Okay! I’ve learned this one!

So since it’s starting to get summer-ish here, I’ve started thinking eating fruit with my dinner is a good idea… I actually enjoy a snack of grapes with plantain chips (if you’ve never had plantain chips, you’re missing out!!).

When I undertook my first W30, I had a variety of things that were going on in my body that I didn’t like… I didn’t have great digestion, my skin wasn’t the best it could be and I was itchy all the time. I thought the itching came from dairy so I was very excited to get on the W30 and see if my restless legs at night and my itching would go away. It did about half way through the W30 so I thought I’d nailed it. And then one evening I ate dates. And that night all my old symptoms of itching and restless legs came back. So I ascertained that it was sugar that was doing it to me.

You know that old saying a lesson is taught until it’s learned? Ya, well I learned it good last night… thanks to that snack of grapes I’ve been loving. I woke up a few times last night with this searing pain in my leg but was really sleepy and thought that it was nothing… When I woke up this am, I looked down at my leg and found a 3” long and 1” wide open gash on my leg… It looks like a cross between really bad road rash and what would happen if someone held an iron to your skin. And it’s incredibly painful!

What I know is that I did that to myself in my sleep because I must have been so itchy I attacked myself. I have now learned this lesson once and for all and that lesson is that sugar has no place in my diet. Not from fruit, not from candy (obv) and not from ice cream and cakes and cookies. This gash is so painful it hurts to walk and I had to go across the street from work and buy first aid items for it because it’s a pretty big open wound I’m actually worried about it getting infected.

It’s unfortunate that it takes me mauling myself in my sleep to learn a lesson about what I can and can’t put in my body but I guess whatever gets me to that point… I’m there now…

I did look to see if there’s any research that supports sugar causing itching and the only thing I can come up with is that diabetics experience it… however I’m not diabetic or anywhere near diabetic so that wasn’t helpful.   I was also going to post a picture of my wound but it’s yucky… and no one needs yucky!

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Before and During

The best way to do a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ is to post a picture… which I will spend the entire time I write this post contemplating whether or not I will post one… I have it… it’s just a matter of whether I want some people I know in real life to see it…

But there are some less visual indicators of change. And I would argue heartily that they are the most important ones and the physical changes in a person are merely the side effect of this. I retweeted the following yesterday…

Don’t expect external changes if you’re not committed to internal change.

My sister once said that the extra weight I was carrying was my pain on the outside. At the time it seemed reasonable but I filed it away, as I’m wont to do and only now has it come back to me, in a more processed and understandable state.

Only once you are no longer in the painful situation is it possible to understand the magnitude of that pain. My mind never processed it as a whole… bits and pieces were given to me in dribs and drabs… I do believe that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle and part of the way that manifests is that for someone like me, who is an uber processor… I didn’t process it all… it would have killed me… the sheer volume of pain would have done me in.

So slowly, as things came up they were either put on a shelf for a later time or processed… thought about, ruminated on. I don’t think it was a conscious effort… I didn’t sit down and pick a moment in time or an experience and intentionally… the thoughts and feelings just happened…

And then, one day I found myself feeling something I hadn’t felt in years… I felt happy and calm. I didn’t recognize it at first… it was a somewhat foreign feeling… I didn’t feel like yelling at people when I was driving… I was kinder to people around me and I handed out more benefit of the doubt than you could shake a stick at. I smiled at people. And the incredible thing was that as I explored this new feeling of calm and happy and let it lead the way for me, the response I got from the world changed… the world became more calm and happy around me. People smiled back. I laughed with strangers. I felt centered in my body…

The part about the internal change creating external change that creates the most problems is that it looks easy. People only see the physical changes. They only see that it looks like you just decided to be happy one day. They only see the results of fitting into smaller clothes and none of the immensely hard work that you’ve undertaken to get to that place. Which means that when you make these internal changes of which the side effect is physical change, the resistance from your friends and family can be overwhelming and they can sometimes really work at you to get you to ‘change back’. It’s understandable really… if you think about it. I was a comfortable place to land…I was consistently available to be used and mistreated because I was already in a vulnerable place… I was easy to control… I wasn’t a viable threat…

I’m not a super competitive person… at all. I’m a live and let live, do your own thing and let me do mine, kind of person. I’ve always been that way and a change in my mental status or my physical status isn’t going to change that. However, I do know that people will, without me knowing it, engage in competition with me. And now that I’m changing… becoming the next chapter of my life, there are no longer ‘easy wins’ for those that choose to secretly compete with me. I’m okay with that. I understand it and I understand that it can be so uncomfortable for those close to me that they react in a less than graceful way…

I often want to say ‘I’m the same person I’ve always been’. That’s easy to say for me because I’m here, in me… I know that the way I am has always been here… deep inside. But the way I present myself to other people now… that IS different. I’m not the same anymore and I wouldn’t want to be.

I’ve decided through the writing of this that I’m not ready to show the before and after picture. The external changes in me are not as important to me as the internal changes. And the only way to stand by that statement is to leave the visuals out of it for now. (note I said for now…)

Laugh at Me

So a long time ago I was sitting in a coffee shop giggling with a girlfriend.  Well…. Giggling… not really… full out, hold my sides, don’t care who hears/sees laughing.  The owner of the coffee shop is also a friend of mine and after a while he came over and sat down with us… Did you see those people sitting across from you that just left he asked… Yep.  Well, he said, the guy that was with them came up to me and asked me if I knew you… he’s in the film industry and he said your laugh was awesome and he wished that there was a way to bottle it. 

Of course that made me laugh even more… some out of nervousness and some because when people talk about laughing it makes you laugh… well, me anyway! 

It’s a memory that pops into my head every once in a while and it came screaming back to me this morning.

It’s a beautiful… BEAUTIFUL day here in Vancouver and I was with my same girlfriend waiting in line at Whole Foods to get a coffee.  We were being ridiculous and making eachother laugh, as usual and a bubble of unfiltered laughter burst out of me and caused the guy in the line in front of us to turn around… Sorry I said… thinking that I was being a bit obnoxious so early in the morning.  No, no was his response.  I love your laugh!  (which makes me laugh…).  He smiled at me, this huge, joyful, completely open smile and said that my laugh made him laugh and that it was awesome.  About 20 seconds later a girlfriend of mine came up to me and said she had just been walking out the door but that she’d heard my laugh and had to come and say hi and give me a hug.  That made me laugh even more and I said it was funny that her comment was the 2nd one in about 30 seconds about the sound of my laughter… the guy in front of me, beaming from ear to ear said it wasn’t even 30 seconds… 

The entire encounter was brilliant and fills me to this moment with a bubbly mirth that fills my body and soul with the endorphins of joy.

It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend the other day. How just the act of being ourselves can be a gift we don’t even know we are giving to another.  Our trusting nature, a caring touch, a bubble of laughter… our society frowns on the mere act of interacting with a stranger so we almost never have these conversations with another, but it’s likely that while you go about your daily business, you’re touching other people… just as they are touching you… giving you a gift they may not know they’re giving.   Someone told me yesterday that the thing they liked about me was that I was true…I believe the quote was ‘You’re honest about who you are. You are not some crackerjack bullshit flavor of the month.  You are true.’ The experience today with the guy at the coffee shop and the statement from my friend last night just underlines that being true to who I am… something that is very important to me is not a wasted effort.  In this world of fake and social media and doing whatever you want with no consequences, it’s a good reminder that the power in being true is always worth the investment to learn who you are and then live that life.

I’m not alone (and neither are you) REPOST

I’m reposting this here from the blog I share with my sister.  I need it to be here… with the rest of my journey…

I’m sure you know if you’ve read along over the past couple of years, or dug back through the archives that I gave up a lot of things that I enjoyed and that were good for me in the last few years… I gave up eating well, I gave up exercise, I gave up a lot of control and self esteem and I gave up my faith in God.

I’ve talked about all of them so far except for the last one.

I guess it would be good for ‘ratings’ to say that I stood in my living room one day and screamed to the Heavens ‘Why God have You abandoned me?’. ‘Why have You left me here to suffer this alone… I don’t know how to fix this!’

There’s no such story. Because, in fact it should have been God standing in my living room and asking ME ‘Why have you forgotten about Me? I can help you if only you’ll ask You don’t have to go through this alone’. I can’t say for sure that that didn’t happen… that in the years of struggle He didn’t come to me and offer to put an end to my suffering… to save me from what my life had become. I certainly was in no place to hear it, for I was so busy trying to fix everything myself.

I remember having conversations (multitudes) with my friends and saying ‘I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything’ and then consistently listing off all the things I tried to do to fix the relationship, to make him respect me, to stop the manipulative and abusive behavior. I can still feel it now, the feeling I had during those conversations. It was like I was standing still in a vortex of insanity… everything I ‘tried’ swirling around me, too fast to catch… too messy to make sense out of. I don’t know what else to do… I don’t know what else to do… That thought went around and around me in a never ending spiral of grief and frustration. I can still feel the anxiety now when I recall those moments… and then the creeping thought that maybe I deserved this. Maybe I WASN’T fun… maybe I WAS a bitch… maybe I WASN’T a good housekeeper, cook, laundry doer, friend…PERSON!

I spent so many years, before that relationship and then during it thinking I had it all figured out… and then thinking I had to get it all figured out. I lied to my friends about my life at home… even my family doesn’t know the half of what went on…

I look back on it now and I can see that I COULD have saved myself… I could have just asked God for help. Those moments of desperation… of really being at the lowest low… feeling like I was going crazy and there was nothing left to try… there was always one more thing to try…

Every day is a new day and somewhere on my Christmas holidays I felt moved… things weren’t working, the year was ending and I was still seemingly stuck in a place I didn’t want to be… unhealthy, not really happy and with no prospect of massive change on the horizon…

I prayed that night. And as I prayed I felt a huge weight lift off me. It was such a feeling of renewal and peace that I wondered if I prayed again the next night would I feel the same thing… I did. Every time I spoke to God it felt as though my burden was being lifted. It all sounds so very cliché to me too… these are the things that you hear televangelists screaming into a microphone at crowds of thousands. ‘GOD WILL EASE YOUR BURDENS’. Well it’s hard to understand that as a young woman who’s never had burdens.

I’ve been a Christian all my life and I don’t recall ever feeling the weight of burden before… Back in the ‘good old days’ I prayed all the time… I thought I knew what it was supposed to feel like… But this… this was different. This commune with God was something I’d never felt before. This lightening of my load was something new… I’ve been down a long and steep road and picked up an awful lot of really ugly, dirty, unhealthy and sad burden on the way. Burden that previously in my life I’d never had to carry before. It crushed me… It filled my lungs with smoke and pulled at my muscles like hot irons. And man the moment I didn’t have to carry it alone anymore I realized just how heavy it really was… how back breaking and spirit crushing. And until that moment at Christmas I never thought that I would get the chance to stop carrying it. How amazing that I could just hand it off and be free!

I consider that time in my life a blessing now… I didn’t know just how terrible life could be… how desolate and lonely and painful… but the other thing I didn’t know was just how free and peaceful it could be. How much I didn’t have to depend only on myself to manage my life. I didn’t have to live in the pain for one more second… everything was new and clean again.

Every night I get excited to go to bed… for altho it’s not the only place; bed is where I pray. I ask for guidance, hand off my burden and feel peaceful at bedtime. Every night is not easy… my old habits get in the way and my mind wanders… trying to figure out my problems myself… So sometimes my prayer is to be reminded that I’m not in this alone anymore and I don’t have to figure it out myself.

My whole life is changing at a breakneck speed right now… I have a strength and willpower now I didn’t know I had. I have peace and harmony within my own mind and body that I honestly thought I would never have again. (if I ever had it in the first place). I feel like I’m rebuilding my life on solid ground where once I stood in quick sand. It’s a powerful feeling and I just could not help but write about it here.

Happy Random Friday!

The other night I was really really upset… I cried until I couldn’t breathe and then when I couldn’t calm myself and I couldn’t take it anymore, I begged God to just let me sleep… Within no more than 60 seconds my tears stopped, I was calm and peaceful.  I wasn’t asleep… sometimes the prayer you say isn’t the prayer that was answered.  I’m glad I wasn’t asleep… I was so peaceful and had such clarity over my situation… I was hearing answers to my struggle… I eventually fell asleep… calm, peaceful… comforted.  That feeling stayed with me and reminded me that I do not have to have these experiences by myself… and that I need only to ask for help.

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I’ve been pretty tired this last little while as I mentioned yesterday.  Case in point… I went to the store yesterday evening to buy some face wash and got to the counter only to find my wallet was missing.  After racing around the city to all the places I’d been that day (including the hospital board room and my office), I went home and found that I actually hadn’t had my wallet with me for 3 days… it was in another bag I’d taken to the gym… As a person who is very detail oriented, not realizing I hadn’t had my wallet for 3 days is a direct result of my sheer exhaustion!

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I wrote myself a letter from FutureMe.org about two months ago and received it yesterday.  It came at a very interesting time because I’d just been thinking how eating W30/Paleo had become a habit and was no longer a struggle.  Part of the letter that I got yesterday was asking from the past if it really sucked and if I was getting any better at it.  I have strayed a couple times in the last month… I ate some rice with a Greek dinner one night and had a Vodka/Soda one night… no big deal… it’s not the drama fest that the ice cream incident was.  Maybe because I know that this is a lifestyle, not a diet and in a lifestyle, one must understand that things come up and you just keep going… I feel so good when I eat clean that it’s second nature.  My FutureMe letter asks if I’ll do another W30… One day I might go and do a proper W30 again to get really clean but for now I think I’ve got a good thing going that keeps me on the straight and narrow 99.9% of the time and allows me to choose that .1% and feel guilt free.

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I’m continually flabbergasted by people I know who tell me you can’t lose weight on the Paleo because there’s too much fat, or that it’s not healthy to not eat corn… and then these same people do idiotic things like the HCG diet (look that sucker up!) or some 30 day juice and fruit only ‘cleanse’.

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This weekend I will finish making the screens for my windows (hopefully my lessons learned with my prototypes work out!), sew another skirt I think, go to the gym, cook for the week, catch up on my rest from this insane week.

May Days

I’m darn well exhausted. 

I’m a complete zombie and the only thing keeping the secret of my exhaustion is that my skin care ritual is so fantastic that I haven’t developed a puffy face or bags under my eyes yet.

In the last three weeks I’ve gotten MAYBE 4-5 hours of sleep a night, I’ve been still going to the gym and working out as hard as I can and then working a full day, coming home and keeping a clean house and trying to keep the cat from chewing his way out of the house… all the while spending precious time commuting back into downtown Vancouver in the evenings to hang with a friend.

The exhaustion comes not only from not getting my very much required 8 hours of sleep a night but also from processing a lot of mental and emotional data.  I’ve been in one of those learning phases for a few weeks… Self-discovery is actually a really hard job and can be really tiring… the outcome has been great tho and besides being completely exhausted, I’m very happy!

Many many good things have come out of this last three weeks, one of which was a really meaningful experience in my Faith. I have a whole entry I’m writing about it but until I get it all finished up… you’ll just have to wait.

Last night I went out for dinner after work… I met my friend downtown and we decided that we needed to walk for a while to decompress from the day so we headed out toward English Bay.  We first walked along some pretty busy streets but the sun brought every single person in Vancouver out to downtown so we quickly retreated to the side streets and found ourselves strolling along some very lovely neighborhoods. We finally made it down to the beach (where I neglected to take even one single picture of how beautiful it was) and found ourselves an empty bench to sit on… The heat drove us off the bench eventually and we went to a small hole in the wall Greek restaurant for dinner.  It was SO GOOD! The place was packed and they also do huge take out business so everything was super fresh!  After dinner we decided to walk a ways and when I finally got back to my bus stop and my friend to his office, we’d walked a total of 5miles.  I sincerely wish (for both of us) that had we known we were going to walk that far that we had worn appropriate footwear… neither of us did altho with such good conversation and a relaxed pace it was hardly noticeable how far we went.

I have no dinner plans again until next week so hopefully I can catch up a bit on my sleep and spend a little time decompressing… My plan is to gym tonight after work (and by tonight I mean I’ll be home early today so gym at 3ish) and tomorrow after work (again, since I’ve adopted early work hours to accommodate gym in the am, it actually accommodates gym after work if I don’t make it in the am). I have no projects on the horizon for the weekend except maybe making another skirt or two and buying some face cleanser.

I hope everyone is planning on having a great weekend… I heard it’s supposed to be sunny here again so I might find a patch of grass for a mid day sunshine nap.

darcy May 9

I know it looks like I have huge bags under my eyes but I took this pic under flourescent lights in a bathroom stall so… it’s the lighting…

Boxes be Damned!

I have an ongoing aversion to things in boxes.  (unless you’re planning on getting me presents, in which case I don’t mind those types of things in boxes… especially things in those really pretty Tiffany blue boxes… )

Anyway, since that’s unlikely to happen, I think it’s safe to say that I have an aversion to things in boxes.  I don’t like the looks of boxes stacked up anywhere…. I know that’s what a lot of people use their basements or garages for but even then, I think that things in boxes just invites critters, bugs and anxiety.

Around last August, my friend and I went through some boxes that I had packed before I moved of clothes that didn’t fit… we looked at them, threw some definitely ugly things away and then packed it all up and put it in boxes in my spare room closet.  And ever since that day, the spare room closet has bugged me.  My toolbox (which won’t close anymore, but that’s another story) has sat precariously perched on a pile of clothes… which sat on a lidless Rubbermaid tote with all manner of miscellanea in it… which sat on an empty cardboard box.

Needless to say, anytime I needed my screwdriver or a hammer, it was a nightmare going into that closet.

On Sunday, after sleeping late and then making breakfast and putting a load of laundry in, I happened to stumble across a pair of jeans in my closet that I tried on.  They were almost two sizes too big and after a little dance of joy (I’m not a good dancer… please don’t try and picture it!) I remembered the pile.  Since the size of me is going down and the size of my irritation at the boxes of stuff in that closet is most certainly going up, I decided that the best place for those clothes to be is in my closet.  Hung up, folded nicely and waiting for wear. Why would I, a woman who hates boxes, keep beautiful clothes in boxes just because they don’t fit yet?  Good question and one I couldn’t come up with a decent answer for yesterday, so I took on a little project.  Hundreds of articles of clothing, some with the tags on were picked out of the boxes, unfolded, examined and then hung or folded up, based on the size.  I thought it would bug me to see tiny sizes of clothes that I most certainly don’t fit right now but obviously used to.  You know what?  It didn’t bug me at all.  Because every day is a journey to where you are and every day is a journey to move from that spot.  I’m moving.  I’m getting healthier and stronger with each growing minute and while I don’t particularly care to be the size and shape I am now, I don’t cower at pictures of myself or the fact that I don’t fit into my old clothes.  I’m getting there, one step at a time!

The thing about these clothes that are now hanging and folded neatly in my closet is that if I’m not careful, some of them aren’t going to get any wear.  I already see items that are the next size on my journey that will be too warm and bulky for summer and by the time winter rolls around it will be unlikely they will fit me.  I found some articles that were already too big and those have been put in a bag for the donation pile.  I have a lot of beautiful clothes… clothes with great memories, clothes that made me feel strong and empowered and the appropriate place for those is in the closet, not in a box hidden away somewhere. They need to be tried on in a somewhat regular fashion and they need to be respected, just as I am starting to respect myself.