Hope

I used to see a therapist.  I went to see her to work out some things, to talk about and process something specific.  I ended up staying with her just over a year.  By the end, the problem I started with had been resolved (mostly) and I found myself searching for things to talk about each week.  It was not worth the money until I could figure out or was more comfortable talking about what else may have been plaguing me.

One of the issues I struggled with discussing with her was my weight.  It was clear that she had never struggled with weight.  She stated she had never tried fast food, she couldn’t understand why the desire to be healthy didn’t translate to an immediate change in my ways, and she seemed – for lack of a better way to say it – to struggle with my struggle.  It seemed so simple to her.  Just make a change and the weight will come off.  Decide to be healthy and you will be.

That misunderstanding of weight is one of the main reasons I continue to write about it.  It is not just that I struggle with it and think you need to hear me whine about it every so often.  But because I don’t know if there is any medical condition more misunderstood than this one.  It seems so easy for someone who has never struggled and it seems so complicated for those that do struggle with it.

And honestly, fat people don’t make it easy.  We want to believe that it should be painless – quick fixes, fast diets, pills, shakes, meal replacements…we buy into the hype.  We (generally speaking) also allow ourselves to be judged at times, we wear under baggy clothes, we make excuses for our behavior while rarely acknowledging the bad things we do, and most of all – we hide.

I hide.

I hide the fact that nothing scares me more than not being able to lose the weight.  I hide the fact that every year I inch closer and closer to the age my dad was when he died of a heart attack and I am petrified of dying that young.  I hide the fact that I eat more and eat worse than I want to admit.  I hide that the pain I feel is not just physical…the emotional pain is much, much worse.  Mostly I hide the fact that I feel helpless.  I feel like it is too late for me.  I feel like I will never be able to make enough changes to change the course I am on.

A lot of this plays into my “never enough” attitude.  I am not enough.  I can’t do enough.  I can’t be enough.  I don’t deserve better nor am I capable of change to make it better.

I know this is not true.  I know I have people who love me, a God who adores me and I am more than capable.  I am enough.  I know it intellectually.  But getting to a point where I live it has been near impossible.

I have made changes over the years.  They have been slow and small.  I have struggles still.  Daily fights with myself about how what and how much.  I post inspiration, meal plan, keep bad foods out of the house and then…something happens.  And I am back where I started.

So what now?

I have to learn to be content with small changes.  I pray that people don’t give up on me and that I don’t give up on me.   I keep looking for additional ways to make this work.  I need discipline and grace.  I need fortitude and forgiveness.  And mostly I need progress.  Just a little.  Just enough to give me hope.

On Becoming a Hermit

When I was in high school, my #1 dream for my life was to live in NYC and be on Broadway.  I dreamed about living in the city and being surrounded by people and things to do…a 24 hour circus that made you want to get up each morning and get out there.

My first year of college (when I was 21), I went to VCU and I discovered that I hated living in a city. Richmond is a small city and fairly easy to navigate compared to NYC and I hated living there.  I hated trying to cross the street in traffic, I hated living across the street from a park that at the time was scary at night (it has been greatly cleaned up since then), I hated the noise and I hated the way I felt about it all.  I transferred to George Mason and came home to continue school.

In the early 2000’s I had a string of jobs that took me further and further into the commuting nightmare of DC.  Alexandria, Crystal City, back to Alexandria – commuting was taking longer and longer.  And while I took a bus to Crystal City, my days were shorter and shorter as commuting took more and more time.  And then I got a job in Chantilly.  I loved the job.  I hated the commute.  And this is when I first started thinking about moving out of the suburbs.

When that job ended, my next job was in Tysons Corner.  My worst commute to be sure.  I would spend almost 3 hours a day just getting to and from work.  Since my job had told me that working at home was a possibility once I had reached a year, that became my goal…to get out of the busyness and move elsewhere.  It wasn’t so much about getting out of the suburbs, as it was about getting out of the DC area.  It’s not like this everywhere.  Its not normal.   I really wanted normal.

I wanted a place where life wasn’t so rushed.  Where people got out of work at a decent time and got home at a decent time.  Now, I know that there are a lot of people here who commute closes to NOVA.  I consider that crazy, but I get it.  Its where the jobs are.  But my little enclave here in Orange, feels normal.  A sleepy little community in the mountains.

Transitioning here was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  But it came with a side effect I had not necessarily wanted – but I had expected.  I am alone a lot.  I work from home and so I can be a fully functioning member of society and never leave my house Monday – Friday.   I go to church on the weekends and I have friends there, but my week is very insular.  And sometimes I wish I wasn’t.  Its hard to explain.  Its not that I am lonely exactly, but I am too comfortable at home.

I used to tease my mother that when she retired I was worried she would become a hermit.  But truthfully, she is busier now than when she was working.  I am the hermit.  And I am not quite comfortable with it.

I love my apartment.  I like my own space.  I like my little town.  I like no traffic and nicer people and easier getting around.  But I do miss having people around me some days.  I find I use the phone more at work than I used to, I call my boss more often to run things past him (which I am sure drives him nuts) and I sometimes have to just get out and drive down 15 just to get out of my house for a few minutes.  I go stir crazy occasionally.  In fact as I write this, I have to read it out loud – so I can hear a voice and use mine.

This is a lot closer to the life I want than what I had in NOVA.  But it is not quite complete.  There is still something missing.  I think I know what it is, and I know the time will come when that happens.  In the meantime, here I am.  If you would like to visit- I welcome the company.  Its beautiful here.  And only about an hour and a half from Woodbridge.  Come visit.

Seasons

I was telling my mom about a difficulty I was having and assuring her I was ok, and she said “it’s just a season.”  Seasons came up again this past weekend in Sunday School class.  So here I am reflecting on the season I am in.

Financial – I am in debt repayment mode and so money is tighter than I would like it to be. Am I broke?  Nope.  I have enough to pay the bills but there is not a lot left over once that is done.  It will ease up eventually, but I am focused on the debt and getting it paid down – on time and in full – so that I don’t have to deal with it for years to come.  It is not a bad place to be – just not the where I want to be.

Spiritually – I am finding a hunger again and while I am not sure it is manifesting as much as it should on the outside, is something I can feel happening on the inside and it is slowly changing me.  And that is a good thing.

My Health – speaking of hunger, I am straining to make changes to my diet and I fail more than I like.  I fail a lot more than I like.  Embarrassingly so.  But as my friend Liz says – progress not perfection.  I am making better choices more often.  And I think eventually, it will come to a place where the bad choices are the ones hard to make.   For now, I am struggling a bit through the “how” and the “when” and the “what”.  I know the why.

Exercise is a whole other issue.  I know that eventually I will come to feel better from the exercise, but it sucks right now.  I am in pain every day and my body is not taking it well at all.  Partially I worry that I am not doing something correctly (but really it is just riding the bike and some weight training) but mostly, it is just that I am so out of shape that I find it hard to function when I push my body to do this.

Work – has been a challenge…but in the best possible way.   Even though I feel a bit out of my depth sometimes, it is pushing me and I am learning again.  I love learning new things.

Relationships – are good…steady…consistent.  I love that right now.  I am not necessarily making new friends but the ones I have are great and I am building with what I already have.

Creative – this is stalling.  I am not creating because my craft room is in shambles.  I need a professional organizer but really, I just need to make some decisions and so much has been happening that I keep putting it off.  I have no one to blame but me.  But seriously, if you love to organize and would help me for free – let me know.  It is killing me right now.

All in all things are good.  I love living here.  I have a good life.  The season is being good to me.

 

Spiraling

Every so often I feel like things are spiraling out of control.  I don’t mean in the kind of way that will result in a car crash, but I mean times when you know you need to get a handle on something and you can’t quite grasp it fully.  When despite your efforts, the goal gets further and further away from you.

The most frustrating part is when you can see the mistakes you are making but have been able to predict them before you make them.

I have pulled back as many of the behaviors that led me here.  I am almost out of things to “stop”.  But the issue persists.

The only thing left is, and by the way it should have been the first thing, is to pray.  That is the thing about troubles like this – it is so much easier to pray for the big things.  The little things…the not life changing things…the ones that you know you should be able to change without divine intervention…those things are much harder to pray for.  At least for me.

I find myself fighting with my own instincts when this happens.  So here I sit, taking the time to do what I should have done all along.  Praying.

The paths we take

You have all seen some variety of this video on the web.  Older mom and dad finding out they will be grandparents.  Joy, screaming, shock, laughter, disbelief and tears….lots and lots of tears.

I watch these videos over and over again.  And each time I am reminded of what could have been.  Now hear me out.  I never wanted kids.  I never had a biological clock that made me want to be a mom.  I never saw myself that way – not even when most girls my age were dreaming about a husband and babies.  I didn’t want that life, was convinced I was not cut out for it and it never had any appeal to me.

I never considered this a specific choice I made.  I feel like I was not born with that desire.  That God didn’t make me that way.  And that is largely ok with me   But there are things I miss knowing about.

  • I wonder what it would have been like to have someone love me as completely as a child does.
  • I wonder what it would be like to see not just your kids grow up, but to see a next generation come to be.
  • I wonder if when I get old, anyone will care enough to make sure I am ok from time to time. (that sounds a lot more grim than I mean it to be)
  • I wonder about my legacy.

I never felt like something was missing when it came to not having kids.  But as I get older, I think more and more about legacy.  I think about the parts of my life that are important to me and wonder if there will be anyone who cares about me enough to look back fondly and remember what made me me.   Will I just be that aunt that used to tickle the kids when they were little and then as adults they only kept in touch with when mom and dad made them?  Will there be anyone left when I am old and gray (gray-er than now at least)?

I get teary eyed when I watch the “you’re gonna be a grandparent video”.  Not so much because I want to be on (although I think grandparent is way easier than parent), but because it was a path I didn’t go on…when so many around me did.  And every so often I look back at that path and I wonder….

 

The BIG Questions

This morning in my SS class, I shared a passage from one of my favorite books – Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  In introducing the book, I said that I had go-to authors and when I want real – I read Donald Miller.  I relate to his writing so much that sometimes I feel like he has a window into my soul.

As I was prepping which passage I would share, I reread many of my favorite parts of the book and was struck by things I had read before but this time they hit me like they were new.  One of those passages is Don writing about quitting his job at a church to go spend some time in a VW bus traveling across the country trying to find God along the way.  He had reached a part of his life where he was searching for something and he felt he had to go “out” to get it.   That it was not in front of him anymore…the easy comfortable answers were no longer a comfort.  And the short conversation he relays shows how he couldn’t express what he was trying to get at – but at a gut level he knew it was true.

That is a little bit like where I am these days.  I am not searching for God in the same way.   I have no desire to leave my little enclave here in Orange for some adventure like Don’s, but I too am looking for God in new places.  And I am looking in old places I had long ago abandoned.

This search has led me ask some big questions.  In someways I am asking THE big questions.  The “what does it all mean” kinds of earthly questions.  What do I want my life to be like?  How do I envision living?  Who is part of that life and who is not?  If time and money were no object, what would I be doing?  Do I like my life now?  What would I change if change was not so scary?  And finally, what has God been showing me lately that could give me those answers I am seeking?  What desires has He put on my heart that  are potentially illuminating a path I had not considered?

I don’t feel like I have had a moment quite like this for some time.  A restlessness that is hard to explain.  A moment when I am questioning all things – not so much due to a need to change it all, but to assess…to consider…to contemplate whether or not I am on the right path and what, if anything, am I missing.

Here is what I do know.

  • I am still longing for more in some relationships and I am still hoping to make some additional relationships happen.
  • I would like to find some support locally for this weight loss thing.
  • I am feeling the need to be involved in a small group Bible study.  And I am feeling led to possibly lead one myself.
  • I need to stop making excuses about not giving time to the things I love to do and start just jumping in.
  • Finally, I need more balance in my life.  I have achieved some since coming to Orange and leaving NOVA behind, but I need to take the next step.

I feel like all of this is God stirring something in me.  A new chapter is starting.

 

 

 

The Great 2016 Purge

I have now been in my apartment for a year and a half and this month I have been cleaning out every cabinet, closet and box to finally get rid of the things I don’t need.  I have a huge pile of things for Goodwill or to sell online.  Its amazing how much I have in this apartment.  No wonder it feels like it is always a bit messier than I want it to be.

Currently it looks like a tornado hit it – as I have been unable to get to Goodwill (Thanks Snowmageddon) with piles of “stuff” that needs to be taken outside of my doors.  This weekend I will be taking pictures and adding some things to an local online yard sale site.

Here is what the purge has taught me so far:

  1. I accumulate things easily.
  2. I tend to accumulate due to 3 reasons: I want the security of having it, I want to believe that I am the person that will use that “thing”, I have tricked myself into believing that I will need it someday and so rather than spend money later I might not have, I need to get it now.
  3. I use things one at a time, but I own 3 or 4 of certain items.  See #2
  4. I would cry if I added up all of the money I spent on these things I am now getting rid of.
  5. When it comes to crafting items, my hopes are way bigger than my time or energy allows for.  There is so much I want to do…but I never seem to get to it.
  6. As I mentioned, I sometimes accumulate because I want to be the person who does a certain thing.  This is hardest when it comes to crafting.  I know what I am good at, what I like to do, but I still buy hoping I will be someone who does those other things.  I don’t have time for the things I do well.  When do I think I will have time to do the other 400 things I want to do?
  7. I like pretty things.  I like things in my favorite colors.  But do I need EVERYTHING I see in those colors – maybe.  Progress not perfection:)
  8. Even when I shred and throw away, I seem to be drowning in paperwork…maybe it has something to do with my job in print and mail?
  9. I know I am an out of sight-out of mind person.  So it is hard for me to have things behind closed doors.  I don’t use it when I can’t see it.  And if it is behind a door I don’t open often…forget it.  I may never use it.
  10. My biggest struggle – hands down – is small things.  Where to house so I remember when I need it, easily accessible but not cluttering things up, and making sure I don’t accumulate multiples.  Things like lighters, pens, notepads, batteries…the small stuff.

Prior to the end of the year, I spent a lot of time purging my kitchen of the food I should not be eating.  Took stuff to my mom and J so it is not in my house anymore.  And I ate some of it before starting the new plan.  Now that it is gone, I don’t have a choice about whether or not to eat it.  I miss my food.  I miss sugar.  But it was time to purge that part of my life for good.

There is one more thing I am purging this month.  I am TRYING hard to purge my guilt.  I set a bunch of monthly goals this year, but with all of the purging going on, some will not get done.  And that has to be ok.  I will get to them when I can.  In the meantime, I am getting the important things done.

I am not finished.  It may take me until Feb to be completely done.  So maybe there is more to learn about this purge.

My hope is to come out of this feeling lighter all the way around.  Weight, stuff and guilt are big things to purge…better get back to it.:)