Dealing with Weight….. part one

I am embarking on a new layer or spiral as part of my healing journey. It is probably the hardest piece of my life I have yet to face. It is dealing with shame and guilt and the result of that which has manifested in being overweight. And I hate that term, overweight. I am going to use large. Every day, we are bombarded with messages that say horribly things that only help carry the message of guilt and shame for people about their size; some who are not carrying an ounce of non-required weight. It has created an epidemic of anorexia and other eating disorders. In an attempt to be helpful, I am sure, the medical field has continued to propagate methods for quick weight loss that also create permanent health issues including death. Our society is so wrapped up tight on the perfect image that people in droves are allowing themselves to carved open and subjected to radical procedures such as stapling and banding their stomachs. The results often are newly induced problems like blood clots, the inability to process nutrients and food which then cause severe iron deficiencies, hair loss, diarrhea and more. And often, in time, the person ends up putting the weight back on. And why?

The issue is not in the fat cells. The issue is not the person’s consumption. If this was true, why is it possible for many people to eat the food they do and not gain weight? And do NOT tell me it is because they exercise. Yes that helps, but I know many people who eat whatever and whenever and do not work out and remain thin. My whole family was thin. I am the only one who is large and I ate the same foods they did growing up. I was not allowed to sit and watch TV and it was a rare day I could even sit and read. I rode my bike for miles, swam like a fish, worked in gardens and on friends farms, and when home; chores and yard work. I was not idle. At a certain point in my early teen years, my food was regulated by my mother as she harped on my size constantly. There was no running off to a fast food place to stuff something down. Everyone knew you when you lived in a small town.

And before anyone jumps on their high and mighty, yes of course, there ARE people who eat too much. But that is their choice. We radically are quick to judge a large person. People feel absolutely righteous in proclaiming their opinion on a person’s size. I cannot get with a group of women that without fail and within a short period time, the topic of weight will come up. Often, some zealous person will tell me about their success with weight loss, and leave the conversation with the question unspoken yet there, “what is wrong with you that you can’t….have you ever tried….?”

This does need an answer. But first, I want to address the feeling this produces so that other who walk this walk know they are not alone. And I am making a vow that I am going to reply from now on with, “What makes you think I haven’t tried? I have spent my whole life trying.” And that is the truth. I measure with strong self judgment everything I put into my mouth. I was just about to go into a litany of what I do to as if I need to justify myself. That is stopping also. It is no one’s business what I eat, when I eat and what I do with my body. But I am going to give some examples of how living large has affected me when it comes to the general public.

I stopped ever ordering milkshakes. When fast-food joints started offering them, I tried them and of course loved them. What 15 year old would not? I stopped when someone in line said, “should you really order that honey?” I have never had a milkshake since. I love peanut M and M’s. It was my favorite treat once a month when chocolate is the primary medicinal resolve for discomfort. I remember purchasing a bag and as I turned away from the counter some total stranger had the balls to come up and pat my stomach. I did not eat candy much because I had issues with the lack of strong enamel on my teeth and my hatred of the dentist. Even now writing this, I feel the shame this produced and continues even today when I go out. I am better about it, but not much. I apologize when I order desserts. I used to explain my purchases when I was at the grocery store. Who does that? I would feel the need to explain chips or a dessert and such to the checkout person even if was for a party. Really, who does that? Only someone who has felt the guilt and shame produced from being of size. I have never heard anyone say “oh I am purchasing this 24 pack of beer because I am having a party”, even if they are a raging alcoholic and this purchase was truly going to be consumed that night alone.

And do not tell me that this is self-inflicted. No sir, it is not. Next time you check out of a grocery store, look at the magazines staring at you as you wait. “Lose ten pounds by farting…. You CAN be thin, if you sew your mouth shut…” Ok, I am exaggerating the article titles but not by much. The media pumps this information everywhere. The diet industry is one of the biggest in the nation. I think it is great that there are things out there that do help people, don’t get me wrong. Changing your eating habits to eating healthy is critical. And the older you get, the more important that is. But trust me; people think automatically that if you are large, you do not eat healthy. That is such a lie.

Again, the general public is predisposed to speak their minds about what large people eat. I am not saying all large people eat great, but there are many of us who do. We also are experts on diets because we have probably tried everyone out there. I eat at my desk at work and we do not have doors on our offices. I do not like to take my lunch break because I like to stay focused and keep working. When I do take a break it is to go for a walk… ( ha, shocked huh?) I have done this for as long as I can remember. But it seems my coworkers have no problem to comment on my food. I used to eat salad every day with low fat dressings I make. It was rare day when I ate something different for probably fifteen years. I cannot eat salad that much anymore, so now it is a piece of chicken and egg or a piece of cheese and some prepared veggie or cukes. Without fail, it does not waver much. It is not important to me what I eat as long as it is easy, but it seems many people comment on it. “Oh, you eat so healthy”, they will proclaim in shock. I have had people stand in my doorway and go on and on about their diet and eating habits, like I give a shit. I have one woman who works near me who periodically stops in to see what I am having as if it is a test.

I must also comment on the diet industry, especially Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. First WW: I have tried WW at least four times. Two were face to face meetings. The last time, I did lose some weight, but I was so put off from the experience I said I would never go back. The woman would weigh everyone in then make a big deal with stickers and hoopla about anyone who had lost five or more pounds. I can remember watching a fellow dieter fight tears and then leave the room because she was so humiliated and frustrated. The WW woman would then spend the rest of her time either talking about her children or selling the WW foods she brought. I have done the on-line twice, with little success. They last time I tried this was when WW decided to not count fruits and vegetables in the points systems. You could eat as much as you wanted “free.” I gained weight. I do not eat meat. I am not a big bean eater either. I took my diet to three nutritionists, who could not figure out why the pounds were not melting off. I spent six months on the strict consumption only to gain three pounds. Screw that! Other diets such as the ones that provide the food for you will make you lose weight, but they do not teach you to eat for life. Chances are you will put it all back on then some only in hopes you will buy their products again and again.

This post is long enough for now. I will continue with a series of posts about this topic as I travel through a new portal. I will explain this all later on.

For those of you who may completely get where I am coming from and may have your own personal history of weight issues, I encourage you to refocus. We are NEVER going to change the world’s opinion on this topic. But you can surely change your own opinion about yourself.

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. The failure is the judgment and lack of compassion of others. Hear me.

I am putting a link here to some very serious medical studies and I will be talking about this in the near future. But, take a look. Take the small assessment. For some, it may open a new door to healing.

http://acestudy.org/yahoo_site_admin/

test:

http://acestudy.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/ACE_Calculator-English.127143712.pdf

I am with you all on this journey.

 

 

 

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Fear fighter

Spring on Lake Ontario

Spring on Lake Ontario

When my parents were growing up, there whole world was tenuous at best. They came into the world at the end of World War I and by the time they were young adults, they were facing World War II. In between there was the depression. My mother’s parents separated and my grandmother moved back to the farm in West Virginia to have help with her two girls. My father’s brother and father died tragically in a car accident on a rail road track at the hands of a fast train when my father was 3. I watched my father’s business dissolve and he lost sequent employment until he finally was forced to retire without any pension and live on social security. I was with my mother as I witnessed the ravages of cancer take her at 59. I was bedside when my father crossed over 11 years later. I lived through the time as he adjusted to only having one leg. He had an amputation when he was 54. Their life was based on fear.

They lived in a time when how things look was more important than how things were. They were taught propriety and keeping up appearances at all cost. My parents were extremely judgmental. My father felt it was his duty to evoke his opinion on every difference in a person including the color of their skin. My mother was appalled by any person whose appearance was less than perfect especially weight. She never had an issue and was blessed with the ability to eat like a horse and remain tiny.

Their marriage started out with all the trappings of being very wealthy and successful. My father was excused from the war because he was a sole heir. My mother began her family with the comfort of domestic help and doting grandmothers. All of this was lost by the time I was five and by the time I was 14, they were living in an apartment and my mother was employed for the first time since she was married.

They lived in fear and they were angry. Both of them drank every night. Their ritual of cocktails, as they called it, was their escape of their world. It began as a habit of glamour and social acceptance and became their island of peace. Unfortunately, the results of their self-medicating turn ugly and their anger was often leashed upon me. I was the last at home as my other four siblings had moved on with their lives. My mother and father instilled fear in me and they taught me to be judgmental as it was necessary for survival at the time.

I am writing about this because I am working very hard on letting go of fear. It is extremely hard for me and I have to work on it every day and every minute. I have learned techniques to establish a sense of safety when I recognize that fear is creeping in. I hear my parents’ voices with their exaggerated warnings. I hear their voices also in judgment. This is the hardest thing to cut out as I replay their criticism willing. And while I am getting better at not uttering out loud comments about people, I struggle mightily with silencing the critical and nasty voice in my head. It is because I believed them.

I had to focus on why the two people in this world who had the power to influence my being more than anyone would be so cruel. It is because they lived in such abject fear. It is their fear, not mine. It was their world, not mine. I can forgive them as I understand and I can release their grip. I would not have been any better in their circumstances and I think few would. But it is not my truth.

So every day I am allowing the cleaning out of their thoughts. Sometimes it is painful but with the understanding that I am no longer buying into it, I can release it. This is a slow process as it is very deep. I had thought I had gotten past the need to do this, but then I realize that it is a step process. And this is what I want to share more than anything.

When I started the work I am doing on myself, it was overwhelming all that I had to deal with. I am not one for going slow. As I peeled layers back, new raw sores would appear. There were times when I would think I was never going to get through and eventually I did. I am sitting here in the realization it was and is all perfect in its manifestation. There were some huge hurdles that needed to be jumped and then removed. And with every jump and successful landing, I became stronger and mightier. I am quite confident that the path is peppered with more and will be through the rest of my life. It is called being human. But every time my feet hit the ground again, I am fortified for the next. I realize, actually as I am writing this, that I am not as afraid. There is movement forward when you work at releasing the things that weigh you down. Ah, the pun of what I just wrote. We will save that for another time.

Pharmacy nightmare

pharmacy       “And how can I screw up your order today?”

This is a tale of debauchery and exploitation of the highest kind. I put this out there for my fellow bloggers so that the word can spread. The crime is health care and in this case, the pharmaceutical branch. Here is the plot. They make it impossible for humans to get the medicine they manufacture to the point of desperation. That way the suffering idiots will pay anything for it.

I am on a specialty drug called Enbrel. Enbrel runs about $1760.00 a shot. It may be more now. I would do just about anything I could to get off this. My reasons have only been amplified after this week. Enbrel suppresses the over active immune system I have which causes the inflammation every time I move. It also slows down the production of extra cells that create the psoriasis on my skin and in my organs.  I am lucky because it works. I was on originally taking it every week and I have reduced the dosage significantly. It also has some nasty side effects like making me incredibly susceptible to infections that could kill me because I would not be able to fight them off and can produce cancer cells.  No problem.

I called in my prescription into Accredo last November when I had to switch insurances. It took two months to get the first order. I had to go through so many hoops but I did get it. Then for my next shipment, they decided not to send it because the weather was bad. Really? It is not like they hand carry it. Well, that was just the beginning of a long process of lies. Every time I called them, I had to start with a new person and they had to hear the story and then read the notes. The outcome in the last six calls was they had it figured out. Every time, it was something else wrong. But it was also an hour every night on the phone. The last time I called, the woman was so pleasant and assured me she had it figured out. This call was an hour and half. She wanted me to call the next day to her supervisor who she sat near and she would then get on the phone. She did not have a direct number. The next day I called at the specific time and the number went right to voice mail. I did it five times…which give me some satisfaction because she has five annoying voice mails that say nothing. Then I called the main number and supposedly got someone else who said it was her supervisor too and she was at her desk and that she would go get tell her to take this call. And the other lady who was supposed to be at her desk was at lunch. Who would imagine that? So I waited as she transferred me and she said she would stay on the line until the supervisor picked up. I was so excited….and then, click….. nothing.

That did it. I had our benefit person call the insurance company directly and they called through and supposedly they are getting it fixed. Then I called the rheumatology office and they are on it and supposedly it is being shipped out on Monday. We will see. I hope I get a ton of it as it lasts for two years. Do not use Accredo if you can or Express Scripts which is the same.

On top of this, I get a B12 shot monthly. I went to the doctor on Thursday to get it and they are out. They do not have any and they cannot get it. I was absolutely disgusted with all this. This is like being held hostage.

The good news is I did some research and found something better than the B12 shot which was not working. In four months of shots I only raised my level 87 points. I am not even close to the normal range.  In my research, I also discovered that my ridiculously low B12 is also a contributing factor to the Psoriatic Arthritis and some of the other symptoms I have like poor metabolism. There is something interwoven in the inability for me to absorb B12 and what the impact the lack of this crucial vitamin causes in symptoms. I am now trying with the doctor’s suggestion  sublingual methylcobalamin 5000 MCG and folate 800mcg. This is over the counter and not uncommon in better pharmacies. It seems like there are so many things that this simple remedy will cure…not mask but alleviate. I had to do the work and the research. It really makes me upset but this is truly the path western medicine is headed. And customer service is a dying skill.

Winnie and Me

winnie the pooh
I just watched a wonderful webinar with Dr. Bruce Lipton who wrote the Biology of Belief. He is a biologist whose work with stem cells led him to some very interesting discoveries. Some of you may know his work. I read the book a while ago and was not able to “get it” all. Tonight’s webinar is in a series of Wednesday night offerings. Two weeks ago there was one that was like a wake up slap that led me to more understanding about the connection between the brains older systems and the connection to neuro imprinting to the way I live and why.

Tonight Dr. Lipton was talking about the fallacy that we are controlled by our genes. The way we are is not genetically predisposed at all. Matter of fact, according to the good Doctor, genes are not at all involved in why we do the things we do. He says that it is from the imprinting done in utero and up to the age of seven. I will try to explain his theory. And it is substantiated theory which I am personally engaged in understanding.

He explains that you take stem cells and put them in a petri dish, they will multiply exponentially until they create a new body of cells. He says the material they grow the cells in is basically man made blood and that the human body is a living petri dish. The correlation is the same for growing new cells and hence we survive biologically, growing new cells multiple times, just like the plastic petri dish.

But he says that what is different in his studies is that he could impact the cells in the petri dish by changing the environment. No frontal cortex there. In previous things I have read, and also in this webinar he talks about stress hormones and the impact they have on the body. We know that being under stress the body releases chemicals to react and to survive. There is no “thinking” when this happens. It is automatic. Matter of fact the thinking mind stops and the brain goes to a lower system that automatically “knows” what to do. He said they observed a change in the cellular makeup when they introduce stress chemicals such as cortisol even in the petri dish. This is just a real quick overview of what he was saying.

He said something I did not know and that I think was terribly important and connects more in the arena I have been studying. He said that an unborn child learns stress before he/she is born if the mother is stressed. The chemicals are transferred into the placenta and into the child. So a child whose mother is under stress will impact the child automatically, imprinting the circuitry that creates fear stimulating the fight, flight or freeze mechanisms. And once the child is born, that impact is continuous up until the age of seven. And why? Because children fire a different brain wave called theta, which is the same brain wave that accesses the subconscious in hypnosis and deep mediation.  Children are truly sponges and are constantly pulling information in and imprinting it in their subconscious. So if you live in an environment that is chaotic, abusive and violent as a child, imagine what that does. And as an adult, you may cognitively think you are not upset, or that things are not bothering you, but your body is off doing its own thing. And viola…

So I said something in a previous post about my science project. It continues and this week was not as successful as I had hoped it would be. I employed a tool and some other techniques to help stabilize my reactions and my physical well-being. Nope, did not work. I know this is going to be a long process because there is a lot to retrain, but I was disappointed in myself very much. I had a horrible day on Monday but thought I had everything under control. But I did not, and I reacted poorly which ended up making things worse. And even when I THOUGHT I was good, my body was preparing for battle. And so, I erupted at the wrong thing. Which afterwards, my physical condition went to hell. My gut instead of shutting down went the other way. I never know which it will be, which is fun. I have not slept well and now my left ankle is as big as a tree and pain is coursing through my body. Just in case you may not know, inflammation is a marker for stress but it often appears after the initial dosage of stress chemicals assaults the body. So, for me, there is a cyclical pattern, which believe me, I want to stop. I explode or get terribly depressed or a combination of the two, I tighten up all my muscles causing cramping and the inability to breathe deeply and my digestion is interrupted, followed by intense Psoriasis and arthritic flares which appear anywhere. Dr. Lipton talked about how babies who are stressed in utero often have digestion issues because the blood flow goes to the extremities and not the visceral organs. Instead the abundant cortisol transfers into fat and deposits in the abdomen to protect those organs. Hello…. I was born with huge digestion issues that were only resolved by giving me small feedings of  goat’s milk as an infant. My digestion or lack of it has plagued me my whole life. And my Winnie the Pooh shape is a testimony to the production of said deposits.

I know I have not discovered anything new. There is a lot of information coming out on all of this. There are a lot of reasons why but the answers to stopping it all seems to vary. But it is just a relief for me to know there are reasons things are the way they are. And I continue to learn.

Dinosaur Brain….really?

IMG955468

Today was one of those days when subtle messages are being sent and I was able to perceive them. I have a tendency to be pretty empathic….ok, a lot empathic. It is not always good, believe me. I sense things people really do not want me to know that they are feeling. Sometimes I know what they are feeling and sometimes it is just a premonition of something coming. It is interesting how my sensory input has changed to be so much less about me and my reaction even though I still sense feelings coming off of others.  Now, I know it is their feelings and I do not have to take offense or take their feelings on. There is a lot of freedom in that. It makes being uber-sensitive a lot easier to live with.

But today something kept popping up. It is a banner I truly wave. It is about acceptance of image or body acceptance. And it extends to in-general acceptance. We have a campaign going on at work about better health. I am all for being optimal in your health, whatever that means to you. But this campaign is totally setting people up for failure. It started out by making participants answer whether they had good self-esteem. It went on to categorize things that you did or did not have “esteem” about. None of them were about things that really matter. It was about weight, physical ability and food. Did you walk 1000 steps today? Were you successful in your diet? I wrote back to the committee who was soliciting comments a retort about esteem being something set up and enforced by outside resources. Esteem is not really intrinsic and sets up the person for failure. Any time you measure yourself against a matrix, you will fail. There is always someone better. I went on to talk about self-compassion over self-esteem, which I know should shock a few of you. I will save what I said for a later post.

Then tonight, I was glancing at Facebook, and there was a post about a reporter who got a nasty email from a viewer about her weight. I have watched it a 100 times. She was elegant, brilliant and righteous. It is about time we stop the abuse and prejudice against people of size…. Or of anything physically descriptive of a person when used in a derogatory comment. “She is so fat”… for example. You would not say anymore, “she is so black”. Or “she is so hair-lipped”, or “retarded” (you better not say that in front of me)….or “deformed”. But we are perfectly comfortable labeling someone of size as being fat and meaning it derogatorily. I am fat, but I am also blond, freckled and actually quite beautiful.

Then tonight I was listening to a podcast by The National Institute for the Clinical
Application of Behavioral Medicine
.
This was a dialogue with Daniel Amen, MD. I admit I did not know who he was and I do not want to anymore. The topic was supposed to be the difference between the male and female brain, and it was science based. I am very interested in neuroscience. I find it fascinating what the grey matter can do. This podcast started off talking about the differences in brain structure and function. He proceeded to discuss hormones and their influence on thinking and somewhere he digressed into weight. He was talking about the different impact foods have on the brains ability to process. He proclaims a high fat – high protein diet is the way to go. No carbs. But then I was beginning to realize he sells his products. (I went and Googled him. You do the same if you wish.) He then went on to say that fat people….yes FAT people have an 8% brain cell deficit……….. ohhhhhhhhhhh can you imagine how that sat with me. I am sorry DOCTOR….people lose more than that on one drink. (In truth alcohol does not kill brain cells, it damages the connections of the dendrites used for communication, but for my point I will say this.)  But I kept listening and he proclaims he is the creator of the “Dinosaur Brain Theory”.  He is proud of this…. He says that FAT people are like dinosaurs, big bodies, small brains. I ripped the head set off my head and wanted to go through the computer at him. Are you freaking kidding me? He is proud of this statement and “theory”. I am so sorry Doctor to tell you that being Fat and Lazy is not new, just insidiously cruel and only a reflection on how stupid you are. But this jerk is running around telling people to pop hormones and eat fat and have high cholesterol, which is all fine and dandy if you are not fat. Oh and make sure you have enough testosterone too.  Yikes… I think he is a testosterone brain or more commonly known as a dick head!

There is a lot of movement being created to educate women and girls about body acceptance. I am all for it. But, I think an important piece has to start with education of everyone. It is not ok to derogatorily refer to anyone by their shape or size or physical appearance. It is ok to be who you are no matter what it is. It is not ok to make people feel bad about themselves, whatever the situation is. I would hope you would not comment on someone for example who stutters. Some would say that is different, a stutterer cannot control their stutter, a fat person can control being fat. THAT debate is for another time. AND I will welcome anyone who wants to debate it. And being fat does not automatically mean the person is lazy or over eats. I plan on returning to this topic and often. But for now, I am getting off my soapbox. Take care folks in what you say. Or even think as some people can sense the things you do not express. 

Interesting discovery

Chemical verses electrical. Biological verses spiritual. Polarity. These are few of the things that I have on my mind at the end of this week. Being in balance is not easy and I am the first one to say that I sometimes go to the farthest reaches when I am out of balance. But I come to an even keel faster that I used to. The pendulum does not swing so violent any more. I spent a moment and went back to look at a couple of my posts. I understand that often my words may not fully explain my feelings. I hate that to me it often sounds like I am whining. My intent is to share and to evoke some semblance of “I get what others are going through”. But I also like to offer up things in an attempt to maybe teach something.  So today I am going to share a discovery I had yesterday.

On purpose, I have very thorough labs done on my blood. I have a hereditary condition that I have to monitor monthly to set at a therapeutic level. But I also make my doctor check for other things. One of the first things I had checked was my vitamin D levels years ago before it became common. My reading at the time was 13. Normal is around 50 -74. It compounded my aches and pains. I was put on massive doses of Vit D and now maintain with about 4000 u. daily and my levels are around 40. A few years ago I had my thyroid and my parathyroid levels tested. My thyroid was high and so I went on something that did not sit well with me in short order and went off it. The level naturally came back down. I went through huge testing because my parathyroid level was way off. They discovered nodules but never did anything else about it. This happens often with me. They discover something and go crazy like I am going to die tomorrow and then nothing is done. My level seems not to be of interest now.

So I started to notice last spring that my energy levels were very low. My drug for my arthritis often affects my energy, but I am used to that. Someday I will get off that poison. But this was more. I thought maybe it was the weather, but I had been feeling like this for a while, even when the weather was nice. The feeling was more like running out of gas much quicker. Two weeks ago it was six months since my last lab panel. I called the doctor and added a new test.

Here is the interesting thing I did discover which hit me like a brick. Last fall I went on Weight Watchers  and was a faithful dieter. I struggled and actually gain weight at first. This was not my first rodeo with dieting by any means and it was the third time on WW. I had lost weight years ago pretty successfully but some of the weight came back. But I had incorporated many of the tools and eating habits as a natural part of my eating. When I went on WW last fall I actually gained weight because I had to eat so many points. I struggled to lose an ounce. I took my readings to two different nutritionists at work and all were stumped. One suggested I eat more protein and that actually helped. In eight months I barely lost ten pounds. But I worried about every mouthful, felt guilt at any transgression and the charting of the consumption was hugely time consuming. In March I was so fed up with the process, I quit.

I have my blood pressure checked regularly and was noticing an increase of about 20 – 30 points on the high number and 5 -10 points on the lower last fall and winter. I had stabilized it before. The doctor was concerned but I asked him to wait before dumping another pill down my throat.

In July I had my tests done and although the lousy ten pounds had slowly come back, the numbers showed no change in anything. I monitor my glucose closely as I have had very high readings when I was on a certain drug. But this is the fun thing we discovered in the labs I did last week: My sugar (BGs) had not fluctuated much in the last two years and they are at the high end of normal. Tryglycerides actually went down a bit. The thing he always is stumped by is that my cholesterol has been 110 to the high of 180. But this lab is was 88. HA! My levels went down from NOT dieting. But the biggest change is my blood pressure has been normal in the last readings I have done. I had them done at another place and they have been consistently down. I give credit to the meditation and other spiritual work I have been doing. He checked it himself as he thought maybe I was wrong and was surprised with a 123/74.  HA! My conclusion is mine and many will not agree. But they are finally discovering that sometimes dieting is a lesson in futility. I am in agreement. There needs to be a better solution towards health. Mine for now is acceptance of my body as is. I know many people will be up in arms over this as being obese is the absolute number one “no no” in our society. I am done with fighting to be something everyone else has a problem with. I am going to die of something and chances are it will be from the calcification from the PsA on my organs.

And to here is what else was discovered in the labs: I have pernicious anemia. This is the inability to process Vit B12. My level was very low. All my B vits were low. This one was extreme. The cause…. You got it, an intrinsic factor that is not there due to the Psoriatic Arthritis. Yupper. This little disease is far reaching. I am accepting it for what it is. I will have to get a shot in my arm probably for life. But for now, we will monitor my levels and reassess in four months. But a low level of Vit B 12 makes you tired and lethargic, confused and moody. All makes sense. I had a feeling that this may have been the case as I was diagnosed once before with Pernicious Anemia and had shots but then for some reason they were stopped and never checked again. My message is to be your own health advocate. The doctor cannot read your mind and if you do not tell him what is happening, he/she will not know to test. I asked him specifically this time to test for all the vitamin b’s on my lab panel.

I look forward to feeling better. I am also not going to diet ever again. I will instead embrace healthy eating for life. But if Mr. Chocolate Cake wants me to enjoy a piece of it, I am. One piece. Life is what you make of it.

It’s a miracle: I can walk

It’s a miracle. I can walk this morning. And I actually mean that. I am grateful I can walk. Of course I am being a bit tongue and cheek but the fact is I could not last night. And it is all my fault…no wait….it is my friend’s fault. She got me into this. This all started out so innocently.
Around here, if you do not do something to make the winter go by, it drags on forever. Last year, she talked me into taking music lessons on the recorder. I did not need much persuasion. It was something I wanted to do for a while. I hung in there and learned to play the soprano recorder. I am back again this year learning the alto which is so much more melodic. I am in love with this instrument and will continue to play it. The soprano is much more shrill and the best part was it drove my cat nuts when I practiced. She doesn’t seem to mind the alto. Well so far she hasn’t shredded the music like she did with the soprano.
So this summer, my friend and I decided to look into something new. We talked about yoga and I was not too thrilled with it because of a past experience I had with it last year. We went and watched a display of an activity we thought would be fun and it looked so easy. Sign me up! Tai Chi. Who knew? If 90 year old men can do this, how hard can it be?
Ok…it is not easy. It is a beautiful method of ripping every muscle in your legs out of your body and replacing the muscles in your stomach with a sack of rocks. NO just kidding. It is beautiful and it is extremely difficult to get it right. I am enjoying it very much. The issue is she has us learning a pose and then she holds us while she talks or demonstrates the next thing. So you are slightly bent or mid-extension and she is chatting away. And you get yelled at if you move ahead. And she does it so slow when we practice. I think once you learn the poses and do them sequentially it is less straining. But last night, she went very slow over and over.
And I had to leave before the class ended to take Bishop to the vet. The class is on the second floor of an old firehouse. A very tall staircase leads up to the room and unfortunately down too. I had a bit of a charlie horse in the class and as I was changing my shoes it went off again. Going down the stairs was a joke. Trying to cross the very busy street was like running gauntlet. I hobbled to my car and spent the rest of the night being very aware of how sore I was. But it was an ok sore.
So this morning, the pain is gone. I was not as stiff as I expected actually. This is going to be a good thing as I can sense the muscles around the knees. It will be good to strengthen them to support me.
I am not sure what is in the air right now. I spent a few moments last night reading some different blogs and our circle. There seems to be a reoccurring theme right now of upset and people struggling. I noticed it at work with a few people I talked with. It is like a mild wave of irritation and angst. Fellow writers seem to be sharing a common upset that is manifesting. I purposefully do not watch or read the news. I figure if there is something that important going on, I will find out. I do not need the interpretation of some overzealous reporter putting sensationalism on top of a tragedy. I do believe we are all connected and sense the feeling of troubled waters. Some say I am oversensitive. I have gotten over that being an insult and take it as a compliment. You betcha, I am sensitive.
Even though I was worn out last night, I did not sleep well. Physically I did and my body replenished. But I had some douzzies dreams. One was about an interesting place in a woods. To get to it, you had to drive down this stream (it’s a dream) and there were huge boulders you had to drive over. In the dream I did this two times and I can still see the boulders in my head. At the end of the stream there was a recreational area where people were playing in the water. The stream cascades down a hill to a falls and people were jumping off the rocks into the falls. At the bottom of the falls was a huge lake and people were on the beach. I could only see a small part of the lake, but I knew it well from other dreams. In this dream, Bishop was there and we were cuddling as we watched people. He hates water, so he was not going near it. I got up to go into the water and kept facing some small issues which prohibited me. I do not remember them and I woke up and never got to the water. I was frustrated. I know the symbolism of the water.
I had another dream which woke me right up around 3am and I had to get up to shake it off. It ended in pure fear. I have had this dream in different versions. Same theme with different scenery. I have a fear of dark rooms, dark staircases going into dark rooms, dark halls and so on. A reoccurring dream I have is walking into a dark room and not being able to find a light to turn on. You get the drift. Last night a nasty entity was in this completely dark room and I was placed in it. There was a being in the door who was about to shut me in. I was pleading with the being who was a thin faceless statue like being almost like an alien. There was not a sense of them being an angel although they might represent it. I was pleading with them to not shut me in as the fear in my chest grew. I knew that behind me was pure evil and it would “get” me. I have dreamt that sensation many times before. Often there is an unknown evil that I am trying to get away from that is in the dark. I have not had this dream in a long while. I know the symbolism is huge and as I typed this I saw that it is mirroring what I am going through in my conscious life. In my dream, I lay my hand on the chest of the being to demonstrate that….. and I woke up. The fear was with me for a few moments. I also am still conscious of the fear this morning. The laying of my hand on the being’s chest was representing the feeling I get in my hands when I do healing touch. I know I am still unsure about my ability with all that.
So I am not sure what is going on. I have written about being in transit. I am being aware of the messages. Last night is about facing some fear which is pretty buried. So with a slightly sore body, I must now go face my day. I hope everyone has a blessed day filled with miracles as profound as being able to walk. When you think of it, it pretty amazing we can do that at all.

Fat, the acceptable hatred

I decided to circle round back to some of my comments I made the other day when I was writing about SAID: Self-Acceptance Image Deficit. My toe is coming back around to normal and I am beginning to feel like myself again. I realize that my toe was actually paralyzed and try as I might, I could not bend it or feel it on the ground until I stepped and then the pain was excruciating. But I am on the mend and want to move on. Image: that is my topic for today and what society has done to the large size human being….at least in my neck of the woods.
We seem to have a First Lady who is hell bent of obesity in children. I thought back to my childhood and tried to remember if there were kids in my grade school who were ostracized for being fat. I actually do not remember any one being that big as a kid. Oh wait, I was…. According to my parents I was huge but in the world of school and scouts, I was not. I was thick as they say now and I was also taller and earlier to bloom than my classmates. This did not ostracize me in anyway and I do not remember being mocked for being fat. First of all, I kept up. I was not the slowest or clumsiest. I actually was good in sports I liked. I was popular with the boys as I developed early and quite prolifically at an age where boys were fascinated with breasts. Oh wait; they never stop being fascinated do they?
But the world was different. I was not allowed to watch TV. We had to be outside and in my house you wanted to be anywhere but there. I grew up in a farming community where chores where the order. My favorite place to be was either down the street with Elaine who had a horse and calf she was raising. We walked everywhere or rode bikes and went to the barn in the village where she kept her animals. The other favorite place was Peggy’s and her family owned a farm with vast quantities of property on the lake and adjacent fields. We rode horses or tended to something that was required with the younger siblings. You did not ever watch TV in that household. There were always chores and you did them gladly. I can muck a stall with the best of them.
Kids did not have phones, IPods or other devices plugged into their ears at all times. We learned to listen for snakes in the grass so we would not step on them. We listened for the wind so we would know how to tack a sail. We listened to the wheat and corn rustle and ripple. In town, you listened for the clock tower so you knew when to come home. And you paid attention to your friends talking to you directly and not in a chat or text. I know I sound like an old fart who does not appreciate technology, and that is hardly the case. But we connected in a different way. A bigger difference was we moved constantly. We walked or rode bikes to each other’s house. We put on records and danced. We played physical games like softball, tennis and one of my favorites, tether ball. Being on one of the clearest lakes in New York State, you took swimming lessons in June and sometime in September you climbed out of the water. Otherwise, I was in it as much as I could. We walked farm fields and one of my favorite memories was walking out to the sheep herd in the pasture and cuddling with the lambs. Sheep are wonderful animals and I am delighted we have a farm around the corner from my house here in the village that has a huge herd. The Stinky Farm being so close to the village is another story, but it is one that makes living where I do so special.
It was not until junior high that I realized I was different than most girls. My friends were all different shapes and sizes from almost six feet tall and some a little round. But none of us where treated badly. It was a benefit to my brother who is two years older that I had such comely friends. But around that time my parents ramped up into a campaign of terror because they held the belief I was a monster, a behemoth of a girl. My mother especially spent an inordinate amount of time making sure I knew my appearance did not please her. This is not going to be about that. This is a tale about a poor girl in my sister’s class who was pretty close to tipping the scales at about 300 pounds. I think back and I remember her being so pretty and sweet. But the story goes that people felt sorry for her. She was really the only girl her size in the small school district. There were plenty beefy girls as you will find in farm country. Taking care of a farm is not for weaklings. This young lady was a victim of humiliation in an attempt to actually do something nice for her. The story goes they held a lottery and all the guys had to submit their names if they did not have a date secured for the Senior Ball. Then one name was selected and they had to escort this young lady to the ball. It was common knowledge this was happening and acceptable to the rank and file of the senior class. My parents wrapped the story around that it would happen to me when I was ready to go to the ball, which was several years away. It did not happen by the way. I secured a date all on my own, but the fear never left. Who in their right mind would think this was a good idea? But I was too young to deal with it then.
Now we have an epidemic of childhood obesity. My step daughter was a very chucky young girl when she lived with me. But because of the divorce and the divide of the family, she spent a huge amount of time in front of the TV and eating convenient food such as pizza. I fault her father for perpetuating that lifestyle and it was difficult to instill new habits when they moved in. She had to walk to school, which was right up the end of the street. She had mild Aspergers and so making friends was hard for her. Like her father, she is very clumsy and chunky and does not like physical activity. But she gained confidence when I worked with her on “her look.” She actually has a sense of style which remains today. She had friends and joined the theater group and because she has a fabulous sense of humor, again much like her father, she was popular with her gang. But left to her own devices, she would lock herself in her room with her computer and DVD player. When she needed correction, we would remove all the devices which really was fine with her, because she loves to read. When her mother interjected, she moved out to live with her and unfortunately returned to a sedentary life style and as a young woman she now has some serious health issues due to immobility and her size. She would dwarf the young woman with the senior ball issues.
The situation with children is not what they are putting so much in their mouths but the fact they do not move. I never see kids walking unless it is a mandatory take the dog out walk. We have ball fields up the street and they are only used by the official leagues that play there. You never see a pick-up game. The tennis courts are primarily used by my generation. You do not even see gangs of kids roaming the village or hanging out anywhere. They go to the mall and text each other from the various coffee settees. I see the young girls who still walk to school and they are tiny. So tiny, I wonder about their health. I cannot imagine what the comparison must be for someone who is thick and their classmate. I have not been in a school system for a while now as I do not teach in public schools, nor is my step-daughter here, so I am out of the loop.
But I do read about bullies and young people killing themselves over being ostracized in some manner. We attack soft drink manufactures and fast food places, when the issue is acceptance. Do not get me wrong, I am not a fan of fast food in any manner. Nor do I allow soft drinks in my house and banned all of it, burgers to soda from the lips of my family years ago. But if some kid picked on my step daughter like they seem to be doing now to different types of kids, I would seek them out. What is wrong with people…..
But then I realize, it is not the kids, it is a learned behavior. We push this one size, one beautiful look through media. I cannot spend the time on this topic as it would fill pages. Both my husband and I wrote papers on it for our psychology courses we took in college for our teaching degrees. It starts with the parents seeking to understand what is really going on. And then teaching their children to accept the differences they see, to embrace individuality and honor the being, not the vessel carrying the soul. I am running out of time for this morning to continue with the passion I feel about this topic.
I am not advocating for allowing children to consume and become obese in any manner. I am a strong believer in you are what you eat. Personally, I get pissed off when people comment on my food consumption and it usually in surprise. I eat almost daily the same foods. For lunch it is chicken and salad or green beans….and I have done this for YEARS. I have not eaten red meat since 1986. But this is not about me. This is about all of us embracing people for what and who they are. Being fat is not always a choice. I am going to say that for some, it is not a result of consumption. I ate less than anyone in my family and they all are thin. But for whatever reason someone is on the portly side or actually obese (and I hate that word), take the time to see the person and not judge. We would never think to walk up to someone with a disability such as a disfigurement and poke then in the gut and make a comment about their physical being. But I have seen it first hand with people of size, including someone walking up to me as a young woman and asking me when my baby was due? This was shortly after I had miscarried and I ran crying from the store. The shirt I was wearing was the style back in the 70’s that tied in the back and draped softly over my round belly. But her action was inexcusable. My best friend and I were going to have t-shirts made that said: “I am not pregnant, just fat. Get over it.”
I have much more to say on this topic but for now, take a look around today and really look at people. It is one of my favorite things to do. Sense how you react. Pay close attention to anyone who you see who is of size and figure out what your reaction is. I bet it is not something you would disclose. Not accepting people of size is the last area of acceptable discrimination. I am on roll (no pun intended) to help stop this being acceptable.

For John

“Stand-up” he demanded with a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his face. “Stand in front of me.” Her breath caught as he reached out his hands and pulled her closer. “What?” She panicked, thinking this was making her feel a bit uncomfortable. She had been here before. She trusted him with her heart and soul. They had been working together for ten months. He had done nothing to evoke fear and she knew she was safe. She knew this was going to be a test of some sort. She was up to the challenge, but still her breath shortened in its depth.

“Jump” he said. She looked at him with a perplexed smile. “What?”  He softened his grip and said firmly, “Jump, I want you to jump. Just simply jump.” She let go of his hands and laughed a nervous giggle. “Really?” Usually an articulate woman, in his presence she would easily become tongue tied. He knew she was easily frightened and had worked patiently to instill confidence and comfort in his care. “You want me to jump?” He reached for her hands again and said “yes.” She paused and moved one foot up and then the other. She was doing an inventory of her limbs. “Jump? What is involved in that,” she thought to herself. “I have not jumped or hopped in years.”

Actually it was over ten years since the DISEASE had hit and robbed her of her confidence in her legs. She was almost to the point of remaining permanently prone or in a chair all the time due to her inability to trust the muscles and ligaments that made up her legs. They constantly fought back with pain and Charlie horses and were covered by unsightly painful rashes that were the sister component of the DISEASE. She fell easily and even the task of walking had frightened her. She had spent hours sitting with this man as he worked with her to find a resolve to the pain and suffering.

The DISEASE was real. It had been diagnosed. At first, no one wanted to believe her. They said her pain was due to her weight. And as everything in her life that caused her pain, she was told it was her own fault. She deserved to suffer, because she had mistreated her body and was fat. At the point of the DISEASE coming to live with her, she was ready to take the blame for everything in her life. She had lost. She was a victim of everything including the body she had been wearing around like a housecoat made of shame. She acquiesced and let it win. It was the same body that had transported her previously in a multitude of activities such as tennis, bike riding, hiking and swimming. But somewhere along the way, the DISEASE became stronger and she failed even her own body. The shape had not changed in over twenty years, but the spirit was broken and the soul was suffocated.

She had sought out his help on the recommendation of a coworker. She had become so locked up that the smallest task was taking such effort to complete. She often sat and cried in her frustration. She had gotten so much better, but now the spirit to overcome her pain had left again. It made no sense because the turmoil of her previous life was gone. She was happy, she thought. She was in a place of ease with a job that made her feel fufilled and a home life that was comfortable and stable. She was secure in her relationships. She had accomplished her goals for her education. What was wrong? Why were the physical inabilities become so prominent again? She decided to follow up on the recommendation to see this physical therapist as a final attempt to stop the crippling progression of pain. There was nothing to lose. What she discovered was not at all what she expected.

There is a great plan out there for all of us. We are our own jailors. She had taken all the burdens of her past and stuffed them down inside. Since the day to day things were no longer an issue, the past demons began to erupt in her body and identified themselves as pain. She no longer had to survive an obstacle course of minute quandaries in the current world so there was space and time to deal the past. The soul instinctly knew that this was the time. Although it seemed like the progression was apparent overnight, it had be a long time coming to this point. It was the mountain that needed to be climbed and she had only the recourse to survive or die. The medicine that she had been given to contain the symptoms was producing its own destruction. She had been warned that it was a possibility, but her medical doctor had convinced her that the gamble was worth the price. The price included her kidneys failing, bleeding internally, horrific muscle spasms and at any moment, and the big C…cancer. She had already successfully negotiated a turn about the dance floor with cancer.  It was the price she had been willing to pay to dance with the devil, but the song was coming to an end. The progression of the DISEASE was no longer being controlled. This too had been foretold.

Her first visit produced such panic that the therapist was intrigued. She cowered in the chair thinking he would not see how terrified she was. He saw. There was no hiding anything from him. She put up a false sense of confidence and let him approach. As he gently laid a hand on her arm, she recoiled. He told the story of their first encounters to her later. She had acted like a trapped animal. He never left her vision. She never turned her back to him in the small room. It took three months of weekly visits for him to be able to begin the actual therapy that enabled her to be touched. She had asked if she could write to him as she was unable to talk about the things she needed to unburden her soul from. He had said yes.

She had slipped and fallen many times through their journey together. He had always been there to pick her up. At first, it was a ready hand but as time moved on, he encouraged her to use her own sources to get back up. She knew he would not let her suffer and within that safety, she sought her own strength. She could sense his frustration at times however he never made her feel inadequate. He always offered an explanation of what he was doing when she asked. She was a teacher in her trade; he was a healer who taught her much. Their relationship was more than therapist and patient, but of a guide and traveler. She knew he was a blessing placed in her path and told him often of her honest gratitude. He brought her through the pain to a place of healing that went beyond the physical. There will never be adequate words to describe the experience they shared.

But their time together was coming to a close. She had sensed it early on that spring and spent many moments of sadness thinking he would no longer be such an integral part of her life. She was afraid to tell him, but he knew. He had told her he would always be there if she needed him. She had heard that before and had been abandoned. How could she trust this person? She knew she could. The need was not the same as it was in the beginning. The resource of her healing was instilled within her soul being guided there by his gentle touch and teachings. He would always be in her heart. She knew it was time to work on the giving back and paying forward and she was grateful for being in that place.

She took his hands and stood in front of him as he sat on his rolling stool. Thoughts of “what if” raced in her head. What if she toppled on him? What if on the approach back down, her foot was not there? What if her ankle gave out, which it was known to do even without jumping? He calmly waited, his eyes locked in hers as she searched for answers. “You have to trust  God on this one,” he said. She remembered and became aware of the flow racing through her body into his hands and circling back out to hers from him. This is the gift he had given to her: the time to heal and to learn the resource of all healing. It was not something he had ever articulated or prescribed. He had just cleared the path and allowed her to find God all on her own. She had chronicled her foray into the spiritual world and he had only occasionally asked a question or two for clarity. He had never forced his beliefs and often she had written and asked for his views. He guided her towards authors and speakers and allowed her to pick and choose the values and beliefs that fit her individual spirit. She could not say when it all came to be, but the Spirit flowed and she knew. She just knew.

She lost herself in his eyes and released her fear. She jumped. It was not a mighty leap, but she left the earth. That was all that mattered. She was stunned. She landed and looked at him. He was beaming and said she looked like she was twenty again. She felt like a huge burden had been lifted and she knew this was the beginning of a new chapter. He was not done with the lesson and proceeded to produce a three inch piece of foam for her to jump onto. It might as well been a mile high as the impediment seem so great. Again, with patience and a steady foundation, she faced the obstacle. It took many attempts and then she lifted off and made the mark and then she repeated it. Was this not the account of their story together? He gave her the foundation and she took the leap of faith.

The cement that had filled her body and soul was gone. There was still work to do on both and there would be a need for occasional reinforcement for quite some time. She found comfort in that. She knew he would always be there to catch her if she fell. He believed in her like no one had ever done before. This unassuming therapist who laughed with his whole body, whose wisdom was immense, his patience unending and his ability to teach prodigious had given her life. It was not that he had magically cured anything; he had removed the chains that had bound her and were pulling her slowly towards her death. He had guided her to a boundless resource that when death did come to its inevitable time, she would be able to face it unafraid. He had given her many gifts of freedom and sensation that would be the tools she would use in the present and in her future.

Her gift of thanks to him would be her love for him forever.

 

 

 

Image (part two)

I purposefully did not respond to my post: Image part one. I wanted to let it settle in for a day or two. I was very aware of my reactions and wanted to journal them here. For those of you who missed the original post, it is only one post back on my WordPress page. The exercise was not a fishing expedition, but a lesson on self-acceptance aimed at me, and is a process I am working on. But before I move on, I want to thank those who sent me such wonderful responses. They were sweet and kind and I am grateful. This post is about the reaction I had when I read them.

When I wrote it on Tuesday, I was not sure how I would feel about putting a picture out there of myself. I have many blogs I follow, and not many use their own image anywhere on their sites. I am not sure why, but I am hoping it is only for security and not because they are ashamed of their image. I use my dog and mostly because I was taught to not to use a real face picture on social media. I do not have a picture of myself on my Facebook page as an identifier. But what is so silly, I have pictures in my photo albums of myself. I use a real picture of me on my LinkedIn page. That is for “professional” use and so it is deemed secure and recommended that you post a professional image. So what is the big deal elsewhere? I think partially it is the anonymity and mystery but for me it is the acceptance of my image being posted for all to see. I wrote at the bottom how difficult it was to hit publish after I attached my image in the blog post. I spent a lot of time looking at the variety of pictures worrying that somehow……and I just figured this part out…..I would offend someone by posting. Why in heavens would my image posted on a random page lost in the world of a multitude of blogs offend someone? Because the person who I was worried about offending is the voice in my head. The same voice that I work on every day to quiet.

I received a response very early in morning and it threw me. I held their wonderful words in my thoughts and I did not look at the rest responses all day. Sometimes I do at work, but I waited until I got home. I did not respond then either because I was so aware of my reaction. I wanted to wait to see how I would feel a day or two after being so absolutely vulnerable. This exercise was a wonderful bit of exposure and a walk down the path of shame resilience. To some of you that may seem a bit drastic, but for someone like me who has spent a lifetime deflecting comments directed at my physical appearance, this simple minute of putting myself out there was very difficult. Granted, the image was safe in the fact that my whole physical body is not exposed, but it did not matter actually because I know. This whole concept of this posting was not for the reader to approve of my image, but for me to approve and accept.

But, I am going to say something about the responses and how they made me feel. The first one said something about my personality. My immediate reaction was to reply with a joke and deflect the actual kindness of the comment. He said something about my face being full of personality and I wanted to respond with: “oh personality, that is code for she is ugly but fun to be with….take out on a date to a movie.” This is why I did not reply. It is what I always do when someone pays me a compliment; I deflect it with either denial or a joke. I do not take compliments well….actually, I totally suck at it. I have developed a rather sharp sense of humor and employ this mechanism in many avenues of discomfort. I truly was uncomfortable with the response, which was meant in friendship and was nothing more than a kind validation. The post gathered many such wonderful and sweet comments. I was ready to respond with each one with a sarcastic and depreciative comment in order to deflect the words. My friend at work, who is a devoted reader, made a comment when I came in and I immediately dismissed it with a confused brittle comment in order to protect my vulnerable state.

When I finished reading the comments that night, I purposefully walked away. The lesson was learned and I started to brew in my head this post. Actually I have a lot thoughts brewing and I am struggling with keeping to my theme this morning. How often do we toss away a kindness of a compliment only in our attempts to not be so exposed and vulnerable? And then I thought, what the heck am I being vulnerable about? I see the same image every time I look in the mirror. It is the same body that I had when I started this blog. Trust me; what everyone saw in that small square was not what I felt. I know what the “rest” of me looks like. I spend an enormous amount of time hating my image and I have done this since I was a child when I began to not meet physical expectations. The whole scenario is pathetic to me and has given me fortitude to continue on a mission to help myself and others who struggle with SAID….my own syndrome, I made this up….. Self-Acceptance Image Deficit. I am only half joking.

I know that SAID is not gender bias. Both my husbands (present and ex) suffer from it along with some close male friends. It is amusing to me because part of what I find attractive is their physical largeness. I like big men and I know I am not alone in this attraction. In history, we honor large men because it denotes physical strength and valor, which is often not the truth in reality. (Hence the ex-husband) King Henry was a plumb fellow who had a rather large girth. This gender values litany will be saved for another post.

So why was I feeling so vulnerable? We make a decision on a person and whether or not we accept them in the first six seconds of setting eyes on them. We then spend the rest of our association either validating or denying that initial assessment. I have seen reactions at meeting me and being as sensitive as I am, I often feel their reaction of disgust. Yes, disgust. Again, this is another topic. But in my head and just by posting a small image of me, I opened a whole new world of “asking for it.” What I got back was not what I expected. Again, thank you. But it was not initially enough nor was I able to simply say, “thank you.” I wanted to deflect, make a joke or out and out deny the words as having any validity.

I am going to practice mindful acceptance of a compliment as part of my growth process. I can readily do this if someone compliments me on an action or work I have performed. It is going to take a lot of strength to first hear when someone says something nice about my appearance and then even more work to accept it. I have to start with me and really focus on hearing and saying nice things about me…which sounds so ridiculous right now, but I know it is correct in practice. Then I have to work on setting boundaries when people feel justified making comments that are discriminatory and hurtful. Again, this is another topic to tackle later. And I am going to champion this cause to help eradicate SAID.

Again, thank you for all you support and letting me write about my journey and lessons. I gain so much from writing and your comments are tonic when I am weary and torn. I value their sage advice and take comfort in the fact that I am not alone in my quest. Onward or as a friend said, “Engage!”