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.

In media res

If I kept waiting to start this blog, I would never start this blog. The problem is, I’m starting in the middle of things, but I can’t let that hold me back anymore. I. AM. STARTING. THIS. BLOG. RIGHT. NOW.

It’s the “do it now” attitude that got me just over 9 weeks into my “personal transformation journey” thus far. (Note to self: That sounds ridiculous. I will think of something better soon. Possibly “Journey into Badassery”. Must consider.)

So, yeah, here’s the deal: I’m fat. I mean, for now. And you might want to know what exactly I am in the middle of, I imagine. Clean eating and working my ass off. Literally.

So far I’m down about 18lbs, give or take, but I’m so much stronger than I was 9 weeks ago. I didn’t just start working out, but I did just start getting my shit together with my food, and that’s what is different this time; the combination of those 2 things for the long haul. Because I love food and am one of those people that lives to eat. But here I am, taking responsibility and owning my choices. Like I said, getting my shit together.

You know the old expression, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Well, I’ve fallen about a gazillion times. This is me, getting up again for the gazillion and one-th time.

My story isn’t so unlike lots of other women’s. I’ve always struggled with food, and have been both anorexic and bulimic throughout my teen years and 20’s. I got pregnant with my first child in 2001, and then the pendulum swung waaaaaaay in the opposite direction. I started eating and didn’t stop.

During my pregnancy, I gained over seventy pounds. My husband was politely surprised. My doctor was chagrined. My son was born. And I was fat. YAAAAY! Oh, wait…

Yes, I lost some of the weight. But then I gained it back and then some. Then lost a little bit. Then had my daughter and gained even more. Lost about 30, gained back 20. And on, and on, and on. Raise your hand if you’ve been there. If you are there. If you’ve tried every ridiculous fad diet because it sounded like a quick and easy fix (even though your good sense told you it was crap) and gave any crazy exercise plan a halfhearted shot, only to forget about it a month later because it was a load of nonsense. (*waves back* Hi there! It’s great to meet you!)

Two years ago, I started working out with an amazing, kick ass trainer, Christa Doran of <a href=”http://www.sweatrinserepeat.com”>Tuff Girl Fitness</a> (and I certainly wouldn’t want to forget the equally awesome Mike Doran and Karin Christley–my other trainers! You’ll hear me talk about them a lot. I love them, even when I hate them. Like this morning when I hated Mike because of how hard he pushed me during pull-ups. I needed it, but I hated it at the moment.)

Anyway, I started working out with Christa in spring of 2010. I lost 45 pounds over 5 months of hard workouts and changing my eating habits a bit. Just a bit, though. I was also training for a triathlon at the time. I felt like I was on top of the world when I crossed that finish line! There is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you meet a goal you worked hard to reach.

And then I stagnated. I got complacent. Yes, I had completed a triathlon, but then what? A big fat nothing, that’s what. I stopped losing weight even though I was still working out. I was fit and strong, and getting stronger all the time, but I was still fat.

The food. The goddamned food.

So over the last year and a half, I’ve lost and gained the same 15 pounds twice. Really, I’ve just been jerking around, thinking that as long as I’m working out as hard as I do 3+ times a week, I’m pretty healthy and fit and it’s okay.

IT’S NOT OKAY.

My son just celebrated his 10th birthday. And it hit me, I HAVE BEEN FAT FOR 10 YEARS. A decade. Almost a quarter of my life. It hit me hard. I am so sick of being fat. I am so sick of being judged by how I look by people who are not fat, but whose asses I could handily kick in a burpee or deadlift contest. I am so sick of telling myself that eventually I will lose this weight, because it’s bullshit. I am sick of my outside not matching my inside, and I am committed to putting in the sweat and sacrifice over the long haul to make that happen. It’s all within my grasp, and I’m taking it. I am standing up again, and fighting harder than ever.

So that’s what’s going on, and this is me. Committed to not making any more excuses. Committed to being less of a fat girl, and more of a fit girl. Committed to clean and healthy eating, 90% of the time or more, and serious badass workouts at least 4 times a week. Hopefully 5 times a week soon enough.

And now that I’ve started the blog, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. See you at my lunch break tomorrow.