I Should Be Committed!

About a year ago I made a commitment to write as a way to let a small voice inside of me echo out. One that says, I matter and I’m relevant even though the traditions I grew up with are fading. I’d like to think I can be of comfort to women out there going through the same kind of thoughts.

Perhaps someone out there is going through a divorce. I often think it’s so easy to get married and join everything together, but to divorce is like trying to rip a piece of thick paper up neatly in the absence of scissors. When a marriage fails there’s a great deal of pain involved and self evaluation. Your sanity definitely gets questioned, such as my play on words in the title:) Though I divorced over a decade ago, I can still feel the hurt and empathize with anyone going through it. The good news is, once you finally get it all settled, there will be better days ahead. Your vision will focus from a very blurry state to a very clear state.

The title of my blog is “Shift in Beauty” for a reason.  I believe for women, the events that present themselves in our lives such as aging or divorce can cause us to question our beauty.  My Day 4 Post  gives good insight to what really started this blog. Today all that seems to matter is how you look and how well your selfie comes out. And as we age we are to look inside for our beauty. That’s a very difficult concept for me to adjust to, and I have actually had to work very hard to embrace it. I spent a year on a weight loss and strengthening  journey, and though I have succeeded at weight loss, the strengthening is still in process. But in that process is self discovery and re-evaluation.

What I am finding out is that I keep surprising myself, pleasantly.  And now that I am an empty nester, I find myself setting new goals and actually moving in  the right direction to attain them. That is a great, great feeling. Can I look in the mirror and tell myself that I’m beautiful?  Truthfully I have never been able to, and continue to heal wounds from my first marriage, but  I should have never have relied on anyone telling me I am. It should come from me. And it may. I might have to redefine what beautiful means to me, because what I am learning is that beauty is fluid.  It changes as we change. We just have to be willing to look beyond the exterior. We need to be committed to go deeper.

Post note: Still maintaining weight loss. Getting active definitely lets me eat a little more freely.

me at yosemite

 

 

 

 

“Beauty Light”

I don’t care if you think I’m weird

Just cause I don’t fit your def of

What beauty ought to be

It’s not  pink lipstick, or high heels

Treated hair and what I wear

I can always do that stuff, but it’s just not me, I don’t care

And when I’m good and ready

I’ll find someone free of thinking that way,

cause he’ll see where my beauty really plays

deep inside of me, and it’s simple and free

I won’t get tangled in fighting the rhythm of time

While all the ladies struggle and fight to keep their shine

they’ve mistaken all these years for the falseness of beauty

Then I’ll be the one they wish they could be, cause I’ve always been me.

Inside I’m beauty and love, strength and peace

And time can’t deteriorate that, it will never cease.

I’ll pass it on to my girls, created in love

Don’t get caught up in trying to please and compete

Your beauty will shine through and defeat

the idea of what it should be

And you’ll lead others to rethink and redefine

Then I’ll know I’ve done right by you,

because my ” beauty light” will have shined through.

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Regret Regrets!

Special milestones often invite reflection and with reflection comes regret.  My two children are about to graduate and though this should be a very happy time for me, there is a sad echo inside saying I wish I would have been more, or done this. The truth is parenting is the hardest job in the world. And when people are touting about their adult children’s accomplishments the response that often follows is, ” Do you know what that means? You did a great job as a parent!” But what if that person grows up to mark society in a negative way or doesn’t measure up to what your idea of success is? Does that mean you were an awful parent?

I recently read of an interesting experiment that started off with a simple observation of rats and pups.  Scientists were pulling the pups out to observe their physical condition, then putting them back in the tank.  Randomly, they noticed sometimes an adult rat would rush to the pup and nurture it by preening and licking it. The pup would calm down. So the scientists decided to separate the pups they knew to have been nurtured verses the ones that did not.  The ones not nurtured would stick to the outside rim of the tank while the ones that had been nurtured would venture to the center. Then the scientists would put food in the tank. The ones not nurtured took longer to trust and eat. The nurtured ones were bold and just went to the food.  So they went on to study a group of kids that grew up below the poverty line through out their lives and concluded the ones that grew up in a nurturing environment were successful. This included studying the ones that were held more as babies.  They addressed how there was a period where babies were viewed as mechanical and parents were encouraged to leave them to cry, and they would eventually fall asleep. According to their study, this was not the best thing to do.

So I reflect and I have regrets of my parenting performance, like most people do. But then I quiet that echo by telling myself, “You can’t regret regrets.” No one has a baby and knows what the heck they are doing.  When the second baby comes along, you might have learned something, which is why the first one is often called the guinea pig. But if I never had that first one or any at all, I would have never have known the joy that comes with holding a pure innocent life in those aqua pink and blue blankets, and feeling that you are needed and loved by that soul. ( And I know friends that have adopted and get it because as children grow with you, the love does too.)

I am blessed because my two kids grew up to be pretty great people to get to know.  One is a college graduate, an English major.  The other is going off to college.  Can I take credit for it? I don’t know. What I do know was that their younger years were a tumultuous course because there was divorce and separation. Do I regret having them? Never! What I regret was that chaotic transition they witnessed as I settled into my new life. But if I wouldn’t have met the man I divorced, then I never would have met them. And that would indeed be the biggest regret of all.  “You can’t regret regrets!”

Finding Beauty in the Oddest of Places

Waiting room

Have you ever been in a waiting room where someone with a physical impairment may be grunting and making sounds? I realized the other day I have become numb to others around me and I was awakened to it by two beautiful beings. I was in a waiting  in physical therapy and it was just me and a young fellow in his late 20’s I would say. He had a walker. I hid behind my cell phone playing games to avoid interaction. I thought about it but did not know how. It seemed difficult and it made me uncomfortable. Then a woman ( in her 60’s) came in and sat next to him and said, “Hello,” he slurred back, “Hello.” She said, “I like your shirt.” He slurred back with a stutter this time, “I like y y your necklace.” Then she said thank you and extended her hand, “My name is Nancy.” My name is Gregory. They made small conversation back and forth and then her elderly mother came out with a smile pushing her walker, she said goodbye and left.  I smiled at Gregory and thought to told myself “I am an awful person.”

Then another beautiful being came in and sat next to Gregory. This time a man in his late sixties I would guess.  ” Hey man, what are you in for?” ” I I I have traumatic brain injury, I have a plate inside my head th th th that broke.” The man continued to talk with Gregory and share what his injury was. It went back and forth, so I finally jumped into the conversation. ” Gregory, you need to talk to my mom.  She’s in there right now, and she’s complaining about it.” He said, when I got here, I was in a scooter.  I I I could not walk. And now I can.” My mom is 81, she came out sat down next to me and said, ” I don’t want to come back here.” She was like a little girl throwing a tantrum.  I said, ” Mom, meet Gregory. You need to be more like him.”

The experience was an eye opener for me.  I’m not new to the discomfort people feel when others around them don’t look or act a certain way. My father was a double amputee and my childhood memories hold how people used to first react to him as he came into a restaurant or special event. To this day when I see someone missing a limb, I give direct eye contact and a smile and a few words. But that’s because I have experience with it. But when people have a different disadvantage, such as the one in the waiting room, I hide, look the other way, go into denial. What an ugly thing to do.  If I just think  to myself, that could be my father, mother, etc, I would not want people to ignore, turn away. I’d want them to be treated humanely and be given a chance, like these two individuals did with Gregory.

When I started this blog I thought how much I want to change the way I see beauty, and it all started because I can feel myself getting to 50 and heading to a whole new phase. Up to now, I was confusing Beauty- (something deep, rich, like an intricate painting with all kinds of stokes provoking thought and emotion) with pretty ( shallow, predictable, unilateral). I used to think Beauty was something that fades with time. It does not! Beauty is something you find with time.  Those two individuals were to examples of what Beauty looks like.  They could have easily hid in a magazine or phone. They did not. Instead they took the time to share and show compassion.

 

Post Note: Day 306 Honestly have not been to gym in 2 weeks but holding to 146.8. I think Gregory would kick my butt at the gym. I can be motivated by someone like him! Another Beautiful Being!

Just Because Everyone Says It’s OK…

Image result for Pictures self worth

One woman reached out to total strangers on a health/weight loss site social chat. Normally one would post, who is having trouble with getting to the gym, or reaching this goal weight. But she stated it was her anniversary, and in 6 weeks she would be having a baby, but caught her husband with porn. He had promised to stop, but he did not follow through with his promise. The replies poured in…” Porn is natural.”” Pornography is not anything to worry about.” “If watching porn upsets you, then there may be a deeper issue on your end.” “Well look at it this way, at least he’s just looking at porn, and not hiring hookers.” ” Maybe indulge with him in some of these fantasies.” Of course there was another side to the responses. The ones I tend to align with.  I wonder if these women ever held their new borns and thought, ” I can’t wait till you grow up to be a porn star, or stripper.”

How have we come to justify pornography and sex on the big screen? The excuse tends to be ” Oh, they are artists, and they are portraying the story line because if we don’t see the strip club, or the complete physical act of sex in the scene, we may not understand the story line…” Yes, of course I am being sarcastic. How come ( AND NOT THAT I WANT THIS- this is only a question) we never see normal people engaging in sex on the screen? Because it simply wouldn’t generate money.

I remember having a conversation with a friend about ten years ago now.  She was having problems with her husband.  Her husband was ” friends” with a woman who was being very flirtatious and even showed her boobs at a party. The husband said my friend was making way too big a deal of it. My friend explained to me , and her husband, that she did not want him fantasizing about her while engaging intimately with each other in their bedroom.  That made sense to me. It wasn’t porn, but his attention was drawn to someone else, not his wife. And the same thing goes with porn as far as I’m concerned. How have we set the bar so low in our relationships to allow our spouses to engage in this behavior? I did some research to get some outside input on this and there are other harsher views on pornography leading to violence towards women. If anything else it’s demeaning to women- our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends.

It is so difficult being a woman in today’s times.( And being an aging woman is one big party!) There is so much pressure to balance what we look like, our employment status, raising and nurturing our families, our spouses. I really felt hurt for the woman who reached out on the chat, and hope she can draw strength from family and friends, and see if she can get through to her husband on why this has hurt her so much. Just because people dismiss this issue as women being overly sensitive, and porn is ok, does not make it ok. OK?! Just like shortening the word doesn’t make it cute.

The movie Embrace is dedicated to getting to the bottom of why many  women feel badly about their bodies. I have only seen the trailer, but I know I identify with a lot of women out there that doubt their beauty because of the exterior ( their perception of their bodies).  I think it has something to do not only with all the model types that are put out there in  fashion magazines and movies for us to emulate, but the casual way sex is viewed, how movies and tv portray it, and how people are willing to sell out their diginity for it. In my opinion we need to hold ourselves in high esteem.  Too much emphasis is placed on looks and being “sexy.” Nothing to do with BEAUTY.

Personally I am on a journey ( Day 271). I decided to make more time to care for myself mostly so that I don’t feel uncomfortable in a room full of women at social events. ( There was an event that stirred up a lot of hurt, and the only person that could resolve it was me.) I am thankful for a great marriage of ten years now, (my second marriage) in which we hold each other in high esteem, and I value that. I value him! If you are a person about to take on marriage, make sure you’re willing to put each other on the highest level of respect, because if not, what’s the point? Give your spouse and family value and more importantly give yourself, self worth so that you CAN value those close to you. And look inside for BEAUTY because what we look like is such a small piece of who we are.

Progress Post Note-Day 272- Realizing that eating healthier is also good for my brain chemicals, skin and nails. Going into the closet makes it easier to COME OUT OF THE CLOSET now that things fit better. And I’m having a little fun too! Got lashes two weeks ago. Loving them! I am revisiting my faith and  trying new exercises. There are a lot more positives in my life!

A good point from Embrace is that our bodies are not ornaments, but vehicles.  I want to  explore that more within myself and look forward to making some quiet time to view it and reflect. Stay tuned.

 

 

Humaneness

I read an awesome essay the other day called Fat in Every Language by Jonatha Kottler. In it she shared her experience of having lost a whole lot of weight and working for a company for weight loss, being praised for it all the time, etc.  She struggles with her self image even though she has a husband that thinks she is sexy as she put it. She gave some examples of things that hurt her, like making an effort to bring back a toy from the US for her neighbor’s child.  The child asked, ” Mom why she was so fat?” She said ” She is a fat lady but don’t say so.”She was also asked by a complete stranger at a movie theatre if she was really going to eat all that popcorn. She listed all the beings she has in her life that love her but concluded, what has to change is how many f***s I give about all this.

And that’s my question.  How can I stop caring so much about what  I look like. Is it the aging, or all the expectations society burdens women with? I think I need to be brave and just kick up some attitude.  I went to a family event, it was a high school fashion show and one girl, who I say is brave and beautiful, truly, had some rolls show through the gown she had designed and sewn herself.  But she strutted confidently and I thought, “Man, I don’t think I could ever do that!” But wouldn’t you know it.  I had two women, clearly in their 40’s sitting in the row in front of me snickering and laughing.  I was infuriated, but did not want to make a scene.  It was and is upsetting. Looking back, I wish I had just leaned forward and said, “You are being rude, knock it off.”

The second entry of my writings shares an incident in which I worked with a consultant for our business. We sell cars if you are wondering.  The young man said, you should do a video.  My girlfriend is a model, so she can come in and do the video. This was, as in, she would do the video with my husband, when he and I are the owners.  It crushed me. All the negative thoughts flooded my head, like a loud radio of annoying rock music. Am I too old  (then 47), too fat, too unattractive?  So much noise went off. That’s when I decided to take a good look at myself from the outside and dive inside. Am I overly sensitive?, I don’t think so. The irony is that in a society where we find ourselves being sensitive to not offending this person or that group, we have lost our ability to empathize with others. Just like the two women mentioned earlier, just because they did not have rolls down their backs, could they ever imagine walking down a runway, knowing that there are people out there snickering and mocking? Do they have anyone in their life that may be overweight, and know the obstacles they face, simply based on looks?

Like Jonatha, I too have a loving husband, kids and friends that love me, and 2 really great dogs that really, really love me! Seriously- they get me! (If we could be more like dogs, who love us without judgement, it would be simple and lovely AND LOVING.)  And yet, either because I’m aging, or because while I wait in the grocery store line, society dictates what women should look like, I  do care about “looking good for my age.” But it doesn’t stop there. I care about how out of rhythm society is about our humaneness, and what really matters. How about a person’s positive contributions? Productiveness? Talent? Compassion? These attributes come INSIDE all kinds of body types. But it seems like society has stopped right at the line of , “what do you look like?” to measure people. I can see how easy it is to get self absorbed ( not to be confused with self care) when you are trying to attain a physical goal. What’s important is that you don’t let that physical goal , which is such a tiny representative of who you are, consume you. Be an example, give off positive energy, confidence and even some attitude when the moment strikes. Train your eye to look beyond the LOOKS and focus what really is important when you look in that mirror.

Day 264- Eating much better and feeling much better. Love my Family AND my dogs! Thank you for stopping by my blog today.  I hope something in it made you reflect on something positive.

 

 

 

 

 

Reacting to Expectations that Fall Short

 

measurements

Is there anything more disappointing than getting on the scale expecting to have dropped weight, and have just the opposite happen?( Even moving the scale to 4 different locations on my bathroom floor did not move the numbers in the right direction.) All of us on the journey of weight loss and self love know this feeling. I got this feeling this morning, on Valentines Day of course. While I am finding my way of loving myself, and self care, I find there are days I can crank up the music and drip with sweat and feel like ” I can conquer anything that comes at me.” And then there are days like this, set backs.  I have not caved in to food today, though I really want to. The set back was the disappointment I felt, and the wanting to just give up.  I just paused for quiet reflection and my husband came in the room and asked me what was wrong. ” No it’s not that you bought me a beautiful card and wrote a beautiful sentiment in it and attached a 4 pack Resees bar to it…”I thought to myself. I shared how frustrating it is to work so hard, log my food each day, work out at the gym 4 to 5 times a week, feel guilty and work harder if I stray, all to get on the scale today after a full week of not straying, nailing workouts and eating all the right things only to gain over a pound. Now my husband is a fixer, and he can’t understand why I feel the way I feel.  The fact I love you, I’m proud of you and think you look great doesn’t help? No it doesn’t. This is about how I view myself. Then he did say something great. He suggested I get measured at the gym.

I thought about that.  I skipped my last scheduled measure in because at that time I felt I slipped up, but I should have gone and followed through to take ownership of my actions. So this morning I thought, that’s exactly what I’ll do and if the measurements too, are going the wrong way, then I will have to take a step back and see what it is I may be doing wrong. I felt comfort in dropping in my overall body fat, and proud of the way my abs have gone from 38 to 16 on my composition sheet.

What I learned from this experience is how to react to that scale, and have measurements as a back up. I’ve also learned that putting so much emphasis on a number can blur your sight to what is really important.  It’s not easy to put the process of my journey out there, but as I have stated, I look for other women that may be going through something similar, and form a community that can be encouraging and positive with one another. If an expectation comes out lower than what you wanted, be willing to reflect, question and adjust.

Another lesson learned: Keep those expectations real.