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Archive for the ‘Epiphany’ Category

Marvelous

Lady J is on her way home!

In my previous post, I was in the air headed north, and I am blessed to be headed the opposite direction, returning to my family and work. Our flight was delayed three times, only to be moved forward again (take away – if they say to be at your gate at your original time, they mean it), leaving plenty of time for questions. What is the cause of the delay? Weather? Maintenance? Is this going to be the type of flight where I will be wondering if my affairs are in order?

At take off, of course, I smell something strong. “Oh my gosh this could be it.” The flight attendant had said we could anticipate a smooth flight once we were at cruising altitude and I am here to tell you WE HAVE NOT REACHED IT YET. The most important question remains –

Should I relax and enjoy it? 

I always get window seats because I have a tendency to get claustrophobic and I love marveling at creation. Right now, I see nothing but a wing jutting out into cloudy darkness. I’ve written in this space many times that while I intellectually grasp that there is not a method of travel more statistically safe than this, I do not find myself clenching on car, bus, or subway rides. And yet, being up here is still marvelous. It is incredible that in mere hours I can be in a completely different part of the country, visiting people that I love. How wondrous that people have worked and are working continuously to make this more efficient and comfortable. In moments, I am going to be able to hit the publish button from 35,000 feet in the air. Plus, someone is going to come down the aisle shortly with some excellent snacks.

I have always looked at the term “first world problems” skeptically, because it seems like a way to dismiss the emotions of others. As a woman of faith, I’ve had no problem that cannot make me look toward the Lord for guidance. Dammit if some bumps don’t remind me to make sure my priorities are right. These bumps are nothing if not “self-inflicted,” as I wouldn’t be feeling them if I hadn’t wanted to have this amazing getaway.

Update: THIS PILOT IS A LIAR HE SAID THE BUMPS WOULD END AT CRUISING ALTITUDE AND IT WAS DEFINITELY FAKE NEWS

person in parachute gliding above mountains

I ain’t ready.

I suppose even the turbulence is marvelous in its own sneaky way, as I have no choice but to surrender to His will and the crew’s expertise. What could be healthier than remembering how little control I have?

More marvelous travel, please!

S-M-R-T Ass! Race Report

The morning was cool and beautiful at 6:45 as Adonis and I left the house for the race. It was a nice change from the week, which had been rainy and/or cold. We found parking close by the race site and strolled through adorable Safety Harbor as we looked for packet pickup. It was nice being there early enough before the race not to have to rush and to have time to explore, with much love to my perpetually late parents. 🙂

3M was running the 10K, so we went to the finish line to cheer her on. She reported it being hot and I hoped foolishly that I wouldn’t feel the same way, although my race didn’t start for another 40 minutes.

i-am-so-7gtovh

I went to the bathroom for a 2nd time since arriving – I’m terribly paranoid about needing to go during a race, especially a shorter distance one. I even have a policy to stop drinking about 30 minutes prior. Since the race was in a public park, we had the option of *gasp* indoor plumbing! Amazing! That 15 minute wait in line was totally worth it. I took the time in line to finalize my race playlist. 33 minutes and change.

Adonis and 3M walked with me to the start line. As I found an appropriate place to corral myself, it dawned on me that I had neglected to warm up. I groaned to myself and hoped I would still have a good race. As the horn sounded, I wrapped up my obligatory tears and sniffles at the start of races and started toward the timing mat. I started my Garmin and my music and off I went.

I felt incredibly determined and focused with my first steps. I was well-rested and feeling confident. Quite frankly, I felt like a badass. Then I felt silly for feeling like a badass with my moderate to slow ass pace. “Who am I to feel like a bad ass in the dead ass center of the pack?” Sigh. I laughed inwardly at my ridiculous self-talk – I was already breathing too heavily to do anything but smile outwardly. How else am I supposed to feel as I am running? There’s no pace threshold at which I should be allowed to feel confident – I have been training regularly and I deserve to feel good RIGHT. NOW, just before making my first turn.

The first mile went by more quickly than I expected. As I passed the mile marker and my watch went off, fewer than 11 minutes had gone by. I pumped my fist and pointed one finger up, my way of thanking God for each mile and asking humbly to carry my legs through the remainder. I saw a sign that read “You are NOT almost there.” I was feeling good enough to laugh until I saw that there was a looooong incline ahead. Not cool – and I don’t just mean how 3M told me it was not cool (she was right, by the way). I grimaced and just pushed forward. I regretted not stopping at the first water stop and hoped there would be one at the top, but alas, it did not come until much later. The incline marked the turn around and I tried to motivate myself by reminding myself I would have a sweet downhill in a little while.

Meanwhile, in my pocket, my amazing playlist was thrown off by the fact that I had forgotten to lock the screen on my phone, so I was now hearing my songs go back and forth and finally one just stuck on repeat. I had planned it so meticulously and it was failing, but I thought to myself, “at least it’s a long one. I hear this about 2 and a half more times and then I’m done.” My 2nd mile took me more than 11 minutes, but I was still on track for my 33 and change despite my having lost my playlist to help me track. I felt slow and tired and I was now at the point I reach every race – why am I doing this, again? I got a reprieve at a water stop and walked for a brief moment. I took the time to reorient my thinking into something positive and told myself I would start running again on the one – it’s totally normal to plan intervals based on downbeats, amirite – and did it.

I dug for a final gear that I could not seem to find. That incline and the weather had pushed me and I realized I was doing my best. Nothing left to do but just go to the finish, and thankfully, it was near. I glanced at the timing clock and I knew I couldn’t slow down if I wanted 33 and change not to become 34 and change. I saw 3M at the chute but I couldn’t shout out because I was damn near out of gas. Adonis saw me and reached out his hand and I managed to high five him. I high fived another stranger as I gave my last effort to the finish.

Boom. 33:43. Down from 35:27 four weeks ago. Goal met. I am S-M-R-T. ❤

 

Well Done, Miss

January 31. Just like that. Here are some key stats:

  • Weight lost: 0 pounds
  • Miles run: 54.2
  • Races run: 1
  • Days practiced: I don’t know, but I played well in a recital, so enough for now

This begs the question – how well am I resisting?

I. The temptation to overeat

I am breaking even. I will confess that I regret weighing myself a few days ago and seeing that, in that I was a bit less motivated to run. Naturally, everything is fitting the same way, but you know, sometimes you just hope to step on the scale and see a miracle. 🙂

II. Nonlinear progress

Although the scale is not budging, I can’t be mad because I’ve been eating whatever and it has been delicious. That being said, I am seeing my resting heart rate come down and I am getting better sleep, so the running is not a waste. I’ve got do to better in February, though, because I’ve got a 10 miler with The Mentor coming up and I already have no hope of keeping up so I’d rather not have negative hope and extra weight.

III. Comparing Myself to Others

I’m especially impressed with myself because I went to a recital and heard some really talented teachers, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. Playing the piano can be fun and I think I have a specific calling, so for today, I’m secure. I know someone else could be doing it, but I don’t see anyone else around doing it for right now, and here I am, living life, so I may as well make the best of it.

IV. Allowing the evil one to steal my joy

This past week, I have been looking for any reason to laugh. At myself, with my colleagues and friends, at anything. I’m just ready for a good time even though nothing is really different. When I am happy, the key is to allow it even though I suspect in a week or two I will feel as though the world is ending.

V. Minimizing my accomplishments

I guess 1 through 4 aren’t too bad.

VI. Not prioritizing my time. 

I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to play this past month and that I am on track to complete my 1019 km in 2019! It has been tricky but I’ve been making it work. However, I know that I have to be feeling positive to feel like it is worth it. I was extremely tempted to skip my running for the week because my weight hadn’t moved, but I reminded myself to not minimize my accomplishments, which helps me to prioritize my time.

Onto February:

  1. Weight loss: 5-7 pounds
  2. Miles run: at least 54
  3. Races run: 2
  4. Days practiced: whatever I need to be able to play through the first movement of Florence Price’s Piano Sonata.

black-rosie-cropped

Can My Cycle Be Broken?

My life is fantastic. Until about 10 days ago, it was unbearable.

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I know all women experience some degree of mood swings, but I am starting to think that feeling like I have amounted to nothing and should just give up for half of the year is a problem, to say the least. It is January 27 and I am on track with my running goals and just played successfully in a recital. I just had a student at work sing with the All-State Elementary Chorus, and generally my students seem to be learning and enjoying music. However, depending on what day of the month it is, my life seems to be falling apart.

I have been getting good sleep and regular exercise. I can’t say that I remember it being quite so dramatic when I was at a lower weight. I don’t care to go on a lower carbohydrate diet, but I keep reading that it would be good for PCOS, which I was diagnosed with 15 years ago. I know I have a tendency toward anxiety and depression. I don’t want my running to slow (it’s slow enough as it is) because I’m not having so many carbs. What are my next steps? Nutritionist? Therapist? I feel like if I could have the feeling I feel on the 3rd day of my period all month long, I would be the most productive person in the world. It is difficult to enjoy being happy when I know that I am going to wish for the rapture by the 10th of each month. Like I said two weeks ago, I have no choice but to push forward.

 

Nineteen: Killing a Queen

I’ve always been really proud of my teeth. Each time I go to the dentist, I come back with a clean report. “Still in the no cavity club! 33 years running!” I use an electric toothbrush, I floss like a champ, and thankfully I have never had to have my wisdom teeth removed. Queen of Dental Hygiene, if you will. I am sure you can imagine my chagrin when a few weeks ago, I was chewing and the left side of my mouth was hurting. I called the dentist as soon as I was able. I had figured that my lifelong run in the no cavity club was coming to a close, but I was wrong.

I would need a crown.

Apparently, crowns are quite common, but because I’ve had such a stellar record, I’ve never paid attention to different kinds of dental work. My dentist had the nerve to tell me that sometimes these things just happen to people as they get older.

white and gray cat lying on mossy ground

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

What an awful thing to say to someone. Not only am I going to need to shell out an unplanned sizable amount of my paycheck, but apparently I am aging as well? All this flossing and fluoride and technology is not preventing this? What is the bloody point?!

I spent the week before my appointment to get my temporary crown fearing what the procedure would be like. I didn’t anticipate feeling any physical pain, but I was very depressed about needing dental work. I sat in the chair, feeling like a drama queen as I asked the dentist one last time. “Are you absolutely sure that I need to do this?” He assured me that he thought this was the best path forward to prevent an eventual root canal and that there was evidence that I had somehow fractured my tooth. Yikes. He anesthetized me and I waited as I felt my mouth get tingly. Out came his drill and I found myself wishing I were under general anesthesia simply to escape my thoughts. I watched the particles of my tooth being sanded away and all I could think to myself was that this was the beginning of the end. My journey from ashes to ashes and dust to dust was starting with the number nineteen – my sad little molar that I thought was gonna make it with me to the finish line.

As we wrapped up, the hygienist left me with important instructions, noting that I would have the temporary in for three weeks instead of the normal two. Favor your right side. No hard or sticky foods. I remarked that this would be a Christmas miracle, indeed – eating less over the holidays. On the drive home, I thought to myself, maybe this is why people have children – in a futile attempt to try to counter our march toward death. Granted, we can’t stop it, but it is nice to have someone around who (Lord willing!) is a bit further away from it. Someone with all of their unmodified, natural teeth. Makes you think.

What else can I say? At least the queen has a crown now…

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My Epiphany

One of my favorite things about joining the House of Adonis has been exploring Orthodoxy. I’ve enjoyed getting to know aspects of the Christian faith that aren’t typically emphasized in the Protestant tradition. Lol @ that oxymoron – Protestant tradition! I did that for you, Adonis. I had the most relaxing Christmas I have had in a long time, partly enabled by this devotional. I had never made the connection that the 12 days of Christmas are the time between Christmas and Epiphany. I guess for the past 32 years I’ve just been rocking out, figuring that the composer/lyricist thought that 12 was a good number to have. Heh. Anyway, it was an incredible relief to be reminded that Christmas is just the beginning of the celebration of Christ’s birth and not this incredible let down it has become in the world – party’s over, decorations down, family leaves. We’re doing it wrong, y’all. 

I was planning on doing something else wrong until my epiphany. Four years ago, I realized that the pursuit of a healthy weight is ongoing, but here I am again for the FOURTH time, despite all I discovered. I had been envisioning reaching a healthy weight again but completely denying it to anyone who asked. “Hey Joan, are you losing weight?” “No, but thanks!” It would be an effort to deny the fact that I messed up in the first place. It is embarrassing to me that I am here again. I can’t seem to get it together permanently. 

I had written that last time needed to be different than the other two times, and at first, I was mad because it seems like it wasn’t. After all, I gained weight in the same pattern – adjusting to a life transition. 1. College. 2. Grad School. 3. Full time work. Now 4. Marriage. The pattern may be the same but my wisdom is really different. I know I am not doing this because I hate how I look. I am doing this because I want my best life, and I can’t have my best life at an unhealthy weight. I have accepted that this may happen again, but each day I need to make good decisions for the body with which God has graced me. 

So, to anyone who asks – that’s right. I’m human and and I’m sexy and strong and wonderful RIGHT. NOW. Here’s to the blood work to match, sooner rather than later! 

Not gonna lie. “Gripping and intense” is how I feel waiting for my results. Gulp.

Sweet and Savory

Have I mentioned that I like food? 

I understand that there are many ways to abuse food, whether it’s eating emotionally, mindlessly, or purely in excess. I must say, however, that I (most likely wrongly) feel that it must be easier for some people than others to resist poor food choices. I remember my umbrage 40 pounds ago when it was suggested that I must not like certain food in order to look the way I did at the time. Hell no! I do think it is possible that some people are not interested in exploring many different types of food, or their eating is not particularly culturally significant to them. That being said, a steak and potatoes lover has her fair share of temptation to resist as does this sweet potato pie/jerk chicken/spanakopita loving girl. My food temptation portfolio is diverse – and growing. That’s all I’m saying here.

What’s funny is that my taste for different foods didn’t really begin developing until my first round of weight loss, when I started cooking different things. My weight roller coaster has been one long food tour, and I’ve loved it. No tour would be complete without pictures, right? A cursory glance through my desktop or phone would produce highlights of the tour – food and me, naturally. 

The pictures of food and the pictures of me share a lot. There are many types of food. There are also many types of Joan. Skinny, fat, toned, everywhere in between. You know what I am finally deciding every picture is? DELICIOUS. Dammit, the food is fabulous, and I am, too, regardless of my size. I am tired of putting off buying clothes for myself because I don’t deserve clothes at whatever size or I shouldn’t be a particular weight. Don’t get it twisted, y’all – I fully understand that I shouldn’t be trying to make my BMI match my age. That no longer means that I have to beat myself up at any given time for not being where is best for me. The best for me is healthy, from the inside out. And look at this ‘out’ – 

New Year’s Eve with Adonis


Adonis is lucky as hell to come home to this. Okay, fine, I am fortunate as well, but this ain’t his blog. I am choosing to savor where I am at this very moment and simultaneously choosing to do better. 

That, truly – is sweet. 

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