Monday, January 16, 2017

Lately

Lately, I am strong. It's nice.

A couple of years ago I discovered that physically I wasn't nearly as strong as I wanted to be (and emotionally? Forget about it. WIMP). I had lost about 100lbs and decided it was time. I was done screwing around. The rest was coming off, come Hell or high water (or both, I'm not picky). I decided to learn to run. Yes, I had to learn how. At the same time, I decided that I would do everything I could to avoid injury and I started taking Pilates classes.

I kind of wish I had videos of my first attempts at Pilates because I'm pretty sure they were hilarious. I tried though and I kept going and now? My core is pretty strong. I can shoot my legs straight out from a tabletop position (harder than it sounds, especially if you have a loose skin belly). I can bench press 200lbs on my legs which, according to an elderly gent at my gym, is pretty bad-ass.

I can do these things. I am strong.

I don't cringe every time my email buzzes now (although sometimes I say "GOOD GOD" if it's too many times in a row). If someone is repeating a story from a fake news site and I know it's absolutely not worth my time to try to correct them because they have their own version of truth, I just change the subject or move on to something else because I've decided, at forty-one years old, that trying to change people's minds is often not worth it. When I do speak up, I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

I'm strong.

I don't always act strong. Sometimes I cry my face off. Sometimes I'm so tired I literally can't even cry (this happened a few weeks ago...it wasn't pretty). Sometimes I still forgive things I shouldn't, sometimes I still blame myself for other people's shortcomings, and I am, continually, way too hard on myself. Every day.

Still.

I'm strong in body and I'm strong in spirit.




I would warn you not to mess with me, but you know what? It's okay if you do. I can take it.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Open Letters: Baby-it's-cold-outside edition!*

Dear person I hate-follow on Instagram,

No one really believes your weight loss is real because you photoshop yourself to unrealistic proportions. Eyes, other than those belonging to Princesses of the Disney variety, are not that shape. Never. Ever.

Also, your wig needs some attention. Just trying to help you.

Kisses!
Stephanie




Dear People on Facebook,

You do know that people can actually see and read what you post/like/comment on on Facebook, right? Like every time click "Like" on one of those Biker-Sluts-for-Jesus-Who-Think-Obama-Is-a-Muslim posts, we can all see it?

Just making sure.

Also? You need church.

Love,
Stephanie





Dear husband,

Thank you for being kind, sane, decent, loving, and hard-working. Also, cute. You're my favorite.

Love,
Me




Dear son,

For the love of Jesus, please learn social cues. No one is as interested in the War of 1812 as you are. No one. LITERALLY NO ONE. Especially not me. Here's a hint: when people start ignoring you and/or changing the subject it's because they don't care.

I know you are 18 and think you know everything but...darling, you don't. You don't know jack. You have a long, long, LONG way to go. You've barely even started.

I love you and I think you are very loveable, once you get your head out of your ass. So work on that. I know you can do it.

I love you a million,
Your mom


*not really. It was just catchy.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

*Insert witty platitudes about new year new me or whatever*

As I've mentioned many times, I don't care for resolutions. I do like goals though, and I make them pretty much every day of my life.

That sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, it's true. One thing I need people to understand is that just because something sounds crazy that doesn't mean it isn't true. When you have severe anxiety and depression like I do you sometimes have to convince yourself to do things like "get out of bed" and "shower" and "not cry" and "want to continue living" and whatnot. I know. Glamorous.

(On a side note, someone said to me the other day and I swear to God this is true, "What do YOU have to be depressed about?" And this, my friends, is what is wrong with the state of mental health in this country. Because 1) I am depressed and continually anxious because MY BRAIN IS BROKE and 2) If you honestly don't understand that I would give absolutely anything to not feel this way every day of my life, then I just can't help you. I have no words. I've spent forty years feeling guilty for being a freak, choking down medications, and getting up every damn day even when I don't want to, and I have seriously no time for this. Call me a special snowflake, call me whatever you want. If you ever develop cancer I'll be sure to call you and ask you why you are laying in bed and tell you all about how if you'd just try harder you wouldn't have cancer, tell you how uncomfortable your cancer makes me, and do my very best to make you feel the way you make me feel about the thing that I can't control even with medication and weekly therapy. Deal?)

Anyway.

Every single day of my life I make a list. Lists help me. They keep me focused. I find a great deal of satisfaction in checking things off lists, usually with a multitude of different colors.

Daily is usually all I can handle, but since it's the first day of this godforsaken new year, I'll try with the 2017 goals.

I posted on Facebook that my primary goal is to be so busy improving myself that I have no time to notice the faults of others. So just ignore that paragraph up there about the jerkoff who asked me what I have to be depressed about. Actually, don't ignore that. It's fine. It happened before this year so it totally doesn't count.

Other goals:

-Continue working towards self-acceptance. Be kinder to myself. Recognize how far I've come and stop worrying about how far I have to go.

-Spend more time petting Ginger and telling her what a good girl she is. She's eleven. I won't have her forever.

-Vacation without phones.

-Say "no" more, without any guilt or regret. It's okay to not do stuff you hate. I know this, yet keep doing stuff I hate. I am happy to say I do less stuff that I hate, but I'd like to get myself to a "zero-doing-things-you-hate" life.

-Pray more. To be fair, I pray a lot but it just sounds like having a conversation with Jesus ("Hi Jesus, it's me Stephanie!"). I think that's fine and I think that, pretty clearly, Jesus hears my prayers. I also think Jesus enjoys my prayers because sometimes they are pretty funny and involve things like not wanting to punch people who are terrible. He knows I'm trying.

-Be bitchier to my children.

Okay, this probably sounds hilarious, but I seriously think I've made their lives way to easy. My first instinct is always to help/fix/rescue/do for and...what good is that doing them? I mean, I'm obviously not going to leave them stranded or whatever, but if my son texts and asks if I can give him a ride home from work or if he should just walk I'm going to say, "You can walk". It's less than 2 miles. And if he's cold, well then next time he'll remember his jacket.

They are almost 19. They are nice and smart and friendly and really good, decent people..who need to start fending for themselves a little more.



That's all I have. That's probably enough.

I just want to be better. I've given up on wanting the world around me to be better, but I can at least work on me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

It was a different kind of year.

I almost never watch television anymore, which is sad because I really love tv and I'm certain some of you miss my exciting recaps of the Teen Mom program. I'm just really busy and have a really bad habit of falling asleep as soon as I sit down on the couch. I've been "Advanced Tired" for about nineteen years now.

I have TiVo though (an original one. I'm not even kidding, we've had it over 10 years now!) and I recently decided to record some Christmas programs because I figured at some point I'd have some time to watch them.

Christmas Eve night was that time, and after binge-watching several episodes of Judge Judy, I settled in with a movie I'd never seen, but was sure I would love. Little House: Bless all the Dear Children.

I mean, it's Little House! My favorite! I've read every single Little House book about a million times and loved the television show and adore Melissa Gilbert, even though I'm actually not sure what's going on with her face these days. I read her book and I read Alison Arngrim's book (hilarious) and used to legitimately want to BE Laura Ingalls Wilder (before I realized that holy Hell, Pa was actually crazy and being a writer is not that glamorous). What could go wrong?

Well, everything. Let's just start with everything.

I will spare you the entire story, but let me just spoil it by saying I am seriously curious about what type of drugs the writers were on when they churned this one out. Basic plot: Almanzo and Laura's daughter Rose (who is sporting the worst bowl cut I've ever seen in my life and I grew up in the in 1980's in East Tennessee so that's saying A LOT) is kidnapped by some crazy woman. Said crazy woman had a baby and the baby died and her brain broke. Which, okay, I totally get that but the vast majority of women who experience this do not go out and grab a 2 year old off a bench in front of a toy store, get on a train, take the child home to their husband (who was in another town while his wife was giving birth for some reason that is never clearly explained) and be like, "Dude, I found this kid at the hospital and they totally said I can keep her!" to which her husband is all like, "Oh fab! She's our daughter now!" I mean, was there no associated paperwork? Kids were just handed out like cheese on the sampler tray at the Hickory Farms? What is this?

So anyway, insanely long story short, somehow Laura and "Manly" (heh) pick up an orphan kid along the way, find Rose, go to the house she is very happily staying at with her kidnappers and bust up in there to rescue her. The new dad pulls a big gun on her actual parents and is all like, "Leave my daughter alone!" and they are all like, "No, she's our daughter!" and I'm over here shrieking, "Where is our friend Maury when you need him? He was alive in 1896 wasn't he?" and finally the crazy lady snaps out of the trance she's been in for this whole time and is like, "Yeah, I totes kidnapped her, but it was just because I was sad and stuff" and everyone's cool with that somehow.

THEN a bunch of other unrealistic stuff happens and at the end SURPRISE SURPRISE the crazy lady and her probably at least 1/2 crazy husband are like, "Well, we'll just take this kid instead!" and the orphan boy who is blond and gap-toothed and perfect is like, "Thanks Mom and Dad!" and I'm just...dying inside a little. THIS WOMAN JUST KIDNAPPED THEIR KID, TOOK HER ON A TRAIN, AND LIED TO HER HUSBAND. THEY ATE BISCUITS MADE BY THE CRAZY WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING POISONED BY HER AND THEN HANDED A RANDOM KID TO HER WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT.

WHAT.

So really, that movie was kind of a metaphor for 2016. A bunch of really ridiculous, unbelievable scary, crazy crap has happened and now I'm just sitting 
over here shaking my head and wondering what will be next.

Bewildered. I am bewildered.

To be fair, because I try really hard to be fair sometimes, 2016 did not entirely suck. I went to Michigan and visited with my sister-cousin. During that visit I was slain by a drag queen and on the way home I was stopped by security because apparently the cheese curds I was attempting to carry home from Frankenmuth were of serious concern. Jonathan and Megan graduated from high school and have just finished their first semester of college. I haven't imploded from that yet, so that's a big plus. I've maintained my weight loss within a five pound range. I'll take it. My marriage is intact and we're pretty darn happy together. All my bills are paid. I have a job (two, actually) and my LuLaRoe business has been successful in many ways, but mostly in that I've met a ton of really funny, smart, kind, and lovely people.

All of these things are good. They don't quite make up for all the crazy/bad/scary/mean/evil things in the world, but they help.

I'm old enough and have lived enough to understand that there are a lot of awful people in the world. I just didn't realize I knew so many of them personally. It's been painful, actually painful to see so much strife and hate and...just meanness in the world.

Mean. Yes, I used the word mean. Sorry mom and dad, you did a crap job raising me because I'm a special snowflake who wants people to not be jerks. I just can't fathom why cruelty has become "okay". It's not. It's just not and it will never be.

I wish I had more hope for 2017, but honestly? At this point I don't. I will do the best I can for myself and for my family. I will continue to work as hard as I can and I will continue to treat everyone with dignity and respect. That's all I can do. I think that's all any of us can do.

I'm not accepting any biscuits from strangers, though. And if I see someone doing or saying crazy things, I'm not just going to be okay with that. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

More crap about food and weight because apparently that's most of what I think about

I've been about the same weight for a year now. It's still weird.

Like, last night? I went to Krispy Kreme. I don't eat Krispy Kreme anymore, but the other people I live with do and I love them a lot. My daughter picked out a dozen doughnuts that she and her dad and her brother would like. It was totally fine and the cashier guy was super nice and then I realized something:

No one cares if I buy doughnuts now.

Okay, here's the thing that I actually totally really do understand: probably nobody cared before either. I always thought people cared or were judging me or whatever. I worked at McDonalds in high school and the first few years of college and I literally never remember thinking, "Whoa, that chick doesn't need six Big Macs". I was just like, "Here you go, have a great day!" and then moving on to the next order (or flirting with grill cooks). I didn't give a crap and probably no one ever did about me either.

So that's weird. It's not all about me. Who knew?

A few months ago I was talking to someone and they said that someone they knew had lost eighty pounds with some diet drug and I immediately said, "I wish I could lose eighty pounds!"

I don't have eighty pounds to lose. If I lost eighty pounds I would be dead or at least in some sort of hospitalization program with a feeding tube up my nose. My immediate thought though was "I should try this medication and lose eighty pounds!"

The truth is, I cannot wrap my brain around "maintenance". I've been in "lose" mode for so long that this year didn't really change it.

The further truth is, my brain is extremely messed up with all of this. This is not just my opinion, my therapist agrees and I'm pretty sure she had to go to school for a really long time to get to say so.

She recommended I see a nutritionist, which on the one hand sounds like a good idea and on the other hand sounds like what nightmares are made of. It's a moot point though because my insurance will only let me see a nutritionist if I have diabetes. Basically I've worked my ass off to NOT get diabetes, and now I'm being punished for it. Fantastic.

I got this book which was one those "For Dummies" books because that's just about the level I'm on with this crap and I haven't even cracked the cover yet. It's not helping me via osmosis. Strange.

I have not yet come to terms with being average. It's all I ever wanted and it's still really, really weird.

This is the other thing (yes, I know this whole post is a disjointed mess, I'm just letting my thoughts come out), and this is the hardest thing. One of the biggest reasons that I'm absolutely terrified about regaining the weight is that this is literally the only thing I've ever done that people have been proud of.

No seriously. Write a book? Yeah, that's nice. Graduate college with straight A's while working full-time and raising two kids? Yeah, no one cares. Two kids in college that they are paying for themselves? Whatever, no one cares once they are old enough to drive. Holds down a three jobs? Pass the salt.

I mean, all of those things to me are bigger and brighter and so much more of who I am than what the scale says. But there is no praise in any of that. It's super tough for women because there are so very few things we can do to garner praise. I also can't do the other thing that women get praised for, which is have children. I remember when people used to call Michelle Duggar "Mother of the Century" just based on the quantity of children she had, when the real truth was she passed those kids off to her older daughters to raise as soon as she was able, she was unable to tell a reporter literally anything about her kids beyond what they were like as infants, and lets not forget her son was molesting her daughters, she knew, and she didn't protect them. I'm not saying I'm a perfect mother, by any means, all I'm saying is number of children is also not a good qualifier. Basically, as a woman, weight loss is the only chance I have to be worthy of praise.

It's ridiculous isn't it? I giggled to myself a little bit when I typed that last line because that's just so backward and stupid and wrong. But I also live in a country where you can post a news story online about a female CEO who created 1000's of jobs for her company and 90% of the comments on said story will be some version of "she's a fat ass" or "she's a bitch". If a man did the same thing he'd he lauded as a hero and no one, not one person, would comment in what he was wearing for the promotional photograph or if his ass looked big in his Hagar slacks.

My therapist says that people can't relate to a lot of things I've done, but almost everyone can relate to weight struggles, so that's why people would comment on such things. I get that, honestly. It doesn't make it suck less though. I have tried many times to put my real feelings, my real thoughts, and my real struggles out into the world and...I honestly just can't. I am not eloquent enough. I'm not talented enough. It's so much more than I'm able to write about.

There's no good way to end this post, so I'll just share a picture of my dog. She doesn't care how much I weigh, she just loves me. I'm sure there is a deeper meaning there, but I'll let you work that out.