There but for the grace of God go I

I saw her this morning and I know she saw me. She was holding a Speedway Pizza and 44 oz. soda, but it was only 9:45 in the morning. I tried not to pity her, this pasty white young woman with a horrible diet. I could tell by her unlined skin that she was in her 20’s, but the weight made her look older. She wore Capri jeans and a bulky t-shirt and was sweating at the effort it took her to walk to her vehicle. She set the items down on the hood of her powder blue mini-van coated thickly with dust from what I presumed was the dirt road she lived on.

I could tell she wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible. To blend in with the pavement and her powder blue mini-van. Just unlock the door, take her food and make her getaway to consume her poison in peace. I didn’t make eye contact with her, but I wanted to. I wanted to hug her and tell her I knew how she felt. That I hated food because the shittier it was for me the better it tasted. I wanted to tell her that I too was an addict that wanted to lie in bed and consume all the best and worst foods and die in a caloric avalanche. Instead, I said nothing, because she probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.

I walked into Speedway and purchased an unsweetened iced tea with lots of ice. I shared pleasantries with the cashier while I made my purchase and tried not to loathe the way I looked in my tight yoga pants and tank top. All 265 lbs. of me turned and walked out of the store and to Eddie the Wonder Dog waiting in my car. As I walked, I felt the constant pain of what felt like a pebble grinding into my left heel. Another pain I have to deal with because of obesity. I swear to you every pain I feel, both physically and mentally is because of this fat boundary that I’ve built around me.

Once in my vehicle, I glanced through my side window at the mini-van woman. There she was downing a soda, and eating her first slice of pizza. My heart hurt for her, well, for both of us really. Why was it that women like she and I struggled so, while other didn’t seem to? I reached down and started my car, turned to hug my Eddie Dog and then put the car in reverse. It was time to go home and measure out the portions of my morning meal, a hard-boiled egg, 1 cup of skim milk, 3/4 cup of protein cereal, and piece of fruit.

I’m determined this time, not only to make the diet stick, but to remain healthy. That’s the ultimate goal really, to wake in the morning with less physical and mental pain. To look forward to picking out healthy food and fun clothes to wear. To be able to run again, if I want to. Or swim, bike, or maybe even date. Who knows what the future holds for me? All I know is I don’t want my weight deciding my future for me, I want to be the master of my own fate.

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Living a Full Life

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“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.
C. JoyBell C.

A few years ago I went through a major weight loss transformation and I became addicted to working out. I found that it didn’t bring the world to my feet and it most certainly didn’t bring me happiness. Sure, I liked the looks I got from men and women. I loved the highs of working out. But I was still looking for something to make me complete.

Since my injury, I’ve gained weight because I haven’t been able to move much. I hated being sedentary. It felt like prison. I ate a lot, but found that it didn’t bring me happiness. It didn’t stave off the desperation I felt, and the extreme loneliness. I’ve been trying my very best not to beat myself about it. I won’t.

I have begun eating healthier and the weight is coming off. I place my feet in gym shoes and set about walking the sidewalks of my apartment complex at least five times a day. I’m building stamina so that I can walk to the bus stop to get myself back to work in early August. Physical therapy is grueling but worth it.

I’ve decided I will not become addicted to food or the gym again. I will not worry about every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I will be mindful of my eating, but I will not beat myself up about having a piece of cake. A full life for me means walking outside in the fresh air, biting into a ripe nectarine, or watching my dog carry a stick that’s bigger than him. Yes, that’s a full life.

Six Days Till Touch Down

Feet in Puddles

 

Yesterday, Amelia wrapped her fingers around the arch of my right foot and began to gently massage the tiny bones beneath its surface. She tugged and stretched the atrophied ligaments and tendons too. I could feel the bones cracking and every once in awhile we heard a popping sound. They surprised us both, but I told her not to worry, she was not causing me any pain. More and more tension was eased as she worked her way down to my heel. I closed my eyes and laced my fingers behind my head. Shifting in her seat, Amelia began to move my foot outward and down. She told me I had to reeducate the signals of my brain.

The signals in my brain have become numb, and I feel like a drone. I’ve numbed my brain and body with food, mundane television and an addiction to Facebook. I’d hoped to write a book while I was off on medical. It didn’t happen. Instead, I wallowed in ice cream and fast food delivery. I’ve gained weight while being sedentary. Food didn’t make feel any better. It didn’t fill my soul.

I think in abstract instead of full sentences. Thoughts and ideas start, then stop. They become dead ends and hide somewhere in the synapses of my brain. Romance. Love. Anger. Doubts. Pain in the ankle. Pain in the heart. Thoughts muddled. Scarred soul along with the ankle. Loneliness. Independence. Faith. Fear. Prayers.

I worried about being dependent on pain meds so I weaned myself from them as quickly as I could. Tylenol does the job when taken regularly. The bones have healed, and so have the incisions. The original trauma site continues to heal, from the inside out. I ingest supplements for hair, skin and nails in hopes that it will heal more quickly. I’m tired of being reminded of my stupidity, and the fact that my body and car were totaled. That my insurance was canceled. That I have no idea when and if I will be able to walk normally again. Whether or not I will be able to drive again. Or how the hell I’m going to buy a car or insurance anyway.

I worry about my weight and the fact that none of my clothes fit. Will my newly knitted bones be able to hold up my fatness. Will I be loved or held again. Will I have a partner in crime and in life. Will I have to fight to find love, while I fight to regain my body again.  Or will only creepy old dudes find me attractive. Will I be able to point my toes normally.

Will all of this damn work be for naught. Will the Talus bone die. Will the ankle be fused and my recovery start all over again? Where are my high heels?

It’s raining right now and all I want to do is run out into it. I want to run away. I want to smell worms and springtime. I want to be myself again. A free spirit, effervescent, sparkly and unafraid of tomorrow. I want to bear weight and walk into the deluge outside my window. To feel it drench my skin and wash my soul clean. I want to live unencumbered by weight, a walker, or a limp.

Life is to be lived. Not by sitting on my couch and staring out the door wall, but by participating in it. The rainstorm has left puddles that I’d love to splash in. Ah, to feel the rain and grit cover my calves would be heaven.

Heaven, I tell you!

The Tattoo Artist, Friendship Soup and Conversation

vintage-tattoo-couple“Tattoos made my skin more ‘me.’ -Melissa Maxwell”

Larry Smith, It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

I spoke to him on Thursday night, after handing him a jar of handcrafted soup. The note attached articulated that I hoped it nourished he and his son’s bodies as well as their souls.

His eyes clouded with tears, and he began to speak to me. To catch me up on his life. The words came out in torrents. I just listened. It usually is so difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. I always want to inject words of advice into conversations with friends. To ease the pain in some way.

He told me of recent happenings. The sadness. The grief. The loss of a good friend to suicide. And coming to the realization that he was a good man. I kept listening. And smiling. I wanted to hold him close to me, but I didn’t think he’d welcome the contact.

For some reason, he went back to the beginning of his life and shared everything. This man that has pierced me with his needle made sure to  pierce my heart too.

We spoke of his art. The drawing, painting, and tattooing. We spoke of writing. He said I was good. I told him he was better. I announced that he was a reincarnation of Jack Kerouac. He chuckled and grinned like a little kid and announced that his grammar was awful. I assured him that a writer is only as good as their editor. He snickered again.

I inquired about Christmas Day. He told me he’d be spending it alone. The nurturer in me wanted to invite him to dinner on the 25th. Wouldn’t that be something, my friend, covered with tats, ears gauged, sitting at the dinner table with my family? But I didn’t ask. I should have.

Our words began to lessen and it was time for me to take my leave. He came around the counter and hugged me tightly to him. I took in his scent, divine and manly. I whispered in his ear, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” He smiled boyishly and I departed from his shop.

His smile stayed on my mind while I drove to my little apartment, just 10 minutes away. The fact that he would be alone on Christmas Day did also. When I got home, I extended an invitation for Christmas dinner. His reply was noncommittal but thankful all the same.

He let me into his life on Thursday night, and I didn’t worry about what time it was. Or the other things I had to do, I just listened.

And I learned.

**Writer’s Note:**
This was the Facebook status that I was tagged in after we talked on Thursday evening. I guess my words stayed with the artist. It is quite an honor to be a part of his life. No matter how small that part may be.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.-jack kerouac — with Renee Heath.

I’ll Have What She’s Having

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YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!

Er, well, maybe not. No my fellow pervs, I’m not writing another erotic entry. Today is about me. Then again when isn’t it? It’s a good day. I saw Super Therapist. I made him laugh and blush. He questioned me about how I felt about my anger on a certain subject. I told him I felt betrayed and abandoned. Like I didn’t matter. He asked if my anger left me helpless. I explained that now that I’m pissed, it proved I was fearless. That I could move forward knowing what I want. What I need.

It’s time to get up and Try, Try, Try as my girl, P!nk would say. I’m going to meet that woman someday.

The first thing I need to do is lose the 30 fucking pounds I’ve put back on. I’m an addict. Food, alcohol, the written word, validation, exercise, etc. You name it, and I’ve been addicted to it. I slunk back into the Medical Weight Loss Clinic yesterday and talked to my favorite counselor, Crissy. She has a huge crush on Roger Darling. Whenever she speaks of him, she blushes. I peed on sticks, weighed myself and waited for her to rag on me. She didn’t. We discussed a cleanse and going back on Plan. I wanted to scream, shit, fuck and dammit. I kept my mouth shut though. I purchased 10 weeks of the program and told her I’d be back to weigh in and buy my protein supplements on Friday. Shit, fuck and dammit!!!!!

The next thing to do is go to the gym. I started this good habit again a couple of weeks ago. I bitched and whined the entire time. I suffered from shitty insomnia and a racing heart. Roger Darling and I kept going though. I’m so damn mad at myself. I was running three miles, four to five days a week. My arms were sculpted with muscle. So were my legs. I’m walking at a fast pace and getting my ass kicked on the elliptical.

Rog and I have a goal. We want to do the Color Run on May 11, 2013. I will be wearing a tutu, tiara, white shorts and t-shirt. This bitch is gonna look HAWT! Then we’ll get sprayed with paint as we meander our way to the finish line. There’s muscles to be regained and weight to be lost and maintained. I’ll do it again. I’ll fight the good fight. I revel in the fact that my battle will only take 10 weeks instead of the original 15 months it took me to lose 150 lbs.

There’s this novel I’m writing too. Today is one of those days when the words flow like sweet honey. I ache to write all day. My day job prevents me from doing so. I’m an old school writer, even though I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year. I write notes in my journal. The few words I jot down jog my memory and help me fill in the blanks when the time comes to create.

My main character Ian has written the other main character, Maggie their first love letter. He slipped it into her notes for his class. She hasn’t even read it yet. What will it say? I’m not sure yet. I’m sure it will have to do with her hair the color of flames and eyes the color of the sea. He’s a bit of cad though, so he may write something filthy too. We’ll see. BTW, this book is a love story. I promise you it will not be shitty. The love scenes will make no mention of the word inner goddess. I like the words cock and pussy and I’ll be sure to use them liberally. The love notes are the key to my story. They are.

Time to finish up some work. Eat an orange. Drink more fucking water!!! I swear to you I’ve an ocean floating around inside of me. Then it’s off to the gym and red meat and salad for dinner. Yup, this Sparkly Girl’s going to do it again.

Gotta get up and Try, Try, Try. Gotta get up and Try, Try, Try. Hey, if I don’t get to meet her, I can at least look like her. Giggle, snort!

Trying to Find my Happiness at Christmas

Christmas Jack

I want it, oh, I want it
Oh, I want it for my own
I’ve got to know
I’ve got to know
What is this place that I have found?
What is this?
Christmas Town, hmm…
I’m not a big fan of Christmas anymore. The music is horrid and Roger Darling insists on listening to it from the beginning of November till December 26th. It’s all this sparkly girl can do to keep from cutting herself every time I have to ride in his car with him. If you’ve read me for very long you know I’m passionate about a few things. Okay, I’m passionate about everything. But music is my biggest passion. However movies are another. And of course there’s the lovely Sally and Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Sally is my alter ego. In my heart beats the musings and music of a pretty dead girl. Don’t ask me why. Some things can’t be explained, nor should they be.
I love the movie, the music, and the love story. For someone so loud and shiny, I can be quite morose. This time of year especially. I was trying to think of a song to cheer me up. Then this silly picture of Jack came up in my FB newsfeed. I knew the song I had to post up. What’s This from TNBC. Of course! I watched the video this morning and sang along. Christmas time began to buzz in my skull and I was happy. I do know the reason for the season. But it seems so many others have forgotten. I’m not trying to be sacrilegious with my post. I’m only trying to find my happy place. Of course it would come in the form of Jack and Sally. Now it’s time for this Sparkly Girl to get ready to head to Sis’s place for dinner and a crazy White Elephant gift exchange.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Much love to you all. Eat and drink too much and then take a shit ton of Mylanta to settle your stomach. XOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOX

What Price, Freedom?

We are so used to numbing ourselves with food. However, we are no longer numb.

We are alive.

We want to experience everything.

We have the rest of our lives to do just that.

We are so afraid though. We’ve never felt so free. Freedom scares us.

(Yeah I said this. I know it’s scary that I can say something so profound, but dammit I swear I did!)

I was talking to a dear friend today who is struggling to find herself. She and I numbed ourselves with food for so long it’s hard for us to feel without hurting. It’s like that of an autistic person who’s senses are in hyper drive. It’s the same for us that have broken out of the addiction of food. Our bodies are finally free but so are our minds.  Let me tell you our minds can think and do some crazy shit.

What she and I feel is static electricity running through our bodies. It’s a restlessness I can’t even explain. It’s the feeling that we need to go out and experience everything we couldn’t when our bodies were morbidly obese. The euphoria is amazing, but it’s also exhausting. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I felt this good when I was in my teens. I know I didn’t. I can tell you why. Because now, I’m thinking like a teenager and like a woman confident in her body. Confidence is sexy, but sometimes I’m a little too damn confident!

B. finally got herself out of a marriage that was no longer working.  After losing weight the light bulb went off. She realized that what she was doing was merely existing.  And she got tired of raising a husband like a child. She decided the best option for herself and the children was to move on. I have supported and loved her through it all. My heart breaks and cheers for as she struggles to find happiness. B. has no idea how incredibly strong she is. I am so proud of her. Yes, I’m envious in some respects. Not so much in others. Her life has been tumultuous. I hope that my words and actions have eased some of  her pain.

We’ve both lost 150 lbs, each. Yes, an entire person. That person dragged us down, made us tired, and unhappy. We are finding though that we are still weighed down. With doubt, uncertainty and sadness. We are still searching for balance. For bliss. We may never find it, but we will go through hell looking for it. And I know she and I will always be at each other’s side. We’ll hold hands and love each other through it all. She has been my constant for 30 years.

I can’t say that I haven’t had my issues while going through such a profound transformation.  I have thought about running away from my life and starting over. There are so many questions unanswered, and so many what ifs going through my mind. I struggle to find peace within myself everyday. I fight battles with a mirror, and my psyche. Fuck I’m a mess, but my sparkly heart is good. I seek new people and new connections every day. I look for new ways to thrive. I can’t sit still for long. If I’m stagnant, then I die. And baby I’m not dying for a long time.

I remind B. that her heart is good, but she must be guarded with it. Do not give it to the first person you meet. Do not tell them deep, dark secrets. Keep those inside and share them with the right one.  I know she will find someone that is good for her, but she has got to find peace within herself first. Be happy in being alone or with her kids. Know that what she is doing is right. All I want for her is peace of mind and happiness. I want it for both us.

Bittersweet Day in Pines

Cherry pie from Lee and Carol for mulching their gardens. Game nights at the Perez’s. Campfires on our patio unitl 3 AM. Wine, beer, and booze flowed along with our running mouths that never tired. We talked politics, religion, food, children, love, family and the meaning of life. We’ve even done some dancing on that patio.

The kids drove around on golf carts until curfew. Then there’d be tons of them playing cards and video games all over the house. Meg’s first love lived there. They would see each other every weekend. They were even caught making out on the beach. Imagine my surprise when the ranger came to tell me all about it!

Meggie and Adam Boy lived and worked a few summers there.  They were lifeguards, recreation staff, and the keepers of little children. They even created a competitive swim program.

I loved the beach, the pool and the hot sun. I read tons of books, wrote and slept. I’ll miss that part of it I’m sure.  I find peace on a beach, with the sand in my toes and sunscreen on my skin.

Roger and his crew rewired the the Florida room. I wouldn’t let them have a cocktail till the work was done. After the work was finished they proceeded to get hammered. Roger passed out in living room and Adam and I ate his pizza.

Roger Darling went airborne when he tripped on a loose patio block. I nearly lost my ever loving mind I was laughing so hard. He didn’t find it that hilarious as he was laying in the flower garden.

I showed my boobs to one of our best male friends. I thought Rog was going to faint he was laughing so hard. I tell ya, he’s never surprised by the crazy shit I do.

I threw my back out and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. My wonderful neighbor Max came over and held my hand. Everyone around me was freaking out and yelling. But Max, he knew exactly what to do to calm me.

We’ve changed houses, built decks, landscaped and beautified our little piece of the Pines. Our little piece of heaven. It’s D, G and M’s place now. I hope they make as many wonderful memories there as we did.

It Was Merely a Dining Room Table

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”–Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)

But it was so much more than that.

I remember the day we sold it at a garage sale. I don’t recall the price we asked for it. It doesn’t really matter what the amount was. To me it was priceless. I sat and watched as the new owners took away and I hoped they’d make as many happy memories at it, as we did. I sat there and cried. My family looked at me like I was kook. I simply said, it was like a part of our family was being taken away.

I thought of Grandma Georgia and Grandpa Hap. They were the original Edith and Archie Bunker. Grandma had a heart of gold. She lived to nurture us. Feed us. Love us. She did all of those things at that table. Grandpa was kind of a bigot, but he meant well. He had a wicked sense of humor. And they both had the best laughs. Grandpa had the gift of gab, was a gossip and chased fire trucks.  He always gave me the young celery hearts with the leaves intact, because he knew they were my favorite. I would eat them, leaves and all. Of course they had to be dipped in Grandma’s famous veggie dip. Yes it was homemade, and no she wouldn’t tell you the recipe.

Grandma’s homemade noodles were to die for. And her rolled roast beef was always succulent. My Dad always ruined it by drowning it in ketchup. She loved her only son though, so she always indulged him. Especially when it came to her homemade cheesecake. Dad would cut and serve all the pieces, saving the one with all the maraschino cherries for himself. We always harassed him about it. He didn’t care though. He got the piece he wanted.

Grandma’s mashed potatoes. Oh my God they were a bit of Heaven. She whipped them in an original Kitchenaide Mixer. With salt, whole milk and real butter. Sis and I would take black olives and stuff them on our fingers. We then shoved them in the mashed potatoes that were drowned in homemade beef gravy. Don’t ask me why we did it, we just did.

As Grandma Georgia got older, we would supplement the meal to help her out. I did my very best to relish those last few meals that she cooked on her own. At least I tried to. You never know how much you miss something till it’s gone. Just like that old table. I have the memories of Grandma and Grandpa, wonderful meals, laughter, stories and the closeness of family. I hope the family that has the table now thinks about the history of it, every once in awhile.

We’re just carrying on a Family Tradition

So don’t ask me
Hank, why do you drink? (To get drunk)
Hank why do you roll smoke? (To get high)
Why must you live out
The songs that you wrote? (To get laid)

Hank Williams Jr.

I understand the lyrics mentioned above don’t really pair well with a wedding story. If you knew my family you’d completely understand though.  We’re a little redneck, a little country, a little flannel. As Rog and I were preparing and baking Czech pastry on Friday night, it brought back memories of the preparation for our wedding. The realization that I was marrying into a great family. A big Czech family that didn’t stand much on ceremony. They include everyone. No matter if you’re blood or not.

For our wedding 23 years ago, we made pastry, stuffed cabbage, drank shots and beer, had parties to celebrate the impending wedding day. Cooked lots and lots of sauerkraut and sausage. Food and drink matter greatly in this family. It brings us closer. Gives us reason to celebrate. EVERYTHING! I digress. This story is actually about Travis and Alyssa. They’re young. They’re just starting their lives together. But I’ve never seen two people love each other as much as they do. I wish and pray for their marriage to be a successful one.

The ceremony was beautiful. A little long for a Presbyterian church. They did the sand ceremony. Of course Tete Nan and Uncle Jack had to help. The young couple were getting married on their grandparents 61st wedding anniversary. It was only appropriate that they include them. Tete had tears in her eyes. Uncle Jack beamed. Such happiness and good vibes bounced off every wall and every person in the church.

Then we get to the reception hall. It was good to see everyone dressed up. Shiny, happy. Warmed by the sun and a bit of alcohol. Of course the food was spectacular. The groom’s uncle is a chef. He definitely brought his A game where the food was concerned. With dinner finished, it was time to start the party.

In our family, it is tradition that the first song played after the typical wedding songs, is Family Tradition. By Hank Williams Jr. We stand arm in arm. All of us. We sing the lyrics. Loudly and proudly. We bring the new bride or groom into the fold. We sing the song to prove that we ARE in deed a family that stands on tradition. But we are not pretentious. We are rednecks, but we are progressive. We party. We are loud. We’ll embarrass the hell out of you. But above all we are a family.

We danced our asses off. Laughed and talked. Took pictures like crazy. Just enjoyed each others company. It was a great night. Good luck my dear Travis and Alyssa. May the marriage be as carefree and easy as the special day we shared with you.