Loving the me that is

For all my bravado, I have to admit that at times I have had a very low opinion of myself especially when it comes to my body. I have been actively working to move beyond it but the reality is that many times when I looked in the mirror what looks back at me, makes me want to hide. I suspect I am not alone in this but all I can do is tell my story.
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I gave birth to my first child at 19 and despite snapping back to my pre-pregnancy weight before I even left the hospital, it was clear my body would never be the same. Sure I was a tiny little thing back then, but can we say stretch marks? Despite ample cocoa butter rubs while pregnant with my son the tummy I received after his birth was laden with stretch marks. I admit they bothered me but since I was more or less the same body wise after his birth, I figured I could live with my body.
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Nope, it was when I hit my late 20’s and started gaining weight that the war with my physical self, kicked into full swing. I won’t take you through my affair with weight issues but let’s just say that for the past 10 years or so, my weight has fluctuated between 135 at the low end and 181 at the high end. When I am at the low end, I like my body and some days even love her. Oh she is so sexy and my ample made to have many baby hips are a bit smaller so clothing is my friend, not something I wrestle with…when my body is heavier, I hate the bitch, I hate her so much that I purposely wear the baggiest clothes I can find ensuring that I look even worse. Then I start riding the self-hate wagon and just become engulfed in negativity because I feel I look like a whale, nothing fits and basically am at an all day and all night pity party.
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Last year kicked off with me being the smallest I had been in a long time, I had been on Weight Watchers for years and made my goal weight and even became a Lifetime Member and maintained that weight for almost two years. However last spring, I had to have a much needed abdominal surgery that turned out to be far more extensive than we had planned and I ended up being laid up for damn near six week. In the end I gained weight and I admit I started to despair, oh no…fat ugly me had returned! Time to get back on the self-hate roller coaster!
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A funny thing happened though as I started to get back on the ride, I started to work on my mind and my emotional state. The past year for me has been about going deep and really figuring myself out and what I need and want, it’s been a journey to find the grown up me. It culminated this spring when I figured I was headed to divorce court and instead a new pathway opened up to me. This past year I have fallen in love…with myself, the self that exists beneath the surface, the self that does not need numbers to make me happy. The self that is happy in good times and bad times, a me that is so sexy some days I want to make love to myself! Funny thing is I haven’t lost a lick of weight, last time I checked I am sitting at 160 which means I need to lose a good 15 pounds. Oh, I plan on doing it but my happiness and peace of mind is no longer based off either the numbers on a scale or the numbers on the tag of my clothing.
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I recently made the decision to cut off all my hair, it was something I had been wanting to do but was nervous about since the Spousal Unit freely admitted that the last time my hair was short he didn’t think it was my best look. I won’t lie I was nervous about cutting it off after all what if my man didn’t find me attractive? Here I am overweight with no hair? In the end I said fuck it! I like me no matter what anyone thinks and based off the reactions I suppose not everyone finds the look flattering but a funny thing happened…the other day the Spousal Unit said he really thought I looked good now. Funny thing is I looked at a picture of myself from the last time my hair was this short and I was wearing a few extra pounds and the only difference is my mind is different, it’s free, it’s happy and it’s peaceful. Sure if I smile too much I look a little chipmunk-ish, on the other hand if I am smiling these days it means I am super happy.
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Too many times I think we as humans delay being happy unless we achieve A, B, and C, funny thing is what if we never achieve those things? It would mean a life not fully lived or happy as far as I am concerned. Sure it’s nice being thinner but in the end loving the me that is, is far better than chasing a me that may never be.

Random observations on the C folks

Must be in the air, but since as I wrote in my last post gay marriage is on the ballot up here in Maine. You can imagine what the propoganda is like on both sides.  Last night I fell asleep listening to a commercial where the anti-gay folks were saying if gay marriage becomes a reality here that the society could die out. Since apparently the function of marriage is to have kids…um, that may have been the case in 1950 but more and more heterosexual couples are choosing to either not have kids or are greatly limiting the number of kids they have. Yet we have more and more kids being born whose parents are not married. So, I am sorry but that argument is a tad weak.

Switching gears though, I want to comment on a growing trend I have noticed at least here in my neck of the woods. many of the die-hard fundamentalist style Christians, are frankly crazy. I was just joking with the Spousal Unit that all the “true believers” I have met in my 7 years in Maine, frankly scare me.

A few years ago we were attending a start-up church that was initially non-denominational, the pastor and his wife were young and seemed sane. Well they were until they decided to change up the program and become Pentecostal without telling us, we had to part company over speaking in tongues. Now being that this is a small town, of course you run into these folks and you are only a few degrees of separation from one another. Well the wife of Mister Tongue Speak considers herself a bit of a fashionista and well she befriended a fellow who happens to be gay; well her husband, Pastor Crazy Azz, put his foot down and banned his wife from being friends with the gay fellow. Um….how many layers of crazy is that?

Now if that wasn’t bad enough, I witnessed this weekend being in a space with the two servants of God who are always cordial when I see them but I was chatting with a dear friend who happens to be gay who they know, and you know what that these Christ like followers did? They ignored my buddy, like he wasn’t even there.

I admit this post is a vent about that situation and hope my friends don’t mind me posting but I have a reason. Look, but if you want to be Christ like, well treating folks like shit is not the way to go. I daresay that such behavior most certainly isn’t going to win any souls for Christ seeing as how even I as a Christian with evangelical leanings finds such behavior offensive.  In fact a deep reading of the bible without any background would make a logical connection at least for me that Christ was loving and caring in almost all his interactions with others. There are a few places in the New Testament where Jesus is less than gracious but by and large he sought out folks who were on the edges of society. He treated them with love and respect, he did not resort to petty behavior to condemn them.

So if I were one of these Praise the Lord types…you know the ones. Ask a question and they answer it with Praise the Lord, yada yada. I might work on being a decent person because I cannot see how on judgement day, you can say well Father I carried out your work but I was intentionally mean and hurtful to others, since I only hung out with folks who were just like me.

I am reminded constantly of Paul’s words in Corinthians “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” I have made a choice in my life to know all kinds of folks and to let the light of Christ shine in me. I rarely talk Jesus and God with folks unless they ask me. The only time in recent years, I made an exception is when one of my dearest friends who is an agnostic was talking suicide. I shared my faith and how its gotten me through and told him I was praying for him. He later thanked me for that discussion when he was feeling better and we have never discussed it again. I never feel the need to tell folks unless we have that type of relationship that I am praying for them. Why should I? Other than to make others feel bad or feel that I am judging them, why should or would I? In the end I think it can do more harm than good and make others avoid me like I avoid Pastor Crazy Azz and others of his ilk.

So I guess I am wondering how and why folks are so off track about how to be Christ like? Seems the Bible is clear instead people are running on their own agendas which I think fuels the anger and hostility. In current day society, there is nothing wrong with difference but I think we need to be mindful and respectful of others.

Note: I recognize that I have many readers who are not Christian, but this post was written from my Christian lens.

More on acceptance… no more comparisons

It wasn’t my intention to write another post similar to the last one but this morning while doing my daily prayer and meditation, I had a bit of an epiphany. I must stop comparing myself to others especially as it relates to parenting, its really starting to drive me crazy.

See, I spend a lot of time on-line. Back when I worked in an office or shelter (actually even at the homeless shelter I had an office), I could stop and take a break and chat at the water cooler or at someone else’s desk but seeing as how I work at home, that’s not really an option unless I want to wander upstairs and chat with the spousal unit who is hard at work in his office. No, what I do when I need to take a break is surf blogs and discussions boards, the past year or so I have become completely enamoured of crafty/Mom blogs. Oh, I love checking out blogs of crafty chicks who are either making gorgeous handicrafts or amazing meals every day from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I do the cook from scratch thing except in many cases I keep my meals simple, I make a homemade soup but buy the bread from the store, you get the picture.

In some cases reading about the lives of others inspires me to try my hand at something different, like tonight I am making spaghetti from scratch but too many times I end up feeling inadequate especially when I end up talking to some of my local Mama buddies who don’t use childcare to work (yeah, the plans to take mini-me out of daycare went up in smoke, no way I can get my work done effectively so she is still in preschool/daycare 3 days a week) yet they seem to have the patience of a saint with their kids and still create beautiful meals from scratch when by Wednesday I am drained and ordering sushi for dinner.

No, sometimes comparing ourselves to others can create havoc and at this stage in life, I just don’t need it so I have decided to limit my blog surfing to Black or political issues, as a fairly uncrafty person why kill myself to be what I am not. Sort of how at the beginning of spring I had planned a large garden but when a good chunk of work fell in my lap, I had to give that up but truthfully digging in dirt is not my thing.

The good thing about getting old and with 36 only a few months away, I am getting older, its time to accept myself for who I am, and not some made up fairy tale version. Truth is I am not the most patient mama in the world and while I love reading to mini-me, after 15 minutes I get tired of playing in the floor with the little one and you know what, that’s ok. Elder boy at almost 17 seems happy and well adjusted and I rarely played in the floor with him and Lord knows my own folks didn’t get down and dirty with either me or my brother and we are ok.

So as we start a new season with the arrival of fall, maybe its a good time to survey your life and see what you can do to better love and accept about yourself. After all life is too short to strain to be what you are not..