Diary of a Former Chubby Trainer/Nutrition Coach – another entry

Diary of a Former Chubby Trainer/Nutrition Coach

My story starts in grade school. My story is a long one and it’s not a pretty one. It’s full of winding roads and uphill climbs and some straight roads. I feel like I have been aware of my body image and aware of food my whole life. It became evident to me that my body wasn’t ideal. It became evident when a coach, someone I looked up to, would be the one to tell me my body wasn’t ideal. This started a snowball effect of dieting and bingeing and purging. The snowball got bigger and bigger and bigger. 

I was told to lose ten pounds when I was in gymnastics. I was a sophomore in high school. I weighed 116 at the time. Not 115, not 120, but 116. I remember that detail like it was yesterday. On my 5 feet 4 inch frame that is pretty much considered “ideal.” I have never considered myself ideal. 

There was a time previous though that it was also evident. I was in 6th grade and the school lunch program came out with weight watchers meals. Not the business Weight Watchers, just weight watchers as in watching our weight and what we were eating. In other words they were letting us chubby girls know that we should change. Our school lunch program gave us that option, in 6th grade, a billion years ago. Why? I remember eating tuna, with nothing on it. It came in a styrofoam cup container with carrots and celery. As I type this right now, I wonder if I was even chubby then. I mean, I must have been, right? The indecision runs deep. The trap runs deep. The emotions run deep. 

I take responsibility for my own actions and while I am not very damn happy about my gymnastics coach having a hand in really pushing me over the edge into an eating disorder, I know I made the choices. I did. It was me. I tried every diet. I really did. I couldn’t stick to anything. My after school-before practice-snack was a Reese’s double peanut butter cup and some kind of diet pop. Tab was a favorite. Because the diet pop canceled out all those extra calories, right? Interesting, the ignorance, the irony. 

I always wanted to be skinny. I was always muscular. I was always strong. I thought that was good. I thought it was what it took to succeed in gymnastics. It did take strength and muscles, but at that age, how was I to know I could be strong and muscular and not overweight. That train of thought carried me for years. Strong and muscular became my motto.

I struggled with my weight for what seemed like forever. Years and years. If I tried a diet I would lose some weight, never over ten pounds, but then would just eat what I wanted again. I could never maintain a weight loss. This yo-yo dieting was ridiculous. Bulimia became my eating disorder. It owned me. I couldn’t control it. I finally overcame the eating disorder after a few years. I was very fortunate I didn’t damage my body. 

The way we perceive ourselves is real. The negative self-talk is real. Have you ever looked in the mirror and called yourself a fat ass? I have. Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself you were a fucking pig or a lard ass? I have. 

Fast forward to about 2010. That sounds weird to fast forward to the past, but you know that I mean. I became a trainer and a coach. A personal trainer and nutrition coach, something I had always wanted to do. I am not sure what held me back. As I unpack things in my life and am growing in figuring my shit out, I actually think it may have been because I felt like I couldn’t be a trainer because I wasn’t skinny. I didn’t really look the part. I was muscular and strong. One would think that is what a trainer should look like, but in reality that was an excuse. It was an excuse for being overweight. I steadily gained every year. Up by 5s. 

I used strong and muscular as my excuse, my go to excuse. I used it all the time. I TOLD myself this all the time. I told myself I looked good. I was getting really good at lying to myself. 

I got fed up with it though. Every time I weighed myself, which wasn’t that often, because hey, you go by how your clothes fit, or hey, you go by how you feel, so why should I need a scale. Well, when your biggest pair of jeans become tight, it’s fucking time to pull out the scale and take a peek. I was shocked. How could this happen? I told myself again, I was muscular and strong. I let this go on for months. I kept gaining and gaining some more. Here I was a personal trainer AND a nutrition coach. What the hell? 

I was done. Bottom line is I didn’t have a slow metabolism. I didn’t have any thyroid problems (I got tested). It wasn’t my hormones. I didn’t have any kind of disease that would cause the weight gain. I was eating like an asshole, plain and simple. This was not rocket science, not at all. This was called eating way too much. No calorie deficit for this girl, no fucking way. I was eating way tooooo much. That was the problem, not that I was strong and muscular. 

I told myself to wake the fuck up. It was time to take responsibility. I was the only one who could change this. I had to. I was feeling like crap. I was tired all the damn time and I didn’t even care if I worked out. My skin looked like crap and my sleep was miserable. I had hit rock bottom. It was time to change.

I hired a coach. Shocker, right? It shouldn’t be. Even though I am a trainer and nutrition coach, I needed the accountability. I really needed it. You would be surprised how many trainers have coaches. Everybody needs a coach. 

I could feel this time was going to be different though. There was something different about this way of eating, whatever you want to call it, flexible dieting or if it fits your macros or macro budgeting. There was no magic pill. There were no magic powders or wraps. It was hard work. It was changing what I normally did. It was holding myself accountable. It was not eating whatever the hell I wanted when I wanted. It was portion control, which is really what I needed.

My excuses were done. 

I am still in a losing phase and so far am down 38 pounds and about 11 inches off my waist. I made myself a promise that I would never go back to that ridiculous number on the scale. Who cares if I am strong and muscular. That was an excuse and a big whopper of an excuse. 

No more. Losing weight is easy. The hard part is keeping it off. I plan to show up for the hard part. I plan to do the hard part. I plan to make myself a priority and to respect myself enough to stay on track. 

I am doing it. I have finally connected the daisy chain into healthy habits, into learning, into being accountable, into not eating like an asshole anymore. I feel like I am the healthiest I have probably ever been. At 55, I’ll take it. 

The pic is in black and white. Why? Because in color it seems so much worse. I still struggle a little bit seeing the before pics. I know I have come a long, long way, but there is still that inner voice, who sometimes has to pop in and just give you that tiny bit of doubt. I can squash it most of the time and I really, really do. It’s just once in a while…

I can say I finally have my shit together. It only took 55 years. If you need help getting yours together, get a hold of me. I would love to help you!

Screaming, Yelling, Blood and Tattling

It was just another day at the Euclid House. Yelling, screaming, tattling. It must have been a weekend because mom was home. It could have been evening, but it seemed like it was during the day. 

As you have seen from previous blog posts, we were just a little bit naughty. Some people may say we were just kids being kids. Okay then.  

We had been playing in my and Sherry’s room a big part of the day. I wonder where Jeff’s room was, and Wendy’s. I can’t remember. Strange how some parts of the house have faded away. This part hasn’t though. Our room was right by the laundry room. In fact, the sound of the washer and dryer would put me to sleep at night. There was a bathroom at the end of the laundry room area. The other way was the kitchen, dining room and living room. The house kind of went in a circle. You could get to the bathroom from two sides. Maybe the master bedroom was at the other side of the bathroom. Apparently Wendy and Jeff didn’t have bedrooms, because I can’t remember them. 

There was a weird root cellar room that you could get to from the kitchen. Maybe it was just a kind of basement. It had a dirt floor and wooden shelves. Anyway, that’s a story for another time. 

On this day other than screaming yelling and Sherry tattling about everything, we were kind of getting along playing in our room. We usually were doing things we weren’t supposed to, like lighting matches and starting fires. Today was different. We were playing Superman or All Star Wrestling, without the wrestling, just the flying through the air. We climbed up on the dresser which was one of those five drawer tall ones. It was against the wall by the closet. I think the paint was kind of a faded pink or peach color. It was solid wood. No tipping over when kids climbed up it. The bed was against the far wall. We pushed it there so we could get more air time. 

Shit got serious in that bedroom when the butter knife went in the door frame to lock the door. It was happening. Obviously, we knew we shouldn’t be doing what we were doing. Everything was set in place; the bed, the dresser and the knife. I was going first. I didn’t care if Jeff was older. I climbed up on top of the dresser and took a flying leap to the bed. I landed face first on the bed. The bed scooted further along the floor until it was fully against the wall. Oh My God was that fun!!! I wanted to do it again and again and again. I felt like I was flying. I was squealing with delight.

Back up to the top of the dresser. Jeff climbed up and we were both crouched down on the dresser. We couldn’t stand completely up because the ceiling was too low. Jeff was going to take his turn. I told him to just count to 3 and go. It was easy. Just jump out and fly. I wanted him to hurry up so I could jump again, but he was taking his sweet time. I was wondering what his problem was. There was absolutely nothing scary about this. Nothing. Then I noticed, he slipped as he was trying to jump. He had socks on. Why??? 

He was sprawled out like a starfish. I saw him land beside the bed on the floor. Oh wow, it looked like his face hit the bed frame. Dang! I thought oh, at least he didn’t get hurt. Then he got up and blood was running down his face. Oh No! We were going to be in big trouble. As soon as the blood started, he started screaming. Of course. Now we were really going to be in trouble. I was trying to get him to be quiet because I didn’t want to get in trouble. Not good. 

Pretty soon, mom was banging on the door trying to get in the room. “Um, just a minute,” I said. She asked what the hell was going on in there. I opened the door and Jeff ran out to the kitchen. Blood was running down his face. Mom sat him up on the counter and was wiping the blood off his face. Holy crap! He had giant gaping cut right above his eye. I could see the bone.  It was really cool!! Now, I kind of felt sorry for him. Until he opened his mouth. I was so worried about him, until he opened his mouth. He told mom I pushed him! What???? I didn’t push him. He slipped. What the hell did he think was going to happen when a person wears SOCKS to jump off of something. Seriously! What did he think would happen?

I got the death stare. You all know that one your mom gives you when she doesn’t have time to beat your ass, but wants you to know it isn’t over. Yeah, that one. 

Saved by the cut. They left for the ER to get stitches on the eye. 

Moral of that story is that your brother shouldn’t be so accident prone. 

Minutes To Memories

I had been waiting since November. I purchased the tickets then. The concert wasn’t until April 18th, 2019. A Thursday. I dragged Tayler with me. Even if she wouldn’t have been able to come with me, I still would have gone. By myself. I would not have felt one bit awkward going by myself, sitting by myself and tapping my foot by myself. 

The concert was at the Civic Center, in the Fine Arts Theater. A small venue. A more intimate venue. Up close. People shuffled in, drinks in hand, merch bags in hand, and excited. Most of the people were in their 40s and 50s. Some other lucky kids had been dragged along by their mothers too. I saw a few. Lucky kids. 

People were getting restless, waiting. It took a while. There was about a 20 minute documentary-type film that was shown before the actual singing started. It was interesting listening to him in that voice. A young kid voice. A punk voice. He had such a baby face. He fought authority back then and he still does today. 

The set list was amazing. The sound was amazing. The band was amazing. He was amazing. I felt so lucky to be able to see him again. I loved him all through high school and always fantasized that he would be my person. I mean, he was only 12 years older. Big deal. That’s nothing. He is 67 now and he is still rocking it. 

I caught Tayler tapping her foot to a lot of the songs, even though she thought we were going to the Tom Petty concert. GAH!!! Rest In Peace Tom Petty. I set her straight.

Here was the set list:

1. Lawless Times

2.Troubled Land

3.Minutes to Memories (one of my all time favorites)

4.Small Town

Here he took a little break to interact with the crowd with the long gone song.

5. Long Gone (from Bowlin’ Green) – so fun!!

6. Stones In My Passway

7. We Are The People

8. Lonley Ol’ Night (another favorite)

9. Check It Out

10. Longest Days

11. Jack & Diane

12. Easy Target

13. Overture – in other words cigarette break I told Tayler that when this happened it meant it was a cigarette break for him. He came walking back in, strutting in really, while playing his guitar and blowing out a mouthful of smoke. I love him!!

14. Rain On The Scarecrow

15. Paper In Fire

16. Crumblin’ Down (the crowd went wild with this one, everyone was singing) 

17. Authority Song/Land of 1000 Dances

18. Pink Houses

19. Cherry Bomb

20. Long Gone reprise. 

He really is an amazing artist. I feel fortunate to have been able to see him. I feel fortunate that Tayler was with me. I love spending time with her. I love watching her enjoy things. I glanced at her a lot. She reminds me a lot of myself. I want her to do well. I want her to be happy. I want her to have a great life. Life is fragile and we just never know what is going to happen, so enjoy every single moment you can. As Mellencamp says in Minutes to Memories, “you are young and you are the future so suck it up and tough it out and be the best you can”. Be silly. Be fun. Be present. And most of all, be yourself. 

And whenever he tours again, I told John, the hubby whose name is John, that he is coming with me. 

I was bamboozled

And people say kids have no respect…

It was my flight from Dallas to Philadelphia last Friday. I was tired. There had been several delays already. I was finally boarding the plane. I was ready for a comfortable bed and a good night sleep. I had so many text messages from American Airlines. Your departure time has changed to 3:30 pm from gate A19 in terminal A. Then, your departure has changed to gate C22 in terminal C. Then, your departure changed to gate C26 in Terminal C. Then, your departure time has changed to 4 pm. Then, your flight departure has changed to gate A11 out of Terminal A. Then, your departure time has changed to 4:20 p.m. Yeah, I was ready to be done. 

I made my way to my seat. I picked my seats when I made my reservation and this was a window seat. I couldn’t wait to lean my head against the side of the plane and sleep. The plane was full. I was in row 15, seat F, the window seat. There was a lady seated in the aisle seat and an older gentleman seated in the center. I said excuse me, that’s me at the window, meaning can you please get up so I can make my way to my seat. The man asked if I wanted the window seat. I said that was my seat. He then said they could just scoot over. I thought when he said, “they,” he meant the lady and him. I said okay. He then said he wasn’t very mobile anyway and scooted to the window. But, the lady said she had the aisle seat. I was stuck in the middle. I told her I thought they were together. 

I tried to sleep. I did a little. Out of the corner of my eye, I studied the old man. He was probably in his 70s. He was small. He was wearing all black. A black sweatshirt and black sweat pants and Nike tennis shoes. He had a dangly silver cross earring and a silver post earring in his left ear. He had a bandaid on this left hand between his thumb and first finger. It looked like it had still been bleeding. He did look a little frail. He also looked a little asshole-ish. 

I tried to sleep some more. It was time for drinks and snacks. I politely declined. He ordered the hummus and it was $9.75. Wow, that’s some expensive hummus. I thought it was strange he ordered hummus. I’m not sure why, I just did. He unzipped his fanny pack and whipped out his credit card. He also ordered Ginger Ale to drink. At least when he was eating his hummus, with the cucumbers and carrots it came with, he didn’t crunch or smack. If he had, I’m not sure what I would have done. Ask for ear plugs possibly. I don’t think he had any carry-on or any luggage for that matter. Nothing was under his seat. He just looked straight ahead most of the time. I’m sure he could sense me studying him. We usually can sense when someone is starting holes into our heads. 

Because the flight was so late taking off, the crew asked that anyone not connecting to please stay on the plane so the other people could deplane quickly to make the connecting flights. When the plane was coming to a complete stop, I asked him if he had a connection to make. He said, “Yes ma’am.” So I let him go in front of me. He sure was mobile enough to practically jump over me to get out into the aisle, I thought. I waited until most of the connecting flight people got off the plane and then I proceeded to grab my backpack and then found my carry on suitcase and left the plane.

As I exited the plane and got to that spot where people usually have to wait to get their carry on bags if they put one of those airline tags on them, I saw him. We locked eyes and then he looked down. He didn’t have a connection. He lied. He was just standing there. He wasn’t in a hurry at all. He was just an asshole. 

A double-edged sword

A few thoughts about food – 

It’s everywhere. It’s what we need to survive. It is something we are around every single day. We live on it. Sometimes we live for it. We need it in order to live. We need it in order to thrive and survive. It’s a fine line. It’s a comfort. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s everything sometimes. It’s a double-edged sword. 

Do you remember as a kid being told that if you were good you would get a treat? If your mom was going to take you with to the store to get groceries, you were told that if you were good, you would get a treat. If you weren’t good you weren’t getting any candy. In order to get candy or a treat, you had to have the behavior expected. 

It’s been that way forever. Why are we rewarded with food? Why is our behavior centered around food? Why can’t we just enjoy food and eat food and be normal around food? It’s no wonder so many of us have so many issues with food. 

We are conditioning our kids that their behaviors are rewarded with food. Look what you are teaching them. Really take a step back and look at what you are doing. When we are sad, we have food. When we are good, we have food. When we are happy we have food. Everything is about food. I hate it. 

Have you ever had a bad day? Well, duh. Everyone has bad days. Exactly. Have you ever heard of anyone having a crap day and texting her friend to help her make her feel better? What does that consist of? Drinks and food is what it consists of. I bet 90 percent of the time it consists of drinks and food. How about text your friend and tell her you had a terrible day and ask her is she will take a walk with you and talk about things. 

Ever heard the phrase, “eat your feelings?” How many times have you done that? How many times have you gotten home from work and just needed to have a little hit of alcohol to take off the edge? Well, the edge usually gets sharper and then you start to eat and eat and eat. It isn’t usually the most healthy food either. It’s usually chips and crackers. Sometimes it’s loads of fat-laden foods. Or sometimes you don’t even eat at all, you just drink your feelings and your supper. 

When did this start happening to us as a society? Has it always been this way? I can remember my mom leaving the house and when we asked her where she was going, she responded, “Crazy.” I wonder where she went. I don’t think she really drowned her feelings in food. It was mostly coffee and cigarettes for her.

I think ultimately it is a less than optimal behavior that we are accustomed to. It’s usually over eating, or over drinking. And yet, on the other hand, when we do something great, we reward ourselves with food! I got a promotion, let’s celebrate. Drinks and dinner. Why can’t we just be? Maybe reward yourself with something that doesn’t involve food. We really need to change how we think about food. 

If you have young kids and want to teach them anything about health, teach them to enjoy food, but not to use food as a reward. Teach them how food helps their bodies to perform optimally. Teach them about nutrition and teach them about their feelings! When they do something great, buy them a book, or a new shirt or something like that. Stop rewarding with food. Stop feeding their pain. Stop feeding their accomplishments. 

This year when you are buying easter presents for your kids or even for your grandkids, try buying non-food items. Just try. Why do they need all that candy. They don’t.

Chew on that. 

Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)

The excitement was killing me. It was my favorite place to exist. It was my favorite place to escape. Hurry up. Hurry up. Almost time. Saturday morning.

Winter was over and spring was beginning. It was the new season. The fun season. Something to do on the weekend season. 

I was in grade school, probably 5th or 6th grade, possible even junior high. We lived at the Prospect house during that time. We actually moved to that house when I was in 4th grade. 

The corner of Euclid and Capitol was the place to be. Every Saturday morning.

This is where the cool kids hung out. I remember getting there early because I was so excited. It’s been a curse my whole life. I can’t do late and on time is late to me. I have always been places early. I never disappointed.

Was it still going to cost 40 cents? Was it still opening at the same time? I wonder if I would wear the same size. I just didn’t know and I just couldn’t sit around and wait to find out. I had to leave early and get there. I had to be in line. I just had to. 

I’m not sure if Sherry was with me or if I just went by myself, but I remember sitting on the sidewalk, taking off my shoes and the guy came out. He was the guy. The guy who took our money. The guy in charge of in charge. He always wore boots and jeans that seemed too high waisted. He always wore a belt and a t-shirt. He was tall and skinny. He was just different enough to be dangerous. He always teased us. He told us the price was $1. I about died. I wouldn’t have enough money. He must have seen that I was ready to cry. He said he was just kidding and started laughing. I wish I could remember his name. 

We had to step up the high step in order to get in the building. This was a boat marina in the front of the building and the basement had boats. The upper floor, behind the store part was the most amazing roller rink. There was a long counter, made of wood, with shelves behind it full of roller skates and then there was a door into the marina store. They had candy for sale. We couldn’t buy candy when skating. Well duh, because could you imagine if something got on the floor! The floor was a gorgeous, shiny and smooth. It was made of hardwood. You always knew which skates were the best and you secretly hoped you got the same ones every week. The sound of the skates being plunked down on the counter was music to my ears. It was loud and made me giddy. I remember the smell, musty. It smelled good. I remember how it looked. It was my favorite place. There were benches to sit down on all around the circle floor. I remember by the door going in there was just a huge pile of people’s shoes. And then jackets and coats, partially hanging up and partially on the floor.

The announcer — the guy, would play the music and would call out what kind of skate it was. It was forward, just backward, couples, and singles. Sometimes just girls and sometimes just guys. Sometimes three people would skate and most times it was just everyone. 

I remember the Badger boys. Gary and Merle. Badass motherfuckers. Merle had an eye patch sometimes. He wasn’t a pirate, he had a glass eye. All the girls wanted to skate with them and all the boys wanted to be them. They had swagger. They were fun to skate with. I skated a few times with Merle and once in a great while with Gary. Jim Hull and Vonda Thompson skated as a couple and they were both amazing skaters. They were skaters to watch because they were amazing and talented skaters. We called him Jimmy back then. I still call him Jimmy as I think about it. I wanted to be like them. I always tried to perfect the backward skate. That was always something to work on. You knew you arrived when you could skate backwards with the leg crossover. The whoosh sound of the air as we went faster and faster and faster. The music was loud. The louder the better. All different songs, all different artists. I clearly remember the guy playing Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)  by Looking Glass almost every time I went to the rink. 

We skated for hours. Non-stop. A short rest when we needed or we would sit out from couples skating. Tired and sweaty at the end of the time. I never wanted to quit. I wanted to skate and skate and skate. It was social, it was fun. Everyone was nice, nobody was a jerk. We all had fun. We all forgot about everting except skating. We had a blast. When the time was over, it would still feel like you were skating. The legs were tired and we were tired, but we never wanted to be done. 

I loved the roller rink and I was so sad when they moved it down behind McDonald’s. It was never the same. It just wasn’t as fun. The roller rink was located like I said above at the corner of Euclid and Capitol, the current Olinger Law Office building. 

I heard Brandy the other day. It took me back to skating and the memories came flooding back. Some of the other songs I remember were: Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me; Brand New Key; The Lion Sleeps Tonight; A Horse With No Name; Rockin’ Robin; Black and White; and Joy To The World. 

It was a simple time. It was a great time to be a kid time. 

Birthdays and blues

The tradition. The birthday tradition. I don’t remember when it started. I don’t remember why it started. I can’t imagine a young foodie like myself would not have liked regular birthday cake. I also can’t remember if it was just me who had the alternate birthday cake tradition. Did Sherry have it too? What about Jeff? Wendy? Maybe. I only remember me, because after all it was about me. It was my day. It was my birthday. 

I looked forward to my birthday every year for the angel food cake. For the strawberries. For the cream. We never had birthday parties. Just us. 

Yesterday was my birthday. Yesterday I had the tradition. Angel food cake, strawberries and whipped topping. It was good. It wasn’t quite the same though. I healthed it up a little bit. I used fresh strawberries and canned whipped topping, instead of whipping the cream myself and instead of using the sugar-laden strawberries. The traditional strawberries were those little tin frozen containers that you had to use some type of key wrench-type thing to open. They were doused in sugar syrup and tasted heavenly. The kind of sugary sweet that you wanted to let run in your mouth when the container was held above your mouth. It was so good. So sweet and so comforting. The angel food cake was more dense than the traditional round ones. It was a rectangle shaped frozen one. I just had to let it thaw. It still tasted good. The strawberries are what I prefer, fresh. They actually had flavor. And the whipped cream in the can, it worked for its intended purpose. 

I got out my plate and carefully measured out each ingredient. So many grams of cake. so many grams of strawberries and so many grams of whipped cream. It is amazing once you start measuring things out how much you can start to see where you went wrong previously. You start to see where you would overeat. It is eye-opening. I have lost over 30 pounds doing this and I am not going back to the before. I won’t let myself. I saved room for my tradition today. I wanted to feel like I did when I was a kid. I wanted to be excited. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I did. 

My tradition seemed like it tasted just as good. I enjoyed it just as much. I thought. Towards the evening I started to feel a little sad. Not sure why. Maybe because none of the kids were here. Maybe because the house was quiet. Maybe because I wasn’t a kid anymore. Maybe because I was missing dad. It just felt like any other day, except I had cake. It didn’t feel like a birthday day. It didn’t feel like a special day. Just a day. 

It is so easy to feel sad about days gone by, about being a kid and being happy at the littlest of things. Missing the simplicity, perhaps. But, at the same time, I love being present for the now, for the exciting things happening. I love watching things unfold and happen how they are supposed to. I love being positive. I love seeing positive things and I love getting to live this life, even if the birthdays or the cake or something else makes me a little bit sad once in a while. 

Evaluating

I looked at the clock. I looked again. Back to work. The click seemed audible. Maybe it was. Not too much longer. Friday afternoon. Almost done. I checked the clock again. Soon. Very soon.

I thought about it. I anticipated it. The mouth feel. The slight bite and then the belly burn.

Relaxation came at the first swallow, red, not white. I needed that. It was a long week. That’s what I told myself. So many things. So many stressors. I was convinced I deserved it. Because that’s what we tell ourselves. 

My rule was that I could only drink on weekends. If I drank during the week, I found myself drinking more and more caffeine to burn off the fog of the alcohol. I told myself it was no big deal. I really felt fine. Why should I feel that way though? Why should I do that to myself?

Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday. Telling myself two glasses was the limit. Many times two turned to three. I had to get more because I needed at least two glasses for the next night. If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be enough. I pondered that. Why not just have one glass. Because.  Whatever excuse I could use. Whatever reason to get more. It’s good for you, right? And shit I deserved it. 

I got stuffed up as soon as I had a glass. My cheeks flushed and my whole body got hot. Hot flashes triggered by alcohol. Slight reactions, nothing big. But still, reactions.

I drank in spurts. Sometimes only weekends and then sometimes a period of a month or six weeks when I would drink every day. When I felt like the weekdays were getting away from me again, my rule came back, only weekends. 

During those longer periods, I would drink every day. Waiting for the time to start. The click was real. I had a glass to work on Studio work. I had a glass to relax in front of the TV. And then another.  But sometimes it wasn’t quite enough. It was wearing off. I was constantly chasing the buzz but then going slightly too far. Going to bed and feeling drunk. I told myself I slept well. I didn’t. I told myself I was healthy enough. I wasn’t. I told myself I didn’t really need it. I didn’t. I just wanted it. And then I didn’t want it anymore.

A switch clicked. This click was not drinking. This click was taking responsibility for my health. This click was looking in the mirror and calling bullshit. This click was taking responsibility for what I was doing. This click was not doing whatever everyone else was doing, because it was the norm. I’m not someone who does something just because everyone else does. I’m pretty good at doing my own thing.

It was time to evaluate. It was time to see what happened without it. I had to see. I had to see if I could do it.

It’s been 136 days since I’ve had an alcoholic beverage and I don’t miss it. I sleep better. I feel better. My health is better and I’m happy. How long will I go? Until I’m done. 

Tayler’s Cupboards

First grade, second grade, third grade, fourth.

The memories packed in the cupboard. 

Pencils and glue and hair ties too. 

Tape and markers and super balls to bounce. 

Barbies and papers and trinkets and a bell. 

Two cupboards filled to the brim. 

Full of memories from the life of a kid. 

Standing, nightgown on. 

Tinkering and playing and thinking out loud. 

Far off places and toys that talked. 

Books of angels and animals and even rocks. 

Stickers and lip gloss and dice.

Standing there for hours playing until she knelt. 

Imagining and singing and laughing to herself.

When she was done she shut the cupboard and said goodnight.

Just because she got older didn’t mean she discarded her belongings as junk. Far from it. 

She stored more memories.

The cupboards are full. 

It’s been over 16 years. 

I can’t clean them out.

It makes me miss her being little still.

The life she made. The memories she made. 

A huge part of her childhood is buried in there. 

She won’t let them go. 

It’s something I can’t bear.

The child who is now an adult. 

The child who entertained herself for hours. 

The child, self-sufficient in everything she did. 

The child who grew up. 

And the mom who did too.

The child who still peeks into those cupboards and laughs out loud. 

Memories of more simple times. 

Memories of fun and laughter. 

Memories of a lifetime. 

Always there. 

My Very Own StarSong

I have been anticipating this for what feels like forever. It was finally here. I don’t mean finally like I’m mad about it. I mean finally like I’m a little scared and anxious about it.

The time had to be ideal. I had to finish up some deadline things first. Then I had to make sure everything was just right. Did we even still have a CD player anymore? Tayler’s room. Down the stairs I went. Found it. Back up the stairs I went. I grabbed the CD, the player my headphones and the letter with the chart. I headed to my office way upstairs. 

I made it perfect. I arranged my rug with my yoga pillow and I lit a candle. I plugged in the player and hit the eject button. Oh man. Inside the player was “Baby Mozart.” Wow. We played classical music for Tayler from the time we brought her home from the hospital. You guys that was over 19 years ago. She still listened to it every night to relax her and help her sleep. It almost made me cry.

I opened the case and pulled out the CD. I got goosebumps just touching it. I could feel everything about it. I don’t mean physically, I mean emotionally, spiritually. A rush came over my body and my eyes started to water.

I put on my headphones and pressed play. The music started. Wow! The sounds. The emotion, I can’t even describe. I could see myself in black water, trying frantically to get out, trying not to drown, feeling like I was drowning. Peacefulness came next. It was calming. The bird noises made it that way. Water made it that way. Water, cleansing, calming over and over.

It is hard to describe. It was so overwhelming in an absolute good way.

This CD, hands down, is the best gift I have ever received. It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. My friend is so thoughtful.

You may be wondering what I am talking about. First I have to explain.

Her name is Rebecca. I call her Breckie. We have been friends for a long time. Online friends. That’s how our friendship started, I think in 2007. We were both in a workout forum and that’s how we met. Fast friends to the end. It took several years before we met in person. We have been through a lot together. When I say a lot, I really mean a lot. We have pulled each other through hard times. We have similar life experiences. We are the best sounding boards for each other. We are honest with each other and I believe I can say we would do anything for each other. She means the world to me. She truly is one of the best friends I ever had and I am so thankful, grateful and blessed to know her. 

Now, back to the CD. The CD is a gift from Breckie. She bought me a song! A StarSong. She gifted me a song composed only for me! Only for me according to where and when I was born and my astrological chart. Is that not the most amazing thing ever? I think so.

It was done. I received it in the mail yesterday. It was everything I thought it would be and more. As I listened I could feel every emotion, every sorrow, every happiness and every life lesson. It was like I could reach out and touch every single thing. It was that intense. And, knowing it was specifically composed for me, made it that much more special.

The composer and chart preparer is Danick Jawer. You can find her at http://www.danickmusic.com. She also gave me a copy of her CD, Amitie – Voyage d’amour. I will be listening.

The CD has two tracks. The first track is the StarSong itself and the second track Danick talks over the song. This second track contains the main astrological comments that guided her process. Her voice is so unique and accented and calming. She is an amazing and beautiful French woman. 

There are so many things. I can’t wait to listen to it more and more and more. It is such a special gift. I can barely put it into words. 

And the cherry on top of this proverbial cake, Breckie also gifted me a one hour reading with Danick in which she will go more in-depth with my astrological chart, a much more thorough reading of my chart. I bet it will explain many many things about my life. I am so interested to do this. I will be scheduling it as soon as I can. 

I really do have the best friends and many special people in my life. I am very lucky and I know this. Thank you so much Breckie!! This truly is such a special gift.