Category Archives: Friends and Family

The Cake is A Lie

the_cake_is_a_lie_515The cake is a lie. It isn’t even cake. It’s a vehicle to further solidify the truth I have created for myself right now, which is that I’m beyond saving. I’m too far gone. I’ve lost all of my motivation, slipped far from my health and fitness goals, and so now this is what I deserve. I deserve to eat a huge piece of cake, not because I’ll enjoy it but because the sugar will make me sluggish, and I’m not even that hungry, and it’s there so I might as well eat some, since that’s what I do.

And so I go to bed. Another day with too much sugar and not enough movement. Another night I’ve pushed myself to exhaustion before collapsing into bed to lie awake.

It’s become clear that my own well-being isn’t enough to motivate me out of this place. Not right now. And so instead, I’ll do it for her. Because I want to keep letting her spend one night a week in my bed, letting her believe it’s an indulgence for her when it’s just as much a treat for me. Because I want to feel alive and exhilarated and strong through every moment I get to spend with this fantastic kid. Because I want to have the energy to give her the attention she deserves in the precious few hours I get with her during the week. Because I want to keep up with her, challenge her, and teach her to own her own power.

20160523_174544For her, I’ll sleep more. I’ll hydrate more, move more, stretch more. I’ll do more yoga and meditation. I’ll stop mindlessly eating for punishment, for guilt, for boredom and sadness and stress and frustration and social ease. I’ll be mindful, purposeful, and honoring of this one body I have, that I get to share with the most amazing soul to ever walk this earth.

For her, I’ll recommit to my yoga practice, which does my heart and soul so much good.

For her, I’ll go back to Camp Gladiator in June, as planned. I’m scared to go back, terrified of the heat and the difficulty and returning after two months off. I’m worried I won’t be able to do it, that I’m so unfit that I won’t be able to finish the first workout, that the frustration will keep me from going back more than once, that I won’t go back at all. But I will. I promised her I’d go back, and so I’ll go. Because it makes me happier, healthier, better prepared to face the world with m very best.

It won’t be easy. I’m in such a rough spot that it’s going to take near-constant recommitting to my goals. I need to be prepared for gentleness, for patience, and for extra focus on being aware and in the moment as much as possible. But I have to remember I haven’t completely run out of sparks. I did do a half-marathon on an exercise bike to earn my first Hogwarts Running Club medal. (It’s awesome.)

It’s time. Summer is coming. My incredible kid is GRADUATING FROM FIRST GRADE. We’ve got a busy, fun summer ahead of us before starting a whole new school year. We’re looking at maybe moving, in the same area, but to somewhere a little closer to her school or a little closer to my office while still in the school district. My career is really shaping up beautifully, with a job I enjoy and work I am proud of. It’s time.

So help me out. Tell me how you climb out of a funk, what you do to get back on track, and how you handle setbacks in that process.

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And That’s How We Became Vegetarians

Her face was already crumpling as she came up the sidewalk to meet me. We barely made it into the empty cafeteria before she fell into my arms, a sobbing bundle of gangly arms and bruised legs, smelling of sweat and playground dirt.

I held her close with one hand, signing her out of the after-care program with the other. She sobbed it out for a minute before the words finally came, in heaving, hiccuping stutters. “They killed it.”

Oh baby. What happened?

“The boys. They killed a saddleback caterpillar.”

Honey, I’m so sorry.

“They had a ball. The kept throwing it at him and he died.”

Oh baby. I’m so sorry. That’s so unkind. But I think maybe the caterpillar didn’t suffer. He probably got squished fast, and didn’t feel anything at all.

“No, mommy.” Heave. Sob. Sniffle. “They hit him in the back first, and he curled up. And then…”

A shuddering lower lip. Eyes brimming over with barely controlled tears.

“They just kept throwing it.”

Oh, my love. I’m so sorry, baby.

“I told them to stop.”

I know you did, baby. That was a really good thing to do. Thank you for being so brave.

She cried a little more, the heaving slowing down and her breathing settling back to normal.

“Penny says that when she’s President, she’ll pass a law that no one can ever hurt animals.” She’s barely breaking a whisper against my shoulder now.

That would be nice, huh baby?

She nods, and then is quiet for a while.

“Mama, we have to kill animals to eat them.”

Yes baby. But when we do, it’s much kinder. They don’t get squished. They aren’t in pain.

“I don’t think I want to eat them anymore.”

Okay baby. Let’s be vegetarians for a while.

Finally, her tears began to dry and her little spirit lifted a little. By the time we got in the car, she’d moved on to a much lighter discussion of how anyone could be so awful, and why the boys didn’t make any sense to her. And that she wasn’t sure she would permanently stop eating bacon. (#iknowright)

So for now, we’re trying it out. Meat-free until she decides otherwise. And I know I could “cheat” and eat meat at work, but then I’d have to tell her. I tell her everything, and I promised her I’d do this with her. I’ll be packing pbj or cheese tortillas for her lunch every day so that she has a meatless entree option, and we’ll be talking about how she’s feeling, what she’s thinking…

I’ve never seen her take anything so hard. My sweet, tender-hearted, fragile little bean.

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In Which I Explain Catcalling to my Kid

Last week the kid had a dentist appointment, which meant we were done with work and school a little earlier than usual. Left with a couple of extra hours in the day, we headed to the library to return some books and pick out a few more. At which point I found myself in the decidedly irritating position of having to explain catcalling to my six year old.

A group of 20-something guys, 2 or 3 of them, were hanging out in the library parking lot smoking. Whether it was that or something else that set me a little on edge, I don’t know. But the moment I got out of the car it started.

Hey, beautiful.

Smile for me, pretty.

Hey, miss thing.

Hello? Come on mama.

I ignored it, wrapped her in my arms, and carried her into the library. Which isn’t something I’d normally do, but I already didn’t feel safe I guess. We got all the way through the doors before she said anything. She’s a perceptive kid.

Why were they saying that stuff, Mommy? Why didn’t they stop when you didn’t answer them? Why do they think you need to smile?

And there it was. Me, standing in a public library children’s section, explaining catcalling to my daughter. Explaining that it’s not about attraction or kindness, but about power. Explaining that men who can’t or won’t pick up on the cues that you’re uncomfortable are, for better or worse, something we have to be afraid of. Explaining that it’s happened to me for most of my life.

Will boys say things to me too like that?

Yes, honey. Probably.

Should I ignore them?

Mommy? What if they get angry because I won’t answer them?

What if they do? I had to admit it was a possibility. I told her I’ve generally had decent luck with ignoring catcalls, that it’s more than once brought on an onslaught of insults but I’ve been lucky enough to never come to harm.

Find a safe place, I told her. Go into a business. Stay where people are. Get on the phone and call the cops. Call me. Make noise. Be seen.

Protect yourself. You aren’t a prize to be won, an object to be controlled. You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe strangers a smile, and you don’t have to be “polite” or make other people happy, particularly when they’re busy making you uncomfortable.

It was a necessary conversation, I guess, but one I never thought I’d be having with my elementary schooler. I guess it’s good that I did. She hasn’t talked about it again since. She needs to sit with things for a while. I’ll be interested to see, in a few days or weeks, what bubbles up.

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Equinox

And just like that, it’s fall. I find myself restarting my fitness plan for the third time in as many weeks. I started to feel bad about that, until I took a hard look at the last three weeks. More workouts, less crappy food, more produce, less stomach issues. So even if I never “follow through”, even if I never finish this the way it was intended to be done, I’m still doing awesome things and maintaining a significantly better lifestyle, much closer to my ideal health and wellness goals.

And what’s better? I’ve got the kid working out with me. She’s six, and she’s happily sweating and stretching and lifting at my side. She likes it. She asks when we’ll do it again. It’s awesome. Although I do, now, feel pressure to make sure she’s not hearing body shame in these videos, which is surprisingly (maybe not?) pervasive. I don’t want her hearing that you need to sweat off the pounds or work off the donut. That’s crap. We move because we’re meant to. We sweat because it helps us live and work and study in better moods, with more energy to give to the tasks at hand. I’m hoping that’s the lesson she’s learning, at least mostly. I know I can’t control outside influences forever, but I can try.

Speaking of the kid, she’s two weeks into the new school year at a new school, and overall she seems to be doing really well, which makes me happy. We really struggled with the decision to take her out of private school, but the cost was breaking us and it meant never being able to do other things–everything from buying much needed new mattresses and school clothes to seeing movies or going on vacation–without guilt and/or further financial distress. So we moved her to a public school…and she’s doing just fine. She’s bored in class, but she was bored at the private school too, so atleast we aren’t paying for her to be bored. And she’s getting the chance to meet a much more diverse group of kids, which can only be good for her. And seriously, the joy this kid finds in buying hot lunch from the cafeteria every day is amazing.

The husband, as always, is traveling a lot for work. He hates being away, but it comes with the job, so we spend a lot of time on Skype and phone calls and email to stay connected, and then we celebrate his very existence every weekend and on the ocassional day that he’s home during the week. It happens now and again.

So we’re doing well, all told. I’m stupid excited for pumpkin season. The kid and I are both looking forward to a repeat of our ComicCon costumes for Halloween, and we’re in the process of researching all sorts of cool after school options for her now that we actually have a tiny bit of money to put toward enrichment programs, karate class, swim lessons, or whatever else strikes her fancy this year.

I’m really glad it’s fall. I’m yearning for the Mid-Atlantic fall weather, with cool breezes and crisp leaves and that smell in the air. Instead, I get more muggy Florida days for at least another month, but I can still enjoy the fall. I know it makes no sense, but it has always felt like a time of renewal for me, and this year it feels particularly apt that it’s happening…because it’s time. It’s time for a sloughing off of old habits and old thoughts, and turning toward some shiny new ones. It’s time to recommit myself to all the love I have around me, to giving and receiving it, to being grateful for it on a regular basis. When I focus on love–for myself, for others…it hardly matters which–everything else tends to fall more simply into place, and the world seems gentler around me. And that’s what I’m aiming for in the end. A life that feels at times thrilling, but more often than not just gentle. At ease with it’s own existence. Full of possibilities but striving for nothing more than simply being in the moment, the here and now.

Writing feels good, particularly now. I’m determined, among the swim lessons and school events and work crazies, to start making a little more time to write again. I have a partially finished, potentially wonderful story sitting on my computer breathlessly awaiting completion, and I have this blog, that has been the portal to so many meaningful connections in my life.

Thanks for being here.

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FitBloggin Recap – Part 3 (The People)

So, who made an impact this year? FitBloggin is a funny thing in terms of the people, because there are SO many people there that I’d love to see more of, hang with, talk to, laugh with…and there is just not enough time to do it all. I can’t possibly see everyone I want to see, and it’s tough, because I know I miss out on connecting with some people who I really want to see. But every year there are a handful of people who I connect or reconnect with in some deep, meaningful way that carries me through. So here’s an ode to some of those people and to the love they so willingly give me, in no particular order. I know I’ll forget lots of people because there are just too many to list.

Steve: Dude. Just getting to hug you every year is nearly enough. Thank you for being there, for listening, for caring. You make a difference for me, and I know I can count on you to be extra awesome.

Dre: Oh Dre. I was SO happy to see you this year. SO SO happy. Thank you for reminding me that I’m beautiful, and for always making me smile.

Kia: I used to say I wanted to be you when I grew up. Now that I know you better, I’m just really, really proud to call you a friend. You inspire and teach at every opportunity, and you’re my yoga inspiration.

Terry: I can’t decide whether you’re most awesome when you’re wacky, or when you’re serious and deep. In either case, you’re amazing. Thanks for taking pictures that somehow look like the real me.

Thea & Dacia & Christie: TEAM HAMCAT FOR LIFE. You were the best roomies a girl could ask for, and laughing ourselves to sleep will forever be one of my favorite memories from this year. Thanks for all the listening and laughing and just getting me.

Libby: LIBBY! Your first FitBloggin, and you freaking jumped in with both feet. I love your energy, and your leggings, and your yoga. You have an incredible spirit and I can’t wait to get to know you better.

Nellie: I didn’t spend nearly enough time talking to you this year, but when I did, I loved every second. You’re amazing, and I’d really like to know where you get all that energy. Thanks for being the Zumba queen this year, and always having a ready smile.

Liz: Never enough time. NEVER. The tokens you made for everyone were wonderful, and mine gets some attention every day. Thanks for helping me remember my awesome.

Kris: You’re so freaking amazing. I’ve never met a more badass unicorn in my life. Thanks for the hugs and the talks and the continuous awesomesauce.

Dani: Oh my friend. I wish you could see you the way I see you. Full of power and strength, and SO MUCH love to give. Watching you embark on your yoga journey gives me chills and fills me with joy. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Kelly: Kelly! Not enough time with you either, but what time there was felt wonderful. You have such a calming, loving presence. It’s awesome to be around.

Brooke: We finally got a chance to hang some this year, and you’re every bit as awesome as I expected you to be. Thanks for sharing my general love of beer and being so comfortable to be around. I love people who make you feel like you can just do you.

Christine: I don’t even know where to start. We had time to get closer last year, and now I consider you one of my best friends. I don’t stay in touch as well as I’d like to, but I am SO glad to call you a friend. We need more time together.

Pauly: I finally met you for real, and you’re every bit as amazing as I was expecting you to be. You’re sweet and funny and have awesome taste in beer. I hope we get more time next year.

Bang: Oh girl. How have I gone this long without us hanging out? You’re wonderful, so gorgeous, and just give off this incredible vibe. Next year, we hang for sure.

Deanna: Hot momma, FitBloggin wouldn’t be complete without you. You rocked the mic and the dance floor, and you (as always) made me feel incredible about myself and the world. Thanks for always bringing your A game in the friend department.

Gail: I feel SO bad that we missed our annual dinner this year. Next year, we’re roomies for sure, and we’ll get our time. Thank you for being so calm, so much a voice of reason, and so thoroughly circumspect. Your perspective is always just what I need to hear.

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FitBloggin Recap – Part 2

Another FitBloggin is over…and I’m struggling with that. In fact, I’ve been struggling to sit down and find the words for this post since the day I came home. For the first few days, I had the typical post-conference melancholy…I missed my friends and felt bad about the time away from family, and tried to shove my way back into my normal life even though I was full of new thoughts and feelings and notions about the world.

See, that’s the thing. I come back every year full of…love, support, inspiration, hope, joy, confidence, belief. The list goes on and on. This year, I’m trying not to let it all fall away, dissipating into the ether of my day-to-day routines like it does most years.

So I’m documenting what I learned, who I was most moved by, and how I’m planning to take that forward. FitBloggin is FULL of love and support, and I can’t let it go to waste.

I don’t give myself enough credit. I need to own the things I’m doing well and consistently, because otherwise I feel like a failure when I’m not, and that feeling does NO good, ever. So what do I do well?

I move with love. I find ways to move my body that light me up, inside and out, and keep me consistently moving. It might not be the toughest or the sweatiest, but it’s consistent and brings me joy.

I am lovely. No really. It’s something I’m only just settling into, this idea that I can be beautiful right now, just as I am. I walked in a fashion show (THANKS SOYBU!!!) and people cheered and smiled, and I know I don’t look like a runway model, but I felt beautiful all the same…and that’s when it occurred to me. Beauty isn’t a thing I have to get, a place I have to arrive at. It’s there, all the time, and I just have to relax into it.

I #wycwyc like a pro. No seriously. Some days it’s a thing or two, other times it’s a LONG list of ways I got up, moved more, ate mindfully, drank enough water, and got extra sleep. All of those days are worth celebrating.

— Next up, the PEOPLE who made this Fitbloggin amazing. —

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FitBloggin15 Recap – Part 1

Another year gone, and now I’m settled back and home and trying to make sense of everything I did, everything I felt, and everyone I hugged. For now, a more functional recap will have to suffice.

 

What I Did

I ate wonderful food. I drank great local beers. I saw beautiful street art.

I did hours of yoga, walked 10 miles, did Zumba, did strength training.

I sat in sessions where I cried with pain or hope or joy. I felt proud and scared and inspired.

I hugged people who are painfully precious to me, even when I only see them once a year. I hugged people I didn’t know yet, people who I was only just beginning to make connections with, and who I’ll stay connected to as the year goes on.

I laughed so hard I cried, so hard my abs hurt. I cried so hard I hiccupped.

I WALKED IN A FASHION SHOW, as my tribe clapped and cheered. The generous sponsorship from Soybu meant I got to wear (and keep!) gorgeous, CRAZY comfortable clothes.

I had my butt slapped more than once, by several different people.

I had my picture taken in nothing but capris and my favorite ENELL bra, standing arm-in-arm with several other ambassadors, proud to represent the brand and our own spirits.

I wandered off-site for a yoga class and a sound healing session, both of which left me rejuvenated.

I went to bed early, stayed up late, got up early, and ate a lot of bacon.

I sang along to other people’s lip sync performances until I nearly lost my voice.

I danced so much that I was sore the next day.

What I Learned

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

By just being me and seeking my own joy, I’m helping other people to do the same.

I should spend more time on my blog, for my own sake and for the support and love of this awesome community.

I definitely deal with some very real anxiety issues, and need to be better aware of them so that I can ask for help.

The friendships I have forged (and continue to make) as I attend these conferences are life-changing, and stay with me even when I see these people only once a year.

Denver beer is amazing. Really amazing.

Yoga lights up my soul. It’s not a new lesson, but apparently one that needed reaffirming.

—–

The thing about FitBloggin? Somehow, every year, it meets me exactly where I need to be met. I talk to the people I need most, do the things that most need doing, learn the lessons that most need to be learned.

So if you’re on the same journey, looking for the ways and paths and people that can support your growth? Join us. You won’t regret it.

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My Secret

Hi fitbloggers –
image[1]
This is me.

I can do this:

and this:
image_2[1]

and this:
11334588_112665289070904_1339148121_n

I made this!
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I’ve been to FitBloggin every year but one, and I’ve loved every single one. I’m already planning what to pack and who to hug this year, because I know I’ll be surrounded by unconditional, judgement-free love and support.

But…
I’m terrified.

Because this is also me:
image

It’s not something I’m supposed to know because it tends to drive me to unhealthy places, but after months and months off the scale, I got curious. And it’s….the biggest number I’ve ever seen.

I don’t think I’m okay.
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And it’s not about the weight entirely. It’s also about always, always feeling anxious these days. I don’t sleep enough.

I was meditating this morning, which I’m also being uncharacteristically inconsistent about, and I was prompted to think of my biggest current stressor. And the thing is, its still not my weight. Its job pressure or mom guilt, or a number of other passing stress issues.

So then I was prompted to imagine myself doing something where I felt free from stress, and it’s on my yoga mat. When I’m there, I don’t feel it or think about it or care. Which led to a torrential cry.

The thing is, I’m scared. I’m scared of how I’ll be perceived, or that I’ll spend the weekend feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.

And then? I think about this, and I know everything is going to be just fine:

And if you’re looking for a hug? I’m your girl. I’ll likely be fangirling over some of you, and also bacon.

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Six

Oh my little monkey. You’re six. How? It snuck up on me this year, and even though your birthday was 17 days ago I still find myself a little surprised by it.

You’re six, and less than two weeks away from graduating from kindergarten. You’re funny and silly and super smart.

You LOVE space, like more than I ever could have imagined. You love dinosaurs and the pool, wearing your blue sparkly dress, and having ‘cinnamon bun’ hair. You like when I let you wear a little eyeshadow, and you love playing LEGO Star Wars with your Dad.

You’re kind to other people, and so sweet with our old lady dog. You help around the house, almost always without complaining. You feed the dog for me every day, and even though you hate getting in the shower, you sing the whole time you’re in there.

You love to ask question, and you process the answers in your own time. You like to surprise me by talking through something days or even weeks after you first brought it up.

Right now, you’re keeping a science journal to keep track of your sea monkeys (alien eggs!) and the coral you want to grow next weekend. You’re a great plant mommy to the bean plant you brought home from school, and you’re excited to plant your new rosemary seeds.

At school dress-up day you chose an offbeat character (Dwight from Origami Yoda) and had an awesome time with your own little origami Yoda. You were so kind about it when you saw the one mommy made for you. It didn’t look quite right, but you said it was awesome, and it made me feel pretty awesome. Speaking of Origami Yoda, you love those books SO MUCH. We’re reading the whole series and having a great time.

My girl – you are patient and kind, loving and giving. You like to help others and you love to learn. You are confused by other people being unkind, and you’re super shy in front of strangers. I love every one of those things about you. I love the color of your hair and the particular shade of your eyes. I love the way your body moves and the faces you make when no one else is looking. I love the complexity of your emotions and how careful you are in doling out your affection–affection from you may be hard won for anyone other than me and your Dad, but it’s so worthwhile for the people you choose to bestow it on.

It’s just me and you a lot of the time, kid. I love that you aren’t afraid to talk through it when you miss your Dad a whole lot. I love that we can hang out and have Mommy/Daughter time together and I have genuine fun.

I’m so lucky to have you, and I cannot wait to see what amazing things this new year brings.

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In Stillness

I want…space. Space to breathe, to stretch, to create. I want lightness, ease, and more time to cuddle.

I can choose to be aware, or I can cruise through life mostly checked out. Lately, I’ve been checked out. I’ve been telling myself it’s because I’m just so busy…but whether that’s true or not, I can’t afford it anymore.

I’m fighting real anxiety these days, with physical hints of panic attacks just below the surface. I constantly feel like I’m barely holding on, and I can’t keep doing that to myself. I let it spiral in April, and now I’m midway through May and trying to pull it all back together.

I want truth. I want to be honest with myself, for myself.

I want to dress in ways that make me feel lovely instead of invisible. I don’t intend to abandon my nerd shirts, because they’re very much a part of my honest expression of self…but I want to be better about pushing the limits of what I think of as ‘comfort’ when it comes to my appearance, because what I really mean by that is that I’m choosing what’s easy, what’s familiar. It’s like I get dressed every morning and choose between feeling pretty and feeling comfortable, and I don’t think both is an option. It’s confusing and weird. I ordered one last Stitch Fix (that’s a referral link!) even though I haven’t had great luck with that, just because I’m hoping for something that works for me. I’m also considering Gwynnie Bee when our finances improve a bit.

I want to feel like I’m aligned with my own personal truths, with who I really am. I’ve felt aligned before, but right now I’m not even sure how to find that path, let alone get back on it.

I need to feel stable, to feel safe. I need to stop feeling the world unravel around me. I want to stop lying in bed, worried about a thousand things that will never happen. I want to strip away all of the unnecessary things that surround me every day and circle in on the things that matter most.

I want to make and consume food that lights my fires, that excites me again. I want to spend time in the kitchen with the kid, crafting things just because we can.

I want to walk in the sunshine more than I sit under fluorescent lights. I want to meet myself on the yoga mat every day. I want to close my eyes and find stillness, explore the me I don’t always share, and find the touch points that allow me to embrace her entirely, every day.

I want to sleep more, because I’m a better me when I’m rested, and because sleep fuels everything else that happens in my day. Sleep returns me to myself, as I undoubtedly become lost through the course of the daily trudge.

I want to be right here, right now, doing only what I’m doing – not allowing my head to spin off into the other million things I might need or want to do today. I want more play and less work, more love and less tension, more air and less stress.

I want fresh produce and fresh air. I want to lay in the grass, giggle with my kid, and not always feel exhausted.

So it’s time to lay out what that takes for me, at least to start.

  1. In bed by 10pm
  2. No caffeine during the work week
  3. Yoga 4-5 times a week
  4. Meditate every day
  5. Cook one real dinner per work week
  6. Cook two real meals on the weekends
  7. Wear something that makes me feel pretty at least once a week
  8. Document the things that light me up…the foods, the outfits, the moments

(as inspired, so often, by Mara)

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