Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year's Post Script

Just some food for thought, the first being something I heard at church this morning, the second being something I saw on Facebook.  I guess I am just filled with the hope and optimism of a new year right now, and I do believe it is possible to embrace personal growth while eschewing perfectionism and loving yourself for who you are right now.   

"[God] loves us as we are, and as loved we will find ourselves becoming someone different." -James Alison

"We need to talk.

I know you are planning to start a diet next Wednesday. I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, "Oh, that's great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?"

I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.

Well, okay, maybe it was ten years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, gentle Self-Talk, to a jungly glade that had always existed deep inside me, but that I'd avoided by achieving, dieting, people-pleasing, multi-talking, and so on

Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: "Great, honey. How much are you hoping to gain?"

I was able to successfully put on weight on book tour by eating room service meals in a gobbly trance in 13 different hotels. So that was exhilarating, to make myself feel like Jabba the Hut.

And then I accidentally forgot to starve myself in December, or to go back to the gym, which I've been meaning to do since I had a child, 24 years ago.

So I am at least five pounds up--but praise be to God, I do not currently have a scale, because as I've said before, getting on a scale is like asking Dick Cheney to give you a sense of your own self-worth.

I can still get my jeans on, for one reason: I wear forgiving pants. The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough self-esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act.

By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor's care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won't work. Some of you need to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I do love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious sickness with sugar: if I start eating it, I can't stop. It turns out I don't have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol. Given a choice, I will eat candy corn and Raisinets until the cows come home--and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.

But you crave what you eat, so if I go for 3 or 4 days with no sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don't eat peanuts.

So please join me in not starting a diet January 1st.

It's really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It's okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. It's an inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and serenity you long for is not out there. It's within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it's true.

Maybe some of us will eat a bit less, and walk a bit more, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings Drinking more water is the solution to almost all problems.

I'll leave you with this: I've helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn't say, "Here Pastor--let's eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of Pringles is ALL for you." And then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container.

No, they'd get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, filled with happiness, love, pride and connection. That's what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now, or or on the 1st. Wow!"  -Anne Lamott

So, there you go.  I'm probably still letting my pants have too strong an opinion on how I'm doing, and that's because they don't fit.  (But then again, I don't really tie that to my self worth, I just want to be comfortable.  Without buying a new wardrobe.)  And I want to exercise more because it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER in the head.  So, yeah, some of my resolutions veer towards the old standbys.  But also under consideration are:  Laugh more.  Turn off the Internet more.  Brush up on Spanish.  Read more books.  Join a book club.  Give away more of our belongings.  De-clutter.  Hang pictures on the walls.  Practice mindfulness.  Sign the kids up for some activities.  Chillax and have more fun.  It's all still percolating in my head, but hopefully by the end of the week things will be more concrete.      

Stay warm, friends.  The low here tomorrow is supposed to be -18F, with a high of -12F.  School has already been cancelled, and it feels good to say I'm happy about that.  I don't know how to put it except to say that there were a lot of days in 2013 when I probably wouldn't have felt that way.  My little life's pendulum may be on an upswing it seems.  

I resolve to keep putting one foot in front of another.  
  Untitled Why? Why do I try to take up running in the winter? Grrr. (Pardon the corporate slogan, but I need all the help I can get. Besides, it's okay - I worked there 17 years ago.)We could use a hill right about now.

Georgia's resolution? Learning violin. Someone is a wee bit excited

June's resolutions? To be fabulously four. Perhaps to cook more. Untitled Untitled Untitled
{You shut your mouths now about the safety violations you think you see. Zip it.}

Waylon's resolution? To stop throwing fits on the floor about bundling up and maybe remember that playing in the snow can be fun.
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By the way, who needs toddler boots when you have bread bags? (Once a Missouri hillbilly, always a Missouri hillbilly.)
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jessica said...

That photo of Georgia captures pure happiness and joy. I love it.

TomT said...

I remember where bread bags as a kid! In fact, I might but them on today for my commute to work.

TomT said...

wow - typos! "wearing bread bags" "might put them on"

Maggie said...

Bread bags???

Kate said...

Thank you, Tom, for backing me up! Yeah, Maggie - my mom used to do that growing up when we went sledding. The plastic bags that bread comes in are the right size/length to keep snow out of your boots and socks!

katandkarl said...

While I do not envy your temps, your snow looks fluffy and fun. Our snow looks like.... ice.

I need some of your positive to wipe away my crankiness.