Transitions and Intentions

2013 can really be summed up as a year of transition. It’s felt like crisis management much of the time. Real or imaginary, I’ve managed to make it through the crises of 2013.

Transition

It’s moving away from this constant battle to be better, do better, have better. It’s leaving behind my own expectations for what life is suppose to look like. It’s getting out of my own way and allowing life to occur the way it should. It’s facing forward toward what is coming, ready to take it all straight on. It’s about only glancing into the rearview to check myself. It’s about stitching closed old wounds and stopping any lingering blood letting from them to allow myself to be healthy for what lies ahead. What is ahead is what matters.

Intention

2014 is going to be a year of intention for me. I am setting that out here and now. I will not live this year by responding to what is happening around me but instead by making things happen. I will accept responsibility for my actions, and I will learn to graciously accept praise as well. What happens from here out is because I intend for it to happen.

-To Infinity and Beyond

Coloring on the Blank Pages of Life

When I was little I liked coloring books. Know why? Because the “art” was already laid out for you. All I had to do was pick up my crayon and color inside the lines and I had an instant masterpiece. There wasn’t any creativity or real talent involved, just fill in the blanks. Even better was color by number because those told you what colors went in what areas so it was guaranteed to come out looking just perfect. No surprise that I am still a “rule follower” personality type, huh?

I’ve come to realize that for the first time in my whole damn life I’m coloring on a blank page. And it scares the shit out of me.
Life is suppose to follow the plan:
*graduate high school…check
*go to college…check
*graduate said college…check
*get married…check
*get a Master’s Degree…check
*get a good job..check
*buy a house and get a dog…check
*have a baby and live happily ever after…oops.
The plan derailed. No mention of my big fat divorce in that plan.

My coloring book life had a misprint, but I feel like I picked the pages up and stuck them back together as best as I could at that point. I started a new book and a new outlook. This book looked a little more like connect the dots then color by number, but I was learning to be ok with that. I’ve never been one to accept change easily (and that my friends is the understatement of the year) but I had a rough idea of where I was going and I just had to work a little harder to make the picture appear.

Now that there are no more dots to connect and no more pictures to color I’m left with blank pages in my coloring book. For the first time in all of my 30 years I have no clue where I am going or what I am doing. I have a degree and a job. I have the most supportive parents on the planet. But otherwise it’s page after page after page of blank paper. I have no guidelines on where to go. A lot of people would find this really exciting, a “choose your own adventure” situation, to continue this terrible metaphor. Me? I’m scared out of my mind. I feel lost without a plan. I will let go of the anger and bitterness and resentment of not being able to connect all of those dots when I thought I was remaking my coloring book. It gets a little easier as the days pass. But the emotion looming is just the simple fear of the unknown on all those blank pages. I’m not one to travel without a map, and life is a pretty big adventure to tackle without an itinerary.

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Disclaimer: I’m not sure what exactly my reasoning is behind this post. Part of me is really ashamed of what you are about to see. Part of me feels like it is way too much bragging. Part of me feels like it is really cathartic. I’m not sure. But it is all part of my journey and something I’ve been sort of mulling on for a while. So, somewhat against my better judgement, here goes nothing.

I keep seeing this motivational image on Pinterest. I’m mildly ashamed to admit that it’s from Koutney Kardashin’s website (but hey, at least I had to use Google Image to determine that).

Source: Kourtney Kardashian (don’t judge)

I feel like I’ve gone in the reverse order. Yes, I’ve lost weight. Yes, I’ve gotten stronger and gained muscles. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve always seen myself as a big girl.  You have to understand that for most of my life, I was a big girl. 

Age 18 maybe (note the irony of the subject matter of my reading material)

 

Then there’s this. This picture is actually in my kitchen right now. It use to hang in my pantry, but for now it’s just sitting on the inside of a cabinet. I have no idea what I weigh in this picture, but it’s probably over 200 pounds. It’s likely the only picture of me close to that heavy. Do you want to know what I notice about myself? My eyes. My face is so bloated that my eyes even look fat.

Age 20

By the time I was preparing to get married in 2004, I was actually starting to look seriously at my weight. I’ve yo-yoed several times between somewhere close to 200 and closer to 140. It didn’t take long for me to go from a decent sized bride (sorry, no wedding pictures, I hope you can understand) to this 2 years later:

Age 23

 

You can see by later pictures that I did get better, but was still always a “bigger” person.

Age 25

Age 26

Fast forward to the current. People keep telling me how different I look. My clothes don’t fit. But when I look in the mirror, I see the girl standing next to Cinderella: above average but not huge and can look ok in appropriately fitting clothes. Like millions of American woman, I have a highly distorted image of my body.

Then I went to the beach this weekend. I snapped a couple of quick pics with my phone thinking maybe I would stick them on facebook. When I looked at them, I almost didn’t recognize myself. The picture on the right is from 2010 (I think) and the picture on the left is from this past week.

2010 (Age 27)/ 2012 (age 29) Yes, its a different (but similar) swim suit

 

Now, it’s not the most flattering picture of me, but the difference is obvious even to me at this point. I have to accept my size. Now I get it. I’m seeing what everyone else saw weeks ago. For the 2nd time in as many weeks someone has commented on my abs. I have abs? Holy crap! I have abs!  

Very old size 14s on underneath brand new size 4s

Size 14 to a size 4. I’ve held on to those shorts “just in case” for several years. I think I might can finally let them go.

Quit Being Your Own Worst Enemy

I am my own worst enemy…in so many areas of my life. Learning to overcome self-defeating talk has been a goal for me this year, and I think I have made progress. I still struggle with it in many places, but I am getting there, especially with my eating habits and workouts. How many times have you said something along the lines of “well I ate 2 cookies, might as well eat 2 more.” Or something like “I ruined this meal, might as well ruin dinner too.” Or “I could never do that exercise.” Those are all self defeating statements and all things I have regularly told myself in the past and still find myself stopping some days. Every minute is a new start. So what if you ate 2 cookies? What does eating 2 more do for you? It only makes you feel worse about the first 2. Statements like these make you your own worst enemy.

Lifting Revolution posted this article today: How To Improve Your Fitness Performance: Discovering My Flaws During Sunset. It really hit home with me. Being stronger, better, more kick ass all starts with the decision to do it. It doesn’t start by me telling myself that I can’t or it doesn’t matter. It starts by setting my mind to doing it and making the resolution that I can and I will meet my fitness goals and nothing anyone says can stop me.

I will admit that I get a secret, ok a not-so-secret, joy out of seeing facebook pictures of certain “pretty” people who knew me when I was fat that now are reaching a less than ideal weight themselves. I was so self conscious about my size for so many years that seeing myself as a thin person now is hard in a lot of ways. I still have the vision of myself as a big girl…just now I’m a big girl in size 6 jeans.  This is another self defeating thought. I have to realize that I really am 2/3 of the person I use to be. I am getting there. Every time I get something out of my closet that falls off my hips or shoulders, I realize that I am not the person I was even just last summer. I am thinner. I am stronger. I am better than I was. I am figuring out that I don’t need anyone else to cheer me on or hold my hand. I can be my own biggest supporter instead of my own worst enemy.