Monday, June 26, 2017

Open Letters: It's-Monday-All-Day-Edition

Dear "Helpful" person who messaged me about my weight loss even though I don't know you nor value your opinion,

Yes, I'm fully aware that "Statistics say" that everyone who loses weight gains it back within five years. Also, I'm pretty sure those same statistics say that women who have PCOS and who are over forty can't lose weight at all so basically I'm a Unicorn and you should probably mind your own business and leave me alone.

Thanks much,
Stephanie




Dear Dooney and Bourke,

Thanks for letting me know how many of your lovely purses are on sale right now. I'm trying to save all my money to do things like pay off my house early and break up with that whore Sallie Mae so I won't be partaking, but it's fun to dream I guess.

Sigh.

Love,
Stephanie

PS: Thanks for not putting any of the purple ones in the sale. I don't think I could have controlled myself.





Dear Co-worker,

For the love of Jesus, could you PLEASE just say something when you get on the phone with our mutual customer? You wanted to have a meeting. You scheduled the meeting. You sent out the meeting invite. Please don't sit there like a wart on a frog the entire time.

Meetings are worthless if you don't have, you know, a reason to meet. Don't make up things to do just to make yourself feel important or whatever. Some of us have actual work to do and don't relish wasting time listening to you breathe on the phone.

Stop it.

Kisses!
Stephanie

PS: If all you have to say during a meeting is "Uhhh" and "I'll leave that to Stephanie to answer" then stop wasting everyone's time. KTHXBYE.





Dear Instagram "Fitspo",

Girlfriend, you get out of breath simply speaking into the camera, we all know you aren't doing that Shaun T workout you have playing in the background.

Also, please invest in a good sports bra. I am seriously concerned for 1) your back 2) your viewing audience and 3) your kid who comes perilously close to getting knocked out by your swinging hooters. It's not cute honey. It's really not.

There is nothing wrong with being the weight you are or the fitness level you are. Seriously. Everyone starts somewhere and that's completely 100% okay. The only problem is you have somehow deluded yourself into believing you are an "after" when you are a "not even really started".

Just go for a nice walk every day and you'll be okay. Really. You don't have to be Unicorn Beastmode in order to make a difference in your health and if you just take a walk daily you probably won't hurt yourself or put your eye out.

Good luck. Seriously, I mean that.
-Stephanie




Dear Children,

I love you even  though you are severely testing the limits of my medication these days.

Love,
Mom



Dear Husband,

Next time we run away together let's try to get further than Starbucks.

Love you a million,
Your wifey

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why it's hard.

My therapist said this to me today and I don't think anything has ever made more sense.

"Imagine you see a beautiful house. It looks amazing from the outside. You walk in and the inside is very dimly lit. It's lit by candles. You flip on the light and then you see it. Dirt. Everywhere is all the dirt. It's filthy. It doesn't look so pretty anymore."


"All of us, our first reaction is to dim the lights again. But you? Your second reaction is to throw the lights on and say to anyone who will listen, 'Let's clean this up'. That's why you are different."


"That's why it's hard."









That my friends, is why it's hard.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Love and other really painful stuff

A lot of people I know are getting married lately. It's nice.

A lot of people I know are getting divorced lately. Sometimes that's nice too and sometimes it's sad. Circumstances vary.

I don't like divorce. I've been through it and it's just awful. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, except maybe John Edwards. I hate that guy.

I've never met anyone who thought they would get divorced on the day they got married (I'm sure there are people who would tell you, "I knew it was a huge mistake, but it was already paid for!" but I personally don't know any of those people). Presumably when you marry someone you are madly in love with them and want to be with them forever and ever.

Forever is a long time y'all. I imagine it feels even longer when you are married to someone like me.

I mean, I'm not horrible. I'm mostly nice. I work really hard. I'm a great cook. I smile a lot, even when I don't feel like it. I'm capable of listening to the same story two hundred times and I still laugh every single time like it's the first time I've heard it. I have skills, clearly.

I also have horrible anxiety. I have terrible, soul-crushing depression. I feel things hard, good and bad. I might be "okay" one minute and the next minute I might be in a horrible shame spiral and hating myself. He never knows. I never know, so it would be impossible for him to know.

I deal with it pretty well. I go to therapy, I take my meds. I manage, as far as things like this go.

I'm very lucky. He deals pretty well too. My husband is very forgiving, and very appreciative of all the good things about me. He accepts me for who I am, even the broken parts. Love is patient, love is kind.

And as it turns out? Love is also being really, really brave.

Every time you love someone enough to pledge your life to them, that's a huge chance. People grow, they change. People get sick, people die. Sometimes their brains break. Sometimes their brains have been broken for a very long time and they've just been hiding it really well. Keeping themselves busy, never dealing with it because it's just so hard. It's all a crapshoot, you know?

It hurts when the person you love doesn't act like the person you fell in love with. When they want to be alone to deal with their pain themselves. When the very thought of having to go somewhere, to interact, to deal just feels so incredibly exhausting. When they start behaving like they are someone else. It's not you, it's really not, but it's almost impossible to not take it personally.

Depression doesn't always look like laying on the bed with the lights off. Depression doesn't always look like crying. Sometimes it looks like continual self-doubt. Inability to recognize that a small thing is actually a small thing and not some huge, major drama. Sometimes it just looks like trying so hard, so very, very hard, to be perfect.

Depression is an ugly mistress. Hideous. You'd never want to take her home to meet the folks.

Love is different though. Love is being brave. Love is listening to those same stories. Love is being patient and kind when your person is hurting.  Love is helping. Love is fighting for your spouse, and what they need.

It's hard. I know it has to be hard. I know I would do anything to not feel the way I feel and I know every person who has depression and anxiety and every single other mental health issue feels exactly the same way. No one wants to hurt and they definitely don't want to hurt the people they love. That goes the same for those who have cancer, or a brain injury, or any other illness that changes them from the person you love to a person who can be hard to recognize sometimes.

Love is sometimes quietly listening. Love is sometimes holding someones hand while they cry. Love is sometimes just giving someone quiet space sometimes, and other times yelling at the top of your lungs when they need you to be their advocate.

If you love someone with a broken brain, remember they are worth it. Remember they don't want to have a broken brain, that they would literally do anything to change the fact that their brain is broken.

Love is an act of bravery.

Remember that.




Saturday, June 3, 2017

In the middle

In one of my running groups today someone commented that a family member was giving them a hard time because of their slow running pace. I felt sad for that person, because I know how it feels to work really hard for something and then have someone stomp all over it. Then they said what their running pace was and I felt even worse, for different reasons.

The pace that was "really slow"? Is about 45 seconds faster than the pace I'm currently trying to work up to. Note I said "work up to". I'm not there yet. Right now? I'm not even at a pace they consider slow. Not just slow, but REALLY slow. I'm even slower than really slow.

I thought about tonight, while I was out out on my run. I think a lot while I'm running. I wear headphones because I use a intervals app and it periodically shouts at me to do things like go faster and walk and go faster again and cool down (there is never enough of the cool down), but I don't listen to music. I think. I try to breathe, and I think.

I'm in the place that I call the in-between. It's not a particularly unpleasant place, but just feels unfinished.

I used to call it maintenance. I guess it is maintenance.

I hate maintenance.

I mean, I don't. Not really. I am glad to be where I am, honestly. Many, many times it felt like I would never get here, but yet I'm sitting in downtown here. Population: me.

That's the thing though, that's the hardest about maintenance. It's not very exciting and it's very, very lonely.

I remember when I did a 5k in 55 minutes a few years ago and I was SO, SO proud of this and posted about it on Facebook. All the comments were super kind and supportive and I swear to God at the time I thought 55 minutes was really good. When I first started I struggled with 20 minute miles. I finished in less than a hour! I was a freaking rock star! Let me tell the world!

I'm embarrassed by that now. Well, I'm kind of embarrassed. I now understand that 20 minutes is a slow walking pace, at least for people who don't carry around an extra 200lbs but...I mean, we all start somewhere, right? It's okay to be a beginner. It's okay to start from one place and then keep getting to the next place. I get this. I know it.

No one cheers for a 40 minute 5k though. No one cheers that I've been the same weight for the last 18 months. No one is interested in maintenance. It's not very exciting. It's not sexy. It's not full of triumphs. It's just...life.

I would argue that's completely, 100 percent okay, because you really aren't supposed to lose weight so your 2000 Instagram followers will be inspired. You are supposed to do it for yourself and that's it.
Is it nice to have the extra support? Of course it is. Is it necessary? Absolutely not.

So then you do it. You hit your goal weight and everyone cheers for you. No dancing girls in bikinis or bros who lift show up to throw you a peanut butter parade, but you get the idea. You've succeeded. You are the victor.

Welcome to the rest of your life, kid. It's about to get a whole lot harder.

This part legitimately makes me laugh because, you guys? I seriously thought losing 210lbs was the hardest thing I would ever do.

WRONG.

LIES.

The hardest thing I've ever had to do was not regain those 210lbs and then 50 more on top of it to make up for all the brownies I haven't eaten in the last three years. To not faceplant in cheesecake. To not drown my sorrows in pints of Ben and Jerry's. Jason and I were at the store the other day and he said, "Look they have Chubby Hubby!" and I swear to frog I bolted down the aisle as though the mere existence of that delicious peanut butter-pretzel filled creamy goodness would cause my thighs to explode.

(Jason was bewildered and said, when he caught up with me, "They also have Phish Food" in kind of a sad voice. Then I felt like a bad wife. Then later that week he told me had lost 11 pounds because he didn't eat lunch twice last week so frankly, he can suck it)

Maintenance is no fun. For real.

So I'm in-between.

I think it's all just a head game, honestly. If I say in maintenance that feels like saying I'm in drudgery and sadness. If I say, "I'm in-between" it feels less scary. Like, it's still not fun really. No one is cheering me on from the sidelines anymore and I've ceased to be that inspirational fat girl slogging her way around the track (not that I wanted to be that either because that feels really eww). Now I'm just "normal" and while that is delightful in many ways, it also feels, as I mentioned, really unfinished.

If I say I'm in-between think of all that could mean. Really, like a million things. It still feels unfinished, but it doesn't feel bad. It just feels like I'm still deciding. I don't know what I want to next, I'm still deciding. Maybe I'll start lifting really heavy weights. Maybe I'll start doing Crossfit and learn how to stand on my head and whatever. Maybe I'll just start doing yoga and obtain some inner peace. Maybe I'll finally get to a 12 minute mile, which is all I wanted anyway. You don't know!

Neither do I.

I'm figuring it out though. I'm working on it. One day, one run, one meal, and one minute at a time.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

I'm feeling 41

Lately, things are different.

Men are absolutely going out of their way to assist me.

What are you looking for?

Can I help?

Can I get you that?

Oh let me!

It's nice. Doors are opening that didn't open before. Literally, men hold the door for me all the time now.

Honest to God, I can't figure out if it's because I've lost weight and now look "acceptable" enough for them to be nice to, or if it's because I'm old and their mamas raised them to respect the elderly.

I mean, I know 41 is not old and is definitely not elderly. Frankly, I feel better than I ever have in my life and that's the truth. I can run for miles, I can Zumba for hours, and I can do crazy, silly things like box jumps and burpees. The bags under my eyes don't lie though. I'm a middle-aged mother.

I keep seeing pictures of my high school friends and their boyfriends or husbands and I think, "Oh my God, why is she with that guy! He's so old!" and then I'm like, "Oh crap. We are too." I'm twenty-four years out of high school. The boys I went to high school with are men now and some of them are men with gray beards and beer bellies.

It's...a bit jarring. If my nieces and nephews start dabbing (the dance one, not the drugs one) I totally know what they are doing (and I know it's both a dance and a drug thing) and probably will even join in. I'm way too old to join in and I feel pretty strongly that I'm not supposed to this stuff.

I don't know.

I'll take the help though. If anyone wants to reach things off high shelves for me or open jars or hold doors, I always appreciate it.