Thursday, December 13, 2012

Diary of a Fat Girl

I thought I would write a blog following my weight loss journey since I have had so many people ask me what I am doing to get rid of this weight. First and foremost  I want to emphasize that I am not a weight loss expert nor am I a doctor, so what may be working for me, may not work for you. Also I am still learning how to finagle this insane new way of life, so there are very well some things that I could be doing wrong. That being said, the purpose of this blog is simply to share with you my experience and what I have done to begin my life as a healthier person who is not afraid to step on the scales.

The biggest reason I found that I never wanted to really truly attempt to lose weight is because I didnt know where to start. I found out, as I will explain later, that this is the poorest excuse of all. However, it is more encouraging to talk to real people that you really know to find out how real their weight loss has been and what real life can be like if you decide to take a step in that direction. That's the main reason I am writing this blog. It helped me to know that there are people out there that struggle the same way I do, live the same lifestyle I did and have as tough of a time finding the motivation to do something about it. It gave me just enough hope to want to do at least try to change my life.

First I had to find a purpose.
 I have several. I want to be smaller--obviously, but I also come from a line of diabetics. This is something I dont want to see in my future. I couldnt wear any of my clothes anymore except for the clothes that I hate and I refuse to buy more to fit my ever-expanding waistline. I want to be healthier for my family because I feel like they deserve that. Mostly I just want to feel better about myself. I am a pessimist by nature (the glass really is half empty) and I struggle with pretty deep depression. Alot of that, I realized, stems around my weight. So I literally woke up one day and said "Im sick of being fat. Im done with this BS." and making up my mind (which people who are close to me know that is a BIG challenge for me) was the first step. So I focused on a reason. A realistic reason.

Short term goals.
 "because I want to look good in a bikini in June" is not a short term-goal. Plus it isnt realistic.  I used an excuse like that before and it is easier to give up on. I find it is better for me to make short term goals that are easy to obtain than making a ridiculous goal like that when I feel awkward in a full piece bathing suit right now as it is--with a cover-up on over that even. Long term goals are harder to reach and I end up throwing in the towel before I ever have the chance to get started. I have learned alot about goals at my job. If I reach a certain goal at my job every month, then I get a gift card. So I have more motivation to want to achieve that goal. If my boss only gave me a gift card every 3 months if I obtained a goal, I wouldnt strive as hard to reach the goal because it is that much more difficult for me to reach. Make sense? So I started out with a week goal...I want to lose at least 3 pounds this week. I obtained it. So then I made a month goal....I want to lose 15 pounds this month....I did it. I tried to make it a challenge within reason. If I would have set a 25 pound loss the first month and didnt obtain it, I would have just gotten pissed off and quit. So I keep it real.
I have a new short term goal already set in my mind, and after I reach it, I will post my starting weight along with my then current weight, so it will put more things into perspective for those truly wanting to see actual results from what I have lost.

People around me have been my biggest motivators. Facebook. Family. Friends. With them simply pointing out they were proud of me, or they could tell I have lost some weight, or offering their stories and helpful hints I became more motivated. I think some people dont realize how important that is. If your closest friends dont at least mention your hard work  once in a while when they know you are busting your butt, then they may be jerks. I also go to the doctor once a month for a weigh in because for some odd reason I cannot let these complete strangers down! If I didnt lose a pound Eric may not care, but the doctor is going to be like " just havent lost anything have you?" I feel kinda judged, and I guess I require that abuse. Also their scale is like the end-all be all to weight loss. I started the journey there and I'll end it there because I know their scale is going to be right on. A friend of mine said that she would weigh every day and write down the weight and show it to her husband so he could help her keep track and motivate her. Sometimes losing one pound is just enough to help you make it through the day and realize what you are doing is actually working. I also keep a "fat pic" on my mirror that I look at every morning when I brush my teeth. I just dont want to be that girl anymore. I am also writing this blog as motivation, so I can look at it when I want to and have everyone else hold me accountable...its a story basically so it needs to have a good ending right? Which leads me to my next topic...

I woke up and said I wanted to change and then I headed to the doc ASAP. The way I began all of this was with Adipex that I was prescribed. I hate to admit that, but after its all said and done I realize that the drug really hasnt done alot for me like I thought it would. The first week I could tell a little bit of a difference. I didnt want to eat as much and I had a few episodes where I woke up in around 2:00 am and wouldnt go back to sleep. But then I began to realize that it wasnt doing that much for me on the second week. I still felt like I was starving and I swore up and down the pharmacy had given me placebos. I continued to take it faithfully for another week hoping something would change and it really didnt. So I began tapering off of it. I still have them so if I feel the need to take one I can, but as confirmed by my doctor at my last appointment, the weight I have lost isnt really from the Adipex, because it is uncommon to lose this much in one month. My weight loss is stemmed around me busting my ass for a month. So while drugs can help some people, ultimately if I dont keep up in other ways, I am just gonna gain it all back eventually as I cant be on Adipex forever.

Humans are total creatures of habit. I think about what my daily routine used to be...get up, eat, go to work, eat, go home, eat, work on my house a little, eat, hang out with my family, eat. Think about your often do you eat? It was a way of life for me and it wasnt because I was starving--obviously--but because I didnt want to break that habit. So if I had to point out the most difficult part of all of this it would be HABIT. They are hard to break. If you look on my facebook, you will see how I kept complaining about how hungry I was. I look back on that now and I am not sure if it was because I was really that hungry or just because I thought I was that hungry. I wanted to give up. Not to say that I wouldnt still punch someone in the face for  20 oz Mt. Dew, but it has just become less of a habit because I have taken that out of my daily habit for over a month now. And for those of you saying "I can't give up my Mt. Dew a day", then you dont really want to lose weight. At least you havent gotten to the point where I was at where I was willing to do anything...and still am.I still fell hungry sometimes, but instead of eating a bowl of leftover lasagna, I try to eat some veggies or an apple or banana, which usually curbs the cravings and is just enough to get me to my next meal.  Mostly I have replaced my old habits with new habits....when I get off work I got to the gym for 30 minutes, I drink unsweet tea instead of sweet tea and I drink a 7.5 Dr. Pepper in the morning instead of a 12 oz. If I get a drink of soda during the day, I take a "shot" (like a tablespoon or a small gulp) instead of drinking a whole glass. I take the stairs instead of the elevator when I can at work. I try to stay busy instead of sitting down. This is the longest I have sat down all day...typing this blog.

Me time.
When I told Eric that I was joining the gym he immediately asked if I was going to throw money away. Truthfully, I questioned that myself. So I joined a gym that didnt require a contract and didnt cost a ton of money I dont have every month. I also chose something close to my house so I can go when I want and that is 24-hour. I also have to drive right by it every day so it reminds me that I need to go, and if I dont go I feel incredibly guilty. It has HGTV right in front of me to help me not focus on the work I am doing and I get to watch 30-45 minutes of tv that I wouldnt get to watch at home (because our tv centers around Maddox and Eric). I get to listen to my playlist as LOUD as I want to. That helps.  So basically its "me time". I take Maddox sometimes because they have a dvd player and crayons there and she loves going, but I try to go on my own. Why do I go the gym and not stay at home? Who has money for that? Well I kept telling myself it was too expensive. But then I got to thinking about the money I spend on lunches and I came out cheaper on the gym. Also, I would tell myself I was going to walk or do Dance Revolution at home, but then when I got here I would find other things to do or Maddox would be right up my rear so I couldnt do anything. Trying to take her walking or riding a bike is so exhausting from her complaining that I never get any exercise out of it, just frustration. When I go to the gym, I go for one reason only and I stick to it.I was going 45 minutes a day and I realized that for me, it was overdoing it. Sometimes I can do that, but really I dedicate 30 minutes a day. I have stuff I need to do and I don't have time to spend my whole day there. So if I can do at least 30 minutes, I feel like I accomplished something. If I cant go to the gym for some reason, I make sure I do something at home, walk, wii, something. I just find it easier to go to a gym. And yes, I am the biggest person there so far, and yes I hate when the LHHS football team comes in and I feel out of place, but the more often I go, the less conscious I have become of it.

Put your mind to it....
I hate it when people tell me this. I put my mind to alot of stuff but I change my mind as often as the weather changes--actually more. So I chose to say mind over matter. I ask myself "is it worth it" all the time. Is it worth it to eat that candy bar knowing that is the biggest part of my calorie intake? Does it really matter that much to me? Used to I would say yeah who cares and I would tear that candy bar up...but now, I feel so much guilt its overwhelming and I just put it back. I have really changed my way of thinking. In fact, for the first couple of weeks I was so obsessed with my calorie intake, that I was hardly eating anything because I was afraid I would go overboard and gain a pound. Not the healthiest way of thinking  really. But being constantly conscious has helped. My in laws like to go out to eat once a week. Once a week "cheat meals" wont kill me ( though I still find it difficult to eat something with alot of fat--again guilt). I ate more in Branson this past month because it is harder to eat low calorie food on vacation. So I ate a little more than normal. But I made sure to steer clear of Golden Corral, which I literally drooled over when we drove by, because I knew it would be harder to control what I ate and keep track of my calorie intake.

The Diet.
One of the biggest challenges I have ran into was choosing the right diet path. There are so many. At first I was trying low calories, low fat, low carbs, etc....well good lord what was there left to eat?!? nothing! Water! I was STARVING. So I decided to go with calorie counting first and knew I could change my mind later if I wanted. I downloaded an app on my phone that I use faithfully. Since I am on my phone all the time anyway, it is the best way to keep track of what I am eating. Its called My Fitness Pal, and it is loaded with all different types of food. I enter everything I eat and drink. EVERYTHING. If I try to cheat the app I am only cheating myself because I am not sticking to my calorie goal that it sets for me. I am always under my calorie goal. The more exercise I do, the app adds those calories back to my goal calories for the day, so I have more calories to eat....does that make sense? So if I have a goal of 1300 calories (based on my height and weight), and I have eaten 300 calories, but then I run the treadmill and burn 200, then 1 have 1100 calories left for meals. Ill be posting some of the things I am actually eating later. Alot of people have asked me about that too. Its easier when you can see it in perspective to get an idea. I always eat a good breakfast because I end up burning off most of those calories during the day. Now I dont eat a breakfast buffet, but I dont worry so much about my calorie intake on that meal. FOr lunch and dinner, I eat alot of Turkey based meat instead of red meat, stay away from alot of sugar and starches, and eat wheat instead. Progresso light soups have saved me. If you want something quick SmartOnes are good dinners, but they can get expensive and sometimes there isnt enough to eat. I replaced 2% milk with 1% (didnt like skim), and I limit sodas since I am not a fan of diet drinks, though I have gotten more used to a few. Its more expensive than what I would like, but I have found stuff my family will eat too and that is helping get everyone healthy.
My doctor recently mentioned a diabetic diet, which is essentially "nothing white", no sugar, no starches, no milk, no ranch dressing, etc...which allows you to eat more meat, but limits your carb intake to like 60 grams. I havent tried that yet because I havent gotten desperate enough when I know my counting calories app is working as well as it has. But eventually I may want a change up. Its just picking what is best for me.

Whats frustrating.
I was excited to find out that I had lost 17 pounds in a month, but I was also devastated it wasnt more. Why? Because I have literally turned my life upside down trying to achieve this goal. I have stopped eating the things I love, stopped going out to eat like I loved to do, had to start exercising everyday and have learned how to say no to things that I felt like made my life worth living. But what makes a life worth living when you are miserable when you are not stuffing your face? I have worked my ass off and I only lost 17 pounds!?!? Well as it turns out, according to my doc, thats actually quite a bit. And yes, as you get older it is harder to get these pounds off. Used to I could go a day without food and lose 5 pounds. So being patient has been a new addition to my life as well. I am not entirely there yet, but I am learning.
For losing that amount of weight, you would think I have lost more inches than I have. To be honest with you I, along with other people that havent seen me in a month, cant tell that I have lost that much physically which is pretty disappointing. I dont know why this is happening, but I have been told that it will get better as I continue to lose. We will see. But yes, that in itself is almost enough to give this all up. Once my clothes start fitting better, I know I will go into overdrive with the motivation, but when is that going to happen?
The holidays isnt the best time to start a weight loss program, but then again when is? I either wanted to do it then or wait for that unexpected drive to pass me by. So I eat smaller portions of the food I normally eat at holiday functions, and I try to take a low calorie dish so that I can be ensured to have something I can eat alot more of. I have been eating a few homemade Christmas candies here and there, but they go into the app.
Fast food is THE WORST to try to manage. When I go through a drive through I find that almost everything puts me close if not over my calorie goal, so I have just avoided them all together. I will look up calories for a chain restaurant before I go so I know what I am getting into. I have no real solution for this. I just do my best to avoid it. And yes I miss burger king and pizza very very much. But I try to keep in mind, that if I can get to my final goal weight, I can eat this stuff again, but in moderation.
And yes, sometimes I am still starving, which is frustrating, and I want a giant frito chili pie, but I have to regroup. I have to pass on the rolls at Coltons, I have to eat 13 chips at salsas instead of the whole basket. This is a pretty tough obstacle but so far so good....

The biggest thing I have learned here is how to eat. I didnt know how to do that before. Even if I didnt count calories, I have learned that replacing things in your diet can make a world of difference. I dont plan to eat like this forever, but even after I reach my final goal (which is 150 by the way--and anything less than that is a bonus I will gladly accept), I am going to be conscious of what I am eating. I DO NOT want to get back to where I was. Even now, only losing--well at this point 19 pounds--I am still refusing to go back to my starting weight. This is what I say, but who knows, I may hit a spot and give up completely. I hope not. It happens all the time to people who lose weight. Thats one reason I want to maintain this blog though, so that I can keep myself accountable for the journey I have started. So I can not forget the reasons, the struggles and the goals I have set to make my life better and lead me to be a better, less bitchy, person for myself and my friends and family. Also so that other people struggling can hopefully identify and find their motivation, and so that others that are losing weight can share their stories and help me out as well as others.

I hope this has helped so far. Ive tried to cover every angle to at least inspire one person. Remember, I have started off losing weight but I still have a long way left to go. That in perspective, if I lost the same amount of weight every month, I would reach my goal in about 4 months or so, which helps the thought process. I am still a big girl. Im not ever going to be a little girl, and really I dont want to be. I like having curves, just not so many. I have a reward set for when I obtain my final goal, which makes it that more easy to want to get there. I really hope I can do it. I like how I have a tiny bit more confidence than I had a month ago. I like that I wake up every day knowing I have a plan. I like that Eric is so proud of me for trying my hardest, because regardless of what he thinks, it is important to me. I like that I, for the first time in a long time, have started something that I am determined to finish.

Keep a lookout for more updates, and for anyone interested, I will be posting my daily food's this week to gt you started...:

My goal is 1330 calories a day

Breakfast: 2 egg cheese omelet : 144 (calories)
7.5 oz dr. pepper: 90
turkey bacon, 3 slices: 75

light chicken dumpling progresso soup: 160
Swiss cheese - 1 slice : 80

quick add calories of 200 (so it was something homemade that wasnt in the app)

TOTAL: 749 ( I should have eaten more)
Burned: 200 calories from cardio, so 549 calories (I REALLY should have eaten more)

TUESDAY 12/11/12

Honey nut cheerios: 3/4 cp. 110
1% milk, 1/3 cp 28

 Baked lays 1 package: 130
horseradish (on my sandwich): 7
Turkey with swiss on rye with tomatos: 314

Fettucine alfredo with chicken 2 tbsp- 95
fat free italian dressing- 5
dinner house salad- 150
grilled chicken breast- 38

Snack- chocolate covered pretzel stick (homemade): 80

Elliptical 15 minutes: 99 burned
treadmill 20 minutes: 168 burned

TOTAL: 690...could have eaten 640 more....not eating enough

WEDNESDAY 12/12/12

2 egg cheese omelet: 144
sausage patty: 100
8 oz dr. pepper: 90

Cheerios with 1% milk: 145

turkey jalapeno hot dog with turkey chili on wheat bun: 250

100 calorie mini brownie: 100

Elliptical: 12 minutes: 45
Treadmill 20 minutes: 170

TOTAL: 614...had 716 left over (not eating enough)

So, I am really not eating enough calories. I could probably lose more if I could convince myself to eat more. If you dont net enough calories your body can go into starvation mode and store more fat. I am trying to work on this, but much like money, I am frugal with calories. :( Its a work in process, but you get the idea. My Fitness Pal Online

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Dating Game...Less Devastation, More Motivation

I had promised a while back that I had a premonition for a blog, here it is......

The past couple of months I have had a few friends with guy problems. I have been blessed enough to have been able to be there for them and talk them through their confusion, heartbreak and concerns. Even though each of them are in a different situation with different "guy problems" I find that there are so many similarities in each case. Now I am in no way an expert on relationships, but I find myself comparing their problems to some that I have had in the past when I was dating, I guess that is why they calling it learning from your mistakes. Of course I am still making them and definitely still learning.  ;-) Really who isnt? And I am not sure why my friends come to me. Maybe it is because I am the only one who isnt single or maybe because I am always good to throw my opinion out there whether its a worthy one or not. Either way, I have been able to listen and evaluate a handful of issues that they have recently experienced with a guy.

Every conversation, regardless of the situation, has been about how their guys have screwed up some way or another. Let me clarify that these guys are not being labeled "screw ups" and they are not the only ones who have created a problem in  these relationships, and I think all of my friends would agree to this. After all it takes two to create a relationship and in most cases two to mess it up. For every cause there is an effect and sometimes that effect isnt a positive one. I have thought alot about each scenario, and I have seen the frustration and heartbreak my friends have been through. They all have alot of questions and unfortunately though I try to give them good advice or help them see the situation in a different light, the only true answers to most of the questions they have are the ones that only their guy can give them. This got me to thinking about something else and I began to wonder maybe these guys could eliminate alot of the issues that are at hand if they knew what women really want to know. Maybe they dont know that a simple answer or resolution can mean so much to us. Well....maybe I should just give you some examples....If you are a guy--married or not--listen up...this could help you!

I base alot of this on past situations that have happened to me. Its easier for me to tell those stories because I personally know all the details. I could go on into an essay on this, but for easier reference and comedic relief as well as to protect the innocent , we will just list them in  a sectional type format :)

What women think when this happens: "What is wrong with me?What did I do wrong?"

Oh my. This is the worst possible thing that I think a guy could ever do to a girl. This would be "falling off the face of the earth". So maybe you aren't into her or maybe you have found someone better. Instead of telling her outright (either because you think that she will figure it out alone or by word of mouth, or by just being too coward to confront the situation) you just try to make yourself disappear. You dont call her anymore, you dont text her to let her know whats up and you avoid her at all costs. This is very damaging to a womans ego and if you really ever cared about this person, you would let her know what's up--even if it is something she doesn't want to hear. In my mind I think guys just feel like crap for having to tell the truth and are afraid of dealing with the repercussions of how she may react. That doesnt have to just apply to dating either, it can apply to any situation--work, family, friendships, etc.

First- hand example:
I dated a guy once in college after I got out of a long term relationship with my high school sweetheart. I was nervous about the situation to begin with because I had never dated a guy I didn't already known through friends or family--remember I came from a tiny school. This guy was great! He was smart, funny, handsome and we had a great time together. We went on a few dates and talked for a few weeks. It was almost too good to be true and turned out it was. One day, i called him like usual and he didnt return my call. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions so I sent him an email (this was before texting), but didnt hear back from him. Finally, to ease my mind I put a note on his truck one day that said I hoped everything was ok and call me when he got a chance. Never heard from this guys again. I was crushed. Not because he obviously didnt like me, but because I had no idea what I had done wrong--why he didnt call me and tell me it wasnt working out. I saw him on campus a couple of times after that but I never talked to him because I was afraid to. What had I done? Was I too pushy? Did he decide I wasnt pretty enough? Did I have a booger the last time he saw me? What?!?

All these years I never stopped wondering what I did wrong. As a result I was awkward in any other relationship I tried to have. I always had my guard up. I lost alot of confidence and my ego took a huge hit. All over this guy who I really didnt have any kind of relationship with aside from a few chats and a milkshake at Malone's. A few years ago I found him on facebook and added him just to see if he remembered who I was. He did. One night he sent me a message asking how I was doing and after catching up over the last few years I finally got the nerve to ask him why he never called me back all those years ago. What had I done? He told me there was nothing at all that I had done--that it was he who had the problem. It would turn out that he actually liked me alot and had just gotten out of a long term relationship and he didnt want to be in another one since he was just starting college. He knew that could possibly happen if continued to see me. He told me he was too scared to tell me and he felt awful for it and he regretted doing that. In fact, he wanted to ask me out again later but was ashamed to ask and was afraid I hated him. He apologized and I told him what it did to me, which made him apologize even more. He is married now with a beautiful daughter and is doing great. It all worked out like it was supposed to. And now I can put that question I had to rest....after nearly a decade. Bottom line is, had he just told me that to begin with, I may have been disappointed, but I could have moved on with my life knowing that it wasnt my fault that it didnt work out. Even if it were, I at least would not have had to deal with the unknown which is way worse than knowing the truth.

What women think when this happens: "What a lying bastard. He has probably lied since day 1."

 I cant speak for all women on this, but when I suspect someone is lying to me, I  C.S.I. the situation until I find out the truth. Yes, sometimes I come out looking like an idiot, but to me its worth that hit to put my inquiring mind at ease. Now I am not talking about lying about changing the litter box or saying you returned the Redbox movie when its still in your passenger seat. Those lies are annoying but not threatening to a relationship. I am talking about when you have clearly decided 100% without a doubt this is not the relationship for you, but instead of letting her know you continue to lie because you are too afraid to tell the truth--either to spare her feelings or to save face. In some cases you find someone else and don't tell her, but continue to lie when she asks you if you are seeing someone else. Most women have a way of finding out, so if you think you are doing it to save face, think again. It will be a way worse outcome for you in the end of she presents hard core evidence.  As far as sparing her feelings, it hurts worse to know you are lying. There is a trust lost that is so hard to regain if you decide to work on the relationship. Personally I would rather someone tell me that they have moved on instead of saying they havent and giving me the false hope that things might be able to be repaired. No doubt it will hurt, but the truth always trumps a lie. And yes I have learned this from experience. I have been on both sides of the fence and there were bridges burned that even a decent friendship couldnt come out of. The sad thing about finding out someone is a liar is that no matter how long you have known them or what you have been through together, you always wonder if everything they ever told you is a lie. You doubt who they are as a person and realize you may not have ever known them at all.

I have a friend who caught her man first hand with another woman. She was devastated--of course-- but when she confronted him on the whys about it, he continued to swear to her that he was not seeing anyone. Really?!?! Come on! She saw you together!!! After that, every other thing he said contradicted itself and he in turn looked like the worlds biggest liar.

What women think when this happens: "Why did he waste my time? or What's wrong with me?"

Sometimes things happen and most women are usually understanding to that. Sometimes, however, you have a guy who sets up a date and then you dont hear from them again or they "had something come up".  Sometimes they call the next day with an excuse and at that point the girl doesnt even care what they have to say. Unless there is a death--more specifically your own-- or an extreme emergency, there is no reason with all the technology available today why you cant let your date know that you are not going to be able to make it. Is it disappointing to the date? probably, but it is better than standing her up all together. I dont think alot of men understand what a woman goes through for a date. Sometimes, when they know it is going to be a big occasion, they plan every detail--buying a special outfit, deciding what make-up to wear, what perfume smells the best, etc..They want everything to be just right. And then they anticipate the date only to be let down. Not only have they probably been out more money than you would have spent on her that night, but now she feels like crap. In a case like this, if something comes up send a text telling them you are sorry but you wont be able to make it. you might get a second chance. If it looks like something might come if you might have to go to work because someone called in sick...give her a heads up and let her know. In the end she wont be sitting there waiting for a guy that is not going to show.

A friend of mine had looked forward to a group date with a guy she had been seeing off and on for a while who lived out of town. It was planned a month in advance so a group of her friends could make it and she and this guy had talked about it several times over the month. She spared no expense to make sure that she had every detail just right--even down to how she would style her hair. She wanted everything to be flawless so she could make a great impression. When it came down to the day she didnt hear from him at all. She sent him a text and confirmed the times and meeting place and still no answer. Ultimately she ended up watching the door all night for a date that would never show. Of course Im sure she felt completely stupid, and the next day, as she half-expected, he sent her a message with an excuse why he didnt contact her to let her know he wouldnt be there. Something came up, he was busy, yada yada. The thing is, one text saying "I may not be able to make it, it's been a crazy day" could have saved her a lot of heart break and frustration. If he would have showed it would have been a great surprise and and if not, then at least she had a heads up and he would have had a second chance at another date in the future.

Another friend had looked forward to a double date for a while and actually showed up at the guys house to get him and he wouldnt even answer the door, had the lights turned off and later claimed he had fallen asleep.  Yes, I know this can happen, but women cant help but wonder--if we had 50 yard line front row tickets to a football game he wanted to see, would he have made sure he would have been awake then? My guess is yes.

What women think: "What a jerk."
Do not act as if you are interested in someone and then post pictures of you on Facebook with another woman or post on your status that you have found the love of your life without telling the other girl you have been seeing first. Especially if any of her friends are linked to your face book. You are setting yourself up for disaster and it is completely tacky. Just tell her that you have been dating someone that you feel like you have a real connection with. is it going to take balls on your part? Yes. But is it going to keep you from getting in trouble with the new "love of your life"? Yes. Remember that even though a girl you like may be hurt over the truth, the lie will always hurt her more and may end up hurting you worse.

It happened just like that for a friend of mine and it won't be happening again.

What women think: "Why won't he just tell me to go on so I can live my life?"

Sometimes women need help moving on when a relationship is over. In the back of our minds, we keep  that hope that maybe you will come back, or that we can change.  In some cases a guy will"string-along" a girl just in case he changes his mind. Not only is that completely unfair but you just dont do it to someone you respect and care about. Being up front and honest with her is the best thing you can do. Severing the tie completely (for those that don't have kids or property tied up in the mess) is even better. It hurts worse but it heals faster. Then both of you can move on.

There are so many more things I could add to this list, but I just don't have that kind of time. Though these are directed towards men (because again it is based off the experiences of my female friends), they can also be used to guide women. Again, in no way am I a relationship advice expert. Its not easy managing my own relationship and there are alot of new issues that I come across all the time that I have to get advice for from my friends. No one is perfect, but trying to see behind of the eyes of another or walking in their shoes can help make a difference in how you treat someone else. Its not always the easiest path, but often times it is the right path to take. In the end it is about respect and being a better person, no matter if you have been with someone for ten years or ten days.

Thanks for reading and to my friends....I love you all and remember there is someone out there that is perfect for you. Never settle for less than what you deserve :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Muse of Music

As some of you may know, I have started singing again. Its something that I lost and let go of for a long time. There's reasonings behind that but of course that will be for a later blog. For now, though I find myself not to be a deeply religious person, I do believe in God, and feel like he sent me a sign. That sign allowed me to reconnect with a passion that once made me feel like a valuable person, or at least gave me an outlet to set my soul free. That outlet being music.

One of the challenges I have faced is trying to put emotion into a song that was written and I have been honored to sing. Of course learning a song from scratch is no easy task. The writer has their idea of how it should be sung, and the singer may not always acheive that goal. This song in particular, however, was written to pull at one's heartstrings. Like a Martina McBride song, it was made to reach out and grab a particular audience. This is where my inner drama queen is hard to control. There is a such thing as overdoing it. So in practice for my role for this slow country tear-jearking melody, I began to think about songs that have touched my life.

Think about songs that mean something to you. There are certain songs that take me back to senior year, sitting in the bank parking lot on a Friday night. The ones that remind me of a Thursday night at the frat house. That special song I would lay in bed and listen to over and over again when I was 14 because it reminded me of a guy I had a crush on. Its amazing how music can overload our senses. How everytime I hear a song from a certain band I think of a certain person and I my heart aches from memories. How when I hear George Jones I immediately think of Papaw. But then how many songs a day do I listen to that I have no emotional connection at all to and its simply a good song with a great beat or fun words to sing along to.

Well as I have gotten older, my meaning in songs have changed. Some songs I look at differently all together. As I tried to think of a song that could make me emotional and had fulfilling meaning to me that could match what my song writer wanted in the song he had written, two came to me. "The House that Built Me" by Miranda Lambert and "Flies on the Butter" by Wynonna Judd. Now, If you know me, you know I am not huge on country music. I would choose Tool over Miranda Lambert any day.  You  might also know that the beat of a song will grab me before the lyrics will. But these two songs make me long and miss for something that I realize is gone forever, just a memory and I will never get back.

Both of these songs are so similar in their nature, but differ in meaning to me.
Now I know alot of you are familiar with Miranda's song, but for those who aren't, here are the lyrics.

I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine
Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
I bet you didn’t know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Gardens magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me
I cant help but think about the house I grew up in. Where my friends and I had sleepovers. When times were simple and Pam was still alive. When the biggest worries I had were what I was going to wear to school the next day and what I was going to do that weekend. When I had a job that paid $4.75 an hour plus tips and always had enough money because I had nothing to pay for except my car (which was dirt cheap) and my gas. A time when the stress was low and the days were easy. I remember dad telling me to embrace those times because one day I will wish I had them back. As he is most of the time, he was right. I feel a brokenness inside me now and for a long time I have been looking for a way to heal it. I have let it get the best of me. Sometimes just going back to my roots, back to Billstown, makes me feel whole again. I feel the constant pounding of reality slip away for a moment and I am free.

No matter how many times I have tried to sing this song, I cannot get through the chorus without breaking down. I feel like an idiot. It is, after all just a song. My goal is to record it one day without a single tremble heard in my voice. But how long will that take? When I am finally at a place in my life where the song is just a song that brings back sweet memories? Or when I finally don't have that brokenness inside of me?

The second song has the wierdest name. "Flies on the Butter" was never a huge hit, but when I was performing at Music Mountain Jamboree, my mom made me listen to it. When she told me the title of the song I was immediately skeptical (because by nature thats how I am). After I listened to it however, I ate my skepticism.

Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter
A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter
Mamaw baking sugar cookies, we were watching cartoons
Heard her holler from the kitchen which one of you youngin's wants to lick the spoon?
Yellow jackets on the watermelon, honeysuckle in the air
Daddy turning on the sprinkler, us kids running through it in our underwear
Old dog napping on the front porch, his ear just a-twitching
Fell asleep on Granddaddy's lap to the sound of his pocket watch ticking
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
You can dream about it every now and then
But you can't go home again
Me and my best friend Jenny set up a back yard camp
Stole one of Mama's Mason jars, poked holes in the lid and made a fire fly lamp
Me and Billy Monroe sneaking down by the river
And I'm still haunted by the taste kiss I was too scared to give him
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
You can dream about it every now and then
But you can't go home again
There's a black-top road, a faded yellow centerline
It can take you back to the place, but it can't take you back in time
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
You can dream about it every now and then
But you can't go home again
Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter
A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter
This reminds me of a whole different era. When my mom grew up. When I was very young. Visiting my Nannys house and how we grandkids were always there running in and out and finding new adventures in her yard. It reminds me of a simple time. It makes me sad to think that Maddox is growing up in a world where getting to watch cartoons was a big deal and a rare opportunity. Now every channel has something on. Hell for that matter the tv is always on. Its on right now behind me and I am not even watching the damn thing. Why? She is growing up in a school where each child uses Ipads on a daily basis. I am not knocking technology. If it wasnt for advancements, I wouldnt be writing this blog. But she is going to miss out on alot of the simple things that made the most precious memories I will ever have. Riding bikes with Nanny and Papaw to the creek or looking at all the flowers in Nannahs yard--things that didnt cost a dime but meant the world to me.
It also reminds me of my loss of youth and how much I took it for granted. "You can dream about it every now and then, but you can't go home again." The fact that I will never get the opportunity to ride bikes with my Papaw again or listen to Merl Haggard on his 45's with him while Nanny makes something good in the kitchen.  That no matter what I do, even if I moved right back to Billstown and lived in the old house I grew up in, things still wouldnt be the same. Right now, at this moment, and at most moments, its the saddest thing I can wrap my head around. I think because those were the last memories I have of being that incredibly happy. There's no way to get that kind of happiness back. Its all simply a memory.
When I went back to the studio, I was able to do a little better with the song, but I still wasnt able to get that connection I needed to make it spectacular. Maybe it's just not in me to sing that type of ballad. I have always been better at singing the blues. I think because there is alot of anger and sadness that I have kept built up and can pour it out through music. Well, and because you dont have to hide being a drama queen in a blues song. ;) I know that practice makes perfect or at least something close. So while I continue to practice music I'll continue to work on who I am as a person.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Before it goes down the drain

Its amazing how we can look back on life and wonder where the time went. Im only 30 and I do that often. I can only imagine what it will be like when I am 50...60....But its not just the time that I look back on, its the things that I have done with my life. I look at the younger generation, those graduating highschool fixing to begin "real life" and think about the things that I would have done differently if I were able to do it all over again. If only I knew then what I know now. If only I were able to go back to that point in my life.

Highschool was such an awesome turning point in my life. I really think it would have been differently had I not graduated with a class of 24, most of whom I had known my entire life. It wasnt like I was leaving a school behind, it was like I was leaving my family. We all branched out to new ventures. Some of us traveled far and others stayed behind in the small town that was always called home. I remember nearing towards graduation and wondering what I was going to do with my life. I knew I would go to college. To me, that was never an option. But I had set my goals high and had envisioned living in Dallas in a condo, traveling the world designing clothes and working with the best fashion designers in the industry. When I went to apply to the Art Institute of Dallas, reality set in that my dream may not come true. I simply couldnt afford it. No amount of loans or pell grants could make it possible for me to attend, so I decided to go to a local university instead and take classes in fashion merchandising because it was as close as I was going to get. After all my boyfriend was there and my family. I could catch up on my dream later, when I had more money and more time.

What I didnt know was that there would never be more money, because as a college student you are always struggling to make ends meet. Certainly there wouldnt be more time. Time is the most valuable thing we have. With every breath we take we are spending time that we cant get back. In the blink of an eye our lives can change forever. We fall asleep, we wake up and then one day look in the mirror and see a much older reflection. No matter how much plastic surgery you get, what car you buy or what clothes you wear, you cannot buy back your youth for any amount. That time is gone.

I look at where I am today, and to be honest, I am disappointed in myself. Being an overachiever and a goalsetter was what kept me fueled. I got distracted, lost sight of the future that I had spent my whole life looking forward to, and now I am exactly where I didnt want to be. To redeem myself, I want to point out that I adore my daughter and she has saved my life, literally, more than she will ever know. I adore my Eric, because he has shown me that there are men out there like my father who are genuine and appreciate and would do anything for the woman that they feel are the other half of their soul. I love my family, and I thank God for them, but there will always be a part of me that is empty and longing to acheive that goal that I always wanted. Im sure I am not the first person to think this. Life never really goes like we plan it, does it?

I think about what I would do, what I would say to myself 13 years ago. I would tell myself that I need to heed to the advice of those who have already lived that part of their life. They arent just nosey old know-it-alls. They are people that have had their experiences and want to give you the gift of knowledge and understanding that you can in fact live your life differently. So you can learn from their mistakes. I wouldnt worry so much about the pressures of having to pick a job and a major or minor in college or what I am going to do with the rest of my life. That will come in time. I would tell myself to pay attention to the things I want to AVOID instead. Its hard to come up with a life plan as soon as you are released into the world, but its damn easy to decide what things, people and plans you dont want in your life, so you know how to avoid them. If you let those in, you are sure for a doomed future or at least one that will stand in the way of the person you wish to become. I remember starting out on a track and then just graduating with any degree that would help me get out of college. I look back and think, what was the rush? Now I have a degree I cant seem to use and really dont care anything about. Im still paying for it, but I am not using it. What a waste of time and money. What alot of regret that I hold in my heart every day. Its stupid I know, but I feel like that part of me is lost. In fact I cant even remember much about that girl anymore. Now I just wake up hoping I can make it through the day.

Im writing this because I want the younger generations to look at this awesome new opportunity you have with fresh eyes. You think college is a breeze? Guess what, its not. Think you are gonna stay a size 5 forever? Guess what, you wont. Think you wont have that moment where you sit down and cry and think the world is crumbling all around you? Guess what, you will. Its inevitable that you will change. Everything changes. Like I said before, with every breath life changes. Take hold of a clean slate and set your sights on what you do and what you dont want in your future so you will have no regrets. Life will throw you curveballs, obstacles and challenges, but be prepared to face them head on. Dont let them determine who you are or what you want out of life. Be able to look back in 13 years and say "I did exactly what I wanted, or close enough". 

My favorite quote is from Ferris Buellers Day Off "Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it". Words could never be more true. Whether we are young or old, or stuck in between, make every day count how you want it to count before it all goes down the drain. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What we forget about under the rim..

I have developed a list of small goals. Every day I try to accomplish at least one goal. This is what has helped keep my mind busy and positive over the past couple of weeks.
Now when we think of goals, alot of times we think about things like getting a new job, cleaning out the garage or getting a new car. The problem is, those goals are harder to reach, and though they might be attainable, its going to take longer to get there, and cause more frustration and feelings of failure in the process. As a society we keep our eye on the prize, reach for larger acheivement and aim high because thats what we have been taught to do. Thats how we get ahead in life.  That is what I have been doing the past few years and that is what has driven me to feel the power of defeat. I feel like a lesser of a person because I want to sell my house and havent been able to do it in a year. I am not fulfilled with my job, and I can't seem to get out of it because there seems to be no where left to go. I feel doomed to stay where I am because anytime another opportunity arises, there is an obstacle that keeps me from acheiving that goal that I want so badly. As a matter of fact, i have had yet another let down just this morning on something I have been keeping my fingers crossed for.

Well what I have decided in my time off is how to rethink things, and re-evaluate my goals. Where I used to set my goals higher, Ive now set them lower. That normally would sound like a bad thing, but guess what? I have acheived three goals this week, where I havent been able to acheive one goal in several months. I have to say, it feels good to know I got it done. I feel like I am worth something.
One of my biggest small goals was cleaning out and reorganizing our closet. How many of us clean our house routinely--do dishes, sweep floors, etc.--but overlook things like our closet? I was able to go in and color coordinate all of my clothes, which told me that I wear entirely too much black. Maybe I could use a little more color in my wardrobe. I figured out half the shoes that have plagued me by falling off the shelf when I am looking for the right pair, needed to be thrown out anyway because I never wear them. I found a package of letters from college from Pam, Nanny, Kristie, and other people that influenced my past. i found my birth certificate and passport. I found some perfume I had been looking for for months. I discovered money in old purses. I found three gifts I had put back for my brother for his birthday in January. After the deep cleaning was complete, not only did it look better in my closet and did I get rid of a bunch of stuff, but I found precious treasures and I fet accomplished. I had reached my goal.
Because my blog deals with the "throne", I would like to point out that just because you cant see under the rim, it doesnt mean that it doesnt need attention when you are cleaning. Thats what our closets and pantries are like. They are hidden and of course, out of sight out of mind. Its also a job that most people want to ignore, but who knows what you will find when you face it head on.
The real purpose of this blog is not to tell everyone to go out and clean every nook and cranny forgotten in your bedroom, but that its ok to set small goals and work on those while you are waiting on the results of the big goals. It helps keep up your morale and hope. It reminds us that we are able to feel accomplished. Ive let morale get so low that I have given up on alot in life because nothing good seems to happen our way and hasnt for a while. I dont think cleaning my closet is going to change my disappointment in not being able to sell my house, but it will build me up until finally that day comes. It will remind me that I have a purpose. One goal was going to eat lunch with my daughter Tuesday, and her face when she saw me at school was well worth it. That made me feel a greatness I havent been able to feel for a long time.
Well, I could continue barking on but I do have a list of things to try to work on. We always hear the phrases "one step at a time" or "you cant build rome in a day". Maybe thats true, but I have learned and am still learning that its the little projects that make it all worthwhile until you reach your ultimate goal.