Butterflies and Freedom

It was summer. The Euclid house. It was hot. I think it was August. My sister and I roamed free. We were young though, so we may have still had a babysitter at home, but that didn’t stop us from roaming. If I had to guess, I would say I was about ten years old. Sherry and I  started hanging out with some kids a few blocks away. I can’t remember who they were, so it must not have been a constant. We rode our bikes a lot and we walked a lot. When it got really, really hot, we would ride our bikes. We went barefoot all the time and when it got that hot, the bottoms of our feet would burn, so we either started riding our bikes barefoot (gasp) or wore shoes, which we hated.

I struggle to remember because it seemed like we were older and it maybe was the Central House. We only lived there for a short time, but still managed to get in a lot of trouble. It really doesn’t matter for the story where we lived, but I want to remember it correctly.

Anyway, we were playing with some kids and were just riding our bikes going somewhere, going anywhere. We ended up on a street that was a big hill. I can remember one of the kids had a skateboard, which freaked me the hell out, because seriously, a skateboard down that steep hill. Even at that age, I knew it was something I wouldn’t do. Apparently fear ran deep.

The hill was steep. Kid steep. It might not be adult steep, but it was close. It was the hill that intersected at Huron and Elizabeth Streets and then down to intersect Central Avenue. If you looked straight ahead you could see the river. You could see the forever. You could see blue, blue sky and white, white clouds. It was incredible. It was an amazing hill.

That was a summer full of butterflies. Monarch butterflies. The orange, white and black butterflies. Pretty ones. Their wings looked like glass, stained glass. They were magical and beautiful…and free. They floated effortlessly through the air. Going somewhere. Going anywhere. They were on a mission. A migration mission.

On that street, on that hot summer day, time stood still. I sat there on my bike looking at the street. At first I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. The street looked strange. It looked like the asphalt was moving. I felt alone. It seemed like it was just me. I started moving. I started pedaling. I felt like I could fly. Suddenly, I was surrounded. It was the most amazing thing ever. I stopped at the bottom of the hill on the next block. There were hundreds of them. Hundreds and hundreds of Monarch butterflies surrounded me. They landed on me. They covered the street. They were on my face and in my hair. It was beautiful. It was calming. I felt free. Is that what freedom felt like? Could they feel it? I wanted to be a butterfly that day. I felt like a butterfly that day. I was free that day.

Zoom Out

It was about a month ago. Now time. Not kid time. I tried on five pairs of pants. All the same size. All fit different. None of them fit. Every single pair were too small. Or I was too big. However you want to spin it. They didn’t fit, plain and simple.

Old me would have been devastated. Now me is slightly concerned, but not throwing a tantrum. Not getting rid of all the food so I can starve myself. Not freaking out. The now me is bucking up and taking responsibility. I know I have been slacking. I have been eating too much and drinking too much wine. I know it’s time to clean it up. For me. I needed to quit eating whatever I wanted and however much I wanted.

It’s interesting how we let things slide. And now here is my point. Why do we have to slide? Why can’t we be okay all the time? Why can’t we just eat to stay healthy? Why do we feel like we have to eat all the things or drink all the things? Life is curious that way. Once we realize that we can stay in check and eat good food and drink once in a while, I think that mindset shifts and it is easier to stay on track. You have to nurture yourself. Take care of yourself. Think about what you are putting in your body. Do you really want to eat crappy and feel crappy all the damn time? I sure don’t. Take ownership of your eating. Understand how food makes you feel. Start with the basics and learn. Learn and then develop your skills. Zoom out. Take a hard look at what you want your life to look like. What you want to look like. Is it matching how you are now? If not. Do something. Take action. Make a change. Be positive and enjoy the journey.

I understand and I get it. Sometimes making changes is hard. We want to change, but actually doing the work and taking the steps and taking responsibility for our actions scares us. It just does. It’s easy, yet we try to overcomplicate it.

Well, I decided to take responsibility. I quit eating like an asshole. I started cleaning up my diet. And by the way, diet is not a dirty word. Diet actually simply means what you eat. Your diet. But, nothing can be simple in society, so it has been complicated beyond belief.

I actually started an online challenge and did the challenge right along with the people in the group. I gave them a nutrition plan and a daily workout. I stayed consistent, I ate well. I didn’t eat crap food. Like I said, I was consistent. I feel stronger, I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better and I lost weight. Because I wanted to. Not because society told me I had to or because someone made a snarky comment. It was because I wanted to. It is okay if you want to change your body. It is okay if you want to lose weight. It is okay if you want to gain weight. Nobody gets to decide that for you, except you!

Just remember consistency is the key. You can consistently eat well and get results and you can consistently eat crappy and get results. It’s your choice, you get to pick. You get to own your results. Either way.

Angela

Angela Schweigert

My workout buddy

My work buddy

My drinking buddy

My recipe trying buddy

Her laugh

Her sincerity

Her

Her laugh was contagious. Kind of a snort but kind of not. You couldn’t help but laugh right along with her. 

She always named her cars.  At that time she had Cosmo. Her dad knew what the hell was up and he had that car running like a top.

We were in high school. She was at that time the best friend I had. It’s funny how people come and go, out and in, stay and play, and make their mark on your life. They touch your heart and they touch your life. They make your life better. You never forget them or the fun you had. They are special people. Truly. Life rolls on and you see things about them once in a while on Facebook. Or you see a parent passed. Sometimes you see the out of state plate parked at the parents house and you wonder how she is doing and wonder why you didn’t stop. But it’s okay, you just know. Because it goes without saying. It’s not necessary. Those are the best kinds of friends. That’s the kind of friend Angela is. Everyone needs those kinds of friends. They are the best. Always true. Always sincere. Always.

She was tall and lanky. She had long arms and long legs. She had a ton of long, wavy hair and a face full of freckles. She was a great listener and a great friend. 

We liked to work out. We wanted to be in shape. We used to ride our bikes out to Twin Bridges at least three times a week during the summer. It’s a jaunt. We used to laugh about the road kill we would see, unless it was a snake. That was disgusting. Other days we would go for runs or slap on some ankle weights and see how far we could walk, uphill, of course. On one of our runs, we stopped the Schwan’s truck and asked for ice cream. He obliged. We were happy. It was hot out that day. 

At that time the drinking age was 18. Not the hard alcohol drinking age, but the beer drinking age. It was winter and it was cold. It sucked. Angela’s parents were out of town, so we decided to make daiquiris. Yummy flavors. All the fruits. We had strawberry and peach and a couple other flavors. We decided to pretend it was warm out and we wore Hawaiian shirts and leis. Because that’s how we rolled. Why not make the best out of a bad situation. Winters in South Dakota, called for desperate measures. 

I remember another time we tried to make pita bread. The oven had to be extremely hot, like 500 degrees hot. I thought for sure we were going to burn down her house. It seemed like the oven was malfunctioning and the kitchen filled with smoke. I think maybe one of the 12 or so we made turned out. Obviously we weren’t bakers. 

We worked together at Sooper Dooper. We always had the dreaded 3-10 shift and 3-9 shift. It was terrible. It dragged on forever. We laughed though. We did stupid things so the time would pass. One time we put flower pots on our heads and customers thought we were crazy. Angela said we were pot heads. We got a good laugh out of that one.

We had a lot of good times. A lot of good friend times. Thanks for the friendship Angela. I will always, always remember how much fun we had and next time I see your car, I will stop and catch up.