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.


Blogger Toni said...

Big Hugs to you my love, for being as brave as you are to write this here.

With Love,

12/09/2007 11:58 PM  
Blogger I AM said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/10/2007 1:22 AM  
Blogger I AM said...

I'm so happy that you are listening to your own truth, and thank god for friends that love you enough to help you realize that truth!

I hope this journey brings you health and happiness and that the regiment helps you through the stress, sadness, and joy that this Christmas will obviously bring.

Sending you strength and positive, glowing thoughts for a healthier you!

12/10/2007 1:23 AM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

sending you peace and light in this moment.
thank you for sharing every word of this post...thank you.

12/10/2007 3:39 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

i feeling so proud of you right now, angel, particularly for this bit: "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."

all we ever need to take are little steps forward... i love you xoxx

12/10/2007 3:39 AM  
Blogger dreamergirl said...

this is such and inspirational post, thanks for sharing your thoughts & feelings.

sending you lots of love and hugs xox

12/10/2007 4:16 AM  
Blogger kristen said...

This is so open and honest, thank you for writing this. I wish I didn't feel like such a fraud after writing that post. What I didn't say in that post was that I've been on a sugar binge to end all sugar binges - when I wrote that post I wasn't even really aware of that.

Yesterday I saw a picture of my mom and it made me really sad that she's passed. And I realized that I've never grieved, that I've been stuffing those emotions away, the ones that have been here since I was little. Reading about your own emotions with your mom, made me realize that I should honor those feelings for myself.

I know that stuffed sausage feeling - I look at friends that are dedicated to eating - to not indulging even if they can. I use sugar like a reward system. I want to rewire my brain so that saying no is my reward, feeling good in my body is the prize, instead of this constant battle/struggle/resign that I go through.

I've resolved that today (said to myself yesterday) that I'm going to say no to the sugary treats. That I'm more important than that brownie, that it and all the other treats will always taste good. Always. Today I choose myself. xoxo

12/10/2007 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Andrea D. said...

Thea - thank you for writing this post. I think you are absolutely stunning - no matter what weight you are at. Sometimes it is just so hard to stop equating thin-ness with "better" or 'more worthy'. Its a struggle I've had all my life as a plus-size person. I am also prone to stress eating - stuffing away my feelings. This past year was a real struggle for me because I gave up working out and eating healthy because of the stress of house-hunting. FINALLY - about a month ago - I finally cleared some space so I could to my work out DVD's. I feel so much better - even if I don't lose the weight I like working out because it just makes me feel so much better. I like feeling strong. I also feel a lot more confident. So i guess do your best and forget the rest. Remember to be kind to yourself!

12/10/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Way to go sister!!! You are not alone and remember, you are great! You deserve the best! And that includes from yourself. It is ok to grieve...it is a process. All the things you have been doing have been a part of this, it seems. To everything, there is a season. (I love that verse and song). (It inspires me when I have spent too long in depression and when I want to climb up and out.) Issues I'm dealing with as well. Best wishes!!!

12/10/2007 9:35 AM  
Blogger caroline : my pocket said...

Such a touching and brave post - it really resonated with me. Those pictures of you with your mother are so beautiful, it shows what a close relationship you must have had. Wishing you courage and inspiration, like Susannah said - taking little steps is all you need to do. Great little steps too, I like your list :)

12/10/2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Good for you baby.

I am proud of you. And you SHOULD write these things in your blog, even if it links to your site. This IS you, like you said.


12/10/2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger daisies said...

this is so beautiful and honest and i too am so proud of you for recognizing where you are and for allowing yourself to cry, so important, so very important ... warm thoughts and hugs .. xox

12/10/2007 12:06 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

I bow to your warm lovely words.

12/10/2007 1:16 PM  
Blogger Schmoops said...

brave girl, i find myself nodding in agreement, clapping for you for recognizing where you are at, crying with you as you walk through the grief, and have so much to say about the whole nigella/curvy girl thing (she is one of my role models by the way). i wish you and i could snuggle and talk about all of this one day soon.... there is just too much for me to write in a comment.

gorgeous photos of you and your mom, a special relationship.

i send you warm hugs, a shoulder for your tears and peaceful energy.

12/10/2007 1:17 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

So much of what you've written has me nodding with recognition. I absolutely support your decision to take good care of yourself and also feel all the emotions you need to. And I'm pleased to read that you're taking a well-thought out, balanced approach that fits with your life.

I'm also carrying a few extra pounds and have been doing a bit of stress-eating. I see myself doing it and in the moment can justify every bite. Then I feel crummy. It's definitely time for a change. Thank you for the reminder to make better choices.

BTW, you look gorgeous in every picture you've posted.

12/10/2007 1:33 PM  
Blogger Linni said...

Beautiful Thea,
the photo of you hugging your mom from behind around the xmas tree is beautiful!!! I hear your sadness...I offer my friendship...embrace every feeling...and just be. I'm so proud of you! Wish I could give you a biggg hug! xx

12/10/2007 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of the feelings you write all to well.... you've expressed them far better than I ever could. I keep reminding myself the tears I shed are tears of love....


12/10/2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

yes honey...this is you.


my heart swells with feelings of comfort that you were able to spill, pour these feelings so freely. what a release that must have felt like. i understand that release well.

your mother was so stunning...and a light...just like you. thank you for sharing such dear photos with us.

small, gentle, baby steps and loving yourself with warm hugs along the way.

i love you.

12/10/2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger Linni said...

Sweet friend....imagine a rainbow....we are standing on top...counting down to three to go down...to discover what is at the end of the rainbow...hold my hand...and take a peek at http://periwinkle-lin.blogspot.com/, to have the actual peak at a fabulous artist!
It felt to me as if I have found THE pot of gold...for today! :-)
Hold my hand...let's count...3....2....xx

(for when you feel like going on a magical adventure)...

12/10/2007 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love your vulnerability and your willingness to share it with us. you come across as so genuine and authentic, thea. you are one of the rare ones...xoxo...

12/10/2007 6:06 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

brave, beautiful and wise are the words that come to mind reading this. thank you for sharing your journey.

12/10/2007 8:17 PM  
Blogger Maddie said...

Thea ~
I am so weepy lately ~ and
I burst into tears
that second photo shows such
profound closeness with your
mom and it glows the
photo glows with her aura and yours ~
that is where you get our
warm and gentle light:)
I am so happy you shared that photo ~
it is beautiful:)

Eating and taking care of ourselves
is so personal and there is
no blueprint for everyone ~ we are
all so different ~ and I am so
proud of your gently observations and
determination to take care of yourself ~ especially the napping sounds wonderful ~
and I have to admit I eat chocolate
cookies with tea at night to
keep pushing myself too ~ when
I really just should have tea
and honey:)

you are such a luminous light ~

hugs :)

12/10/2007 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.. you dont know me but I needed to read this today!

12/11/2007 2:14 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

This post is just SO insightful. And moving. I am so sorry you lost your mom, your "person"... I feel your pain, and so understand how you might be pushing it all down. I think we do this. But I hope you can feel your feelings, as you now want to. I have not lost my mom (in the way you have), but I have lost many, many people in my life. Too many... And maybe this is why I know that the pushing down does not work forever. Feel it, and shine a light on it, and let it get all the air it needs...And then, one day-- although it never really goes away-- it is just not as painful. It becomes just a part of you, like the color of your eyes. Just like your mom is so much a part of you, and always will be.



12/11/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger PixieDust said...

Yes, this is you, and YOU are beautiful... your honesty here, your raw emotions leave me in awe of who you are...

Sending you love, and hugs, and all the comfort in the universe...


12/11/2007 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi beautiful you....

i'm so proud of you -- and am here every step of the way....

the pictures of your mom -- so warming...i remember meeting her at your wedding; and again at graduation...not nearly enough time to really know her --- all that you've shared about her...the pictures here and at your home...such a deep connection...it's so obvious...she's with you sweetheart - i truely believe that

you are stunning --- radiant for who you are - not what you look like...remember that...at the same time I celebrate with you as you trun this page - begin to eat healthier -- and hope it will bring you what you're looking for -
mostly i think it's wonderful to be honoring your body/mind/soul...as we said today...it will keep getting easier!

love you - and thank you again for checking in on me today!
:) xxoo genine

12/11/2007 9:07 PM  
Blogger megg said...

baby - so so so happy to read some of this and sad to read other parts. I love you. YOU. ARE. LOVED.

Just remember that when you read or hear about other people's perfect eating plans, they rarely tell you about the times when they DON'T follow them - TRusT ME!!

Hug that little boy and know that your mother would be very very very proud of you. You are amazing.

12/12/2007 4:11 PM  
Blogger chocolate covered musings said...

i want to honour your for your authenticity, and for your openness, your ability to share things which affect you so deeply. it inspires me to be and live my most authentic life.

thinking of you.

12/13/2007 10:55 AM  

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