17
Jan

Respect

Lovies, there is a secret that I really really hope I have kept from you. Even though we're not allowed to keep secrets, I kept this one...again, I hope. If you ever decide to read this blog and learn about us and you and me and dad and marriage and our life through my second chance, well, here's something I fought hard to keep from you.

I have always and forever hated the way that I look. Always and forever...always always and forever.

And, I have tried SO HARD. The one and only thing I can say is that Anna, once I laid eyes on you, I tried even harder to fix this and I also tried even harder to keep this part of myself hidden (only from you two) because I could not even think of passing this insanity down to you.

And that's just what it is, insane. I see beauty in every shape and size. I adore women with confidence in their bodies. I aspire to be just like them, they inspire me to be better. That's how I know it's insane. I can see someone that looks like me and think she's stunning and then with me, I think it all looks wrong.

I have no idea why in all of the healing I have done, this one lingers and keeps at me. But, what else can I do or think or say that I haven't already done or thought or said? I know those that know this about me are very much over it too. Hearing me complain, me constantly asking how it looks, should I wear it, what does this part of my body look like. They aren't going to tell me the truth anyway so what am I doing? So, I can continue to blame "them" and say "I know where it comes from and they still make awful comments about my body" but the truth is, I am 43 years old as I write this. Forty-three years of age. I have zero excuses. I either figure this out or I don't. I either figure it out, or I don't. Just me. No more them, me and me alone.

So last week, I posted a picture of myself on social media. A picture that I stared at for days and thought, should I, shouldn't I? So many judgemental thoughts running through my mind and I thought, ok, this is it, one more shot at trying to just stop this insanity.

So, I wrote the story and I hit post and now it's out there.
Me. After three years of lifting. A very different version of myself.

The craze in my mind is I have actually worked so hard to look like that picture. I just didn't realize my body was going there while doing it. I'm working hard every single day, as I have always done, but lifting is different and it changes your body so much.

The craze in my mind is that I call all the other amazing women strong and I see how clearly their strength shines through. But I don't see it for me, all I see is thick and different.

The craze in my mind is that my numbers are scaling up and that's never happened to me...the girl that's terrified to know the numbers because it messes with her head too much.

The craze in my mind is my coaches love it, encourage it, want more of it. Do not care what it should be, they want to redefine it.

My whole life, I have tried to "fix" this part of me. Trust me I know how unhealthy and how damaging it is to think of yourself and your body this way. I know how devastated I would be if my daughter had even one of these thoughts. I know how angry I would be if my son thought this way about any woman ever.

So I tried to prove myself...to me.
But the harder I tried, every time I "failed" I would feel like a failure.

I ran a marathon but hit a wall at mile 20. My body failed, I failed.
I had a baby but my body gave out and I couldn't deliver her. So I had a c-section. My body failed, I failed.
I had another baby, a planned c-section, but I couldn't heal. My MS wouldn't allow my nerves to heal for three awful months. My body failed, I failed.
I do yoga, but because of my hips, I always look "off", never graceful. My body failed, I failed.
I run half marathons but because of my hips, I look like a duck, awful form and that form can cause actual problems. My body failed, I failed.
I have done triathlons but I didn't learn how to swim until I was 36 so I'm awful at it. My body failed, I failed.
I'm slow, I'm not the strongest, I always have the wrong form. And I feel like a failure.

I'm not even going to pretend that this new workout routine has fixed any of this in my brain, but my best girl told me something that did make me think differently.

I just don't spend any time thinking or worrying about my body. I can either go down that rabbit hole, or I can spend my energy in other places.

Who would have thought that was even a possibility? Not thinking about how I look. Just give it the respect it deserves by not constantly thinking about everything I want to change.
So instead of trying to get to a place where I am "fixed" and love everything about me, what if I spent my energy differently?

Immediately after I was hit with three gorgeous women that shared little snippets of self-love.

I am changing the definition of beauty.
I am in love with the woman I've become because I fought to become her.
I am thicker and I love it, I mean, why else are we going?

And the one thing I do not keep as a secret is that I do think there are moments when the universe is trying to tell me things or give me things. So, yes, I will try and listen.

I am changing the definition of beauty.

I know it has nothing to do with a look, a specific look. I believe that, fully believe it. So just as I see everyone else change the definition of beauty, can I try to for me? Somewhere I got the idea that beauty for me meant being lean. Why do I even want lean? What is the look? What is the number? How thin is enough? How lean? Right now, all I see is thick and my body is no longer lean...anywhere. I can no longer make lean my definition. I am not representing beauty by being lean.

I write about #StrongIsTheNewPretty and no matter how much muscle I have or don't have, this family is strong. And I have overcome a lot to be exactly where I am, which is exactly where I want to be. This little life I lead, it is really gorgeous and I'm so so lucky.

I am in love with the woman I've become because I fought to become her.

I have fought hard for this woman. Really hard. I've been fighting since I was 8. I put down my fighting gloves years ago and then in 2020, I stopped proving I can do hard things because I can.

I hit a wall at mile 20, but I ran 20 miles and I finished a marathon. I fought hard for her.
I had a baby via c-section, but I had a healthy baby. I labored for 23 hours, and then I had surgery and I had a baby. I fought hard for my baby girl to come into the world and she is here. I fought hard for both of us.
I had another baby, a planned c-section, but I couldn't heal. My MS wouldn't allow my nerves to heal back together but eventually I did and during those three months, I mothered. I mothered a new born and a toddler. And I fought through my MS, like I have been for almost 20 years. I fought through and I fought hard for my babies and my body and I fought hard for me.
I do yoga, I do not look graceful, but I do it for me. I find my breathe and I sink into the floor, and I feel it getting better. I feel my body feeling better. I show up and fight for me.
I run half marathons and when I run, I do look like a duck. So much so that strangers stop me in town to ask if I'm the woman that runs on their street, I make that much of a scene. But, I run without music or noise. I run in silence and I listen to my awkward feet hit the pavement and I take in where I am. I fight for those runs and I fight for me.
I have done triathlons and I learned how to swim at 36 for them. Every time I felt like I was going to sink, but I always kept going. I fought for that finish line.
I'm slow, I'm not the strongest, I always have the wrong form. But I keep showing up and I keep going and trying. I fight for who I am.
I have fought hard for the woman I am, it's time I show up for her and give her some respect.

I am thicker and I love it, I mean, why else are we going?

My coaches, the other members that go, my sister, they cannot get enough of how much their bodies are changing.
That's why we're doing it.
But I didn't know when I first started and again, my crazy definition had to do with being lean. So as things started to get bigger, thicker, as the numbers climbed and things started to feel different, I panicked. A lot. I really really freaked out. And they just kept encouraging me and telling me, we're not done. Your strength is all we care about. Your health and your ability. You living up to that ability so keep going, keep working, keep trying and keep coming. And I am so I guess that's my decision. I'm in this. I'm doing this. On purpose, paying to look like this. So enough with caring about anything other than showing up and loving my time there and letting the rest...rest in peace.

This year, I'm going to work on respecting this body. Not loving it, but respecting it.
I'm going to work on better confidence. Not loving it, but appreciating it.
I'm going to work on spending my energy on other things, not obsessing over it, but respecting it.
Respect to you 43 year old.

14
Jan

Five Minute Friday - determine

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on determine.

Go.

When you determine that it's time to move on.
When you determine that it's time to dig in.
When you determine that it's time to let love, life, laughter, and kindness back into your heart, your home.
When you determine your priorities and what you need to make come first.
When you determine what you want this life to look like, but as a parent, not just for you, but for your littles too.
When you determine what you want your life to look like because even as a parent, there is still a you, separate and apart from them.
When you determine what you want your work to look like.
When you determine what you want your marriage to be, how often that changes, and how you have to work on growing together, growing with, growing.
When you determine what you want to be spending your time on, and who you want to be spending it with.
When you determine you have to unravel a lot of your world so you can slowly, calmly, kindly, and gently...put it back together, this time with scars and cracks.

When you determine that life in your 40s is different and you are growing farther and farther away from that 20 something that was just there yesterday.
When you determine that the 30 something that helped build this life is also looking less recognizable.
Because life in your 40s IS different.
It comes with kids, not babies.
It comes with aging parents, and you in the middle like an awful sandwich.
It comes with magic you have to create, it's not just naturally there anymore, you have to make it happen.
It comes with second chapters and different careers and different life priorities.
It comes with determining that this is our life...right now...so what are we going to do with it?

Stop.

10
Jan

What a thing...

What a thing...to be a parent.
What a thing...to be a kid.

We make you, create you, first in our minds, then here you are, little bits of us.
We think of you, day in and day out.
We wonder what you are wondering about.
We wonder who and how you will turn out.

We worry, we worry some more, and the older you get, the more worries that come.
We worry about the things we are doing wrong.
We worry about the things you will remember and the things you will forget.
We worry about what you are worried about, we worry for you, about you, we worry.

We embrace it all...and there is so much to embrace with parenting.
All of the changes and all of the time, and the days, and sports, and lessons, and friends, and personality changes, and we embrace it all.
We embrace the baby that wakes us up, and the toddler that keeps us moving, and the three-year-old that won't stop crying.
We embrace the child that starts to make decisions and the pre-teen that is coming into her own.
We embrace the past and where we are and what is to come.

What a thing...to be a parent.

You are made and given these people that tell you how much they love you.
You are made to think that we know what we are doing.
You are made to think that if you have a question, we have the answer.
Here's a secret you won't believe until you do this one day...no one has a clue and we're all just making it up.

You are given these people that tell you how much they love you.
They work to show you, they make sacrifices for you that you don't even realize.
You hopefully are made to feel safe, in their home, in their arms.

You are given these people and told they are your family, your forever and ever.
And the truth is, you get to decide if that too is different. Oh, how I do hope I am your forever and always, how I do hope that you will always think of the love and time we have shared. How I do hope you will continue some of the foundations we have set, how I do hope you build off of it, not have to tear it down to start over.
Oh, I do hope.

You trust. You trust us with your entire life. You trust that you are most important, you trust that we always have your back, you trust that we are there for you, will always be there for you, and you trust that we will always make the right decision for you. You trust with all your heart that we are yours.

What a thing...to be a kid.

Sometimes at night, I stay up thinking of adult you. What you will be doing, what could possibly hurt you.

What a thing...to be a parent.

Sometimes at night, you crawl into bed wanting to feel safe, knowing you are with us.

What a thing...to be a kid.

Sometimes during the day, I think of you sitting at school, being you in this place I've never seen you interact, but where you are you outside of me.

What a thing...to be a parent.

Sometimes during the day, you reach out to me and send me messages, hoping to grab my attention, knowing you are my most important thing and knowing I am always right there.

What a thing...to be a kid.

What a thing...to be a real family.

10
Jan

Five Minute Friday - important

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on important.

Go.

I had a friend that once talked to me about the difference between something being important, vs it being an emergency. The point was to say that if you focus on things that are important, you'll have fewer emergencies come up. The problem is, she was talking to someone that makes everything in her life important, nothing slips through the cracks.

And I really do feel like that allows me to not have crazy emergencies, but damn, it's also kind of heavy sometimes. There's just always a lot to think about and a lot to do and a ton to manage. But, it helps keep a home running and a business functioning, and a life going.

There are definitely times when I am able to only function and work on 3 things for a week or two, and I can see it, the house starts to break down and things do not work. And before we know it, "emergencies" start popping up.

But today NY had a little ice storm on a Sunday (because Friday got away from me so I couldn't get my five min in to write). The weather made things slow down and our Sundays are already slow. I couldn't run any errands, I couldn't go for my Sunday run, tutors got canceled, and we spent the day taking down holidays decorations, getting things organized and put away, cleaned and ready for our week.

It seems like a lot, but it was so slow and everyone was involved and we were all together and that, right there, that's all that is important. My daughter and I read together today. We watched one of our shows together. My husband watched his football team win the division. My dog got to snuggle in beds and in front of fireplaces. My son played indoor basketball. We all read our "happy hearts" of gratitude for 2021. We wrote our first happy hearts for 2022.

We got to all that was important. Each other.

Stop.

2
Jan

Comfort and joy

It's going to look like candles lit.
Baths on cold winter and fall nights.
Outdoor showers during the summer.
Using my dipping pool with a cool glass of wine.
And using our outdoor fire pits.

It's going to look like friends in my home.
It's going to look like so many family movie nights
and comedy standups that make me laugh so hard it hurts.
It's going to be a more intentional and organized home - cleaner, more balanced.

It's going to look like walks and yoga and finding a way to come back to my breath at night.
Sunday mornings in my robe and slippers.
Cozy clothes all of the time (because that's my new normal).

It's going to look like warm coffee and tea, all year round.
It's going to be less worrying, or a healthy amount of worry because who am I kidding.
It's going to be about opening myself back up, finding love in the world again.
It's going to be being there for those that I love.

It's going to be Sunday night dinners and grateful hearts.
It's going to be vacations with those that make me smile too hard.
It's going to be dancing more with my kids.

It's going to look like a lot of reading and reading dates and snuggles on the couch together.
It's going to be a lot of sports and running around to get them to their games.
It's going to be watching them be incredible teammates and friends.

It's going to be naps and second sleeps.
It's going to be smiling and feeling the joy in my bones.

It's going to look the same and different.
It's going to look sweet and sour.
It's going to look cozy and uncomfortable.
It's going to have joy and some heartache.
It's going to be another year that we take it day by day.
Another year that we walk slow.
Another year that we talk instead of scream.
Another year that we listen instead of talk.
Another year that we shut out the noise instead of welcoming it into our home.
Another year of quiet and loud.
Another year.

Lovies, all I ask is for some comfort and joy.


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