Friday, December 9, 2016

Let Go

My tired, sore back is testament to the fact that I put more gusto into moving last night, and also to the fact that I have a really weak core.  That free workout I was thinking about was definitely put into place last night.  We got a lot done, my husband once again proving he is Hercules, but moving has a quicksand way of making you realize all the stuff you have because it feels like more stuff magically populates when you felt like you were making progress.  Needless to say, it's not going to be a real restful weekend, which is tough because work has been crazy stressful for me too and I could really use a rest.  We should have the majority of our stuff moved before the snow comes Saturday night, which is a huge plus, and the cleaning isn't that labor intensive in comparison.  My body is letting me know that I am in poor shape for all of this.  It isn't a surprise, I was absolutely expecting my back, knees and hips to be sore from moving, especially since we are bringing stuff down a flight of 16 stairs every trip, most of the time carrying heavy or awkward loads.  I am just not used to that much activity, especially at night when I normally settled and resting.  We've been getting to bed later than usual too, so I am all around just plain pooped out!  But I'm still rocking because I have to.  I am letting the joy of Friday take over despite the fact that it isn't the same as other Fridays given all the work I will be doing.  I think it'll be a long time before we move again! 
Despite all the crazy stuff all around me, and the growing exposure to Christmas goodies, I have not eaten anything crazy.  It doesn't even really appeal to me and as I said before, I am not really sitting around thinking about food or planning what or when to eat something "naughty".  That used to be a huge draw for me, the indulgent part of eating certain foods, but now that I'm not in the sugar-fog I can see that what I was hoping for the food to do for me, it really didn't usually do.  And now that I'm not eating much of the overly-sweet stuff or chocolately stuff, it makes me feel not great when I do eat it, so it's easier to resist.  Last night, for example, after we finished what we were going to on the move for the night, my husband and I settled into our beds for a little reading and phone time.  I had my usualy yogurt cup that I like to have before bed to help ensure I'll sleep through the night because being hungry makes me wide awake.  He made some popcorn, but he burnt it ever so slightly.  I took a small handful, maybe 12-15 pieces.  It tasted really good, but I hate the hulls, and I remembered a couple more things I needed to take care of (making coffee, having my son take his medicine, etc).  My husband handily finished off the bag and I was not even concerned about it.  That one little taste was fine, the hulls made me almost regret eating even that.  So maybe the key is not that I am being a food-snob because I don't want to gain weight, but more that I am much more aware of tastes and textures than I was before, and in some cases, I am finding that the things I don't like about certain foods are just not worth the momentary flavor.  I guess that's what they mean by mindful eating.  When I take the emotion out of the act of eating, I don't really like some of the stuff I thought I liked.  If someone had told me six months ago that I would reach a point where I would realize that I genuinely do not like chocolate all that much, I would have said they were certifiably insane.  Yet, here I am, able to have it close enough to smell, and even the really high quality stuff, and I really do not want to eat it.  I feel like some sort of magic has been unlocked in my brain.  I wish I could share this, as if there were a recipe to success, but I think it is something each person has to do on their own, with the right tools (books) and at a time that's right for them.  I have tried low-carb dieting on it's own and mindful eating on it's own, but neither were sustainable or met all of my needs.  I was worried that taking out the sweets would be a restriction that would make me rebel, and would work against the mindful eating (which tells you to have exactly the thing you want when you want it, but to stop when you are satisfied) but combining these two concepts has been the plan that seems to work for me.  I am sad when I see people who are still struggling, still tortured by food, negative thoughts and negative body-image, feeling like they are weak because they cannot will themselves to no want certain foods.  It's not about willpower, it's about realizing that food isn't going to fix the problems that lay beneath.  It's about delving into the dark murky waters for a swim, and relearning who and what you are, in the absence of other people's opinion.  And it's about letting go of stress and hurt from the past.  Because ultimately, you cannot be free if you don't let go. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reaching for the Light

So, can I just say this for the record?  My husband is amazing!  He moved all of our heavy furniture by himself without a dolly yesterday!  All those years of heavy lifting at the gym came in super handy I suppose.  I am really glad he didn't hurt himself.  When I got home, I took the dog out and ate a quick dinner, then started moving more stuff.  This is what dinner looks like during a move:
Moving totes make great tables if you are in a pinch!
I spent about 2 hours moving a few things, I couldn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I made an effort.  My back was killing me after just 2 hours, I can't imagine what my husband's back felt like.  We should have another good chunk of stuff in the new place tonight, and when I get home I will help move our mattresses, and we could potentially be sleeping in the new place tonight.  It is all happening so fast this time, almost like I don't have time to think about the things I am going to miss about our old place (of less than a year, lol).  We had huge floor-to-ceiling windows, central heat and air, and vaulted ceilings.  The new place has none of those and a less pretty view, but at least we won't be in danger of getting kicked out for noise we are making.  The place isn't really built very well.  I will be really happy when our stuff is all out of the old place.  The cleaning will be the easy part, and re-arranging and hanging art is the fun part of moving.  I hope I don't have to move again anytime too soon.  It's just a pain. 
Today as I was preening and getting ready I was actually surprised at how much smalller I look, and it seemed to have happened suddenly, as if my body just now got the picture that I was making positive changes and started responding.  I never thought I'd be so comfortable with food, even to the point where I don't think about it.  That's a pretty huge deal.  I used to think about food all day long, to the point of torturing myself, to have this freedom from all of that is such an amazing feeling!  I don't care what the scale says as long as I am making good choices most of the time, I am noticing my clothes getting roomier and parts of me are flattening/thinning noticably.  I can't believe all the years I spent torturing myself over willpower and super restrictive dieting was totally what was keeping me obese and super unhappy.  My mind is a little blown.  Every day I am gratful for finding the information that helped me turn this around.  I'm gratful to those who knew and shared their knowledge freely so others like me could heal.  Notice the difference in the terms "lose weight" and "heal".  One is therapeutic and freeing, one makes you focus on superficial external stuff instead of working from the inside out. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Just Eat the Damn Chocolate Already

My confession for today is this: I preen while getting ready for work in the morning.  I contort my body so it looks as thin and fit as it can and I smile pretty in the mirror at myself while getting ready and most days, despite my hair being IMPOSSIBLE to perfect, I feel like I look good.  I like my face at least.  And lately, when I have good posture, I would even say my upper body is looking better in general, especially my shoulders and neck/collarbone area.  I have always liked to see some definition there, it makes me feel more feminine.  So while I was preening this morning, I just got a really good feeling.  I was wearing a shirt that clings, and I usually hate the result of that type of fabric, but today I was thinking, this shirt doesn't look half bad!  That's a big victory in itself.  My mood was pretty high after that.  And, other than a couple days last week, my mood has been pretty good lately, I've been able to let things go a little easier.  That's a blessing. 
Yesterday at work, a business partner sent their annual Christmas gift:
Oh boy.  They are even more delicious than they look, we receive them every year.  I ate one and was a little overwhelmed by how sweet it was.  That thick, phlemy goo that inhabited my tongue and throat annoyed me and all I wanted to do was drink an excessive amount of anything that could get that crap out of my mouth.  That's not to say it didn't taste good, but my other senses were a little put off.  Plus, I never noticed it until now, it makes your breath smell pretty bad.  Despite all of that, I just couldn't resist finding out what was inside the white one and ate one more.  I really felt like it was not worth the negative sensations I encountered by eating that chocolate.  I put the rest in our breakroom and the scavengers quickly descended upon it to help remove the temptation.  In the past, I have nearly devoured the entire box myself, usually in less than a week, so I consider it another victory that on my second day being exposed to it, I want nothing to do with it.  Had I not eaten those two pieces, I would probably be ruminating on that damn chocolate in the pretty package, and if I decided not to eat any even though I was thinking about it, I likely would have eaten a lot of some other stuff trying to satisfy my brain.  So sometimes, just having a little can be a better outcome than trying to avoid something altogether.  It was a great lesson to have learned, and something I will use indefinitely. 
We officially start moving today, my husband will be working hard while I'm at work, which was part of the plan all along, but in the process of picking up the keys for the new place, the manager told us there has been a change of plans, and instead of us having unlimited time to vacate the old place, they would like us out by the end of this weekend. 
So the next 5 days will be exponentially more crazy than I thought they were going to be!  Luckily we don't have a massive amount of really heavy furniture to move, my husband and father-in-law will be able to do most of that themselves, but it is just more of a whirlwind than we were expecting.  My husband was really stressed out, but I just figured, yes, it will suck for a few days, but at least it will encourage us not to drag our feet on the whole thing.  By next Monday a lot will be accomplished and we can move on with life.  I can find peace in that thought.  I just want to feel settled; it hasn't felt that way since we knew we were potentially switching apartments. 
So, that's where I'm at on this Wednesday.  My mood is really positive, I feel like I can get through anything, which is good because we might be getting some snow tonight.  I like how things are shifting for me personally right now, I can't attribute it to weight loss because I don't think there has been a dramatic loss.  I feel now, how I always imagined being skinny would magically make me feel someday.  Content, peaceful, happy even.  What more could anyone ask for? 
Happy Wednesday!  Hope it rocks!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Anxiety Made me do it

Whew!  Things are whipping into a frenzied fluster of activity over here! 
The weekend was a little nutty for me.  It included coming home to my son's rude, snakey friend in our house on Friday night after work, something we were not asked in advance about and never allow.  They are 13 and did some sketchy things while they were alone, and took my 11 year old son along and left him stading in the cold for almost an hour.  That set the weekend off on an odd key.  I didn't sleep well Friday and my husband took a trip to Chicago on Saturday.  It's only a 3 hour drive, but I was worried about the traffic, his car has been making strange noises and he didn't sleep much the night before either.  After getting groceries, I spent some good time stress-eating.  I admit it, I knew I was doing it, and I just felt the anxiety oozing from me.  I don't like the feeling of being away from my husband and kids.  I guess there's work to be done there.  I brought the kids out to spend some of Christmas money they'd received early, and bought a few things to donate to a homeless shelter my work is collecting for this season.  Later Saturday evening, when my husband was heading back home, the kids and I ordered pizza.  All the chips and cheese (and a few cookies) I'd eaten earlier sat in my stomach so heavy that I could only eat 2 pieces and I was done.  My husband did make it home safely and all was fine.  I was a lot less stressed out on Sunday and ate my normal stuff.  It really woke me up to how crazy my anxiety levels can get, and how little control I take to try and get them down.  Part of my anxiety was in knowing that snow was coming, and it did come Sunday.  It is pretty to look at, for the first snowfall, but I do so deeply loathe it in every other way! 
Plantlife in the conservancy behind my apartment
I was slipping and walking like a little old lady so as not to hurt myself when I took my dog out.  Then certain muscles began to ache from walking so weird, and my toes went from numb to painful while waiting for my dog to just finish his business already.  I am trying to have an open and positive mind about winter and snow but I'm nowhere near it yet.  I still really really hope I live in a snowless place someday. 
Anyway, work has been getting super busy and we are getting for our move at home, we should get the keys tomorrow.  I know that's what my whole weekend will be, moving stuff from the old place to the new.  Sigh.  At least Sunday was a really restful day for me, I didn't do any housework (except laudry), I just snuggled in bed reading or doing stuff on my phone.  It felt really nice, especially since I know it'll be a while before I get to do that again!
Yesterday at work I had a lady tell me that I have an absolutely beautiful neck!  I was a little stunned and confused by the statement until she explained that she is an artist and notices these things.  She repeated it as if in disbelief.  After thanking her she left and I thought about that.  When I am off the rails with my eating, my neck looks just like any other neck I suppose, but when my eating is in control my collarbone always shows up and makes me look (in my opinion) fitter than the rest of me.  I actually like that part, it is the first place I notice weight loss in my body.  That comment was a little piece of reassurance that I am doing good.  Yes, I ate a few Oreos this weekend and had pizza and way too much cheese, but overall, I am doing pretty good.  Despite the stress from over-busy days at work, despite the anxiety of driving on slippery roads, I am still here and still good.  I totally got this.  Time to rock on!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Boringly Wonderful

Yesterday was a little on the nutsy side with stuff going on and tasks that needed to be tended to, so by the time I got a few minutes of free time at 9pm I indulged in a hot bath instead of blogging.  Oh, I thought about it, wanted to blog, but boy am I glad I took a few minutes to sink into the warmth.  The energetic, happy Amy had a harder time shining through yesterday, but towards the end of my shift at work, I decided to do a Random Act of Kindness and leave some cash in the elevator for whomever happened upon it.  I included a message to remind the recipient to pay it forward.  Even though I didn't get to see the result, it did lift my spirits a little and it did.  I recommend this as a way to make you feel good, especially if you can do it in a manner that you can see the reaction, say if while paying for your coffee you hand over a $20 bill to the cashier and tell them to use it toward the next customer or two.  Then sit down and see the reaction.  It is still rewarding if you can't see the reaction.  One time I put some cash in an envelope and dropped it in the hallway outside my department ( I work in a health clinic) and labeled it as a RAK and a boy about the age of 10 found it (it was $10).  He was so excited that he started to cry, and his mom let him keep it.  It was really touching. 
Well, here I am on Friday, tomorrow's grocery shopping day, and I am in the familiar spot of wondering what to have for meals and snacks next week.  I may spend some time looking at recipes, but it gets so overwhelming and time consuming that I end up dreading it.  I did find something new that I really like:

not a bad nutrition profile either, eh?  I was nervous about trying this, not really sure how the texture would be.  It was SO SOOOooo GOOD!  I put it in a tortilla with a little melted cheese, the texture was nice and spices made me feel awesome!  So, if the grocery store has more of these I may make this my lunch next week.  I still struggle with breakfast.  I typically have 15 minutes or less to eat breakfast in the mornings, so cooking something is going to be out of the question.  I want something healthy and tastey, that takes no time to cook/make.  That doesn't sound like too much to ask, right?  haha. 
This is our last weekend of peace before we move.  My husband is convinced it'll be an easy move because it is just across the parking lot, but for me the driving stuff from place to place wasn't the hard part, it's all the bending and lifting and stairs.  I am going to try to think of it as a free workout, if nothing else, that should ease my mental torment over the whole moving process!
This morning I put on a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a couple weeks, and I kept thinking I forgot to zip them and finally realized it's because they fit so much better than they ever have.  There's less belly down there to contend with, which is a sign that things are going well for me.  I do not struggle or stress out about food anymore (except for trying to figure out my menu for the week).  What an amazing feeling it is to say that and live it!  My eating is normalizing in that I can eat smaller amounts of things and be satisfied, and even if I nibble on something when I'm not hungry, it is way less and much easier to stop after a few bites.  When I think about what I'm eating and how it's going to affect my physiology long-term, it is easier to see I don't need something or to allow myself to have enough to satisfy the urge but then I stop.  The crazy compulsive eating seems to be slowly falling off and a happier version of myself is what remains.  I'm not dropping massive pounds, but I'm not obsessing over the scale or how many workouts I did each week, or every micronutrient in what I'm eating.  I was seeking my own sort of 'normal' with food and I think I've found it!  I'm glad I never gave up.  I never stopped reading books about emotional and compulsive eating and trying the techniques, I never stopped trying to find a way to make it stick, I never stopped believing that one day I'd make it happen without feeling tortured.  To be honest, this feeling, being able to feel normal around and about food, feels so much more amazing and makes me happier than junkfood ever could.  Getting off sweets makes this all posible, and I was nervous about it because for a good many months before I cleaned things up, I was eating loads of sugar every day, waiting for the time when I would be motivated to try again.  I think near the end, I was so saturated with sugar that I was actually sick of it.  That made it easier to change.  You know when you start craving salads that it's time to change because your body is begging for some nutrition.   Now that I think of it, I don't really have cravings much at all anymore, it's not something I think about anymore.  That might be a huge part of what makes this easy right now because I was never particularly great at being strong in the face of cravings in the past.  I also don't really look at junk food as something I can't have, but as something I don't really need or want right now. It doesn't serve me.  I have that stuff as an occassional treat, a handful of chips or a dinner out with my family, I know sweets are non-productive in general, and I feel really happy that I don't really crave them.  My tastes have changed, and if I am going to indulge, it is more the salts and fats I crave, chips with guacamole, chips with cheese melted on, buttery popcorn, sometimes even pizza, though it isn't on the top of my must-have's like it once was.  I think I can eat a certain amount of sweets without triggering anything, but they just don't make me feel very good at all, so then it becomes not really worth it.  I used to read blogs that said something similar to that and think that the author was trying to convince themselves of it, but now I know it's true, getting off sugars makes you want it a lot less, and after not having eaten that stuff in a while, having sugars leaves an aweful thick, phlegm in my mouth/throat and makes me feel dizzy and jittery, and sometimes gives me a headache.  It's the first time in my life that I can fathom the thought of being off sugars for the rest of my life, this is definitely sustainable for me if I continue to feel how I do now.  The key is being mindful, if I'd eaten that pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and decided that it was so good that I was just going to buy one pie for home and eat a few slices, despite the fact that it made me feel bad to eat it, physically, I could have easily been back on the sugar-crack path.  But I was mindful of how eating that made me feel, and I never would have been able to tell a difference if I hadn't first gotten off the sugars.  I know I'll have sweets from time to time, especially at holidays or events, but it will be the exception, not the rule, I lived with sugar ruling me for way too long and it tortured me.  I don't pretend to be the healthiest person on the planet, but I sure feel a lot better than I did, and just getting through life seems to be a lot less of a chore than it was before.  That's really what we who try to lose weight are looking for, isn't it?  Normalcy.  Boring, wonderful, abundant normalcy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Sun Shines in November

Lighter post today, I promise!  I have been going through some thick stuff lately, and sometimes I just need a break to coast on the surface instead of diving into the murky deep. 
I don't know what is changing or happening lately but I have been feeling so good, so happy this week.  I have a ton of energy, I feel like my thoughts are so clear and my body is moving with ease.  I even feel graceful at times, which is not something I can remember ever saying about myself; I am a natural-born clutz!  I don't know what it is but I LOVE it!  It's like a post-workout high without the workout. 
Yesterday as I was getting ready for work, I was thinking about the absence of my usual aches and pains, and imagining what it would be like to turn the clock back ten years.  I recognized myself as being in a lot less pain physically but I was experiencing a lot more emotional turmoil ten years ago.  It made me truly happy of where I am now.  In my opinion, emotional pain is way harder to fix because there is no clear-cut way to get from A to B like there is in physical issues.  I am glad I have had an open enough mind to read some self-help books, meditate and actually dive into dark past I never wanted to face.  It is true that you have to go through it to find the exit sign, pretending my past didn't affect me, or trying to blame everyone else for my hurt did nothing to heal me.  I think it took me softening toward that which I felt was the source of my pain in order to heal.  I didn't know if I would ever be able to do it without seeing a therapist.  There are three books that I can point to that led to my greatest progress in healing and progress:
They all reached me in one way or another, but the one that made me do the toughest work was "It Didn't Start With You".   I was in a place where I was ready to do the work to get some answers.  I read it slowly because there is a lot to think about and exercises to do along the way.  Some of it involves thinking about relatives I don't really know too much about and that made me want to reach out to my mom, but it also made me examine how I am just a part of the chain of things that has happened in my family, just like my mother and grandmother are/were.  Everyone has dark stuff they need to resolve, with themselves or with their families, and until you do, you will suffer on some level.  Working through it, focusing on it, isn't easy or fun, sometimes it made me sad,mad or even nauseated, but the result is like a fresh beginning, a rewrite on your story, like your first breath of air in the morning is a beautiful sunrise in spring, and everything is alive and blooming before you!  I wish it for everyone.  When I was still really closed-off and curled up in a proverbial ball from emotional sensitivity, I could only take Geneen Roth with a grain of salt.  She writes beautifully and we share some of the same Mom issues, but there was always this peace about her that I wasn't sure was genuine.  Now that I have started to find some of that peace myself, I think that she is just trying to help people get to the place she is.  There is peace if you do the hard work (and it's the kind of work that doesn't require a treadmill or specialty shoes.  Bonus!) nothing comes for free.  Beating ourselves up thinking willpower will work is actually holding us back from healing, and once we start healing, we stop trying to use food as a drug.   The "Emotional Eater's Repair Manual" is actually very readable too.  It is a little more practical in that it has exercises to see where your broken coping mechanisms are and to teach you how to be your own nurturer that you wish you had when you were a child.  It took me a while to fully appreciate the strategies, but I have found myself more able to push the negative voice out of my head and replace it with a nurturing voice more often now than I have ever been able to do before.  These books have been my substitute for a psychologist.  They are much less expensive and I get to work with them whenever I want.  So, if someone is suffering I recommend books.  I'm not a huge reader but when it is deeply personal and relatable, I have a hard time putting them down. 
Yesterday at work I had a male customer picking up his glasses.  When he first came in to order, I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly and easy-going he was.  He is a big guy, but short with curly hair, and when he came to order he was wearing a very expensive looking suit with a bright blue bowtie.  He literally reminded me of the character Norm from the TV show Cheers.  So when he came back to pick up his glasses yesterday, he was equally laid back and happy-go-lucky.  I went through my normal dispensing procedure, asking if they feel comfortable on the nose and ears, checking if they are crooked, and asking if he feels like he can see well.  He said, "Yes, I can see really well, there are beautiful women all around me!"  Since I was the only one in the room with him I chuckled and said, "Uh oh, I think you need to have your prescription rechecked!"  He politely remarked that in all honesty he could see well, and I was beautiful.  It has been a good many years since anyone has called me that, and I don't take compliments well.  I didn't feel like he was saying it as a pickup,  I think he is just that kind of guy who passes out roses to women he doesn't know on Mother's Day or helps an elderly lady across the street.  But it made me feel good, moreso because this perfect stranger was modeling something that I have been lacking lately, being a really nice person to others because everyone needs someone to be nice to them for no reason other than we are all sharing this space but we are so disconnected.  I think I am ready to let go of some of my cynicism.  That is a big bold step for me.  I think it will make me happier in general, but especially at work.  Our words and actions have so much affect, not just to others but to ourselves.  How we treat others changes how we feel about oursleves and vice versa.  I need to start being nicer to others and myself.  Maybe that is the lightness I've been feeling, like I finally started moving that mountain out of my way, you know, the one that was blocking the sun.  It's time to let a little light in.  It's not about the holiday or the season or the state of the country, it's about humanity and our role in it.  I don't feel like the fat outsider who gets picked last in gym class, I know I'm the team captain and I can make all the difference.  We all can.  Be nice to yourself and be nice to others.  Stress and anger are cancers to the soul.  People who are bitter, hurt and angry because they don't have a choice to be anything else.  Sometimes all it takes to make them feel better is a little kindness even if they aren't giving it to you. 
I did not mean to be preachy in this post but I guess I'm feeling good and I hope you are too.  Now, go do nice things!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Healing Family Wounds

OK, so now that my contraversial post is out of the way, I feel like I can move on. 
After a period of feeling extra bloated and fatter than normal, wondering if I need to cut back on the wine consumption (boo), I woke this morning with a ton of energy and feeling a lot flatter in my stomach than I have in some time.  I can only attribute it to my monthly ending and it just so happened that I had a lot less calories yesterday due to it being too busy at work to get away to eat.  Even though I woke early at 3:30am and tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 5 am, I woke up feeling so good and still do.  Maybe I need less sleep than I thought?  My body is weird, that's all I've got!
My eating has been a little less structured as I'd like it.  I planned some lower-carb, veggie based meals this week, but forgot to make my lunch (cauliflower crust mini pizzas) and ran out of time to make them last night.  I will get to it tonight so I can eat how I planned to eat.  The Indian Samosas I had planned to have for dinner this week were actually gobbled up by my family.  I didn't have the heart to tell them they were for me, so I will eat veggie burgers instead.  Not a big deal or a big difference nutrition wise.   To be honest, I haven't really changed much with my menu this week, I added the mini pizzas because it's a sneaky way to get some veggies in, it tastes good and I was craving green olives.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I just wish the cauliflower didn't stink up my entire office lunchroom but OH WELL! 
I am learning to let things roll more, to use my voice instead of being nice just to accommodate people, and let my needs, wants and opinions be known more.  I might be loopy, but I think the whole process of bucking the societal ideal of being some emaciated woman or overweight woman constantly on a diet; well, letting go of all of that has been liberating in so many ways.  It is a fecundity, one positive flowing over onto the next.  I'm less stressed out because I'm not hyper-focused on do's and don'ts and that gives me more confidence, both of which make me happier.  I am in a really good place right now.  I wish I'd never started dieting in the first place, but I know that is part of my journey that I needed to go through in order to appreciate the feeling of liberation I feel today.
Not much has happened since the experience the other night, but I have been asking for signs.  I did get one in a dream, the zodiac glyph for Cancer.  From what I have read, it is a sign of nurturing and awakening.  This has been a message I have been getting seemingly all around me lately, and I figured I better start putting these signs and energy in the right place.  It starts with my mom.
I do not have a very close relationship with my mom.  She has some really good points, but she puts so much of her energy into cutting people down that it is hard to feel really warm toward her, even when she does something nice.  It has been this way since I was a child, kind of cold and sometimes completely lacking in empathy.  I have given her the benefit of the doubt before, thinking of how tough her life was, growing up poor to abusive parents, she barely had coping skills herself before having kids and trying to shame and degrade us into being who she thought we should be.  I never felt like anything I did was good enough to please her, so when I was in my early teens, I stopped trying.  I purposely did exactly the opposite of what she told me, as my own way of rebelling.  I thought I was being tough and building a strong fortress around myself, but in reality, I was closing off a huge part of myself to her and not allowing anything in from her either.  When that happened, I not only made it impossible for her to give me anything, I also pushed her out so I couldn't connect with her or even try to understand her.  I didn't care, she hurt me, she damaged me, she was supposed to be the loving parent who would take care of me, nurture me so I could blossom.  I spent so much of my life blaming her for not being what I thought she should be, doing the same, hypocritical thing to her as I hated having done to me.  I didn't see that at the time, though.  I just shoved down all those feelings with food; drowned the feelings as if I could drown her out of my life.  She supported me when it was time to move out, and when I was starting my own family and moving 2,000 miles away with them.  She sent money to make sure I would be OK, every month she sent money for diapers and bills, and there were months that we honestly couldn't have made it by without that help.  The miles helped us be a little closer, and I felt like I had to be nice because she was giving us money.  She is generous, but she never lets you forget it.  Since we've been back within driving distance of one another, things have softened a little more.  She hugs me when we visit, which isn't very often, and my kids have loved visiting her because she loves to keep them entertained with crafts.  While I don't pretend that everything is lovey-dovey with us, we seem to have found our ground where we're OK with one another.  This latest burst of energy and opening within myself made a small opening in my heart for what I know will be regret of lost time and understanding.  I am turning 44 next month, and she is turning 63.  She has been a smoker since she was 11, and every time I talk to her she coughs and coughs and blames it on her sinuses.  Every time she gets a cold it goes into her chest and lasts a few months long.  I know she won't be here forever.  When I think of how small my life is in comparison with my lineage, the span of the history of my ancestors,  how old the mountains and the stars are, I feel silly and selfish focusing so heavily on my weight and how I eat my emotions that I was never able to get over.  So, today I wrote my mom a letter, because that's how we most often communicate, and I told her that it made me sad that she spent Thanksgiving alone and how thinking about family makes me realize how awesome a job they did as parents despite all the challenges they themselves faced.  I told my mom I love her, which was really hard to do.  I did it because she deserves to have that.  I did it because she is broken, and too proud to see or admit it.  I did it because I do love her, and I do respect how strong of a role model she was for my sister and I even after enduring a bad childhood herself.  I did it because it will heal us both, and I know for myself I won't be able to move forward in any way until I heal this thing between us.  In some ways, I think she too just needs someone to love her despite her dark spots and sour moments.  She needs someone who isn't going to leave her like everyone else has.  She wants to be shown kindness and I have spent my life being pretty unkind and ungiving to her.  I am finally learning, at my ripe old age, that I am not the center of the universe.
So, I find myself questioning if someone was really here with me, some guardian angel, or if I was dreaming it.  In the end, it doesn't matter, the message was received and I am making big, positve changes, and somehow I feel like this is the true new beginning I have been waiting for for so many years.  No matter my weight or my appearance, I feel so much lighter already.  Some people never get or take this chance, some people live their whole life blaming or hating their parents.  It may not be an easy thing to forgive something that hurts or has hurt us, but holding it forever is such a burden that we spill it onto all other aspects of our life, and the stains don't come out until we personally release them.  My bad feelings toward my mom do not serve me anymore.  I don't have to be best friends with her but it's time to forgive and heal.  I'm finally ready for this.  Let the healing begin!