Time to Get Really Real About This Shit

Over the past few years I have been increasingly more unhappy with my weight and physical appearance. I don’t need any pep talks on how we’re all beautiful no matter our weight…yada yada or how my husband doesn’t care and loves me anyway. This isn’t about anyone else but me! I am not happy looking like I do. I don’t recognize myself in the mirror and I get angry about it. Which makes me want to eat a donut or two or six.

About 10 years ago I lost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers after the birth of my youngest. I became a Life Time member. I kept it off for a long time and like many women, especially in my age category, I slowly gained it back. Blah.

So I’m over my goal weight and have to pay to be in the program. So what, I’ll do it. I’ll pay to have to have a stranger record my weight and me record every bite, lick, and dip I take. I’ll try to remember to “get my water in”. I’ll do it if I can lose this fucking weight. I’ve yelled and screamed at the mirror and my size fours, sixes, eights, AND tens. It doesn’t help and I’m over it.

Did I tell you I hate to sweat and exercise too? Yep, hate it. It hurts, it sucks, and I have no clue as to what I should be doing. I’m embarrassed to be at the gym, too scared to ask anyone how to use the equipment (as if we all just grow up knowing how to work a military press…uh, I hope that’s a real thing…), disgusted at myself for getting to this point.

But I decided to join the YMCA and with the help of my friend and trainer I have managed to go to the gym for 2 weeks. This is HUGE! I was doing good if I made it 2 times before and I came to a realization that has helped me.

In the past I wanted to lose weight to get healthy. I wanted to work out to get healthy. While that is good and important it wasn’t enough. It didn’t drive me or motivate me. The results are too slow to notice much, and the reasons weren’t strong enough so I’d quit. But then I started to think about why I REALLY wanted to lose the weight and realized it is complete and total vanity. Yep, it’s all about ME!

I want to look good. I want to turn heads (and not because I have chocolate frosting on my face). I want my boobs high and my ass tight; I want my abs to be hard and rippled. I want to have the confidence I used to about my physical appearance. I am unapologetic about this realization. I’m taking it and running with it, literally. I may not ever get to where I want to be but if wanting it drives me to keep going then I’m all for it. I am accepting who I am. I am vain about my appearance. Get over it.

My Biggest Life Lessons Summed Up in 4-7 Minute Increments


Every year I go back to the place where I proudly break kids…into final rounds as a Forensics tournament judge. From the instant I walk through the door the frenetic energy is palpable and the chatter in the main commons of the building sounds like a million and seven crickets amped on adrenaline and caffeine and sugar cubes (don’t forget the sugar cubes).

Nervousness and excitement pull me in. I glance over and see my very first forensic and debate coach, Coats, as she’s known, and I flash back to what seems like an entire lifetime ago, how long exactly is irrelevant. Paola High School is my Alma Mater and my “Panther Pride” still swells as I walk back through the doors.

The halls smell a little like au gratin potatoes with a top of note of nervous sweat and hormones, particularly today. It’s not lovely.

What seems perfectly normal to me- the behavior of the contestants of this tournament- would probably be concerning to anyone else not familiar with what to expect. Thespians line the halls, mumbling, chanting, and some even yelling with gestures, pacing back and forth as they emote through the walls as if they are speaking to another person. All of this seems somewhat out of place amongst the typical lockers, drab walls, stained carpets and bulletin boards of the high school, but yet today, I wouldn’t expect anything else.

I love it here, today! It was through Forensics and Debate that I learned the most about who I am, my personal character, and exactly what I am capable of. Something about being thrown into a room with one other person whose sole purpose in that moment is to judge you makes you do one of two things, either you fall flat on your face, or rise to the occasion. Fortunately, I experienced both.

I figured out I had control over some things happening in that room. I could practice and prepare, I could learn the lines and develop the character, and I could use my voice to deliver a message or evoke an emotion. What I had no control over was if the person listening would appreciate how I had chosen to prepare the piece. I had one shot at it with that one judge.

Once I opened that door and entered, gave my introduction and headed into my first lines there was no turning back until I was done with my selection or time was up (sometimes I hoped for the latter). Confidence played an enormous part! I didn’t get a ton of confidence in high school like some kids do, but I got some. What I did get was a solid foundation of which I could build throughout my life.

I learned how to feel crazy scared, nervous, and want to run but how to stay in the moment and push myself to do it anyway. Learning to breathe, swallow hard, and to take that first step into the room is a skill I still have. I don’t necessarily still need it, but I had to learn it to get to where I am now. Recognizing that I survived the sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, dry mouth, and chose to stay and “fight” rather than take “flight” has made all the difference in my life.

Forensics in not like a team sport where you have all your team mates at your side, working together toward the win. Yes, a team in forensics scores collective points, but each individual is alone. Each member of the team must face their challenges individually and over come them on their own. Nothing prepares you for life’s obstacles more than learning how to trust and depend on yourself, and how to push through that fear and do it anyway! I may fall on my face, chances are I’ll rise to the occasion, but at least I got a chance to experience it and learn from it in 4-7 minute increments in forensics first before facing it in real life.

This Is What We Prepared For


This year, along with turning 40, my oldest child will graduate from High School. He and I have had numerous conversations, too many to count, about what he will do once he is done. The pressure he puts on himself, as well as the pressure from peers, is very real. Of course I want him to be successful and find his path, but I will not put any more pressure on him.

My kids and I have always had a great relationship. I could probably count on one hand the number of times my son and I had to get a little serious in the conversation. See, here’s the thing- I have always seen my kids as adults. I don’t mean that I expected them to behave like you would expect an adult, or that I gave them responsibilities that an adult would have. I mean I always kept the fact that they would be adults in the forefront of my mind.

I parented with mindfulness before I even knew what that was, or that it was even a thing. Every situation was an opportunity to learn. Actually it was more like, every situation something was learned, and I had to get out of the way so the Universe could do its job to teach it.

Sometimes that felt like I was the best parent ever, like NO one had done it as good as me- ever! I had this shit down. Like when I ask my youngest to do absolutely anything, and she cheerfully accepts the task. Not only does she complete it but she also asks ME if I need anything else done. Yeah, that feels good.

On other days, it felt like I was the biggest schmuck in the world. Like, my kids’ non-existent college fund would obviously go to therapy, and I would die a miserly old woman with no one around me to love. It was not easy but getting out of their way and letting them develop into adults was the foundation of my husband and I’s parenting. In other words- let nature take it’s course, rescuing is only necessary if someone will get hurt, and most of all, they are PEOPLE.

I know my son will choose the path that’s right for him; after all he’s been doing it since he could talk. I’ve always trusted him, now is the time where it all comes together, and we’ll find out if he trusts himself. I can’t wait for the next stage, though the teen years have been among my faves!

The Big Four-Fucking-Zero

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When I turned 27 was when I felt like a true adult. By that time in my life I already had 4 children, 6 years old and younger. But it was in that year that I felt like I could no longer make excuses for shit. I used to tell people when they asked my age that “I am old enough to know better and too young to care” well, at 27 I started caring. It was then that the weight of the world finally hit me. I realized that there was no stopping it, no turning back, and that no one was coming to my rescue. I was responsible and would be held accountable for my actions, and not only that but I also was responsible for the 4 children of mine that would some day become grown ups.

So, my focus shifted. My outlook changed, but the people around me did not. They were the same on August 24 as they were on my birthday, August 25th. There was also a lesson in that that I would not know until many years later. The lesson was that even though we all live, work, play, and interact with hundreds of people in our little bubble, each of us individually is but a blip in the whole scheme of things. No one is paying very much attention to any one else because everyone has their own little bubble that they are tending to. As important as I think I am, there are 6 billion people that think the same thing about themselves and the immediate people around them. This was a good lesson to learn.

I couldn’t wait to turn 30 when it came around. I always thought that 30 was when people would take me seriously. If I could just get to 30 years old I would be considered an adult. I think some of this thought process was because I carried some baggage about being and looking so young. I was THE youngest person to graduate from my high school class. I was a year behind in privileges of everyone around me. I started college at 17. Add to that a “baby face” and the fact that people thought I was the babysitter when I took my kids out. Yep, 30 couldn’t come soon enough.

My 30s were great. I mean if you take out the diagnosis of a mental illness, my life was pretty much perfect. I loved being a mother and a wife. My husband and I were very much deeply, blazingly hot in love (as we still are today). No one took me any more seriously than I took myself. Yeah, I learned that lesson in my thirties. It wasn’t up to anyone else how I felt about myself. I chose how and when I held myself accountable. I figured out that I decided what was right for my family and me. I learned that the only opinion that mattered was mine. The trouble with that is that I tend to be very critical of myself but that’s another lesson waiting to happen.

This year I turned 40. Yes the big 4-0. I had so many people asking me if I was “okay” with turning 40. Uh, yeah, I am. They keep telling me nothing would ever be the same (it’s a damn good thing!). My body would fall apart; my brain would start failing. So far, forty is FREEDOM and LIBERATION. A number on a calendar does not hold me down, puh-leeze! I accept that things change and it’s beyond my control. But things CHANGE and that is exciting to me.

I am 100% authentically me. I am aware of my impact on others, and can decide how much others will have an impact on me. I am capable of lifting others up and encouraging them through some of life’s challenges that I myself have faced. Yes, a lot did change when I turned 40, but every single bit of it was something that needed to change inside of me. I am working out the kinks, and have not yet reached my goals. The lesson on my plate currently, and has been for a couple of years, is that we are all connected. This may sound easy, simple, and cliché but I am learning how this philosophy plays out in reality, how it looks when practiced. I’ll keep you posted.