Monday, April 28, 2014


Today has really not been my day.  Not that I'm especially fond of most Mondays anyway...which means that I'm like the majority of people, I suppose.  I have spent most of the day with a headache, a little frustrated, and a little nervous.  After all, Dixie is spending the night at the vet after her "female surgery" - which is a story in itself...but I'm not going to go there.  My son is in Huntsville amid the tornado warnings that seem to be blanketing the South and Midwest today.  Then there are the little Riley's fascination with chewing up my throw rug in the kitchen and the fact that Big Dave is not happy unless he is sleeping to something heinous on TV...that just hit somewhere between "makes me want to roll my eyes" and "being snippy."

I hate severe weather.  Not that I'm one of those people who cannot function normally if the Doppler radar is picking up something that could go awry...I'm not.   I used to not really be weather-scared at all, in fact.  But let a little tornado wipe out a lot of Tuscaloosa, Alabama with your baby girl sitting in a second story apartment by herself...have her lose a sweet sorority sister that you knew and see the aftermath of the damage...and you'll tend to pay closer attention from that point forward.

I know I do.

And here we are again.  Tornados everywhere and me calling my son every few minutes to make sure that everything is copasetic in Huntsville.  I'm quite certain he appreciates my loving concern.

And all of the (mildly obsessive) texts and calls.

While he's studying for finals (that were postponed today...which made him happy).

Yet while I whine and complain about how everything isn't perfect in my life, I'm awfully grateful for what is going right.  I wallowed in the negative for awhile today and then made a choice.  I decided to choose to not focus on all of that.  There's too much right amid all of the wrong.

There's a lot to be happy about today.  That the project with the invitations has been picked up and my dining room table is clear and they seem happy with how it turned out.  That the workout tonight was great and my hair was completely wet (which is oddly enough, my goal every time).  That my Dixie was wagging her tail and doing okay according to the vet tech when I called to check on her this afternoon.  That I wore a pair of workout pants to the gym tonight that are horribly out of style...but that happens when you don't wear something for five years because you can't...and you don't care now that you can.  That I have new clothes in my closet due to the kindness of a friend and I'm passing some of my outgrown clothes on to another friend who might be able to use them.

I am on vacation part of next week and part of the one after that, and I'll be visiting relatives.  Getting out of my routine is a bit dangerous...but it is also greatly needed.  The weather is warming up and our lettuce that Farmer Big Dave planted weeks ago is quite delicious.  I've been eating it since Friday.  That Publix has "buy one-get one free"on fruit bowls this week and the variety of it from the blackberries and strawberries I'd been buying has been lovely.  That payday is in two days and I'll have the temporary feeling that I have some money.  Yeah, that'll pass quickly.  Always does.  But still...

There are people who love me, folks who inspire me, and others who teach me things I need to know.  I like to think that I'm returning that right back to others like some kind of cosmic trading post that seems to make me really happy and constantly grateful.

In this world there are strawberry cupcakes (that I can't eat...but I know that they are there), roses on the bushes of everyone's yard here in Montgomery/Pike Road, and the knowledge that if I stay faithful with the diet and exercise that the weight will eventually give it up and I'll keep being inspired to stay at it in a healthy cycle.  I'm headed to a fun "Ladies Day Out" on Saturday and I'm looking forward to getting back to my Sunday School class on Sunday.

See?  Lots to be excited about.  To look forward to.  To motivate me to quit the whining.  I choose happy.  May as well.

I realize that there are times when we are behind inconsiderate drivers (happened all day today)...and times when we are that person (that happened at a red light when I was looking at the Doppler radar and missed the fact that other cars in front of me were moving.)

And the lady behind me didn't even blow the horn or flip me off.  I consider that a bit of grace at its finest.  Who knows?  Maybe she was checking out her phone too.

But if we spend all of our time yelling at people for being moronic, we're wasting a lot of energy that could be spent in a more constructive manner.  I don't know doing what particularly...but it sounds good.

Although I'll still yell occasionally.  Because I just must.  And because people around here cannot drive.

Tomorrow is another day.  I don't know what will happen as I move from this moment to then...if I'll spend the night tonight hoping that everything will turn out okay as the storms blow outside or if it will be one of those that I sleep through and wake to be surprised that I did. Hard to tell at this point.

I do know that there will be opportunities to choose to focus on what is annoying, trying my patience and not what I'd like to see...or the opportunity to choose to focus on what is surprising, lovely, and just a simple reminder of how awesome life can be.

It's really all up to me.

And to you.

In the words of Charlie Daniels - who is a smarter man than I ever knew prior to social media - and who I admire very much..."let's make the day count."  We can, you know.  We really can.


Even when you want to just curl up in the fetal position on the couch.  Be grateful for the couch.

Even when someone has treated you amazingly unfairly and you'd like to slap them into next week.  Be grateful that you are smart enough to know your worth and that you have the strength to slap them (if not the intestinal fortitude).

Even when things look ominous and you are completely out of control and you are afraid and angry and uninspired.  Be grateful that God is in control.

Even when you want to just yell at the world and remain grumpy all day.  Be grateful that you have the freedom of speech to have an opinion and freedom of choice to be yourself.


But choose well.

Life's too short to be grumpy all day.  Plus, Grumpy Cat really has the corner on that market, yes?


... Grumpy Cat memes for your Friday (25 Photos) » Funny Grumpy Cat Memes

Friday, April 25, 2014

Waiting Room

Posted earlier on Facebook...but wanted to keep it here as well.  

Lately, I have been sitting in the "waiting room" of life trying to get things to move one way or the other. You know that feeling when you have a 2:00 appointment and your doctor is overscheduled and it is 3:20 and you wonder if you'll ever get in. You sit in the waiting room reading magazines from 2011 and trying not to gag over something being covered on CNN while you contemplate the choice of sticking it out or rescheduling.
Some things you cannot reschedule. Waiting on people to make a decision. Waiting on people to decide to make needed changes. Waiting on your weight plateau to move.
That latter one has been my world for the past week. I've done what I'm supposed to do. Shown up and given it my all at the gym. Recorded my food intake and tried to expand the variety. Endured my digestive system shutting down and leaving me feeling like I was as full of it as I suppose some people think I already am.
Then last night, in the midst of being kind of mad that no matter what I did, nothing was moving...literally...I felt the metabolism kick into high gear again. Know that "high gear" is relatively speaking, of course.
Maybe it was the fact that I've missed Allyson's class for the past week and I actually tried to run the six laps in the parking lot that she had us do last night. (Running hasn't really happened a lot in my life for the past decade...if at all.) Perhaps it was the dreaded "box" that Coach D has me pop up and down on that I hate so much but do as un-spastically as possible. Maybe it was the fact that my body had to be reminded to face the reality that this isn't going anywhere anytime soon but I'm not giving up this time.
All I know is that my weight popped back down to where it was before my little spike a week ago and that I'm feeling better today than I have in a week. Except I'm a bit sleepy and I'll miss having Jodie's class tomorrow since she'll be off doing something fabulous that she wants to do.
I also know that a kind gym member stopped last night and told me that he had noticed how hard I've worked and congratulated me on it. I mentioned the plateau, and he told me that I needed to just embrace it because it was God's will for me right now. Chances are there was something that I was supposed to learn from it. Patience, maybe? Testing my resolve? Making me appreciate those days that show the scale moving down instead of just the same or up? I don't know...but being reminded that I need to just embrace those tough days where I feel like all I'm doing is for naught...just letting God direct my steps and being satisfied and content with just doing all that I enough.
There's a lot to be said about contentment when things aren't the way that you want them to be. Of being satisfied that you've done all that you can and that the rest is up to God to direct. Of knowing that it won't always be this way because if I keep doing the right things...then because of the universal laws...the change that I want will occur.
He also mentioned that I might change up my routine a bit. Do something more difficult than what I think that I can do. Perhaps walk/run outside instead of hitting the elliptical. Interesting. I just know that I have a new attitude and can pretty much endure sitting in the waiting room a whole lot easier than I could just 24 hours ago.
Of course, the scale going down today helped a lot. So did the reminder from Allyson to check my measurements soon because that's probably where some of the progress will be noted. I'll be doing that in a few days as I do it at the first of every month. It gave me hope and sometimes a little hope is all you need.
The other day I received a sweet card of encouragement from a friend who is monitoring my progress and who just took the time to send me a note of congratulations on the 50 pounds off. It was the kind of thing that you don't expect but one that came at exactly the right time. I need to be looking around and doing more of that for others...and I intend to.
Maybe my time in the waiting room was to get me to finally look up and ask the Great Physician for help. I have and I know He will answer. This makes all of the difference.

Monday, April 14, 2014

On Goals

This week has been quite the tutorial on goals.  I am accustomed to goals at work, and am the kind of person who can get through most anything if you'll tell me when it will end.  I count steps.  I measure everything.  I watch the clock.  Can pretty much estimate if something is possible or doubtful based on when you need it.  It is both a blessing and a curse.

This past weekend I watched my son and other engineering and physics majors attempt to get a vehicle of their own design around a course that was created to make that mighty difficult.  These students had been setting goals and making adjustments and then had no choice but to move forward.  It wasn't nirvana...but they finished the course.  They learned from their mistakes.  They are already planning the changes for next year.

I didn't mention that my son spent weeks at the gym building up his endurance in addition to working on the vehicle.  After working in a gym for five years...he finally was told that he had to work out because he had to pedal this vehicle (with another rider) 3/4 of a mile as quickly as possible.  A lot of it uphill and through sand, rocks, and bumps.  One cannot simply jump onto the vehicle from the couch and expect not to require medical attention as a result.

Even if you are 21 years old and are still under the delusion that ramen noodles are actually food.

I'm proud that they finished...and that they set goals and stuck to them.  That they are still setting them and expect to grow and improve and be on the winner's stand next year.  I sincerely hope that they make that goal.  I have confidence that they will.

As for my goals, I've been working on weight eradication for the past twelve weeks.  It was time.  Actually, it was "time" so long ago that I cannot even remember when it wasn't.  One of the driving forces when I get upset when my fat cries (sweat) but my weight registers far less enthusiasm than I think it the knowledge that I've finally made the hard decisions that I should have made a long time ago.  If I keep at it, my children will get to see their mother be of normal weight.  Neither has a conscious memory of that.  They've seen pictures, but it isn't the same.

Struggles exist for everyone - no matter what the weight.  Most people have issues with sweets, for instance.  In my humble but (trust me) experienced opinion...if you are overweight and you know you have a problem with have two choices: live in denial...or cut them out.  Most people choose to "cut back" and not make the hard choice to eliminate these from the diet and instead focus on the other great things that are out there that are very satisfying.  Like fruit.  Which really tastes exceptionally sweet after you get away from the hypersensitivity of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

With regard to this...and (quite frankly) everything else...I was in the worst pit of denial you can imagine.  I thought that if I only ate what I wanted on special occasions...I'd be fine.  Not that I was losing weight or anything.  I just thought that sounded reasonable.  And kind of does.  Just bear in mind that I celebrate everything (birthdays, completion of a project, Saturday, visitors) and that might clue you in to the flaw in my sad little logic.

Besides...when you have half of your current body weight to lose and you still are under the delusion that you "deserve" dessert?  Then?  It's NO.  Just no.

It took me awhile to get here.  And no, I'm not judging anyone else's choices.  I'm just being honest with people who aren't being honest with themselves.  I was the queen of that.  I totally get it.  I really do.

To make a took getting increasingly more afraid that my health would give out at some point.  Took being disgusted with not being able to find clothes for special occasions.  Took giving up everything except just a few types of clothes that at least covered me up.  Took squeezing myself into a seat on a plane and having a very patient friend and mother be okay with the fact that I was kind of (okay, FINE, actually) sharing the seat that they paid for.  Took not being able to climb steps without getting winded.  Took being mortified to go to the gym because I was sure it was impossible for anything to ever get any better. It took having someone be honest with me that she didn't think I was serious enough to tackle the problem.

But I was wrong.

Not about some of it...but about the gym.  All it took was making a decision by setting a goal...and getting serious about it.  But the gym alone isn't the answer.  I had to tackle the food as well.  Had to drink the water.  Had to write things down.  Was required to think about why I was doing this in the first place and put that into positive words rather than negative ones.

I realize that for people who like to "go with the flow" that goals are most annoying.  I really do.  There are times when I'd prefer not to have a goal to meet.  It is far easier without them.  Or so it seems.  But to me...having a goal to meet is really key.  It gives me something to focus on instead of being uncomfortable or feeling denied or angry with myself for how far I'd let this go.

Once I decided that I was going to give it one last first goal was to survive the day.  Then the next day.  And the third.

Then the week.

Then the next 20 weeks.

I'm still in the midst of that process.  I decided if I was going to monitor my food intake...I was also going to have to pick up the exercise to a level that was somewhere between difficult and impossible.  I'd had just about enough of doing the best I knew to do.  I had to find people who know more than I do and are willing to test me.  I have been blessed to have found that.

For my first 25 pounds off...I got a pedicure.  For the next  Gaudy, bright yellow-green shoes with purple and blue and hot pink laces and soles.  They make a me anyway. a "big girl" I didn't want to draw attention to myself by wearing something colorful.  That was just too awkward.  Other than a little crimson or pink and for some reason...lime green...I just didn't venture out too much.  Besides, other than gargantuan flowers that are apparently a staple of gosh awful fashion for the plus size woman, the people who make clothes in larger sizes don't really put a lot of creativity into what they put out there for sale.  For the most is truly heinous.  It is mostly black and has a lot of stretch waistbands.  You can gain and lose up to about 20 pounds in each size.  No kidding.

I'm currently down two sizes and working on the third.

And while I am still a "big girl"...I figured that I could cut myself some slack by having some ridiculously colorful shoes to kind of get me used to not wearing black/beige/brown/gray all of the time.

Ergo the very loud shoes of which I am very proud.  I waited a month to wear them.  They have given me something to work toward.

My next goal is another 20 pounds...which will put me halfway to my ultimate goal.  I've had people tell me not to get all crazy...but you have to understand that my ultimate goal is to fit nicely into the upper end of the weight range for my height and to have a BMI of under 25.  When I started was over 40 and therefore..."morbidly obese."

Think on those words for just a moment, will you?  Morbidly obese.  Yes.

I am now simply "obese" on my way to "overweight."  Works for me.  Anything to take that word "morbidly" out of the equation.

I've had a number of people ask me where the enthusiasm comes from.  How I can stand to eat chicken and salad day in and day out and eschew things that traditionally make us temporarily happy (i.e. Reese's anything).  I suppose you just have to decide one way or the other and be okay with that.  I think that the problem most people have is that they are seriously uncool with their decision.  I say "forget that."  If you want to lose weight...figure out how to do it and expect it to be ridiculous in some ways and easy in others.  If you want to eat what you want...then quit beating yourself up about it and accept that this is your choice.  Just be honest with yourself.

Folks have asked me what I eat and how I feel and have asked if I've had surgery or am taking any supplements/drugs.  I eat single ingredient foods, I feel fine, and I've had no surgery (it was my next consideration) nor taken any drugs (outside of a whole food vitamin).  I just spend a lot of time planning what I'll eat, saying "no" and exercising.  It's just that simple.

I am happy tonight that I have hit a goal, but also well aware that I still have a long road ahead of me.  It doesn't scare me, though.  I know it will take awhile from here on out and I've been prepared for that.  But it is also amazing to know that I'm not walking alone and that my body is still capable of surprising me.  I thought that ended when I had my kids.  All it took was someone telling me that I could do more than I thought I could.

So I do.

There are a lot of goals that I have ahead of me...including getting into some long abandoned sizes and finding muscles I'd forgotten existed.  Of getting to the halfway point twenty pounds from now, and then setting new goals.  Of having people tell me that they are trying something new because I've yammered on about it and it sounds like fun...or like my friend, Sandra or my daughter, Jill...just showing up at the gym and grinding it out right beside me.  I am very grateful for that.

I'm also thankful that people care enough to wish me well and keep telling me that I can do it.  It is amazing what the mind responds to.  The encouragement has been the biggest thing that has sustained me during those times when it would be easier to just quit.

I can't quit now.  I don't want to let anyone down.  Especially myself.

So, the goal is to just get up tomorrow and do what I know I'm supposed to do and repeat that over and over and over.

And one day...the next goal will come into focus.  I'll meet it.  Set a new one.  Keep going.

That's the plan anyway.  I think it is a good plan.  I know that where I am right now is a whole lot better than where I was...and where I'm going is a lot better than where I am.

Onward to the next goal.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Today has been interesting in a few ways.  Oh, it was normal in that a lot of the patterns I normally follow were observed.  Ate the same breakfast...that kind of thing.  But I noticed a thread among the normalcy that tied this day together.


All of us make them every day.  What we'll eat, what we'll wear, what we'll do.  Who we'll bless, how we'll manage, where we'll go.  Do we want the purple ponytail holder or the red lipstick?  The salad at Fresh Market or the drive thru at the KFC (or possibly both)?


Decisions are not really ever an issue for me.  I decide quickly if it doesn't matter and I'll be honest that I need more time if I do.  I'm not afraid of making a bad one because I have a pretty good track record of making good ones with some real doozies sprinkled in to keep me humble.  Real doozies.  Seriously.

But today was just full of them.  Decisions, that is.  Do I keep my mouth shut or say what's been on my mind?  Do I trade in this gosh awful phone that isn't working properly and just let Sprint have its way with me for the next two years?  Do I wear the outfit that technically fits but I'm not 100% comfortable in yet?

(The answers to the above were "say what's been on my mind" - "trade the phone" - and "yes."  Just in case you were wondering.  And while I'm at it...I had the grilled chicken from the KFC drive thru and a salad from Fresh Market because I didn't have anything planned for lunch.)

Every day we are faced with so many many choices.  Oh, not every day is filled with earth-shattering or life-changing choices.  Or is it?  I pretty much think that the little decisions add up to the big decisions and end up changing the course of our lives.  That's why the little things matter.

And our decisions are unique to us.  I don't have to worry about whether I'll get the spray tan or buy tanning bed minutes because the answer to either is "no."  Not that I'm anti-tanning...but at this point in time...I care not.  My daughter, however, who is in a wedding this weekend, is opting for the spray tan.  Good for her.

I had a friend ask me what I drink all day and I answered "black coffee in the morning and water the rest of the day."  She commented that she would have trouble giving up having a real Coke from time to time.  I understand that.  After was what I asked for after both of my children were born.  In a cup with crushed ice and a straw that bended. (Not that I was being particular
or anything.  I'd earned it, right?)

But the truth?  It's a choice.  To give up the sweetener and the sugar-free creamer in my coffee that I've recently endured was a choice I made for better health and more rapid weight loss.  I mentioned that and then felt that maybe I'd been a little harsh.

Frankly, I wish someone had pointed this out to me about 90 pounds ago.  How those things we hold onto are what is sometimes holding us back from being all that we were created to be.  Had someone told me that I needed to quit eating c-rap years ago, there may not have been so many years consumed by the locusts (okay, ahem, by my gluttony).

Life is full of "yes" and "no" and often the choice is mutually exclusive.  Sometimes this sucks, to be honest. Today I went to the gym and worked out with my daughter during a time that I normally attend a class that I love and get a lot out of.  I had to choose.  It won't happen often that she'll be off early and have a little more time to herself at I opted to let her have that time and I did my cardio at 7:00 tonight watching NCIS after a pretty intense workout session.

(Cardio after workout makes me feel like my shirt is on backwards or something.  Just hate that.)

Sometimes we choose something...and then feel like it wasn't worth the effort.  A friend told me in a message today that she chose to help someone by offering some extremely good advice that was - to be polite - brushed off rather than thoughtfully considered.  That happens sometimes when we choose to help other people because those individuals have already decided that they are right and know everything on a subject and are not open to criticism.  Poor deluded little creatures.  That whole "pride goeth before a fall" thing really is true.

I've found that I generally don't like criticism or the people who bring it...but I end up respecting that opinion if I find truth in it.  Most of the time I do.  Sometimes not.  But I always back up and think about what is said to see if there is some truth that I can glean from it.  More often than not...there is.  Doesn't mean I like it...but I often need to hear it and improve my performance.

If someone jumps out and helps you or presents you with may be because that person is a generous soul...or it may be that God is using that individual to speak to you about something that needs your attention...but you're missing.  It isn't easy to hear these things...and often we will feel uncomfortable around that person or wonder if they like us.

Of course, getting comfortable being uncomfortable is usually in your best interest.  I know it is for me.

Remember that as you go through your day that you have choice after choice to make.  Those choices add up to hours which add up to days and years and decades.  We may begin calling them "traditions" or "the way it has always been done" but it usually boils down to a series of decisions that someone made way back when for reasons that made sense at the time.  Or seemed to at least.

If you are trying to make changes - as I am - you have to be aware of the power of decisions.  Who you listen to.  How you spend your spare time.  What your goals are.  Where you are headed.  Every day I have to remind myself of where I started, where I am, and where I'm trying to go.  As I'm dealing with a frustrating plateau three pounds from my goal of 50 pounds off...I know that it is only a matter of time before this weight moves.  All I have to do is keep doing the right things.  Making the right decisions.  Doing all that I can do.

Some decisions matter whether you measure your water intake by a single bottle with tic marks (my way) or putting a gallon in your refrigerator and drinking it all day until it is gone.  Just two ways of doing the same thing.  The point are drinking your water.

Other decisions matter a little bit...such as whether you'll skip your workout because you're tired...even though you have your clothes in the car and a friend is expecting you to show up.  In those cases you have to weigh the consequences and move on.  (Personally, I'd go to the gym because someone is waiting...but that's just me.)

But there are some that really do matter...and these require a huge commitment on your part.  Sometimes it is those that keep us in flux because we are frozen to the spot freaked out with what all is involved to get us from Point A to Point B.

Been there.  Done that.  Have a drawer full of tee shirts.  (In various sizes from M to OMG.)

What you have to do is stand on Point A, look at Point B and do one thing toward it.  The first thing - and the most helpful - is to quit yapping at yourself for being at Point A in the first place.  That's done.  Get over it.  Move on.

(Again, I go through this every day so I'm pretty much giving my thought process here...)

When you start headed toward your goal, you have to let the little distractions along the way not get to you.  For me, that was making the decision to give this one more try before I considered surgery.  Having people tell me that I was working too hard.  Being told that "just one bite" won't hurt me (little did they know I'd be lying in a gutter surrounded by wrappers with chocolate smudged all over my mouth).  Going through weeks of not having anyone notice that I'd lost weight.  Having people demand that I tell them what program I'm on.  And here lately...being three pounds away from my awesome shoes and unable to put them on because I am on a plateau.

All no big deal in the grand scheme of things.  Seriously.

Right now, my decisions are easy..."I don't eat that."  "Cannot eat there."  "Will not try that."  When you have a considerable amount of weight to lose, you have no business deviating from the plan.

I'm sure that having more decisions someday is going to be really tough.  Or will it?  I'd really like to find out.

I don't know what decisions you have facing you and if you are decisive like me or if you hate decision making like my daughter does.  But whatever it is...just ask God for guidance and then be very clear about where you are headed.  It makes the decision making so much easier.

This journey has been full of saying "yes" to this and "no" to that and learning to be okay with it.  I'm working on it every day.  And for that...I am very grateful.  It certainly beats wishing I could move toward Point B while my rear end is firmly planted at Point A.  At least I'm moving in the direction of Point B.  Which totally rocks, by the way.  Soon, I hope to be headed toward Point B in my awesome new shoes.

Real soon.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

As far back as I can remember...I've been uncomfortable.  Not every moment of every day, and certainly not because my loved ones didn't try to give me a lovely childhood...but because I've always been a bit uncomfortable in my own skin.

(Well, I WAS.  Not so much now.  But I'll get to that in a minute.)

I was loud, full of enthusiasm, and used to do cartwheels in the living room in front of the television...which annoyed my grandmother.  I was in every lesson imaginable, average at pretty much everything except reading (I was above average there), and had a knack for saying something stupid at the worst possible time.  In fact, I had to sacrifice show and tell for slipping up and saying something to some kid who was held back in first grade although what I said was actually encouraging.

Mean ol' Sharon Mason.  Of course, her family did come by and pick me up for Sunday school, so I probably should get over it.  Plus, my teacher knew I didn't mean anything by it and let me choose my own punishment.  I chose something I didn't really care about...but thought it sounded good.  Apparently I was right.

After all, I meant well.  I just had a gift for being boneheaded.  And too many times of being snubbed or being directly told this very fact meant that I learned that toning it down was really in my best interest.

Or so I thought.  That's really just the easy way out.  It is much harder to hang in there to find people who "get" you and your quirks.  But if you stay true to eventually happens.

I hadn't really thought about this a whole lot until one of my gym instructors, Allyson, pointed out that her goal for the class was to get us comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It is familiar territory to me from the past - but also especially these days - because everything I do seems to be uncomfortable.

I spent years giving up clothing that was constricting and instead chose items that hung on me and didn't cling anywhere.  I put the heels in the closet and opted for flats.  I have absolutely no desire to buy cute shoes anymore - unless, of course, I can wear them to the gym.  Black Mary Jane flats or even better - a pair of Tom's - work far better for me.

Clothes were not all that got comfortable in my world.  I got used to being fat.  Got accustomed to turning down invitations.  Didn't make plans that were out of my comfort zone.  In other words...I gave up anything remotely awkward with only a few exceptions (including, of course, the medical world which honestly can define "awkward" in an amazingly bold way...)

Those exceptions were anything that I feared.

Bear in mind, though, that I have no desire to jump out of an airplane or to climb a mountain.  No bucket list with feats of daring waiting for me to get up enough dollars or gumption.  I'm a first child - cautious - and really like my adventures to involve a guidebook or something that at least keeps both feet on the ground.

The things I feared were pretty common: public speaking, climbing lots of stairs, and squats at the gym.  Things that a lot of people take for granted and just do them.  I've found that when something makes me uncomfortable...if I face it head-on, then it just seems to diminish that fear over time.  I started teaching a banking class in 1995 so I could handle speaking in front of groups. I taught for ten years and loved it.  Took a Dale Carnegie class that forced me to give impromptu speeches on subjects that I'd have to come up with randomly.  Eventually, I was no longer afraid or even particularly nervous.  I would have never known had I not taken that step into the realm of the uncomfortable.  It was a far cry from giving a speech at Girls' State and then sitting down and asking someone if what I said was okay because I honestly couldn't remember a word of what I'd said.  Must have been okay...I was elected Chief Justice.

The stairs I addressed by going up and down 18 steps eight times until now stairs don't bother me.  Same with squats.  Just do them every day now, and actually like the fact that my legs are starting to look like legs instead of bread doughy cellular matter.  Sometimes with weights...sometimes without.  Doesn't matter.  Getting comfortable with it matters.

A few weeks ago I started working with a trainer.  I didn't want anyone to let me do what I knew I could already do...I wanted to be pushed beyond that.  Every day is an adventure, because I have no idea if I can actually do what is asked of me.  The vast majority of the time I can and surprise myself.  I've gotten comfortable being uncomfortable.  Working out in a gym full of people milling about.  Standing on a box.  Working with equipment that I never knew how to operate.  Doing ab work.  Adding more weight as I get stronger.

Works for me.

I think that really living life means that you are going to have to make yourself uncomfortable sometimes to get the joy of accomplishment.  Some people just hang it up and "go to the house" so to speak and leave a lot of untapped potential that they might look back on with regret.  You never know what you are capable of until you are willing to do something that you are sure looks stupid.  Never know the thrill of doing what you didn't think you could do.  The alternative, of course, is wishing life could be different instead of taking steps toward improvement.  I wish that I could win the lottery...but I can't win if I don't play...and most of the time...I don't play.  Same thing.

I am the poster child for being uncomfortable.  I don't like the idea of wearing shorts, bathing suits, clothes that fit, or dresses because I worry that everything is covered properly.  Being between two sizes is much more real estate in the larger sizes rather than the smaller ones when ten pounds can make a huge difference.  In bigger sizes, you can swing about 20 pounds or so and still stay in the clothes.  I wonder if something actually fits.  I tug and pull at my clothes.  I fidget.  But I'm getting better.  I really am.

Sort of.

I suppose as my body responds favorably to food that is good for it and a lot of exercise, I'll continue to enjoy the benefits of getting into clothes that I haven't worn in years.  Like this Hogan's Gym tee shirt I wore tonight that was purchased many moons ago in a lovely shade of coral.  Well, okay, FINE,  it is now faded coral.  But that's okay.  I kept it thinking that someday I would wear it again.

Someday is now.  And it totally rocks.

I don't know where you are in life...if you are comfortable with finally getting some rest after kids leaving the nest and before older relatives need you.  If you like the extra time you can commit to your hobbies, television programs, or doing good for other people.  Maybe you are fine with sensible shoes, comfort waist bands and no demands.  And you'd be right with being okay with that.  Life can be lovely when you are quiet and still and not stressed out.

But if you are the least bit not fear the uncomfortable.  Get someone to show you the way toward your goals.  Find people who are worthy of your trust and dedication.  Push yourself beyond the limits that you have conceived for yourself.  You might surprise yourself.

I know I'm surprising myself.  And I really love that.

Just know that it is okay to fail.  To be ridiculous.  Awkward.  You'll figure it out soon enough or you'll be able to honestly say that you tried.  Push yourself to do something worthy and admirable and healthy.  Something that makes your heart sing and your spirit soar.  Life is short and waiting until the perfect moment may mean that you will never get to it.  Paint or get off the ladder.  Decide.  Go.  Do it.

I have a long journey ahead of me filled with a lot of being it from realizing that I'm not as far along as I'd like to be some days and forgetting I'm as far along as I am other days.  Of having people be supportive and having people tell me I'm out of my mind.  I am really and truly okay with that.

I'm still a little uncomfortable sometimes...but I look at that more as an opportunity than a threat.

Maybe all of those years of being an awkward little kid are paying dividends now.  I have no idea.  I just know that I'm happy taking this journey...even with the downs that accompany the ups.

Find what makes you uncomfortable and consider changing that.  It might just change your life.

I know it is changing mine.

(Thanks, Allyson for the inspiration...)