Before and After: A Tale in Pictures

December brings a beehive of busyness for me. Finals at school bring countless essays to grade and comment upon. I also have the good fortune to coordinate a Christmas Party for about 250 people or so. Between those two factions of my life I find it easy to allow things to go by the wayside. Simple things like tidying up—I find I’m too exhausted to do, especially the night of the event and in days after.

After the event is over I gather my belongings and supplies and head home. Once home I drop all my bags on the floor. I’ve been known to leave them there for as long as a week or two, but this time I decided I would take a different path and make the time to put things away, and doing that has made all the difference.

The pictures below show the dining and entry areas of my apartment the night I got home after the event and a couple of days later. Taking care of my space in a reasonable amount of time makes all the difference in my mood and productivity. It took maybe a half hour total. That’s time I’m worth.

After the Party

After a Half Hour or so of Post-Party Tidying

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Sunday Morning Ramblings

I woke up this Sunday morning with a resolve to change my routine. For too many years, for too much time I’ve done the same thing. Lived in the same town. Sometimes I fear varying my routine because of FOMO. I have a serious case of FOMO. If I learned to water the grass on my side my case of FOMO wouldn’t be so bad.

Someone said to me this morning that the only time to express thoughts about others’ behavior is when our behavior is perfect. And I know my behavior, may life, is far from those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. is so far from that.

So far.

So far.

I’m trying to train myself to look in the mirror every time I’m tempted to criticize another. Or judge another. When I catch myself thinking “why does this person do that?” Or “That’s stupid” Or anything like that. I’m trying to look at ME with honesty and not with criticism.

My car is dirty. So if I have the urge to say anything about anyone maybe I need to clean my car first or take it to the car wash. A small example for sure but an example still.

I cleaned my car out awhile ago but I let stuff pile up again. Not like before but it’s still piled up with a file folder here, an empty cup there. Actually it’s more dirty than anything and I decided one day to take it to the drive-thru car wash but the day after I did that the complex I live in decided to start trimming trees so my car is no longer so clean. But it’s still cleaner than it was.

I need desk space but I don’t really want more furniture in my house, so I decided to make half my dining table a desk, but I still have a tendency to put stuff down on the table and that’s something I need to stop. A place for everything and everything in its place. I’m happier when I can see and eat at a clean table.

If I haven’t used an item or worn a piece of clothing or jewelry in a certain amount of time for so long then I need to let it go or find it a place. Not just put it on a table. I deserve better than that.

I deserve to care enough about me to look at my space and not be so concerned about the spaces of others. What’s in my space? I have to let go of what is in the space of others.

In yoga there’s the concept of having a mantra. My mantra is show me what’s mine. But I forget that a lot. I feel like I need to be doing something or be involved in something to matter. What does this have to do with FOMO. EVERYTHING. I feel like I have to have my hand in every pie to have value. I need to focus more on the tasks at hand.

So if have something to say about something else it somehow means I matter or it means I’m smart or I have knowledge or I have value.

See the key here is to learn to have enough value in myself to do things that are important to me. Things that show I value my life. So maybe I do my own laundry, literally and figuratively before I do someone else’s. Maybe my plate needs cleaning before I say anything about anyone else. Maybe I just need to keep my eyes on my space.

I need to vacuum. I need to dust. I need to pay attention to my life before I pay attention to yours. But somehow it never feels as good to pay attention to mine. I’d rather fix yours.

I’m guessing the key is to find a way to make my life so appealing that I have no desire to look at yours. To look at anyone else’s. Part of the problem with me is that I judge my own life. I’ve never moved much. Four times in my life. Maybe five. I judge myself for that. More than anything I judge myself for that.

I admire the globetrotters. The movers and shakers. The crazy makers.

I don’t admire myself.

And so much of that has to do with my size. I base so much of my life and my judgment about myself based on my size. That’s just not going to help me.

I don’t judge you because of your size. I judge myself because of mine. MINE.

That’s a hard habit to break. The world doesn’t help because they judge me because of my size too. Not everyone, of course but plenty do. But it doesn’t really matter what others think. That has to be my new mentality. On some levels I know that. But it can be hard to get past because so many people have opinions about it. And I use their judgments to limit myself

I don’t want to have an opinion about it anymore. Not anymore. I continue to tire of the judgment.

Writing helps  me with that. It helps me to realize how tiring it is to judge myself. I can actually feel the lightness come as the thoughts leave me.

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That Woman in the Mirror

I first thought about this blog over a week ago but it took time to build up the courage to write it. What I see when I look in the mirror may not be what you see, but it’s really not what you see that matters. When I’m deep inside my head I do not see the fat; I do not see the weight. I do not see the apron belly. I see my intelligence. I see all that I’m capable of and know that I’m capable of so much more.

When I look in the mirror I see an alternate reality. I see the fat, I see the rolls. I see it all. And it’s not me. It’s not what’s in my head. I am not that fat, until I see the fat. Then that’s all I see, and it takes away so much.

I’ve heard all the modern day “pyscho babble” that clearly states if I change my thoughts I will change my life, and I do believe that but I have a hard time changing my thoughts. There’s a whole psychology to the process of changing thoughts that I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

I’m conditioned to see myself as something other than pretty because of the images of thin and gorgeous people presented in the media. Images that, btw, have no basis in reality. Let’s face it, if there was a size extra extra small that person would be dead.

But I don’t mean for this blog piece to be about the media. This is about my relationship with myself, and what happens when I look in the mirror. I wear colorful clothes. I always have. I’ve never hidden in that sense, but I’ve also never let the world see my inside thoughts or when I have people have shrunk away because it makes them feel uncomfortable. They’ll say “you’re beautiful.” A nice affirmation, but I have to change the tenor of my inner thoughts, and that has to come from me.

I’m sharing this now because I know I’m not alone in these types of thoughts and I want people to know they are not alone too. I hate being fat. It’s not fun. Not fun at all. I also don’t want my whole life to be about losing weight and waiting until I’m thin to live.

In my head I do not feel the weight of my stomach on my thighs, but when I sit I feel it. The other day when I was doing a floor pose in yoga I looked in the mirror and saw it. I saw the fat. I saw the balls of fat that hanging from my abdomen. I saw that, and I saw me but that’s not the me that lives in my head.

When I see my fat, I don’t see ugly but I don’t like what I see. I see myself in the mirror and I think that’s not me, but it is me. It’s the me that sometimes people look at and judge. It’s the me that judges my self. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I wish that part of me would just shut up.

Getting that voice to go away means I really have to face my demons. I really have to sit with just what is. To really sit with myself. My fat protects me from the world. I eat to keep the world at bay. I don’t know how else to explain it. I also eat to keep myself at bay. (Minor editorial comment: I’ve come a long way these past few years in how I interact with food, but still have a ways to go.)

Sitting here I can feel my stomach resting on my thighs. That feeling just reminds me I’m fat. It reminds me of what I see when I look in the mirror. It reminds me of just how much work I NEED to do on myself. It reminds me of just how much internal work I need to do, I have to do.

While it might seem that way, the work I need to do isn’t about losing weight. If I was the perfect weight today I’d still have the negative self-talk, and eliminating that is the real work that I need to do.

Healing is from the inside out, and it’s my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to lift the  myself out of the darkness and into the light.

So the question then remains how. How do I do this? How do I create the light that I know is within me right now?

How do I create a life where I don’t shy away from what I see in the mirror? How do I make these things happen? In the here and now. In THIS moment.

I actually have the answer. It’s simple really. DO ONE thing each day that makes me happy to feel alive. In this moment I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing this blog. THAT makes me happy. The other day I went to a HOT PILATES class. THAT made me happy. Wednesday, I’m got my hair done. That’s how to do it. Day by day. That’s also what I need to keep doing. That’s how I will make this life about living. That’s how I make peace with my relationship with food, with my body, with my inner voice.

That’s how I will make peace with that woman in the mirror—who is and who is not me.

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How Do YOU Yoga? 

I’ve been seeking new ways of learning how others view yoga, so that I can better understand my relationship to yoga and to myself. To that end I decided to enroll in a edx course, The Science and Practice of Yoga. I’ve often found that I’m the biggest person in the yoga room, so I’m interested in seeing what I can learn from a mainstream yoga course. Will my assumptions about the focus of the class come true? Will there be allowances for different body types? Will body type even come into play? Will I learn how to meld the body and the mind? Maybe I’ll even come out of it finally realizing I am not this body which others use to define me and which I use to define myself.

I’ll share some of my adventures here. So let’s yoga on and see where it all leads.


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Food & Love

I’ve thought so much about writing this blog entry but haven’t sat down to do it, until now. I love food. I love to eat, or, rather, I’ve always been an eater. Because if I loved food so much then I’d pay more attention to it. Oftentimes when I eat I’m doing other things: playing with my phone. I play with my phone far too much. Far too much. I’m not sure what I think I’ll find with it. I really have no idea at all. Actually, that’s not true.

Sometimes when I eat I play on the computer. Or obsessively check sites I looked at just a couple of minutes ago. What is it I think I’ll find? I think I’m looking for connection, but I won’t find what I’m looking in a little mechanical box.

If I loved food and eating so much I really do think I’d spend more time with it. My behaviors have more to do with addiction and conditioning. I am used to eating certain kinds of food as comforting tools. It’s easier to stay the same than to move into the unknown.

Healthy foods like vegetables and fruits just don’t cut it when I need to feel loved. I eat more fruits and veggies than I used to but still not enough. It’s easier to feel the comfort a cupcake with buttercream frosting provides.

Ever since I started thinking about food and how much I “love” it, I’ve come to think I don’t really spend time with it.

What does spending time with food look like? It means paying attention to each bite. It means stopping before my body is full and paying attention to when my body has had enough. To spend time with food to really pay attention to it means to slow down when I’m eating and when I’m chewing and to take time between bites so I can feel and hear the silence. To breathe the silence. My body tells me when it’s had enough food. I just have to listen, but I just don’t always listen. What is it I’m afraid that I will hear? What will my my body tell me? What will my soul tell me?

Sometimes when I’m full at night I still want to eat, but no food will ever fill the hole inside, and I know it. That’s the truth. It’s a hard truth for people to hear because it makes them feel uncomfortable, but it’s also my truth, and I’m not looking for the approval of others, except that maybe I am. I am quite cognizant of my need for others’ approval. When I feel I have disappointed someone or not met their expectations I can feel my heart go racing, setting my nervous system out of whack. And then, of course I’ll eat.

The effect of eating makes me feel better, but it’s also what I’ll want to eat. In those moments of nervous insanity it’s not celery that I crave, and it’s certainly not celery that I reach for. Although I do like celery and find it quite tasty.

I have the awareness. And now it’s up to me to figure out what to do with this knowledge and take me where I want to go. Believe it or not, this isn’t about losing weight. It’s about feeling good physically and having the energy to move about freely. When I’m besotted with an overabundance of food, I don’t feel like running a marathon. Let’s be real though, I’m not going to be running a marathon, but I want to feel energy and happiness and a willingness to move about freely with ease.

That means more to me than food. Knowing how good moving freely makes me feel, I have the choice to choose behaviors that facilitate movement, but that’s easier said than done. In the meantime, I take one step at a time. One small victory at a time. When I stumble I can reflect upon it, and then move on.

Writing helps me move forward. Writing really does heal. Sometimes I’ll write and then throw it away. Give it to the universe and then let go. Sometimes, I’ll share it here. I know I’m not alone in this battle and neither are you.


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On Bullies and Jerks

The other day I looked at my phone and I saw I had notification on my YouTube channel. I clicked on the button and saw yet another demeaning and bullying comment on my most watched video: “How to do sit-ups for people who can’t do regular sit-ups”. You can watch it by clicking on the link below.

Sit-ups for People Who Can’t Do Sit-Ups

I saw the comment, and, in “the blink of an eye” I deleted the comment. I made it go away. Sure I could have reported it to YouTube, but I’m not sure it violated their terms of decency, and I didn’t want to spend the time researching the issue. I decided to delete the comment because I also didn’t want to spend time researching the profile of the person who wrote it. Bullies and Jerks have taken up enough of my time, energy, and effort.

I do not understand why people feel they have a right to judge others based on their appearance. Because I am fat or because I have fat (whichever term you prefer) people believe they have the right to demean my existence with their comments. I choose to write a blog, and I chose to do some YouTube videos because I strongly believe that life is not meant to be hidden, but I have slowed down with the blog and the videos because I’m no longer sure which direction I’m headed. I don’t know how much of my life I want public.

I certainly don’t wish to be bullied anymore. I’m not slowing down because of the bullies. I’m taking time to think for other reasons. But I am tired of bullies and jerks and people thinking they have a right to be self-serving pompous jerks because they might not be fat or have fat. I’m really not sure what people think they will accomplish by insulting others. It’s not going to stop me from living. But I do know it has stopped others and made them hide.

Once upon a time I would have seen such a nasty comment on my YouTube page and I would have been paralyzed with tears and over emotion, and I would have run to the store to buy double-stuff oreos, but not this time. This time I hit the delete button and have gone on with my life.

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Tonight I am Tired

This particular entry will be short. I almost ALWAYS tend to feel better when I do for others. I don’t feel as fulfilled when I take care of myself. Yes, it’s better to give, but one has to put the oxygen mask on first or what one gives will empty one’s own gas tank.

My gas tank has been empty too long. I realized this today when someone asked me to do something and I thought I have no more left to give. I knew that in order to give I had to take care of myself first.

So, I cleaned out my car, which didn’t have much in it, but I cleaned it out anyways and took it to the car wash. It hadn’t been to the car wash in AGES!

I need to do more of that before I do for others. If I keep working at that task I just might find balance. And now I’m going to go to bed and read a book. Something I like to do but don’t do enough of it.

May we all do more for ourselves so we can give to others.

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