I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for July, 2015

Ignorance Was Bliss

“Agree to one husband, get two children to mentor without your getting (additional) stretch marks FREE!” 

How could I not take the deal. 

19 and 10. Girls. Both smart and beautiful enough for me to claim them. In public. It may shock you to know that it took me several months after becoming engaged to have my first panic attack about being a stepmother. What brought it on, you ask?

Lil One’s dance recital. 

It was the second dance recital I’d ever been to – the first was my own in 1990. A lot changes in 25 years, the most obvious being showing up to the recital hall and suddenly realizing you play for Team Mom now. Holy crap. I sat in my chair and had to partake of my purse booze that I keep for bumpy flights to help keep it together. One, I immediately had empathy for all my music parents who ask me, “How long will your program be?” because we were there for over three hours. No more self-righteous thoughts – not that I’ve ever been stupid enough to program anything that long! Okay, for real now – no more self-righteous thoughts. Lil One danced twice in three hours. I’m all about supporting kids I don’t know on stage, even when they are literally picking their noses, but combined with the realization that I have signed up for the nightshift of child rearing was too much for me at the time. 

I began to reflect on all the sacrifices that have been made for me. Hell, that are STILL being made for me. How many evenings did my parents give up so that I could remind other parents to support other people’s children? How many weekend mornings do they still give up to watch me cross a finish line? I felt incredibly guilty for being such a leech. I resolved then not to tell them about any other races I’m doing because I didn’t want to take their time. Pretty selfish of me, huh? 

In the past, I’ve told my parents that I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t have me because I’m a lot of work. They usually would first stare at me like I have two heads and then tell me how they couldn’t imagine life without me. Then Daddy would get on his soapbox about how wrongheaded people are who don’t want to have children because it’s hard. Lather, rinse, repeat, boom, I’m 30 and at a dance recital, not able to imagine life without girls I didn’t know a year ago. 

Being sarcastic and scared about child-rearing was fun, I admit. It was ignorance, and the worst kind. The type that is self-absorbed and seeking its own ends. I no longer have that privilege. Instead, I am becoming part of an insta-family who will consistently and lovingly challenge me to be a better, stronger wife, daughter, stepmother, and hopefully mother of Jamerigreeks someday. That growth will not be easy, but truth, especially with love, beats ignorance every time.  

 

How to Shed That Stubborn Weight for Good

I don’t want particularly want to go wedding dress shopping. 

If someone else had told me she felt similarly just a year ago, I probably would have thought she had cold feet or was choosing to marry the wrong person. Now that my warm feet are in the shoes, I understand that it is not necessarily the case. What kind of woman doesn’t like shopping? For clothes? For “her big day?”

The kind for whom this experience is less a chance to be a princess for a day than a massive reality check. 

I won’t dwell on how I feel about my body at the moment, but I will say that I wish there were a wedding pantsuit place. Just for an additional option. Shopping for a wedding dress, for me, is about two fundamental truths with which I must come to terms:

1. I’m going to die.

Hopefully, not before I marry the man that my imagination couldn’t have dreamed up. I’m not making it out of this relationship alive. While that thought may seem morbid, it’s dawned on me that this is probably the only thing in my life that I will ever do once. I buy a wedding dress and this phase of my life is done. I get married and I’m never doing it again. Married or single, each breath brings us closer to our last, but I’m not fooled by overpriced fabric. I know what this means. I’m thankful that I will have Adonis by my side, who, incidentally, takes my breath away. How are we going to live to make it count? How will our lives together impact the world around us for the greater good? Which brings me to – 

2. Being excited about my doing something everyone else is doing is bizarre. 

Every time I hear someone say “your big day” I throw up in my mouth a little. I hope our wedding day is incredibly special, and yes, certainly more fun than some of the weddings I’ve attended. No offense, married friends, but while this single girl was praying for your success as a couple she was also taking notes if she got bored! 😜 But I digress. How could I possibly feel special when there are entire industries dedicated to all the superficial crap of a wedding? Y’all ain’t been waiting on me. I am happy to do my part to contribute to our capitalist economy, but calm the hell down. 95% of women experience this before age 55. I’m just not gonna get TURNTUP over something anybody can do – and usually does. It’s a dress.

Being engaged has been interesting. Suddenly, people who seemed distant appear closer. I thought that this was simply another case of like attracting like, but I wonder if we all are just seeking human connections. How can you get married and not think about how inextricably interconnected we all are? I only crave authentic connections. “Lady J. Don’t even bother with a mermaid dress. You won’t be able to dance.” is valuable information. But I also want, “Lady J, don’t go to bed angry. As long as it is in your power, be at peace with those around you. Especially with that good-looking hubs.” And I NEED “Lady J, we might not be Adonis but we still need you” from my friends. Maybe some of the women whom I thought were just using me a placeholder until they found a man were just overwhelmed introverts, like me. We need each other. 

Before I become a wife, I must embrace my need for others, which is antithetical to a society that seems to make getting married “all about you.” Not only to love them, but to be loved by them. Fighting the power makes losing that last 10 pounds seem easy. Hopefully that burns calories, too. 

  

Fully Engaged, Fully Free

The June 17 Charleston Massacre has moved me in many ways. I have been moved to prayer. I have been moved to anger. Perhaps most interestingly, I have been moved to remind my fiancé of something that is still, apparently, a big freaking deal.

I am black.

Now, it’s not as though this something of which he was unaware; in fact, I believe he possesses a hyper-awareness of this as we are out and about. He’ll tell me that he notices people looking at us when we are together. While I choose to pretend that it’s simply because we are unbelievably good-looking, I know that I’ve just developed an immunity to such looks, which are on the spectrum from curiosity to hatred. When you live life as a racial minority, being weird is normal. Adonis is choosing to join the club by marriage.

When you eat chocolate, you manage your calories. When you marry chocolate, however, there is a lot more to manage. Are you prepared to be the father of a black son? It is my desire that any child that God gives us will embrace all parts of their heritage – Greek, Jamaican, African, American. The reality will be that if I have a son walking home from school, the ‘Tyrone’ part of his heritage will be seen, not the ‘Onassis.’ What are we doing as a couple, as Hyphenated-Americans, as good citizens who profess to love Jesus – to make this less scary?

Yesterday, the two of us were buying fireworks and we saw someone wearing a hat with two flags. One was the American flag, and why wouldn’t someone be wearing his country’s flag on the day the country’s Independence is celebrated? The other was the flag of a country that attacked the United States, the irony of which I’m sure was missed by the bearer. I stared at him as he proudly spoke of his rights to be able to wear what he wants because this is his MURKA. I was ready to leave before I realized he didn’t work there but was simply a blessed patron. How remarkable it must be to wear something that represents hatred and freely walk about while Jamal Onassis will have to be reminded that he’s taking his life into his own hands when he wears a hoodie and keeps his hands in his pockets.

In the meantime, I am happy that the most important freedom is not in the hands of anyone who perceives me, the choice of my fiancĂ©, or our babies. Surely that fool at the fireworks stand is shackled by ignorance – at best. I am free in Christ and am thankful that no one can take that away from me. God help us figure out a way to engage the culture so future mothers don’t have to heave a mournful sigh at the thought of buying her son a sweater.

IMG_0344.JPG

Day 55 of 42: The Real Challenge Continues

Welp. I finished the clean eating challenge.

The Good:

Down 9 pounds
Down 5 inches
Down 3% body fat
I find eating in this manner sustainable, even when I’m not working regular hours. Idle hands are a fatty’s workshop.

The Bad:

I still dislike my body.

The Ugly:

The fact that I still feel ugly.

I am upset with myself that my brain is the hardest part to change. I feel that the real challenge is learning to love myself, regardless of where I am physically. I suppose I should stop ignoring Blonde Oprah’s admonitions to think positively. I always read through the positivity crap she writes and think to myself, “Whatever. What am I ACTUALLY supposed to do?” What if that way of thinking is a means to lose more weight? What if viewing myself positively is correct because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made and not simply a means to an end?

My biggest takeaway is that it is much easier to eat well than it is to be well. I am strongly considering starting some foolishness where I affirm myself each morning when I start my new workout plan Monday. Self-loathing will always weigh more than fat.

Tag Cloud