How do I get my cardio? I lift weights faster.”) once invited me to play with her team. Actually I think she invited me like five or six times. Yet despite my whole shtick being trying new athletic stuff I balked at rugby. I’ll be honest: they were some of the most super-fit ladies I’ve ever seen and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. I’m not usually one to mind public humiliation but I was really intimidated. I mean, it’s rugby.
At the time all I knew about rugby was that it had really complicated rules, people got hurt a lot and it most closely resembles American football, the sport I most detest. (Yell at me if you want but for me watching football is worse than watching my cat lick her biz. The players only move for 11 minutes out of 3+ hours of game time – the rest is just watching people yell at each other without being able to hear what they’re saying. How is that fun??)
This happened. JellyBean (4): “Look what I found mom! Now we can be twins! But… where do I buy the thingies that go in them??” (Oh honey, I too need to find the thingies that go in them!)
“Mom, can you tell me the story again of how I was born?” Everyone has a vital need to know their creation story. (No, not your literal creation story. That would be TMI. Unless you’re one of those kids named after the place they were conceived, like my friend Sage. Don’t picture it. Sage brush is ouchy.) I don’t know why I’d never realized the importance of the story before I had kids but they ask on such a regular basis that now I know: Everyone wants to know they were wanted, were loved, were hoped for and dreamed of, before they were born. Even if they weren’t born under such happy circumstance, they still want to know about that electric moment you first locked eyes, held fingers and then how they burped up amniotic fluid all over the both of you. I may be romanticizing it a little — nothing says love like burping — but the truth is that these re-tellings are deeply meaningful to my children.
I need to take a break from this blog for a bit. I need to reevaluate what I want from it and for it because for about the past year I feel like it – no I – have gotten really stagnant. Which isn’t fair to any of us! You guys deserve fresh, interesting, funny stuff and I deserve… well, I don’t honestly know at this point. This is the convergence of several things that have been brewing for a while:
1. I’m basically back to exactly where I started from. When I started this blog, I had just started my journey to health. I’d been doing a bodybuilder-type diet and running with some weight lifting for about a year prior. (At that point I was definitely one of those people terrified of the free weights who stuck to machines but hated them because they weren’t any fun yet knew I was “supposed to” lift weights so I did.) While my diet and exercise were both pretty bland, they worked and helped me drop the last 10 pounds of baby weight I was carrying.
Have you ever been told you hit like a girl? Or run like one? Or cry like one? If so, I hope you answered yes. Because you are a girl and girls do all of those things. Oh, and we do them well. What – you thought “hit like a girl” was an insult? For a long time, so did I.
Recently ad companies – especially those specializing in cotton catchers for our crimson cooters – have been pumping out the girl positivity. Taking a page from all the #realbeauty Dove adver-mocumentaries (that was a terrible portmanteau, I’m sorry!), companies are realizing that instead of telling us we should be ashamed of the “weird” things that make us women – stretch marks, menstruation, boobs, periods, hair, below-ground bleeding, cellulite, did I mention all our bloodletting? - if they tell us to be proud of those things and embrace them we’ll feel happier about ourselves! (And talk about them more by blogging about them and using their hashtags and sharing all the inspirational videos on Facebook and, natch, buying more of their products.)
This is a Polish proverb that says “Not my circus, not my monkeys!” My sister posted it and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s brilliant really.
I’ve never drank alcohol. (I was going to write that I’ve never tasted alcohol but then I remembered the Nyquil I used to drink to get some relief from the flu and if you believe Justin Beiber, sizzurp is pretty much on par with top-shelf liquors. So, there’s that.) It’s a religious thing – I choose to follow the LDS dietary code and abstain from alcohol, smoking, coffee and tea – but it’s also a life thing. Thanks to spitting in a tube (which was way harder than you’d think, I have terrible aim), I know that I carry the genes that predispose me to alcoholism. I also have a family history of it and after watching some of them struggle to fight that demon, it’s pretty much convinced me that lifetime sobriety is my best bet.
A chance meeting with friends, a long talk into the night, then a first date where he cooked up a gourmet dinner complete with candles and Frank Sinatra playing in the background – Hope Cross and Steve Dezember’s courtship seemed straight out of a rom-com. But the new couple was in for a major plot twist when, not long after they met, Steve started having a lot of pain.
At first I was going to use a picture of me from my “skinniest” sickest time – to illustrate the point that I still looked pretty normal – but then I realized that I’d rather illustrate this with a pic of me now. These guys remind me every day why I work so hard to be happy, healthy and present for them. I’m so glad I “failed” at anorexia!!
Well you never looked THAT skinny. In all my years of recovering from my various eating disorders, this was probably the most painful thing people said to me. It was as if people were telling me I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder. It was also a brutal reminder at how much I’d “failed” in my goal to get that skinny. I tried! I did all the stupid tricks you read on websites and magazine articles. (What, those cautionary stories aren’t meant to be how-to’s? Oops.) And while I did get pretty thin when you compared me to, say, Victoria Beckham or Angelina Jolie I looked like one of those human-shaped pillows for lonely people to cuddle with. And they live that way! For years!
Sitting cross-legged on a twin bed, giggling about cute boys while the summer evening breeze swirled around us — it had been a long time — a lifetime — since the last time I’d done this. Yet there I was on the eve of my baby sister’s graduation (am I allowed to still call her my baby sister now that she’s a legal adult?) sitting in her room and listening to my sister and her friend whisper about love and longing and uncertainty. In that golden moment I was struck by how divinely beautiful they were. And it wasn’t just the smooth skin, shiny hair and flat tummies that come with being 18. It was that magic that happens sometimes, when you see someone with their guard down, and you glimpse the beauty of an ageless soul. They were hope and talent and potential and joy and laughter and sparkling eyes and so, so beautiful.
Then it all came crashing down. (And not just because one of my boys yelled through the door that he’d clogged the toilet and while trying plunge it he’d only made is spill all over the floor. Although that did happen too. Sorry mom and dad!) As I watched, my sister and her friend began to talk about their insecurities, what they’d been told about themselves, what they believed to be true. I realized that even though I saw two gorgeous creatures, they didn’t necessarily see it in themselves.
Stretching out the kinks at a truck stop in Iowa after two days in the car. This week I’m on the road with my four kids and two nieces.
She is the CUTEST. So I’ll be MIA this week, frolicking with my kids, laughing with my parents who are finally empty nesters after 35 years (!!) and trying to give my sister allll the college advice (which thus far has amounted to “never say no to riding a mattress down a mountain in the middle of the night” and “don’t postpone starting final projects.” It’s ok, she still loves me.). In the meantime I have some fun stuff to share:
Fitsugar sent me* a complimentary “must have ” box for June, to try out their box o’ the month club. It came with all these fun goodies: