June 16th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

I’ve been on a home organization frenzy recently, which includes an attempt to organize my photos.  As I browsed through them, I started to see some of them differently.  Namely, pictures of myself from a year ago.  Was that really me?  Who was that?

I’ve been on a journey to find myself for some time now.  I know I’ve been singing that tune for ages, but it’s different now.  Now I see where I’ve been lying to myself for ever, where I’ve disregarded and dishonored the very essence of my self for the better part of my life.  Not that it’s been wrong to put others first.  I’ve done well for others.  I’ve helped others.  I will still do so.  At my core, I’m a helper.

The thing that I noticed today is that I’m no longer hiding behind denial.  I dishonored myself.  I let myself go.  I loathed myself. I don’t know why.  I can’t say.  I can’t see.  Only that I did it.  And even so, when I buried myself so deeply, wherever it was that I’ve been (buried under a hundred pounds of fat), still, there has always been a part of ME, the real, authentic me, looking for a way out, looking for the light of day.  She wanted to live.  All along, she wanted to break free and see the light of day.  So today, with the recognition and acceptance of what I’ve done to myself, I also give forgiveness.  Because I love myself.  I wasn’t loving myself, but now I see that love and forgiveness go hand in hand.  And just like that, I’ve forgiven myself and discovered that I love myself.  I’m coming home to me.

I want to clarify that this isn’t at all about being obese, or becoming obese.  And it’s not at all about losing weight, either.  It’s not about the age old misconception that, oh, if only I could or would lose the weight, I’d be happy.  Losing some weight has given me the courage to look at myself, and to see myself.  So this is about getting lost.  It’s about fear.  It’s about hiding.  It’s about the emotional, not the physical self.  Only the emotional problems had a very physical manifestation.  As they do.

There aren’t very many people (and by people, I mean dear friends) who knew me before I lost myself.  In fact, I can only think of three —Dindu, Suse, and my sister S.  These people have loved me for most of my life (and I them).  It all happened so long ago.  I don’t even know when.  Or why.  I know of times and events that caused things to escalate, but the beginning?  I don’t know.  My sister thinks it started when I had an abortion.  She could be right (she’s usually right).  She used to say, “Sissy, that’s when you lost your mojo.  Where is my sissy?  I want my sissy back.  I miss her.”   She’s been saying that for years.

So I’m coming home to me.  Those words stir the memory of a song from my youth.  In my heart and in my head, I hear Hosea.  Come back to me with all your heart –don’t let fear keep us apart.  Trees do bend, though straight and tall –so must we to others’ call.  Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.  The wilderness will lead you to your heart, where I will speak.  Integrity and justice, with tenderness you shall know.

I’m on my way.  Home to me.  My arms are open.  I feel the sunlight on my face.

let the light shine on me

I’m like the very hungry caterpillar.  I’ve eaten my way through the difficult parts of my life, and trapped myself in a nearly impenetrable cocoon.  And now, I’ve started to nibble my way through these walls and I can see the light of day.

Some day soon I’m going to find my smile.  I’m going to become a beautiful butterfly.  And then?  Then I will FLY!

December 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

My body is changing.  My physical form is occupying less space in the universe, and with this slow transformation there is a new self-awareness dawning.  How can I explain this?  It’s almost as if, for all the years –so many years!– that I’ve been taking up so much space, there was a gaping chasm separating my self, the real me, from my self, the physical me.  Maybe I wouldn’t, or maybe I couldn’t look at the latter.  Maybe it was just too much.  This is not who I am, I’d say, and I’d turn the other way.  But the problem is –was–, that we live in a physical world, so there is no escaping the physical self.  That is what manifests.  And what of the inner self?  Where did that one go?  That one who might have been beautiful, smart, capable, excellent.  That one is smothered by the shell that is manifested in the physical.  I spent years struggling with self-acceptance.  The dichotomy between who I was and who I appeared to be was too great.  E R R O R.  C A N N O T   C O M P U T E.

It’s so very easy to soothe this unrest, this distress, with all manner of deflections and cover-ups.   Fill one’s every moment with something, anything, so that you don’t have to think about yourself, and the Grand Canyon that separates your self from your self.  Be a super achiever.  Move mountains.  Consume mountains.  At the end of the day, though, there remains a deep and aching sadness, because you can’t really cover up the Grand Canyon.  It’s still there, and no matter how hard you may try to justify or explain or deflect or deny, the truth of the matter is that it is still there.  You can’t escape from yourself.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

What I’m beginning to notice, as I sit for a moment and gaze down at the legs folded beneath me, is that the chasm is closing.  Ever so slowly.  But it’s closing.  Because when I look down at my physical self, I see my physical self.  And I recognize a faint glimmer of my self.  I can look at the legs beneath me and say, “Oh!  That’s me.  I’m sitting here.  Those are my legs.  They are attached to my body.  They are a part of me.”  And that is the beginning of acceptance.

Two things come to mind as I reflect upon these things.  Why does it take a lifetime and a radical change to deem oneself worthy of one’s own acceptance?  And why is there a chasm at all?  It’s clear to see how the chasm has grown, but not so clear to understand where or why it began in the first place.  The whole matter is tragic.  Such a waste of life.  Such a waste of beautiful moments, beautiful thoughts, beautiful breath.  Such a waste.

I don’t know who will emerge once the chasm has healed, but I do know that I will embrace her, because she will be whole.  She is who I am.  She is the real me.  Hello, old friend, I will say, when we meet.  I’ve missed you.

November 10th, 2013 | No Comments »

Poppy held to her decision and severed all ties with George.  One day, when she’s had sufficient time to heal, she may mourn him properly, but at this stage, she just doesn’t have the mental or emotional capacity.  Steve arrived abruptly, with George’s sudden departure.  It’s all been quite a shock, really.  Poppy and Steve have been getting to know one another, as cohabitants do.  I wouldn’t call it a romance, by any stretch of any imagination.  It’s more like an arrangement. Of necessity.  Oh sure, she did jump into forever with him.  And she really does want to have a long and comfortable relationship with him.  Happily ever after, in fact.   Right now, however, it’s either sink or swim, and sinking is hardly an option.

In one sense, Poppy’s been very stable.  Oh, occasionally something will happen and she will have a momentary lapse of sanity in which she behaves erratically, but those moments are few and generally last no more than an hour. In general, she’s been feeling very good.

That being said, life with Steve has been a cautious, tip-toeing dance, for the first few weeks.  Steve seems to be a sensitive sort, and has his own idiosyncrasies.  For instance, he does not like to be rushed.  How can I say that, in such a way as to express it properly?  He.  Does.  NOT.  Like.  To.  Be.  Rushed.  And he’s a bit of a moody, broody sort.  So he likes to handle certain things on his own terms, and as long as one complies with his terms, there is harmony in the land.  Okay, so be it.  This is part of learning to live together.  Everyone’s got their own personal boundaries that need to be respected.  Steve, bless  his soul, is very clear about expressing his boundaries.  Poppy could stand to take a page from that book.

As the weeks progress, Poppy has also begun to notice that there may be some areas in which Steve and George are very similar.  She’s choosing not to overreact to this knowledge, but to take heed and reflect on it.  The last thing she wants is to encourage any of these tendencies.  So she’s keeping a close watch on this Steve character.  Watching him like a hawk, even.


Installment 2 of the Poppy Saga.

Poppy the pancreas.
George who likes to gorge.
Steve the sleeve.


It’s been just about 4 weeks since surgery, and I’m doing very well.  The first 2 weeks are liquids only, and the next two weeks are soft foods.  It’s a bit challenging, learning to eat anew.  It’s probably similar to what babies go through, as they are learning to eat.  Things like the size of  each bite and how much it must be chewed before swallowing are critically important.  The steri-strips have finally worn off the incision sites, and the scars remaining are slight.  I’ve had a bit of a struggle with waves of depression, off and on.  I also notice that I tire easily, and I’ve been respecting this by allowing myself to rest when I need it.

I will say this much.  I loathe (ab.so.lute.ly loaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe) protein powder.  When I’ve finished the tub that I have, I will never buy another.  Ever.  EVER.

That being said, it’s such a relief, not to be hungry!  It’s also a tremendous delight to look at a small portion of food and know that it can and will be filling and fulfilling (although obtaining sufficient nutritional intake is definitely a challenge).  All in all, it’s a very exciting journey.  I feel liberated, and I am looking forward to finding and restoring bits and pieces of myself that have been lost through the years, as I progress through this excavation.

I hope to do a better job than all the king’s horses and all the king’s men did with Humpty Dumpty.

Posted in health, me, VSG, weight loss
October 2nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Poppy and George have been together for a long time. Forever, even.  They got along well enough when they were younger, but as the years passed, they lost touch of each others’ needs.  It’s not unheard of…

George is pretty much a self-centered bastard.  He’s generally ignorant of Poppy’s ups and downs.  Granted, her ups and downs are far more pronounced as the years go by.  Oh, sure, every once in a while he says he’ll do better, be better, turn over a new leaf, and he he may do a fine  job of being on his best behavior for a while.  But only for a while.  It never lasts, and bit by bit, they find themselves back in that desert place where neither can tolerate each other.  George wants to do what George wants to do.  Poppy reacts.  It’s not that Poppy wants to react.  It’s just that her defenses have eroded after so many years of hiding behind the issues.  She starts to feel better when George plays nice, and she starts to think that everything is just swell, and things are getting back to the way they used to be, back when they were young.  But it doesn’t take long for reality to slap her in the face.  Because sooner or later, George will fall back into his selfish ways.

I don’t know why that is.  It just is.  I don’t think George wants to be a self-centered bastard.  I think he would want to be better, in a perfect world.  There are probably a million factors that contribute to the entity that George has become.  A lifetime of factors.

It’s complicated.

Be that as it may, George is George.  Poppy is Poppy.  It’s clear that something has to change, or nothing ever will.  They will continue living a marginal existence until they do each other in.  Literally.

It’s a scary choice, in many ways, for many reasons, but Poppy has decided that George has got to go.  Poppy has  high  hopes that she will be able to find her stable place again, that she will feel good all the time, and that she will find her old self.  She hopes that she will no longer feel like she’s wasting her life, but instead like she’s embracing and living her life.  Loving her life!

It may seem harsh to send George packing, but at this point, it’s the only solution.  This limbo has been going on for over twenty years.  It will continue another twenty years if nothing changes, or if they don’t kill each other in the process.

Goodbye George.

She wonders if she will be so fickle as not to ever miss him or regret that she made him go.  She can hardly think about it, though.  It’s just too much.


Installment 1 of the Poppy Plight.

Poppy the pancreas.
George who likes to gorge.
Steve the sleeve.


So I’m preparing for bariatric surgery.  I start my pre-op liquid diet on Friday (4 Oct 2013).  This is not a trigger decision.  I’ve contemplated it for YEARS and after much research and thought have decided to move ahead with it.  Surgery is 14 Oct 2013.  I will have the better part of my stomach removed, leaving all my digestive plumbing intact.  This is called a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG).  This surgery will allow me to eat, but not overeat.  My body will still  absorb the nutrients I ingest.  I’m very much looking forward to feeling satisfied after eating a normal amount of food.  I stumbled across a blog in which a ‘sleever’ named her sleeve, and thought that was clever.  Also, putting character names to my organs helps me inject a little humor, or at least look at it from another angle.  Because it’s scary.  And it’s permanent.  So I thought it might help me as I embark on this journey.  Although weight and self image factor heavily toward this decision, the driving factor is the fact that I can no longer play the ignorance card regarding diabetes.  I have it.  It’s very clear that my pancreas is not functioning as it should, and that my blood sugar control is erratic.  I have proven to myself that it can be controlled, but I have also to be honest with myself and know that I fall to the same patterns, no matter how vigilant I am, or for how long.  Eventually I slip back.  Hello, my name is George.  I’m on a life-changing journey.  I’m taking steps to make dramatic and permanent changes to improve my life.  This is one of those steps.  So goodbye, George.  It’s time for you to go.

Posted in health, me, VSG, weight loss
August 11th, 2011 | No Comments »

Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl, long shadow, walking.  Lovely shape of arms and hands swaying, fifteen feet tall.  Long and lovely.


Out for a walk in an effort towards fitness.  Looking for ways to appreciate my physical self.  I find the shadow lovely.  It’s a start.

July 11th, 2010 | 2 Comments »


Today I honored myself.

I bought some pretty things to adorn myself.  Pretty things to celebrate me.  Pretty things to make me feel more pretty.  This year I’ve lost 38 lbs, without dieting and without trying.  I think the hot mama in me is re-emerging.  She’s been buried for a very long time.  She’s coming back, because I’m coming back.  I’m finding myself again, rising from the rubble of the past fifteen or twenty years.

Today I had a migraine.  Today I took vicodin.  Today I had a massage.  Today I shopped.  Today I walked.  Today I had ice cream.  Today I walked through a mall with no anxiety.  Today I had the worst Thai food ever.  Today I told my kids I love them.  Today I dreamed.  Today I smiled.  Today I laughed.  Today blue eyes looked into brown eyes.  Today I talked to people I love.  Today I remembered people I lost.  Today I shared precious memories.  Today I learned new things.  Today I embraced.  Today I kissed.  Today I listened.  Today I talked.  Today I heard music.  Today I danced.  Today I stretched.  Today I did yoga.  Today I sang my heart out.  Today I cried my eyes out.

Today I realized that everything is going to be okay.  Today I am ready to let go.  Today I let go.  Today I am at peace.  Today I am ready to rest.

Today was a very good day.

September 17th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

I’m about ten pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight, which is nice, but still nowhere near any sort of ideal range.  And when I look in the mirror, I’d think I’d be happy that I’ve lost some weight, but what I see reflected back is so shockingly unattractive.  And then I stumbled across this site, the shape of a mother, and it helps me feel better.

I was thinking about the well-intended comments from the well-intended doctors about the need to lose weight, and how irksome I find it, as though it never occurred to me that I might be heavy and that it might have health ramifications at some point in life.  No, I didn’t notice that I was obese.  I missed that one.

At least my own ob/gyn isn’t making mention of it.  He’s been my doctor for fifteen years or so, through the whole fertility challenge, the pregnancies, the miscarriages, both cases of GD and both deliveries.  He probably said something at some point, but he doesn’t keep repeating things, and I appreciate that.

Part of me has been thinking that maybe this time will be the time — that my life is in a place where all the pieces are fitting together — I have my family, two beautiful boys!  I have a good job, good health insurance coverage, good retirement/pension prospects, a stable home, and I live in a mostly decent neighborhood (apart from one set of troublesome neighbors).

This may be the time when emotionally I’m ready to tackle my self.  And possibly it won’t be that hard.  That is my hope.

I’ve been wondering about what might be the best exercise choice for me.  I still don’t have all that much energy, at this point, three weeks post-partum.  My belly still hurts and has alot of numb and tingly spots that ache much much more if/when I get constipated.  Supposedly this new pain is due to the abdominal wall as things are shrinking their way back to normal. Apparently my uterus and all things female are okay, which is goodness.

I think I’ll start doing my wii Dance Dance Revolution again.  That was fun and got me sweating nicely, so surely it must have been a reasonable amount of exercise.  I can also walk, but why is it that the thought of getting dressed and going outside seems overwhelming?  It feels so nice to be outside, once there, but the getting there is the hurdle.  I can rejoin the gym, but not for at least a couple more months, and if I do, I will want to go enroute to or from the office, so I don’t have to wrangle the kids.  That will mean that I absolutely will have to count on Gadget to be there for daycare pickup.  And here I am, only three weeks into my LB’s life, and thinking about daycare.  I ought to just be thinking of the moment, which is sleep, pump, feed, wash bottles, sleep, pump, feed, wash bottles.

This baby time is so fleeting.  I absolutely must savor every moment.  And try not to think about body image for a while.

June 1st, 2006 | No Comments »

Well, today is the day.  Twelve weeks ago I joined the office pool.  I bet $40 that I could lose 18 lbs by today.  It shouldn’t have been too hard, in theory.  But for some reason, it wasn’t a bit easy.  Did I win   Did I lose  

According to my scale at home, this morning, I’m a bit shy of my goal.  According to the scale at work, I’ve made it with some to spare!  How I dislike discrepancy and inconsistency!  I’ve weighed at work before, and it’s been close to the home numbers, and sometimes even a bit higher.  I was going to surrender my defeat, until I stepped on the work scale.  Now I want to doublecheck the home scale.  It can’t be off by that much.  Can it  

The challenge ends today.  It’s still today, all day long.  Technically, I may still be in the running.

It’s such a head trip, to feel like a failure when a goal isn’t met.  I’ve been crabby all week, frustrated that no loss is registering, when it should.  It should!  Mathematically, it should, considering what I’ve been eating.  It doesn’t help when the know-it-all-male-coworker says, “You can do it.  Just don’t eat that much.”  And proceeds to explain to me that if I only eat X calories a day, I will lose Y pounds.  As if I don’t understand that one needs to cut calories to lose weight.  Hello, I know exactly what I’m eating, and the math isn’t a simple linear equation.  And I’m not a man.  And I don’t burn at the same rate.  Etc.  Very annoying.

Plus, what overweight woman wants to hear ANYBODY lecture her on weight loss   My ears are closed.  I don’t hear you.  lalalalalalalallalalala.  Yes.  Very annoying.  (I should be above this, this quick descent into the mire of annoyance and crabbiness, but regretfully, I’m not.)

I should remind myself that I’m a winner, no matter what, because any loss is a win, in this case, and I have lost a true 15 lbs.  Of that much, I am certain.  Hooray!  That’s excellent!  It’s a great thing!

But is it more   According to the work scale, it’s a whopping 21 lbs, plus another 1 or 2 for the clothing.  Can that be right   It’s amazing how happy that made me feel, the thought that I might have lost over 20 lbs.  Even if it’s not real, and that scale is off for some magical reason today, my mood escalated when I saw that number.  Glee!  It was a moment of glee!

I am such a fickle creature.

And I’m going to re-weigh when I get home.

So, I lose but I win and I win because I lose.  The work scale was a fluke.  The grand total for my effort is 17.5 lbs.  Not bad at all.  I don’t get to split the winnings, but I can still congratulate myself for doing what I’ve done.  Something is better than nothing.  Anything is better than nothing.  If I continue to plod along, one of these days I shall be fit.  And deeeeeeeluxe.

Posted in weight loss
April 9th, 2006 | 8 Comments »

I think it was (Amanda) Soule Mama who started a corners of my home theme.  I like the idea, and the phrase.  I think it’s a flickr group, but I haven’t joined.  I get chastised enough for the amount of time I spend blogging.  Which heralds in the far too easy to assume tidings of guilt.  I was raised Catholic, after all.  Actually, I was pondering guilt in general, and thinking of writing something in the Sunday Confessions theme, while sitting in a chair that I recently placed in the corner of what used to be the dining room, gazing at the photos on the far wall, and that led me to want to talk about the corners of my home.  It’s all related.  I find rearranging furniture and rooms to be quite cathartic.  I’ve been participating in the office pool weight loss challenge and have only lost 5 pounds.  My doctor suggested that I exercise at least 45 minutes, 5 days a week, and don’t eat anything after 5:30 p.m.  I don’t even get home before 5:30, so this is not the easiest thing for me.  My coworker, who is charting the group’s progress, also pointed out that his trend analysis shows that I won’t meet my goal.  Nice of him, wasn’t it   My life and lifestyle being what it is, I don’t want to give up watching TV.  To compromise, the treadmill is now center stage in the dining room, along with my reading chair.  From the treadmill I have an excellent view of the television.  From the chair, I have a view of my photo wall.  (It’s not hard to see which ones are within reach of a certain very busy and curious one-year-old.)  Which brings me to the corners of my home.  Like I said, all related (in a very convoluted way).

Photo Wall

In my home there is a wall of photos. Photos of family and friends.  Photos that bring back memories of life experiences.  I see Pea Soup in bloom with number one.  She is radiant.  I see my brother, the young sailor with hopes and dreams of family and fatherhood, of happily ever after.  A young man who lost hope.  I see brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.  Children.  I see myself in times of love before love went sour.  Only three of the photos are new (Mr. Gadget’s kids, and my Boo, not visible in this image).  The others span about forty years, between 1956 and 1996.  I see a high school photo of my mother, a young beauty with hopes and dreams, so different from the woman I grew up with.  I see a brother as an infant, an innocent babe with a sparkle in his eyes.  Before life changed him.  Changed us all, with its ripples. My heart cries for the people in these pictures, wishing none of them had ever suffered any pain.  Wishing they could all have kept the sparkle, the twinkle, the effervescence of youth, of hope, of life, of love.  Wishing all their best dreams had come true.  “Life is pain, Princess.”  That’s what the Dread Pirate Roberts said to Buttercup.  He’s right, and it’s not all bad.  Pain brings with it lessons.  Lessons that open us up to the possibility of bigger and better things.  Had my own path not been what it was, with all its bumps, bends, turns, and sorrows, I wouldn’t have my precious Boo.  I can’t even imagine a life without him, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about the road that I have walked, if it meant I couldn’t have my Boo.  But my heart still cries for the sorrows of the people I love.  I wish that I could wish their sorrows away.  I wish that I could rain love down on them.

Rain Love

March 8th, 2006 | No Comments »

Somebody at work has launched a weight loss challenge. It lasts 12 weeks and participants submit $40 to the pool along with a weight loss goal anywhere between 12 and 36 pounds. At the end, those who have met their goal get their money back. Those who haven’t don’t. What remains in the pool is split among those who have met their goal.

What the heck. I’m in. Some of the guys are talking about loading up on water right before the weigh-in. They are speaking of a weigh-in, but I’m banking on the honor system. It’s almost unbearably humiliating to step on the scale at the doctor’s office. In front of coworkers I.Don’t.Think.So.

I think I’ve gained 10-12 pounds since I shut down the milk factory. I’m somewhat amazed by that. Nothing in my lifestyle changed besides that, and whomp, there it is. Yes, I tend to be stressed out a good deal of the time. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know that I need to learn how to manage stress better. I know.

I’m signing up for 18 pounds.

Posted in weight loss