Monday, February 10, 2014

I am not disgusting.

Before hopping in the shower this afternoon, I looked in the mirror and my first thought, surprisingly, was "I am not disgusting."

There are many things I've been called in my life regarding my weight: pathetic, lazy, gross, repulsive...but the D word, disgusting, is the one that tends to stick in my brain the most.
It's the one I conjure up when I'm slipping on my swim suit to head to the beach. It's the one I repeat to myself when I am meeting new people, when I'm shopping for new clothes, and pretty much every single time I eat anything.
And it's the word I usually use to describe myself, in my own mind, when I look at my body in the mirror. But today I said to myself it's not true.

I decided to look at my body for what it truly is, beyond what may be seen with the naked eye. I looked at the parts that I usually look at with disdain and I thought about what they represented for me, as an a living, breathing human being.
My "huge hips"...they may be wide, but they aided me in delivering two healthy baby boys. They are perfect for slinging a toddler on or pulling my 4 year old's head into when he's scared or sad.
My breasts may not be as perky as they once were but they have provided nutrition for two sweet, tender lives.
My stomach is covered in stretch marks but those are my constant reminders of housing my sons, of my body making room for theirs.

My body holds a brain..a very intelligent one that has helped me through countless years of education and will lead me to obtaining my second college degree this year.
It's a creative that enjoys expressing itself through writing, one that loves to learn, one that remembers all the sweet details of my childhood, my friend's birthdays, my loved ones' most precious moments.
My body houses a voice that led me to discover my very first true love and passion--music, particularly singing.
My body houses a heart that in the literal sense keeps me alive every day to enjoy my life's many blessings. In the figurative sense, it loves deeply, it cares strongly, and it embraces thoroughly.

My body is much more than can be slipped into a size 18 jeans. My body is mine and it is not disgusting. It is quite the opposite.

My body also struggles to overcome the effects of a disease, PCOS. This disease makes gaining weight very easy and losing weight extremely hard, due to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.

But I am not trying to make excuses for being overweight or to even say that I couldn't stand to lose some weight for my health. I could. And I should. And I will.
It may take a lot of effort; I know it does because I've done it before. I also know that in order to make the changes I need to make, I have to believe that I am worth the hard work. I have to believe that this struggle is worthwhile and that I have the power and the strength to succeed.
That comes with believing that I am valuable.

To put it simply...
I am overweight, but I am not disgusting.
No matter my size, I have something to offer and I am beautiful both inwardly and outwardly.
From this day forward, I refuse to allow myself or anyone else to shame me into believing I am the D word. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

"You need an attitude adjustment."
If I had a dollar for every time my mom uttered that phrase in my presence, I probably wouldn't need to worry about paying off student loans as much as I do.
As a child or teenager, I didn't put much stock into that statement. It was just one of the things my mom would say that meant we weren't currently on her good side. It didn't hold any weight. Now, as a mom, I can definitely say that my boys need an attitude adjustment from time to time and I probably will catch myself saying so to them in the same hopes that my mother said it to me.

But are there times when that statement rings true for me as well? Yes, I think so. And I think now is one of those times.

Lately I've been feeling really down. It comes from a lot of things, both big and small "issues" in my life at the moment. And I've always been the kind of person to make light of any kind of struggles I'm facing. I'm always the type to say "Everything is okay" when asked, even when things aren't okay at the moment. I guess it's because I know that things will be okay. And I know that things could be much worse. I'm known for being a happy-go-lucky and positive person and I'd like to continue to be known for that. Because I believe I am that person. Even when times are a bit tough.

But, given that I tend to keep my problems to myself, I can often start to dwell on them and let them overtake me. This leads to a change in behavior on my part and that comes as a surprise to anyone around me.
The other day I was just going about my business and my mom stopped to ask me if everything was okay. "Yeah, everything is fine" I responded. Then she said something I wasn't ready for: "Well, you seem a little on edge."

Me? On edge? No, that's not how I want to be. I'm not on edge. I'm patient, happy, positive Robin. I'm fun. Right?
Wrong. I stopped to think about what could make her think that I was on edge and realized that, well, I'd been on edge.
I'd been snapping easily at the boys. I'd lost motivation to do things around the house or run the errands I needed to run. I was becoming easily annoyed and argumentative with my husband. I didn't really want to be bothered by anyone and the tension in my household was high.

Some of my behavior is due in part to some hormonal issues I'm dealing with and hopefully those will be cleared up soon. But some of it is just plain and simply a bad attitude.

I've been in a place of feeling sorry for myself these last few weeks and I guess I wasn't hiding it as well as I thought. It was becoming apparent to those around me that something was under my skin. And honestly, I hadn't even realized that something was bothering me enough to change me until I looked at it from the outside in.

It's okay to feel the way I do about certain things. And I guess maybe trying to hide them only makes it worse.
 I'm sad that I've left my church, my friends, my normal life of the last 5 years. I'm anxious about starting over, learning this new place, meeting new people.
Having to meet new people and make new friends always reminds me of how much I miss my old friends. It always leaves me nostalgic and wishing for a time that we're all in each others' daily lives. And it always leaves me breathless knowing that a time such as that may never happen again. 
Like I said above, I've been dealing with some hormonal stuff and that's made me feel pretty bleh a lot of days. I'm also really struggling with my weight and while I could write and entire book about the way that affects my life, I'll just sum it up here by saying that it's scary and overwhelming to know you have every reason to change something, to know that you want and need to change something, but then to continue to fail to do so each time you try. It's draining.
My marriage isn't perfect. We're still very much in love, but we've hit some rough patches readjusting to life with each other every day and while it's good for the most part, working out the kinks can be tiring.
The boys are both in difficult, demanding, all-consuming stages right now and when patience is already running thin, that can be disastrous.
Even though my little ones run me ragged, somehow my heart aches for another baby. I don't want to accept or believe that the season of newborn cuddles is past. I can't bear to imagine an empty womb from here on out, an empty crib, an empty place on my chest that a baby fits so perfectly. And while I know we don't know what the future holds--my husband could change his mind and I suppose so could I--it's the unknown that bothers me. 
And so I've felt like I have a lot to complain about. I've felt bitter and sad and angry.
And although I know that I'm blessed, I've allowed myself to think more about the hardships.

I need to practice an attitude of gratitude.
My life is not perfect. There are fears and tears and clenched fists and "just make it through one more day"s. There are times when I feel like I'm failing as a mother, as a wife, as a friend. There are nights that I lie awake wracking my brain for solutions to problems that I can't even explain.
And yet, I am blessed. I am blessed beyond measure. I am blessed and even if nothing else in my life ever goes right again, I have been blessed. I have much to be thankful for. And I am grateful.
So why do I let myself forget that? Why do I spend more time crying out to God for help, or even admittedly avoiding him than I do pouring out my heart in thanks?

I may miss my friends, but at least I've been blessed with people that are so easy to miss. I may argue with my husband or feel defeated sometimes but I know I'm loved and I have a partner all my life. I may be at my wits end and in tears some days with my boys, but they are mine and they love me and there is no greater gift than them. I may long for another baby, but I've been lucky to carry and deliver two healthy children and nurse them and cradle them as they grew. I may be overwhelmed with school work but I am free to have an education and free to pursue any career I choose.
And I have been given the simple things--I am living and breathing. I am writing this from the comfort of my warm home..using my nice laptop and high speed internet. Last night I had dinner and this morning I had breakfast and this afternoon I'll have lunch. I sent my little man off to school this morning and I, too, grew up going to school. I graduated. I got married. I moved into a place of my own.
So often we mistake life's grandest treasures for the mundane or the guaranteed. And they are neither. And some people aren't lucky enough to experience the things we expect to experience each and every day of our lives.

Starting today I'm going to try to remember that. I'm still going to allow myself to feel upset, sad, or let down, but I'm not going to allow those things to build up until they change my demeanor or leave me "on edge". That is not the person I want to be. I want to be a person with an attitude of gratitude. It's time for an attitude adjustment.