Category Archives: Milestones

Clear and Loud

About a week ago, I put on a pair of shoes I haven’t worn in quite some time. They’ve been sitting in my closet forever, waiting for me to find courage. I gather my courage a little every day, not all at once like a badass heroine in an epic summer movie. Mine is more a quiet gathering. In so many other parts of my life I can be loud and proud, but this part of me is quiet as a mouse…and just as meek. The ghosts of much of the pain and anguish I’ve felt in years passed have come from this time in my life. The voices that tell me I’m not good enough…that I can’t do it…that I’m not deserving of it…all of those voices come from this. Yet still, for some reason, I walked into my closet last week and put these shoes on my feet.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know my story. If you haven’t, where the fuck have you been all my life? Let me try and bring you up to date quickly. I’ve known some major assholes in my life. When I was nine years old, I started dance lessons at a place run by the biggest asshole in the universe. On our first meeting, he stood me in front of a huge mirror and pointed out all the parts of my body that were “fat” as my mother watched. I still remember my nine year old heart feeling crushed when I was told that my legs and face were fat and my belly stuck out too much. Yeah, I know…it just got worse from there. This man was the significant male role model in my life from age nine to age nineteen-ish. I’m a little fuzzy on when I left exactly because, well, I had a shitload of negative crap going on in my life back then. But I did leave.

I got up one morning and realized that dancing brought me more pain than joy…and I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I walked into the studio and I quit. Then I walked out determined to find another life away from all of the negativity and hurt.

Quitting dance was what I needed at the time, although it didn’t come off as I’d imagined a million times in my head. When I finally had the courage to tell “The King” that I quit, he didn’t have the reaction I expected or wanted. I wanted freedom, but I ended up handing him one last opportunity to hurt me.

I went from dancing for hours a day to no activity at all. I retreated into food in order to self-medicate. I spent all my money at the book store, scouring the self help section for answers to all my problems in titles like “Adult Children of Alcoholics”, “Women Who Love Too Much” and “It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What’s Eating You”. I was obsessed with finding the solution to my problems, all the while firmly curled up on the couch with a box of snack cakes and a glass of milk by my side.

I read (and ate) my way toward answers for years. I never danced again. The pounds I was rapidly adding to my body made it difficult, but I also found that I couldn’t even pull my shoes out of my dance bag without a million flashbacks slapping me in the face. The smell of the shoe leather made fresh all the memories I was trying to eat away. What I didn’t realize back then is that there wasn’t enough pizza in the world to eat away the horrible things The King made me feel all those years ago.

Four therapists, countless bad relationships, a truckload of junk food and thirty some-odd years later I’ve finally mellowed. And I moved 1,300 miles away from my hometown. That definitely helped. A few weeks ago when I was cleaning the closet, my eyes fell on that pair of shoes. My tap shoes. And before I could go on auto-pilot, look away and force any other thought into my head, I felt myself say you have those shoes for a reason.

I don’t just have those shoes. I saved those shoes. In the thirty-ish years since I walked away from that part of my life, I’ve written half a dozen letters I never sent (telling The King what a fucktard he is). I’ve thrown away memorabilia. I even had a bonfire at the beach once when I burned a shitload of mementos that came from that time in my life. But in thirty years, I’ve never parted with those shoes. I can’t. And now I realize it’s okay that I don’t want to.

These shoes are mine. The knowledge I have of dance, from warm-up routines to ballet positions to tap steps…is mine. The joyful feeling I get when I bang a set of steps out on the floor is mine. The sound of the taps hitting their mark with precision is clear…and loud…and fabulously mine. And nothing The King has ever done or will ever do will ever…ever…EVER take that away from me.

I took a quick break at work today to make a list of things I needed to get done when I got home. This is what I ended up with:

  • Clean kitchen
  • Outline chapter two
  • Tap practice

Without even thinking, I’d written “tap practice”. It really made me smile. I don’t even know why I wrote it. I don’t remember even thinking about it. It just happened. It’s just another bit of joy returning to my life. Another grain of courage that I’ve gathered in the journey.

Speaking of the journey, I’ll leave you with this: over the years, I’ve walked my way through dozens of pairs of walking shoes. I’ve taken Jazzercise. I’ve joined gyms. I’ve done my time on treadmills and elliptical trainers. I’ve found a way to like most of it. There’s usually a silver lining I can find if I look at it from the right angle. But tonight, as I forced these too-tight shoes onto my still-chubby feet, I realized that when I dance I don’t have to try. I don’t have to sell it to myself as something that’s good for me. I don’t have to look at it from a certain angle or constantly reaffirm why I’m doing it. It is just who I am. And it has nothing to do with an asshole tyrant who terrorized me as a child.

It’s mine. It’s me. And it’s fabulous. ♥

Singin’ in the Rain

Taming Ghosts

Hey, y’all…

This post is going to have precious little to do with my usual weight loss and a hell of a lot to do with making peace with the ghosts of your past. It is also insanely long and has only one picture, which is at the end. Not scared yet? Please continue.

This particular ghost in question has nothing to do with my food demons, but I’ve been battling this monster since I was 15 years old. In order to explain, we have to go back to that time…

I should warn you that this story might be upsetting for some. It certainly is to me, even 35 years later. Time to get it out, though, so here it goes.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s teenage years are awkward. Mine were no exception. When I was 15 years old, I had a problem with my knee and had to take a year of adaptive physical education. That’s where I met a boy who eventually became a good friend. We’ll call him Randy. That’s not his real name.

Randy and I became good friends and hung out together a lot that summer. His family was kind of a mess like mine, so we had that in common. My family, like many alcoholic families, loved to focus on other less fortunate people to steal attention away from the fact that we didn’t have our shit together either. They felt sorry for Randy’s situation and welcomed him into our family with open arms. He loved it because, frankly, there wasn’t much love in his house. Everything was just dandy. For awhile.

At the end of the summer, Randy pulled me aside and confessed his undying love for me. Uh…

Maybe I should’ve been flattered, but he was my friend. I felt only friendship for him and my 15 year old brain didn’t know how to handle this turn of events. My mother and sisters were no help. I was basically told it was all very sweet and adorable, interlaced with my mother reminding me that I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 anyway. And that was fine with me because I didn’t want to date him.

He started buying me gifts. I absolutely adored Snoopy and he bought me everything with a Snoopy on it that he could find. I accepted them because I thought it was mean not to. I was a teenager, for fucks sake. No adult was giving me any guidance. I had no idea that I was just encouraging him.

School went back in session and that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse. See, I wasn’t popular. I wasn’t UNpopular, but I stayed to myself and my little group of four girlfriends. I had no time for school activities because I was in dance all the time. My life was outside of school as far as I was concerned…so no one really knew me. Now hold onto your asses because this is going to shock the hell out of those of you who’ve been reading this blog for awhile: I was shy. Shut up, I really was shy around people I didn’t know. I was a total nut around my girlfriends, but around other kids at school…not so much. It wasn’t easy for me to trust people.

Anyway, Randy had lost a bunch of weight at the end of summer and went out and bought all new clothes to impress me. He showed up at school and all the girls went NUTS. He did look amazing. I was really happy for him. The cheerleaders were especially ga-ga over him. I thought to myself “Good! Go find a girlfriend and I’m happy for you!!”

That’s not what happened.

Girls started flirting and asking him to dances. Did he like it? No. Did he turn them down graciously? No, he didn’t. His standard reply (and I shit you not) was “I’m sorry, but when it comes to beauty you just don’t hold a candle to Dianne.”

What..the..actual FUCK?

You can imagine how that went over. Not only were these girls understandably hurt, they turned their anger on ME. Because who was I to compare to them, right? They were gorgeous and popular cheerleaders ‘n shit. Or at least one of them was. All the girls in question were prettier than me. Their clothes were perfect, their make-up was flawless. These girls had it together. And then there was 15 year old me wearing nothing but t-shirts and jeans and lugging around a tote bag with Morris the cat on it. A fashion plate if ever there was one.

The entire school year was hell. Randy didn’t budge in his “love” for me. He doodled my name all over his notebooks. He brought me up in conversations with everyone. He was clearly obsessed.

Family life started to get extra hellish as well. He already had everyone’s sympathy in my family and he started playing it to his advantage. Poor Randy. Dianne doesn’t love him. Why, God, why? My sisters started pressuring me to be nicer to him. My mother too. Still so much conflicting information. Be nice…but not TOO nice. Not like THAT, understand?

There wasn’t one moment when anyone in my family considered that they were pushing me out and bringing Randy in. I was already dealing with the asshole dance teacher (you remember him, right? Told me I was fat at nine years old? Yeah, him). My parents were separated, so my barely-there father was non-existent. My girlfriends were all involved in school activities. I don’t remember even trying to talk to any of them about it. I was just trying to handle it as best I could, but I was quickly feeling like I didn’t matter – even to my own family.

It went on and on like this for months. He would pressure me to go to a school dance with him, I’d say no. He’d mope around in front of my family, they’d chastise me for being mean. Over and over and over again. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, he started showing up at the dance studio to watch me dance. He made friends with my friends. He met “the King”. He knew everyone. To them, he was this sweet teddy bear of a guy who had an adorable crush on Dianne.

To me, he was a close friend that I didn’t trust as much as before for some reason…who caused me a ton of pain and had wedged himself between me and my family. And now he was infiltrating the dance studio.

I started refusing the gifts. Mom (and quite a few others) came down on me swiftly. It was mean and ungracious to refuse to accept them. He’s such a sweet boy. What’s my problem? Why can’t I just be nice?

Towards the end of the school year, I started sliding into a pretty sad place…emotionally speaking. I felt there was no place where I was welcome. No one thought I was nice. No one was on my side in this crazy shit. I felt trapped and I didn’t know what to do. Then the King, my dance teacher, asked to see me. Shit.

He pulled me aside with the expression of a concerned, loving father, which always set me on edge. He was not a loving or concerned person. He was a despicable person who took every opportunity to hurt and manipulate me. Even back then I felt it was true, thought it would be years before I had the courage to break away from him. He sat me down and asked me how things were going. Fine. That was always my standard answer. My family had long instilled that standard reply in my head. We didn’t need to burden others with our troubles. We’re always fine.

Of course, he brought Randy into the conversation. And there it was. With all the fake concern he could muster, he proceeded to tell me that I needed to give Randy a chance.

Go ahead and ask me why he said that. Go ahead. Why?

Because a girl like me with ten extra pounds on her should feel lucky to have ANY boy’s attention.

Not even kidding. He said that shit.

I let him say what he had to say. I listened to it. When I look back at times like these I wish to God someone, some adult somewhere, had taught me to have some balls and stand up for myself. I just listened. And I left feeling like there was truly something wrong with me because I didn’t have romantic feelings for Randy.

I started shutting everyone out. It hurt too much to be told all the damn time how mean and horrible I was because poor Randy was hurt. Everyone obviously had more love for him than me. So fine, I’ll back out. I hope you’re all happy with each other. By the time the school year was ending, I was making plans to leave home and never come back. I didn’t know where I would go, but it was better than putting up with this hell.

I remember walking home from school alone one day when Randy’s brother came walking up beside me. He wanted to tell me that he was sorry for what I was going through. He told me he didn’t think it was right that his brother was turning everyone against me so much. We talked all the way home and I remember feeling happy for the first time in a long time just because someone understood that my life was hell.

Then something really horrible happened.

My mom had to leave for an hour and I didn’t want to go with her, so she left and told me to lock the door behind her. We had just been fighting…over Randy. What a shocker. In my teenage anger, I decided not to listen to her and left the front door unlocked – but the screen door was locked. Sure, it was only locked with a thin strip of metal, but I was a teenager…so I was invincible. About ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door.


He was crying. I rolled my eyes as soon as I saw the tears. What the hell did I do now?

He told me that he’d seen me talking to his brother and that he was so hurt because he finally understood what was going on. Obviously, I’d been secretly dating his brother the entire time and THAT is why I wouldn’t go out with him.


I was so angry. I started yelling and I couldn’t stop. I let it all out: how I felt about him manipulating everyone, shutting me out, being so obsessed with me. I emphatically denied dating his brother (for the 500th time, I wasn’t even allowed to date).

The whole time he stood there, he was holding something behind his back. I didn’t know what it was. I assumed it was flowers or another Snoopy. Whatever it was, I told him I didn’t want it. I told him to go home and come back in an hour when my mom would be home so that she could punish me AGAIN and he could get sympathy AGAIN. I slammed the door in his face.

I stepped back and watched to make sure that he left. I couldn’t see him through the window in our front door because it had a sheer curtain over it, but I could see his shadow. I saw him pull something out from behind his back. It was long and sort of bulky. He was pointing it in the air for some reason…and, just when I started realizing what it was, the loudest boom I’d ever heard in my life made me jump right out of my skin.

A gun. He was firing a gun.

As long as I live, I’ll never forget that moment in my life. After a second of absolute terror, I bolted down the hall and locked myself in the bathroom. Hysterical and crying, I waited for another shot. He hadn’t hit me, thank God. It didn’t take me too long to realize I’d just done the dumbest thing I could do: I barricaded myself in a room with no exit. What was I going to do…wait until he found me and then let him kill me?

I don’t know how I found the courage to do it, but I opened the bathroom door and stuck my head out to see what I could see. I had an open bottle of rubbing alcohol in my hand in case he was right there. Logic, huh? I was going to try and throw it in his eyes if he caught me coming out into the hallway.

All clear…but I could see his shadow on the living room carpet. I didn’t know if he was inside or outside. He fired again and started screaming my name. I ran into my parents’ bedroom and shut the door, but the lock on the damn door had been broken for years. No way to be safe in here, but the phone was here.

I grabbed the phone and called the police. We didn’t have sub-stations back then and they were a good 30 minutes from me, but I had to try. I told the dispatcher what was going on and she desperately tried to get me to calm down.

Another shot rang out.

She asked if I could get out of the house safely. I told her I didn’t know where he was. She told me to get out if I could and run to a neighbor’s house, so that’s what I did. I kicked the screen out of my parent’s window and climbed out. I ran straight into my neighbor’s house, no knocking, and hid behind one of their living room chairs. Mrs. Smith (surprise, also not her real name) was scared to death. She was like a second mother to me. She had no idea what was going on.

Randy wrapped the rifle up in a towel and walked home to wait for the police. He’d been crouched outside my parent’s bedroom window and heard everything. The fact that he went from crazy to calmly walking home was one of the first times in my life that I remember knowing that there’s a God. He could have killed me and the Smith family for sheltering me, but he calmed down and walked home. No rhyme or reason.

My mother arrived home to find four police cars in her driveway and her daughter missing.

Mrs. Smith went over to tell them where I was. I remember a police officer standing over me and trying to talk me out from behind the chair. I could see his lips moving, but I couldn’t hear a sound. It was like I was underwater or something. To this day, I don’t remember the sound of his voice. I simply didn’t hear it. When I heard my mom crying and I saw her, I came out.

It took about 30 minutes before I could find the words to talk. I remember being freezing cold, even though it was a warm California day. I couldn’t stop shivering. A few officers stayed with us and the rest headed to Randy’s house.

All of this happened before there were anti-stalking laws, so basically this meant that he had to actually shoot me in order for the cops to do anything about it. He hadn’t. I was unharmed, physically anyway.

The cops took him into custody and confiscated the rifle he’d fired. They left the other 17 guns in the house. Randy was locked up for observation for 48 hours. That’s the best they could do. No charges were filed because I didn’t have a mark on me.

Suddenly my family went from telling me how horrible I was to being concerned about me. I was scared to death, but I was relieved to at least have my family back. I saw Randy when he wasn’t there. Any loud noise put me into instant hysterics. I was constantly afraid of strangers around me, afraid that they would hurt me. I was afraid to be alone, but when I was with people I was still afraid. I was always afraid. I’m sure I had either post traumatic stress or something like it.

It was the last week of school. The police told Randy he couldn’t go back because he had to stay away from me, so his teachers let him finish from home. My friends walked me from class to class because I was afraid. And, even though I thought things couldn’t get any worse, a rumor went around the school that I was raped.

I wasn’t raped. He never touched me.

Trying to help, my sisters called the school and told the principal that they weren’t convinced I wasn’t raped. LOL. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up. It’s like a really horrible reality show. I was called to the principal’s office to talk. A social worker, a police officer, the school nurse and my school counselor were all waiting for me. I sat with them for an hour, repeating the story and telling them again that I was not raped. They finally believed me, but the damage was done. Again.

So that’s the story of the ghost I’ve been carrying with me for years. I was probably in my 30’s before car backfires didn’t leave me in tears. It took me a long time to get over this.

By the way, Randy stayed away from me after that. A year later, he was coming home from a camping trip when he was killed in a car wreck. I was sad about it…and I still am. He was a good person before this whole episode, and I had faith that he would be again.

Back to the ghost…

Hot Mess Hubby is a country boy who grew up in Texas. He also served in the Marine Corps for six years. That means he likes guns. It wasn’t a problem in California because you need 37 permits to even think about owning a gun there. We weren’t living in Texas for very long when he brought the first one home.

I cleaned around the thing. I was afraid to pick it up. And I can’t even adequately describe how much I freaked out when he would clean it and the barrel would even come close to pointing at me.  (And let me just say here, HMH would NEVER point a gun at me. He is the safest person I know. So if you’re not a gun person, please don’t think we’re one of those families who accidentally shoots grandpa on Christmas because we’re just playing with our guns in the house.)

I don’t like being afraid of things. It sucks. I’m actually pretty afraid of bridges. What did I do about it? I walked the Golden Gate Bridge, bitches. I like the feeling I get when I don’t let my fears win. So when we moved to Texas, I was determined to make my peace with guns. I don’t think anyone should live in a home where there are firearms if they don’t know how to handle them safely.

In 2014, one of my new year’s resolutions was to get my concealed handgun license (CHL). I had done so many fabulous things in my life that I was sure it was time to get over the gun thing. I went to the gun range with HMH, which I’d done a few times when pressed to do so. It didn’t go well. Even with double ear protection, the sound of gunfire had me in tears within minutes. I was okay with HMH and I was even sort of okay firing a gun, but not with other people firing near me. I was terrified.

I didn’t get my CHL last year. It was too much for me. It felt like what trying to run a marathon when I weighed 383 pounds would have felt like. Too much, too soon. I gave up.

Now it’s 2015 and I’ve conquered even MORE badass shit. I’ve lost 116 pounds and 8 sizes in clothes…there’s no limit to what I can do, right? So I’ve been to the range a few more times. Still pretty terrified. But about a month ago, something pretty awesome happened: I found a group of badass chicks called A Girl & A Gun. They’re into competition shooting and educating women about gun safety. And a friend of mine made me realize that, as much as I love him, HMH is really not a very good teacher when it comes to guns. So I went to a meeting. At the gun range. By myself.

It was really weird walking into the gun range without HMH, carrying our crappy little .22 and a box of ammo in a Kate Spade tote bag (hey, just because I’ve got a gun doesn’t mean I have to carry it in a backpack, peeps. Handbag ho forever!)

But I did it. And it was awesome.

It was so great to get to hear about the whole gun thing from a woman’s perspective. Most of the women in the group are competition shooters. The ladies who run the group are patient teachers and all the ladies in the group are welcoming and just plain badass. I stuck with our crappy .22 for the first meeting. At the second meeting, I had the courage to fire a few higher caliber guns. I was afraid of most of them, but the sheer sense of comraderie made me feel safer than I’ve ever felt at a gun range. These women were my sisters and they were going to make sure I knew what I was doing when I was ready. They let me set my own pace, but they offered help and let me decide what I wanted to do. They graciously showed me their guns and explained what they were. They offered me to try them all. They created a safe place for me to explore something that used to terrify me.

Not long after, I started shopping for my own gun. I was just curious at first, but it got to be fun looking for something of my own. Last week I found a gun that doesn’t freak me out…and I started learning how to handle myself when a gun jams.

Today I went to the gun range with HMH again…and even he’s noticed how much more relaxed I am. I still jump when a stranger is firing a high caliber weapon anywhere near me, but I’m much more confident than I was. I’m slowly squeezing the 15 year old victim out of my head. It feels pretty good, peeps. It feels pretty damn good.

hot mess gun goddess

If you want to learn more about gun safety and shooting, I highly recommend connecting with a women’s only group. As much as the men in our lives may love us, there are some things women can teach us better…and that includes how to shoot around the hooters. 🙂 Go find A Girl and A Gun chapter near you.

I’ll keep you posted…

Radians Remington Womens Eye and Ear Protection Combo Pack

That Moment When…

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I recently got my butt back on a bicycle for the first time in years.

To be honest, I never thought I’d be ready to ride a bike at this weight. I still weigh 304 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to sit on a bike seat, but it seems the 79 pounds I’ve lost was enough to make a difference. That and…something else.

The first time I rode the bike, I just rode around the corner and back. It probably took less than a minute, but that’s all it took. By the time I pulled up to the curb in front of the house I had a big, stupid smile on my face. Then Hot Mess Hubby challenged me to ride to the stop sign and back.

That moment when you realize…you’re having fun.

There’s a simple peace that comes with riding a bike. As children, riding our bikes was our first taste of freedom, wasn’t it? It was for me. And even though my mother had specifically mapped out the borders in our neighborhood that I had to stay within, I still felt like the world was my oyster. There was nothing like navigating the sidewalks of my neighborhood on my purple bike with the banana seat and sparkly handlebar streamers. Nothing.

It was freedom.

So when I pushed back out onto the street and pedaled toward that stop sign, I was free once more. Free from the miserable prison of the obese body I’ve kept myself in for the last 20 years.

The sound of the tires gripping the road, the feeling of the neighborhood whizzing past…it brought back a happier a time for me. A time before I was made to think I was fat and before that “not good enough” feeling had taken over my entire life. A time long before the limitations of obesity started to chip away at my spirit.

For days afterwards, I couldn’t get the smile off my face…because I’d finally had a taste of something I haven’t felt in a very long time: normal.

Being able to ride a bike is a perfectly mundane, ordinary thing that millions of people around the world do every day. It’s a very normal thing. But normal isn’t the world I’ve been living in for the past 20 years.

I’ve been living in the “World of No”. At a big event at work? No plastic folding chairs…they may not hold me. Out to lunch? No booth…I can’t fit in there. Walking through the mall? Don’t even look at the pretty clothes in the windows. No, they won’t fit me. Rollercoasters? No. Walking at a flea market? No. Too much foot pain. And sitting my giant butt on a bike seat? No. After a while, a part of you starts to give up and the walls start closing in on your life.

Imagine my surprise when I started peddling on that bike and my body responded with a big YES.

That moment when you realize your world is opening up again. Being able to do this simple thing that had long been denied to me was such a gift that it brought tears to my eyes.

Hello, normal. It’s nice to see you again.


So with my new kid-like motivation, I put on my bike helmet and struck out on my own the other day. HMH was working and I’d been thinking about riding my bike all day long. I couldn’t wait to get out there and see how far I could go this time.

Now, really, in the immortal scheme of things my bike riding accomplishments are quite unremarkable. At this point, I couldn’t even ride a mile yet…but every time I went out, I went further than before. And that was my goal on this day: ride a little farther, pedal a little faster.

I didn’t have to pedal far to run into some kids playing in their driveway. Mom and Dad were sitting in the shade, diligently watching. In true Texas fashion, I waved and smiled as I passed. They waved as well, but their smiles were…odd. It seemed to me they were quite surprised to see such a big fat person on a bike. They kind of stared. Whatever, right? I was living life, peeps! Who cares about their strange looks. Jerks!

Not too much longer after that, I passed a woman sitting in a car on the wrong side of the street. She looked up at me as I whizzed by, so I smiled and waved. She nodded her head but, again, no smile. Just kind of this weird stare on her face like she’d never seen something like this before. Gimme a break, people! You should be high fiving me and cheering me on! Why so judgy?

I jutted my chin out and kept on pedaling. To hell with them. I’m having fun. So what if I’m fat? How judgy of them!

I pedaled around another corner and came up alongside the 12 mile bike path that runs behind our neighborhood. What a great place to stop for a picture. I planned to post it on my Facebook fan page since I knew many of you would cheer me on for getting back out there again. So I took a quick selfie by the woods…and that’s when I caught a glimpse of what my neighbors had been staring at.

That moment when you realized you were so excited to exercise that you put your eff'in helmet on backwards. #Fail
That moment when you realize you were so excited to exercise that you put your eff’in helmet on backwards. #Fail

Yeah. That shit happened.

Here I was thinking my neighbors were judgy bitches and I’d been riding around with my eff’in helmet on backwards. I wondered why it felt different, honestly, but I was so excited I didn’t think anything of it. This picture doesn’t do it justice, really. It looked much more ridiculous than this.

I immediately put my helmet on correctly…and then I deleted the pictures. Lucky for you, I had taken a couple selfies in the driveway before I got started. I reluctantly saved those to share my helmet shame with you. You’re welcome.

I haven’t let my helmet shame slow me down. I keep going out. When I first started a week ago, I was out of breath just heading to the stop sign and back. Now I’m doing over 2 miles in one ride. Every day I get stronger. Every day I get better.

It’s an unexpected gift to be able to add this little piece of normal back into my life. The World of No has gotten a little smaller. The World of Normal is ahead…and it looks like so much more fun. Let’s ride.

That moment when you realize the road ahead is wide open. #Hope

Rhoads Town Bicycle Helmet, Matte Pink, Adult

The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion, 8.4-Fluid Ounce

Once around the block

I just had the most amazing ten minutes of my life…and no, I’m not talking about the time I lost my virginity to a total turd who didn’t deserve me. (I’ll bet I can get an AMEN! from a few of you on that one, right?) But that was more like five minutes, not ten.

Actually, perhaps I should say that I just had the most amazing ten minutes of 2014. Because, really, if HMH reads this he might wonder why our wedding day didn’t make my most amazing list. Oops.

Back to my amazing ten minutes – which actually, now that I think about it, included quite a bit of discomfort in the hoo-hah area…not unlike the aforementioned first time. Okay, I’m off track again.

I just rode a bike for the first time in…five years? I think that’s about right. And even that time lasted exactly 15 minutes and never happened again. At that time in my life I still ate tons of processed “diet” foods and gallons of diet soda and it was much harder to push my much heavier body down the road, that’s for sure.

HMH has a passion for trail bike riding, so we have two bikes already – and many more to follow, I’m sure. Even better, he actually understands the ergonomics of bike riding…so when I got on the bike the first time, he could see clearly that the seat needed to be raised in order for me to pedal. I thought he was insane. I actually argued with him. Then I was afraid to push off and go because I thought I would fall. Seriously, when I put my full weight on the bike it felt like the seat was in my throat. 304 pounds is a lot to ride on a bike seat.

After a few minutes of whining, I pushed off…and my amazing ten minutes began. OMG! I was riding a bike.

Riding a bike. Me.

I rode just around the corner and turned around and came back. It was effing awesome. I stopped in front of the house for a minute and then I took off again. HMH was urging me to try going around the block, so I went for it. Then he jumped on his bike and came after me.

We rode around our block together. At the end of the block, my legs started to fight back. I’m sure if they could speak, I would have heard something like “What the hell is this exercise shit? You never make us do this!” But I didn’t care. I couldn’t get the stupid smile off my face. I was having fun.

I really had to work to get myself the rest of the way home. My legs were like jello and my lady cave was seriously pissed. I will admit, though, that the bike seat wasn’t as painful as I expected.

I had fun today. I didn’t expect it. I really thought it was too soon to ride a bike, so when I took off and was actually doing it…I was elated. Overjoyed! Feeling the breeze in my hair and propelling myself through the neighborhood was absolutely fantastic. Riding a bike is a totally unremarkable, every day thing that millions of people do every day – but for this fat girl it was an unexpected victory.

I’m so happy that I had the courage to try this today. I was certain I would fail. Certain it would be too much too soon. I’m so happy to prove myself wrong. In fact, now that I’m done writing this blog post…I think I’ll go again.

Once more around the block, peeps!!!

Sterling Silver Bicycle Dangle Charm ,Fits Pandora and All Brands Charm Bracelets and Necklaces.

Serfas Super Cruiser Bicycle Saddle




2013: The Year of Moving More

Last year at this time, I was strutting around my living room like Mick Jagger’s fat sister…adamantly proclaiming that 2012 was going to be my year. Take no prisoners, batten down the hatches, I was going to forge through 2012 and make it my bitch.

I feel like I did that, but not in the “In yo face, chump!” way I thought I would. Sometimes when I get very excited I turn into Richard Simmons…and that shit’s not good for anybody. Then I calm down and remember that I’m just me: a former snack cake guzzler who has seen the light.

2012 was my year. (I have a whole “2012 was awesome” post coming on New Year’s Eve. Sort of a snarky retrospective on all things Hot Mess. You’re welcome.) It was the year that I created a bunch of motivational tools to help me hit my goals. It was the year that I realized this is a war of tiny battles…and that if I just focus on the little steps and map out a plan for myself, I can get there from here. And it was the first year that I have ever lost weight (45 pounds) and kept it off. Ever.

True enough, a year ago I imagined that I would plow through the year at full speed and kick major scale ass for the entire year. I imagined celebrating 100 pounds lost sometime around the end of the summer, victoriously donating box after box after box of fat pants to the Goodwill. That did not happen. I hit a plateau on the scale and then I hit a plateau in my brain. I had to fight the urge to take my frustrations out on Twinkies. I won that fight (sorry about that whole bankruptcy thing, Hostess, but I’ve moved on). In fact, Little Debbie is probably getting her affairs in order as well…because I have successfully avoided Nutty Bars for a year. Take that, you little bitch!

2012 was the year I kicked my food demons in the ass. Looking back at it now, I can clearly see that was the lesson I was supposed to learn this year: finally getting control over my food demons. I feel good about it. I feel victorious. And sure, there are a lot of fatty haters out there who would say I’ve failed because I didn’t keep losing…and I don’t care about them. This is not their life and it’s not their process. In over 20 years of being obese I have ended every year weighing more than I did at the start of the year. I have never lost weight and kept it off. I will proudly stand on top of my plus sized mountain and proclaim victory for losing 45 pounds and not gaining it back. I’ve earned that right.

Another victory to celebrate is the fact that my outlook on food has significantly changed. Even when I’m famished, steering my car towards a drive-thru is not an option for me. I don’t even consider it. I’m done with fast food. There have been a few times when I’ve been out with the hubby and we’ve stopped for fast food because that’s what he wanted. He would catch me making a face every time and I’d just shake my head and explain that it doesn’t taste like I remember it. At all. Fast food tastes terrible to me now. And sugar? A little sugar goes a long way with me. We went out to dinner the other night and our waiter asked if we would like dessert. I immediately said “Oh, no thank you…I’m full!” After he left, hubby smiled at me and said “You’ve changed so much, babe. You used to always get dessert no matter what. I’m proud of you for how well you’ve done this year.” There’s nothing like someone you love being proud of you. Nothing.

He’s right, too: whenever we went out to dinner before I got on a healthier road, my heart would race just looking at the dessert menu. If the waiter brought the check and didn’t ask us if we’d like dessert, I was downright pissed.

“Are you trying to say that you think I’ve had enough dessert, Mr. Waiter? Is that it? Because I’ll tell you what: I haven’t! I’d like to pack a few more asses into these here fat pants, Mister, so get your skinny ass into that kitchen and bring me some mud pie!”

Yeah. I’ve changed.

So what about 2013? It’s nearly upon us. Is 2013 going to be the year that I celebrate 100 pounds lost? Oooh! Maybe I’ll lose 150!!! Or maybe I’ll even get to my entire goal of 219 pounds lost by next year! OMG yes! And I’ll do it all by drinking organic smoothies and eating nuts I find in the yard.

Okay, seriously. No.

My 2013 is going to be about moving more. Part of me cringes every time I say it, but it’s true. 2013 is going to be about me moving more. A lot more. Why am I cringing? Because I fucking hate exercise. I hate it!!! That’s something else 2012 taught me – but unlike all the positive results and wonderful lessons I learned in 2012, I know that my attitude towards exercise is unhealthy…so it’s time for me to do something about it. If you’d like a mental image of what that’s going to be like, imagine being shoved into a tiny cage with an angry badger while someone pokes said badger with a very sharp stick. There will be a lot of screaming and probably a lot of bleeding, but I’ll get through it. I will tame the badger.

When it comes to my goal of moving more, 2012 taught me that my treadmill is a wonderful convenience that gets boring if I don’t mix it up. I learned that doing dance and exercise games on our Playstation 3 makes me feel like the 9 year old little girl who didn’t measure up at the dance studio. It brings a lot of issues up for me that need to rest in peace, so I’m not likely to do that kind of exercise for a while. I love dancing, I just need less junk in my trunk when I get down with the funk. And I learned that the task of bringing exercise back into my life is going to require a lot of careful thought, some trial and error, and a high level of motivation from a lot of different sources. One of those sources is electronic gadgetry. 

In addition to being a handbag ho, I’m also a gadget geek and a bit of a gamer. So, in these last few days before 2013 is upon us, I’ve decided to buy myself a Fit Bit activity tracker. I’ve heard tons of good reviews from many of you here on the blog and on my Facebook fan page. Tomorrow is payday and I’m going for it.

Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

Why Fit Bit? Well, I had a BodyBug once. I saw the contestants on the Biggest Loser using them (back when I used to watch) and I loved the idea of having real time data telling me whether I was moving enough in order to hit my calorie deficit each day. I actually bought one and I loved it. I miss that. What sucks about the BodyBug is that it comes with a monthly fee for their online service…and we don’t need another monthly expense in the Hot Mess Household. No way. Fit Bit doesn’t require a monthly fee.

If you’ve never heard of these gadgets before, I encourage you to get all Google-y and check it out. You strap these little gadgets to yourself (they’re small enough to conceal) and they tell you how much you’re moving and how well you’re doing in relation to the goals you’ve set for yourself. I’ll give you a real world example to compare this to: a shitty job I had a long time ago.

I had a boss who was a complete jackass…and every month he would call me to his office for our “one on one” meeting. Every month he would tell me that I didn’t hit my productivity goal. He would make suggestions like “work faster” or “don’t take a break every day”. You know…douchebag advice. He was a real piece of work. And every month I would work really hard, trying to get to my productivity goal, and every month I would fail.

Then he went off to do something else (I think they actually created a douche bag department and put him in charge) and I got a new boss. In our first meeting together, my new boss asked me how I was monitoring my productivity. I explained to him that I had no tools to do that. Douche bag boss would not allow us to even use the printer that all the reports came off of, nor would he allow us access to print any…or even know what was available. New boss says to me, “Well, how are you supposed to hit a monthly productivity goal if you can’t tell how you’re doing during the month? Would it help you to have access to that information sooner so that you can make changes accordingly?”

Hell yes!

New boss gave me access to the reports, explained to me what kind of reports I could run, gave me some suggestions about what to look for, and set me loose. I hit my productivity goal well before the month was over. By the end of the year, I had increased my productivity so much that they didn’t hire a replacement for my co-worker when she transferred to another department.

The lesson here? Information and the right tools are more valuable than cigarettes in prison, peeps. The thing I loved most about my BodyBug (and hope to love about my Fit Bit) is that it will give me real time info so that I don’t have to wait to get on the scale to find out I wasn’t trying hard enough. If you’re still shaking your head at me, don’t worry…I’ll be blogging a lot about this over the next several weeks and you’ll get to see it in action. I promise.

Tomorrow we’re going to talk about another cool tool…one that I hope you’ll join me on. It’s free and I’m enjoying it so far. I have a Hot Mess Princess group all set up for us, which I’ll tell you all about in tomorrow’s post. Maybe if enough of us are having fun, I won’t be so grumpy about having to move below the waist.

I’ll be posting pics here and on my Facebook fan page as I go along.

See y’all tomorrow…