Friday, November 1, 2013

A size 6 is plus sized?!?

Apparently even in High school when I would get a little "chunky" and go up to a size 6 from my usual 3/5 I was "fat". No wonder women are constantly feeling like they are fat and inadequate. I might never be "thin" by the industry standards, I might not ever be "normal" by industry standards, but I CAN be healthy and happy. Women are so competitive, and they (in general, though not all are like this) tend to put others down because they are insecure about their own appearance. Now it is true, that most of us have things about our bodies we would like to change. I have had many health issues that have caused weight gain. I have had two children and therefore I have stretch marks. I am 35 years old and I no longer look like I'm 19. My boobs sag (unless I get a reduction they will never be "perky" again...they just don't do that perky thing at my bra size), my thighs jiggle, and I have a thicker waist than I used to. What gets me is that the industry has decided that "fat" is a size 6 US for models, when the average size of a woman in the US is a size 14. I'm short, I'm just barely under 5'2", a size 14 on me doesn't look like a size 14 on a woman who is 5'10". I don't have long legs, I don't have a long torso....I'm short and I am an hourglass shape. My husband loves me just as I am, and finds me why can't I agree with him?!? Like most women I have been brainwashed into believing that I'm LESS attractive because I don't look like the models in magazines or on TV...even the plus sized ones (partially because they are a size 10 and considered plus sized and partially because they are nearly a foot taller than I am and pear shaped...which is the most visually appealing shape apparently). I just think that we, as a society and as parents, need to encourage women and girls (and men as they too can deal with this twisted sense of self worth) to take care of their bodies and to embrace the shape they have been given. Some of us are busty no matter how much weight we lose, some of us are thick in our bottoms with shapely thighs and smaller tops, some of us have short thick legs and some of us seem to have no curves at all...none of which decides whether we are beautiful or not. If you are an ugly person inside, if you take advantage of others, if you belittle others, talk behind their backs, lie etc...that makes you ugly, not your appearance. OK....rant over.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When the term "Friend" is one-sided...letting go of those who only care about what you do for them.

No, this is not about appearance, or weight, or self esteem in any way....however I feel that it still pertains to this journey I'm on to rediscover myself. I have spent much of my life seeking out valuable, strong, sincere and genuine friends. I always seem to end up in these "friendships" where I'm taken for granted, used, competed with, manipulated and serving as the therapist and the one woman cheering section for a ONE WOMAN SHOW that I play no real part in. I have come to a point in my life where I'm starting to realize that the common factor in these cases being my "norm" is me. I don't CAUSE them to be backstabbing, self-centered, pathetic whining women who need to be coddled constantly and only interested in how things affect THEM. What I DO however is enable that behavior because I'm 1.) Genuinely a kind and caring person   2.) Naturally a nurturer who refuses to see another human being suffer 3.) Consistently guilty of insisting on seeing the good in everyone, even when they are treating me poorly 4.) Fear confrontation (which is why I allow the behavior to continue for YEARS before I say something...if I say something at all) 5.) Want to see others succeed just as much as I want to succeed myself  6.) Will constantly do for others at the expense of myself. It is for that reason that this blog post is crucial to me "finding myself". This is a part of me that is relatively new for me to find and embrace. It requires me to be "mean" in a way and tell people things that they have done or said that were rude, unkind, untrue, manipulative, hurtful etc. It means I have to tell other people things they do not want to believe about how they are perceived by others, present themselves to others or how things they do affect others. This post is about stepping back and realizing that there are some people in our lives who will NEVER appreciate what it means to be a friend. They are ONLY interested in the GOOD you give them. They are selfish, narcissistic, petty, shallow, needy and don't realize that they truly only care about themselves. In fact, some people are such pathological liars that they no longer can recognize a lie from the truth and will turn on anyone in a heartbeat if they are no longer receiving this "one-sided friendship" they require. 

Sometimes you have to step back and recognize that there are some people who will never be a true friend...not because they refuse but because they are unable to look past their own self-centered nature. Try as you might, they will always refuse to see how they have wronged you, taken you for granted, used you, cared little about you and will continue to play victim for sympathy and as a means of manipulation. They will hide behind "good intentions" and refuse to believe that an apology is still owed when you go above and beyond for them, focus your entire friendship around THEM and coddle their overly needy tendencies and sooth their ridiculously low self esteem. These are the types of "friends" who will suck you dry and when you refuse to continue to enable their narcissistic, shallow, petty, constantly whining behavior and insist that they take responsibility for their childish, rude, inconsiderate, selfish, shallow, materialistic, manipulative behavior as well as their continual pathological lying and sense of entitlement, they will turn on you and say they "did nothing wrong" and "owe you no apology"...and play victim to someone else. Tread lightly, choose those you call FRIEND carefully and invest only in those who not only appreciate who and what you are as an individual and a friend, but who will GIVE in return not just TAKE from you. It is a sad realization to come to, for sure. However, sometimes it is a truly liberating place to be in your life. You realize in that moment that you have been allowing someone to kill your joy, to steal your sense of value as a friend because all they really care about is themselves, what others can do for them, give to them and provide for them. It is a hard choice to make, not to let go of people like that, but to let them go with love. People continually say, Karma will come back to haunt reap what you sew...etc. While this is true, I am not afraid of that happening for me. My position is a valid one and it is the truth. The one who should be afraid of "Karma" or "consequences" is the person who lies to get what they want, manipulates others to get what they did not work for, whines for handouts from people and constantly TAKES from relationships and plays the victim. Being honest does not warrant such selfish, childish games that some people play. For me, I'm finally from fake friends who are only interested in themselves, constantly in competition with those they call their "best friend" and who take shallow stabs at them to make themselves feel better about themselves. I'm done giving to those who do not give back or who only give in order to GET from me. I'm too old for crap like that. It is time for grown-ups to be grown-ups. You have to GET OVER YOURSELF before you can have TRUE friendships and LASTING relationships. Sometimes you have to step back and realize that the mistakes you make in friendships (which results in not being able to keep close friends very long) is similarly related to the reason why you can't find your "dream man" and your "perfect romance".  Personally, I'm tired of the games that women play in friendships. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a therapist and advice column and yet when I need to vent, bounce an idea off them etc, I'm not permitted to because it isn't about them. Relationships are give and take.....they can't be one-sided....I have allowed the one-sided friendship to continue for FAR too long.

To be an adult, to have maturity, does not require one requires many things. Being able to admit when you are wrong, not taking advantage of others, not lying to get what you want, not putting others down to make yourself appear better or feel better, not disrespecting their marriage or their friendship, not constantly making everything about you, not using others, not being only interested in how much money they make, what they can buy for you, whether or not they can bail you out every time you fail, not acting like a pathetic and desperate person who is ALWAYS the victim, not refusing to take responsibility for your actions regardless of the intent (because let's face it, you may not INTEND to slam a finger in the door but you still owe them an apology for it!)....not only are these traits signs of maturity, they are necessary for the basis of a TRUE friendship and also for a lasting romantic relationship. Without these (as well as MANY others) you WILL NEVER have security in a friendship or a relationship and you will continue to wander this world constantly searching for something to fill the void. The same goes for allowing others to get away with NOT possessing these traits. You are just as responsible for allowing others to be less than a friend, continually stepping your level of friendship up in the hopes that they will suddenly see your worth, realize they have been a SH*TTY friend, that every THING and every CONVERSATION is focused on and centered around them, and that they will FINALLY be the friend you truly deserve.

It is hard to walk away from people, but I have found it allows me to say "I am worth more than this. I deserve a friend who does not disrespect my marriage, my friendship with them, who doesn't take me for granted, who wants me to succeed, who is my therapist just as much as I am theirs.... I deserve better than this person is giving me....and it isn't WRONG for me to admit that." I deal with a lot of guilt when it comes to the crappy friends I have had in my life....and my crappy marriage to my ex. I tend to blame myself for the horrible things they do and say, about me and to me. Part of my journey to find myself, is letting go of that guilt. I'm not ok with "one-sided friendships"....and I refuse to be your enabler anymore. Your ISSUES are not mine, your GUILT is not mine, your MONEY PROBLEMS aren't my responsibility, your LONELINESS which results in your PATHETIC, SLUTTY and DESPERATE behavior is not my responsibility, your PATHOLOGICAL LYING is your karma to deal with not mine, your LACK of self esteem and self worth are not my issues to deal with, your need to have everything constantly CENTER around you and your delusional addiction to fantasy and the constant attempts at manipulation  in order to get others to live out or feed your fantasy are YOUR shortcomings, not mine.

Thank GOD I have my small handful of true friends. We genuinely want each other to succeed....we genuinely want each other to be happy.....unlike some people who simply want their "friends" to be happy and successful so long as they aren't happier or more successful than they are (Because THAT isn't TRUE friendship). To my friends who are TRUE, I love you and I'm thankful for you all. To my mom and my sister who have always been TRUE friends to everyone they meet, I thank you for always having the patience necessary to demonstrate what it means and looks like to be a TRUE friend.

 To those who perhaps feel like this blog post might be about them.....well maybe then YOU need to step back and take a long hard look and ask yourself:

Have you been on the receiving end of a "one-sided friendship" ?

If my post offends you, makes you angry, hurts your feelings or feels like it is about you, then maybe you know you aren't being a good friend to me, or to someone else, or a good daughter or sister. Maybe it is time you start apologizing to them for taking them for granted, using them, manipulating them to get what you want, looking for hand outs, disrespecting their marriage, being an embarrassment in public situations with your constant neediness and your pathological lying. Maybe you need to stop looking for someone to "take care of you" and to "validate your worth" and to "shower you with praise and compliments and gifts" and start BEING the friend they deserve.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Back in the saddle again.....

Well things around here have been truly nuts. Since my last post we went on a vacation, started school and found out that I have to have spinal surgery. Lovely. So I guess I will take this post to catch you all up on what all that has entailed for me.

In August my husband, his parents, aunt, best friend, a friend of mine and myself all went on a cruise to Progresso Mexico to see Chichen Itza, and to Cozumel, Mexico. Afterwards we went New Orleans for a few days. As usual we had a blast on all accords and of course I had a camera attached to me pretty much 24/7. :-) It was nice to not hate every photo taken of me this time. On our last trip (2011), I ended up not really wanting any photos taken of me because I felt so hideously huge. At the size I am now, I'm much more comfortable in my own skin and have finally started to be more accepting of my own flaws and have continued working on not comparing myself to others. I'm not totally ok with it all, granted I still have a lot to work on in that regard, undoing years of self-abuse takes time...the important thing is that I'm working towards it and just picking myself back up and starting again each time I "fail".

It has been assumed by my doctors that my stomach issues, migraines, skin reactions etc is chalked up to Celiac's. No official diagnosis has been obtained but that is what they keep writing in my chart. Regardless I will never eat gluten again. That being said, I was a bit concerned about eating while on our trip....was I going to be reduced to salad for lunch and dinner and eggs for breakfast every day?!? Turned out that I wasn't. :-) The cruise ship was very helpful and provided me with many choices....even desserts. In New Orleans I found that every restaurant was helpful and provided choices for me as well. The only thing I couldn't eat in New Orleans that I really wanted was beignets. But honestly I didn't feel too deprived with everyone eating them around me. I'm pretty used to it by now. :-) I also have given up pop recently. I cut it out cold turkey in July...right after my birthday. Since then I can count on one hand how many times I have had one...and every time, regardless of whether it is regular or diet, I am sick. As a matter of fact, recently at my nephew's birthday party I had one diet pop (it was a Saturday) and it wasn't until Wednesday evening or Thursday morning that I felt "normal" Tea, Coffee, Water and Juice for me only. Which is fine. Mostly I drink water though....and no mix-ins anymore. I really just don't handle NutraSweet or anything that isn't pure sugar. And yet there is something else going on with my body in that department as well....when I eat sugar it jacks with my stomach/ that is pretty sucky too. :-( It is like I'm going to end up eating Macrobiotic food now.

We all got back into Ohio, Kids came home from California and we came home from the cruise, and immediately the kids were off to school and we have French club, Steel Band, Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Choir, Spanish club, Morning announcements, AP classes, 4H and Boy Scouts. And that is just the kids. Ben also has work and school....and I have started my classes at OSU.

We found out that for sure I have to have surgery on my back in the midst of all of this getting started. Originally they wanted to have my surgery in August...on the first day of school for me and the kids. So instead I pushed it back to December so that I also have the full 4 weeks after the end of the Fall semester until the beginning of the Spring semester to recover and I won't have to miss any school. They are going to be replacing 2 discs and putting in 2 rods and 6-12 screws in my lower back to stabilize the  movement that is occurring that isn't supposed to and to alleviate the pressure on my nerves which is causing constant pain and intermittent loss of feeling. Yeah no fun. But I have a great support system so I know I will be ok. The only thing that has been freaking me  out though is the fact that I can't ride my bike for a year after surgery. A YEAR. So I'm panicking about trying to control my weight with  nothing but diet. That fear starts to kick in you know? How in the world am I going to lose weight I still have to lose if I'm unable to exercise? Surely starving myself isn't the way to go and abusing diet pills isn't either. I really don't want to revert back to old habits or ways of thinking. I can feel the anxiety and depression looming over me, just waiting for the moment that my surgery is over and I'm left sitting on the sofa (when I'm not doing my necessary walking therapy) and my rear end growing back to 240 lbs.

It is with that fear that I am back in the saddle again. Back on here to vent and admit my shortcomings and my strengths. I have a long way to go still. But I have come a long way. Having PCOS and being insulin resistant makes losing weight really difficult for me. As doctors have put it to me, every pound I lose is like losing 2-3 for an "average" person...someone without PCOS.  I do better with my diet when I track, so I got back on which is a website that is free and I can track what I'm eating and doing for matter how small I can do. Yet I'm still terrified that I will go backwards. I managed to do really well over the summer with my weight and didn't gain while on our cruise...amazing right? However, my back being in as much pain as it has been has kept me from exercising which has caused me to bump up just slightly back into the 200 pound range instead of being solidly under it like I was. It has taken a lot of self control not to beat myself up for that. The doctors all said that I'm just going to have to suck it up because there isn't going to be a lot I can do about not being able to exercise if I'm in so much pain. They said, keep watching my diet, exercise when I can, and wait until after I have been given the Ok by them to get into the full swing of serious cardio again. UGH.

So there you have it. What has been going on with us, where things stand for me and how I'm dealing with it all. :-)  A bit of a boring post I know, but a necessary one to clear my mind, refocus and keep going. That is all we CAN do isn't it? Set our eyes on our goals and just keep going. So that is exactly what I'm doing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle....

I've been away for far too long, for that I am sorry, not to anyone who reads my ranting but to myself because I have allowed myself to become derailed in my ever present journey to rediscover the "me" that I have buried for far too long. So with that, I'm back.....

Have you ever thought that things are just too difficult to continue trying to achieve what you think you are meant to chase? Discouragement can be an ever present foe, gnawing at the path before us, sweeping away the well laid guide we have set for ourselves. I think this is where I have found myself lately and also why I allowed myself to step away for so long from this blog. It didn't begin with discouragement actually, but I think it extended so long because of it.

My journey isn't just about my weight, or my health. It isn't simply about learning to accept myself with all my flaws. It isn't about simply becoming the "me" I think I want to be or who I thought I was at one point in my life. This journey and therefore my journey has become about self discovery. It is about letting go of my past, embracing the adventures of my future and discovering who I am supposed to be.

I have held a lot of preconceptions of who or what I am meant to be, and had no clue really who or what I wanted to be...but I never really took the time to stop and listen and see what I am lead to the truth of myself. I am doing that now, and this blog is about my journey to this point and any point I find myself coming to after this one. I used to say "I am 34 years old and I have know idea what I want to be when I grow up" :-). Well this year I turned 35, and I know what I want to be when I grow up. As cheesy at it sounds and incredibly cliché, I want to be "me" and to be happy with that. I want a career I'm happy doing every day. I finally decided that instead of trying to fit myself into one set box, I needed to allow myself to be all that I know I am and to find a way to be all those things at the same time because I would feel like I was missing something or a piece of me if I didn't fulfill  the pursuit of them.

So let's see...since my last post I have graduated from community college, gotten my weight under control then a little out of control again, scheduled classes at OSU, ready to start in the fall, and rediscovered my love of writing more than just random ramblings in blog form.

So here I am....ready to allow myself to be what I am, who I am, and allow myself to just experience and enjoy the journey. That isn't to say that there aren't going to be obstacles. I'm just choosing to approach life with the positive outlook I have always tried to maintain. So, here I find myself, ready to approach the path before me and to stop trying to force that path into what I THINK it needs to be. I need to just allow myself to follow my heart, those things we find that feed our souls are usually the paths we are meant to traverse at least for a period of time.

I am creative, emotional, kind, generous, loyal, sensitive and honest. Creativity is my way of self expression and to stifle my own voice is a disservice to myself. To be true to yourself is to not stifle your own voice. So, back in the saddle I am riding...down the bumpy road of life and treasuring the nuances of the adventure. I am so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful family to travel the roads of life with me, enjoying the adventures we encounter, and who patiently allow me to stumble, fail and learn.

I hope you are all enjoying your ride. It is good to be back in the saddle of self discovery.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No "success" is still progress?!? : Plateaus, bloating and bathroom problems.

I have hit another annoying plateau. We all hit them. Some of us hang out around those weights or sizes and it seems no matter what we do we can't break past them. I'm there. Although I was able to get the scale to move past that horrible 205 mark, I can't get it to pass the 203 mark now. It is frustrating to say the least. It is the same with sizes. I'm stuck at that 14 and it won't budge.

How is this a success? Well for one I'm still working at it. And two I'm not gaining.

I will be totally honest (because that is the whole POINT of this blog right?) weight fluctuates GREATLY throughout the week...from day to day and from week to week based on nothing that makes any sense other than, my body is confused. I'm not building muscle or  anything like that so lets not get all carried away with the whole "muscle weighs more than fat" because a pound is a pound is a pound.....but a pound of muscle LOOKS better than a pound of fat does. My weight can be 203 one morning and then the next day it will say 206.....the next day it will say 207 and then it will say 203 again. I eat pretty much the same foods every day... I have to because of my dietary just makes it easier to have staples in the house that I CAN eat and that I don't have to try to figure out what to eat. The problem is my "irregularity" I am sure....AND I realized this week that I can't have barley in addition to the wheat. :-( Any time I have anything with wheat or barley I puff up. I get so bloated, so uncomfortable, my stomach is killing me, I get dizzy, migraines, itchy skin you name it....and the bathroom issue strikes too....I end up looking pregnant I am so bloated.

It turns out that I have more and more signs of Celiac's, the more research I do. It might be time for a new doctor for me, because the one I have seems to be dismissing me again. If you don't have diarrhea then you don't have Celiac's...and yet the #1 dismissed symptom is constipation....hmmmm. Drink more water they say, eat more veggies they say...Um, I don't eat bread or pasta so I eat veggies....and I drink 144-164 ounces of water every day. Try a laxative they say, those don't work on matter how many I take....which is a major indicator that the patient should be tested for Celiac's. sigh. Regardless of having the diagnosis or not...ever...I won't go back to eating gluten. I just feel so horrible when I eat it. It might not make me lose weight to be gluten free, but at least now my body can heal (it takes about a year for an adult to heal the villi) and I will get proper nutrition from the foods I eat. So that is another type of progress I'm making.

But, I'm still working at it. I'm not "trying" I AM losing weight. It is slowly and often seems like there is no progress at all.....but even when I don't have a success on the scale, or in dropping a size, I'm still making progress because it is another day that I have made GOOD choices.

No scale loss or size shrinking or better fitting clothes does not mean  you are not making progress or having any success. Sometimes the success if found in that you are not giving up....and this week that is my success.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wait.....what?!? You need clothes again?

Ok so today is a different kind of post.

Yes, I'm still a fatty, no I didn't exercise today or at all after my last post....ok so I went to the Columbus Zoo on the WORST day (they had a huge Easter event the Saturday before Easter and it was PACKED) and walked for what seemed like 100 miles, but was more like 3. I had Easter with my family up north which was nice and my  kids are on Spring Beak but I am not.

The topic is clothes. How do you dress a body that do I put this....shape?!?

 I find that at 34 years old, 2 teenagers and being in college full time that I dress like I'm 16 still. Chucks, t-shirt, hoodie or sweater.....yup. THAT is what I have been reduced to. I'm too short for the average size clothes, everything must me taken up so that it fits me. Then you have my hips and my chest coupled with a relatively small waist (at least when you compare it to my butt and boobs it is small)....they just don't make clothes for me. Being so short (just barely under 5'2") if it fits my chest it is too big everywhere else....if I get something that doesn't fit too horribly then it is too broad in the shoulders. Then there are the pants, skirts, dresses.....if it fits my hips it is too big in the waist, if I get something that fits my waist I can't get it up my thighs. And don't get me started on my post 2 babies flabby tummy that seems to bulge and sag and wobble no matter what I do. I don't want to have to wear spanx in everything I own just feel like I'm not some disgusting sausage stuffed into a too tight casing.

Clothing manufacturers don't help any. They market to "the beautiful people"....the "thin" people and then try to get them to be skinnier. I wasn't always extra curvy with a side of curvy....I know, I was "thin" once. Though even by industry standards I was fat, I was a size 2-4...a muscular, yet curvy size 2-4.  But I was made to think I was grossly obese. Now that I truly am obese, my options are basically boxy, large clothing in fabrics that remind me of old women and styles that make me look matronly...or thin, flimsy overpriced attempts at giving us something SORT OF like what the beautiful people get to wear. Sure there are a few places that I can find clothing I genuinely like and would wear, Torrid, ModCloth, PinupGirlClothing....but lets face it, $75 for a pair of pants (on the "cheaper" end of things) that will wear through from "chub rub" with in 3 months OR that I will either grow out of or shrink out of in that amount of time is a bit ridiculous.

I used to love to shop....even though I couldn't dress in all the stuff my friends wore growing up I still loved fashion and always managed to find something I could wear and feel pretty in. Now, I have a panic attack just planning to go least if I'm buying for me. First off, I have to drive 45 minutes just to get to a store and try stuff on. Even then there is no promise that they will have anything that fits me ok....pants aren't too bad because the main issue I have with them is the length at Torrid....but shirts, what are they thinking sometimes?!? The shoulders are so broad that I look like a football player. OR they are so shapeless in an attempt to hide imperfections that I end up looking like I'm wearing a potato sack!

So basically we are to either look like we are 15 or like we are 50. I just want to grab the fashion industry by the neck and shake them...violently. I want to prop their eyes open and force them to see that  "fat" girls need cute, flattering clothing that doesn't make them feel worse about themselves. Providing me with unflattering materials (polyester) that do not move, breathe and flow with my curves by skimming them is not going to make me not be actually makes it more likely that we will end up squeezing into the styles that you DO provide, in sizes that don't fit us just so that we don't walk around naked and further offend anyone.

Sure we can order online, but then we have to wait 7-10 days to receive clothing that probably won't fit right since we can't try them on..then we have to PAY to send them back and get the "proper" size, which may or may not fit either. Don't even get me started on those "size charts".....really?!? A size XXL in one store is a 4X in another and an XL in yet another. SIGH. I find too that when I measure myself to determine the size they say I wear, it is often WAY too big....or WAY too small when I get it!

The truth is that I'm 34 years old and I don't want to look 40, I don't want to look 20... I want to look like me. I'm funny, sweet, outgoing, creative, friendly and easy going, I'm a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I'm also a student and like to have comfy days that don't require baggy sweats and my husband's sweatshirts. I deserve to feel beautiful regardless of the size on my label. I deserve to look cute and not like I'm in my 50's. I deserve to feel beautiful regardless of my weight and not hike my pants up to smooth out my belly, topped with baggy sweatshirts and tops which only make me look LARGER. Just because I'm "cursed" or "blessed" with curves doesn't mean I should be ashamed of them because they don't meet the fashion industry's standards of anorexic.

And this is what I face...4 weeks before my graduation....I don't want to settle for "what fits"... I want to feel like I was able to find something I LOVE rather than just something I "like". I feel like I constantly settle....for what fits and for what I can afford that sort of fits. It doesn't seem fair that those of us that are deemed "fat" not only have to dress ourselves within the parameters of our wallets like the rest of the world, but we also have to work within a set of guidelines that are set for us, in order to avoid causing those around us to vomit, to not offend anyone else and also to be ok with looking either childish or matronly.

So the search continues......

At this point I am still determined to not "settle".....I still feel like I have a right to look GOOD for my graduation and for my party afterwards.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm a Failure....

I am a complete and utter failure. I'd love to get on here and say that isn't true exactly....but I am. I've been a failure, I didn't follow through and I failed. I started out on this workout routine, which I stuck to for a week....I only took one day off....and then the treadmill broke and I got my excuse.

Needless to say I have not worked out at all since then....and I have gained weight because I also stopped tracking my food like  I usually do, decreased my water consumption and replaced it with diet pop and coffee. Yay for me. Yeah not so much.

So I'm a failure this week. But at least I  know WHY I failed when it came to sticking to the workout routine I set for myself and why I failed when it comes to the that is a victory in and of itself.....right? I have to remind myself that I can't expect to have a loss every week.....but of course I then remind myself back that I have lost and gained the same 3 pounds over the last month or so anyway. Then I have to remind myself that I can't expect myself to lose weight when I start working out because I'm building muscle...but lets face it, that is only partially true.

The truth is, I gave up before it was a habit. I gave up because it was hard and I wanted to have it easy....and I have paid the price on the scale for that. And I'm trying to learn that lesson and pick my big butt up and start again. You won't always have success in the forms you want to see it. You won't always have success. It IS hard. It IS hard work that takes dedication and determination and sometimes we are weak and sometimes we give up.

The only way to reverse the gaining trend I'm on right now is to refocus, rededicate, pick my big butt up and try again. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.....well neither was my fat it isn't going to be demolished and toned in a day, or a week either.

Yes, I will admit..... I am a complete and utter failure.......and that is ok as long as I don't let myself stay that way.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sometimes it is hard.......

Sometimes it is hard to admit to ourselves that we are weak. We give up on ourselves so often because we don't want to face the facts that it takes hard work to get anything that is truly worth it. So we struggle for a while with things like working out or dieting and then we give up. Usually we make excuses like "I just don't have time" or "I take the stairs every day so that is my exercise". The truth is, we are weak and we are lazy....we want results with no effort. We want the magic pill that makes it all better. Sometimes it is hard to admit to ourselves that we have flaws and we will struggle, and so we set ourselves up for failure.

Sometimes it is even harder to admit that we are strong enough. It is easier to just say, "I can't" than it is to say, "I CAN". You CAN change what you don't like. You CAN be a more positive person. You CAN say no to a cookie....face it, that COOKIE has no just have to practice some restraint and say no to yourself. You CAN say yes to 20 minutes of exercise, you just have to MAKE yourself do it sometimes. The truth is, until it becomes a habit it will be hard. It will be hard when you don't see results to keep going. THAT is where you have to tell yourself the honest truth...."I am strong enough to do this".

Thursday was day one of my new exercise routine...which as I said is a "four letter word" to me...and though I didn't want to some days, I have kept to my promise to myself to not take more than one day off in a week from doing it.....well so far anyway. :-) I took Sunday off. My treadmill decided not to work yesterday when my husband decided he wanted to try my workout too...which meant I couldn't do the EASY thing would have been to just NOT work out, but I felt like I was cheating myself out of the body I DESERVE if I did that. So I got on the stationary bike instead.

The key, I have found, is to be consistent. I won't see success at ALL if I don't stick to it. What do I have to lose besides the weight? I will lose additional pain that comes from feeling like a failure. I will lose additional physical pain that the excess weight puts on my already broken and deteriorating body. The truth is, God gave me this body to take care of while I'm here on earth and I have not been a good steward of this body....not as good as I could be. It is never too late to start.

I have to remind myself all the time that it takes 4 weeks for you to notice changes in your body, 8 weeks for friends and family and 12 for the rest of the world to see I have to give it 12 weeks before I can "quit". And even then, I know I won't want to. It takes 4 weeks to form a new habit and even longer to break by the time I "can quit" if I don't see any changes in my body, I won't want to because it has become a good habit. :-) There are ways to work around the "easy way out",  you just have to find what works for you....for me, it is just doing it and promising myself I will thank me for it later.

"The hardest lift to do is your butt of the couch"
"No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch"

Sometimes it is hard to admit that we are weak, but it is harder to admit that we are strong enough. But we ARE strong enough.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The hardest lift of all is lifting your butt off the couch

Day one of my new workout routine.

Ok so let me preface this with "workouts" and me just don't get along. Oh I like being active, don't get me wrong, but the words "workout routine" and I just have NEVER been "besties"....EVER. I was always a very active kid and an even more active teenager. It wasn't until after I had kids that I found that the level of activity needed to chase after kids was not getting the job done. So like many of us do, I got fatter. I should have gone back to what I knew, to what I loved about the kinds of exercise I had done before...nothing really FELT like exercise and instead I was just having fun. But I can sit here and "should've, would've, could've" myself to death....and let's face it, we all have excuses and "reasons" some valid, some not, for not lifting our butts off the couch and MOVING out bodies.

Food has never really been a problem for me. I understand and recognize proper portions. I know balanced meals are better than not and HOW to make them...not just slop something on a plate and call it dinner. My mother has always been very health conscious and instilled in all of us kids what GOOD, WHOLESOME and NATURAL food is...what it looks like, what it tastes like and how to prepare it in interesting ways. She did it on a sometimes really tight budget too...and we ALWAYS had extra kids at our house...that woman still amazes me. My dad is a WONDERFUL cook as well, introduced me to exotic meats and seemingly strange ways of preparing it...even wild game. (My dad makes an amazing Alligator Chili BTW), my little brother is a most amazing and creative chef as well, with his degree in Culinary Arts and is always my go to guy for "what wine goes with my dinner" information. So I know how and what to do with food. The more colors on your plate the better.....your plate should be mostly veggies, then lean protein, then little carbohydrates.....yes I know all that...and to be honest MOST of the time that is how I eat. So FOOD isn't so much of a problem.

My issue has always been that I simply don't move enough for the food that I eat. My body requires fuel, but I usually am not burning all the fuel I am taking in. Or as has been the most recent issue, and the reason for my plateau in weight loss.....I am burning the FUEL but not the reserves! Just walking is not going to cut it any more. It just isn't. It is time to face that. I'm not going to get my sculpted body back just by cutting calories and making better choices on my food. Ok  yes, cutting out fried foods and carb heavy meals will HELP me lose pounds on a scale....BUT 120 lbs of flabby thin self is not nearly as cute as 130 lbs of sculpted lean muscle self.....personally I  would rather have the latter....the number on the scale just can't be that much of a focus in our lives that we value it over the actual SELF we see. Period.

So today, I made the attempt to make peace with my nemesis.....Workout Routine.....Oh how I despise thee....and I know the feeling is mutual. I can tell you hate me too by the week of dedication I show you and the non loss I see on the scale and no budge in the measurements....seriously....after a week I generally GAIN weight and my clothes feel tighter not looser! It is like I am wearing my skin a size too small after the first week or two. This is what I find most discouraging about "workout routines". You give 2 weeks......dedicate and stick to it for 2 weeks...and you seem to go backwards. That isn't seeing NO progress that is seeing BACKWARDS progress. It is usually at this point that I give up.....that is if I last that long. The other issue I have with these "routines" is that they are ROUTINES so I feel like I *have* to do them or I'm failing myself and everyone else. The truth is, my muscles hurt, my joints are screaming, by the end of the day (since I try to work out in the morning as much as possible...when I actually do it) I'm so stiff and sore that I can hardly breathe without pain....sleep?!? HA! But today, I decided to try again anyway.

I don't know what is going to make it different this time. I would like to think that I'm just that much more focused and determined..but I don't know if that is really it. I would like to say that I have really high hopes for the progress I'm going to see in the next 2 weeks....but I don't. Maybe that is sad but I don't. I'm not looking at it and thinking "ok so I'm going to lose 2 pounds each week"....nope...I'm not looking at it and saying "ok I'm going to go down another pant size in 2 weeks"...nope. It doesn't mean I'm not wishing that I would have that kind of success, I'm just not holding out hope for that because I know how this always works with me. I stick to it for a week or two and I give up because I'm not seeing results. THIS time, I'm just trying to STICK TO IT. If all I gain is that my endurance is up from what it was when I started then so be it. If all that happens is I am buffer underneath my protective layer of fat, then so be it. The important thing is that today, I laced up my running shoes and I LIFTED MY BUTT OFF THAT COUCH. I then got on my treadmill.....


That is right folks, I RAN. I have never in my life ran on a treadmill. Not even at a size 2 did I EVER run on a treadmill. I'm always afraid I'm going to put my eye out. (ha ha my busty gals will understand that one) I always figure skated, swam, danced or tumbled (gymnastics) for exercise..running was not really required. So, I found a 2 week running plan for the treadmill online (Pinterest.....LOVE IT) and I had to modify it a bit for myself but I did it. I did running intervals on my treadmill for the first time in my life. 20 minutes of that done, I moved on to a super basic "Arm workout for beginners" which I again modified but it was to do the bicep curls WITH weights instead of without....and then some of my crunches I normally do. I decided to skip the squats and lunges this week to let my body adjust to the extra workouts. :-)

So here I sit. SORE. Yet I feel pretty accomplished. I did something I have never done, and I'm going to get up tomorrow and I'm going to do it again. Today just brought me one day closer to the body I not only WANT, but to the body I DESERVE.

"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch"~ ?
"The hardest lift of all is lifting your butt off the couch" ~ ?

"What you give is all you deserve to get" ~ Me

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So I'm what?!?

Ok so after some time away from this blog, 2 surgeries, 3 pounds lost, 3 pounds gained, 2 lost, 1 gained.....etc...I am back. Now what do I do?!? I stopped attending meetings for my WW for a couple of reasons. I usually do so much better going to meetings, but the cost adds up and I also pay for the online version because I'm ALWAYS at my computer. So I'm trying to go about it from the Online perspective now. I know a lot of people are successful that way, but it is like doing college online, you really have to rely on yourself to be your motivator, your confidant, your support system etc. My husband is very supportive don't get me wrong, but he doesn't have a weight problem, nor has he ever, so he can't understand what it is like to go from being thin and having a great figure to suddenly feeling like you are trapped in a circus tent....a folded, squishy, wrinkled (stretchmarks are lovely aren't they) circus tent. It is hard to hide excessive weight gain....but it is even harder for people to see a 30 pound loss when you still have 95 to lose. Needless to say I'm feeling a bit discouraged at the moment. After the first surgery I lost 3 pounds. Only being able to eat yogurt and pureed soup kinda does that to you. But the second surgery was not so bad in the recovery department and I only had to eat that way a few days rather than 2 weeks. I have been tracking what I'm eating and honestly, it isn't that much. Being the only gluten free person in my house makes for some pretty boring meals for me sometimes, especially since I have a full load at school and my kids have full loads with extracurricular activities. But I digress.

I'm back and back on track....but I can't help but feel the discouragement of having 2-3 pounds going up and down on the scale no matter what I do. Nothing is worse than hovering over a big milestone in your journey and watching the scale take you farther from that milestone and then back again....torturing you and teasing you that you aren't there yet. It is beyond frustrating. It is even more discouraging when you have people in your life who are more focused on themselves and their success to really offer any kind of support in yours. This is really difficult for me to fathom sometimes. When I was successful the first time around, in 2007, I went out of my way to make sure that my friends felt that I was supportive and that I wasn't in any way gloating about my success...yet it seems so often that is what people do to me. I am happy that they are successful, I know all too well the difficult journey they have traveled to get to that point, I am proud of them, I am happy for them and I do all I can to continue that encouragement because I know they need to hear it too, just as much as I do. Again....I digress.

So where do I go from here?!? I pick myself up by my bootlaces and hit the road again that's what. It isn't easy, no. I will put on the happy face and trudge forward trying to remain positive in all I do. The truth is, it is hard. This journey is HARD. Yes I have lost 30 pounds so a year and a half. It took me a year to lose 53 pounds last 2007. I am discouraged, I am frustrated, I am struggling.....but I am going. So, now what?!? Now I reiterate my new year resolution...I am not a number on a scale, I am not my loss or my gain. My success is not measured by the speed of my loss or by anyone else's. I will not beat myself up for a plateau, or for a little gain. I will just keep going...and EVENTUALLY I will get there. EVENTUALLY I will look back and see how far I came and know that I stuck to it and that no matter what the scale said at what given point, I was a success.

"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch"

Friday, January 18, 2013

Moving Forward: No matter how tiny the steps, it still counts.

This year I decided that I was not going to focus so much on the number on the scale that I become obsessed with it. So far I have been doing rather well with that. Of course that is easy to do when you are LOSING consistently. But when you see a gain, even a little one, it is hard to not let it eat away at you.

Last week at my weigh-in I found that I had gained a little weight. The holidays caught up with me, I was lazy about tracking, I didn't drink enough water and basically, I was lazy with staying on track. We all do it. We are human. So I gained .8 of a pound. What got me was that it bumped me back up a number. I think if I had gone from 211 to 211.8 it would not have FELT like a huge gain....but I went from 211.2 to 212. So I saw that "horrible" 212 pounds on the scale it felt like I was seeing 237 pounds again. Now I knew in my head that it was a small gain and that it is expected, especially after holidays and having a harder time getting back on track. But I was "self loathing" over the number on the scale and beating myself up for being lazy.  I had to step back and remind myself what my "new year's resolution" was. The truth is that a "thin" person's weight doesn't stay exactly the same all the time. Weight fluctuates. I  know because I wasn't always the "fat friend". Weight fluctuates when at a "healthy weight range"....which is why there is a RANGE. So I had to remind myself that my weight was allowed to "fluctuate" as well.

I was within that 2 pound weight fluctuation zone and I just needed to recognize that I was freaking out over .8 of a pound gain coming off of holidays and laziness. I was LUCKY it wasn't 5 pounds. So I got myself straightened out, vented at my Husband and one of my best friends, and pulled myself together. Let's face it, when I get to "goal" my weight is going to fluctuate. I can't be freaking out and suddenly turning to starving myself or diet gimmicks because the NUMBER on the scale went up .2 of a pound. What a miserable way to live my life. Constantly focused on the scale. Constantly worried about what EVERYTHING will look like on the scale. I need to correct that obsessive behavior and allow myself some freedom to be human, to enjoy my life and my loved ones, celebrate on special occasions and enjoy the yummy food my chef brother makes (when I get to)....otherwise I will be "thin" and "healthy" but I will not be any happier.

The Friday after that horrible weigh-in, I had surgery to remove 3 of my extra wisdom teeth. MAN is that miserable after 25 years of age......I'm 34. :-) The oral surgeon said that my recovery time will be longer, more painful and the swelling will be greater than the "average" person's. Partly because of my age but also because of the teeth I had removed. They were difficult to remove, one left a small hole in my sinus cavity which had to be stitched up, and because they were so impacted my body felt like it was being attacked and my lymph nodes became so swollen I looked like Droopy Dog and Quasimodo had a baby and I was it. lol I have been on massive pain medications since last Friday, "no chew" foods.....yogurt, protein shakes, apple sauce, pudding, sherbet, jello and pureed soups. Being gluten free though, the soups are a hard one......but it was the only way to get vegetables in me without actually turning to "baby food".

At first I was so swollen that the scale was weighing me at numbers I haven't seen in MONTHS. Ben (husband) kept telling me that I was so swollen it was the retained water it was weighing. I accepted that and returned to bed. But as the week dragged on, the scale read 218.6 and I FREAKED. I really did. I felt like this really wasn't fair. Here I was barely eating, because not only did my food have to be "no chew" but I was becoming SO sick of eating the same thing over and over....Plus the pain medications make me not hungry at all. I just drink a ton of water and tea. When I tracked my points plus, which I'm supposed to eat 30 a day, I was barely getting 20. But I wasn't hungry, I wasn't any more tired than anyone else would be recovering from surgery....but still 218.6. It felt like a death sentence. Why am I even bothering?!? Why do I even try?!? Ben "slapped me silly" (not really) and got me to refocus on just healing. I did some massage and warm compresses for the lymph nodes, I drank more tea and water and sure enough, within a day or two the swelling had gone down and  the scale was a more "normal" number.

Yesterday would have been my "normal' weigh-in day. Ben and I decided that I wasn't going to go because until all the swelling goes down, I will feel like it isn't my "true weight". BUT, you KNOW I weighed in at home. My scale yesterday said 210....which would mean that I had lost 2 pounds since last week's .8 gain. However, this morning my scale said 209.8 a number I haven't seen since probably 2010. I will probably be going to a meeting tomorrow morning to get my official "weigh-in" for the week though. It might not be my "true" number since I'm still fairly swollen, but it will still be down...which will help me stay on track. NEXT week I should be pretty much down to normal puffiness so that weight would be my "true" weight for that week.

One good thing I noticed from having my wisdom and supernumerary teeth removed and having to eat a very restricted diet (I'm still on that by the way......still can't eat "normal" food) is that it has snapped me back to reality of portions, food choices and when I'm REALLY hungry. So, today is back to tracking.....even my barely eating because of surgery.....tracking tracking tracking. And as soon as I have my appointment next week with my oral surgeon and he says it is ok, I'm going to get back on my stationary bike. I would love to be down under 200 or at least hit 200 by Valentine's Day.

The moral of the story is: give yourself room to be human and enjoy life. Your weight is going to fluctuate some, let it. Give yourself the room to breathe and enjoy all that it has to offer. If you falter, get back up, and start again. It isn't a competition with anyone else. It is about finding your worth in something other than a number on a scale, the size of a pair of jeans or how many chins you  have. It isn't about eating your feelings away, stuffing your face to "get back at them" or about seeing how little food you need to survive. It is about giving yourself the same grace you give to others. It is about finding beauty in yourself when you see it the least. And it is CERTAINLY about allowing yourself to feel the success of a smaller pair of pants without beating yourself up about how little the scale actually moved to get there.

A step forward, no matter how small it might be, is STILL a step towards your goal.

"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new year begins...the turning of a, what to write on that page?

So today is the first day of a new year. It is 2013 and I am struggling with the choice of making resolutions or not. I used to make them every year, but every time I didn't complete them I ended up feeling like a failed, rather than realizing that those "resolutions" weren't as pressing as perhaps they were at the start of the year.

2012 was an interesting journey for me. We lost some dear loved ones this year and I watched a few friends say goodbye to their husbands for a final time in this life. It was a heart wrenching year in many ways. At the same time though, we have been blessed with many memories with good friends and family. We were able to travel to my hometown in California to visit with my parents, sister, brother (who came down from Napa to see us), my Nana (father's mother) and my Grandmother (mother's mother). After 3 years away for Christmas it was a nice opportunity to visit with them as well as many of my cousins. It was hard not having my grandfather there, but I know he would be delighted to know that we were all together for Christmas this year.

This last year also brought some answers to my health woes and though not FULLY solved or under control, I am well on my way to feeling MUCH better. Cutting out the gluten has really made a difference for me and I plan to stick to it. I have seen progress, though slow, in my weight loss and though I could be disappointed and kick myself for not working harder to succeed, I'm choosing to focus on the progress that has been made towards my goals.

It was also a year of "new" for the 4 of us. Our son started 4-H in addition to his Boy Scout commitment which added another shuffling of kids around on Mondays. He remains active in Band at school playing the Alto Sax for a 4th year and added the Trio Pan (three steel drums) to his repertoire this year. He continues to excel academically in all subjects and is greatly enjoying Tae Kwan Do, and has had great success in that too. He continues to participate and succeed in Mathcounts (a form of Mathletes) and is excited about this year's competition. :-) Our daughter remains greatly involved with 4-H and continues to excel in playing Lead Pan (steel drum) and singing in the school choir, as well as having great success in Tae Kwan Do. She was requested to participate in the Demo team and in doing so, we have added ANOTHER day of carting kids around in "mom's taxi". She has also added Spanish club and CWHS Live (their news station at school) this last year, keeping me EVER busy with the driving.

This last year I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying about what my next step in school should be. I have struggled over the ::cough "20 years" cough:: I have spent chasing my AA to decide on "what I want to be when I grow up". And here I sit, at 34 years old, with 2 teenagers planning their future educational and professional goals and I can honestly say that I have no idea. lol I have many interests and have never had one of those interests be something that I was unable to succeed at once I put my mind to it. (I think most people are like that though.) So in "settling" on a career field, ie. What I want to be When I grow up, feels like exactly that....settling.

I hate that word in this context. "Settling" just sounds so limiting. It makes me feel like once I "settle" that I am then locked into that one thing and that everything else I enjoy, have passion for and ambition to succeed in is no longer an option....because I "settled"...I "chose". It is that whole "you made your bed now lie in it" deal that makes it hard to decide. So I go back and forth, English.....Psychology......Writing....Music....Photography.....Nursing......Theater...Journalism...Baking.
.Cooking.....Teaching...Anthropology....AHHHHH. The moment I feel like I have made my choice and "settled", not 2 days later I'm changing my mind. I  know it is fear. I am afraid of making the wrong choice. I'm afraid of failing. I'm afraid that I "can't"....that I won't be good enough....that I won't succeed....that I will be laughed at and that there will be no "career" in the field I chose.

After many conversations with my wonderful and patient husband (he has to be because, let's face it....though relatively "normal",  I'm fairly neurotic when it comes to something I feel bears a great ton of weight), and several deep conversations with my amazingly supportive mother (she had to be that way I think because I was CONSTANTLY on to the "next" thing growing up), we came to a conclusion that seems to have appeased my neurosis. At least for the time being. I think it appeases it because it isn't really a choice at all. lol Basically the conclusion was to stick with my original (20 years ago when I started) major of English. As a BA degree this will be a good basis for me to then "fall into" whatever it is I am supposed to do with my career.

The minor, I'm not settled on at this point. Photography I don't need a degree in to do.....I do it now....lots of training, lots of schooling, lots of hands on experience and a lot of time spent picking the brains of wonderful photographers I'm blessed to know and who offer sound, seasoned advice...but without a degree in it, I can still have my business. Creative writing, music, theater.....always a passion for me. Always go back to those, every time. If I'm sad, I write, or I sing, or a dive into that fantasy world (yes even at 34 years old) and imagine what it might be like to play that heroine of that big play. If I'm happy, I'm singing....anything....but it is no doubt that those things feed my inner self, they soothe my soul and comfort me...always have. So, I can never let go of those completely.

That is the very thing that has me all mixed up in my head and my heart. We tell our children to follow their dreams. To dream big and to reach for them. Yet when we become parents we seem to forget that we need to reach for ours too....not at the expense of our kids, not in a way that hinders their own reaching....but in a way that shows them how to reach for theirs, that it is never too late to live a dream....that they TRULY are capable of having their dreams come true. Granted, the best thing for ME was to put my dreams and goals on the back burner. Not give up completely, not brush them off forever, but to set them aside while my kids were younger so that I was properly equipped with helping them to establish their individual identities and discover their passions in life. I have always felt though, that my indecision was a bad example to my could I teach them to follow their dreams if I not only wasn't following mine, but I no longer really knew WHAT my dreams were?!?

I would love to say that I know now....but I don't.....and you know what? That is ok. It is ok that I don't know what I want to be when I "grow up"....maybe I'm never growing up. I know I'm getting older, I know our time here in this life is "short"....but maybe I won't ever lose that active imagination. Maybe I won't ever stop seeing shapes in clouds, hearing a melody in the air and writing a song in my head. Maybe I will forever imagine myself as that heroine of the story, write characters that have a little piece of me in them and invest my whole heart into every book I read or write. Maybe I will never cease to see more than just a tree....but a whole story of that tree and translate that into a photo. I'm sure I will never stop seeing the beauty of the world, the intricate contradictions and the complex beauty of all that surrounds me....and I will forever feel compelled to capture that passion, pain, beauty and conflict I see. I don't know where it will lead me in life. Perhaps those things will never be part of my "career". They will however remain a part of me.....the ways that I express what (believe it or not) I struggle with verbally.

So on this first day of a new year, as I look at all I have learned about myself in the past year, and as I look to what 2013 might hold for me and my family, I have made just one resolution.

I will keep on the path I'm on, learning, growing, chasing dreams, stressing less, and getting back to who I am at the core of my being.

I am still a long way off to knowing "me" again, finding my "Dollface" again....but I AM finding, little by little, who I am not. The little pieces of me that I have discovered, I have found I rather like. I don't miss being angry all the time. I don't miss feeling worthless, lost, confused and alone. If there was just one little thing that I could share, one piece of advice that I could offer, one thing that I took away from this last year, it would be this:

Every night, I just keep "Counting my blessings, instead of sheep".

Focus on the positive, even when it seems impossible. Focus on what good you have done, not the ways you have failed. Focus on the good you WILL do, instead of the wrong you have is the only way to truly heal. Focus on those who love you, and truly stand in your not invest so much of yourself into those who do not...or who only do when they want something. Focus on FORGIVENESS.....for yourself and for others. Remember that we are all on a journey, we all walk through an adventure, along different paths....and at different paces. In the end we all get to a destination...we can either lift each other up, or we can tear each other down...remember though, what you offer to others will be offered to you.