Monday Memes: Animal Edition

1. Don’t mess with Gangster Hamster (or is that a gerbil? or perhaps a guinea pig? I don’t know. Either way, he’s a badass).

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2. This bird doesn’t give a crap about your rules.

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3. Life lesson: don’t mess with alpacas.

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4. The damned kids left their Legos on the ocean floor again.

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5. I can’t even with this one. Dying.

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Have a great Monday!

Memes on Monday

This Monday’s 5 memes are dedicated to…Monday. We meet again, my old foe.

1. Because…Mondays.

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2. Even Bert and Ernie don’t like Mondays.

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3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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4. Coffee helps any situation, especially Monday morning.

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5. Awww, poor Monday. I guess it’s not so bad.

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But seriously, remember that old saying, “The days are long; the years are short.” While I sit here and complain about Mondays, it somehow is mid-October 2017. Wasn’t it just the year 2000 and we were all worried about Y2K?

My point being…don’t worry, the weekend will be here again soon. 🙂

The Ups and Downs of Losing 90 Pounds

You guys, I have lost 90 pounds, and that is pretty amazing. I am really proud of myself most of the time, but here’s a story of something that happened the other day:

“Something’s wrong with the mirror,” I said.

“Nope,” Drew replied. “That’s really what you look like now.” I remained skeptical. I thought I couldn’t possibly look like this…like someone who is not a fat person.

End of Story.

So I shouldn’t be having thoughts like these in my little story, right? They defy logic. I have objectively lost 90 pounds, and I recognize this, rationally.

The scale tells me so.

The fact that I am going through pants sizes faster than Trump offends people on Twitter tells me so.

The compliments I get all the time tell me so, and much of the time, I believe it.

But sometimes, on occasion, I don’t quite believe it. Even when I look in the mirror and see the progress, I think it’s lying.

You guys, losing weight is hard for me. I mean, you know it’s hard; everyone knows that. It’s easy to gain and hard to lose, especially the older you get. Sticking to a healthy eating and exercise routine is hard.

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But losing weight isn’t just hard for those reasons. I mean losing weight is hard for my brain to accept. Sometimes my brain just can’t seem to catch up with my body and be excited about it all the time.

Here’s the thing…for nearly 15 years I have considered myself a fat person. At my heaviest (last December), I’m pretty sure anyone would have considered me a fat person. I believe the medical term is “morbidly obese.”

Like, you’re going to die of a fat-related disease if you don’t get your act together, Nash.

Today when I step on the scale, I see a number I haven’t seen in a very long time. I am wearing a pants size I haven’t worn in a very long time (and they still keep falling down, dammit!)

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Many days, I look in the mirror and feel really good about what I see.

I can see my feet when I look down and a year ago, I couldn’t.

I don’t worry if the seat belt is going to fit me on an airplane anymore. Once, it didn’t, and it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

 

So, anyway, it’s not like I look in the mirror and still see myself the way I looked last year. I don’t have a warped image of what I look like.

It’s just that when I look in the mirror, sometimes I really can’t believe it’s me. It’s so hard to rectify my perception of myself as a fat person with the person I see in the mirror now.

I wore my fat like armor, and now that most of it has been stripped away, I am out there in the open. It’s a little disconcerting.

When I was bigger, I felt so small. Invisible sometimes, and that was what I wanted at the time.

Now that I’m smaller, I’ve decided not to play small anymore. My personality is starting to shine again and I’m me, REALLY me. Not someone hiding behind a wall of extra weight. My armor is gone and, while sometimes that is confusing to my brain, I know deep down I’m doing it. I’m coming out of that comfort zone and letting myself be awesome again.

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Coming out of that comfort zone is a challenge…but there’s so much to be gained from it (even as I continue to lose). Because I am awesome, and I am accomplishing amazing things and I intend to continue.

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Oh, and one last thing. You guys, even my bras are too big.

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#thestruggleisreal

What the hell am I doing in 2014? Or, like in general?

I’m not even going to go into the usual blah-blah-blah about long overdue posts. I’m just going to get right down to it.

I haven’t written in a long time because I’m not really sure what I want to say. Like, not what I want to say in this particular post but more in general. What I want to say as a blogger. As a person. As a seeker of joy, love and badassery in all aspects of life.

In the last year or so I had someone ask me a couple of times what I planned to do with this blog.

Person: The blog is great! I’m a huge fan! What are you going to do with the blog, Steph?

Me: Uhhhhh….

Well, I’m damned if I know.

Because as much as I am a writer at heart and know I have a story to tell (perhaps many stories) I’m just not sure where to go from here. I can tell you for sure that I don’t see myself as “The Fit Fat Girl” anymore. It was a persona for awhile and it worked, but the truth is I’ve spent some time over the last couple of months wondering what else this blog could be if not the journey from fat girl to fit badass.

I mean, I’d have to change the whole theme, right? Sure, I could go on occasionally posting about my workouts, my challenges, my injury and how I’m working to overcome it despite obstacles. But I’ve written that shit to death already, and frankly it doesn’t inspire me anymore. And if it’s not inspiring to me, there’s no way in hell it’s going to inspire you.

And is my goal even to be an Inspiration to the People? Is it my goal to be A Thought Leader on Fat-Related Stuff?

Yeah, no. So that’s kind of over.

What, then, do I want to do with this blog?

Well, I’d like to make people laugh sometimes.

I’d like to talk about my parenting challenges sometimes.

I’d like to throw out my thoughts, good and bad, about happiness and friendships and marriage and body image and how big the universe is sometimes. And how small I feel sometimes, even though I take up a decent amount of space.

I’d like to talk about laundry and dishes, wins and losses, holidays and vacations and all the regular days in between. I’d love to write about hopes and dreams that are bigger than life sometimes.

I’d like to ponder the reasons that some weeks, I am super-humanly motivated to keep my house spic and span with seemingly no effort, but other weeks I just want to sit in the reclining chair under my special blankie (yes, I have one) and read books on my Kindle because the day-to-day responsibilities of being a mom and a wife and a Marketing Communications Manager and the Person Who Keeps the Trains Running In My Family seem so monumental that I have to escape to Panem or Hogwarts or wherever else a book would take me.

Sometimes I’d like to tell you why I love YA lit and airports so much.

Other times I’d like to write about real issues about which I am passionate, like the representation of women in the media. And homelessness. And the inability of us as a species (me included!) to just have some freakin’ tolerance and compassion for other human beings, regardless of their gender, race, political party, religious (or non-religious) beliefs, sexual orientation, stance on global warming or guns or Duck Dynasty or abortion or What’s-Your-Excuse-Fit-Mom-Maria-Kang or WHATEVER else the conflict du jour might be.

Someday I’d like to tell you the story of my special blankie, and the person who bought it for me when I was 16. And how mad I am at her sometimes, and how much I miss her since she died almost 20 years ago.

I’d like to tell you my whole story–not all at once, but in bits and slivers and sound bites along the way, a mosaic of experiences and thoughts and opinions that, put together, create the largely-imperfect-but-still-kinda-cool picture that is me.

So why haven’t I done this yet? (Maybe you asked, maybe you didn’t. I’ll answer anyway.)

Fear, of course.

Fear that the new direction of the blog won’t be as good, or as well-received as the old direction was for the most part.

Fear that when I write about my strong opinions on real issues, people will disagree with me and I’ll look stupid.

Fear that when I let go of The Persona of the Fit Fat Girl, there will just be me. Just Steph. And maybe you will not find that as interesting or funny or cool or WHATEVER as the Person Who Was the Fit Fat Girl.

What if Just Steph is not enough?

This is, like, the burning question of my life.

(I just stopped writing for like 10 minutes and debated the inclusion of the entire last 7 paragraphs. Whatever. Keeping ’em.)

So, having said all this, what now? At this point I think I have no choice but to move it forward with this new direction, no matter how scary it is.

Shedding the Fit Fat Girl armor is some next level shit for me, people.
I’m doing it. I hope you’ll stick around to see how it goes.

Anesthesia.

So earlier today I had an endoscopy. I’ll spare you the gory details–well, wait, I don’t actually have any considering they knocked me out for the procedure. I was pretty grateful for that, to tell you the truth. I had visions of barfing all over some poor nurse at the activation of my gag reflex.

Today’s fun venture was the culmination of a week of misery, pretty much. Something crazy happened when I swallowed a normal-sized piece of boneless grilled chicken last Saturday. As though the chicken were coated in shards of glass, I experienced that painful scraping and slicing sensation in my throat–like swallowing a chip with the sharp edge dragging its way down.

Five days later…five days of painful, difficult swallowing and esophageal spasms that feel like labor pains in the middle of my chest, I was having this endoscopy.

But this post isn’t about an endoscopy. Necessarily.

I was just lying here in bed, trying to fall asleep despite my discomfort, trying to piece together my pre- and post-anesthesia experience.

I remember them positioning me on the gurney. I remember a soreness and an ache spreading through my hand (where my IV was taped) and into my wrist and thinking, “They’ve started the meds.”

I remember feeling sleepy, and wanting to say out loud that I felt sleepy, but not really being able to do it.

I remember having a very fleeting moment of panic, because the anesthesiologist had never specifically said, “I’m starting the meds now. You will begin to feel sleepy. Count back from 10.” (Or something like that. Like, give me a little hint that we’re starting this party, bro!) But then it was done. I was out. Panic, over before it even really started.

The next thing I remember was the doctor laughing as she recounted to me how I said  “I feel so groovy,” right before I zonked. (Oh, it’s over? You’re done shoving that thing down my throat already?)

Then I was in another room. “Did I fall asleep again?” I asked a new nurse that I hadn’t seen before. How did I get to that new room, with that new nurse? How had I missed it?

I remember her saying my husband wasn’t in the waiting room, and they were going to call him. Then, I blinked, and he was there, like magic. Next thing I knew–poof!–I was sitting in a chair instead of laying on the gurney.

I remember a lot of laughing. I remember realizing I was the one laughing.

At some point, I changed out of the hospital gown and into my clothes. When and how this happened remains a mystery to me.

I remember the nurse showing us some pictures of my esophagus, and me commenting that my esophagus was “stunning.” (It really is, if I do say so myself.)

I remember feeling like time had passed, but I didn’t really remember what had happened. So I asked my husband how long he had been there, what we had been talking about, if I had fallen asleep again. He said I hadn’t, but I couldn’t remember any of the talking. Huh.

After that, the edges of my memory get a lot sharper, and the holes are gone. I stumbled out to the car, leaning on him, giggling at mostly inappropriate times. My sincere apologies to the women who must have thought I was laughing maniacally at them when they stepped into the garage elevator.

We came home.

I’ve been poking at these holes in my memory, testing them, trying to see if I can fit something in there. But I can’t find anything in my brain to fill them with. It’s a very strange feeling.

So as I was lying here in bed just now, it occurred to me that life is full of metaphorical endoscopies. (You know I love a good metaphor!) They are challenges to be overcome. Pain to be suffered through. Fears to be faced. Problems to be solved. Trials to be endured.

It made me wonder, what if we had a symbolic anesthetic to temper the effect of life’s struggles? To give us soothing holes in our memory instead of the jagged edges of heartbreak, anger, sadness or defeat? That might be cool, maybe.

To feel, instead of my endless frustration with this fitness journey, just numbness until I reached my goals. To be spared of –to steal a phrase from my old pal Hamlet–the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. To move through this life with an “off” button for the struggles and pain we face as people with souls that aren’t bulletproof, with breakable hearts, and with susceptible bodies.

It sounded good, for a few minutes.

But then I remembered something else. I remembered that feeling and enduring those things make it possible to feel love, victory, happiness.

Oh, yeah. Right. Those.

I’m pretty sure this is makes us human; we endure the pain, the fear, the discomfort of whatever it is we’re going through, and know we’re alive and that we will, again, feel joy. Even if it completely and totally sucks right now.

We cope with failure and know that we will rise to try again. Maybe not today. Maybe not this moment. But again.

And in the process we get stronger. Never invincible, but stronger at least. Stronger in heart, in body, and in soul.

So to me, this is courage. This ability to endure, despite the pain and the obstacles. This persistence in living and seeking out the joy and love even as we withstand despair.

Even though the promise of numbness is sweet, I choose courage to bring me through. To get me to that next experience of victory on my journey.

So, yeah, that’s all I got, really. I feel like I should have more to say, but it’s 11:37 at night, waaaaay past my bedtime, and it’s possible that these are the nonsensical ramblings of someone still shaking off the effects of anesthesia.

But no matter how I feel when I re-read this post in the morning, I’m pretty sure I’ll still think that–while I very much appreciated the kind of anesthesia I had today–I’d much rather live my life without the metaphorical kind I dreamed up while I was lying here in my bed.