The Pink Pills Make Me the Happiest

“If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.”  ~~Robert Brault

I believe that I have mentioned here before that I have the honor of writing and editing for the amazing blog, www.worldmomsblog.com. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should because WMB is a fabulous and diverse group of women writing from literally all over the world. Also, we were listed on Forbes 100 Best Websites for Women in 2012. Doesn’t that just have a great ring to it?  So, again, go read about how some incredible women are literally out there changing the world.

Meanwhile, back in Arkansas, I contribute with what I know as a mother and how the world turns for me. Sometimes, I feel wholly out-of-place on WMB because I am not in third world countries helping to save children, or teaching my children to be bilingual or working for the foreign service and traveling all over the world. Hell, I haven’t even traveled off of my continent! However, the founding essence at WMB is that we are all connected by the plainest truth of being a mother. Tonight, I was reminded of that most common of bonds.

I am the Monday editor, so earlier, I was editing for Susie Newday, a mother and writer in Israel. Her personal blog can be found here: http://www.newdaynewlesson.com. (I swear, I will learn how to insert links someday). Anywho, Susie wrote about the upcoming move of her oldest son and how she realizes that, as a mother, her son’s journey will be his alone. I don’t want to give too much away because tomorrow morning, you should go to WMB and read her post.

As usual, my sensitive self teared up as I worked on editing her very personal feelings on raising her son. It is a double-edged sword that I am fully familiar with, as my oldest son will become an adult this year. 18 years old. 18 years that I have worried, stressed, loved, cried, prodded, poked, laughed, marveled and watched the years fly by with a speed that I didn’t believe possible. And for almost 18 years, I have been pretty sure that I am the only mother who worries that her every decision has, somehow, ruined her son in some way. Or that if I just pushed hard enough, my strong-willed son would act as I wish. Certainly, I have been the only mother to feel this way.

Therefore, tonight, it was refreshing to read that, across the world, a mother feels exactly the same way that I do about raising a young man.

I know nothing about living in Israel or being a nurse or raising 5 children. All things that Susie has under her belt. But I know about watching your child grow up and learning that their life is theirs to live. We might not have another single thing in common but we have that one powerful fact.

Isn’t that comforting too? As a woman and a mother, it’s nice to think that I am not alone in this mothering thing. Our society has become so ultra competitive in the sport of mothering and it’s a culture of comparison that fuels isolation. THAT is why I truly love writing for WMB: I am in awe of the reality that, despite societal norms, at the core of the matter and in the deepest sense of history, simply, we are mothers and want our children to live happy, healthy and productive lives.

To stop and ponder that truth is a powerful feeling and suddenly, the world seems a much smaller and much more connected place.

In the spirit of motherhood, I wish Susie the most peace imaginable tomorrow as her son begins a new chapter in his life. I take comfort in knowing that when my boys reach adulthood, someone on the other side of the globe will be able to knowingly wish that peace right back to me.

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Many things that I should keep to myself!So, about a year ago, Facebook was doing this thing where you could see some of your old status updates. That was interesting/embarrassing/funny to see some of the things that I publicly announced in the past. I saved some of mine for a future blog and guess what….here’s that future blog! Interesting to see where I was 3 to 4 years ago! My updated thoughts are in bold:

Thinks there’s nothing worse than someone pretending to be your friend as long as you go along with their ideas or when times are good. My “vacation” in 2007 taught me this lesson but apparently, I needed a reminder. February 17, 2010 (STILL learning this lesson!)

Is about to run in Kroger for one thing and lookin a hot mess… which means I will run into someone like my ex husband.January 16, 2010 (Why do I feel ok about going to Kroger looking as hot of a mess as possible? I still do this and still worry about seeing someone.It’s like grocery store Russian Roulette.)

Watching Caleb play Scrabble Flash and thinking that I should have read to him more. December 25, 2010 (Well. He’s really good at math and science though.)

Doesn’t believe in organized religion, supports a womans right to choose, loves Obama, fully stands by everyone having the right to their own opinions/beliefs & expresses my own whenever the feeling strikes me. If this bothers you, please unfriend me. Thanks in advance! 🙂 July 18, 2010 (I have a gift for being subtle, huh?)

Is thinking she’s more of a Buddhist now that a Christian. Blame it on that religion class!!!January 7, 2009 (I love this post because this was the start of my de-conversion. That World Religion course changed my life!)

Is wondering how many times that I will go back. February 27, 2009 (I went back quite a few times. Then he moved in. Then we got engaged. Next we will get married. I HATE when people post relationship drama on Facebook. Yet, I was amongst them at one time.  Luckily, my annoying relationship break up status had a happy ending!)

Wonders why my child is always the one who hasn’t followed directions at the scout meeting.February 1, 2010 (Caleb didn’t listen to the knife safety lecture and promptly cut himself. That’s my baby! Shining Mom moment.)

Loves when I am trying to study and certain boys, big and small, keep interrupting me.September 5, 2010 (It’s a miracle that I even FINISHED my degree. That is all!)

Is watching American Idol, eating a loaded baked potato and wanting to share my food with stick figure Victoria Beckham.January 12, 2010 (I mean, REALLY, she’s entirely toooooooo thin! Skinny girls annoy me. And not just because I am fat!)

Loves working for a job that approved my vacation, oh about a year ago, but now want to act pissy that I am actually going to take a week off. Retirement should be forced for some people. (Hated that old lady at that job. Well hate is strong. But I disliked her and thankfully, they fired me so I could find something else even better! Retirement should be forced though if you are an old bitch.)

“I assure you I’ve done a lot of really stupid things, and none of them bother me. All the mistakes, and all the dopey things, and all the times I was embarrassed — they don’t matter. What matters is that I can kind of look back and say: pretty much any chance I had to do something cool I tried to grab for it — and that’s where my solace comes from.” ~~ Randy Pausch (His book, The Last Lecture, should be a must read. But this quote is so me. I have the best stories to tell due to all of my mistakes.If I have been drinking, definitely sit by me!)

Is proclaiming myself Mama of the Year. I just ate a cricket and worm so Caleb would get a Cub Scout badge. October 3, 2009 (I want this on my tombstone. Seriously. Mother of the Century for this one!)

What are some things that you have posted on Facebook or Twitter that seem memorable now?

Why yes, I am.

Why yes, I am.

I fancy myself to have a wider range of emotions than most: excited, ecstatic, happy, amused, bored, mute, slightly annoyed, pissed, fully pissed and so forth. Of course, I am talking in jest, I am sure my emotions mirror the average person. I just seem to find a multitude of excuses to eat for every tiny thing that I feel.  One of my favorite movie scenes is in Mean Girls, when the camera pauses on a group of overweight teens and the character says, “And this is the table that eats their feelings”. Welcome to my world.

This whole lose a ton of weight and get healthy thing that I am attempting to achieve requires introspection. Trust me, this is something that I am very good at because, as I have written about before, an early life of continual mistakes provides a plethora of material to inspect. In my brutal honesty, as much as my self-esteem is at a much healthier place now, I know that my emotional eating stems from a time when I didn’t think much of myself.

I won’t bore you with tales of my childhood and where things went wrong but I remember comforting myself with food after my Mom suddenly left my Dad. Clearly, I can remember how I didn’t know HOW to react and my dear sister, only 16 at the time, was left in charge of me. My Dad was struggling to provide for us and my Mom was working through her own issues. Nobody was talking about anything other than just getting by.

Once I started eating to comfort myself, it just snowballed from there. There was a time when drugs and/or alcohol took the place of food but once those habits were kicked, food was right there waiting for me. It’s such a forgiving friend, always there to take you back in. I eat when I am sad. I eat when I am happy. I eat to celebrate something good in my life. I eat when I am angry. Although I fully FEEL every emotion now, there is always food to accompany my emotions.

The question is now, how do I break this destructive habit? I look back at the journey that led to me kicking various drug habits and other horrible patterns and I wonder how I could do that but not learn to eat healthy. I think the answer is in the longevity. I have been eating my feelings for 32 years, pretty consistently. It’s what I know. The other bad habits had a life span of a few years. I say all of that to say this: change is hard!

As much as I advocate change, I know that at its core, truly changing life long, learned behavior is unlike anything else. First, I have to make sure that I learn to regulate my emotions. Did I mention that I am bipolar? When my emotions fluctuate so wildly, it makes it harder to disassociate eating along with them. More importantly though, I have to start making changes in how food interacts in my life.

Hence, this blog and my Facebook groups and my new-found interest in other creative outlets such as painting and pottery. It’s SO much easier to just sit and eat and allow my feelings to be washed away in sugar and salt. But, I have to do it. And I hope that in that process, I might even find something that I love that I never knew existed. And maybe, hopefully, food will become a merely a casual acquaintance.

What habits in your life are you trying to break?

And Here We Go

It's now or never....

It’s now or never….

I have struggled with my weight for all of my 39 1/2 years. It’s hard for me to even write this post because I usually like to ignore the fact that I am extremely overweight. Morbidly obese. Gawd, I HATE that terminology. It’s makes me sound like a whale that’s been beached. But really, when I am honest with myself, that’s what I am: a beached whale. My weight has become the thing that prohibits me from enjoying a great deal of things in life.

Clearly, it’s time to make a change.

Not only have I struggled with my weight, I have yo-yo’ed with it too. I will lose a great deal only to gain it back. Even though I was pretty thin in my youth, I was never very active or healthy. So, what I am learning now is that reversing a life time of bad habits is extremely hard. Made even harder by a man who loves me exactly as I am.

Exactly as I am. Weight and all.

Don’t get me wrong, being loved solely for myself is a magnificent thing and something that I never thought I would find. He’s kind, loving, considerate and never, ever brings my weight up. Even when it’s glaring right at us in a multitude of ways. He’s a big guy too and I absolutely hate that we might be looked at as the “fat couple”. We are so much more than that. Plus, I just found true love five years ago, I don’t want either of us to die early.

It’s time.

I deserve to do this for myself and as hard as it will be, I tell myself that I can do this. And in the sense of my health, I feel like this year, 2013, the year that I will celebrate my 40th birthday, is really the now or never. I am already on the verge of being a Type 2 diabetic, my joints continually hurt and my heart does a concerning ache sometimes that’s becoming harder to ignore. All of my years of yo-yo’ing, eating junk and not exercising have caught up with me.

If I don’t change now, this weight will kill me eventually. I know this. You never see old fat people just running around enjoying their retirement. I guess that’s where that “morbidly obese” things come into play. The weight will kill me. I have ignored that plain fact for so long that it’s almost as if I am typing the words but not processing them. Either way, I refuse to be 40-year-old and on diabetic medication. Not only do I hate taking meds, but I REALLY hate having to prick my finger every single day.

In an effort to bring these changes to fruition, I have created a Facebook group for friends that are changing to a healthy lifestyle too. I figure the more people who I surround myself with, then the greater my chance of being successful. Plus, I tend to like attention when I have done a good job. *See my previous post about graduation. What better way to win praise then to lose a ton of weight??

My blog won’t become completely about my weight loss  journey but I will be talking a lot about it. I believe, especially as women, that this is a topic that has saturated our lives and we all have walked this road in one realm or another. I look forward to sharing, being held accountable and of course, hearing how great I am doing!

What are you doing for yourself in 2013?

At Long Last!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you are fully aware that I, finally,  graduated recently. I told EVERYBODY, I plastered my cap and gown pictures and announcements and I stood on my roof and yelled out to the world. Slightly, just slightly, I was proud of myself. Not just because I am a nontraditional student (OLD) that struggled with working full-time while raising kids AND studying. And not because a mere five years ago, I was a number in Club Fed. I was proud of myself because I FINALLY finished something.

All of my life I have been half assed, doing just enough to get by. That is a very sad admission but a true one. Even college had a previously failed attempt when, at 22, I grew tired of it. And I quit. I have been very good at quitting. All of my life, if something got hard, I just walked away. Jobs, men, friends, school, even parenting, all things that I talked myself out of doing well. But, luckily, things changed for me and without going into great detail, I will just say that maturity did wonders for my life.

So, back to school I went in 2008 and now I am happy to say that I have my Bachelor’s degree and considering tackling Grad school. I graduated with honors, which further proved to myself that I can finish and finish well. Which leads me to this…..

It’s time to handle my weight issue. At 39 years old and WELL over 200 pounds, it’s time for me to get off my ass. Literally. My recent diagnosis with hyperglycemia scared me enough to realize that I don’t want the complications that will come with diabetes. As much as I love food and all of my emotional eating that I have done my entire life, it’s time to change.

And it is terribly overwhelming.

But, I remember how going back to college was terribly overwhelming too. And how I pushed through that fear and self-doubt and did something good for myself and my family. I keep telling myself that I can do this too.

So, here is it. Starting on January 1, 2013, I will be tackling the task of losing 150 pounds. It’s going to be hard, I have accepted that and I know there will be setbacks. I know that I will want to quit because, well, that’s an easy way out. But, I am a finisher now, I got this.

Who’s with me?

Well Only About a Year Late

But I am back! And DONE with school, I will graduate next week. Sooooo I hope my few followers are still out there because I will blogging A LOT very soon!

“Hip hop isn’t as complex as a woman is.” ~~ Talib Kweli

Growing up, I hit my teenage years just as hip hop was taking over the airwaves. This music was like nothing we were familiar with and it permeated our every action. The dirty words, the bass, the hooks and the samples, THIS was the  music that my parents HATED. Oh man, it was a perfect recipe for love. We bought the tapes and played our boombox as loud as the volume would go.

As I grew up, my conscience changed a bit and I found the love of TRUE hip hop, intricate in the lyricism and metaphors. This poetry spoke to my being and held me captive.

I might be white and fairly upper class but as a lost young woman, desperately trying to find myself, this music sang MY song. The pain, the emotions, the joy, the frustrations; I might not be able to completely relate but damn if I didn’t try.

Partying my way through my twenties, I still had my moments of guilty pleasure. I got high with Snoop, I drank 40’s of OE with Cube, I wore Cross Colors and cut my hair in a Stack.

And of course, I cried when both Pac and Biggie died.

Then, I calmed down, got clean, went on lockdown, came home and as you know by now, changed my entire life.

I found love and he opened my world to music that I had been sleeping on. As I grew, so did my taste in hip hop.

Change is truly worth it.

But please know that I still have those dirty words in me…..

I figure when I am a Granny, I will still sit around and nod by head to the one song that, for me, stands above them all.

“I grew up around hip-hop so I didn’t think it was about being cool or being black or being white or whatever.” ~~ Chad Hugo

Fly Away, Sweet Boy

Today, fellow World Mom blogger, Amy suffered the terrible experience of holding her 8 month old son, nicknamed Captain Snuggles, as he left this world. My heart breaks for her because I clearly remember how it felt to hold my Elijah as he passed away. I have no words for Amy, there is simply nothing to say that would even begin to comfort her.

For those who would like to extend condolences, she blogs at http://transplantedx3.wordpress.com and also at www.worldmomsblog.com. (Sorry, I still don’t know how to put links in my post).

About ten years ago, a friend emailed to me the following story. Today, I post this for Amy and Captain Snuggles.

Waterbugs and Dragonflies
By Doris Stickney, Oligrim Press, Cleveland, Ohio

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did not notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you suppose she is going?”

Up, up, up, she went slowly. Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Her friends waited and waited but she didn’t return.

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another.

“Wasn’t she happy here?” she asked another water bug. “Where do you suppose she went?”

No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered his friends together.

“I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

“We promise,” they all said.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad green lily pad above. Weary from his journey, he slept.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from his new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself above the water.

He had become a dragonfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by, the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond.

Why, he was right above his dear friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before. Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down.

Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water.

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “I tried, but I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of my friends the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what happened to me and where I went.”

And the dragonfly flew off happily into its wonderful world of sun and air.

Where It All Started

The other day, I was trying to set up a Yahoo email account for my youngest son, Caleb and stumbled upon my old 360 blog. Did anyone else have one of those? I didn’t even realize that Yahoo stored it, I assumed it was gone forever.

However, I discovered a post from October 20, 2007 and it was dedicated to my new relationship which, at that time, was only a month old.

I just have to gush for a moment because I have never been so happy with a man or treated so well. He is amazing and I am falling head over heels for him. The great thing is that he appears to feel the same way for me. Is it cliché to say that I feel like this is it? He is the one I have waited for. I know he and I are going to end up married. Wow, I can’t even believe I am saying that.

I have never been so connected to a man like this. Did I mention how amazing he is? I prayed long and hard for God to send him to me and now he is here. I have never been in love like this before. And he’s so not my “type” which makes it even better.

The very BEST part is that we havent slept together yet. So I know it’s not just about sex. We have been dating for close to 6 weeks now and seriously involved for 2 weeks. I know, I know, it’s quick. But again, so amazing. Am I repeating myself? Hell, if my girl, Brandi, can be engaged after a month, then I can jump in heart first.

I never thought I would meet a man whom I could see myself loving the way I loved my ex. Yet, here he is and I know that I will never, ever go back to my ex again. I want to love him in so many wonderful ways. He’s so damn loving and kind to me. He’s so damn funny and witty. He’s everything that I have ever wanted.

Fast forward to today, a little over three years later and things are better than I could have ever imagined. We have shared plenty of missteps, hard moments, a break up here and there but we have stuck it out. He takes care of me in ways that I never knew before. My past is full of men who maintained chaos in my life but that cycle has clearly been demolished now.

Yesterday, he asked me what I loved about him and the answer was simple.

“You changed my entire world.”

Hearts Will Break

First, I must say that I am a terrible blogger. That whole “post a day” challenge went right out the window once school started earlier this week. For now, I will do my very best to post at least three times a week.

In other news, on Wednesday night, I had a date with my oldest son, Isaiah. It seems that we rarely have any one on one time anymore. At 15 years old, the last thing he wants to do is hang out with dear old mom. However, we have a standing monthly date where we go to The Repertory Theatre and watch a play on opening night. We have seen “The Lion King”, “The King & I”, “Hamlet”, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “A Christmas Story” and most recently “A Raisin in the Sun”. I cherish this time that belongs to only us because not only does it  impart a bit of culture on him but also, I am bestowed with a few hours of his utmost attention.

When I say “utmost attention”, I mean minus the non stop texting that he does on his smartphone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am as addicted to texting as he so I realize that I set a bad example. However, during the play the other night, I almost broke his thumb to get him to stop texting some little girl. He is quite popular with the ladies. Isaiah has already been through one serious break up earlier this year and I dread the next one.

I remember how my break ups went as a teenage and since Isaiah’s personality is so similar to mine, I wish I could spare him a tiny amount of inevitable hurt.

Jake looked just like Donnie Wahlberg in New Kids on The Block and I loved him. I had just celebrated my 15th birthday and he was my first “real” boyfriend. He rode his bike over to see me during the summer and we watched movies in the basement at my mom’s house. I cried uncontrollably the night before he went to visit his Dad in another state for vacation. Funny though, I can’t remember why or how we broke up. Certainly, it was devastating for me and it happened right as I entered high school.

If I pin point when my self-esteem hit rock bottom and I began slutting myself out for attention, the break up with Jake was the beginning. The details are sketchy but he dumped me and I nose-dived. I spent my tenth grade year on a marathon sprint to lose my virginity and find someone, anyone, to love me. Little did I know how many more times my heart would take a severe beating. I have never been one to do anything detrimental for myself in a half ass way.

After Jake, high school continued with Harley, Theo, Lloyd, Gino – I loved them all- and developed crushes on more boys than I can remember now. I even fell for a girl, a close friend whom I would love well after high school but that is another blog for another day. My heart has always been an equal opportunity employer. I would leave high school, battered and bruised  (emotionally and physically) and as loveless as my journey began.

My son is going to be involved in the business of heart breaking; his own or his girlfriends, not sure which way the cards will fall yet. But someone will be hurt. That’s just what happens when you experience teenage love. I hope we (myself, my mom, Kelli, my Dad) have instilled a strong sense of self in him. While I appreciate that he shares my humor, my wit and my intelligence; I never want him to travel my long road to finding self-worth.