Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flutterings from an Angry Bird

I am caught up in the eye of a twister. One helluva twister, and I don't mean the fun game where you get all contorted and fall into a heap of laughter with your friends. Except I did sort of fall into a heap with my friends the other night, but it was a sadder, verge of tears kind of heap.

I'm so sorry that I'm stuck in this struggle. It must be terribly boring to read. Poor Danielle, waah, waah, WAAH, get over your freaking self! I was so hoping that this blog would be something else by this point. I do want to stop hiding though; the less hiding I do, the more writing about something else I can work toward.

I have been working in therapy for the last few months, and it is going slowly. I mean, so slow it feels backwards. I actually, in some ways, feel worse than when I started. Here's the problem, I'm trying to do all the things. All the things in therapy that will lead to lasting contentment and happiness. Right now, we're digging. Digging through the stinking pile of crap that is stifling everything. I've dug quite a trench in the crap but I haven't yet acquired the tools to climb out of said trench. So the feelings I've tried desperately to push to the side, suppress, shove down, numb and avoid at all cost are now my new wardrobe. So I'm walking around feeling naked and ugly. I'm wearing emotions that I didn't know were a part of my fabric, most specifically anger.

I never knew I was so angry. I'm an angry, angry bird.


Anger gets a pretty bad rap. I mean, with it's tendency to cause war and turmoil and such. BUT, did you know, anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion? No? ME NEITHER!!! Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. I'm still waiting for the good to come out of my anger. Mostly right now it causes me to shut down in the middle of conversations, go to bed at 8pm, avoid my friends and family, seek out cheddar cheese pretzel bread and generally not want to participate in life. This. Isn't. Me. 

Apparently it wasn't Brandi Carlile either, because she wrote a song about it. A beautiful song that should be accompanied with a box of Kleenex - and she just says... everything I want to say. Here are the lyrics. Or better yet, just listen to it.

"That Wasn't Me"

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I've got something to say
I'm not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you've changed

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, oh that wasn't me

When you're lost you will toss every lucky coin you'll ever trust
And you'll hide from your God like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you'll learn who you are even if it doesn't take your life

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, oh that wasn't me

But I want you to know that you'll never be alone
I wanna believe, do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that's what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

-Brandi Carlile

And so.

I've been very busy being angry and doing the other things that keep my home running. I haven't been doing much about the weight loss stuff, except getting myself further still from my goal. Whatevs. Of course, I'm being flippant here because, really, I'm devastated. I'm angry at myself. I'm trying to find the balance between accepting myself as the broken, chubby, angry mess that I currently am, while congruently working towards being the best version of myself. It's a little bit tricky.

So, here's some more good news about anger: it isn't a mutually exclusive emotion, like I originally thought. It doesn't take up all the room. There is plenty of room for anger and love and forgiveness and happiness and peace. All at the same time. I'm working to get there, and that will be me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

@ Fitbloggin'

I couldn't do it justice with normal sentences.
Thank you to all of my new friends, this is for you.

@ Fitbloggin' we reassessed why we
starve ourselves
feed ourselves
reward ourselves
punish ourselves
and while perhaps we didn't exactly find the answer
we got closer.
A lot closer.

@ Fitbloggin' we got a lot closer to each other
and a little closer to our goals
of losing weight
gaining readers
of being whole
of being more at ONE.
Being at one with our
our earth
our demons.

@ Fitbloggin'
we stood up
to our demons
and said, "you do not own me,
but you are part of me.
I acknowledge you
but you are not
welcome to stay.

@ Fitbloggin' we could be funny, just be funny
we didn't have to hide behind our humor.
Everyone was laughing with us - not at us.
And the funniest ones of all made us cry the hardest too.
And it was powerful.

@ Fitbloggin' we splurged with intention.
Eating a burger in the company of friends
as a conscious choice.
This was different than a binge,
the hidden drive thru shovel.
No one ate burgers with tears in their eyes.

@ Fitbloggin' we stood up at microphones and
shared secrets.
About our moms
and kids
our worst days
our best pitches
our regrets
our most celebrated moments
we cheered
we sobbed
we hugged complete strangers and
we began to heal.

@ Fitbloggin' we turned the whole thing
upside down
we weren't competitors
we were comrades.
In a fight against the void
against the world
against the naysayers.
That doubted us
said we could never do it
or would never do it.

We forged an army of
willpower and strength
and belief
bonded forever by
and zumba
and swag.

But the swag was more than the water bottles
and spices
and shoes.
There was a palpable change to the rhythm of our steps.
There was swagger in our gait.
And the glittering inner harbor reflected back something
that looked like
a victory march
as we crossed the finish line of
the 5K, hand in hand
with our new friends
made possible
@ Fitbloggin'

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on my way to Baltimore

A few things I've learned today. You probably already know them. 

1.) My name is hard to spell. 

2.) I know (theoretically) that happiness doesn't come in a cup but I learned that if it did - it would be a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

3.) United Airlines customer service needs improvement.

4.) A egg and cheese sandwich costs $9.99 at LAX.

I tend to conjure up a pretty specific image in my head when I think of a brave person. I usually either think of a little boy with two prostethic legs or a camouflage dressed soldier holding his newborn for the first time ... or more recently I think of  wildly curly red hair, a blue corset and a bow and arrow - thank you Pixar. God, what I wouldn't do for a Gaelic accent right now. Then I would certainly feel what I'm suppose to be feeling which is BRAVE. 

I am currently, right now, this second, in Baltimore, Maryland. I'm attending a conference, a blogging conference of all things, Fit Bloggin' 2012.  

I'm a little disoriented, I mean, even the ocean is in a different place. I'm staying in a hotel room all by myself. I didn't know ANYONE coming to this thing. I'm about to be a very little fish is a very big pond. There are 300 bloggers attending this event. Some of the people attending make a living blogging. A lot of them have business cards, business cards people!!! My blog is just this little baby thing, I share it with exactly 28 people by way of an email blast and perhaps the 10 friends on Facebook that my current settings allow to see my status updates. (Am I the only one that can't successfully navigate the new Facebook?)

A co-worker said something to me the other day, she said, "your life begins when you step out of your comfort zone." I don't think she was the first to say that, but she was the first to say it to me so I'm giving her full credit. She is a wise lady. 

I think, and mostly because I've been obsessively thinking about it for days now,  but I think she's right. Maybe I don't need to slay a big black scar-faced grizzly bear to be brave. Maybe I just have to be me. 

Growing up I was always that kid who couldn't sleep the night before the first day of school because I was so excited. I loved, loved, loved meeting new people and having new experiences. I hosted a Japanese exchange student in 7th grade - a complete stranger, who spoke a strange language and wore strange mismatched yellow plaid and Hello Kitty outfits became my sister for 14 days. I went on a month long exchange trip to Europe when I was 14. I road public transportation in Budapest, Hungry with my host sister who had spiky pink hair, ate wiener schnitzel  in Vienna and danced with a tour guide named Rodolfo in Florence. I sought out an employment opportunity downtown - where I would be the only lifeguard from my high school when 16, so I could work with people that didn't look like me. I went to a small college without my boyfriend and absolutely none of my friends. I enrolled in an field studies course which included a trip to Costa Rica junior year at that college. I tried out for my collegiate golf team although I hadn't played competitively for years.  I wore high heels to my mom's funeral. And in 2006, I left everyone and everything I knew, again, and moved to Los Angeles so my husband and I could pursue the dream of Hollywood success. 

And then, I just kind of stopped taking chances. In a place so big and so scary I've craved a sense of security and safety so fervently that I haven't felt like being a chance-taker person. This city has turned me into a big borderline agoraphobic sissy. 

And, so tomorrow, in the reflection of Baltimore's inner harbor, I'm off to learn my 5th thing...

I am brave. 

It's time for a lemon shake-up, I just hope it goes well with crab cakes. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Sometimes I can be a real jerk.

Especially to myself. I'm working on it. The following are some ways I have tried, this last week, to be kinder to myself.

1.) I'm putting on real clothes everyday - at least for part of the day. I might conclude the day in my yoga pants or sweats but I am putting on real clothes, as a way to greet the morning. This is a small gesture that forces me to take time to pick something out that matches, fits and doesn't resemble something a homeless person would wear.

2.) I bought new perfume. Since I started wearing it, Lucy keeps asking to smell my arm. After taking in big whiff of my wrist she said, "ah, you smell so good!" Well, at least it is toddler approved. I've always really liked the idea of having a signature scent. My mom did, and to this day whenever I smell FENDI, it reminds me of her.

3.) I started seeing a therapist. We'll call her Melissa, because her name is Melissa, except I don't think I'm suppose to know that, I really only know it from her website. When I met her for the first time she didn't bother with introductions. I did, of course, I'm a good Midwestern girl! I entered her room with confidently pulled back shoulders, a warm smile and gave her a firm handshake stating, "Hi! I'm Danielle, so nice to meet you." She saw right through it. I was reduced to a snotting, blubbering, sad girl mess 15 minutes into our first visit. It was a very good fit. I trust her, I feel safe in her office and amidst my tears and sorrow I felt a very palpable glimmer of hope before I walked out the door.

4.) I went to a Hot Yoga class. This is the only exercise I do that makes me feel like I am rewarding my body instead of punishing it. It feels indulgent. It feels special and cleansing and good. Hot yoga, Bikram, is exactly what it sounds like, yoga in a hot room, usually somewhere between 101-105 degrees. I am pretty much drenched in sweat 10 seconds after entering the room, I can literally wring my clothes out after class. Kinda gross, kinda awesome. Anyway, the room is large and hot and there are mirrors in the front and on the side (like most exercise studios) and I always try to get a spot upfront as close to the mirror as I can. This is not like 11th grade history class. I'm not doing this to impress the teacher. I do it for myself. The most rewarding and intense, even more intense than the heat, part of class is that for the first 50 minutes of the 90 minute class I am in constant eye contact with myself in the mirror. I'm sure this is by design. And it some brilliant design because think about it... when is the last time you stared at yourself in the mirror for 50 minutes? Uh, probably never. I know I don't. I'm lucky to get 50 seconds in the mirror in the morning to apply some mascara! And whenever else I look at the mirror I'm definitely not looking at my eyes - thick arms, flabby belly, chipped toenail polish. Sorry, there goes the jerk again. The point is, whenever in my day-to-day life I do have a chance to glance in a mirror I'm never thinking anything good. It is different at hot yoga. I'm staring into my eyes, which I've always named as my best feature. But it is very hard to be mean to your body, even in thought, when you are staring directly into your own eyes. Very, very intense.

Every yoga class I've ever been to, hot or not, ends the same way - with hands in prayer, a slight bow and the word Namaste. I didn't know what that meant for a long time. I had an instructor that explained it very well to me once. She said that the gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each one of us. The gesture is an acknowledgement of the most divine in one soul by another. The highest being in me, salutes the highest being in you. Don't you just love that?

So anyway, I'm working on silencing the jerk and recognizing the divine.

A dear friend shared this video with the hubby and I. It made me cry, it reminded me of the power of yoga and self kindness and faith. I hope you love it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Enough already!

Please tell me you love a good comeback story.

Time to face the music - the sad melodious tune of implosion - since the last time I actually posted a weight loss, sometime in March, I have gained back ten pounds and when I say ten pounds I mean 13.2. Putting me at exactly (as of this morning) at 173.2 pounds.

I feel a little bit like I'm unraveling here. It isn't just because of the weight because there have been some other sources of stress. Some real - like now my husband has a knee injury which is much worse than mine. And some unreal - like my L'Oreal Perfect Eyeliner in Carbon Black being out of stock at CVS. But when I'm taking good care of myself - eating well, exercising, I'm better equipped to deal with the stress. The issue of my weight is so incredibly emotionally charged for me. I'm finding that it is almost completely and utterly the source or void of my self-esteem.

This is both weird and dumb.  Be that as it may, it doesn't make it any less true.

I know people, of all shapes and sizes, that don't have this problem. I know people of all shapes and sizes that are happy despite their shape and size.

I know what I need.

1.) Faith.
2.) Help.
3.) Hope.

I'm very good at believing. Believing in God, believing in others but I'm not just very good at believing in myself. This is a whopping problemo, one I've decided needs a little professional guidance. I'm going to talk to someone this week. You see, I'm also very terrible at seeking out or asking for help. You might not know this because I've done it several times on this blog. It was one of my better ideas; I'm going to do it again.

Come hell or high water, I am going to figure this out. I'm going to not only lose the weight, but I am going to figure out WHY this is my issue. Time to dig a little deeper. I promise to keep you posted on my success and findings.

And if you have any faith or help or hope to offer - I will gladly take you up on some. And love, I could always use some love.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kiss of Mud

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought, "do I really look like that?"

I have.

I've seen lots and lots o' pictures of myself where I think to myself, "holy guacamole, I look like a hideous monstrous beast." A dear friend and I had a pretty big celebrity sighting when she visited me in L.A. for my baby shower over 4 years ago. I was about 7 months pregnant and we saw Lindsay Lohan at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. This was huge - at the time, the only other more exciting sighting would have been a bald Britney Spears. She was actually really sweet (probably stoned off her gourd), but she took a picture with the two of us. I look like a giantess in the photograph, not only because Lindsay and my friend are so small, but because I was so big. It was a picture I wanted to plaster everywhere (facebook, baby album, fireplace mantle...) but I just hate it so much. This may not be the best example because I was pregnant, but it you know what I mean, fatty pictures are the worst. When I look at pictures, I immediately determine the quality of the photograph by how skinny or chunky I appear. This is extremely narcissistic of me. I am aware.


This past Saturday July 7 was the So Cal Tough Mudder Event. It was at Snow Valley Mountain Resort up on Big Bear Mountain. Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. Our particular event was 10 miles, but it was on a ski resort so all 10 miles were either straight up a black diamond slope or straight down - little to no flat ground was covered. The obstacles were almost a relief, if you consider sliding on your belly through frigid water and mud underneath a barbed wire with electric wires hanging from it to be relief (the Electric Eel).

I did amazing, difficult crazy things over the 8 miles and 16 obstacles that I completed. But, and this is a big, big BUT - I was unable to complete the course.

I cannot really describe how deflating this has been for me.

Going into this challenge, I was really, really scared. Here are the things I was most afraid of, in no particular order.

1.) Dying. I mean, I did sign a death waiver; it could have happened.
2.) Not finishing. (Well, you know about this one.)
3.) Having my brain fried by electricity.  There were two obstacles with live wires delivering up to 10,000 volts of electricity. (So far no evidence that this happened.)
4.) Being the fattest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
5.) Being the slowest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
6.) Being the weakest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
7.) Slowing down my team by being the fattest, slowest, weakest person on the course. (I did, a little bit, but I also happened to have the best, most supportive, positive, amazing, sexy teammates on the course too - so they never once made my feel badly about it.)
8.) Having to buy new shoes afterward. (I don't know why I was afraid of this, other than my shoes are relatively new and I love them.)

My vision has been so blurred by my fear and by what I left undone - 2 miles and 5 obstacles. While I was completing obstacles and covering the miles, I was scared. One obstacle that comes to mind is the Walk the Plank - a 15+ foot high jump into water that I was freaking out about - I did NOT want to jump! But I DID jump. I berated myself for being afraid and for screaming like a banshee the whole way down and forgot to congratulate myself on the fact that I had a fear and I faced it. I still jumped. My vision has been so clouded that I couldn't see what I did accomplish.

So, it has been to my ultimate shock and amazement that today I have been gawking at the official course pictures of bib number 38561 and found myself thinking: "Do I really look like that? Like the bad ass Tough Mudder that I see in these photographs?" 

This is a revelation. (And a scam. I just spent $50.00 on a few digital images.)

I don't look super slender in these pictures, but I just don't freaking care. I love them. I look strong and determined, I look like a fighter. I look like I'm having a blast. I look dirty and sunkissed and healthy. I look like a warrior. I look triumphant.

And, I should mention that the real reason I didn't finish the course was not because I gave up. I had to stop because I have a wicked knee injury. I hurt myself during a training run 4 weeks ago, and although I tried to be careful for the remaining training time, I don't think I rested enough. I was fighting through pain almost immediately at the start of the event and stopped at mile 4 to have a medic wrap my knee. He said he would wrap it, but then he'd have to take me out of the race. At which point, I threw my cup of H2O in his face and said, "hell no!" and kept pushing on. Actually, I grimaced, groaned and then just kept pushing on. At mile 8, I had just completed the longest and most severe stint downhill (way worse on the knee) and just had to stop before I rendered myself a candidate for total knee replacement surgery at age 30. It was the right thing to do and the hardest thing I did the whole entire day.

Stopping, for all intents and purposes, failing to complete the course and therefore my only goal I made when I signed up to do this event sent me in a total down spiral. It is the only athletic event I have ever quit in my life. I didn't feel like I could celebrate, I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I didn't want to talk about it. I felt like I couldn't actually even say that I was, "a Tough Mudder."  When people asked me about the event, I just started apologizing and telling the sad ending to the story. I forgot to actually tell the story.

These pictures tell the story.

I've been looking for a source of inspiration recently to push me out of this plateau, I never, ever thought I'd find her staring back at me in the mirror.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This is the Most Fun!

(Note from the author: when I started writing this post it was suppose to be uplifting and inspiring. Well, I tripped on the rubble and it kind of turned into something entirely different. I'm sorry, I don't think I can move on and heal until I am honest with myself about what is going on inside my head. Please stay tuned, my hope is that uplifting and inspiring are just up ahead.)

While perusing iTunes for some new workout music for the ol' iPod the other night, we downloaded this little gem - You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon.

"A man walks down the street and he says why am I soft in the middle now, why am I soft in the middle - the rest of my life is so hard." 

I've been secretly sniveling to myself, a lot I mean a lot, a lot. Losing weight is so hard, really really freaking hard. And I've been caught up in the hardness of it all. I've let it paralyze me. I'll start the day off well with the best of intentions (you know journaling, measuring and planning) then somewhere, sometime I feel a panicky rush of yuckyness and before I know it I'm eating or drinking something that is, um, not nourishing or I'm eating something nourishing but I'm eating way too much of it. Then the day is "ruined" and I feel like a big. fat. failure. Especially because I've been here before. This cycle is well known in the historical timeline of my life. I feels like I'm afraid, afraid of what? I'm not sure. Probably of not being able to eat any more french fries or pizza or ice cream or anything with a net carb >4. That sounds a little funny and seriously pathetic but it isn't funny it is really FRUSTRATING!

Why am I so scared?

The truth is that being healthy is fun, really really freaking fun. Creating healthy recipes makes me feel like Remy in Ratatouille, it is so creatively gratifying. I can focus more. I am more jovial and I hang out with my friends more because I'm not constantly worrying about what I should wear or how I should sit. Accepting compliments is easier, shopping for clothes is more enjoyable and making out with my husband is just, well it's just awesome. Eating healthy foods in the right combinations and amounts makes my skin glow. Looking in the mirror at the gym and seeing definition in my arms is like no other gratification that I have ever known.

Why am I sabotaging my own fun?

I have no idea. It is just stupid. And I'm mad at myself. I have not known what to do about it so I haven't done anything. I haven't been cooking, I haven't been working out, I haven't been blogging. Well, I've done a little of all of those things but not in the quantity that elicits any fun.

So I made a radical decision. I am going to have more fun. I am introducing fun into this weight loss journey. The hope and prayer that I am desperately grasping for is that by telling myself I am WORTH having fun, by purposely injecting it into my day and my routine and my goals, that I'll start to believe it and start treating myself accordingly.

Here are the first FUN items on the agenda.

1.) Participate in my first Tough Mudder event on July 7. I mean what could possibly be more fun than running in an event that is basically a glorified Track and Field Day for adults? More to come on this but to give you some idea I will be signing my first death waver and I couldn't be more excited!!!

2.) I think it's fun to have mantras. I've decided mine this next month, prepping for the event above, is going to be "Eat Clean, Train Dirty." And, yes, I stole it from a tee-shirt I saw on pinterest, so sue me.

3.) Go to the beach, stretch marks and all. I'm hoping that once June Gloom is over we'll be there about once a week. Anyone want to join?

4.) My sister and I recently started sending each other text messages around our intended workout times. It started with her needing some encouragement to get up and go to the gym at the butt crack of dawn. I woke up in a sleepy stupor and sent her a quick one liner stating that I believe in her (Because I DO!!!). She returned the favor for me later in the day. Sis-a-roo, get ready, it's lucky that you have unlimited text messages, you're gonna need them!

5.) I'm signing up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. It isn't for a while yet, actually it is on my birthday weekend in late January. How fun is that?!?!

I'm laying the snivel to rest, put that in your pipe and sing about it, Paul Simon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Mother's Day Poem

For that day when you ask me what it was like for me when you were little.

I don't know what I am doing -
at all.
I falter on a daily basis.
I fail you on a daily basis.
I am not consistent like I should be
with timeouts
with discipline,
of any kind.
I give in when you whine, not all the time
but some of the time.
I put you back in pull-ups after trying underwear
because I was too exhausted to spot clean the carpet...
I raise my voice way too much, in fact
I have screamed at you
more than once.
And I slapped your hand
(only once.)
I lose my temper and am frustrated with you
almost every day.
I give you lollipops and chocolate milk at the grocery store
just to keep you quiet.
I bribe you with stickers.
I plop you in front of the T.V. just so I can
talk on the phone,
have a moment of peace and quiet.
We don't have as much structure in our day
as you probably need.
I buy you too many clothes
and shoes
and hair bows.
And I fight with you about which
and shoes
and hair bows you wear
and when you wear them.
I don't bathe you every day
or even every other day.
I don't brush your hair every day
or even every other day.
I don't remember all of your milestones.
We rarely go to the library.
I haven't taken you to the dentist
or eye doctor
but we go to Target at least once a week.
We don't have as many play dates
as you probably need.
You share a room with each other.
You wake up early and I make you go
back in your room!
So I can lay in bed just a little longer...
I feel like I'm doing it all wrong
all the time.
I feel guilty about what I am doing with you
or not doing with you
all the time.
I am exhausted
and puzzled
and afraid of messing up
all of the time.

Because I love you more than I knew was possible.
You are wonderful, kind, happy little girls
and I just want to do right by you.
I want to give you love,
give you things
and experiences
and joy
and hugs
and stories
and fun
and faith and hope.
And I want to teach you about love
and life
and letters
and numbers
and music
and movement
and I just never know if I'm teaching you
at all.

But I try.
I try really very hard -
to protect you and guide you and honor you.
Because I cherish you
and I want you to cherish yourselves
and others.
Being your mother is the most important
and overwhelming
and special
thing I've ever done.
And, the truth is that I'm making it up as I go.
And that seems crazy
but it is just the truth.
I always mean well but that doesn't mean
I'm doing well.

But we read books together every day
and snuggle
and hug
and sing
and make eye contact
and eat together
every day.
I gave you each other.
I have never yelled at you for spilling something
or making an honest mistake.
I praise you without bidding
and encourage your imagination.
I can calm you down,
I am almost always the solution to your problems
(even if I am also the cause.)
I answer your questions and listen to your stories.
I dry your tears.
I bandage your wounds and
tend to your fevers.
I have you vaccinated.
I let you cook with me
and make messes
big messes.

I won't know what were the most important things
I did or didn't do
-and what things didn't really matter at all-
until it is far too late.
And I know I'll always wish I did a better job
at so many things
because you deserve so much

But, if what you are really asking
when you say
“What was it like for you when I was little?”
“Am I a good mom?”
Perhaps in your asking,
and in my absolute resolution to tell you
I'll learn what what I'm seeking
and maybe even after all that time
you can tell me too,
that I was
a good mom after all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Funk Soul Brother

Something weird happened to me this weekend.

I was in Funkville, I mean like knee deep in sludge in the valley of Funkville. I was a Grump-o-la to say the least. I remember being very annoyed at my children for needing things, like breakfast. I was ignoring my husband's attempts at being chipper and productive, my only friend was the dog and that was mostly because she doesn't talk. I just felt really, blah. Adam kept making plans for the day, asking me what I wanted to do - I growled under my breath something about laundry and cleaning our room, growing more irritated and blah by the minute. I saw that he was making a sort of schedule for the day, for whatever reason, this really bothered me. I'm a big believer in lists and schedules but didn't he know that weekends, which I hardly ever get to experience these days, are for RESTING!?!?!?!?

I sensed my boiling point at which, I turned to my favorite member of the family, the dog, and asked her if she needed to go outside. Her little black ears perked up and I took it as a yes. After coming back from our walk I caught a glance at Adam's "schedule" for the day. First on the list 9am - Play with the Girls. OK, so cute, I can be on board with that one. I looked at the next item 10am - Run. To this I had a very strong knee jerk reaction which was total and utter youth in revolt. I went ballistic, screaming and throwing things. Well I didn't actually do that but I felt like going crazy. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a freaking run. I was in the midst of a terrible no good very bad day and I just wanted to be left alone. I needed to mellow out, relax, unwind and quiet the ever churning gears in my brain. I just wanted to sit still.

But... I was trying to make up for sulking during breakfast, so instead of throwing things and screaming I put on my running clothes and shoes and joined my little family in a drawing game at the kitchen table. A few minutes later, I helped the girls get dressed, Adam dug out our double jogging stroller and in a silent "getting ready rag" we assembled our needs for the next half hour or so - a short list that included; ipod, poo bag, an extra poo bag (just in case), Nalgene topped off with ice water (heavy on the ice), keys, wallet (in case we stop at the farmer's market), some kind of snack for the girls (almonds this time around) and, oh yes, our dog and her leash. Basically, a million years later, we exited out our front door.

It was a really, really pretty day - the kind of day that people think we always have in Southern California. Again, this kind of pissed me off. You must know just how determined I was to stay in a foul mood. Just to prove to everyone (meaning no one, because no one was around but us) just how stoic and noble I really was for suffering this run for the good of my family, I decided that I would push the stroller for the first half of the run. This is no small feat, the damn thing weighs about a thousand pounds.

So I've painted the picture clearly. There I was - Lady Grump-o-la, Queen of Funkville, pushing a heavy stroller, essentially a piece of furniture on wheels, through my neighborhood. I must have been quiet a sight with a sour puss firmly planted on my face.

But then the weird thing happened.

I hit my stride.

My breathing was labored but steady, my heartbeat was quickened but strong.

I was running and I felt good.

I felt more mellow, more relaxed, I felt myself unwinding. And although we were running to some pretty awesome tunes blasted on the stroller's MP3 player, the noisy gears in my brain finally shut up.

It was the best part of my day.

This is weird because for sooooooooo long I have sort of rebelled against exercise. I didn't like it, it was hard, it was something I knew I should do and so I did but I never, ever wanted to do it. This small weird little victory of truly enjoying that run feels big. It feels big because its coupled with the same old tired habits and thoughts that food will comfort me. Clearly, I've been feeling blue for a few weeks, and, sure I've reached for some fatty comfort foods but they just don't do the trick like they used to do.

In the effort to not take up permanent residence in Funkville I think I need something. More specifically I need to do something. I've been toying with the idea of signing up for an event, I have one in mind but it's a little on the insane side. I think the goal of having something to work towards other than just the number on the scale would help me immensely.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Loss of Spring

It's been 48 days since my last blog post. And I'm sorry to say that it isn't because I've been too busy doing P90X or eating mountains of kale to write. It means I've put distance between me, myself and my goals. I weighed myself this morning for the first time in three weeks and it was not good.

I've been sort of in a stalemate with my weight loss since October but this is different. For the last several months I was maintaining, I was proud and honest and healthy. I even had two amazing weeks  of rock solid discipline in February where I busted through a plateau. And then I fell off the wagon.

More like I fell off the wagon, willingly jumped in front of the cart and let myself get run over by all four wheels. Like I said, not good.

And what's worse is I feel like I've been abused by a turn of the century horse drawn buggy. I'm tired, I'm muddled and mucked and askew in my snook. Truth been told (as if there is a point in not telling the truth here) things have been ridiculously busy this last month – business trips, family trips, overtime, toddler tantrums, yada, yada, yada. Just stupid excuses, nothing real. And then one real thing.

April has never really held magic for me and it's not even the fault of the showers. I mostly love the rain (I think it's the comeback of galoshes). Even as a child, spring was slated fourth on the list of my favorite seasons. But then seven years ago I actually lost spring. When I lost my mom. Despite what spring offers – renewal, freshness, forgiveness, the smell of lilacs. I just feel stripped of all my senses, I feel mute, deaf and at a complete loss.

Of course, God knew this, He gave me Lucy in my least favorite month. The only flower I ever see clearly this time of year. But, as much as I love celebrating her birth, and I do, I know you know I do. In fact, just so we're clear ,there is just simply not enough space, even with the infinite room and icloudness that the Internet gives me to express how much I love her and am forever thankful that she came to me in April, this time still hurts. And that doesn't take away from Lucy's Birth Day. In fact, it is usually her birthday that pulls me out of my fog. I'm never strong enough to do it on my own. Of course, God knew this, clever bastard.

I know about grief. I'm really good at grief – other people's grief that is – I actually think it's one of the things I do best in my job, helping parents grieve. It's one of my weird, “very good at crisis but suck at the small stuff quirks.” I explained in my last post about how I named my blog “elley exposed.” Now, perhaps you know a little big more about the “third generation bag lady's road to healing.” I'm still navigating the waters of my own grief and, seven years in, it's still choppy. But at least I'm working on it.

So I've had a bad 48 days. I think I'm done. Yes, I'm done. Just like that, I know I can wake up tomorrow and make good choices. One-at-a-time. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I having nervous diarrhea just writing this post? Yes. TMI? Yes. Sorry, again, no point in not telling the truth here. I'm nervous because this is definitely exposing, I'm the writer of a weight loss blog and I'm not losing weight. Do I feel like a phony? Yes. Am I willing to forgive myself. Yes.

I lost Spring but I refuse to lose myself.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's My Name That's On That Jag

Whatever the glass ceiling is for weight loss, I shattered it.

Finally.   And it means a another big milestone. This is the smallest I have been since I have been married. Happy Belated Anniversary to me!   You may have wondered where "Elley" came from, this is a nickname that only one person in the whole world calls me - my husband. I definitely drew the long straw here, my nickname for him is Sparky. Poor guy.  When I set out to start this blog I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a clever domain name - well blogger ruined that pipe dream for me because there are only something like one bazillion people thinking that blogging is like totally for me and most of my clever ideas were already taken. So I settled for something a little more simple. Elley Exposed. It cuts through a lot of garbage and just says... here I am. Here I am - vulnerable, unsealed and bare. It also sounds racy and I like that.  I think many of us could use a little more raciness in our life, like in the bad-ass, I wear an apron in the kitchen only to hide my holster kind of way.  Some of my most potent workout songs in the gym are angry girl anthems. I used to listen to Beyonce's Irreplaceable endlessly during workouts. Then it was Pink's So What. Then Fighter by Christina Aguilera. These are all effectively SCREW YOU songs. And they are so awesome, especially for someone like me who, even when given the opportunity, would never be able to say screw you.   It isn't that I really want to say those words its just that I want the power and confidence that rides on the coat tails of those words, or at least the power and confidence that I perceive them to carry. Power and confidence are so sexy, aren't they?  
When my husband and I first fell in love I was a confident girl with a lot of ambition - I mean, hello, I was seventeen years old! The world was my oyster or something to that effect. I think this both intimidated and enticed him. It was something I never really understood when he tried to explain it.

Until it changed. 
I've tried numerous ways to recapture the mysterious confidence I carted around with me in the courtship days of my relationship to my husband to no avail. Because my attempts were never authentic. I wasn't addressing the real problem. And that problem, for me, was always the fact that I was struggling with my weight and it held me back in so many ways. I let it hold me back. It dictated what I wore and at which angle I preferred for pictures to be taken. The most surprising thing about losing weight is what I have been able to recapture.   I feel like I've finally got my sexy back.   And so, Happy Belated Anniversary to you too, my dear Sparky.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Diffusing the False Crisis

I think I'm having a false crisis. I'm calling it a False Crisis because it is ridiculous and silly and the only thing that would actually make it interesting is if all of the key players in my life appeared and disappeared exactly on cue, driving around in sports cars with the top down and running around in shoes meant only for walking down the aisle. You know, like in romantic comedies.

I've been thinking about what drives people, well, at least one person – me. My hubby is out of town, so I've been alone the last few nights as my toddler-aged companions are in bed by 7:30pm, so I've had the time and I've pondered this quite a bit. When I committed to this journey last April I had so much drive. I had laser focus. I let nothing get in my way.

What changed?

I still want the same things – in fact I have a list of things that I want that hangs on the mirror in my bathroom and resides in whatever book I'm currently reading. I read it everyday and I still want everything on that list.

I want a purpose driven life.
I want my girls to hear the Taylor Swift song, “The Best Day” and think of me.
I want to fit into any pair of knee high boots I think are cute.
I want to wear a size six.
I want to run a marathon.
I want to write a children's book.
I want to volunteer in my children's classrooms.
I want to own a house.
I want to stop thinking that my dad is disappointed in me.
I want to live to 100.
I want to go on family vacation at least once a year.
I want to step on the scale at a doctor's office and not blush.
I want my children to have no memory of me being overweight.
I want to model healthy eating to my girls.
I want to show my girls how fun it is to exercise and move.
I want my husband to want me.
I want to be one of those people who says, “gosh, this is so rich, I couldn't possibly have another bite.”
I want people to read my blog.
I want people to share my blog with others.
I want to workout with a trainer once a week.
I want to inspire faith.
I want to minimize how much I yell and maximize how much I pray.
I want to take the stairs.
I want to wear a bikini.
I want to wear my wedding ring, without injury.
I want to teach Sunday school, regularly.
I want to feel good naked.
I want to work from home.
I want to have a deep meaningful friendship in Los Angeles.
I want to weigh less than 140 lbs.
I want to be an “after” story.

So, again, what changed? Why is it that I'm stalled out? And after a lot of dramatics and deep exposure of myself I think I finally have the answer...


I am no longer in crisis. When I started this journey nine months ago I was in real crisis. I was desperate, I was depressed, I was lonely and sad and disgusted and completely fed up being fed by the wrong things.

That's what's changed. I am now content and happy and I feel surrounded by love and support and I'm proud of myself and I feel full. Filled up with the right things. Of course, I don't feel like that all of the time. Sometimes I don't handle things very well and I tend to retreat and walk around aimlessly in calming places, like Target. Enter False Crisis, otherwise known as yesterday, wherein I sobbed like a baby to both my husband and my sister about the fact that over the week of my birthday I gained a pound and before that I hadn't lost weight in two months.

And you know what they said? “Boo freaking hoo.” So, OK, neither one of them said that but both of them should have. 

My birthday was amazing. It was everything a 30th birthday should be... it was indulgent and lavish and I felt like a pampered princess. I ate Sprinkles cupcakes and Cadberry Eggs and full fat cheese and drank regular Coke. It was glorious. But, the glory didn't come from food. It came from people. People who celebrated me and love me. The same people who have pulled me out of my real crisis and helped me stop letting fear run my life. The same people who celebrated and loved me when I couldn't celebrate and love myself. You know who you are and I want to thank you for for my false crisis. 

What I have to learn now is drive, drive without crisis. I'm not really sure how to do this, I think I've been operating this way my whole life. It's how I turned a mid-term C into an A by the end of a semester. It's how I learned to parallel park. It's why I got a dog and learned to cook and to plunge toilets. It's how I've always called myself to action, like in one of those romantic comedy endings where false crisis and false hope and real crisis and real hope alternate like a clockwork mechanism.

I don't have the answer. I'm just sending this out there... hoping I'll get one.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pocket Full of Sunshine

SWEAT is fat crying

Yesterday at this time, I was drenched in fat tears when I walked a little delirious but still victorious out of my hot yoga class. My first workout of 2012. 

I'm a big believer in resolutions. I think there is something very cleansing and renewing about entering a new year. I love dreaming about all the promises that a new year brings and I love reflecting back on the year that has just past and all the precious memories and accomplishments that I can pull out of my pocket to treasure any time I wish. 

I believe with full confidence that I will finish losing weight this year and begin the task of maintaining it for the rest of my life. And I think the time has come to document the physical transformation I made last year. 

Last December, on Maya's 1st Birthday.

In April 2011, on Lucy's 3rd Birthday.

These two photos were taken last January, just one year ago.

This was me in October 2011.
And this is me, last week, at Maya's 2nd Birthday Party. 
Sifting through pictures to produce this post was so revealing to me. Daily changes happen in such small increments that it can be so frustratingly difficult to see the transformation. Well, I see it now. And if you are super crafty, and look carefully you might just notice what I'm sporting on my left ring finger. 

It's going to be a Happy, happy, happy New Year.