Saturday, August 23, 2014

Illegitimi Non Carborundum

Sometimes I turn on the news and just listen to what is going on out there until it becomes impossible to bear any more.  One party is put out about this, another about that, someone feels that their rights are trampled, another is tired of having to constantly give up ground to make another side happy that never seems to actually ever be happy.  It's quite depressing actually.

Then I remember the immortal words..."illegitimi non carborundum."

I have friends on different sides of the political spectrum, and they find my politics a bit amusing.  A little hayseed more than likely...and definitely reflective of where I live.  They are brilliant and talented people that just see the world a little differently than I do...and other than that, we tend to get along pretty well.  And then there are those who see as I do but are even more devoted to certain points than I ever thought about being.  It is an interesting and colorful world out there.  

People also range on the view of religion and God's existence and how much tolerance should be acceptable.  How to define "love" or "false prophets" or "caring for people without regard to 'x' or 'y'" but perhaps in spite of it.  How to remain on the narrow road when the wide one is gyrating and pulsating all over almost everything attached to the word "entertainment" and seems to get more lurid and raunchy every year.

And prouder of it.

Folks also differ with regard to cohabitation, moral absolutes, bringing children into the world, where they choose to live, what they choose to carry, and how they spend their time.  

Sometimes it is downright overwhelming.  It will grind you down if you let it.

It is times like these that I tend to have to check out for a few days and do nothing but watch the Hallmark Channel, clean my house, love on my shih tzus and pray for the best.  Where I have to walk room to room and recall how grateful I am that I am living where I am and that most of the dreams I had for myself at 22 have already come to pass.  Where I go for a run because I still can at 51 and because I'm currently living the dream of getting weight off that has been attached to me for long enough now that it feels weird when it turns up missing.

Not that I'm complaining.  Not that I want it back.  No. No. No.

Not that I didn't eat a glorious meal last night that was on my program but was probably more protein than I should have eaten in one sitting.  Because I totally did eat it.  One does not simply leave a wonderful steak uneaten in a place where taking it home is not an option.  One runs it off over the next two days. 

Today my time is limited because it is devoted to a friend that I have known for twenty-nine years.  I'll do whatever needs to be done today (after my gym time this morning) because I'm capable of doing it and it needs to be done.  I find great joy in avoiding anything negative today...because I'll be so busy trying to help her that I won't have time to notice if the world is on fire.  I won't have to think about political differences because everyone comes together for weddings.  I won't have to exhaust myself mentally...because I may be doing it physically.  That'll work for me.

I realize that we all love the idea of a perfect world where people get along and everything is fair...but honestly, life isn't fair.  There will always be some person to mess up the "Pay it Forward" line at Starbucks.  Mostly because they just want to be left alone with what they came for instead of the bigger picture of "doing for others unselfishly" that this game we play seems to to suggest we are capable of keeping up at all times.  We aren't.  Our time is limited.  Our patience can be stretched and tried.  Our financial capacity is often less than what we hope for because we're asleep at the wheel of managing it properly.  And people get put out because a lady wanders into the midst of it and just wants her $2.25 cold drink and doesn't want to play the game.  That does not make her a bad person.  It makes her Lucy with the football.  And in America she still has the right to pick it up and go home.  

I've seen the Ice Bucket Challenges on Facebook all week (for ALS awareness and financial support) and I've also seen people complaining that we shouldn't waste water like that when others don't have clean water to drink, some people turn it into a Hardees ad (wet tee-shirt contest) or that it does enough for awareness.  That ticks me off.  Greatly.  If you don't like it...just shut up.  Just don't watch.  But for the love of all that is good...try to see the bigger picture.  It is working.  They've raised untold millions of dollars for research that is desperately needed in a really, really short time.  It has brought out the creativity of some folks, and has been an amazing outreach.  But - of course - some people just have to pick it apart - pick, pick pick.  I have no idea why.  Their points are valid, but they are stupid in the big picture.  I wish people would look beyond themselves sometimes and their beliefs and their rights and their whatever.

Sorry.  And if you were one of those whining...well, now you know how I really feel.  If you know me...this won't surprise you a bit.  But that's really because I'm a big believer in "illegitimi non carborundum."  I've been taught that disagreeing with someone does not make me a bad person...or them a bad person.  We just see the world differently, and we are both convinced we're right.  I know when I'm to the point of arguing about something...that I certainly am.  Convinced...and right.

I am tired of hearing about things being "fair" when frankly all of us have something that we've achieved, been exposed to, learned to do, etc. because something was unfair.  We've benefited from "unfair" and our job is to try to bring others up to that level instead of cutting down those who are achieving just to make those who choose not to feel better about themselves.  

I've never been accused of being a "bleeding heart" and I'm okay with that.  I suppose that comes from trying to help people in "true need" only to find out that they weren't really in need.  Those who are in need are generally very quiet about their circumstances and very grateful for everything that they do have.  Those who aren't really in need simply aren't.  Most of the time, anyway.

But enough about all of that.  Today is meant to be a day of doing for others and just enjoying the weekend.  Of ignoring the clamoring voices on the radio or television telling me what is wrong with America, the President, my fellow citizens and the world.  I don't need to be reminded for the next 24 hours.  I plan on checking out and hoping for a respite from all of the madness, fighting, back-biting, struggles, fury, and pain by focusing on something lovely.  

I'm not planning on exerting my rights today (unless the people at the deli mess up my order) and I'm not saying that there aren't things in life to fight for to try to change.  I'm just saying quit picking the nits and back away from the flame every now and again.  Put down your weapons and just regroup.  Don't hear a few words and write someone off.  Let folks just be wrong if they are.  Just let it all be.

For 24 hours.

Then go for 48.

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful weekend out there.  There's a lot of good out there...even if we have to remember things like "don't let the bastards get you down" - because that's probably the most important advice my mother ever gave me.  Or if you want to be all classy...use "illegitimi non carborundum"  ...even if it is only "mock Latin" according to Wikipedia.  

Keep it real, folks.  I'll do the same.  After all, the "illegitimi" are out there just waiting to try to take us down.  Don't let them.  Don't give them the satisfaction.  And get over the fact that I used that word.  Sometimes it is what makes the point the point that it is.

You get that, right?


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thank You

I read something last night that I shared on social media that pretty much sums up where I am at this point in time in my life.  As I have as one of my primary focuses (wouldn't "focii" be so much better of a word here?) these days getting weight off...I have started to notice that perhaps I might be making other people roll their eyes a little bit here and there.

When something is important to it our children/grandchildren, a project or business we are involved in, our church, political happenings, neighborhood or home improvement, or the current state of our favorite sports team...we tend to be a bit passionate about it.  We'll spend hours smocking a dress for an infant who is just going to spit up on it anyway.  We'll paint the walls of our home and spend weeks tracking down the perfect comforter to make those folks on Pinterest green with envy and our friends even more so when they find out that we got it on clearance and had a great coupon and free shipping.  We'll train for months to run a race...not caring if we come in 302nd...just that we finished.

In my case, I couldn't feel more supported.  Folks have been giving me verbal high fives for months.  It has been - some days - what keeps me going when I get stuck on a weight that refuses to budge to the extent that I think it should.  It has been wonderful to have people notice the work that has gone into this transformation...and to not feel invisible.  That used to be the goal, by the way.  Invisibility.

But there may be someone out there who thinks I'm putting it all in their face.  That when I succeed it just pokes them to feel bad about themselves.  There's a line that can be crossed where people shut you out because you won't quit yammering on about your successes.  That's the line I've been trying to avoid.

But back to what I read...



I'm competing with myself.  I'm trying to shatter my own limitations that I somehow imposed on myself through the years.  Things like...

"I'm not a runner."  (Not today...and not technically...and yet, I can run for 20 minutes on a treadmill without stopping on a good day.)

"I'm too old to lose weight."  (I'm 51...I'm still's not too late.)

"I don't do squats because I am worried about my knees." (Once you build up the muscles in your legs...yes you can.)

"My metabolism is shot."  (Complete B.S.)

"I'll always shop in Women's sizes."  (Not anymore...and I'm not going back.)

"I don't have time to work out." (I don't have time to work out and do everything I want to do as well.  This had to be a priority.  Hopefully, my friends understand.  My husband does.  Which rocks.)

"I can eat what I want as long as I burn it off." (The quality of what I am eating is a huge factor.  I cannot eat what I want because if I do, I won't feel like burning it I probably won't.)

"You cannot wear clothes that fit because they cling." (So what if they cling?  It is what it is.  It isn't necessary to have something so large that it doesn't touch my body anywhere...which was my definition of "not clinging" previously.)

"High heels are too hard on your knees...flat shoes only."  (Wedges are fine.  And cute.)

"I hate stairs." (I do 156 stairs every day at work at least once.  That's six flights.  I'm a little gassed at the top but it passes very quickly.  Plus, knowing I have to do this if I go to the cafeteria is a huge deterrent to go anytime other than at lunch.  Even to pick up fruit.)

"I can't eat oatmeal without cream and sugar."  (Yes, I can.  With cinnamon and berries.)

"I do not want to drink coffee black."  (Then I can give it up or embrace the bitter.  I get to choose.)

"Black is slimming."  (Perhaps, but after twenty years of it in the Women's Department, I'm embracing lime green, and hot pink, and believe it or not...white pants (gasp!).)

But even with all of that, I know that sometimes when someone improves, it holds up a mirror to us that says, "why are you not getting after it?"  If it does and inspires you to get after it...awesome.  If it does and makes you feel bad because you can't or won't...that's not the intent.  I felt bad about it for twenty years with a few periods of success during that time...but the daily flogging of my weaknesses certainly wasn't helpful to me or productive in any way.  I suppose I'm talking about my journey so much because it is what I'm living right now.  Kind of like an expectant mother talks about babies all of the time or a bride-to-be eats, breathes and sleeps her wedding day and upcoming marriage.

There was someone who posted something this morning that made me roll my eyes, which is why I felt the need to put this out here.  She is farther along down the path and cannot resist posting photos of herself impressed with the muscularity of her legs.  There's a part of me that is, "Whoo hoo!  You go, girl!" and another part of me (probably the part raised by my grandmother) that thinks this is over the line.  It is one thing to post your cute new outfit...another to post the muscles in your legs.

The funny thing is...she has come so incredibly far that I really hate to begrudge her the pleasure of doing so.  I know the work she has put in to be at this point.  And in truth...I don't know her personally.  I don't know what she has had to overcome to be able to feel confident enough to put that out there.  I don't know if she views her legs as her best feature like some of us do our eyes or hair or skin.  I don't know if it was the shock of discovery that running was changing her legs in a way that she liked so much that she wanted to share.

Bottom line: Who am I to judge?  Especially when I am doing a little bit of the same.  Because I'm so excited that I am moving from Point A to Point B instead of languishing in doing it in my head and not in reality.  Making plans and not following them.  Trying and starting out well...and then fizzling.  Self-sabotaging.  Starting again on Monday.  Giving up...tuning with it.

So, if you are seeing these incessant posts from me about exercise and feeling better and losing weight...know that this is a journey that I once kept private but was encouraged to share by people who were asking, "What are you DOING?" The truth is...what I'm doing is not as important as why I am doing it.  That is the real key.  That is what my program has made me face.  That is what keeps me motivated on days when I'd really rather choose the easy path.  The less sweaty one with fewer muscle aches and far less winded one.  The one that used to feel comfortable but is now detrimental to me.  The one that made me want to be invisible instead of invincible.

Thanks to those of you who are cheering on the sidelines and who read and tell me kind words that are like balm to my worn out old psyche.  To those who lead by example and show me that it can be done.  To those who encourage me in ways too numerous to mention.  To those who work out with me and tell me that the tight capri workout pants are just fine...quit fidgeting.

I love walking with people on journeys of discovery or as they discover brave new worlds of children, grandchildren, travel, weddings, new homes, new cities or whatever.  I am grateful for those who are walking along with me on this one.

Thank you for that.