My favorite photo, in spite of my detestation of kissing pictures, is "Kissing the War Goodbye." This photo was taken May 8, 1945, when a handsome soldier returned from war, grabbed a nurse as she walked by, and laid a big one on her.
It's only fitting that my favorite guy would appease me this Halloween. That is, after I appeased him as he did a little Gangnam Style.
If any men out there are looking for the most
amazing Khaki's ever(if you lost your butt, you will find it in these),
I highly recommend Bonobos. I bought a pair for my handsome devil for his birthday and I now firmly believe every man should have a pair (of pants, get your minds out of the gutter).
They have an unbeatable return/exchange
policy, free shipping, and you can use this link to get $25 off! Just copy/paste it into your web browser and select "apply." You
This past August I took leave to the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City with some of my besties and my beau.
Our last evening there, we walked to the car, gazing upon the twinkling stars and basking in the post-theater glow that us theater-lovers emit.
Upon the car rested an innocent little katydid. I nudged the insect a little for it to move so as to not get squished in the door. And move it did. Lucas inspected his car - no katydid in sight. This was the all-clear for Melissa to enter, as she has frightful fits about the bugs.
I hear someone amusedly say, "Oh! There's the Katydid! It's in the car!"
The next thing I know, I hear the most growly, masculine voice boom, "SON OF A B*@#!" as Melissa flew from the car like a bat out of Hades.
Ends up that exclamation came from Melissa. Also ends up her fright may have given all of the rest of us laughing fits for at least the next ten minutes...making the extraction of the katydid all the more difficult and amusing. Rest assured, there was no attack of a killer katydid and Melissa's heart rate has returned to normal.
My Partner-in-Crime had a birthday this past weekend.
He's also one of the top DJs by which I've ever been entertained (I'm seriously not just saying that). Shout out to his company and group of DJs - Life of the Party Entertainment. If you need a DJ for a Mitzvah, Corporate Party, Wedding, Assembly, or any other event requiring entertainment, contact him here.
Back to the point. What does a DJ do on his birthday? Naturally, work an event that happens to be an awesome 80s Prom for adults. You heard me right. Those people knew how to party and danced well past the set witching hour.
Because I kind of adore him a wee bit, I agreed to be his lovely assistant for the evening. Only neither of us ever arrived, as we were time-warped back to 1985 and people kept calling us Marty and Jennifer.
I would say I've started a new chapter, except that I feel as if I've been reading this chapter all along, I just didn't know it...and now I do.
1. I'm okay.
I'm healthy. I truly believe I will never again have to worry about the trials I once faced in regards to obesity. I don't crave the same types of food I once did. I crave working out. There is a certain knowledge I have acquired over the past eight years of how wonderful life can be when we are living to our potential and I truly believe that knowledge is what will keep me on the right path. As several of you wonderful readers shared with me alternatives I may want to consider to help me, I realized just how far I have come from eight years ago...and how "okay" I am...that I have, within myself, everything I need. And I can do it. I have done it. I will continue to do it. And when I feel like I am falling, I have friends and family to lift me back up.
2. Saying nasty words about a person who said nasty words doesn't help. And I have friends who will "take care of the family" moreso than the mafia would (you know who you are).
I know, I know. While I particularly appreciate the image of several of you "ripping out his balls," how is it okay for us to castrate him and not okay for him to tell me I look a little flabbier than when he first met me? Although the pain is different, there is hurt and pain behind both of those comments. Except that he honestly felt he was doing something helpful by pointing out to me that Snickers is no laughing matter. How is ripping his balls out helpful? You see my point.
3. If I gain or lose five pounds or a body fat percentage or two, that does not make me a failure or a success.
That makes me human.
4. I will forever keep the kind words and love you all expressed to me.
I'm terribly sorry that I had to experience this kind of ignorance. But if I hadn't, there are things almost 100 of you shared with me that I would never have known. Now I know. And my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions will never and can never be the same.
5. Don't wait a moment to tell anyone you admire all of the wonderful things you think about them.
Couldn't we all hold our heads a little higher if we new exactly how much so many people out there felt for us? Would this comment have bothered me so much if I had known how many people had felt inspired by watching my life evolve? Would this comment have bothered me if, if, if? Do not leave people wondering if they are important to you or if they have left an impact on your life in even the littlest of ways (like telling a singer he/she has a beautiful voice). So what if you think it is weird to share with them a random compliment? Wouldn't you rather sacrifice those few seconds of courage to give them a bit of knowledge they can carry with them forever?
6. Think about those experiencing your former trials before criticizing your past.
This young man should have thought about how much it would hurt before he tried to "help" me. Likewise, I should have thought a little more about how my self-consciousness would make all of my friends feel who are currently struggling. I remember having a roommate, who was at times frighteningly thin, always complaining about how fat she'd gotten, when she was clearly half my size. One day, I took her aside and expressed to her, "Do you know how it makes me feel when you call yourself fat? Do you know how much it makes me feel terrible and wonder about the terrible things you must think about me and my size?"
I need to feast upon my own words there. And if I hurt anyone's feelings, I am extremely sorry...I would never intentionally inflict the kind of pain on someone else that I felt so many times...that I caused myself so many times.
7. My body ROCKS!
Seriously! I have all the right curves in all the right places (whether they are more or less toned one month as they are the next is trivial). My muscles all work. These hobbit legs and kids-size tootsies can run five miles without stopping. My heart can beat 150-170 beats per minute for an hour at a time and thank me for it when I'm done. My hair is long and luscious. My hazel eyes are the gateway to my soul. I have enough energy to be the Energizer Bunny.
Most importantly, this body is mine. If I treat it right, it will return the favor. And it has. I'm healthier now than I was ten years ago. That says a lot, yes?
8. My body size does not and will never
impact my spiritual size.
What a marvelous realization.
At first I was upset that people said, "No matter what size you are,
I've always found you one of the kindest, most genuine people I know and that is more important than any ridiculous number." Because, hey, what did I go through
all that work for if I was no more attractive at a healthier stature?
Ohhhh...riiiight...I did this for my health and for my own self-image. I cannot state enough how much my self-image grows when I know I have the unconditional love of so many lifting me up.
Experiences like this help me to keep loving myself as much as others love me. And if a person doesn't love me or say loving words to me? Doesn't mean I should love myself any less...whether or not there is more or less of me.
On this day 8 years ago I joined a gym for the first time. Sure, I'd had weight lifting classes at BYU and gymnastics and all of that, but this was my official declaration of, "I will get fit and stay fit forever."
There were many naysayers, truth be told. Those who said, "Oh people always join the gym and quit six months later." Or, "Don't join until you know you are going to exercise every day." Blah blah blah.
Eight years later, I'm still going strong. Happy Anniversary to me!
Yesterday, I headed to the gym as has so commonly occurred over the past 8 years (it's true - my 8th anniversary is on the 15th). Little did I know what I was in for.
After my warmup, I loaded the leg press with 270 pounds for high-reps instead of my normal 315-340 pounds for low reps - figuring that my much-needed week off while I was in Ohio might have weakened me a bit. Up walked Gym Rat - I met him last year about this time because he happens to be in my ward and I happen to see him almost every time I go to the gym, no matter what time of the day or night.
"You been slacking off at the gym?"
"No! Well...I did just take a week off for my sister's...." *interrupted
"No, no, no. That's not it. It's been much longer than that. You used to be so much more fit when I first saw you here. You
have really let yourself go. You need to work hard so you can have a
hot body again. You've got good genetics and muscle tone, I know you
can do it."
Never you mind I wear a size 4-6 and am not overweight. Never you mind that I am in the gym six days per week. Never you mind that I am five freaking feet tall and can feel/see a weight gain or loss any more significant than two pounds. Never you mind that two weeks ago I ran 5 miles in 41 minutes. Clearly, as Gym Rat pointed out, I've let myself go. The kicker? I'm the exact same weight I was when I met him last year. I cannot tell you if I am as toned as I was then, but I can tell you that lately I have been feeling pretty gross about my body. This could be a culmination of factors such as ill-fitting fall-weather clothes, a boyfriend whom I adore in every way whom I embrace often while all-the-while my little mental fat girl fears he will flee from encountering one fat-roll too many, the fact that I know I'm not as in-shape as I could be, the fact that I have been more lenient with Gym because boyfriend is mega more important to me right now....the list goes on. But back to what Gym Rat said. People, you need to keep your mouths SHUT! You never know what a person is going through. Yes, I have justified making generalized statements such as, "Overweight can threaten your health. Period." I do not feel that is a personal attack on anyone and is a black and white fact. But to walk up to a person and just tell them they have really "let themselves go?!" To say he knows I have "good genetics?" Sorry, Gym Rat, but I actually don't. If you think my path to success is my "good genetics," then you make me feel as if I am going to fail. Several in my family have had to have gastric bypasses because of their genetic weight struggles and many more continue their struggles with obesity (not simply being overweight). So you telling me I've let myself go implies you think I am slothful when there is really so much more you don't know. The interesting insight into this that most of you wouldn't know is that I know this man was not trying to be malicious. He's a Gym Rat who sees bodies as objects and not as part of a spiritual person. I fully believe he thought he was helping and had no idea that his comments would lead to over an hour of tears. That doesn't make it okay.
You see, I was thrice physically obese. I am in better physical condition and weigh less now than I did when I was 11...and 16...and 21-24. I conquered that. Back then, I worked my butt off to become part of a competitive gymnastics team, show choir, a national runner-up baton competition team, Ohio State baton soloist champion in my division, vocal solo competition champion in Indiana, Feature Twirler for our High School, and the list goes on. Yet, somehow, when I "retired" from gymnastics at 16, I gained 40 pounds within 9 months. A doctor told me he was afraid for my health because of how physically active I was while my little body was carrying around an obese load. Ouch. At 17, I lost weight enough to not be obese, although still overweight, and over the next few years I crept back up to the big obeast. At 24, even through years of coaching men's gymnastics classes at BYU, I could not complete a hike with some of my friends and I realized something had to change. And I never looked back.
I have not been obese in eight years. Mentally, however, I am still there. Yesterday I realized that no matter how much I think I've conquered this obeast monster in my head, sometimes a setback makes me feel like I am back at square one. Then logic and rationale step in, helping me to realize that voice in my head is my own inner-bully. Being as it is anti-bullying month, I definitely need to let go and replace inner-beast with inner-beauty - accepting all parts of my current and past self as the pieces that have made me the person I am today.
Do you know what makes this easier? The outpouring I received via phone calls, text messages, and Facebook after I shared my experience. My Facebook post received 65 comments. I will share some of those soon. The defeated part of me has a hard time believing people who have not seen me in years, or those whom I have heard before saying "you aren't fat" flippantly to many others...but you know what? The fact remains that I am loved and the people who love me most all find me beautiful no matter what I look like on the outside. I could not be a luckier gal.
One more thing...
I AM NOT FAT!!!**
* All of the photos were taken within the past two weeks
* Even if I were, for lack of a better word, "fat," does anyone who is "fat" need someone to point it out to them and tell them they don't look good anymore? Nope. We are all very self-aware.
You know how the father on My Big, Fat Greek Wedding uses Windex as a cure-all? I've got a couple of similar tricks up my sleeve and one of them is Vaseline.
I use it as a one-trick-wonder and always have some in my home.
What do I use it for?
Squeaky doors. I apply some Vaseline with a Q-tip and let it set for a couple of days - sure enough, the squeak disappears. I've used this on car doors, screen doors, bathroom doors, you get the point. Works every time.
Makeup Remover. I used to cake on the makeup for show choir and other shows in general. Whenever I had stubborn stuff that I thought would need chiseled, I busted out the Vaseline and simply wiped it off. I swipe a little on my lashes before bed each night instead of scrubbing them to death and when I awake in the morning - voila! No sticky mascara residue!
Lip Balm. Chapped lips? Vaseline will always keep them moist, healthy, and shiny.
Salve for cracked skin on hands and feet. I have great hand/feet skin, I really do. But on the rare occasion that something gets too raw, I slather on some Vaseline before bed and cover up with gloves or socks (or both) and wake up in the morning to silky smooth, saved skin.