Tagline

The daily prompt from about a week ago on Daily Post was to discuss the tag line that we would assign for our lives… kind of like you would assign for your blog.

Well, I guess I didn’t do a good job of separating my life from my blog because the tagline from my blog header is actually the tagline for my life.

The time passes anyway…  do something useful with it.

Time doesn’t hold on for us to get our shit together, make decisions or plans.  Hours and minutes go by at the same rate regardless of whether we’re ready for them to pass or not. It’s a cruel game when you think about it. A week could go by… not much in the grand scheme of things… a week to make a decision… a week to make a plan… but you’ve got to be careful because one week turns into two and two turns into twenty and before you know it, half a year has gone by and you could be no closer to your goal, your new path or your future.

This passage of time is no more obvious than when you want to change your body.  One day in December you decide to ‘start tomorrow’ to get your beach body for the following summer.  The holidays happen, you indulge… always tomorrow you’ll start.  January 1st rolls around and you say that your first day back at work will be the day.  Tomorrow never really comes, even tho it comes exactly every day. And before you know it, you’re in the same body as you were in December (or worse), only it’s beach time.  Beach time came and your beach body didn’t… And the worst worst worst part about the passage of time in which time changes but you don’t is regret.  Where could I have been today if I’d started six months ago like I planned?  Why did I let every day slide by only to end up halfway through another year and no where near where I want to be.

The time passes anyway.  And it can hand you an aching regret if you’re not careful.  I wasted a LOT of years letting time pass around me… by me… with no input from me as to where I wanted to go.  I let five Christmases pass where I didn’t see my family because the choice to not see them was easier and less painful than the alternative of trying to stand up for myself.  (Imagine that!  My situation was so acute that the pain of not seeing my family at Christmas was LESS than the pain of standing up for myself.  THAT is hard to live with). The time passed.  Every moment of that time is a moment that I want and can’t have back.

Do something useful with it.  Useful is the word I used.  I could have chosen myriad words to put in the place of useful.  I could have said productive, loving, effective…  Or I could have said the following simple statement. Do Something.  We all know that not making a decision is making a decision (we all know that… right?!?).  Well not doing something is doing something.  Not making a plan, not making a change and not making an effort are all doing exactly the opposite of what you think you want to do.  I say ‘think’ because the reality is that if we wanted change bad enough… if we were ready for change enough, we’d make the change. Making wholesale change in your life is not the same in reality as it is depicted in the movies.  I have a burning memory of watching some Ashley Judd movie where she’s in jail and she decides to put her ‘time’ to good use and turns herself into an athlete.  Of course the 35 seconds of a film compilation is ‘exactly’ the same as real life right?  No where does it mention that it takes her two years and some, if not all of the time, it hurts.   Real, wholesale change of your life is a dripping faucet… not a firehose.  It’s a tiny bit every day that is moving in the direction you want to go in.  It’s a dollar in a jar every day.  It’s no snacks in the evening every day.  It’s a kind word said to yourself in the mirror every day.  And as time passes and you spend a moment every day when that six months finally passes, you’ll see just how far you’ve come.  But because change is so very slow and methodical and each day builds on the next, you really must waste no more days as time passes…

I want to say that I found the last thing on Instagram or some other ‘inspirational’ poster site, but really, I just made it up, so if it sounds stupid, that’s why. This is what I ask myself every day.

If I won’t do it today, why would I do it tomorrow?

Ask yourself that.  And then get out there and do something.  Because time is passing.

Not quite as planned

I have a very romantic and beautiful post in my head about finding the rest of me and falling in love… but since I’m at work where someone is actively trying to get me fired today… well, let’s just say I’m not in an entirely romantic mood.

I have three more hours of this crap and then I’m going to go home and run in the rain.  What I really want to do is eat a burger and a cake but I’ve learned that while it seems like a GREAT idea right now, it’s actually the opposite of a great idea so I’ll exercise instead.  Then I’ll do a load of laundry and go and get cash for my hair appointment tomorrow.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about finding the rest of me.  Or maybe I’ll write about how I actually did get fired, in which case I’ll have TONS of time to write about whatever I want!

What it looks like

I think it’s time for the before and after pictures.

Prior to now I didn’t want to put them up… the internal, mental and emotional changes going on in my journey right now were far more important to me than the way that I looked.  But like with everything that is going on for me right now, change and perspective and lessons are happening at an incredibly rapid pace and things literally change from day to day.  I’m confident with the knowledge that the internal changes will always be the most important and they’re always the first thing I tell people when they ask me why/how I am doing what I’m doing.  I always say I didn’t get into this as a diet.  And that’s always truthful!

Now, all that aside, here’s my thoughts on the past few days… and then the pictures.

I got all dressed up on Saturday night to go to a party.  There’s a lot in that sentence that is a big deal for me.

  • I got all dressed up.  I haven’t gotten ‘dressed up’ in about 7 years… when I was with my ex we never really went and did anything that required being ‘fancy’ and then as I gained weight, it was harder to find clothes that fit and made me feel confident enough to go out with other dressed up pretty people.
  • I went to a party.  Where I knew exactly one person.  That one person was the belle of the ball tho so it wasn’t like I was going to get to sit and chat with her for the whole night.  My friend told me a few weeks ago to put myself in uncomfortable situations to learn more about myself.  I’d mentioned at that time that I knew a lot about myself and I didn’t need to feel uncomfortable to know what I did and didn’t like.  However, about 30 min in to the party I wanted to leave.  I didn’t know anyone, all the girls were so beautiful and they all knew eachother.  Recipe for uncomfortable city extraordinaire!  But my friend’s words quietly whispered in my ear and I decided to at least give it an hour.  At just the time when I wanted to leave, more people showed up at the party and came and sat where I was sitting.  They were nothing short of spectacular and I had an amazing time!  I laughed till my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes (which is not unusual for me in general but is for being in a group of people I don’t know).  I stayed for four hours, laughing and getting to know my new friends.  We had some crazy conversations and I told some silly stories that made them laugh too.  I went home and sent a message to my friend mentioning that it was his words of wisdom that kept me there that long and that I was glad that I’d stayed.  His response?  “I’m always right”.  How modest!
  • Here’s a grainy photo of what I wore on Saturday night.  And you can’t see it, but I wore heels… I was VERY tall!

Outfit

 

  • I know I shouldn’t care what the scale says… lots of people who have Whole30’d and gone on to keep it as a lifestyle have given up their scales.  Which eventually I will too.  However, while I’m still in the active weightloss stage of my journey, it’s nice to step on and see the number go down occasionally.  I don’t live and die by what the scale says… I’ve said from the beginning and it remains true that I’m not doing this for the purpose of losing weight.  I started and will continue to do this for the goal of feeling better, healing myself mentally and emotionally and all the side effects, including weight loss are just extra perks. But it’s still nice to know where you came from and where you’re going.
  • I told my weight lifting coach on Saturday that I turn 35 in 6 months… and that I wanted the best forearms money could buy for my birthday.  He thinks it’s a completely reasonable goal and I think so too.  My favorite muscle in my entire body is my Brachloradialis.  It’s the muscle that runs along the top of your forearm that you can see (maybe) and feel if you hold your arm out in front of you and then flex your wrist backward toward your elbow.  I originally said in March when I started my first W30 that I would give myself 6 months with no concrete goals to just work at feeling better and I would end up where I would end up.  Three and a half (ish) months in, I think I need to set some actual goals.  I didn’t realize until the conversation with Al that I turn 35 in exactly 6 months and one day.  It seems like figuring out goals for a new six month stretch is meant to be.  The problem is that I don’t know what the goals should be.  I don’t want it to be a number on the scale because that’s just a recipe for obsession and disappointment.  Should it be wearing a certain outfit on my birthday?  Lifting a certain amount of weight by then?  Running a specified distance?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I’m all about goals and writing down journey plans so this is right up my alley… if I can figure it out.

So, all that being said, here are two pictures…

Left Photo was taken on New Years Eve.  Right photo was taken May 31st.

Left Photo was taken on New Years Eve. Right photo was taken May 31st.

Left Photo was taken March 15th.  Right photo was taken June 13th.

Left Photo was taken March 15th. Right photo was taken June 13th.

 

All By Myself

Years ago I joined up with a Military Boot camp style fitness program.  It was one of the best 18 months of my life.  I worked out 3-5 days a week at 530am-7am with people who would become some of my best friends.  It was incredibly motivating to know that I was going to go down to the picturesque Jericho beach to hang out with a group of friends.  The work was hard and sometimes intimidating but I gave it my best and I got into some of the best conditioned shape of my life to that point.  I had people who counted on me and who I counted on.  It was a surreal time in my life to say the least.  When the owners of the program pulled out of Vancouver to focus their time and energy on working in their hometowns of Edmonton and Calgary, the dynamic changed with the new head trainer and then when the dynamic changed too much, it was all folded up and closed down.  I tried a couple other boot camp style programs and I tried to get along with the head trainer that had set up his own shop but the magic had gone.  Around this same time my personal life started its long slide into hellish oblivion… not good timing.

What I realized just recently is that even though I was motivated and consistently worked out… even though I was the one that had to get out of bed every morning and go do the work… I never learned how to rely only on myself.  Many times I went because I wanted to see my friends… because I knew they would miss me if I wasn’t there and because they were counting on me.  I didn’t go because I had any sort of mental strength or fortitude.  I didn’t go because I wanted to get stronger.  I essentially had a crutch to lean on to keep me motivated and when that crutch was gone, I was in trouble.

I came to this realization two days ago when the head trainer contacted me on twitter and invited me back to his program with the ‘enticing’ note that my friends were waiting for me and that they missed me.  Besides the fact that we do NOT get along, I know things about him I can’t get over and it’s not convenient or in my budget, I realized that this journey I’m on… I have to take it alone.  I have to know myself and know my own motivations and know my own strengths and weaknesses.  Leaning on a group of friends again would be great…it would be easy but it wouldn’t help me grow as a person and it wouldn’t teach me what I need to know about myself.

When I run after work or on the weekends, or go to my weightlifting coach, I do so under my own power.  No one but me knows when I do or don’t run… my friends would never know if I said I was running or working out and then didn’t.  And that’s the way I want it.  I want to be accountable to myself and only myself.  I need to nurture the strength I’m developing to be able to stand on my own in the face of everything that life chucks at me and be firm and grounded in what I value.  And one of the things that I’m coming to value most out of anything is my own personal strength.  I can hear my thoughts, I can be still and quiet with my contemplations and processing of information and stimuli.  And I can love myself enough to do something for me that is only for me.  I eat the way I want and work out the way I want because in the end the only accountability I have is to the voice in my head and in my heart.  And the last thing I need right now… in the fledgling state of learning to hold myself up… is an easy way out.

Trust in the Timing. Always Trust.

I’ve been wanting to get another tattoo for some time now.  The one I got I love uncontrollably but I want to celebrate my new life.  When people had asked me what I was getting, my answer was that I could FEEL it in the back of my mind but I couldn’t SEE it yet… Frustrating right?  It’s so difficult to not be able to put words and descriptors to a feeling.  Even when I tried, I felt tongue tied and like I wasn’t meant to be talking about it.

Jumping the gun as I am wont to do, I booked a consultation with an artist that came on a recommendation from a friend of a friend before I could ‘see’ the design I was feeling.  I went down with my girlfriend and we chatted with him for an hour.  The style of her tattoos appeals to me and so she showed him hers, we talked about what was driving the tattoo, what I was celebrating, why I was where I am today and what I’d come through.  I really thought that he ‘got’ me.  As it turns out, I was either right and he did ‘get me’ but then didn’t spend any time on the work whatsoever… or he didn’t actually get me at all, which is reflected in his design.

The design is absolute garbage.  It has nothing to do with anything remotely meaningful to me at all.  I still couldn’t see my design through the haze but I knew for sure that this wasn’t it.  ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ was something I said to a friend about it.  I’ll just know.

So I sent the garbage design to my friend… mostly for a laugh… mostly because we’d just been talking about the design and the odd feeling I was getting from this artist.

Well as I’m sure you can gather, the reaction to the picture I sent wasn’t good, but then the most amazing thing happened.  The inspiration that I was searching for… the lens I needed to see what I could already feel.

“May I make a suggestion?” he said.

“Yes!  Of course” was my reply. 

“It’s simple.  I’m lending you the hummingbird coin back.  Use it to inspire you” he said.

 

And there it was.  A rush of emotion washed over me and I could finally see it.

I know what the design is, I’m in love with the inspiration and the meaning behind it and it all shone forth from the back of my mind… it broke free of the haze.

Maybe this all seems overly dramatic for a tattoo.  Maybe it IS overly dramatic for a tattoo.  The thing is that this tattoo is a part of my journey… a journey which is so important to the rest of my life.  I assured my friend many times that I wouldn’t get anything tattoo’d on me that I wasn’t in love with… that wasn’t the perfect thing.  And that was true.

I want to say that I shouldn’t have jumped the gun on going for that first consultation (since I’m actually on a wait list for the guy I REALLY want to do the work), I shouldn’t have tried to explain something that wasn’t ready for public consumption and I shouldn’t have tried to force the issue of seeing what it was.  But had I not had the awful design to show to my friend… to open the window to his simple suggestion, then I may not have gotten where I am now.  It’s a metaphor for life if you think about it.  Mistakes and decisions you make will inform the future.  You might not see how at the time and you might not know when, but if you’re open to the idea then eventually the whole picture is layed out in front of you.  Perfect and meant to be.  I love that!

Don’t look at me!

A long time ago, when I was unhappy… no, downright miserable, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I was standoffish and mean to say the least because my home life was a nightmare… It was hard to see the beauty in things and I certainly didn’t see any beauty in myself. Now that I’m so much happier and content and at peace, I’m a heck of a lot nicer to be around and putting makeup on and doing my hair nicely just reflects outwardly the inside that I care so greatly for. I didn’t start this lifestyle of Paleo and working out to get a nicer outside, I started it to get a nicer inside… but it’s hard to keep the ‘nice’ contained to the inside and so it’s becoming reflected in the care I take for my appearance now. It was never a lie back then that I didn’t care what I looked like… I really didn’t. I was working day by day to just get through the days without losing my mind and there was nothing left to invest in my appearance.

Now that things have changed on the inside, my outside is becoming pretty nice… some days I look in the mirror and see how far I’ve come… and sometimes I look in the mirror and I see how much work I have ahead of me and how long it will really take to wash the pain of those years away… an interesting dilemma has surfaced.

I have a huge secret that I have carried around with me, starting in 2005… and then it doubled itself in 2011… I talk the talk of not carrying shame in something you have no control over… I am an armchair advocate for women’s rights and mental health care for those that need it. I would tell someone till I’m blue in the face that rape and abuse and sex assault is not their fault and that mental health should not carry a stigma with it. Because I, from the seat of my being, believe this to be true.

I was sexually assaulted twice in the last 8 years. Once by someone I barely knew and once by my ex 22 days before we finally ended it. I am in general, not traumatized by it. I made decisions at the time to prevent myself from being harmed more than necessary and while it’s incredibly painful to think about what people with no conscience will do… and I know it will be heartbreaking for people who know me… I’m honestly fine. The thing is tho… that kind of thing… it changes you. It changes parts of you that you wouldn’t think or know it changes until something in your life comes up to show you how you’re different.

The experience has made me quite shy… I’m not usually one to be labelled as shy… in a group of people I know, where I feel safe, I’m not shy… but in any situation where I feel even a little bit vulnerable or out of my element, my personality shuts down and I become painfully shy. It’s taken a very special person in the last little while to see me through my shy protective barrier and pull me out. That same person, who I’ve mentioned here before as a dear friend of mine has also showed me that trust is not always misplaced.

The other thing that my experiences have made me is incredibly self conscious. I’m absolutely terrible at taking compliments… It borders on rude how terrible I react actually. It’s something I am trying to work on… it all goes back to trust then right? Trust the person… trust what they say… trust that there is no ulterior motive. For the last ‘can’t even count that high’ years, I didn’t care what I looked like. Truth was, that was a safe place to be for me. Not that I knew it at the time, because the reason I was wearing so much extra weight was due to other life factors and an emotionally abusive situation. But when the outside started to become affected by the dramatic changes on the inside, that’s when it hit me. People are going to look at me. And I am not comfortable with that. I’m comfortable sharing an anonymous photo of my bikini clad before and after on the internet… I’m comfortable posting pictures of myself online… that’s all anonymous… I’m not comfortable wearing a nice shirt that shows my… ahem…‘assets’ …in a complimentary light and then having people look at me. I rationally don’t think anyone is out to get me and I rationally actually don’t think that anyone would be too interested in me for looks alone. However… the damaged and irrational side of me… that voice in my head tells me to walk faster, keep my head down and go eat some ice cream to get a bit of protective fat back because it’s a dangerous, dangerous world out there. Now the rub… I’m also not comfortable wearing baggy clothes that hide all the work I’ve put into myself. I’m not comfortable wearing too many layers for how hot it is outside and I’m not comfortable pretending that I don’t care about how I look. And there is the situation at hand. I don’t want people to look at me but I’m not going to dress or care for myself in a way that prevents it. I honestly don’t know where to go with that. I wish I could say that the last paragraph of this post was going to be some enlightenment over my dilemma… that I’d made some dramatic association and solved my own problem. I haven’t. The only thing I can give myself is another day and another day loving me from the inside and allowing that to show on the outside. I can only be stronger from my experience and while it would be impossible to say it will never happen again (but God I hope it never EVER happens again), I have to know that my instincts both times were right… and be stronger in trusting them. Because what a shame to be taught a lesson like that… twice… and not to take it to heart and get every ounce of experience and knowledge out of it that I possibly can!

 

NB: It was only recently that I was able to recall all the details from the first assault in a linear fashion. I don’t know if it’s because I was mentally strong enough, because it had been buried long enough or what… (altho no amount of burying it resolved the acute pain of the ‘in the moment’ emotions). I do believe that rape, sexual assault and physical abuse should not be kept in the dark. I believe that the more that people who have experienced it talk about it, the more that we can use our own experience to help teach eachother. That my experience might pave the way for someone else to recognize the signs and help themselves. And to help heal our sisters and mothers and daughters who have experienced it. Every time you find out you’re not alone with your experience is another moment of strength. That takes the dark off the shame and pours daylight on it.

With that said, I do have my experience written down. I understand it now in a way that I didn’t understand it then. Having uncovered it and poured my own daylight on it, I now understand why in some circumstances, I am the way I am. There is nothing gory or perverse in my account. There is no content that you couldn’t read on a computer screen at work. And yet, I go back and forth on whether to post it. Not because I’m ashamed, or scared, or even care that it’s on the internet. More because I am terrified that it will hurt people I care about to the depths of my soul. Do I know that these same people are statistically likely to have had a same/similar experience? Of course. Does that make it easier? No.

I think it would be cathartic to share it. Even tho the majority of the readers here are strangers. Because that’s another ounce of daylight shed on my experience from each person who reads it. I’m still debating. Your thoughts would be so appreciated as to the route I should take. But even if I get 0 or 100 comments on it… the decision still rests with me.