So a few months ago, I had this unexpected tender moment with Jelly Bean:
She had told me that she just wanted “to snuggle for a minute” and then she promptly fell asleep on my lap. My all-grown-up do-it-myself six-year-old didn’t want to admit she still needed a nap (or her mom!) — but she did. And I love it. Unabashedly. Plus, she’s the only kid who will even fit in my lap to sleep anymore. So I had to document it, right?
But when I posted the pic to Facebook, I was surprised to see that many of the comments focused on my eyelashes. “Are those all YOUR lashes?!” said one friend. It’s been over a week since I posted that picture and I’m still getting questions about my eyelashes.
Here’s the thing: Yes, they are all my real eyelashes (i.e. no falsies but I am wearing mascara) and no, I was not genetically blessed in the lash department. Like the hair on my head, my eyelashes have always been thin and sparse. Sigh. But a couple of months ago I lucked into an awesome trick and since so many people have asked me about it, I figured I’d share it here.
Andersen Family – April 2015 photo courtesy of Still Memories photography
Vomiting at a finish line isn’t exactly unheard of. In fact, spectacular displays of bodily fluids are half the fun of watching sports! (Is it just me or is Paula Radcliffe’s popping a squat to drop a load still one of the best sports photography moments ever? Or maybe I’m just gross. Whatever.) Usually it means you’ve pushed yourself to your very limit, pumping out every last bit of effort (and breakfast). But when I “left it all on the field” – technically a parking lot outside my gym – a few months ago, I felt neither proud nor accomplished. I didn’t even have the energy to laugh at myself, which is usually the last respite for people puking on their own running shoes. All I felt was awful. That, and crushing chest pain.
I drove myself home, collapsed on the couch, and when I finally had enough energy to pick up my phone, called my doctor. He told me to come in right away.
Getting skinny will solve all our problems, right? We will be unconditionally loved by all, be able to run marathons in under three hours and, of course, be able to wear bikinis and heels to any occasion, including black tie events. As one does. At least that’s what all the diet ads say. But a new study says that not only does losing weight not make people happier, it can actually increase their risk of depression two fold.
Well this is uncomfortable. Confession: Even though I no longer diet or exercise with weight loss as a goal and I eat intuitively and exercise gently and I love and accept my body way more than I ever have in my entire life — even with all that, I still believe with all my heart that if I weighed 15 pounds less I’d be happier. I hate that thought still lives in my brain. I don’t act on it but it’s still definitely there.
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.
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.)
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!
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:
Our neighborhood has a pool. I’ve never lived in a place before that has one and I have to admit it’s pretty rad. Not for me necessarily – I still hate swimming – but my kids love it and it’s an easy, fun way to get them outside and moving. It’s also fun for me to get to know other people in the area, especially so I can have conversations like this one:
New friend: I’ve seen you at the pool a ton and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a bikini!
Me: And you never will!
First, as part of my religion (I’m LDS a.k.a. “Mormon”) I choose to stick to one-piece suits. And second, I’m finally at the age where my increasing fear of melanoma and my decreasing ability to care what people think of me intersect! Wooohooo!
I should probably tell you what I was wearing when this conversation happened: An Athleta UPF 50 jacket-dress thingy with long sleeves and a high collar, ankle length running tights, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and so much sunscreen I should buy stock in Banana Boat. I did also happen to have a swimsuit on underneath although it’s anyone’s guess why I bothered at that point. (I think it’s because I’ve been peeing properly for so many decades now that it’s obviously time to up the difficulty. Also, it’s not as hot as you think. Promise!) In other words, I looked like a complete dork.
Bucket lists are as popular these days as prison tattoos and while I love the idea of having goals and dreaming big, just because something is on The List doesn’t mean it’s a Good Idea. So here are 10 things that if you really want to do, then go for it but if you’re only doing them because everyone says you should then you officially have my permission to scratch these off your bucket list with no guilt. You can still be a fitness nerd in good standing!
(And now the part where I confess. I have done every single one of these things. And I’m not sorry I did. But I pretty much did them the wrong-est way they could be done and I did get hurt quite often. So if you love these things I’m not telling you to quit them or that they’re bad – with the exception of #9 – but rather that if you want to try them, at least be smarter about it than I was!)
1. Do a mud run/obstacle race