38.9 Seconds Later

The numbers on the sheet were disappointing.

I had, in fact, improved my health. Everything, except for stress, was at ideal levels. Even my blood pressure had improved. But those three little digits glared at me from among the other numbers on the page, and I was immediately disappointed in myself. Somehow, I was 15 pounds heavier.

Then I saw the challenge. Row 200 meters for time. Winner gets a FitBit.

I declined.

I’m in a dress. And heels. And I’m already feeling defeated. 

“What’s the time to beat?”

Hmmm. I think I can beat that.

Ok. Shoes off. Dress tucked between my legs. Rowers moved to face the wall so I don’t expose myself. Deep breath. Go! And that was the moment I remembered that the scale has no idea how to measure me.

#20: That Moment When…

… You finally get to work and you just sit in your car, again on the fourth floor of the dark and stifling garage, and you have absolutely no desire to move because you made it to the gym for the first time this week and almost passed out, so you’re feeling crappie about yourself since the doctor weighed you yesterday, and you know the number shouldn’t matter – but it’s the only thing going on your chart to represent a year’s worth of sweat and tears – so it does matter, not to mention the fact that you were asked, once again, if you recently started HEW when in reality you’re finishing your second year, with a host of physical concerns that prevent you from progressing as much as you’d like, therefore, to say you’re feeling crappie about yourself is actually quite an understatement, so there you are, sitting in your car in the stifling garage in that moment, pondering what the heck you’re doing with your life in one insignificant snapshot against the backdrop of all the cataclysmic events in the world that you’ve been intentionally avoiding but in light of all the little victories that you presently cannot remember… and you decide to do one thing.

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For my 35th birthday, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 36. Today, instead of wallowing in the pity of what I’ve yet to gain, I checked off one more thing.

Chip on My Pretty Little Shoulder

I’m going to attempt to write this without any hesitation. No emotional edits. No disclaimers. I’m going to attempt to write it, really, with all my unfiltered thoughts and feelings pouring onto the page. Knowing me, ever the diplomat who is always sensitive to the effect of words, this will be quite the feat. And if you are reading this at all, it will most likely be an edited and emotionally correct version of my self*. Nevertheless… here we go.

I have heard, over and over again, the assertion that when a “fat girl” loses weight she develops a “chip on her shoulder”. As in, she suddenly thinks she is “too hot to handle”. And won’t give people, whom she would have “happily given a chance before”, the time of day. And she becomes, among more colorful words, “conceited”.

Soooo… by this estimation, I’m left to assume that it’s perfectly okay to be rejected because of my weight, but when that’s no longer an “issue”, I’m suddenly a hypocrite for having preferences? Of course you’re not shallow for only caring about my physical appearance, you’re just being honest. But heaven forbid I should express any of my “honest preferences” while my weight is “still an issue”! Obviously, I’m expected to accept whatever schlep is thrown my way.

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The day I reached a PR on deadlifts (205lbs)

You see this woman – with her back fat, and her thighs that rub together, and her giggly midsection; this woman with her lungs about to collapse, who panics at the thought of running a mile and wants to cry in the face of burpees; this woman right here is the only one strong enough to fight for the woman you’ll claim to love later. If you don’t like her, if you can’t imagine yourself being attracted to her, how could you possibly love the one she’s building? The one only she is strong enough to become?

Why should I feel guilty for wanting to be with someone who’s adopting the same healthy lifestyle as I am? I’ve worked so hard to leave where I was, why would I want to be with someone who’s going to drag me back there. Lean or Not… Fat or Skinny, I don’t want to be with someone who’s not active. Someone who I have to drag to the gym kicking and screaming. Someone who’s “put off” by the thought of eating healthy. In the same way I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to serve in church. I want someone who finds those things just as important as I do so we can be working towards the same goals. It’s called being compatible! But if you want to call it a chip, tattoo it on my shoulder with permanent ink.

A friend asked me if I thought losing weight would change me. And the fact is, yes it does. It is. It continues to change me. This isn’t about replacing a few items on your plate. You have to go through so much. You have to give up so much. You have to accept so much. Of course it changes you. How could you possibly stay the same as your life morphs into something unknown?

Yes, you develop more confidence. You feel better about yourself. Your looks. Your abilities. But I’ve never really had an issue with being confident. If anything, I am often accused of being borderline intimidating because of my confidence. But even that has changed. Previously, I used my confidence as a heavy shield – to protect myself from the painful judgments caused by my weight. Now this confidence is morphing into an adorning accessory. It’s beautiful to wear, but I don’t need it to protect me anymore. And if that’s a chip, I’ll gladly wear it on my pretty little shoulder.

~that’s life… in no particular order

*This post has been sitting in my draft box since December 1, 2014… reviewed, reevaluated, and reconsidered multiple times… But never changed from my original thoughts and feelings.