Begin Again

It’s November in Northern Nevada and the weather has just started getting wet and cranky.  I’m standing outside my gym in the rain.  My body is hot, and I can see steam floating up off my arms as I lean against the wet wall and let allow myself 1 minute to cry.  I had been pushing all of my built up emotions down and down and down, as far as I could, throughout the whole workout.  I finally had to step out so that I wouldn’t choke on my own feelings lodged in my throat.  “1 minute, that’s all you get.” I tell myself.

Pushing yourself physically in a workout will ALWAYS break down those walls we work so hard to put up.  It exposes you, makes you feel vulnerable and you cannot hide.  That is part of why working out is so uncomfortable for most people at first, and we don’t like to do it!   But eventually, it turns into a magical, victorious, HIGH, that us weird fitness people chase like a drug.  That feeling when you’ve conquered the initial discomfort and you start to feel stronger, faster, BETTER. Suddenly there is NOTHING you cant face out in the world, once you’ve faced yourself in the gym.

Fitness magic.

But…starting over is SO HARD.

“I am so tired of feeling this way.  Is this ALWAYS going to be how it feels?  Why did I do this to myself? Why did I stop??!  Will I ever get where I want to be?” I think to myself, as I struggle to catch my breath.

So MANY valid excuses…that mean absolutely NOTHING in this moment, because I feel defeated and robbed of all my confidence I had worked so hard for.    I lean over with my hands on my knees. I take in deep breaths and let the rain fall on my back, and my mind race.  Tears rolling down my face.   “Here I am, eating my own words.” I say out loud to no one, and laugh.

I stand up, wipe my face with shirt and head back in to the session to finish, because even though I fell off my wagon for a bit, I CANNOT quit.  Too many people are counting on me to BELIEVE in what I talk about everyday.

So here I am, walking my talk.

My 9 year old daughter has been asking everyone in our family if she is fat.

It’s been very subtle, but I have discovered that she has been privately polling multiple family members at different times and it shatters my heart.  She is NOT fat, though I know there have been kids at school who have called her fat, and she has become sensitive to it.  I recognize those feeling all too well.

I worry, is it because of ME? Because her mom is in THIS body? And her mom was in another body before that? And working on another body still?  Has she, despite my best efforts, inherited my shame?  Has her being present and aware of my weight loss journey/body image journey/self acceptance journey, done the opposite of what I had hoped? I wanted to show her that despite everything and ANYTHING, I am capable of AWESOME…so that she could KNOW that she is too?

Even just typing this, I can feel my insides start to ache with the thoughts of her not knowing how beautiful and magical she is.

I watch her when she doesn’t know I’m  looking, and wonder how I made this human.  Her little 9 year old girl face. Her nose is freckled like mine.  Her hair is thick, blond and short. She likes it just long enough to tuck behind her ears.  She is a tomboy who loves to fight and wrestle and get dirty.  She LOVES karate.  She hates pink and loves black and green.  But she also thinks boys are SO CUTE (especially Justin Bieber and her 20 year old karate instructor, AJ).

She is in love with love.  She thinks shes going to grow up and marry her dad.  She loves to hug and kiss and crawl ALL over us, and declare her love for everyone, much to the dismay of her big brother.  She’s obsessed with all kinds of animals (except creepy crawly ones) and her heart is so tender,  she cries instantly if an animal is lost, hurt or wounded in movies.  She loves to crank her music up and sing at the top of her lungs…but gets embarrassed and shrinks all the way down to the floor if she catches us listening.  She loves to laugh.  Once she starts up its hard to get her to settle down.

She is our favorite girl in the world!! My ladybug.

And some asshole kid called her fat?

Who could ever know the depths of how wonderful she is just by looking at her?

But isn’t that true for all of us? How do we so quickly forget that we are harboring all the BEST parts of ourselves inside of these bodies, and not the other way around??

Coming home from our conference in September was a climatic whirlwind. There was an overload of praise, contentment, pride and satisfaction with ALL THE THINGS!! And there was also recovery from being dehydrated,  and off of my regular routine of steady workouts and usual diet.   I happily let myself enjoy it ALL, and honestly never quite made it back to “normal” before going on another trip and adding insult to injury.  Slowly and surely I started to make excuse after excuse and feel like crap.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turn into months and lbs turn into more lbs. I gained some weight back, and started to spiral downward and feel out of control and lose heart.

The good news is, it is my job everyday at my club, to convince people that no matter how far they have fallen off the wagon…they can get back up and try again. It is my job to assure people that even though it SUCKS in the beginning…it turns into magic when you start to love yourself.  It is also my job to continue to KEEP IT REAL. All along, sharing this journey, with all of its ups and downs.

And my most IMPORTANT job, is showing my little girl that my value as a woman is not defined by the state of my body, but the state of my heart!

So, I had to begin again.

And, however many times I have to start over, I will. Again and again, I HAVE TO. Because I have to show my girl that there is so much more that makes a person special than what their body looks like!!

And, for those of us who continue to get back up and keep trying, despite seeing the results we want to see immediately, and despite all of the doubts, fears and setbacks…KEEP GOING.

Push through, until it is magic again.

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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.

Previous Older Entries

Day 20 of 35!!! 😊✅✅✅ Today was a CRAZY day, so I had to fit a quick 20 min SOMETHING in this morning! Hey...a workout is a workout! 💪🏽💥🙌🏼🔥💜 #keepgoing #persist #35daysofgainz #notallworkoutareglorious

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