Reblog: Water Weight

This was a post from last summer. I found that revisiting it this afternoon put a little bounce in my step and reminded me that big girls are allowed to enjoy summer too. Check out my point of view:

https://mandimonblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/water-weight/

A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

Artistry

So jealous of your art.

Your music.

Your fashion and style.

Artistry.

Creating.

Beautiful people are everywhere.

Very, everywhere.

I want to join you.

Strumming heartache.

Painting wanting.

Writing courage.

Dancing victory.

Singing regret.

Created for expression, but I’m only good at watching.

So, watch I will and learn how to report what I’ve seen.

What I’ve learned.

What I’ve lost.

What I’ve dreamed.

These are all offerings,

of moments that only exist in our hearts now.

They can never happen again.

There is only today.

So throw open the windows and draw in deep.

The day the Lord has made is yours and free for the taking.

Take it and run like hell.

Like hell is chasing you down and grabbing for your clothes.

Just behind you, with the proof of your failure in its clutches.

Talons of doubts swiping at your back.

Running still.

This will be the chapter of persistence.

And the art it will inspire will be worth the pain.

 

 

 

 

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New landscapes

There is much to be said about clutter and disorganization in your home having a direct correlation to your physical and mental health.  The internet is ripe with articles and testimonials about this phenomenon. Today, I was sitting in my backyard trying to have a clear and meditative moment when I decided that this was true.

My back yard looks like a desert wasteland.  You almost expect to see Mel Gibson dressed as Mad Max come walking around the corner of the house, covered with dust and scouring the land for supplies.  It’s embarrassing.   My husband and I joke about this to our friends but it is mostly to cover up the shame we both feel about having let it all go back there.  We have kids and a dog and Game of Thrones, obviously making yard work low on our priority list.  Its more like we warn people before they peek out the window.  We care about what our space and habitat looks like because it says a lot about who we are.  We are FAR from fancy but we try to make a good impression by sprucing and cleaning.  We want anyone who comes into our home to feel comfortable and welcome.  The success of Pinterest proves that we are a generation obsessed with cheap and easy DIY fixes for the home. We want to paint and spruce and decorate so that we feel “acceptable”.

It’s not that different from how we dress ourselves.   We primp and fuss with our hair and makeup, especially if we have somewhere special to be.  Clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories.  Women are known for paying attention to detail.  Lots of men are just as fussy about the way they look as us ladies are.  It’s just a necessary evil right?  We spend so much time showering, sugar scrubbing, shaving, lotioning and dressing.  Brushing, curling, straightening and spraying.  Blending, concealing, highlighting, and glossing.  Finally, we look in the mirror and survey if we are ready to leave the house.  Are we acceptable to be seen?  To step out in the marketplace and participate in life?   Even though these painted versions of ourselves aren’t truly who we are, they make us feel good enough about ourselves to go ahead and try.  We head out the door to conquer our day and the first time someone tells us we look nice we immediately say,”NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  No I don’t, I’m gross. But thank you.”  We mustn’t believe anyone when they actually compliment us, right?

If you busted your ass gutting out your back yard and pulling weeds and planting new sod you wouldn’t dismiss someone telling you how great it looked!  Why?!  Because you KNOW IT LOOKS GOOD GURRRL.  YOU WORKED HARD! It paid of and now you can take a deep breath, open a cold bottle of beer and enjoy.  Doesn’t that feel good?  To have gratitude for a nice space to sit and make memories in?  What in THE WORLD would happen if we treated our bodies the same way?  Like a sacred space, to enjoy sitting in and making memories with?

Looking around my yard and then my home I realized that in the same way I had kind of given up on my appearance because of not feeling good about myself…I had kind of done the same to my space.   Why has this evaded me?  Has there just been a massive point of no return?  Where I have given up caring about not only my body and how I can dress it…but it seems also my home and yard with it?

What would happen if I gave up fighting with myself this summer about how much I weigh, how I look or what im gonna wear and devoted all of that energy instead to rolling up my sleeves and cleaning up and fussing on this home that I have been graciously given?  What if my physical, emotional and spiritual self transformed in direct correlation to my feeling good about my living space as it had the other way around?

Am I crazy?

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Let’s dig deeper?

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“Confidence is the only key. I know a lot of people who aren’t traditionally ‘beautiful’ — not symmetrical or perfect-bodied or perfect-skinned. But none of that matters because all that shines through is their confidence, humor and comfort with themselves. I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” –Emma Stone

Unafraid to be herself?

When I read this quote it really struck me. I love Emma Stone. She is so cute and funny, it seemed perfect that she was the one who had said these words. This in fact is the one thing almost everyone agrees is the single thing that is attractive in another human being. Seemingly, not directly based directly on how someone looks. Is confidence REALLY the key?

What about the very fine line between confidence and arrogance? When is it genuine vs. put on? How do we learn these things, then teach them to our kids?

Confidence?

I guess today I’m not writing a blog post as much as I feel I might be researching for a juicy one!

What makes you feel confident?

Is there a time when your confidence was shining through?

How do we gain this?

What are your thoughts??

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Water weight

I don’t know any large people who enjoy summer.

I make a genuine attempt but it might be in vain.

For most of us, there is the issue of clothing. Some people are trapped in long shirts and pants all summer long because they don’t feel comfortable enough to wear shorts (luckily for me, I have no shame when it comes to this and wear shorts despite the way my legs look. I choose comfort!). This is problematic because of sweating and general discomfort. Also, shorts require shaved legs…this can be quite the arobic activity. Figure that one out.

With big heavy clothes covering a big heavy body you become a walking furnace…beading constantly with sweat. Any attempts at fixing hair or make-up is futile. All efforts are guaranteed to melt away. A fat woman in the summer lives in a constant dampened state where her hair and face are in danger of becoming a frizzy and smeared mess. Making dressing up for a date night or wedding a nightmare to be avoided at all costs.

Then there is the bathing suit dilemma…this seems to be a hot button issue for all human beings but particularly for the over-weight person. Is there anything more exposing than what you wear to go swimming? I’m of the t-shirt/sports-bra/cotton shorts camp. It “suits” me well. (Yikes! I couldn’t help myself.)

Summer isn’t ALL bad !? There is the upside of summer fruit. I love the endless options of ice cold watermelon, berries, pineapple, grapes…WHATEVER. I love them all. I buy so much fruit in the summer I feel like a roman empress. It’s almost shameful.

But there is something very magical that happens in the life of every over-weight person in the summer (if they are comfortable enough to allow themselves to GET IN and enjoy it). A single activity that we can participate in during the HOT summer months that allows the body to feel free and light.

Swimming. It is glorious.

I have spent the weekend swimming with my husband and siblings and playing non-stop with my kids.
Our skin is tight, toasted and freckled from the sun.
Our eyes are tender, recovering from all the chlorine exposure.
Our hair is a mess of tangles.
Our sleep has been deep. The kind of sweet sleep that only comes from very hard work or play.

Summer for this family is in full swing. Despite spending another summer being big…feeling miserably hot and sweaty I want to make the most of it. I want to have all my weekends leaving me feeling this abundantly full and blessed. Drowsy from fun with loved ones. Laughing and playing.

So often, I am watching them and cheering on from the sidelines…so when I get to be in the pool with them, I feel like the best mother in America. Like I get to make up for all the other times I’m not able to.

I can feel and bend and maneuver myself in ways that are near impossible outside of the water. It brings so much relief. An escape, albeit short-lived, from bearing the literal weight of myself.

Now, back to the Monday morning grind…learning how to unload the weight of my figurative self. I wish it were as easy as slipping into a pool of cool water.

From the mouths of babes…

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Yesterday I was informed that an article I was interviewed for was published. This is supposed to be GOOD news right? I found myself with a mixture of emotions.
My husband insisted that we pick up actual copies. Reluctantly I surrendered. He came home with the newspapers and I was nervous as I picked one up to flip to the story I was a part of.
Stopped immediately to notice a thumbnail photo of me standing between the other two ladies was on the COVER.
Heart sinking.
Flipping to the feature, I was met with a large, round familiar face staring up at me from the pages. The article is huge. Which should be a celebration. Two pages filled with wonderful content about the workshop I got to be part of and even a little shout out to my blog. All of this new, fresh and exciting to which I exclaimed,” Ugh. Nasty.”
My husband rolled his eyes. He is used to my self abuse.
But then something worse happened.
My son came up to me from the other room with his eyes fixed on my picture on the paper page and yelled,” Wow! My mommy is on a magazine! Why is it nasty mom?”

Stunned.

What is wrong with me?!

I pulled myself together and smoothed it over so that he didn’t know that I was referring to my picture. I wanted to let him be proud of me. That is an appropriate response. I am the one who is sick and insecure. I wrestled with it all night. Back and fourth. Imagining the comments that might be said when people look upon my picture. Kind of regretting ever have posing for it. Praying to just go ahead and let what is, be.

I woke up this morning and I BELIEVE God put this blog post on my news feed. It speaks for itself…PLEASE READ. It says everything.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/8760102/When-your-mother-says-shes-fat

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Food for thought?


“It seems to me that women typically experience shame about two things: their bodies and their homes.”
-Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: Finding Community and Life Round the Table

True. True. True.

My body and general self-respect and how I feel about them lined up with the state of my home seem to be intimately connected. Lately, when I feel out of control and chaotic it produces negative behaviors that produce shame and it seeps into my habitat. This is so dangerous because it can ricochet back and fourth between the two, causing more depression and guilt that can be hard to climb out of.
I think the reason why we experience shame in these two areas is because these are the areas in which we try to seek out our identity. In our culture, appearances both as a woman physically and in our living spaces say something about us. Causing us to be inviting or closed off.

She says in the book, “This [shame] is why the door stays closed for so many of us, literally and figuratively.”

There are so many traps and myths woven into our minds when it comes to these things. We have been so deceived. Finding our worth in the wrong things. Measuring ourselves in the wrong arena.

I am not my dirty dishes.
I am not my stained carpets or dusty blinds.
I am not my piles of laundry or cluttered counter tops that don’t shine.
I am not a To-Do list undone.
I am not my cluttered brain.
I am not my jumbled heart breaking under the weight of shame.
I am not my heavy body.
I am not my double chin.
I am not these jeans that don’t fit anymore because I can’t bear to face a gym.
I am not these things I HAVE …
the truth is I’m so much MORE.
May I truly believe it to live with wide open doors.

Jesus says, “Make your home in me, as I make mine in you” (John 15:4). I think if we let the truth of this become our REAL standard it might cause all else to vanish. Thinking so much lately about what it means to come to the table, to offer myself in hospitality and fellowship, to dine with Jesus as my friend…so much to discuss. Much more on this topic for sure.

What if?

“What if you have a genuine and captivating beauty that is marred only by your striving?”
― Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

“The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather”
― Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
– 1 Peter 3:4 ESV

It hasn’t ceased to amaze me since starting this blogging project the depth of how disfigured we ALL see ourselves and the beauty God has given us. Mind blowing for to me to hear self loathing from the lips of women who I would define as having the mind, body and beauty of some sort of glimmering goddess… coupled with a heart just as golden. We can see it so plainly in each other, but when we are in front of a mirror we are stung by the familiar disappointment of not measuring up. Each of us plagued by whatever standard it is we are seeking. I used to think this was only something that my chubby “kind” and I experienced. Like the lovely and super well dressed of the world were exempt. Now I know better.

What if for one wild moment we set aside all the striving?

What if we set aside the masks?

The endless effort and exhaustion in trying?

What if we embraced that hidden person of the heart that God sees?

What if we did, and we were as kind and encouraging to her as we are to our best friends and sisters?

Seeing the best in her, despite her flaws?

What would happen if we could make a truce with ourselves and live in peace?

Freeing up our minds and hearts to love deeper and serve well because we are no longer chained to trying to somehow make ourselves acceptable?

Knowing that that fight has already been fought and won…believing in and resting in our rescue.

What if all of these faults we see could be seen instead as marks of our humanity?

Defects and all…
Pimples and moles.
Round bellies and dimpled thighs.
Hairs, skin and freckles.
Fat and bones.
Fingers and toes.
Full smiles despite how we feel about our teeth.
Loud and hearty laughs and strong opinions despite putting people off.
Standing up for justice as you see it when everyone else disagrees.
Staying silent despite the roars of the crowd because it is right.
Gifts and talents that would be uncovered or recovered and put to proper use.

Beautiful life lived fully.

Speak the truth in love

I’ve been teetering this past week or two with the feelings of victory and momentum I’ve gained with my weight loss and the ever-present darkness of self-doubt that waits to pounce on me and pull me back down into the bowels of the addiction/binging prison that I’ve left behind. I am in a delicate time in this process where I KNOW that I have given up so much and am working hard to overcome the comfortable habits I’ve been living with and allowing to cripple me for a lifetime. It’s easy to become doubtful or fearful of failure because the results are not as exciting or rapid as I was hoping…and the addict in my brain is convincing me it’s not worth it. I know that it is…I’m just being honest about the reality of the war in my head.

This weekend was filled with fun and friends. My husband and I were out on the town and fancy free! We had the pleasure of traveling to be at friends surprise party and then made plans to join another couple in San Francisco. We stayed overnight, got to sleep in, walked around and had brunch before heading back home yesterday. As far as kidless weekends go, it was glorious!
And as far as anyone else knows, I had the time of my life! And I did…except there is always the underlying issue I have to deal with whenever I am participating in being a human being in public. What is that issue?

I’m still fat.

On the outside, and to most everyone I am still fat. Even though my clothes are fitting better, and my body feels slightly different and just genuinely BETTER…the fact remains. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for the changes I can actually see and feel, though they are slight, they have boosted my confidence and have spurred me to keep generating the momentum I need to keep going.

That being said, to meander down a busy street in a big city on a Sunday morning is still just as awkward and painful and humiliating as it was 25 pounds ago. With each pair of raised eyebrows, and stares and scoffs I could feel a ding and a chip and a swipe at my thin little armor of confidence. People’s faces speak a language all their own, to which I have become fluent. The look I get most of the time after someone sizes me up is one that says,
” Wow. Really? You should be ashamed of yourself.” Or “Poor thing.” Shaking heads in disbelief. Which is usually followed with a look of confusion when realized that My hubs is MY HUBS and actually WITH me. He thinks this is all in my head. I wish it were. The sad thing is, we ALL do it. I’m guilty of it too. The sharp and simple judgements we make when we see others. When we “people watch”.

These kinds of experiences have gotten worse with each pound I have packed on over the years. Yet I still shudder to think of the experiences had by those who’ve had it and will always have it worse than me. In any case, we become numb to it. The embarrassment of being in my skin returns and that little momentum and hope I’ve worked so hard for disappears under the weight of all the familiar looks and snickers. But I’ve learned how to ignore it. Let it roll over me like a wave while I try to keep my cool and not let it affect the bluff of my composure. I don’t want to upset the herd or bring MORE attention to myself so I tuck it away. Fold it up and slip it into that lock box in my heart that’s reserved just for shame and self loathing. In the past, it would have set me up splendidly for a private and ugly couple of days of binging and self-abuse. But since I am committed to NOT dealing with things in my old familiar ways, and am also committed to being honest and REAL in this process and can longer engage in old behaviors, I am writing about it instead.

This is an excerpt from an article I read this morning which I thought was brilliantly written:
“The way that our country treats human bodies, fat and thin and in between, is barbaric…We frame people’s bodies as physical manifestations of their supposed moral failings, just so that we can congratulate ourselves on not being them. We publicly humiliate and dehumanize children to prop up the multibillion-dollar weight-loss industry. And then we tell fat people that they’re the villains.”
http://jezebel.com/5908787/being-mean-to-fat-people-is-pointless-a-good-old+fashioned-plea-for-civility

So if my new method of dealing with things is to SPEAK the truth to myself instead of LISTENING to that old tape of lies in my head…then the truth is, my body is NOT the manifestation of my moral or even spiritual failures. My worth is not determined by strangers or anyone else who thinks they can size me up by how I look. I am a human being with life and loves and feelings. Just as anyone else is whom I may be tempted to look upon and judge harshly. I no longer have to keep a cold, hard, locked box in my heart. Because that is not freedom. When I am convinced that I should, my faith reminds me that there was a dire price paid for me to have a warm, fleshy heart. Free to love and feel abundantly. A heart free to be tender and kind despite the risk of being hurt and torn. A heart that needed to be reminded that this whole pursuit of a “meaningful makeover” is not about becoming skinny. I may never, ever, ever, lose this weight. That wasn’t and can’t be the point. The point of all of this is to love myself because God loves me and thought me valuable enough to breathe life into my lungs this morning and allow me to wake up and write this down.


“…and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer. Stare a little longer. Because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit. You built a cast around your broken heart and signed it yourself…you signed it “they were wrong”…”
– Shane Koyczan

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