Fat Chick at a Fitness Conference 

Last week I was on a once in a lifetime trip to New York for the annual Anytime Fitness conference.  

I say again, F-I-T-N-E-S-S conference. 

Never in my wildest daydreams would I have ever thought that this would be my life. And certainly people who’ve known me a long time would agree. It’s wild times for me, for sure. When I first started this blog in 2013 I was so lost. I had no ideas about where I was headed. All I knew is that I was in pain and writing helped. I knew I needed to change, but I did not know how or where to start.  
Fast forward to September 2016, and here is my view from the lodge I stayed at in Lake Placid…as a fitness professional.  

What do I want to say about my experience last week? 
How do I begin? Where do I start? 
Do I start with the amazing and surreal sights and sounds of my 24 hours in New York City, before we headed up state?  
Do I dig deep into my wanna-be-writer soul and try to describe how magical and soul stirring it was to be in the Olympic village at Lake Placid, where our conference was held? In the actual ice rink where the “miracle on ice” happened in 1980, one of the biggest sports upsets of all time?
Do I start with the intense gratitude I have for my boss’s, my team, my gym members, my friends, my family, my babies and my husband??? For everything everyone’s done to provide for me, inspire me, push me and encourage me to get to this awesome point in time of my life? 
No.
I’ll start with the REAL, less impressive, corners of my heart. That place deep down in the bellows of your guts that threatens to show up and ruin everything you’ve worked hard for with just a few seeds of doubt and shame. Yes, I’ll start there. Because it doesn’t matter where I’m at, or what I’m doing…when the mind starts traveling down that road of negative thinking, nothing else matters. And I know we’ve all been there. 

You see, I’m still fat. Forget that I’ve lost 111lbs. To people who don’t know me, I’m still obese. 288 pounds is still ALOT. And that’s the number I carried around with me, and stuffed into airplane seats and restaurant chairs and yoga workout pants while I was gone.  
My body is in this weird, middle earth realm of being smaller, stronger and more effiencient…but also (with weight still to lose) still big, and jiggly.  And with the weight loss I’ve had, I’m starting to have skin droop and sag. It’s just the way it is.  There’s no getting around that, I’d rather have that to deal with then where I was at before.  

I know it’s TMI, but I’m just keeping it real people. This is the real life account of my “extreme weight loss” and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows!! Some of this is really weird and hard and I understand now why it must take so long to truly transform!! It is a grueling process and the mind takes time to catch up with the changes of your body and vice versa.  

Ultimately, my goal is health and FEELING good, and be able to actively live my life.  So, the cosmetic stuff doesn’t really bother me.  Especially when I’m in my bubble where everyone knows me! 

Here at home, everyone at our gyms knows ME. They know my story.  They’ve seen me work out.  They know what I’m capable of, and I walk around with complete confidence in my leadership there.  That is why I was unprepared for how my insecurity would start to creep in and feel at our conference.  

Being in a group of hundreds (at least 1,000?) trainers and fitness professionals who didn’t know me left me feeling pretty vulnerable.  But I know better!!! I kept telling myself that this is what all of these people are passionate about! Not one person was rude to me or weird to me! The battle was all within my head.  Which leads me to my triumphant moment friends.  You knew there would be one! 

The Saturday afternoon before we left, there was a group workout planned so that we could attempt to break three world records. The records we attempted were the most people doing a simultaneous 1 minute plank, 1 minute of squats and 1 minute of jumping jacks.  The squats and the planks I was not worried about.  But I have NEVER done unmodofied jumping jacks becuase I can’t jump on my feet! The pounding is too hard and my body so heavy.  But, in order to qualify for the world record, each person has to do a perfect, unmodofied version of each exercise without stopping for the full minute.  

It was a conundrum.  

I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS.  I was silently agonizing over having to do it.  Worried I would fail miserably.  Do I sit out? Do I let my team down and refuse to do this workout that will surely end in my shame and humiliation? Do I surrender to that nagging negative voice that had been pestering me the whole time we were there, saying you DONT BELONG HERE? 

Well first of all, my team wouldn’t have let me sit out so that wasn’t an option.  And secondly, I thought about all of my people!! All of my members at my gym at home who love me and whom I feel in some small way I represent.  I decided I’d try my best for THEM.  And so I did. And you know what? I was able to do all three.


LONGEST three minutes of my life, but I did it.  I could do it all along.  And in that three minutes it didn’t matter what my body looks like or all my dumb feelings…all I knew is that I had DONE THE THING.  

One of the best feelings of my life, I’ll never forget it.  I was so proud of myself for not surrending to that old mindset that would have robbed me of being a part of breaking world records with my team.  After the workout, the trainer who was leading us from up front ran down to the grass and created a huddle with us all around.  He yelled,”Do you feel that?! This is why we do what we do. It’s magical! It’s tangible!” And I broke down and finally cried.  

But, tears of joy! 

It doesn’t matter who knows what about me.  I know how far I’ve come and am excited about where I’m going.  And it’s been announced that next years conference is in Palm Springs. 🙂 

Boomshakalaka.

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Today is the first time I’ve really looked at a side by side pic and thought, “Holy s#%$! This is actually happening.”

The pic on the left was taken in December of last year. Since then, I’ve had 6 months of ups and downs. Days where I’ve felt invincible and days where I’ve wanted to quit because it all seemed worth less.

The easy part of this whole thing has turned out to be the ACTUAL exercise. Don’t get me wrong!! It’s HARD. But, the body is AMAZING and responds immediately to movement. My strength and endurance has been the one and only thing that I’ve noticed getting better and better every single week.

The HARD part, has been focusing on those victories and staying positive. The MENTAL work of this has been the hardest. Keeping clarity on what to eat everyday and not making lame exceptions to eat crap that will make me feel like crap. Not allowing myself to slack on logging my food on my fitness pal, and being HONEST on there…even on terrible days. Not allowing any room for feeling sorry for myself on days when I kept waiting for some drastic number to show up on the scale. Or, expecting my pant sizes to radically drop, and feeling disappointed when they hadn’t.

The old me would have given up 9 times by now.
The old me would have offered herself some way to excuse herself from the commitment. The old me would have justified that the pain of working out was not worth it without any tangible results.
The old me would have felt sorry for herself and soothed herself with food binges and a “screw it” attitude for weeks before getting sick of herself and declaring a “new start” once again!

The old me had resigned to just being a fat person.
I had accepted it as my roll in life. (No pun intended 😉) I didn’t think I was worthy of being someone who could be healthy and truly in love with life. How could anyone be happy when their heart if filled with despair?

My humor and loud personality over compensated for how miserable I really was for years. I hid behind being loud and funny so that I could be comfortable in social situations. It was a survival method I had used since the 7th grade. I figured out how to be “the funny girl” so that I wasn’t just “the fat girl”. Making fun of myself before anyone else could. Always appearing to be casual and confident, all the while literally being disgusted with myself well into my adulthood.

Hey, I’m all for body positivity and for big girls like me, learning how to truly love themselves!! But, hear ye: there is NO SUCH THING AS A FAT GIRL WHO LOVES BEING FAT. I’m glad that the media and our culture in general is starting to accept the fact that big girls are pretty and want to wear pretty clothes and be models. That’s awesome! But I guarantee you that if any one of these big girls could trade in their body for a healthier and more athletic one that could run and play and DO…each one would in a heart beat. Anyone who would argue with me on that is lying. Being fat and overweight is miserable. It is hard physically, emotionally and spiritually. It leaves you open to all kinds of public judgement and ridicule. And obviously, it puts your health at risk for a long list of problems, ailments and diseases. No, I won’t celebrate being “fat and fabulous”. I celebrate being strong and capable of being the BEST version of myself I can be.

I’m a big girl, and I’m proud of all that I’ve been able to accomplish while still being big. I’ve bad to work twice as hard and be twice as dedicated to my health to get to where I am now, and I’m still a big girl! But it sure feels good to be able to DO. It feels good to MOVE.
It feels good to be genuinely confident with myself and not have to rely on my personality or hide behind jokes.

So, to all of us ladies battling the urge to give up??
I started this journey only a few pounds shy of 400lbs. There has been no magic. No pill or drink or special diet. It has been the day in and day out attempt to try, and CHOOSE life. I’ve stayed true to my commitment to my husband and babies and to myself. The hard work is starting to pay off.

For all of us who’ve at one time or another, caught a glimpse of ourselves in the reflection of a store window while walking through a parking lot…and immediately felt that heart plunge of shame with what we see? This post is dedicated to you.

For all of us who have sought comfort in our cars, eating drive thru food, hating ourselves more and more with every secret bite and feeling hopeless to change? This post is for you.

For all of us who’ve cried trying to squeeze into our jeans, or cried alone in our closets trying to find something suitable to wear to a wedding or other special event…this post is for you.

For every one of us who’s lacing up her shoes and trying to muster the confidence to step into a gym, or go walk around the block, or try a beginners yoga class for the first time? This is for you!

For every one of us that is choosing a salad instead of a burger and fries.

Water instead of a glass of wine.

Walking instead of driving.

Believing instead of doubting.

Loving instead of hating.

We CAN DO THIS.

KEEP GOING.

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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Get a move on!

I just sat down at my computer and cranked up the music.

Subwoofer and all.

It feels so  good.  First song to pop up on my Pandora (Love’s Holiday/Earth, Wind & Fire Radio, if you’re feeling funky) is  Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T”.  Just what I need to light a fire under my ass this morning to literally dust this thing off and get down to business.  He  sings,” don’t you know now is the perfect time…” and he’s right, it is.

It has been way to long.

I have been avoiding my blog, my writing and generally all things I enjoy for sometime now.  I don’t know why I do that?   Must be a part of the weird and continual self-abuse that is my default when times get stressful.   I tend to fold up shop on all things productive and go back to the old way of thinking and managing my emotions when something sucky happens. And yes, sucky stuff has happened.  But I am still here.  My family is doing well.  I have a roof over my head.  All is well. Gratitude washes away all the weariness that has threatened to take over.

The good news is, the time between my old default setting and the fresh and ambitious setting that I prefer is getting shorter and shorter.  Thanks be to God!  My desire to THRIVE is greater than the desire to be feel sorry for myself.

One of my best friends reminded me of a great quote yesterday by the legendary Tony Robbins, “motion is emotion.”

Motion is emotion. 

Our body language and energy level is connected to what we think and feel about ourselves.  How we feel about ourselves dictates the quality of what we do day in and day out.  Even though I feel as though I have to learned this lesson over and over…here it is again today and I’ll be damned if a negative attitude hadn’t snuck in and tried to take over again.  Which is a shame because I have so much to tell you guys about the past few months.  I have gone (mostly) sugar-free.  I have started Pilates.   I began acupuncture to help with managing my foot pain and also to promote healing so that I can get to where I want to get with my fitness goals.  I have been enjoying some great accomplishments!  Even though I have a long way to go, I can”t afford to pull the plug and crawl back into my comfortable cave where everything dulls and comes to a screeching stop just because it seems too overwhelming.

You can’t make momentum out of nothing.  

So today I will GET UP.

GET A MOVE ON.

Maybe put on some Beyoncé and get my groove on.  I will not lie down and let poor and lazy thinking allow me to slip into fatigue and depression (again).  I think this is a danger for any of us moms who stay at home during the day (but that is a whole other blog post!).  If I am making the choice to sit and marinate in all of my negative feelings and fears, how can I ever expect any changes to occur or progress?  This was where I always seemed to fail before.  Throwing in the towel and resorting back to the same old thing before the new thing could take hold.   Putting a halt on all of the things that help me feel better and do better  is about the worst thing I can do.

I will WRITE.

I will post it.  Even if it sucks.  Because I know I should.  Because I know it helps me feel better.  Because I know it helps connect me to everyone else who reads these words and resonates with what I feel, and I know I’m not alone.   Because I know it is my art and my gift and if I want to get better at it, I need to quit worrying about who will read it and what they will think of it.

It’s the perfect time.

Especially now that Pharrell and Daft Punk are in my ear telling me it”s time “to get lucky”.

 

 

 

 

 

I.A.L.A.C. Week

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When I was in elementary school we had this week long themed week called I.A.L.A.C week. There are similar themes in schools today, some are called spirit weeks or unity week. At my sons school it’s a “celebration of reading” week. Basically how it works is Monday through Friday the kids are all given a little bit of a break to do fun stuff like wear their pajamas to school, or a have a crazy hair day. It’s a way of building up a team spirit atmosphere in the classroom and I’m sure a myriad of other benefits that I have no idea about because I’m not a teacher. But something about it MUST have been valuable because the model is repeated in almost every school.

It was no different for me and my classmates during our weeks back in the early 90’s…except for the message behind it. We were all given little buttons with the I.A.L.A.C acronym on it. It stood for,” I am love able and capable”. I can remember the teachers trying to get us to memorize this and kind of burn it into our minds. And here I am at 31 years old writing a blog post about it?! Well Done Grace Warner Elementary, well done. As I was laying in bed last night for some random reason ( my mind is a chaotic and rapidly busy place dudes…) this popped up and I began to really think about it. I woke up this morning and googled it. Sure enough, the I.A.L.A.C. message is still going strong.

This elegant and simple message of teaching children they are lovable and capable started to blow my mind. Maybe for the first time ever I really understand what the point was. It’s EVERYTHING. It’s the truest desires of the human heart.

How differently would my life look if I had believed those words and instead of just saying them for a week at school? What if I had started saying them to myself everyday? Now, I’m not saying that I wish my life were different. I’m grateful for the way my life has turned out because it led me to my faith, my husband and my children. But if I had actually believed in myself in this way…man…woulda, coulda, shoulda right?

What if I actually made an effort to raise my babies this way?? So much of the way I knee jerk discipline my kids breaks them down. I HATE it. I’ll confess that more times than I’d like to admit I’m more concerned about my kids behaving and not embarrassing me than I am about building up who they are and letting them just be kids. That’s a hard sentence to type and send out into the world…but it’s real. What if I was careful to build them up to believe they are SO lovable and MORE than capable to accomplish whatever they set out to do? What if I made MORE of a conscious effort to pray and try to protect them from whatever it is that starts to grow inside us that tells us we aren’t lovable? What if instead of getting frustrated at things that are left undone or chores that aren’t done the “right” way, I shifted gears and started focusing and celebrating the things that my children are capable of and DO WELL?

What if I started giving myself the same grace?

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Origins of a people pleaser

My fourth grade teacher was this large woman with a bouffant hairdo and plaid shirts. She carried herself like a man. Bold. Like a no-nonsense BOSS.
Mrs. Voskuil was tough and mean and hilarious. She was known for her “Texas fly-swatter” that she would slam down on your desk at any given moment if you should be so unlucky to be lured into a side conversation with a pal or at the very worst, to fall asleep. It’s swatter was the size of a dinner plate and when it met the smooth top of a desk it would radiate with a sharp “WHACK” that would leave even the sassiest of kids shaking in their L.A. Gears. The laughter that ensued from your classmates would have been salt on the wound, making the whole scene unbearable. The last thing any of us ever wanted was to be the reason for the Texas fly swatter coming off the hook on the wall.
Besides her disciplinary measures, one of the other stand out memories from being in her class was she and her husband had traveled the world. She had endless slides (!) from places like Denmark and Germany and China. It was wistful but boring. Looking back, I can appreciate all of the time it took to put that all together and share with us all she had gleaned from her adventures. I don’t think she had children of her own. I remember her talking a lot about her dogs.
I didn’t really do well in her class. I’ve been a terrible student most of my life. I never had good grades. I was always more concerned with the social happenings around me than to trouble myself with things like school work, homework or generally anything “official” going on. I used to cause a lot of trouble and be a bit of a dramatic kid ( hard to believe, right?). Spent a lot of time in the counselors office talking about my feelings.
Fourth grade was the year I became a published author! I wrote a poem about how much I hated math, and it was put into a collection of children’s poems.
It was also the year I stole something for the first time. It was a sterling silver bracelet from Montgomery Ward’s that I put in my neon parka while out Christmas shopping with my step mom. I wore it silently under long sleeve shirts. I loved how heavy and fancy it felt. I loved the secret and scandal of it all. Until my cousin Maria saw it two weeks later at my Grandpa’s funeral and asked me where I got it from (I never have been good at concealing my facial expressions). I got in HUGE trouble. One, for making trouble at my grandfathers funeral, two for shop lifting. Had to take it back and have a big embarrassing apology moment with some stern lady sitting opposite of me in a back room at the store. I was mortified.

Discomfort.
Shame was born.

I could list a zillion reasons why I was a bad kid. They’d probably be psychologically sound and true. It would be a long list filled with words like, “divorced”, “remarried”, or “not in the picture”. “Jealous”, “spoiled”, “handful”, “manipulating” and “brat”.
But the truth that I heard whispered about me was that I was a “difficult pain in the ass”.
Even though the exact words weren’t said, it was communicated that I was a burden. A source of agitation. A disappointment. A screw up.

I started to believe those words.

I still do.

Except for now, instead of just being naughty I try really hard to please everyone around me. I go above and beyond to make people like me and accept me. I am fiercely loyal, sometimes to a fault…because I am desperate for the same loyalty back to me in return. The last thing I ever want to do is disappoint my family or friends.
Disappointment always leads to shame and shame must be quieted so it doesn’t crumble you to pieces. This cycle of thinking has been slowly killing me. Literally.

This week I’ve been trying to dig up the roots of my confidence…or lack there of. I came upon my old memories of Mrs.Voskuil. Not because of the funny fly swatter or dreamy slide shows. It was because later on, when I was in high school I would go visit her in her classroom.
( You can’t do this anymore I imagine?) I would get out of school and have to wait around for 30 minutes or so for my siblings to get out of school so we could all walk home. I would go to her class to kill the time and she welcomed the opportunity to encourage me. She began to entrust me with correcting worksheets and spelling tests. I felt important with that red marker, official even. After a few weeks she let me stand in the front of the class and lead a word game she would play with her kids to gobble up those last antsy minutes before the bell rings. I felt like a champion. Those kids started to look up to me and I was proud of myself.
Confident.
She made me feel like I could actually inspire and teach one day. I started to believe her.
Sadly, I stopped going. I found more alluring ways to spend my free minutes. The cycle resumed.
Spending the rest of my high school career grasping at whatever might bring me love without conditions. Love that wouldn’t expire or reject me. Trying desperately to quiet the negative words that usually followed my name. Being a teenager really sucks.
Eventually, I found this kind of TRUE love in my faith.
But sometimes my old belief system keeps me from fully believing…robbing me of true confidence. Keeping me from being who I am meant to be…and thriving in it. I have to continue to press forward, even if it feels stagnant. I know I’m not there yet, but that’s where I’m headed.

In the meantime, take a moment to appreciate some unsung heroes from your own history. It did my heart good to remember ol’ Mrs.Voskuil and her bouffant hair. Wherever you are, I salute you!

It takes time

It takes God time to answer prayer. We often fail to give God a chance in this respect. It takes time for God to paint a rose. It takes time for God to grow an oak. It takes time for God to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the earth. He pulverizes. He softens. He enriches. He wets with showers and dews. He warms with life. He gives the blade, the stock, the amber grain, and then at last the bread for the hungry.

All this takes time. Therefore we sow, and till, and wait, and trust, until all God’s purpose has been wrought out. We give God a chance in this matter of time. We need to learn this same lesson in our prayer life. It takes God time to answer prayer.
— J.H.M.

This was taken from “Streams in the Desert” and was exactly what I needed to hear today.

I wrote yesterday about confidence and have been really digging around to see how people get it and maintain it. Studying how to keep confidence consistent. This has been a struggle.
In the spirit of realology, I’ll confess that I’ve been letting the anxieties of my life choke me. I have been blessed the past 6 months with a sweet little job that has allowed me to focus most of my free time on this blog, my writing projects and the roots of of my food and weight issues. My wonderful husband has been amazing, carrying the brunt of all of our needs. I fear the time has run out…or maybe it’s just where the rubber really meets the road.

I received an amazing text from one of my brothers yesterday. Not sure if its a quote or an original but I wanted to share it:

There is never a reason you can’t attain your goal and be who you want to be. Don’t let the lack of opportunity, finances, or knowledge stop you. We are all born into the world the same way; naked, dumb and speechless, but we learn and achieve.”

So today, I’m praying for faith and patience to trust. Praying that the confidence and momentum I have will not be squelched but multiplied despite the fears starting to stack up. Praying I will learn (finally?) to achieve instead of always going back to what’s old and comfortable.

Flotsam and Jetsam

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One of the best things about keeping this blog and practicing the daily commitment of it has been asking myself each morning, ” What is real? What is true today?” Having to check in and be honest with myself and dig out a nugget of truth seems to always bring me before God in a REAL and meaningful way. It has helped me to create a time of reflection, study and prayer that I was struggling to find before.
That being said, sometimes what I unearth and dust off SUCKS.
Sometimes, what God shows me about myself is not flattering or fun to share. But REAL is what I must be, so here we are.

I have been exploring confidence.
What it looks like, feels like, sounds like.
How is it attained and kept? How is it dashed?
I’ve been wondering why it seems so fleeting.
To be solid and sure and heading in the right direction one minute only to find you’ve allowed yourself to be tossed to and fro. The bible warns against this, calling it childish. Eluding to shady behaviors, teachings and trickery causing the doubt and questioning. It conjures images of being cold and wet. Unsure of your footing. Exhausted from gripping and holding on tight enduring a raging storm on the sea. Waves crashing down all around. Left wondering what the heck happened to the calm, sunlit and promising course you were JUST on?

“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” -Ephesians 4:14 ESV

What is true today?

I have lost my confidence.
I have been out of bounds.
I have been slowly tricking myself into little allowances.
Little here…little there.
Deceiving myself.

“This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!” – Galatians 5:9

Interestingly, the Bible teaches that leavening or yeast is a tangible picture of how sin works in our lives. In the Old Testament the practice of keeping and eating unleavened bread is meant to remind us that we are to live in sincerity and truth by obeying God’s law–that we are not continue in false religion, not to continue in sin. Not to allow ourselves to be puffed up, I would even say, not continue in deceiving ourselves.
Physically, leavening agents include yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and baking powder. These agents “puff up” grain containing products and make them look larger than they would be otherwise. A PERECT example of false confidence instead of the true confidence that comes from doing the right thing…thus, being able to feel good and proud of your choices.

My “in-bounds” eating calls for me to avoid these very foods. The simple carbs that are the crux of my addiction. Breads, pastas, pastries of all kinds. All of that stuff! It’s NO GOOD for me. Physically or spiritually. I don’t want to be puffed up and tossed about. I want to be confident and vibrant.

The pursuit of a meaningful makeover persists! I will continue to choose each day, each hour, each minute if need be to turn the ship around and get back on course!

Ahoy!!

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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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This little light of mine…

So I met up with an old high school friend last night. He is the founder of a clothing co. here in my home town and was personally delivering some merchandise to my husband and I. I realized something very interesting about myself in the process. I wondered why I was so anxious and nervous? It’s the same feeling I get that keeps me from wanting to go to an Aces game ( our local baseball team) or basically to any public function where I might run into people from high school or anyone else I haven’t seen in a long time.

We all size people up.
Especially those we haven’t seen in a long time. We all know what WE say about people who have gained weight, lost weight, or for whatever reason have made some kind of mess of their lives. Making for delicious gossip. We know we shouldn’t, that its wrong…but alas. Ladies, we are the WORST offenders of this crime, and yet we are the most hopeful that no one will judge our own appearance or circumstance so harshly. Hoping the whispers and mutterings are not about us.

“Did you see…”

Or, “I heard that so-and-so…”.

Juicy…until you are the object or subject of discussion.

So I have intentionally avoided any and all possible run-in’s if I could help it. Being someone who has since high school, gained OVER an extra 100 lbs. Which has made me a little paranoid. I guess I didn’t realize to what crazy extent this went until last night, when I found myself acting like a lunatic because someone I haven’t seen in a long time was gonna simply drop something off at my house. This morning it seems so ridiculous.

The truth is I have been disabled by my shame. I have not only carried this extra weight, but also the shame and fear that comes along with it. Ready at any time to bump up against some sort of retort or rejection. There are things that have happened to me publicly that should have been enough to send me over the edge and make me change my life earlier on. Teenagers making fun of me and my weight at the movies, not being able to get on a ride at six flags with all my siblings, stuffing myself into a booth at a restaurant with my whole family looking on with sadness in their eyes.
Ugh.
I learned how to soak up each mortifying experience like a sponge…absorb it of the pain so that I would not fall apart. Act like it was not a big deal, and move on. Later, numbing and numbing and soothing and retaining my false sense of control with binges. This has been the way I’ve lived.

Pardon my bluntness, but that is just b.s. Sorry, but it is. Last night I resisted the urge to run around and put make-up on or change my clothes. Made a decision that I just wanted to fight that inner voice that was telling me my friend would laugh at me or think me a joke. And even if he did, so what? This life God has given me was not meant to be lived in hiding. Jesus himself says,”No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15 NLT)

We ended up having a lovely visit and he is very supportive and encouraging of the work I’m doing in my life. It was silly that I had gotten myself so sick about it.

The days of hiding and living life beneath baskets is over. However I look on the outside, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. My life is amazing and I have nothing to be ashamed of, ever. Thanks be to God! May we all live our lives placed proudly on a stand, where we can give light and shine, as brightly as we were created to! May we also remember this when we run into people we haven’t seen in awhile. May we show grace and kindness and genuine and abundant love, because everyone is dealing with stuff.

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#mygirl was the official photographer for my club @anytimefitness_northreno free workout event today...she got some great action shots and video...but this sneaky selfie she took is my fave.  #mybaby #mydaughter❤️ #thosefreckles

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