Category Archives: Battle of the Butt

Don’t look now, but…this may be fun

Okay, so I last left us all in a giant pile of exercise excrement. Okay, maybe that’s not the best way to put it. I got back in touch with all the ridiculous, effed up messages I learned about exercise from my youth…again…and managed to stay conscious of the fact that nothing has changed in my present situation. IF I want to lose the rest of my excess weight, I have to find a way to exercise consistently.

I know how my Hot Mess brain works. If I can’t find something I enjoy, this isn’t going to stick. I think that’s how most brains work, honestly, but something changes in many of us when we see one of those ridiculous commercials for the latest nut job fitness craze, right? You know I’m right. You see a commercial for some ridiculous fitness thing and you’re suddenly telling yourself “Yes, I want to push my sedentary ass through this idiot’s insane crossfit nazi bootcamp! It’ll be fun! FUN, I TELL YOU!!!” Somehow these dickheads manage to motivate us into paying “just $19.95” for their flavor-of-the-month exercise video/book/torture class and we subject ourselves to pain and humiliation…for one day. Or two. And then we give up. Because that shit’s not fun!!! That shit’s just crazy, yo.

I can’t stand most personal trainers. I don’t like weight loss gurus and fitness nazis who just want to make money off of me. Or worse: they see me as their personal project. I am not a project to anyone but myself. Nope, trainers are not for me. Cardio is simple…and free. And, thanks to YouTube, we’re not at a loss when it comes to learning how to do simple resistance training. Free information is out there, so to tell me that I need your special kind of muscle killing bootcamp and you’re going to see me walk away. With a slight limp because I have hip pain right now. Don’t judge.

So here’s the short list of what this Hot Mess Princess needs in order to pensively start down the road to consistent exercise:

  • No Zumba or other aerobics class with yippy yappy woohoo participants
  • No personal trainers or extreme fitness
  • Some kind of resistance training, which I will increase as I go
  • Some kind of cardio, which I will increase as I go
  • 10,000 steps a day…minimum

Let’s talk about that 10,000 steps a day goal for a minute. I mentioned in my last blog post that I once thought my Fitbit was a bit of a nagging bitch. Yeah, she was…but I was also not ready for exercise. I was still too resistant to the idea.

Now? Well, hell, peeps…I’ve lost 116 pounds and I’d like to lose the other 120 pounds while I’m still young enough to enjoy the hotness. 🙂 Let’s get this shit figured out!

When I first dug my Fitbit out of the drawer 2 months ago, I wore it to figure out how many steps I was getting a day. Thanks to my sedentary job, the range was about 1,400 to 2,000. As a general rule, “they” say we should get 10,000 steps a day. I think “they” is the American Heart Association and a bunch of other people who are admittedly smarter than me in this area.

I think I set my first step goal at 4,000 for the first week or so. Then I increased it to 6,000. Before long it was 8,000. Now? Except for last week, which was hell week at work, I’ve had no problem getting 10,000 steps a day.

Can we just stop for a moment so I can step into the spotlight on center stage and do a couple really uncool fist pumps? SERIOUSLY!!!

1,400 steps to 10,000 steps in two months. EFFING AWESOME!!! And that’s with foot pain and, apparently, a hip that doesn’t understand it’s totally uncool to be a bitch to me when I’m trying to figure all this out.

I. Rock.

Okay, let’s get back to business…

I forgot to mention one thing: I need to make all these changes with exercise WHILE continuing to be a bad ass and maintain my weight loss of 116 pounds. In addition to the nutritional changes I’ve made over the past two years, this also means that I need to find time to stitch. Probably the single most instrumental decision I’ve made in changing my eating habits has been to substitute my hobby of needlework for my former unhealthy hobby of eating everything in the house when I wasn’t hungry. And I can’t let that go…because if I decide I don’t have time for the incredibly therapeutic and calming activity of counting stitches and pulling a needle and thread through fabric, then I’m afraid that I’ll allow emotional eating to sneak back into my life. Isn’t that a given? I think so.

I can’t keep growing if I thumb my nose up at the healthy changes that have gotten me this far.

Let’s add one more problem to the fray: the current stitchy piece I’m working on has to be done in time to enter in the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition. It’s much bigger than I thought it would be, and with a full time job it’s been a challenge. At this point, I can probably get it done if I stitch for 5 hours a night Monday – Friday and get even more done on the weekends…but that’s all butt-sitting time!

I do have exactly 5 hours between the time I get home and the time I go to bed, but I won’t be able to take any steps or do any physical activity…so that means I have to fit it in before I get home. For that reason, I put a caveat on my 10,000 steps a day goal: I have to get all 10,000 steps in before I leave work.

Sweet Jesus!

You know what, though? I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it…and between my Fitbit and my better attitude towards exercise, it’s been a little bit fun. Friends at work are sending me challenges. So are you guys! I’m friends with tons of blog fans on Fitbit and I love hearing from you guys. It’s not unusual for me to get more than 2 or 3 different challenges from you.

And the resistance training? I’ve started that ball rolling by carrying small weights on my walks with me. I have the kind that wrap around my hands so I don’t have to hold them. These aren’t exactly what I have, but they’re very similar (click the image and you’ll go straight to them on Amazon).

Okay, so let’s recap a bit MORE of what I’ve done:

  • Gave up fast food
  • Gave up soda
  • Stopped emotional eating by picking up needlework instead of Cheetos
  • Increased my daily steps from 1,400 to 10,000
  • Set a goal to get my 10,000 steps by the end of my work day
  • Started the resistance training by adding weights to my walks

I’m starting to feel like one of those guys at the circus or on old shows like The Carol Burnett Show that used to spin 10 different plates on really tall, skinny poles all at the same time. Remember that? If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, well…you missed out on a hell of a useless talent. But it was kind of cool wondering if the dude was going to be able to keep all those plates spinning…

That’s what I am. I’m a plate spinner. It’s a lot of shit to do for a girl who used to only worry about what she was going to pile ON her plate. Let’s all stop for a moment so you can give me a high five. C’mon…let’s go…gimme some more love!

HIGH FIVE!!!!

So I feel like I’ve succeeded in wanting to get my 10,000 steps a day and wanting to move more. It no longer feels like a chore to me. I want and need to continue my stitching, so I’ve made room for that and kept the step goal secure. I’ve started adding resistance. I need to start thinking about cardio…and that’s where the FUN part comes in.

I effing hate cardio. (Seriously, I’m going to show you the fun part but I think it’s important to first explain my shitty attitude.) I don’t know why I hate cardio, exactly. I don’t really care if I find out, either, because I just need to find fun cardio that I can do. And I guess I have Facebook to thank for this one, because I first learned about virtual races in my Facebook feed. I found Make Yes Happen.

Basically, you can sync various fitness trackers like Fitbit or Map My Fitness to your Make Yes Happen account. When you join a race, your steps are automatically logged and you earned Google street view clips for milestones along the route you’re virtually walking. It’s $25 to join most races and you get a sweet little medal when you’re done. Well, not little actually…they’re quite impressive. Some of the money for some races goes to charity. Other times I think it just pays for your medal and helps them keep the site and challenges going.

My first race was The Road to Hana. I’ve been to Maui, but I’ve never taken the Road to Hana…so I was interested in this one for sure. It was fun to see email updates rolling in. They told me where I was on the road, showed me what the view was, and sometimes pointed out interesting things to do at those places. It was particularly motivating to me towards the end as I neared my goal. I was pretty excited about getting that final notification that I’d completed The Road to Hana. As it so happened, I completed it on the first day I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. It rocked. Getting the medal in the mail was even sweeter. You can see the video that I posted about it here on my Facebook fan page.

So the next race I selected was in honor of my home state of California. I chose the Pacific Coast Highway race, which is 113 miles. Something unexpected happened: because of my higher step count, I finished the race pretty quickly…and wasn’t even really motivated by much of it at all. And then I realized that I basically earned my race medal by walking in the tunnels under our building and back and forth to the ladies room…and that’s really not what I intended to use this for. I want these medals to mean something to me, and I want them to be more challenging to earn.

The Yes Fit community on Facebook is super helpful and supportive, so I asked around to other Fitbit users on how they manage this issue…and I’ve decided to disconnect my Fitbit from the virtual race page and log my steps and exercise manually. I don’t want to get credit for the first 10,000 steps each day. I want credit for anything over that and also for any cardio I do. THAT is more motivating to me.

So which race am I on now? I selected the Sleepy Hollow Redux race. I’ve loved that story since I was a little girl…and I love the movie (Tim Burton’s version and the Disney cartoon)…and I loved the tv show, at least until the writers started injecting their own political opinions into the script. I hate that shit. So the idea of virtually walking through the town of Sleepy Hollow is AWESOME!!!!! You can see the race here.

And that is what I’ve been doing to conquer the “I hate exercise demons”, peeps. I’m already having more fun than before…I’m cautiously optimistic that these changes will be fun enough to stick with, and then they’ll become habit. I have a very busy job that sometimes requires me to travel, and it can be a challenge to keep going during busy weeks…but I already get grumpy and miss walking when I can’t do it. So there’s a little ray of hope there. A little spark of promise. For now, that’s enough.

 

Interested in needlework? Try these sassy designs. *Not for the faint of heart

Walking through a motivation wasteland

Even before I walked out on the unbearably dysfunctional atmosphere of the dance studio I basically grew up in, I’ve thumbed my nose up at exercise. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. Most everyone would disagree with me, but to me…dance isn’t exercise. Not in my effed up little head. To me, dance is fun. Exercise is something you do because you have to.

I am not an athlete. In spite of the emotional abuse I suffered from age 9 to age 19 at the hands of my dance teacher, I’m a dancer. I have always been a dancer. I’m not a runner or a bicyclist or even an aerobics queen. Some of you would argue that Zumba and its older cousins Jazzercise and whatever-the-fuck Jane Fonda used to do are dance, but they’re not. Not to me. They are all exercise.

Side note: I won’t debate the Zumba-is-dance argument here, as my thought process is admittedly based on artsy fartsy feelings and nothing to do with fact…so if you’re a Zumba fan, calm your asses down. I’m not trying to knock your beloved Zumba at all. If Zumba or aerobic dance makes you happy and you call it dance, then that’s all that matters. Get down and funky with my blessings!

Now back to that stupid exercise thing…

I don’t know if they still pull this shit on kids in elementary school, but back in my day we had the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. It probably sounds like a good idea, but it was basically a fancy way of legally harassing lazy kids into doing pull ups. And by lazy I don’t mean fat and lethargic…I mean lazy as in I’d rather ride my bike or rollerskate around the neighborhood with my girlfriends before I go take 3 hours of dance class. I wasn’t a fat kid, and I wasn’t out of shape. Put pull ups? I’d rather have listened to Englebert Humperdinck records with my Mom back in the day…and believe me, I hate Mr Humpy.

I was an active kid, I just wasn’t one for hanging by my own body weight from those big stupid metal hoops on the playground that always ended up smashing your fingers. Nor was I out on the playground saying shit to my friends like “Hey, let’s blow off hopskotch and do some crunches!” That kind of thing made no sense to me, but every damn year our teachers pulled us out onto the playground with clipboards in hand and made us do a series of ridiculous shit in front of each other…including pull ups and sit ups and other crap I just couldn’t do.

I hated those clipboards. I hated being judged up against girls who loved to climb trees and had muscles in their arms. If a teacher had lined everyone up and said “Okay, I want each of you to come through here doing a traveling time step, 4 sets of wings and end in the jump splits,” I would have kicked everyone’s asses. Everyone’s. I would have been the queen of the playground!!! But no, apparently the President wasn’t impressed with my Gene Kelly-esque technique.

To this day, I’ll never understand why they felt the need to rank us on how far we could long jump. When in the hell was that ever going to come in handy? All it ever taught me was how right I was to detest exercise. To me, it was stupid. So I sat there in the school assembly after the whole mortifying process was over and every kid I already felt was better than me at everything stood up and got a certificate and a patch that they were amazeballs at pull ups and long jumps…and I felt like a failure.

Let’s fast forward to after high school when I quit dance because I was so emotionally beaten down by the tyrannical dance teacher there was no more joy in it for me. And I loved the idea of curling up with books instead of sweating my ass off every day and sewing up snags in my tights. So I didn’t just quit dancing, I pretty much quit moving. And that’s where the big problem started.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know this was the beginning of the path that led to me gaining over 200 pounds. Now I’ve lost 116 of that and I’m stuck because…surprise…I hate exercise. Well…shit.

Looking back on all of this, though, I definitely see the fucked up-ness of it all. I was raised to see exercise as a laborious task that made me feel less-than. Dance was the only physical activity that was fun to me, but even that was robbed of its joy because of the biggest asshole in the universe. Everything remotely connected to moving more made me just want to get away from it as fast as possible.

I’ve tried to get myself going here and there, but I haven’t been successful at the one thing I need: consistency. One of the things losing 116 pounds has given me, though, is the self-confidence to look myself in the face and know that I am good enough just as I am. Gone are the days of anyone, including myself, making me feel less-than because I can’t jog or do 100 crunches. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that the very idea of taking a Zumba class makes me stabby…I just stay away from Zumba class. For everyone’s sake.

I know this sounds horrible and I’m most likely outting myself as a very bad person, but it’s the happy shrieking and whooping in particular that I hate about any exercise class. The class instructor yelling her loud motivating “Let’s go, ladies! Let’s mooooooove!” and everyone responding with “Yeah! WOOHOOOOO!”

I know women who get all revved up at that, but it makes me want to punch them all in the vagina. Sorry. Don’t worry, I’ve never acted out. 🙂

So I’ve searched for exercisey things that are fun to do while I’ve become an expert at maintaining a 116 pound weight loss. As it turns out, for me, that’s kind of easy. I rock at maintaining my current level of weight loss. It’s just not enough for me. I want to keep going.

I still have my beloved bike that HMH gave me last year, which I love…but bike riding in cold weather isn’t going to happen. It’s spring now, so I have a few weeks of lovely bike riding in my future – but summer is coming. And yes, I say that with as much dread as they say “Winter is coming” in Game of Thrones. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know what I mean. Our summers are assholes. Seriously.

I’m lucky in that we have tunnels built underneath our huge campus at work…and I can walk in air conditioned comfort. There’s something down there, though, that I’m allergic to. There’s a lot of dust and crap from the A/C ducts. Some mornings it’s not bad, other mornings I’m in tears after walking my two laps.

I’ve also been prone to painful foot injuries since I was 13 years old and I have to be really careful when it comes to the impact on my tootsies. I can’t walk fast enough to get cardio. If I walk fast enough for cardio, I get stress fractures. If I walk slow enough to get my 10,000 steps a day, I achieve that goal…but I miss cardio. Up your ass, exercise. You’re such a pain in the ass.

So where does this leave me? The story isn’t over, but for now we’ll leave it here – and we’ll pick up tomorrow with a Fitbit, another Fitbit and an amazing website that has started to put some fun into that nasty word “exercise”.

 

My favorite Valentine’s day tradition

Hey y’all!

I recently posted an informal poll for my followers on my Facebook fan page asking readers to vote on which blog topic they wanted me to write about this week. The winning topic was “My favorite Valentine’s day tradition”.

You’re probably not going to like my answer. I usually get all schmoopy around holidays, but Valentine’s day is another story. It’s a retail holiday, you guys. There’s no spiritual meaning to it. No patriotic meaning. No meaning at all except that we’re all made to feel that we have to observe it or it means we don’t love our husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends…whatever.

If I’m being honest, the last time I had fun on Valentine’s day was when I was a little girl. Remember what it was like to be a kid and go to the store and see all those red and pink little boxes with differently themed Valentine cards? How exciting!

At my school, we were given a brown paper lunch sack to decorate with red and pink tissue and glue and glitter and crayons. Any blank piece of paper, even a bag, was an inspiration to me. I was always so excited for Valentine’s day…and I loved picking out just the perfect box of Valentines to give to my friends and classmates.

By the time I was a teenager, Valentine’s Day was already losing its appeal. I was a cute enough girl, but I was beyond shy around boys and I didn’t wear all the cute, fashionable clothes or flirt or go to dances. I didn’t know what to do around boys. So every Valentine’s Day the girls would get all giggly and the boys would give out valentines to the girls who caught their eye…but it was never me. So by the time I graduated high school, it was already just another reminder that I wasn’t enough of something. Not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Not…enough.

As a single woman in my twenties and thirties, it just got worse. If I was dating someone, everything was rainbows and kittens. If I wasn’t, I was just made to feel more alone by the endless sappy jewelry commercials and news stories about romantic proposals. It was everywhere. And work is the worst on Valentine’s Day. An endless parade of florists delivering huge expensive bouquets to my female co-workers who were either married or dating Mr. Right.


Royal Albert New Country Roses Formal Vintage Teacup and Saucer Boxed Set, White

And then I met HMH. Well, we were friends for five years on the phone (via work) before we ever met in person – but once we met in person, we were inseparable. We moved in together on Valentine’s Day weekend. The following year, he made the world’s worst marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day (it’s a long story and he’s damn lucky I said yes). After that, we just settled into normal life and that was that.

So my favorite Valentine’s Day tradition is…paying no attention whatsoever to Valentine’s Day. And I invite you to do the same.

It made me feel shitty for years as a single girl. It puts seriously awful pressure on a lot of men, honestly. Just yesterday I saw a commercial for jewelry where a guy gives his wife or girlfriend a gift box over dinner, she opens it with excitement…and then her smile fades and she looks up at him and says something like “Where’s the real one?”

What the actual fuck, people!

Other ads prey on men by guilt tripping them into paying five times more for a bouquet of flowers that they’d pay much less for on any other damn day. Jewelry store ads attempt to pull at our heartstrings with step-dads giving little step-daughters diamond pendants that match the one he just gave mommy. Restaurants woo guys with special dinner prices and heart shaped desserts.

As women, we’re pressured with ads for lingerie and magazine articles telling us how to get that hot body before the big day. Or, my favorite, top ten tips for pleasing your man in bed. Wow. You’re with someone who wants to boink you. Know how to find out how to please him? ASK. Holy shit. Just talk about what you like and don’t like.

The Valentine thing is all bullshit. Seriously.

HMH and I both work hard for our money and the things we have – but HMH has a very physically demanding job. He works his ass off. How loving is it of me to throw a bunch of bullshit expectations on him about a made-up holiday? When I see those commercials, I don’t want HMH to buy me jewelry or roses…I want to smack the shit out of the advertising jerks who insinuate that my darling hubby is some sort of failure if he doesn’t buy me their crap.

When you’re in a healthy, loving relationship every day is Valentine’s Day…and that should be the same whether your relationship is with yourself OR a significant other. Just because you’re not dating anyone doesn’t mean you’re lacking in some way. Don’t buy into the bullshit.

Valentine’s Day is a giant guilt trip.

It’s as simple as this: if you’re single and Valentine’s Day smacks of loneliness I want you to stand up, square your shoulders and yell BULLSHIT at the top of your damn lungs. DO IT!!! Because that’s what it is. BULLSHIT.

If you have a significant other, take it easy on them. Give them a break. If you both enjoy schmooping out on Valentine’s Day, then I say go for it…but if you’re both spending tons of time wondering what the hell to buy the other one, then why? What’s the purpose really?

When HMH wants a new vinyl record or I want a new needlework pattern, we get it. That’s how we are. If I’m at the antique mall with the girls and I see some vinyl he’d like…I pick it up. And yes, HMH actually bought me a needlework pattern for my Christmas stocking one year. Occasionally, we buy each other our favorite candy…or some other trinket we see around. But we don’t need to be bought stuff in order to feel that we’re loved.

The only people I’m inclined to buy Valentine’s gifts for are my co-workers sometimes…or my fur persons. Those things are still fun for me when they’re in the budget. Otherwise, it’s just another day…as it should be. Except the day after. Candy is 50% off, bitches.

Let’s all go buy ourselves a treat.

Maybe we should start a new Valentine’s Day tradition. Instead of being pressured to spend money on others in the name of love, maybe we could just look in the mirror and smile at the person smiling back at us. Let’s accept that we’re all beautifully flawed, amazing humans worthy of love.

And maybe go back to decorating paper sacks…because that shit’s always fun.

So what’s YOUR favorite Valentine’s Day tradition?


Jusalpha Vintage Rose Bone China Teacup Spoon and Saucer Set TCS03

2016, here I come!

Yeah, I suck.

I keep thinking “Wow, it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog post…I need to get moving.” And then I think it again. And again. And again. Meanwhile, it’s nearly 2016 and the last thing I wrote was fucking Halloween? Really???

I’m sorry, guys. I need to do a better job at organizing myself.

I used to hate new years resolutions. A lot. It seemed to me that the best way to guarantee that I wouldn’t accomplish something was to make it a new years resolution so I could procrastinate the shit out of it. Something about losing 116 pounds has changed my perspective, though, and I now look at them like fun little challenges. I never get them all done, but I do get some of them done…and it gives me a little twinge of pride to check one off my list.

For example, two years ago I one of my resolutions was to get my Concealed Handgun License (CHL). It took me a few months to realize that I wasn’t ready for it yet. A traumatic experience I had when I was 15 years old was still hanging on and I couldn’t shake it yet, so I put it off for the year. This year, thanks to a women’s shooting group I found, I gradually felt ready to take it on – so, even though it wasn’t a resolution this year, I did it anyway. Kick ass!

I never know what I’m going to put on the list, and I try not to make most of them about weight loss or physical appearance. I try to make them things that are either fun or interesting or challenging…or all three. So here we go. Here’s my 2016 new years resolutions:

  1. Visit another country. Do y’all know how long I’ve wanted to go to Europe? And I have no excuse. I work in the travel industry, for goodness’ sake! What am I waiting for? Well, I don’t have a passport yet. I know, I know, I know. You can see why this is a goal.
  2. Buy a dining room table. It pains me to admit it, but I haven’t had a dining table and chairs for three years. My dining room looks like a staging area for the old tv show “Clean House”. I have boxes of crap in there that have no home. It’s the holidays, so that means there are four large rubber bins in there as well. I took all the ornaments and decorations out but I never put the bins back in the closet. They’re guarded by the two white wire deer that I always mean to put out on the lawn for Christmas, but I can never find the damn prongs that secure them into the ground…so they end up sprawled on the dining room floor like they’re napping. Or drunk. After the holidays are over, I’ll get everything back in the closet…but the pile of Crap That Has No Home will still remain. We need to stop eating around the coffee table like savages, yo.
  3. Have 18 inch calves. No, I’m not kidding. You may be wondering why this is a goal. Let me just say…I need to make exercise a consistent habit, but if I say that then I’ll psych myself out. I feel myself shrinking away from it and I’m tired of that shit. Meanwhile, I love boots in the fall and winter but my calves are still too big – even for the wide calf boots. If I make 18 inch calves my goal, I still have to make exercise a consistent habit but I don’t heap unwanted expectations on my hot mess head. This way, I’m just tantalized by the idea of wearing sexy boots. It’s a win-win.
  4. Decorate the damn bedroom. Seriously. My bedroom is so damn ugly. The walls are still an ugly chalky white. The curtains are left over from the devil condo in California. Our furniture is old and has Kirby tooth marks on part of it (when she was a hell raising puppy). It’s hideous and ugly, not restful and serene. And the worst part? Sometimes when HMH starts putting the moves on me, I look up and think “My God this is the ugliest room ever!” So now you know how ugly it is, because if it can distract me from sexy time it’s gotta be pretty hideous…am I right?
  5. Have my picture professionally taken. This one makes me cringe, but it’s necessary. I need some pics taken…for my “about me” page here and for the blog I never write about my fiction endeavors. Maybe if I get new pictures I’ll be inspired to finish that book, right? Seems legit.
  6. Publish something. Anything, damn it. My God!
  7. This one is scary and that’s why I picked it: learn to sing. Way back in my days at the dance studio, the King would require us to sing show tunes while we danced to them. For example, every year at the county fair we were required to perform an entire show of songs from Oklahoma – which is funny when I think about it now because Orange County, California is about as country as New York City…but with more Republicans. Anyway, I never felt like I measured up and I love to sing. I mean, I looooove to sing. So I don’t want to start a new career or anything, but it would be nice to be able to carry a tune and not be embarrassed. That’s all I’m after: non-embarrassed singing.
  8. Ride a rollercoaster. I think I’m going to need to head to the Queen Mother of all amusement parks for this one, peeps. Yes, I’m talking about my first ever place of employment: Disneyland, California. It’s a goal.
  9. Be able to do 100 crunches all at once. Yeah, I couldn’t get out of this without setting at least one exercise goal. That’s it. 100. Just reading that feels like I just signed up for an Ironman competition. Shit.

2016 resolutions

So that’s it, peeps. Those are my 2016 new years resolutions. Are you setting resolutions this year? If so, feel free to share in the comments below!


Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 Calendar 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Organizer – Purpose Driven Goals Planning Book – Personal Life Progress Journal Notebook (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral)

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