December views is just fabulous but man I really need more words than a title to communicate clearly.LOL.
I was going through pictures this weekend -recent pictures-old pictures-all kinds of pictures.
The series of laughing pics I posted in my last post, was taken a few years ago-it is of my friend Myra and I sitting along a boardwalk in CT, I think,after the four of us went out to eat. Our husbands just stood by and watched as we went into one of our silly fits of incoherent (to anyone but us) talking mixed with hysterical laughter. My husband took the pictures.
Myra and I met in Biology class at university (sorry too many people I know refer to college as university-and I like the way it sounds). We spent tons and tons of time together-studying- and laughing and we have remained dear and close friends ever since. Unfortunately our lives and locations limit us to mostly phone chats. We get to see each other a few times a year if we are lucky.
I loved this series because it has been a while since I laughed so hard. I cried, and cried, and cried and had to push my cheeks forward because they ached so much from all the laughing. Myra and I act like complete silly dorks together. It is just fabulous.
So when I got a bunch of emails remarking how gorgeous I look-it sent me into a major major reality check. I do not look like that today. I don't like having pictures taken of me any more. To be frank some of what we were laughing about in the pics was all our silly complaints about our wrinkles etc. Well today I am 20 pounds heavier than in those pictures. Not only do I feel uncomfortable, but I don't feel healthy. I see clearly that I am eating for emotional reasons and sitting way too many hours in front of the computer.
Now I am going to mention a bunch of posts-and may get some wrong-and am way too tired to go searching for links-maybe I will add them tomorrow.
Last week-this week-recently I was reading a post at The black apple blog, where she spoke about how upsetting she found an article about Nigella ( the cook) and then another about Jennifer Love Hewitt. Both were referencing the chubbiness of these gorgeous women. I strarted following link to link, and along the way, I read a bit of an article where Nigella spoke about being happy-how she enjoys life and food. This felt so real and healthy and right. It stuck in my mind.
I have gained these 20 pounds from drinking and eating my way through the grief of losing the baby in March - and pushing myself past my limits of exhaustion for my business.
I feel so grateful that life is so full-that I have so many interests and loved ones that I can't seem to cram it all into the 24 hrs of each day. But is that just an illusion? Is that really what this is all about?
A wise friend asked me a couple weeks ago"baby, are you I running from it-from the grief, the sadness, the anger"? Are you afraid to slow down? At first her candor sent a few guards up-but I appreciated the honesty. The answer that whispered to me is yes. I am running so much to avoid the feelings that will come up if I sit still. Even more so I am running from the feelings because I am sick of them. I am tired of them not being resolved. I am tired of calling my friends with the same sadness. I am tired of writing about it here.
How ridiculous! The sadness isn't the same. And man how unfair is it to expect to get over my mother-my only parent-after five years. What kind of crap is that? Doesn't she deserve to be missed?
Going through photos the past few days I came across these photos from our last christmas together. She died March 11th - afew months later. She lived 22 months instead of the 3-9. Each year my mother would light real candles on the tree-the last years of her life she would light one in honour of each person she loved that had died. She would say their name aloud as she lit a candle for them. This year I really want to coninue this tradition here in our home. Christmas eve was my mothers favorite holiday.
As I opened these pictures, I sat in shock looking at her face. I don't look at pictures of her very often. I looked at her and such intense waves of emotion stirred in me. A knowing - a feeling as I looked at the details of her face. As if she were right there looking back at me. Utter disbelief that she is actually gone-that I will never see her again. Ever. That the last time I saw her - was without life-laying in her bed with her hands crossed at her chest. Me rocking in her rocker at bedside looking at her face in the darkening room-waiting for her to stir-for the reality of her absence to sink in.
She was my everything, my person, my only one, for so much of my life. And she is gone.
We had such an intense close relationship. We fought, we loved, we drove each other crazy. We had no other nuclear family members to dilute the intensity of our emotionally expressive and sensitive natures. This made our relationship very close and very intense. It left a big gaping hole when she died. Going through infertility, the treatments, the choices and then pregnancy and now parenting, without the comfort of being loved by her in the way I knew all my life, has been very, very hard. Today I am surrounded by loving sensitive people and I am utterly grateful, but it still doesn't take the place of my mom.
So five years later and it still hasn't sunk in. I am so sick of all the bad habits and behaviors I have picked up to keep my feelings pushed down or avoided. As my love as a parent myself deepens it feels so utterly wrong to not do right by the body my mother gave me. To not honor what she did for me-the love she felt for me, all the good she wished for me.
So this journey I speak of encompasses so much. Moving past eating badly to push through being tired and lonely, to suppress emotion, to add sweetness when I have people I can turn to for that instead. For not eating and dieting here and there because I think I am toxic, or not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not the right body shape.
Not getting enough sleep, not keeping my body strong and flexible. Not praying,not sitting still.
So I have started to make major changes the past few weeks. I am napping, changing behaviors etc. Today this culminated in me taking on a commitment to tackling the uber complicated eating issues I have been lugging around.
Last night we went to a party at a good friends house. My girlfriends looked gorgeous. Each has tailored their diet and exercise programs to fit them. Each of them say no to certain things to stay feeling their best. They all seem to be doing it in healthy positive ways. Mature ways. I felt like a stuffed sausage, uncomfortable in my too tight jeans (ones I bought last year that were a size bigger than the year before) gobbling up food because I felt uncomfortable.
When I got home I read my emails and hearing how good I looked in the pictures really affirmed to me that I can feel better if I take better care of myself. At the time these pictures were taken, I was till in a program for eating that I joined when my mom got sick.
It was a VERY, VERY regimented program. The regiment gave me a sense of control. The eating plan was very healthy and good, it was all the rules and restrictions that went with the program that was extreme. At the time, when my life felt so out of control it was a lifesaver.I started my first year of teaching a month after my mother was given 3-9 months to live. So I am grateful that I had something to focus on, something I could control and women that were there for me every day in motherly ways when my mother was unable to do anything but fight her cancer. Today I do not have a need for the rules and restrictions , all I need is a healthy eating plan.
So last night as I spoke to my friends at the party, I started thinking about how they stay fit and healthy and happy. Then I started thinking of the other women in my life that have been making similar changes-moving toward health and strength-inspiring me along the way. My sister in law, Kiki's recent post, Darlene going gluten free, Deni's amazing health journey, Maddie's health shakes and supplements. I saw that moderate wise food choices are a bit limiting in the sense that you don't indulge in every single thing you want at every single moment, but they do it because it makes them happier and healthier with more energy. It feels right.
It isn't all or nothing for them-it doesn't have to be all or nothing for me either. But what that means is you don't have to have every desert offered just to prove to yourself or someone else that you aren't being extreme. Does that make sense?
I want to be happy-feel beautiful-healthy-strong. I want to enjoy food yet not let it become a substitute for other things.
So my plan is to try adapting these things from the plan I followed for those 2 years, that worked and made me feel balanced, healthy and strong:
eating three meals a day-no snacking-this keeps eating simple for me and leaves me less negotiating and track keeping. I know people say 6 little meals are better but with a 2 year old-I just can't do that and keep it healthy right now.
Eating whole grains (brown rice) instead of white flour (pasta, bread) and sugar(cookies pies).
Eating 2-3 servings of fruit a day and 3-6 servings of vegetables a day. That's just a piece of fruit at each meal and a salad at lunch and a veggie and vegetable juice or salad at dinner.
Trying to juice once a day at dinner time. My son loves vegetable juice (favorite: celery, cucumber, lemon, apple, beet, carrot and spinach juice) but not many cooked vegetables. I think this is a great way for us both to get 2-3 servings at a time.
Get protein from beans, lean meats and fish - a serving at lunch and a serving at dinner.
Having 2 tbs of good fat like olive oil on my veggies.
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water and taking a multivitamin.
At night drinking warm tea instead of eating. Quitting work when I just don't have any more energy instead of eating 4 cookies to get 1 more hour of work done. Sitting next to my husband for some sweetness instead of eating ice cream. Letting myself cry if I miss my mom or the baby-and let it pass instead of constantly moving around looking for something else to do-to distract me.
It is a bit harder for me to write so openly now that I have put a link to this blog on my web page.......but you know what?
This is me.