Where The Rubber Hits The Road


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Of mice and children

I just read an old column by one of my favorite columnists Dave Berry. If you haven’t read his work you simply must. He’s brilliantly hilarious. The piece was about pets and had me in stitches because I can relate painfully well.

My pet history stems from being aware of my limitations. I’m aware that if I intend to be a halfway decent mother, I can’t also be the owner of a pet. It’s not that I don’t enjoy having a fluffy feline asleep on my book as I try to read. Or having a sweet puppy sniff my crotch every time I enter the room. It’s just, I know creatures require work and attention. And quite frankly, all my energy is being spread all over creation as it is.

But I’m not cold-hearted, by any means, so I’ve allowed my kids numerous pets. The only caveat – they had to fit in an aquarium. The pets, that is. Not my kids.

We started with mice. 20160501_113907Three adorable fuzzy little guys. One brown, one black, and a white one named Snowball. Obviously. Mice have a short shelf life so we made various trips to the pet store for “replacements”. Of course we waited the appropriate grieving period after the backyard burial before the replacement.

By far the finest mouse we ever had was “defective”. I kid you not. The saleswoman at the pet store, who knew far too much about mice in my opinion, asked us, very seriously, mind you, if we would consider adopting a defective mouse. Dizzy became the best mouse we ever owned. Named because she ran in mad circles, like a dog chasing its tail, for hours on end.

After our mice ownership days we graduated to a rat named Daisy. Now, I actually did my research on Daisy. Having moved to the Seattle area I was bombarded with conscientious pet purchasing practices. Say that three times fast. I shopped around for quite awhile. Seriously. For a rat.

After Daisy came our hamster, Lilly. If you’re going to have rodents as pets apparently naming them after flowers makes it more acceptable. Lilly was cute and fun for a while. Until the kids found her one morning cold and hard. Quite possibly from lack of water. Or food. Or general attention. It was all pretty horrific, honestly. My youngest fell to the floor in a torrent of tears. It was a reaction unequal to her attachment to the hamster. I think perhaps she was wracked with guilt.

guinea-pig-467399_960_720There’s a funny thing that happens after you give birth to a baby. You forget about the nausea and sciatic nerve pain and horrific pain of child-birth, and you decide to have more children. Pet ownership is a little like that. Even after all the drama with Lilly I decided to get the kids another pet. We upgraded again- to a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are known to be adorable, and friendly, and snuggly. And you can take them for walks! On little tiny leashes! I should have known better. Needless to say, the guinea pig didn’t live up to its dazzling reputation. Did you know that every day guinea pigs eat their weight in food? And then they poop their weight? And their urine smells like ammonia? Why didn’t anyone tell me this?? The guinea pig needed its nails trimmed. Routinely. And there never were those leisurely walks we had been promised.

You would think by this time I would have learned my lesson. But oh no. Not me. After we parted with the stinky little pig I got a wild hair to return to mice ownership. I had nothing but fond memories of those little guys. And we still had an aquarium. My youngest will be so happy, I pondered. I picked out two fuzzy adorable little guys and brought them home. I lovingly placed them in their well-appointed home filled with biodegradable padding and the most adorable two-story wooden house two mice could ever wish for. My oldest daughter was disgusted that I had brought mice home (despite her love for them several years prior). My son was indifferent. My youngest daughter was mildly excited. She held them and talked to them. We named them Snow White and Betty White.

Until the day she came running to me and said that one of them had attacked her finger. I thought it was surely a fluke. I had to test it out myself. So I slipped my hand past the running wheel, down next to the two-story rambler. Before I knew what hit me, Betty White shot out like a crazed bat out of hell with a strange gleam in her eye and bit me right on the tip of my finger. True story.

I wish there was some great moral to this story. I wish I could tell you that I have forever learned my lesson (although what that lesson is, I’m not even sure). Maybe there’s something to be said about responsibility or sacrifice or pet ownership. I have no idea. There’s no such thing as a perfect pet. Trust me, I would know. I do know we do crazy things for our kids because we love them. I do know that pet ownership, like life, is messy and complicated.

But perhaps the greater lesson to be learned here is this – never, under any circumstances, name a mouse Betty White.


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Multitasking at it’s worst

Getting ready in the morning in a small house with four individuals and one extraordinarily small bathroom (if my bathroom was a car it would be one of those funny 2 person electric) is no small feat. So inevitably I have to wisely utilize every chance I get to use the bathroom. This morning I was blow drying my hair while eating jelly toast. It was all fine and dandy until I finished my toast. Realizing my hands were rather jelly-ish I went to rinse them in the sink. While still drying my hair, mind you. Apparently they put those warnings on hair dryers for people like me. How embarrassing.

The point is, we all have to multitask on occasion. Or maybe more frequently, like all day. But there has to come a time when you just say no. Well, maybe that’s not exactly the right message. It didn’t exactly pan out in the 80’s. Maybe it’s more that it’s time to re-evaluate. We all have a lot to fit into our day. But, come on! Washing your hands while using the blow dryer? Everyone knows that’s a big no-no!! And what about texting while driving. Plain stupid. Or pretending to listen to what your kids says while you’re actually figuring out what to make for dinner. Almost as stupid as the texting thing. It will come back to haunt you. I promise.

I say this a lot but I’ll say it again – Life is short. Take time to breathe, and smell the flowers, and sit down at a proper table to eat your jelly toast. That text can wait a few more minutes. Dinner will still be waiting to be made after your daughter’s exhaustive explanation of how Lucy almost had a date to homecoming but then Tommy’s skanky ex-girlfriend came back in the picture…

Pick flowers. Take the dog for a walk. Read a good book. Watch an awesome show. You don’t have to cram so many things into every waking moment. And for the love of all that’s holy – do not wash your hands while using the hair dryer!

 

 


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The Teen Years… And Other Ailments

After many years of parenting I decided it was my duty to bring you, the reader, this very important information. If you are a parent of a pre-teen, or are in the proximity of children this age in any capacity for any extended periods of times you need to be aware cry-62326__180of a phenomenon that is sweeping the nation. If you are parenting children who are younger, please be forewarned, this is a real phenomenon and it is not something to take lightly. It can strike at any time but is most commonly seen in children  aged 10 to 13. Studies have shown that 1 out of every 1 teen is afflicted. It is called  “Everybody Hates me-The world is against me-Nothing you do will make me feel better”(Otherwise known as EHMTWIAMNYDWMMFB).

The symptoms range from eye rolling, sudden irrational outbursts, slamming doors, laughter turning to crying, and frequent use of the word “unfair”. It is also characterized by feelings (as a parent) that no matter how nice you try to make life for your child you have somehow done it wrong. So very wrong. If you feel that you used to be a sane person but now feel that you are very much crazy, you may have a child with “Everybody hates me-The world is against me-Nothing you do will make me feel better”.

Parents with afflicted children have different ideas on how to approach EHMTWIAMNYDWMMFB but most agree that it is best to keep a safe distance, keep your voice low and steady and make no sudden or unexpected movements. It also seems best to avoid using trigger words like ‘should’ or ‘could’ or ‘why don’t you’ or anything starting with the letter A-Z.

Sadly many parents aren’t speaking up about this ailment, in part due to its extremely long name. Statistics have also shown that many parents are in denial. While their fun-652590_960_720counterparts are actually on the Nile, taking a much need break from their afflicted teens. It’s believed that if more parents were to come forward and admit to having children with this affliction we would discover that there is in fact nothing any of us can do to cure this ailment and we all are very much screwed.

While there is no cure, parents have found ways of coping during the difficult years.
Parents with affected teens suggest the importance of having a sense of humor throughout the afflicted years (while of course never actually using humor on the teen themself.) It’s important to note that the part of the brain called the Laughatus (or sense of humor) isn’t fully developed in pre-teens and can cause comical words coming out of the mouth of an adult to be misinterpreted by the afflicted as a direct insult to their character.  Parents also find solace in their friends, Ben, Jerry, Jameson, and Stella (Artois, that is.) On rare occasions parents have chosen to take the can’t beat ’em, join ’em approach and can be found sulking in their rooms.

The most important thing to remember during these critical years is that this too shall pass. The teen years are hard and have been known to wreak havoc on the best of us. Remind your pre-teen frequently that they are loved and accepted (then take a step back in case they misinterpret your words). Remind them that you’re there for them (even after they’ve slammed their door for the umpteenth time.) Take them out for a special treat on occasion (while keeping in mind that they’ll find something wrong with the outing and won’t actually appreciate what you’ve done for them until well into their 30’s.) Try to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. And remember, you were a pre-teen once too. And were most likely afflicted with EHMTWIAMNYDWMMFB.

 


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Apparently Trying To Be Cool Isn’t Actually Cool

As I get older I attempt, in my own way ( a great deal of emphasis placed here), to stay relevant. It’s becoming harder, though. For multiple reasons really. For starters, it was much easier to be cool when we used words like ‘awesome’, which actually lives up to child-456653_960_720its definition. But now I’m having to figure out if being ‘salty’ is good or bad. And what about ‘savage’? It sounds so bad (and by bad I don’t actually mean good.) But I think ‘savage’ is actually a compliment. And did you know that ‘scrubbing’ has nothing at all to do with cleaning?! Who can keep up.

And to make matters worse, my kids don’t want me to attempt to be either relevant or cool. I mean, they want me to be cool as in “My mom always lets me borrow the car” or “Sure, I can have 10 friends spend the night, my mom is cool.” But they don’t actually want me to be cool.

For example, I’m reminded daily that I shouldn’t  shout out “skiiirrrt!” when I have to stop really fast in the car. They don’t want me to sing that one J. Cole song (although, granted, my version comes out sounding like Howard Cosell somehow.) And truthfully, I know that a 43-year-old mother with three teenagers has no place trying to dab. Honestly, I just do it to be funny and ironic. But my kids think I’m trying to be cool. And there’s the true irony (Alanis, if you’re listening) that they misinterpret my attempt at irony.

I have no place trying to be cool, I’m painfully aware of this. (Thank you, fruit of my womb for daily reminding me of this.) I was never a cool kid. I was quite the opposite of cool. No20160806_230048-1 (1), I wasn’t goth. I could only wish. I was a nerd of the tallest order. The kind with a huge gap in my front teeth and over-sized glasses that were the same blonde color as my hair. And yes, at one point (in high school no less) I had to wear tape on those blonde glasses. I kid you not. My attempts at being cool included wearing a cheap brand of acid washed jeans that slowly turned a putrid shade of yellow. And yes, I fluffed my bangs as high as they would go and wore banana clips in my hair that I stored in my purple Caboodle along with my blue eyeliner. I really tried to be cool. Oh, but I was such a nerd.

Someone told me once that my 40’s were going to be this time of the great self discovery and self acceptance. There are very few things I like about aging but I will say that you truly do gain a lot of perspective on the things that really matter.  I’ve spent so much of my life wanting to fit in with the cool kids. What a waste of time. Even the cool kids have a lot of insecurities and self-doubt, they just don’t get to vocalize it like us common folk do. Maybe it’s just easier to be a nerd.

So, I’ll have to break it to my kids that I intend to continue pretending that I know all the words to that one Drake song. And I may or may not learn how  to do the whip. I will continue to use outdated phrases and words I don’t quite know the meaning of. And probably pretty often. I mean, the struggle is real. But I’m ok with it. Because I finally figured out that the best way to be cool is to –

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JUST BE YOURSELF


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Because no one says “When I grow up, I want to be bitter”

I wrote this quite awhile ago but for reasons unknown at the time I never published it. Now I know why. Apparently there was still more for me to learn in this department. This is not a department I want to spend any more time learning in. Because what I’ve learned is that bitterness is no place to live in. But the alternative, the way to combat it, it to live with your heart broken in a thousand pieces for an undetermined amount of time. Because healing is a slow process and only happens to open hearts. I’m going through something with my ex husband now that has me crying myself to sleep many nights. Just when I thought he had lost his ability to wound me things have been re-opened. It’s a fight every day to stay open and soft-hearted. I want to be angry. I want to wrap bitterness around myself like a shield to prevent any more damage. I mean, how much can my poor little heart take? But I am choosing daily to have an open and wounded heart, so that what I am left with in the end is what I started with, a heart open to love.

Here are the words I wrote then and the ones I still hold to be true…

When I went through my divorce I made this grand sweeping generalized declaratidivorce-619195_960_720on that I would not become bitter (while the Battle Hymn of the Republic played in the background. It was very dramatic). You see, I had known women who had been defined by their divorce. They wore it like a cloak. Some just seemed to be constantly beaten down by life. They were forever victims in their story. Others were angry and entitled. They were taking back what was theirs. And then some. I didn’t want either of those to be my fate. And thus, my grand statement. What I didn’t know was that misery may love company, but bitterness also eats it up.

It started out quite harmless. Like the time I felt it my duty to explain to the mechanic the tragic state my car was in. “You see, my ex husband (emphasis on EX, my first mechanic was very cute) didn’t take care of the car. And now it’s fallen on me…” Cue sad music.

But it didn’t end there. Oh no. Somehow my “fate” slipped into the conveheart-401499_960_720rsation with the cashier at the grocery store, my landlord as I turned in rent, the guy who delivered my pizza. I was becoming that person, gasp. The one who finds a way to blame every challenge or difficulty ever to enter ones life on the person who broke their heart.

It was depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of reason to feel hurt. And angry. And helpless. Dejected. You get the point.My marriage and then my divorce left me broken in a way I didn’t know was possible to feel broken. There were days I would rather have disappeared than continue to feel the pain I was in. And despite all that, I can still say, there’s no comfort in living as a victim.

My parents invited me to watch Les Miserables in the theater with them. I love the story. It’s such a beautiful portrayal of redemption and forgiveness. And the invitation to the movie came at an interesting time in my life while I was trying to decide what to do with my wedding ring. It was a beautiful ring. An antique handed down from my mother in law. It had belonged to her mother (who had passed away a young age.) I loved my ring, but it represented so much brokenness. I knew I would never wear it again. But that didn’t change how angry I was when my exs’ mother requested it back. I was furious. How dare she ask for it back afer everything I had been through? I had been a kind, compassionate, faithful, long-suffering (so long-suffering!) wife. I had earned that freaking ring. (Ugh, it sounds so bad in hindsight.)

Enter my parents inviting me to watch an innocent movie. And I was totally fine… until the Bishop screwed things up for me. It happened when he insisted that Jean Valjean (who just escaped prison and was already involved in theft) had not in fact stolen the silver but had forgotten to take the rest of the silver when he left in a hurry with his gift. Crap. Here was a Bishop who had every reason to throw Jean Valjean, a liar and a thief (as far as he could tell), under the bus. Instead he showed him grace. He didn’t know the man. Nor did he have any reason to do it. Other than the fact that the Bishop was a good man.  It spoke to me not of the deserved-ness of the thief, but the character of the Bishop.

And that’s when I heard the voice in my head. It happens on occasion, and when it does I know I need to pay heed. It said, “Who do you want to be?” I was really thrown by this. It was all good and fine for the Bishop to show such compassion towards a criminal, but did it have to be a life lesson for me? The answer was yes. Because, despite the ways I had let bitterness seep into the various areas of my life, I still knew who I was at my core. And who I wanted to get back to.

My mother in law had lost her mother at a young age. And my wedding ring, the ring that had once belonged to her mother, was a little piece of her mom. A connection to someone she lost. It meant more to her than it would ever mean to me anymore. I had the right to keep my ring. But I realized that day that bitterness led to ugly things like entitlement. And when that question rang through my head, who did I want to be, I knew that bitterness, anger, entitlement were not characteristics I wanted to find a home in mural-1331783_960_720my life.

As I sat that day in the theater with tears streaming down my face I knew that I didn’t want to hold onto things so tightly anymore. Not my anger, not my bitterness. Not even my memories. I needed to let go. I mailed the ring back to my ex mother in law with a short note. It was hard to do, I will not lie. But that physical step brought me so much relief.

I wish I could say I never looked back. I never sank back into bitterness or let myself be the victim. But let’s be real, life is not a Nicholas Sparks book. Nor am I am not a character from Les Miserables.  I’m very much human. And I definitely can’t sing.

The good news is, I don’t talk to my mechanic about my divorce anymore. I think that’s progress. And while I occasionally miss my wedding ring, I no longer feel the pain or anger attached to it that I once did.

As a post script, I’m currently dealing with some old wounds that have resurfaced. It’s not easy and I’m not loving it. Healing takes time. But I still believe that an open heart willing to be broken for awhile is the only option. My tear soaked pillow can testify, there’s lots of pain right now. But no bitterness. And totally worth it.

 

 


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Dating is like job interview after job interview…

I found this old blog post and it still rings true and made me laugh. Dating is hard!

Enjoy….

I decided it was time to get back in the saddle, so to speak, and give dating a try. I’ve been out of the dating game for some time so I had no idea how complicated it could be. I’m

discovering it’s just like a job interview. So much thought goes into what esther-williams-402543_960_720to wear, how to answer questions, how eager to appear. And I’m nervous every time. I find myself pondering things like, if I wear my favorite blouse and best makeup on the first date what do I have to wow him with next time? And how do I get my hair to have that freshly tousled look, like I’ve taken a nice stroll along the beach while a light breeze blew through my locks?

That’s just leading up to the date. During the date I wonder if I’m coming off too casual or too attentive. Did I laugh too long at that joke? Why did he look at me weird when I said I was having a great time but still had to be home by 9:00 to watch Vampire Diaries?
How much information do I divulge on a first date? I want to seem open but not like I have no boundaries. How and when do I bring up the fact that I have kids? Do I casually work i
t into conversation? “The other day I took my kids and my dog on this fantastic hike and…oh, I did mention I have a dog, right?” Maybe I could bring out a game show host to announce, “But wait, there’s more! This showcase also includes three spectacular, high quality, no fuss no muss children from a previous marriage!”  And most importantly, do I break the news before or after the dessert menu comes?

Meeting a guy is so much harder than I anticipated. What happened to meeting the old fashioned way? No, I don’t mean down at the malt shop. But something like that. I mean where you accidentally bump carts at the grocery store or reach for the same book at the library.

Now its all happening online. I’ve been persuaded to check out the glorious world of online dating. After completing a simple questionnaire of 20 pages asking everything from my political views to my shoe size I get to fill out the part where I design my perfect mate. Yes, I’m serious.  I can request his age, shape, color, religion, fitness level. I can request that he drink, but oman-1150037_960_720nly in good company; compliment me in front of all the right people, enjoy rugged outdoor activities while wearing a tight fitting flannel and North Face vest, AND he bring me a bowl of ice cream to eat while we sit and watch Desperate Housewives together.  The options are endless. The only part of the questionnaire I noticed was missing was the part that asks “How frequently do you over exaggerate, under exaggerate or downright lie on questionnaires such as this?” I think this should be a new addition.

I miss the days when the only question I had to answer was, “Do you like him or do you LIKE him, like him?


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Objects in the mirror are not as they appear

I’m not exactly sure when I became aware that my body wasn’t all that I wanted it to be. Growing up I was a gangly kid who cared little about appearance or fashion or showering every day. Why on earth would I need to get that clean every day? There were so many other things I was interested in doing. Like pretending to be quarantined in my tree house while some disease ravaged the rest of the world.

I know in high school I became more acutely aware that looks mattered. I laughed along with the jokes about myself and pirates having “sunken chests” in common. But it bothered me that I didn’t have the curves other girls did. Over the years I became more obsessed with it – inwardly criticizing my relatively undefined body – thinking that I would be beautiful and loved and complete one day when I could get implants.

It wasn’t until after high school that I actually remember actively trying to lose weight, swapping out diet shakes for lunch. But I couldn’t stick with it, the shakes left me hungry. I hated the gnawing feeling of hunger. But worse was the recognition that I didn’t have the willpower necessary to go on a proper diet.

In college I joined a gym and began to build muscles which made me feel like I was accomplishing something. And back then I discovered I could deny myself a meal here and there or eat less than usual for a week and drop five pounds without much effort. It felt empowering. I knew I needed to lose weight but at least it was something I could attain.

I remember telling a college boyfriend that I was thinking of trying to gain some weight. In my mind it was ludicrous, of course I wasn’t actually going to. But it was a test. I wanted to know if he would say, “Yeah, you really should put on a few pounds”, or “Why would you want to gain weight?”  I remember doing this often, checking in with people to get their response. Something to confirm what I already knew. That my body needed lots of improvement.

As I matured I grew into what I now jokingly call “Hagey hips”, a genetic trait passed through my family. But they didn’t feel like a joke. I felt trapped by them, my big thighs and perpetually flat chest.

Aside from when I was a child, my relationship with food and my body have never been a healthy one. And It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen my reflection properly in the mirror. It’s gotten much worse over the last couple of years as I’ve gained steady weight and can’t lose it no matter what I try. When I try on clothes in a dressing room I’m hit with it. I see myself in that lighting that hides nothing and I feel shock and disgust at my body. Is that my body? I ask with distain. What have I done to myself? When I see myself in a photo all I can see is my poochy stomach and flabby arms. Have my arms always looked that fat? I ask repeatedly. I hate being in photos.

I have a steady stream of criticisms that run through my head. My favorite seems to be whats wrong with you?  But I’ve introduced girl-worried-1215261__180some new ones lately. They come to me when I stand in front of a mirror. You’re disgusting, I tell myself, you have NO self-control You keep gaining weight and you’re not doing anything about it. You need to try harder. Do better. It’s not enough. You’re not enough.

I’ve been seeing a nutritionist who is a naturopath and also does reiki. She is an amazing women and being with her is so healing to my heart.  I started seeing her initially because of my rapid weight gain. And I was suffering from heartburn that wouldn’t let up and had been going on for months.  She explained to me that the body deals with things when it’s ready. I wasn’t too concerned about that. I knew I was ready for some magic weight loss so I just needed her to tell me how to do it. She asked me to keep a food journal and assured me (repeatedly) that there was no judgement in the journal. It was simply a tool to see what foods might be bothering me.

I have hated keeping the journal. With a passion. On days when I eat good, I fill in the journal. On days when I slip, I omit certain items from the journal. And on days when I do really bad, I don’t fill it out at all. All the while knowing how ridiculous it is to present a false picture of what I’m eating  to my nutritionist. How is that helpful? But I haven’t wanted to face it. Clearly I have no self control! I just knew that she would take one look at that journal and use it as a weapon to judge me. She would confirm to me that I couldn’t even get eating right.

It’s become this horrible game. On days that I eat good food, I pat myself on the back. I can do this. No problem! Losing weight should be a breeze! Then I go to bed hungry because I haven’t had enough to eat. Or on the good days a voice says you deserve a treat for doing good… here’s a candy bar, and two bowls of ice cream and three servings of pirates booty. I can’t seem to stop. And then I felt bad. With every extra treat I add an extra serving of shame.

On days that I eat bad food, I punish myself with all the ammo I have. Using special care to use the word disgusting when looking in the mirror. And remind myself I have failed yet again. I find that there’s no in between. I deny myself or binge. There’s no in between. I  don’t know how to stop. It’s felt like I’m trying to fill a bottomless void.

It all finally came crashing down. It was bound to. I  was at a friend’s house, telling her about a book I was reading. I was telling her from an informational standpoint about this woman and how she hated her body and how she had a dysfunctional view of food.  My friend and I have been trading dieting tips for a while now. We tell each other how disappointed we feel in our progress and in our bodies. We’ve been feeding it to each other. This lie that our value lies in our appearance.

But talking to my friend that day I realized I couldn’t take it anymore. It was like a spotlight had finally been shed on all my self-hatred and all the ways I’ve been robbing my body. I burst into tears and told her, “I don’t want to live like this anymore!” I felt desperate.  I had  come face to face with my demon. I had a problem. And it was wreaking havoc on my heart.

When I broke down in front of my friend it was like a spotlight was shed on all the hidden parts. I’ve heaped shame and guilt on top of shame and guilt and tried to call it self-improvement. I’ve spent years criticizing and detesting my body. I’ve believed the lie that I only deserve love when I look a certain way.

Reward and punishment. This is what food has become for me. At some point I decided that food can only be one of two things,  good or bad. And because I’m the one choosing to put it in my mouth,  I am also good or bad based on my choice. I haven’t seen food as something to nourish and sustain me or something that can be delicious and enjoyable. Instead, food has had a value system and I use it as a formula to see how I add up.

My body, instead of being my cherished habitation; my only true traveling companion for the rest of my life, has been instead a burden. Something that weighs me down, makes me feel embarrassed and un-lovable. I told a friend recently that I didn’t think I was getting asked out on dates anymore because I had gained so much weight. And I really believed it.

Several months ago I put an old picture of myself on the fridge as motivation to lose weight. Back then is when I looked good. That’s when I was pretty, I told myself. As I look at that picture now two things stand out. One, that I am completely underweight in that picture. I don’t even look healthy. And two, back when that picture was taken I was trying to lose weight. I wasn’t happy even then.

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Me, as I am! Learning to love the girl in the picture.

I’m relieved to finally see the lies for what they are. And heartbroken at the state my mind and body are in. How can I possibly reverse the damage.

I know I have a long road ahead. It took years to construct the lies I’ve lived with and may take years to deconstruct them. I owe it to myself to do the work. I deserve to believe that I am loved and beautiful and perfect. Just as I am. I owe it to my kids, who look to me as their example of how to love and be loved. I owe it to my friend because she deserves to live in the truth too. When I see it all, the lies I’ve held firmly to, I feel so ashamed. But when I let go of that, even if it’s just momentarily for now, I feel so very loved.