Little sister

Last night I dreamed that you and I were walking down the street, hand in hand. You were still at little girl and I was the self I’ve always been (although I am not sure what age I was). We were taking a path that you and I had taken many times years before, but you had been walking with dad lately because I was always too busy to take you.

As I began to lead you down our old route, you told me that you and dad went a different way that you liked better. You wanted to show me but weren’t sure where to turn. I said that you should just move forward and let your instincts guide you; even if you no longer knew for sure which path to take, just go the way you thought was right. We could always turn back if it turned out to be the wrong direction.

When we got to the store, as was our final destination, I went directly to the candy aisle and left you to fend for yourself. You made your purchase as I wandered outside, looking at the view and chatting with strangers. Then you came out with a bag in your hand and showed me what you had bought. I laughed with amazement and tried to take a picture of your purchases. This made you very upset and you begged me to put the camera away. I conceded, not completely understanding why, and we continued on our journey, again hand in hand.

When we arrived home, you took each item out of the bag and laid them on the table. There was two bottles of medicine, a bottle of water, band-aids and a pack of gum. Again, I pulled out my camera to photograph your wares and you became very distraught. I didn’t understand and my instinct was to push you aside, to tell you to not be so silly and take the picture anyway.

Instead, I sat down on the floor with you and held you in my arms. As you calmed I asked why you were so upset. Did you think I was trying to make fun of you for your choices? You nodded. So I explained. When I was a little girl mom always took me to the store and I spent every penny on candy. And if I wanted more than I could afford, I slipped a few extra in my pocket in secret. My only concern was how much I could consume.

Your choices were logical and considerate; whether you knew it or not, your purchases could help yourself and others in times of need. You thought forward, not immediate; you thought of others, not only of yourself; you thought with maturity and compassion, and that was amazing to me. It gave me so much respect for you, and for our father, and I was glad that he had been taking you to the store and that I had not.

With that you wiped away your tears, displayed your wares and stood behind them with pride and a smile so big it competed with the flash bulb.

And then I woke up.

Day 5

I gotta tell ya – I’m pooped.

I’m excited that this new exercise regime and healthy eating habit will eventually GIVE me energy, however, at the end of the first week I can honestly say it is TAKING everything I have to stay upright. My idea of heaven at this moment is to crawl under my desk and nap.

But I won’t. I’ll power through, at least for a few more hours.

I think.

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Day 3

Barely slept all night.

Woke to a punch to the chest (my guy boxes bad guys is his dreams sometimes).

Got the hell out of bed, laced up my runners and bounced around with the kids from Turbo Jam.

*whew*

80%

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the 80% psychology. The 30 years spent developing the bullshit, and the 15 years of trying to figure it out. (Funny, it feels like I’ve spent 3x as many years exploring it.)

I was stung by it during my walk yesterday morning, when I saw a man standing on the side of the road I was turning down. My instinct was to turn the other way.

When I was a kid my parents often warned me that men might try to hurt me. I recall one time in particular, when I was about 14 and my dad happened upon me walking down the street with a group of male friends, he made me get in the car and promise to never walk alone with only males. Because I didn’t know the things they could do to hurt me and I shouldn’t trust them. The following year I learned a little more of what he meant.

During my brief stint with therapy in my early 30s, my shrink was trying to determine why I was fat and miserable by leading me through an exercise in which I imagined I was walking down the road on a beautiful day, the sun in my face and the wind at my back, looking as beautiful as I’ve ever looked, when I came upon a man walking toward me – what would I thinking in that moment?

When I replied, “That he might hurt me” I was shocked. Logically I knew that 99% of men would never even consider it but that other one percent was ingrained into my psyche so deep that it was automatic.

It was an amazing realization and I was glad to get it out and look at it from an adult perspective. My weight has fluctuated a lot since that time but I can guarantee in no uncertain terms that any adding of pounds was not a result of that fear. Still,

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The dude yesterday, by the way? Was more upset to see me coming than I him – he completely ignored and avoided me. As he puffed away on his illegal Ontario green. (No, I didn’t ask for a hit. But I considered it. =P)

 

 

Scribbles in an old notebook

Cancer. The chemotherapy suite. They walk into the room two by two, and I try to guess which is the patient. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not at all. Does my perpetual smile bother them, I wonder? So much illness but, especially with the elderly patients, I want to take their hands and help.

This is not what you’d expect but this is my favourite time with my father. Here he is on his game. He teases the nurses and jokes with the trial monitor. He lets me fix the height of his bed so he’ll be more comfortable, he lets me tuck the blankets around him when he is cold.

Mom does her tsk-tsk-tsk-stop-being-happy stint and admonishes him for playing. She says that you can’t tell when he is serious. But you can – you just have to look. You need to pay attention and see the fear that he is pressing  down into his chest.

Is this where the cancer comes from, I wonder? Are the bad feelings he has suppressed his whole life eating his insides away?

Sometimes I want to slap him, push him to see the bright side that I can see.

He’s still there. There’s still time. Make the most of it. Stop hating and start loving. Don’t look at the clouds, cherish the sunshine. Stop throwing your life away, you don’t have any left to spare!

The man in the corner smiles and says good morning to everyone that enters. “Beautiful day”, he says. He smiles at me as he drags his chemo over to the window. He is alone. Does he have someone who loves him? I hope he does. I wish there was a way to tell him that he’s helping, that his smile is contagious.

Maybe mine is, too.

Day 2 (oh yeah!)

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I’m not going to lie to you – I cried a teeny tiny bit on my walk this morning. I was listening to Cheerleader and thinking how funny it is that I play love songs to myself.

I am my cheerleader now. For years I have been the one I go to when I need advice. It’s true that I used to have to get inebriated to access that part of me, my former enemy and lifelong thorn in my side. It’s also true that eventually I had to branch out and find other cheering voices/differing opinions to add to my own. But when it gets right down to it, the voice in my head is my best friend and I love her.

Today that voice in my head was telling me that I can do this. And I believe her, without a doubt.

 

Day 1

I’m a little weary of starting all this again. I’ve let it slide away so many times no one could possibly count. But Tony Robbins reminded me this morning as I rode my stationary bike that achieving a goal is 80% psychology and 20% action. If you fail it is usually because you have an inner conflict that you have to settle before you can succeed. And I think I might have finally conquered those inner conflicts now. And, if I haven’t, it’s time to figure out the next one and the next one and as many as it will take to succeed. I really think I’m ahead of the game now, though… for the first time in my almost 45 years. Time to get cracking on the 20% action!

I promised myself in January that this year I would make $60,000 and lose 60 pounds. I’m on track with the money, especially if my goal of 100% occupancy by summer’s end comes to fruition  (I’m going to bust my ass to get there!) The 60 pounds, however? I’m a little behind. (Note I didn’t say I have a little behind!) I dropped 10 earlier this year when I was competing with my sister, about 7 of which is still off. That means I have 5 months to lose 53 pounds. That’s slightly more than 10 per month. Doable. Challenging, but doable. But only if I start today. And today I did.

Day 1 : I actually got out of bed at 6:15am. I actually got on that bike for a half hour. I actually got to work on time and worked hard and cooked dinner instead of getting take out and I’m actually going to bed on time. And I’m actually tired so maybe I’ll actually sleep all night.

Onward and upward! Wish me luck!

The Moment

Today I came home from work seriously pissed off with myself. What the hell, me? What are you doing? What’s the end game here? Flirting your ass off with some guy, mooning over him when he’s not around. Where exactly do you want this to go?

I know I don’t want anything to happen between us. Except that I kind of do. It’s like Kevie, way back in 1995. The forbidden fruit. I tasted that fruit, and it was good, but it was different because there was no one to hurt, no one besides us was involved. That taste actually made a significant positive impact on my life. So maybe that lesson could apply here too, in reverse.

Maybe this can be the moment I turn it all around. Maybe someday I’ll look back and know that something really really good came from all this silliness.

I’m too lenient on myself, too easy. I let myself push and push; I want means I get, I want means I’ll take if I have to. Food, money, people. Me me me. That is my life – me.

That is well and good to some degree. I would rather put myself first than last. But I don’t need to always put myself and my wants ahead of everything and everyone else. (I just like to. I don’t need to. 😋)

So if this is the moment I say no more, what does that mean? No more watching the phone and fantasizing because I want to defy consequence. No more eating everything in sight because tomorrow I’ll be better. No slacking off at work and delaying my responsibilities because I feel like it. No making unkept promises that I’ll do better, eat healthier, exercise more.

I’m so damn easy on myself. Maybe that’s the problem with raising yourself: you can get away with anything and everything. It caused lots of trouble though, too, didn’t it?

Smarten up, chump. Let this be the day. Make this the moment you turned it all around. You can. You should. You will.

Thanks for checking in, future me.