My Progress!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Looking Forward

I’ve recently been trying to get my blogging mojo back.  There’s a book in me somewhere.  I have a vague idea about what direction it might take, but the actual story?  I’m waiting for that.  I am obviously not having a problem with writer’s block…that isn’t why it hasn’t taken on a life of its own just yet.  I just feel strongly that I’m not quite where I need to be to write the Story that is simmering at the edge of my self consciousness. 

I’ve thought about the form it might take.  Would it address my weight loss journey, my spiritual or emotional journey, my ability to deal with difficulties using humor, my adventures as a mother raising a son with multiple special needs?  Would it be about my successes, my failures and what I’ve learned from both?  Maybe it will be about the complexities I faced in my marriage and my sometimes patient, oftentimes not so patient search for the individual I know God has placed in my future to be discovered in His time and according to His plan for my life?

A good friend of mine read yesterday’s post at my request.  I asked him to because I value his insight and honesty and something was urging me to request his guidance…the mirror he holds up for me when I need it regardless of whether I want to look or not.  Here was his take:

Hey Lady…That is your journey!  Ain’t nothing wrong with autobiography!!!  Let me challenge you from a different perspective.
In the Bible, Lot’s wife was gripped by the past and died looking back…
Israel remained in the wilderness wandering for 40 years grumbling and complaining against God’s leadership…Him taking them a way and to a place they had never been before…Joshua 3.  They were fixed on what they had in Egypt…The onions and leeks and garlic!  Now they were in a position where they had to believe God for provision and direction!  He led them with a clod by day and fire by night.  Not rational right???  Would work our nerves, but he revealed himself according to their experiences…That’s how we got all these different names for God…Adonai, Elohim, Jehovah, Jireh, etc.
I sais ALLLL that to say this:
Consider writing about the uncharted, obscure and unpredictable future!!!  Frame your future with your words and scripture!!!  Thank God for the past!!!  It’s made you who you are.  However, study and application of the scripture, meditation and confession will make you who you are yet to become!
Try it…Much more difficult to write along these lines.  Will conjure emotions, but I guarantee, you will find it liberating and will liberate others in the obscurity called our future!!!

Did he lay the spiritual smackdown on me or what?  I’m still processing his words, studying these stories and trying to wrap my brain around what my writing will look like when I challenge myself to do as he’s advised.

Something tells me whatever I have in me to write about won’t be about any ONE thing.  It won’t be reflective entirely because while it is important to understand one’s past in order to craft a future without repeating old patterns, old mistakes…I know that as long as I’m looking over my shoulder, I can’t focus on what’s ahead of me…what God has in store for me. 

I read in another blog yesterday someone who pointed out the fact that there is good reason our vehicles have a huge front window and a small rear-view mirror…because what is ahead of us is so much more important than what lies behind.  God is definitely sending me a message lol.

Here’s to looking ahead with excitement, joy and anticipation solid in the knowledge that He can dream bigger and imagine a future that will blow away anything I might dream or imagine for myself.

 I probably won't be ending all my posts with a scriptural reference, but this seems appropriate.  It has kind of become my own personal mantra in recent years and continues to comfort me, give me hope and direct my steps forward when the way looks unclear:

 Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Every Morning's Sunrise...

As a prelude to today's post, I share the following video with you:

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks.  Like anyone, I have good days and bad.  In my old age, I’ve gotten better at finding perspective and coping with the bad, but I won’t lie…I’ve had some difficulty bouncing back recently.  I went to bed last night dreading the storms forecasted for this weekend because I knew it wasn’t going to help my mood.  This morning, I woke up to a room that was darker than it should be and blaming the clouds I assumed were the culprit, I grumpily made my way to my patio for my daily prayer-time.  I opened to door to a beautiful sunrise amidst some rather ominous clouds and smiled at finding some beauty at the beginning of my day.

In the last 4 years, I’ve often been accused of seeing the world through rose colored glasses.  I’ve been called a “Pollyanna” by some. Friends often chastise me for being a “doormat” because I often give people the benefit of the doubt way beyond what they deserve; I’m often told that I need to handle particular situations in my life with a “firm hand” and take more opportunities to “give people a piece of my mind.” 

Some see this aspect of my personality as a weakness; a character flaw to be dealt with and remedied.  I used to feel the same way.  In younger years, I learned a lot of hard lessons because of my rose colored glasses; that people will take advantage of you…that life will often disappoint you…that sometimes people will never rise to the potential you see in them no matter what you do or how supportive you might be.

In my 20’s I was much thinner than I am now.  I worked out like a fiend so I was very fit, but never petite.  I look at pictures of myself then and see a beautiful girl, but I remember what it was like to look in a mirror back then.  I didn’t see that girl looking back at me.  I noticed her flaws…that her face was chubby, that her eyes squinted if she smiled too big (due to healthy cheeks ;), that her thighs were dimpled, her hair a crazy mess of curls, her boobs were ridiculously oversized, her butt flat as a pancake, her tummy never quite flat enough…you name it.  I couldn’t take a compliment and assumed anyone who complimented me had ulterior motives for doing so.  Even worse, I would often discount their compliment with some negative statement “Thanks, but my hair has a mind of its own today” or “Thanks, but I’ve actually gained 5 pounds this month.”

I know now, my inability to see an accurate reflection in the mirror had nothing to do with what I was *seeing*, but with what I was *feeling*.  That young girl felt ugly inside and out.  She felt unworthy of praise because if they knew what she looked like on the inside, they wouldn’t have offered that compliment so easily. 

Over the years, I continued to experience a life that was anything but easy.  I put my rose-colored glasses away and began to believe that inner voice that reminded me of my flaws on a daily basis.  I “toughened up,” let a lot of things get to me, held on to offenses, found it more and more difficult to forgive and forget.  Nobody was going to use me as a door mat anymore or take me for granted.  I thought I was a stronger individual for these changes.  Despite this assumption, I grew increasingly unhappy and bitter with life in general and my body became a visual representation of what was going on inside it.  I wish I had the courage to post one of my “before” pictures.  Who knows, by the end of this, I might find the courage.  If I do, I think anyone would be able to see the sadness in my eyes, the utter hopelessness I felt at that time.

Fast forward to now…yes, I’ve lost over 200 lbs, but I’m still not as thin as that pretty young girl in her 20’s.  However, in the past 5 years, I’ve come to terms with a lot of what was going through that young girl’s mind; come to terms with a lot of what made her feel so thoroughly unhappy with the reflection in the mirror.  As I shed each pound, I discovered parts of myself that legitimately needed some work.  Some of my discovery was that other parts were fine just the way they were no matter how someone else might define them and I learned to embrace those aspects of myself; nurture them and watch them blossom.  About a year ago, I was taking stock of my life and posted this on my blog:

“In the last two years I’ve gone from wearing 8x tshirts to squeezing into 18-20’s. I’ve gone from carrying a chair with me when I go shopping to canoeing down a river with my son and planning a trip to Fiesta Texas where I plan to ride every ride with him. I’ve made a ton of new friends, dated my heart out (almost literally) and learned that ultimately, the most valuable opinion of my self-worth is what I define guided by my creator.”

In short, even though that girl in my 20’s was probably prettier, thinner, more fit, had fewer wrinkles, etc. I realized writing the post referenced above that I wouldn’t trade the Michelle I am today for the Michelle I was in my 20’s no matter how much better she might have looked on the outside.  The Michelle I am today is leaps and bounds happier than the Michelle I was in my 20’s DESPITE having challenges the younger Michelle never dreamed would present themselves in her future. 

I attribute this perspective shift largely to my renewed relationship with God.  Luckily, I began to rebuild that relationship around the time I started to take a good hard look at myself.  I say “Luckily” because he’s helping me find a balance.  He encouraged me to get those rose-colored glasses out of the drawer and showed me that they were a gift from Him.  They allow me to find joy and beauty in each day no matter what the day might bring; and trust me…he knew I was going to have some days when it was going to be very difficult to find the joy.  He reminded me that it isn’t weakness to find the saint within the sinner or expect more out of individuals than they might currently demonstrate they are capable of, because they can often surprise us…we can often surprise ourselves. 

In the best interest of balance, I’ve also learned to rely on him to help discern the reality of the situation from how I might wish to see things.  While there is value in finding the silver lining, we can also hinder growth when we refuse to see the truth of a situation or circumstance.  There can be valuable lessons to learn when faced with challenging circumstances or trials. 

He’s taught me that there is forgiveness when I, or those around me, fall short of His vision for us as long as we don’t mind his gentle and sometimes not so gentle nudges when we get off the path he’s laid before us.  Finally,  He’s taught me to accept and embrace the person I am, the person He created me to be…to see myself as He sees me and ultimately define my worth based on His vision and not on my sometimes flawed vision or the flawed vision of those around me.

While we may begin this journey with an exterior that reflects our insecurities, each pound gained often represented by some negative emotion or circumstance we experienced, hopefully each pound lost will help us uncover the person, inside and out, we were meant to be.  Most of us know, it isn’t easy.  Not just to lose the weight, but to come to terms with how we got there in the first place.

Today I’m grateful for my rose-colored glasses and the true happiness I feel even when the forecast predicts thunderstorms because I know there is a beautiful sunrise in my future.  Today I choose to remember the promise of the sunrise and be thankful for the cleansing nature of the rain to come.

This is the sunrise from my patio this morning:

Psalm 139: 13-14

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

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A New Blog, A New Chapter

I will explain more, but I have a friend waiting on going for a walk with me. For now, I'm posting two that was posted on a blog over on my myfitnesspal account yesterday and one that i will be posting today. I'm hoping this will be the first of many as I hit the "home stretch." I've missed you guys...

I’ve been blogging for several years as I worked my way through the difficulties of trying to shed weight the old fashioned way…diet and exercise. I had several health problems that made this difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I got to my top weight because I had horrible eating habits, used food to cope with a variety of emotions and stress, and led a very sedentary life. The health problems (PCOS and chiari malformation) facilitated weight gain because they made it difficult to exercise without causing symptoms and contributed to a ravenous appetite. Throw in a few personal tragedies and it just made for the perfect storm in terms of weight gain.

My old blog chronicled approximately a three year period where I discussed and explored how I arrived in super super obese territory, how it affected my life and how difficult it was to claw my way back to the land of the living. I finally made the decision to go ahead with bariatric surgery June 30th, 2010 when it became obvious that I just wasn’t going to be able to do it the “old fashioned way;” I was too beat down, overwhelmed, call it what you like…but I just couldn’t sustain the motivation necessary to achieve the kind of momentum I needed to tackle a 300 lb weight loss.

 I don’t regret my decision for a second. Since my surgery (gastric sleeve), I’ve managed to lose two thirds of the fat person I carried around with me for most of my life. Over the last 3-4 years, I’ve had to re-discover myself and deal with issues that my weight had insulated me from for years.

 For about the last year and a half, I’ve been in kind of a holding pattern. I think I may have been taking some time to assimilate all of the change I’d gone through, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I really needed time to “take stock” of who I was, who I was becoming and who I wanted to be. Which brings us to now.

 I’m not sure I’ve figured all that out quite yet, but I’m getting there; I don’t really expect to reach a destination where that journey is concerned though…really, should we ever reach a destination when it comes to personal growth? All I know is that I have come a looooooong way in self-acceptance and self-awareness and think I’m ready to get this last 100 lbs off.

 The other day, I logged my weight and adjusted my ticker so that it would read the amount of weight I had left to lose instead of the amount of weight I’d lost up to this point. Seeing that number – 91lbs.- it hit me…how “close” I am to reaching my goal. For some of you, 91 lbs is a LOT of weight. Many people start their weight loss journey hoping to lose a total less than that, but for someone who began this journey needing to lose 300 lbs…to have less than a 100 lbs left to lose is a milestone in and of itself. Surgery or no surgery, I know this last 100 is going to be the toughest to get off, but I’m hopeful that I’m finally in the frame of mind I need to be in to handle the joys and challenges the next year will likely bring. I suppose I’m hoping this new blog will chronicle the next chapter of my life. We shall see ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013


Hi. It’s me. Sorry I’ve been so neglectful of my blog. I don’t really have a good excuse. I’ve been trying to figure out why it was so hard to log back in and post an update. I think I finally figured out that there may be a few reasons, but none of them really going into. The biggest reason is probably because this blog was always about taking a long hard look at myself and I think I’ve been avoiding that mirror because I’m not entirely sure I’m going to like what I see. I know I won’t despise what I see, but I’m not quite to the point I thought I was; where I could look myself dead in the eye with confidence and be satisfied with the woman who was reflected back. I can’t say I’m worse off. I’m still working the same job and enjoy going to work every day. I haven’t lost much more weight, but I haven’t gained either. I’m still dating the same man and while I know he cares for me as much as he can, I don’t know that my relationship with him is a whole lot different than the relationship I had with Erik. He treats me well, but in so many ways, I find myself struggling with a lot of the same relationship issues: feeling like everything is more on his terms, feeling like I give more than I get, yearning for a connection that just isn’t there. I’ve been talking to him more and more about how I feel even though I know it is difficult for him; hoping that he’ll…I don’t know what I’m hoping he’ll do honestly…I guess I’m hoping that he’ll magically transform into the man I want him to be. A few weekends ago, I just broke down and really talked about what it was like being married to Erik. Loving him so much, turning myself inside and out trying to be the person that he could love in the same way yet never quite being …enough; no matter what I did. I was honest with him and told him that sometimes, the things he did, the way he reacted or the things he said put me right back in those moments where I felt I was lacking something that would elude me forever. He instantly responded with “you are enough.” Later that night, as I was headed home, he sent me a link with “song #6.” I thought he was just sending me some song he liked (that I’d probably hate…we do NOT have the same taste in music lol) because he’s not the sort of dude to send a girl a song that reminded him of her. I got home and initially couldn’t pull up the link. I finally found it and saw the title “Like Jesus Does.” I’d never heard it or the artist that sang it so I still wasn’t expecting the song that started when I pulled it up on youtube. It touched me, but it also wasn’t lost on me that it was more about how I made him feel; not so much how he felt about me. Since that weekend, I’ve done a lot of thinking and the hardest realization I came to was that while it did mean a lot to me to have him look me dead in the eye, reach for my hand and tell me that I was enough and later follow it up with the sweet text with the song, I’m just not sure that its “enough” for me. He’s never said the words “I love you.” I’ve only said it a few times myself and each time he pulls me close and kisses the top of my head, but he never answers in kind. I realized long ago, that my penchant for going after emotionally unavailable men had everything to do with my self-esteem issues. If I could just make them love me, it would validate me in some way I needed validation. I never thought of myself as a girl with “daddy issues,” but I’ve come to realize that is exactly what my problem is. I spent a lot of my childhood wondering how my father could watch another year go by, another birthday, Christmas, graduation, all those milestones…and not wonder about me. Part of me, even then, was trying to be someone he could be proud of; if and when he ever tried to look for me. What I didn’t know until I was about 21 was that, not only had my father passed away when I was around 13, but he had been fed lies that led him to believe he wasn’t even my father so…all that time, he wasn’t thinking about me at all. So, I guess I’m a big ol’ cliché; repeating the same patterns over and over again in my relationships trying to finally make daddy love me. Obviously, that is only one thing I have to work on where my head is concerned. I’ve started seeing a therapist though; I have my second visit with him tomorrow. I’m supposed to describe my vision of a “happy life.” Honestly, I’m a much happier person for the most part. The things that would make me happiest aren’t things I can do much about and aren’t likely to change. So, all I can do is work on the parts that I do have control over. Guess I’ll just keep on keepin’ on and see where I wind up.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where do you buy your clothes?

Someone just posted a comment on my blog asking where I buy my clothes. Thanks for your sweet compliment btw :). I have to say that now that I have lost weight, I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting dressed every day. Two years ago, I LIVED in 8x tshirts and workout pants that never saw the inside of a gym. I rarely bothered with hair and makeup and felt anything but pretty or feminine.

It is so funny because the people I work with, the friends I’ve made over the last year or so…they only know THIS Michelle…the one that gets pedicures, has her nails done, enjoys dolling herself up, even if it is just to go to the grocery store. In the last year, I’ve had so many people remark about what a “girly” girl I am…I can’t help but wonder what they would have said if they had seen me just a few years ago?

The sad truth is, this is how I was in my 20’s. Erik used to call me his “glam girl.” Not a lot, but he referred to me a few times and one time when he was being honest with me about what he missed the most with my weight gain, he admitted that he missed how much care I took with my appearance; how “together” I was.

Now don’t get me wrong; putting clothes together doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m getting better at it. I have many days I’m sure I’m a major fashion “don’t,” but I have fun playing around with clothes and accessories now. Speaking of fashion don’ts, you see the leopard dress I wore in a few of those pics? That was a dress I bought for my birthday party and I felt like a diva out that night! However, when I was looking back at the pictures I laughed because the first thing that came to my mind was how Wilma Flintstone would get all decked out to go with Fred to the Lodge…THAT is what I looked like :P Oh well, now I know what I’m going to be for Halloween although I’m hoping that dress will be too big for me by then.

Incidentally, that dress was a size 18!! I haven’t been in a size 18 since I was 21! I know today’s 18 is probably more like a 22/24 back in my 20’s, but still ;) Overall, I am fast moving out of 22/24 and more into 18/20 now and it feels amazing. I haven’t been in a 14/16 as an adult EVER and it is surreal knowing that is the next size down. I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

Ok, so where do I shop? Here are the stores I buy most of my clothes from:

Lane Bryant
One Stop Plus
Ashley Stewart

I’m at a point now where I can also shop at Ross as well.

I actually got quite a bit off craigslist, but most of them come from these stores. Lots of people getting rid of clothes for the same reason I now have 3 32 gallon totes full of clothes to get rid of. For $60 I got about 30 pairs of jeans, capris and other pants along with numerous tops from one woman. Another woman gave me 2 big totes full of clothes to go through for about $20. I couldn’t wear all of them, but found some cute stuff in there. The black top with the little gold halter thing in one of my pics was one of my favorites.

For today, I’ll elaborate on some items I’ve purchased at Avenue and go through the other stores each day this week. Please don’t think I’ve gotten full of myself and feel like I have any major fashion tips to pass on. Honestly, my friend Shannon thinks my sense of style is atrocious lol! She says I’m too trendy and she’s probably right. Most of the stuff I bought in my 20’s I probably couldn’t have worn now even if I hadn’t gotten rid of them years ago. I actually had a pair of harem pants guys lol…hows THAT for trendy? I’m sharing mainly because:

1. someone commented on my blog and I love talking clothes now even if my sense of “style” often isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
2. I know how hard it can be to find cute stuff in plus sizes.
3. I’ve discovered certain cuts and styles tend to flatter my particular shape so those of you who have similar body types (hourglassy) might want to try similar cuts and see how they look on you.
4. I do actually think I can offer some tips on how to get decent clothes on a budget which can be tremendously helpful when you go through the sizes like crazy after bariatric surgery.

So, over the next week, watch for me to go through each store, point out some stuff I actually purchased and maybe a few things I like. I’ll also talk jewelry and other accessories towards the end of the week.

Now for the fun part :D The blue and pink floral ruffly tops I was wearing in many of the pics were purchased at the Avenue . They tend to rotate this particular style in different colors throughout the seasons and I have to tell you ladies…men LOVE them! I get more compliments from men (and women, but who cares about them ;) when I wear them. I guess because they are so feminine and frilly without being overly frilly. Here are some links to similar tops:

Camilla Printed Ruffle Tank (this is actually on sale for $19.99)

Tiered Leopard Print Tank (this is also on sale for $24.96) I have this and usually pair it with a white pair of capris and a jean jacket or with black pants and a black shrug. I was a bit worried about all the ruffles, but it is actually pretty slimming. I would love to get this skirt to wear with it , but I think I’ll wait until it is on clearance)

Printed Cross Strap Cami(on sale for $12.96) This is MUCH cuter on and I pair it with a pink shrug kind of like this. I usually get compliments when I wear it. I may have a picture of my friend shannon and I trying them on. If I can find it, I’ll include it in this post to give you a better idea about what it looks like on. ETA, I actually found the pic of me out seeing a KISS cover band that I thought was more fun although I defo needed a better bra on. It looks more flattering when I have a decent bra on and since then, I've found a few that support the girls a bit better. I'll share lingerie hits and misses later in the week :)

Here are some others that are kind of my style. I haven’t actually purchased these and probably won’t to be honest (my closet is already stocked and I’m trying to pay off my financial aid and save for plastic surgery…more on this later, but I’ll keep an eye on clearance and if they go on clearance, I may buy them in 14/16 ;)

Asymmetrical Ruffle Convertible Tank
Crochet Trim Tunic Tank I like this one in both colors, but if I had to choose, I’d probably buy the green.

Printed Criss Cross Tank: Love this in both colors, but I think I’m most partial to the pink.

Maxi Dresses: I have a few dresses similar to this one. I don’t particularly like this pattern, but I’ve found it tends to flatter my body shape and hides a myriad of massive weight loss flaws lol (nothing that a good pair of spanks can’t smooth out ;) I actually bought two dresses very similar to this one at a place here in San Antonio called Melrose. They were on clearance and I got them for about $8 a piece! (I love telling people that too when I get compliments on the dresses)

Shoes: People…I have big ol’ ugly Fred Flintstone feet. They are big and wide and they have always been a chore to buy for, but I can sometimes find some cute shoes at Lane Bryant or Avenue. Avenue recently had a buy one get one free sale on their shoes so I bought the following:

Rosie Embellished Flower Sandal I bought these in both colors and they are SO cute!

Erica Jeweled Gladiator:
I bought these in all but the coral. I had to buy them a size larger to fit the width and the ankle part can get a bit snug towards the end of the day (I have cankles from hell :(, but they are comfortable even later in the day and look great with capris, even some dresses.

Maureen Flower Flip Flop:I know these are kind of ridiculous, but I thought they had just enough whimsy to warrant a purchase. Again, I'm sure Shannon is going to roll her eyes when she sees them; especially since I got them in the pink! One tip the sales girl mentioned that I thought was great was if you have hard to fit feet and you find shoes that fit you, but you can’t afford to buy them in every color, buy the “off” color because you KNOW you can always find wide shoes somewhere in black, white or neutral.

Lona Braided Gladiator SandalI bought these in the pewter and gold.

I’ve managed to get better at walking in heels too and I bought a pair of these recently in white. They are fairly comfortable if you aren’t standing on your feet all day. I also think these are super cute, but I haven’t actually tried them on so no idea if they’d even fit my feet or how comfortable they are.

So there you have it…take a look at Avenue yourself and let me know what looks you love! I can always use some fashion tips so feel free to suggest away or critique my style :P

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a fine mess...

Hello again. I begin by offering my apologies. I’ve been busy (see slide show). Busy with good things and busy learning some hard lessons. I haven’t lost a ton of weight since you last saw me. Presently, I sit at about 262, but I’m working on it. In the last two years I’ve gone from wearing 8x tshirts to squeezing into 18-20’s. I’ve gone from carrying a chair with me when I go shopping to canoeing down a river with my son and planning a trip to Fiesta Texas where I plan to ride every ride with him. I’ve made a ton of new friends, dated my heart out (almost literally) and learned that ultimately, the most valuable opinion of my self-worth is what I define guided by my creator.

In the past several months, I worked at either losing or maintaining my weight while I spent time doing what my weight had prevented before surgery. I made friends, got out socially (probably overdid it a bit in this category), prepared for my divorce (which will hopefully be final before the summer is through), started a PhD program in Psychology (and ultimately decided that I would switch to an MS in Mental Health Counseling due to lack of time for residency’s and an academic year in residence in the PhD program…incidentally, got a 4.0 my first quarter in the PhD program ;)

This post will address the dating front…presently I am dating one of the men I mentioned in my prior post. He was the sweetheart with the daughter…the one I said I should probably devote my time and energy to. One problem though, I discovered about two months into it that he has a serious drinking problem and has for some time. Our first date broke a month of sobriety. He eventually told me himself while explaining that he couldn’t be my drinking buddy…that we had to find things to do that didn’t involve going out and drinking because it had been a serious problem for him for many years. Fast forward to now…he continues to struggle with his drinking which typically causes him to drop off the map where I’m concerned. I’ve gotten a handle on mine, but in the past months, I’ve gone drinking with him despite knowing his struggle with alcohol…I’m not proud of that.

I suppose it would be easier for me to have dropped him like a hot potato if he was the typical alcoholic…but he never really lets me see that. We could get together, have a few drinks, enjoy a nice dinner, watch a movie…whatever. What I didn’t know is that after I was gone, he would REALLY drink. If he went on a binge, it just meant that he would “fall off the map.” I wouldn’t hear from him, couldn’t get in touch with him, he just disappeared.

At times I felt conflicted because I decided that I wasn’t going to give him ultimatums or try to change him because, let’s face it, if he couldn’t get his act together for his daughter, he sure wasn’t going to do it for some woman he barely knew. For several months, we weren’t exclusive…I don’t think he was dating anyone else, but I was. I just couldn’t open myself up to being vulnerable and exclusive knowing the demon he was wrestling with. What I didn’t count on was that somewhere along the way, I’d start to develop feelings for him regardless of how fiercely I was guarding my heart.

Some of you might wonder how that could happen, but I can tell you…apart from this very serious problem over which I am completely powerless, he is also amazingly brilliant, thoughtful, funny…we get each other. Maybe I see a lot of myself in him…I’ve struggled with food, he struggles with alcoholism. Almost 9 months later, he still insists on opening my car door for me, treats me with respect, gives me sage advice when I need it, treats me as if he values me beyond what my body might look like or do for him. I realize though, that all of these other things don’t matter or shouldn’t matter. He’s still broken, but I see in him a desire to honestly try to get his life together. However, whether he will succeed has nothing to do with me or anything I might do or not do.

Recently, he fell off the map again. I knew he was on a binge. What I realized this time around was that I really cared about him and that changed how I viewed this whole twisted scenario. After about 4 days of not being able to get in touch with him, I went to his house, knocked on the door, texted him that I was sitting in my car until he came out to talk. He finally came out, opened my car door and half smiled as he said “You really can be a pain in the ass you know that?” We went out on his back porch and talked, really talked about his drinking and how my feelings for him changed how I felt about his drinking. He once jokingly said he thought I was perfect for him…he enjoyed spending time with me, we had the same sense of humor, and…I was probably one of the few women who would put up with his BS. I reminded him of this and told him that, up until this point, I had put up with it because while I cared what happened to him, I didn’t really CARE about him. I told him that he couldn’t rely on me putting up with him drinking, falling off the map, etc anymore because there would be a tipping point…a time when it wasn’t ok. I told him that I because I truly had feelings for him, that it hurt to see him like this…I couldn’t be party to it anymore. What I didn’t say was that I realize I’m worth better than this and while I care about him, I still need to look out for me, for Tanner.

So, I’m fairly resolved that the next time he falls off the map, I’m going to have to move on. As I type this, I’m heartbroken, because I worry that it isn’t an “if he falls off the map,” but “when he falls off the map” he's told me as much himself.

This probably sounds like an incredible mess, but honestly…it’s usually the messes that teach us the most about life, about ourselves. How messy things can get when we make the wrong choices or misuse the gifts God gives us. I’m thankful that despite the fact that I can still make a pretty big mess of things, somehow God keeps working on me…whispering in my ear…waiting for me to listen for a change, giving me glimpses of truth and clarity until I can see the path through the mess I’ve made. I’m sure I’m going to have to stumble and grope a bit more as I find my way; sometimes my journey is slow going because of the obstacles I manage to create for myself, but I always seem to find myself just a bit further down the path than I was before. So, despite setbacks and obstacles, I’m getting there; wherever there might be.

Thanks to those of you who have followed my journey and who will hopefully stick around through my haphazard posting habits to see where the path leads me. Now I have to think about what I’m going to cover with my next post…job, school, tanner? Guess I’ll have to see where I find myself the next time I sit down to write :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Job, New Joys, New Challenges

Picture above taken this past Thursday at my new work. The mustaches were worn to surprise our trainer. Long story, but she's AMAZING and it was her birthday so we all wore her favorite color (pink) and wore the mustaches. Can't say this is very flattering, but I thought you guys might enjoy it.

First, I want to apologize to anyone who might have been worried about me. There are numerous reasons why I haven’t been posting. Some are good and some…not so good. Some of the things I will share with you and some will go with me to my grave lol…unless I ever get around to writing that book.

For the most part, things have been good. I am still hovering around 285 which is annoying the crap out of me, but I’m hoping to get back into my work out routine and hope to start seeing results. I have a vacation coming up in October (going to Florida for the Straight Spouse Network annual first and I can’t wait). I’m going to stay focused on that and just challenge myself to try to have at least another 20 lbs off by the time I go.

Some of the good stuff: I have a new job! I got a job with a major online university and just finished my third week of training. I absolutely am LOVING it! I’m a bit nervous about starting for real on Monday, but I’m sure I can do this. I’ll be working as an enrollment advisor and handle the masters and PhD programs for most of their psychology/human services degrees. It was a substantial raise for me so making more money is sure going to be nice.

Because of the new job, Erik had to move back in. It was just too hard to figure out how we were going to juggle tanner with me working outside the home. We are considering moving, but at the moment, I’m still trying to catch up financially so may put this off a while.

Some other good things…I think I’ve managed to get over my fear of straight men. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective though lol. I’ve been dating quite a bit, had some interesting experiences, did a few things I thought I’d never do, but have no regrets so far. At the moment, I have a few people I’m dating somewhat regularly, but only one that I would really probably drop everything for. I just figured out some time after my last blog post that I just didn’t want to be tied down. I can’t explain it because I was always a one man woman, couldn’t see myself dating numerous people at one time, etc. Now, the thought of getting involved with just one person just makes me feel claustrophobic…like I can’t get air or something. So far, the guys I’m dating don’t have a problem with me seeing other people so it is working for now and honestly…I’m LOVING it lol.

Of course, the guy I think I could eventually convince me into an exclusive relationship at some point is the one that is the most unavailable. He is involved with a church here in SA and is pretty busy. Most of the time he is available, I’m working and vice versa. We had been chatting for several months, probably since January…off and on, very superficial because of how busy he was and I honestly thought he was just interested in friendship so no big deal. I joked about how I was eventually going to get him out and about socially, but usually anytime I tried to get him to go out, he had an event or something. We’d stop communicating and then a few weeks to a month later I’d hear from him again. Anyway, he contacted me several weeks ago just to see how I was doing and we started talking a bit more. I gave him my number again and after 2-3 days of virtually non-stop texting we decided to meet. All I can say is there is this mad, crazy chemistry with this guy on every possible level. He’s brilliant of course, has a lot of varied interests, eclectic in many ways, great taste in music and an amazing sense of humor that just plays naturally off mine. I just don’t know where its going to go. We had long text conversations about the chemistry and about the fact that his schedule wasn’t going to change and that meant it probably wasn’t going to be good for a serious sort of relationship, but neither one of us is really interested in anything too serious for the time being. We ultimately decided that we would continue to see each other when he was available and see where things went. I can continue to date others and he can too.

The night we met face to face we talked about our “pickers;” you know, the inner compass that leads you to individuals for romantic purposes? He mentioned that his counselor had told him he needed to not date for at least a year post divorce (he’s about midway through) because his picker was off. I asked him who he tended to pick and he said “girls that need to be rescued.” Now some of you might say his picker is still off lol, but I don’t think so. I can rescue myself and I have time and time again over the last several years. So, I told him that I didn’t fall into that category, that if I ever needed rescuing, I’d take care of it myself. Of course, he then asked me what was wrong with my picker. I had already told him about Erik because, being a youth minister, etc I wasn’t sure how he would take it all. I told him that I had a habit of picking gay men. His response was interesting; he said “Well, I can assure you I’m not gay, BUT I am fairly unavailable to you in other ways…you may need to think about that.” And he’s right…why is the guy who is most unavailable the one that is driving me crazy because I can’t get him out of my head? Why do we (I) chase the ones that keep us at a distance?

I’m going to start back with a counselor, so hopefully I can figure some of this out. Another guy I see now and then is another writer. He’s written one book and was working on another when his computer was stolen this week :(. He had talked about sending me what he’d written to review, but didn’t get around to doing it…I’m heart sick for him. I couldn’t imagine working that hard on something and then losing it. He is retired military and worked intel doing some kind of linguistics something or other for them, so yeah he’s pretty brilliant as well. I met him through some of the meetup stuff I go to and we have a ton of things in common. He has an autistic son about Tanner’s age and was a punker in high school as well so we have fun reminiscing about all the great music we loved as kids.

Another new friend is a real sweetheart. Has a 10 year old daughter that he dotes on, so I love that he enjoys his role as a dad so much. I’ve only been talking to him for a few weeks, but we can literally talk for hours on end without ever repeating ourselves. He works IT, but as I get to know him, I suspect he is one of those people that soaks up knowledge. We went to play pool the other night and he was explaining the physics of the game; like how to hit the ball where to get a certain kind of spin and why you needed to chalk your cue, the momentum of the ball, etc. Now that would probably bore the hell out of most people, but I EAT THAT SHIT UP! I know, I’m kind of weird that way, but when a guy starts getting all cerebral on me, my knees go weak, my heart melts, etc. Out of all the guys I’m dating, this one is probably the one I should invest more time in. He’s very attentive and thoughtful, hilarious too! Guess we’ll see where it goes.

Amid the semi-steadies, I’ve been out with several others. I was getting so many younger men, I finally figured “what the hell” and went out with a few of them. The youngest was 27 lol…is that nuts or what? He was really sweet, but I just could NOT get past the age thing. Another was 29 and super smart (had a degree in cultural anthropology and lost ME in conversation about what he studied lol) so I thought maybe that would offset the age difference…at least enough to have some fun with him. Nope…the immaturity was still there and I just couldn’t get past it. The only problem with him is I can’t seem to shake him loose! He isn’t stalking me, but he continues to contact me on a semi-regular basis. Another was 30 and finishing up his masters…he was total eye candy ya’ll; 6’5” and absolutely adorable. I still don’t get why he contacted me lol. Anyway, he was from Mexico so he had a pretty hot accent as well. We went out and had a great time, but it just kind of fizzled out eventually. It was fun though :)

Ultimately I decided that I don’t think I can go much below 35 when it comes to age. I’ll never say “never,” but I went out with enough younger men to realize that I’m just not into it.

Now on to some of the not so good stuff. The drinking. Yeah I’m still struggling with this guys. I’m not drinking every day, but I definitely have a problem when I start drinking. If I stop myself after a few glasses, I’m fine, but that usually doesn’t happen. I never used to understand why erik would drink and drink and drink until everything was gone. It used to drive me crazy. Now, I’m struggling with the same thing and …time for brutal honesty here…I’ve had a few nights where I didn’t really remember what happened beyond a certain point. I will get back on my computer to see chats with friends I didn’t know I had or on my phone, etc. That is kind of freaking me out. So yeah, I’ll be discussing this with my counselor as well. I am hoping now that I’m through the training for my new job, I’ll be able to exercise and that will help deal with some of the stress and anxiety. I know when I’m working out, I just don’t drink as much if at all.

Well, this is now 3 pages long so I’ll stop for now. I will do my best to post more. I have been meaning too, but there has just been so much going on, it overwhelmed me to think about getting on and updating you guys.

I hope all my bloggy friends are doing well. Thanks for hanging in there with me.