My Eyes!!!

113 pounds and 8 sizes later, my eyes are opened to a whole new world. Many worlds, actually. I can wear heels all day at work and not end up limping to the car. I feel like an actual woman now…instead of a huge fat creature with ovaries, if that makes sense. I like looking in the mirror now. And even HMH says I’m just generally a nicer person and a more supportive and nurturing wifey-poo. Honestly, I might just bring about world peace by the time I hit my goal weight. This shit is fabulous.

There is one surprising and, quite frankly, disgusting benefit of losing so much weight that I want to talk about today…so if you’ve eaten anything recently, you probably want to step away for 30 minutes or so in case you’re overcome with the urge to hurl as you read my dirty, horrible confession. Here it goes…

For years now, it has seemed that I could never really keep up with the housecleaning around here. We don’t live in a mansion. We have a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath home with a bonus loft (HMH’s man cave). We don’t have children, so I’ve always felt it should be a piece of cake to keep clean – but every weekend I’d notice dust bunnies behind the Playstation or a cobweb flying by my head somewhere. I could never seem to get ahead of it. Then it happened.

I was in the master bathroom last week when I accidentally dropped a hair clip on the floor and it rolled under the vanity nook in the cabinets. I had gotten up with my reading glasses still on my face, so I was looking over the top of my glasses in the mirror when it happened (who wants to see crows feet up close, am I right?). As I bent down to grab it, I was looking through my reading glasses at the floor….and HOLY CRAP!!!

Dirt. Filth. Everywhere. Just really, really gross.

I got down on my hands and knees and took it all in: hair, dust, dirt, dustings of leftover dried cat litter from before Caesar the cat went to Rainbow Bridge. The tile and molding was caked thick with it. It was absolutely revolting.

You know that feeling you get sometimes when someone is about to give you bad news and you’re all “No, no, no…I don’t want to know, really”? As I stood up, I started moving around the house and studying everything through my reading glasses. I couldn’t help myself. Part of me didn’t want to know, but I just couldn’t help myself.

One word: GROSS

In the kitchen, the cabinet baseboards are thick with crud…and the area under the sink is so vile I can’t even talk about it. The molding all over the house has to be scrubbed clean. There are cobwebs in places I didn’t even know could get cobwebs.

If I lived with a neat freak, the house would never have gotten this bad. But I didn’t. I married the guy who doesn’t notice when he splashes spaghetti sauce inside the silverware drawer and gets muddy fingerprints all over the stainless fridge. Regardless, it isn’t up to him to tell me our house is dirty…I should have seen this and I didn’t. Because for years and years I couldn’t bend down to get a hair clip that fell. I would have had to flick it out from under the cabinets with a coat hanger or something…because 383 pound me was too tired and sore to get down there and really have a look.

house clean

I wasn’t just neglecting myself when I was super obese. I was neglecting our home. As I get closer to goal weight and farther from 383 pound me, I’m happier because there are so many more positive things in my life now than before. I enjoy stupid little things like making the bed when I get up in the morning…because our bedroom looks inviting and cozy when it’s neat. I don’t mind doing laundry and dishes and all the other household chores around here because I have so much more energy than I did a year ago. (And before y’all ask where HMH is in all this, let me just say that he works very long hours every day and he has a very physical job…so I do most of the housework because I think it’s only fair. And I’m okay with that.)

Now I know why I was finding cobwebs and other crap. Nothing in this house is really clean. Remember Monica on the tv show “Friends”? Well, I always wanted to be Rachel…but I’m really Monica. Or I was before I gained so much weight. In the years leading up to my sleeve surgery, I turned into the anti-Monica…and it’s eff’in scary around here.

I’m trying to develop a healthy balance in my life between work, hobbies and chores…so as much as I wanted to spend 18 hours scrubbing the master bathroom when I found that crud, I broke it down into manageable sections. I just finished scrubbing the final section of the floor. In fact, I scrubbed the moldings and baseboard so much that I need to repaint them. Now I’ve started on the shower. Each weekend, I’ll branch out and do more…and more…and more…until finally I’ve scrubbed the last of the “fat dirt” out of my life for good. Because that’s what this stuff is to me: my fat dirt. It’s the crap I let pile up in our home while I was neglecting my health and eating away my feelings.

I even bought new mats for the bathroom. Holy shit, I’m SO (insert name of famous interior designer here). (And what may look like dirt spots to some of you is actually caulk and molding that have to be repainted because they’re stained or chipped, by the way.)

My bathroom floor is spotless and it makes me smile. When I sweep it next weekend during my regular household chores, I won’t be stirring up a bunch of dust and dander that’s collected for years…I’ll just be sweeping up the floor. The dustpan won’t contain anything that makes me say “I don’t remember THAT. What is that???”

I have to admit it: this was a hard blog post to write. I don’t want everyone thinking I’m a horrible slob. And trust me…as bad as things are around here, they’re nowhere near the homes on the tv shows “Clean Sweep” and “Clean House”. Anyone watch those? Holy CRAP that shit’s scary. Our house looks like a palace compared to those. Still, things are pretty dirty around here and it’s going to take me quite a while to make it right.

It’s a little overwhelming to think about, especially considering that I’ll have a house full of family for Easter this year – but I can get through it. This isn’t unlike the changes I went through in the first months after my surgery when I had to learn to eat responsibly…and slowly. It was overwhelming at first, but I knew the only way out was through. This is just another type of change that I gifted myself when I made the decision to take control of my life. So I’m grateful that I dropped that hair clip…and I’m grateful that I can finally get down into the nitty gritty of things and really see them for what they are. You could say my eyes have opened. Again.


Sugar Free IBC Root Beer Barrels 1 Lb

Just a little update for 2015

Peeps!

This is just a housekeeping announcement, really, but I wanted to chat super quick about the appearance of my blog/website. As you may have noticed, the former messy desktop theme has gone bye-bye.

The short explanation is that I migrated my site to a new server this week – and that server found my old blog theme to be quite antiquated. The nerve! Normally, this could be fixed by someone in-the-know. I am not that person. In fact, my former blog theme was very generously custom created for me by an old friend who has since flown the coop and moved on to bigger and better things – so I have no access to him or his incredible brain.

I’ll probably play around with themes over the next several weeks and I just wanted to give y’all a heads up that I’m not going crazy or anything…I’m simply trying to find something that’s a bit more refreshed, but still pays tribute to the Hot Mess that I am. :-)

In other news…GO COWBOYS!!! I don’t know what gets me more excited: the fact that my team is finally in the playoffs or the fact that I can finally shop for Cowboys gear like most other folks. That simple pleasure was denied me when I was a size 32.

I snapped this for a friend who cheers for the Packers. Ha HA!!!
I snapped this for a friend who cheers for the Packers. Ha HA!!!

I’ll be back soon with a few blog posts that have been poking at me lately. Wishing you all the very best in this fabulous new year. Let’s go make 2015 our bitch!

Some People Change, Some People Don’t

Someone on my Facebook fan page asked whether I’ve noticed, one year after surgery, that I’m treated differently by people…and the answer is yes. And no.

Most of the people I knew before my surgery still treat me the same – because they love me, or at least like me, for the person inside. They don’t even remember the girl in my “before” picture because they never really noticed my physical faults in the first place…and I love them for it.

There are a few people in my life who don’t get it. Unfortunately I work with them, so I can’t completely exclude them from my life. To them, my surgery and my process is not mine…it’s somehow about them. My decision to have gastric sleeve surgery seems to have labeled me as a person who needs to be babysat, else I might eat the entire Thanksgiving potluck and cause the rest of the department to skulk back to their desks with empty plates and empty stomachs. And bloody nubs where their fingers were because they tried to grab the last dinner roll from my heaving jaws. I call these people the Food Police.

It’s hard for me to handle people like this in a professional environment because I have quite the sassy mouth, but I also have a profound desire to keep my job. This is the reason I don’t drink at company happy hours. It’s also the reason I try to avoid the Food Police as much as possible. I’m just trying to keep the peace because, honestly, these people aren’t my personal friends and it’s not worth the hassle. Sometimes, however, I need to put someone in their place as an example and I get the sweats just thinking about it. I always feel like I’m going to let my tongue off the leash a bit too far and end up being escorted to my car with my personal belongings in a box.

One day in particular comes to mind as I’m thinking of the Food Police. I was chatting with a few people when one of the secretaries came by with a tray of cookies that were leftover from a celebration. I hadn’t had a cookie in several weeks and these were from a bakery…and they were gorgeous. A little something sweet sounded quite yummy to me so, like others in the group, I said thank you and took a cookie. You would have thought I pulled a gun out of my handbag and shot a dog…that’s the reaction I got from the Food Police.

It started with a very loud, over dramatic gasp, which brought everyone’s focus to the mortified expression on her face. As if that wasn’t enough, she pointed a finger at me and loudly exclaimed, “YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!!!”

cookies

Everyone turned to look at me. Bad, bad, bad. This is exactly the situation I try to avoid. First, it takes me back to my days as a ten year old kid who was repeatedly emotionally terrorized by an asshole over whatever food I put in my mouth. And then all the kids and parents would turn and look at me, most of them secretly grateful that the negativity was not aimed at them. I don’t like being reminded of what that felt like.

Once I get put in that spot, I feel a split second of fear and panic before I realize I’m an eff’in adult. I’ve spent a fortune on therapy to get past all this shit…and, oh crap, here comes my sassy mouth with a big zinger. But I’m at work. And I have to be professional. So I can’t verbally smack the crap out of this insensitive asshat like I want to. I decided to play along and see where that took me.

“Why not?” I asked innocently.

The Food Police sputtered madly at first, then blurted “Because you worked so hard and lost all this weight. You can’t have a cookie!!!”

By this time, most of the others in the group had slightly embarrassed or bemused looks on their faces because they realized I was fighting to keep a lid on the Hot Mess Princess who was just dying to get out and put this chick in her place. The finger was still pointing at me. Part of me wanted to bite it, but I would have just proved her point so I resisted.

“Don’t you think I can be trusted with a cookie? Do you think this one cookie is going to bring back all the weight I’ve lost and undo all the hard work I’ve done?”

She sort of blinked as she thought about it. I didn’t wait for an answer.

“Do you even know how long it’s been since I’ve had a cookie?”

More blinking. More suppressed smirking from my colleagues. I continued.

“I didn’t realize my food choices affected you so much, so I apologize.” I slowly moved the cookie away from my mouth with the same cautious obedience a criminal uses on an episode of Cops. Be cool, man. Just be cool. I put the cookie down.

“There. I put the cookie down. Are you feeling better? I’m so sorry I upset you.”

The look in her eyes told me she finally got it. She saw what she’d really done, which is embarrass me with her ridiculous judgmental bullshit. I resisted the urge to say “Maybe you should lie down” or something, but I knew I’d made my point. I walked away quietly.

As much as her behavior pissed me off and as happy as I was that I was able to stand up for myself with diplomacy, I still returned to my desk with tears in my eyes like a scolded little girl. I took a moment to pull myself together and then I was fine. That ten year old little girl will always be there inside my head…and that’s okay. I have the skills to deal with jerks now. I never fail to come to her rescue – but I hate that other people’s behavior touches this part of me. I know it’s going to happen once in a while. Once I unleash the fury of HMP, I feel better. The jerk’s feelings, to be frank, don’t matter to me in the slightest.

HMP-motto

I have similar feelings about the judgy strangers I meet from day to day. I was out to dinner with a friend and I was eating my dessert when I caught the disapproving glare of a stranger a few tables over. My first thought was “What’s up their ass? I look awesome!” Then I realized this person doesn’t know that. He’s looking at a disgusting fat woman eating dessert. He doesn’t know I’ve lost 113 pounds. He doesn’t know I won’t be able to eat the whole thing. From his seat at the Judgy Asshole table, I’m going to eat the whole dessert and then go out for pie later. How dare I do that? I should be jogging around the parking lot, not daintily spooning up a few bites of my mini peanut butter chocolate mousse.

Who the hell did I think I was, right?

See, when I run into jerks like this I know I don’t have to face them again. Strangers are awesome that way. My job isn’t in jeopardy if I mouth off, so the sky’s the limit really. In this particular case, I settled for making a suggestive motion with the spoon like I was trying to turn him on.

I love doing shit like that to men who obviously find me disgusting and think they’re quite the badass for humbling me with dirty looks. My intention was to take away any possibility of a boner his little pinky dick might get for the next 6 months. Judging from the look on his face, I was successful…and that’s all I wanted. He doesn’t need to know that in reality I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of people who didn’t know me last year – so when they see me take a few bites of something and say I’m done, the unavoidable next question is…”Oh, are you on a diet?”

First I cringe, then I smile and explain. The fact that they first see a fat person and then they think it’s okay to ask such a thing just irks me.

The problem is…the world still thinks they have way too much freedom with the boundaries of overweight people and it really pisses me off. If there’s a guy in a grocery store with his cart loaded with booze, the assumption is what? Someone’s throwing a party!!! The assumption isn’t usually “Wow, this dude needs help…” Replace him with a fat person and a cart loaded with chips and processed crap? People feel they have the right to glance at the cart and give dirty looks. You disgusting person. How can you eat all that?

Hot chick walking out of Victoria’s Secret with a big pink bag ‘o panties. Like…hundreds of dollars in panties (which is probably 5 pair). Guys are drooling over her. Not one of them is thinking “Wow, she’s in credit card debt so bad she’ll be an old lady before she pays that off.” I don’t want to get with someone like that…she’ll drag me down into financial hell.

She looks good…so she’s okay.

Because we’re overweight, we wear our addiction for everyone to see…and so people feel entitled to assert their opinions for some reason. They think they’re being helpful. They think they’re educating us. They need to turn their judgy vision on themselves and leave others be.

So the answer is yes…and no. People treat me different and people treat me the same. The people who really matter in my life treat me the same as they did when I weighed 383 pounds. Healthy relationships don’t change whether you weigh 100 pounds or 500 pounds. And the jerks? Yeah, I still get the same treatment from them because jerks don’t change either. Sometimes we want them to, but they don’t.

There are a few clueless souls out there, however, who treat me like some sort of walking cookie monster because I was honest about having surgery and they’re judgy, misguided people who can’t see the damage they do with their unhealthy need to control. They need to interfere in order to feel helpful in someway and they don’t see the damage they do as they’re mowing you down in the process.

My take-away from all of this? I’ve changed…and that’s enough. I’m blessed with loving people in my life. I’m grateful for my independent brain and my will to be happy…and that’s all I really need.


Mud Pie W-Initial Canvas Tote


Soar Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Guided Journals Series) (Black Rock)

Yes, I’m here. Really!

I’m so sorry I haven’t written a damn thing since…oh, about 1990. That’s what it feels like.

The thing no one tells you about losing a ton of weight is that you get to a point where you feel so good you want to do so much more – but you’re still dealing with the same 24 hours that you had before. If I’m going to have this much energy, the least they could do is give me more hours in which to accomplish all the amazing shit that a Hot Mess Princess must do…am I right? Well, they didn’t.

Y’all know that my plan for pulling away from emotional eating was to substitute that incredibly destructive behavior with something positive. A lot of people would have chosen exercise as the alternative, but I’ve seen that go the wrong way too many times. You can be just as compulsive with exercise as you can with eating and, if anyone’s going to fuck up their good intentions in that area, it’d be me. No thanks. I chose needlework because it’s been a passion of mine since I learned how in Girl Scouts…and because I know I won’t get crazy compulsive about it. It’s something I retreat to when I start thinking about food or body weight or anything negative and destructive. It brings me peace and calm – and it keeps my hands too busy to eat.

The farther I get from my surgery date, the more grateful I am that I had a plan for replacing destructive behaviors. Just over a year ago, if I had a bad day at work I’d get home and curl up with a pizza and a pint of mint chip ice cream. And maybe a bag of salty potato chips. And some licorice, perhaps. The list was endless and so was my appetite for calming myself with eating. Nowadays I eat considerably less. I’ve either made peace with the foods that were my vices or I’ve completely banished them from my life – but I didn’t have brain surgery, y’all. I still fight the compulsion to stuff food in my face and chew away my anxiety. The gift is…I simply can’t do it.

What an amazing year it's been...
What an amazing year it’s been…

Having 85% of your stomach surgically removed doesn’t magically make you want salad and green smoothies for the rest of your life, but it does stop you from washing off a bad day by downing an entire box of Little Debbies. IF there was a box of snack cakes anywhere near me today and IF I wanted some, I could probably get part of one down. Maybe a whole one if I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours and hours – and, in spite of what the multi-billion dollar diet industry tells you, one snack cake isn’t going to kill you. For the record, though, snack cakes are on my banned list. Why? Because I simply don’t get enough enjoyment out of them anymore. They’re not worth the empty calories. My taste buds have radically changed…and most processed snacks taste nasty as hell to me.

So I’ve been doing a lot of needlework, which I love…and it doesn’t make me wear bigger pants. I’ve also been doing a few household projects that were badly needed, including cleaning our dumping ground of a bedroom so that the elliptical trainer could be unearthed. It took me hours of emptying storage boxes and tossing, putting away, or donating the crap inside in order to get to the damn thing – but I finally did it. It was an epic project on the same scale as finding King Tut’s tomb, peeps. Now the elliptical waits for me every morning. Sometimes I get on it, sometimes I don’t. But it’s all up in my face again, and it’s made me realize that the second part of my journey is just beginning.

The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.
The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.

For the past year, I’ve celebrated some amazing milestones. 50 pounds. My first drop in clothing size. Reaching my feet for the first time. Dropping another clothing size. Riding a bike. Hitting the 200’s on the scale…and more. These milestones are all amazing and wonderful. They’re also mostly weight or size related. Now that I’ve lost 113 pounds and I’m halfway to my goal weight range, I realize that there will come a day when I don’t have any more weight to lose. There won’t be any more sizes to drop. And then what will my goal be? If I’m not careful, I won’t have anything left to strive for. There won’t be anything left to write about – except maybe when HMH successfully farts along to the 1812 Overture – and I assure you, that’s not pretty.

Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!
Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!

I still have quite a few weight loss related milestones to celebrate, but I’m adding some exciting ones to strive for in 2015 – and, just like needlework, they’re helping me substitute one habit for another. I’m going to add the habit of exercise to my repertoire in the new year…and, like my withdrawal from certain foods, diet soda and caffeine, I’m going to do it with baby steps. With me, baby steps seem to be the only way I can really get things done. 2015 will be about celebrating the remaining weight and size milestones while bringing in new healthy living goals that will set me up for a lifetime of happy exercising.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share my 2015 goals with you and I invite you to share yours with me. As always, we’re stronger together than we are apart…and the wonderful thing about this thing called the internet is that even someone living in a remote location with no friends or family close by can feel connected to others with the same issues. So let’s squeeze together and hug it out and get ready for an amazing year because we deserve it.

I’m ready. Are you?

Tour Through Blogland!

Today we’re traveling, peeps. We’re going on a Tour Through Blogland, thanks to HMP fan Ashley from This Pretty Little Life. Ashley’s quite a blogger herself and when she contacted me about this opportunity it sounded like a hell of a lotta fun. So I said yes.

TTB

If you haven’t read Ashley’s blog, you need to go check it out. Here are a few of my favorite posts of hers:

The letter she wrote to her younger self. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Well, she did it! It’s moving to read and don’t we wish we all had a time machine so we could go back and smack some sense into our younger selves?

This Pretty Little Spring Cleaning: Kitchen – Under the Sink  Honestly, Ashley’s “before” picture doesn’t look nearly as bad as what my under sink cabinet looks like right now – but I’m betting she doesn’t live with a Hot Mess redneck like I do. Seriously, HMH can be a real challenge sometimes…and there’s only so many hours in a damn day. But I love spring cleaning and I love before/after pictures of home organization – so this one really got me.

And finally, My Weight Loss Journey – Support is just simply a good read. It’s incredibly hard to change and Ashley’s take on what really matters is open and real.

You can find Ashley on all the major social media networks. My favorite is her Pinterest boards, but she’s everywhere in social media – so click here to go to her blog and look at the social icons on the upper right to see which ones suit you best.

Ashley’s asked me to answer certain questions as part of this tour, so here I go!

Question 1: What am I working on right now?

The answer is…many things. I have a post waiting in the wings about change. Are you ready for it? How do you know? I’m also working on checking items off my list of 50 awesome things to do before I turn 50…and that day is getting closer. Eeek! And I’m working on writing my first book, but I procrastinate that one a lot because the idea of finding someone to publish it is daunting as hell. (Yes, I realize I can self-publish these days…but I’d rather have a publishing house do all the work for me.)

Question 2: How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

Well, for one thing…what the hell genre am I in? Weight loss? God, I hope not. I have a huge problem with the weight loss industry. I don’t like people who make money off of fat people. Bottom line. I don’t mind paying for goods or services if there’s an end in sight, but if I have to keep buying your shit then there’s a problem with that. So I’m not sure what genre you’d put me in but I’ll tell you this much: my central message is that you have to do what works for you. I’m not a weight loss blog…I’m a hot mess and I’m just blabbing about my life and my path and my process. I’m unique and so are you.

Question 3: Why do I create/write what I do?

That’s easy. Because I can’t help it. I started this blog because I knew there were others out there like me and I was reaching out. And I found you. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support and I know, thanks to comments here and the many private messages and emails I receive, that many of you have been helped by this blog. So I do what I do because I’m called to it. I can’t imagine things ever being any different.

Question 4: How does my creative/writing process work?

I have two very distinct, separate methods for writing: one for the blog and one for fiction. My methods for writing this blog are very organic. I write what I write because it comes to me. I can’t put it off and I can’t plan it. When I first started the blog, I tried to create an editorial calendar and schedule certain posts for certain days…but it didn’t work. I can’t schedule any of the shit I spew through my keyboard because it’s all coming from the heart. Fiction is different. Fiction is created completely. It’s crafted. Embellished. It’s bullshit, basically, so it’s a lot easier to manipulate. The Hot Mess thing is real.

So those are the questions and my answers. Now? I’m super proud and happy to introduce you to my pal Brenda’s blog “One Awesome at a Time”. You might remember Brenda from the 2013 DFW Penis Expedition…or at least you should. It’s hard to forget this girl once you meet her. She rocks!

Brenda is a wonderful, funny, loving, creative, amazing work in progress and I’m proud to be her friend. You can find Brenda on her blog…you can even subscribe to new posts via email.

Here are a few of my favorite posts of Brenda’s:

Her post on creating the life you love. Brenda is all about color, life and creativity and this post totally shows it!

Her own 50 Things Before 50 post. She’s turning 50 a month before me (hahahahah!) and she’s well on her way to completing her list.

Her amazing “Shame – Today I am ENOUGH!” post. It’s beyond description. Grab a cup o’ something and read away. It’s wonderful.

I can’t wait to see what Brenda cooks up for her post next Monday. Until then, big thanks to Ashley from This Pretty Little Life for inviting me along…this was really fun!

 


Nylon Butterfly Decorations (36 pc)