A little bit.

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I read this quote early this morning before I had my cup of coffee and I felt so emotionally and physically moved. First I was wondering how I hadn’t heard them because I have literally gobbled up every word this woman has written. Louise Erdrich is my heart writer (she has connections to my heart) and I was just like yes! This is what I want to do. This is how I want to live.

So I began to wonder sometimes if it is a little bit too much. The way life afflicts us. Each one of us has our thing. Anxiety. Panic issues. TN. OCD. Anxiety. Autism. Self harm. Depression. Chronic illness. Asthma. Diabetes. Food addiction. The list could go on and on. Every single person when they are open and raw for the world to see and pick apart has those things.

But that isn’t the world we live in. Or at least that isn’t the world I feel like I live in. I make my way through Facebook, Instagram or snap-chat and the beauty. The perfect smiles followed by a kiss. The perfect glass of wine with perfect friendships. The barbecue with the best version of family. Hell pinterest is in it’s self it’s own version of the perfect world with perfect recipes, perfect outfits and perfect life affirming quotes. Then we turn around and we look at our lives and we wonder why we feel inadequate.

I wonder if the words I share make me seem this way or another. Then I wake up and try and remember I am living my true imperfect life where those things exist and I do it publicly here. They happen and I wear them for others to see so they feel less alone. My life is beautiful because of those things, and not because I hide them away and pretend they don’t exist. I am an over comer. So are you. We are no different.

I have contamination OCD. I have had it most of my life. I was officially diagnosed in 2005 when things got particularly hard for me. My guy was worried. My family was worried. I was worried. But I came to my blog and I worked it out in a manner I would probably today title my ugly moments. I don’t particularly think those moments are ugly anymore. They are ugly because the world doesn’t want to admit they exist and they make us uncomfortable. But they aren’t ugly. They instead hold the most self love and beauty that I have ever given myself. And if I can forever live in that way I will because I want to show my children that is how you live life. Make no apologies for being who you are. Who you are is beauty even when it is incredibly hard.

The difference for me is I do/did it on my blog and most don’t. I don’t share my story for sympathy or attention. I don’t need that and if you truly know me you know that. I share it because I know someone out there is reading and says, “Yes” and for just a moment they feel a little less alone and it makes my ugly moment a little more beautiful. OCD used to rule me. Now it is just me. Thankfully, with time and counseling I live a very healthy life.

For me OCD is about controlling the uncontrollable. When life feels hard, scary and insurmountable I fall back on OCD to make me feel better. Which is so funny because I would say that is how I have lived probably the last five years of my life. I have challenged one scary fear after another and my OCD has never been better. Yea I struggle still. But I cope so much better.

I have been the most fearful of sharing the heart of my journey. Mostly because it can hurt others which in turn could hurt me, but if you read my post yesterday you know I am trying hard to conquer that fear. This life isn’t about living in fear. For me it is about conquering that fear and rising up after and saying, “I survived” and overcoming. That doesn’t make me heroic or a bad ass. It just makes me wanting to live the best life I got. Or as Shaun T. says when things get difficult, “Find my life.”

And if this post seems a bit rambly it is because it is. I am trying hard to live out my ugly truths, so that others know they are NOT alone. So look at this list above….pick your thing. Add your thing. Whatever your thing is know that you are enough. Know that I know your story and I share mine for you. You matter in this world in spite of your thing. Your thing sucks and it takes life away from you. But embrace it because it is your beauty. You are an over comer. It is what makes you different than that perfect barbecue picture, or that perfect picture on Instagram. It is what makes you living this life.

Ugly truths living is living. -MR

 

 

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A strange path.

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I met with a friend the other day. A friend whose path has some similarities to my own. No we aren’t the same human being and no our paths aren’t parallel. But we both share this incredibly unique part of our path that is life changing, bonding and difficult. My own a bit more progressed due to time than hers and as I sat talking of the last few years and the losses and gains I realized my path is strange. It isn’t at all where I thought I would be. The things that matter deeply strike me. The things that matter less seemed so important before. It is all so strange and not where I expected to be, but exactly where I am meant to be and grateful to be.

Some of what I currently feel is grief. Grief for what I once was. I think that that is what all the fitness was about. It was grieving that I can’t go back and I can’t change myself to who I once was and what that has meant for my life. It has meant I intentionally and unintentionally said goodbye to people, places and things that hurt. The grief is because I thought I could control it. I thought I could change who I was and still be me.

God or my faith….I realized doesn’t work like that. I can’t shift my body, my heart and my soul into being who others want me to be. I can’t pretend or unsee the past didn’t happen and for so very long I believed I could. If I pushed it down deep and far enough I couldn’t acknowledge its existence.

Part of my faith and belief system forces me to be front and center to my own life and part of that is being true to who I am meant to be. It isn’t being told who I am or am not and isn’t letting the world decide that for me. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that is unsettling and ugly when I don’t live life this way. It makes me complicated. I have spent years feeling bad for that. I have spent years having others make me feel like it was a weakness or flaw. But I have come to realize it is just me. If you love me….you love all of me even that part.

I won’t bend or break for others. I won’t purposefully put myself, my family or my life on an inauthentic path to ensure the safety and comfort of others. That is a bold statement, but that to me is my faith and my strength. This life is temporary. I know this. This feeling is temporary. My faith and strength has no bounds.

Even just typing this out feels scary because it means people I love will read these words. That is a vulnerability I am scared to carry. But I have learned our most vulnerable moments are when we grow the most. It is when we see who loves us truly and that we love ourselves enough to witness the aftermath. There is beauty in that. There is a tremendous amount of faith in that.

Yesterday I was driving and I witnessed this incredible moment here in my tiny town. I have no context for what I saw. There was a mechanic’s shop where you get new tires or the basic oil change. I saw an adult male with tears in his eyes hugging a teenage boy who also had tears in his eyes. As I was driving passed I witnessed the initial embrace. Suddenly my world became silent and I felt included in this very vulnerable moment.

As I drove passed I believe the embrace would be short and we would all move on especially given that they are in the middle of a parking lot where thousands could witness this. But it didn’t end. The moment was so powerful I pulled over. I was awe struck at their ability to be so careless of the world around them and they were both so present for one another.

And you wonder why I tell you this story and I will tell you why. This is how my faith works. I have struggled the last few days feeling extremely vulnerable. You know sending a text when you may not get one back, or being there for a friend who in turn may not/ or has not been there for you or recognizing that though a relationship has changed it is still so important to you even though that makes you the vulnerable one. Or telling someone you love enough is enough. I love you, but I am going to love you from over here. My gut has been telling me I am dumb to put myself out there like that and chastising myself for allowing myself to be in harms way.

But something in my heart was speaking differently and telling me that being vulnerable to the world is okay. It brings peace and comfort and isn’t that what we all want even if it is sometimes scary? So that is how my faith works when my gut and heart fight God gives me signs. This embrace of this sweet and scared moment between these two gentleman reminded me that the cost of dealing in vulnerabilities is exceptionally high, but the cost of not engaging them is even higher.

So today (and always) I have faith and I walk strong on this strange path and I will grieve for what used to be and be grateful for what is and my strength to be fearfully vulnerable.

If you read this straight through my dear readers…I thank you. – MR

I gone and did it.

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I celebrated over on social media a few days ago because in the middle pictures exactly a year ago I lost 50lbs on that day. Now I have added an additional 28-32 give or take bloat. 😀 which is documented on the right. I love sharing my story, but I do know people get tired of hearing it or thinking they can never do it.

So I guess I feel like it is time to revisit the realities. In my head, I still feel and think and look like the girl on the left. In fact, I am the exact same person and the only real difference I feel (besides the obvious health benefits of losing weight) is my super unattractive saggy skin. You can’t see it ever cause I usually cover it, but trust me it is there and yes it holds me back.

But a lot of times people believe that weight loss mentally, physically and emotionally fixes every thing. It doesn’t. They also believe it perfects life and marriage and your relationships. It doesn’t. They believe it is easy and that you always eat healthy and eventually they start to make side swipes at you about being too healthy, too skinny or too obsessed.

What happened for me is I recognized the weight I was carrying was a lot of issues that I needed to work on and that I still work on. It didn’t fix everything. If anything it probably made me deal with a lot. My own insecurities, my own inadequacies and my imperfections were suddenly front and center. I could hide behind it all 80lbs ago.

My relationships changed especially with those in my outer circle. I am still working on why, but I honestly feel like my weight issues stemmed from a lot of insecurity and feeling insignificant. I let and wanted myself to not be seen and now I have made myself a priority and want (no demand) that if someone is important to me that I hold that same sort of space in their lives. It has made for some hurt feelings on my part, but I have lived my life too long on others terms and not my own. If you are important and I let you in, you know it.

My marriage was not magically more in tune or in tact because I lost weight. In fact, the one thing I have always loved about my guy is he never knew me any different size than the one I was. I was overweight when we met. He loved me so much then and he loves me so much now. In my experience, that is what a successful marriage is…it is loving someone as they are and always supporting them to be better and yes he has done so flawlessly. I do love that I surprised him on my stick to it tive ness. I have mentioned before I am flighty sometimes. Meaning I become obsessed with something quickly and then move on just as quickly. I am a year and half in and still sweating and eating good. But I like to surprise him a lot because it keeps things exciting. He is so even keeled it is good for our marriage.

The misconception that every single bite of food I take is healthy. Ummm No. Yesterday Ientry4 went to Culvers and had a loaded burger, fries with a Dr. Pepper. Can I tell you my secret. It was exercising and being very restrictive for about 6 months. That means I counted calories, worked out consistently (1 rest day a week) and watched portion sizes. What that did was rev up my metabolism, so that when I splurge my body isn’t as brought down by it minus bloat.

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The second misconception is that I love working out. And I do…but I always love it after. Rarely do I love it before. It takes motivation (sometimes even caffeine) and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Some weeks I have two rest days. The reality is working out every day can be boring for some. For me I love running because it lets me have quiet time to work out the junk above. But when I am injured or it is 50 billion degrees outside and I need motivation I find workouts I like. I love HIIT workouts that challenge me and my competitive side. I love focusing on equipment I have like weights, balance ball or medicine ball or even challenges. Or I just run up a hill. I just try and keep it fresh. I just try and remember to keep moving.

The obvious benefits are my resting heart rate is amazing. My BP is perfect. My blood panels are perfect. My migraines are pretty non-existent. My IBS is all but gone. My mood and energy is so much better. My sleep is a lot better. My clothes sizes are awesome and I feel great.

But the biggest secret of all is I am kind with myself. I am extremely careful about words I use. I don’t like words like: bad, cheat, fix because I don’t need or do any of those things and they truly do nothing but start an internal argument with myself that I have had for all of those years with the extra weight. I use words like love, grace and forgiveness. That is my secret. Love wins. It just does. You can’t deny it.

If not a mommy blogger than what?

Ugh how times have changed. The passage of time shows on my face and in my hair and in my wisdom and patience. But I have been writing in a blog since 2000. I started writing when contemplating motherhood. I literally had a blog about thinking about trying to conceive. I contemplated all the choices of becoming a mother and of changing my marriage so significantly.

“A wise mother knows: It is her state of consciousness that matters. Her gentleness and clarity command respect. Her love creates security.”
Vimala McClure, The Tao of Motherhood

But now I rarely talk about my girls other than very superficial terms of they are amazing or parenting is hard sometimes. I have literally went from talking about them as tiny little human beings growing in my body, sharing their birth stories and daily lives to almost barely mentioning them.

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This is not me lamenting on why am I really here if I am not just talking about being a mom. It is the most important job I have ever been given. This isn’t even about me as a blogger. I have always used this type of writing as less for my audience and more for chronicling my life and motherhood is arguably the biggest part of that. But sharing my kids stories as they get older feels intrusive and there are mom bloggers that do it every single day, but not me. If I choose tell the world about my OCD, my latest graduate school project or my current fitness obsession that is on me.

But I never want that part of my life to not exist here. It is the very soul of who I am and what I truly believe makes me the beautiful person I am. I am not talking physical beauty. I am talking about my kind and empathetic heart. They are why I exercise everyday and why I work as hard as I do as a teacher and student. I want them to know they can have any thing they want they just have to show up.

I remember growing up and my parents always did the best they could with what they had. It wasn’t always easy and our relationships haven’t always been easy even today, but they raised good people. I am proud of my siblings and I am proud of where we came from and where we are all headed. I want that for my girls. I revel in watching who they are and they become every day.

It is a hard thing for me to chronicle though because it is their path. I have had so much time to contemplate the type of parent I want to be and my opinion on that changes daily. But I do I stick by the core principles in our home.

  1. Kindness first always.
  2. Self before others, but never selfish.
  3. Never say the words, “I can’t.”
  4. Always try
  5. Love. Love. Love.
  6. Find strength in failure.

But I remember my mom always being enamored by just how differently children turn out despite you raising each child the same. And I get that. This summer has been different in the E household for just that reason.

I have a teenager who is on the cusp of high school, driving a car, starting (early) college and isIMG_1349 getting closer to figuring out who she wants to be in this world. I forget that that process is painful, joyful, beautiful, and messy sometimes. I also forget sometimes the best thing I could ever do for her is support her and love her unconditionally. I worry about the world she is growing up in, but I also take extreme comfort in the fact that we have raised her to be the girl she is who is stubborn, knows right from wrong and tries to see the good in everything. I also know she is timid of the hard parts of the world. I know she is afraid of rejection and sometimes her own shadow. So there is still more to learn together and I am grateful for that. I am excited to see what the next four years look like before we truly send her off to college. She is gonna change the world in ways that I have always wanted as the mother to daughters.

I also have almost teenager who is my child who isn’t afraid of me, the world or even IMG_1284anything besides bees. She is probably the one that worried me most as a young child, but what I saw as weaknesses back then are her biggest strengths. She isn’t swayed for anything or anyone. If she doesn’t want to do it, she won’t. She is fierce, the most intense and usually will try anything once. I worry sometimes the world will hurt her because she is so intense, but part of that intensity is damn near the most beautiful strength I have ever been witness too. Her fears are close to her heart. Her mark will be made on the world and she won’t care because the doing part of the mark is what mattered, not the aftermath. And can I just tell you how much this girl makes us laugh? She is authentic and real always and her ability to make tough situations lighter is something to see.

And oh my baby girl # 3 who is my handful. A lot of that handful is our fault. We accept that. She is also intense, but in a completely different way. She is not afraid of authority. IMG_1376She is not afraid of blazing a trail and looking back after the fact and not a moment before. Her giggles and laughter are infectious and she hates discord. She hates tension and gets her blunt honesty straight from her Momma’s mouth. But her gorgeous blue/green/hazel eyes will likely get her out of any trouble. That is if her “rhetoric” doesn’t work first. She is a sweet talker. I forget she isn’t a baby though. I still see her chubby toes and grabby newborn fingers. I feel like I always will.  She is just as smart and feisty as both of her sisters. The part that is our fault is she is our baby; we want her happy because truthfully when she is happy the family is peaceful. She reminds me of cat with its purr and snuggles that demand your attention. She is so similar to her sisters, but she is also her own person. Her own beautiful human being.

I am so very proud of the girls I am raising. It isn’t easy. In fact, there are so many times I wish I could come on here and talk about brutal it can be and is I just won’t. And for all of those moments there are 100x more of the beautiful ones that take me back to my original idea of using this type of forum for writing. I knew my life, mind, heart and soul was changing. Of course, I had no idea just how much, but becoming their momma was single handedly the absolute most selfish/unselfish thing I have ever done in my life and I look at them almost every day in awe because the power of this motherhood thing is breathtaking in a good and bad way. Your heart it breaks, glows, grows and shatters. Your mind all the exact same as the heart. The love is amplified something fierce. It is just a fiercely beautiful, brutal existence and I am glad I decided all those years ago to be a mom.

Love Winning Here Always.

 

Something happened back then. 

It kills me to admit it, but I lost a little bit of myself back then. Maybe it was the part of myself that gives multiple chances or maybe I just got smarter, but mostly I think I started guarding my heart. I still haven’t quite figured out the exact moment, but I know it happened.

No more will I let anyone hurt me over and over and over again. No more will I let others convince me it is my fault over and over and over again. I am no ones victim. I won’t cower in vulnerability seeking out a love or acceptance that I will never fully get. And I recognize that seems jaded and maybe it is. But I know in order to get love you have to be vulnerable. You have to love back. But I also figured out others have to be vulnerable and love back, too. It is a total package deal or it is no deal. 

Whatever changed has been hard…but it also helped me to see the light. I deserve better.

17 Years-I promise forever.

As we stand together
I promise forever
‘Til the day that I die
You are the love of my life

Wedding Song – Sammy Kershaw

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may 22, 1999

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may 22, 2016

Oh I suppose this may be another post waxing poetic about my marriage, but it isn’t some lame attempt at my social media life looking more exciting than the real deal. In fact, exciting and all of it’s connotations are exactly what makes my marriage worth having and where this post was generated from.

While on vacation I was perusing pinterest and I came across a pin about a man who had been married for 17 years and had written an extremely popular post about how to maintain a marriage for that long. I was struck very quickly with imposter syndrome. How in the world can a 17 year long marriage shed any sort of light on the keys to a successful marriage. Then I remembered it wasn’t even two months ago I celebrated my 17th.

Thus began a three week journey filled photo albums, love letters to precious to share, cards for grief, loving and friendships. Pictures of times long forgotten and I realized something. I do have something to say about marriage. I am not really the advice giving type when it comes to life choices like marriage and children. What works for me may not work for others. But to so easily tisk at my own marriage that has literally been through a lifetime of love, hate, pure romance, heartache is doing it an injustice.

I began to wonder what is it that makes me love this man so especially because if you know us we are opposites. He is a naysayer and I am always a yes sayer. I trust first and ask questions later. He never trusts and rarely asks questions. I see every road block as a chance to start again to conquer a hill. He looks at it as a sucky roadblock and it makes life suck and he is stuck.

And maybe that is what makes us work because when one feels a certain way the other feels the opposite therefore providing an equal balance that keeps us in harmony. But I have known many a couple who were virtually the same person and it just works for them. Therefore, all I can truly speak to is what makes it work for me.

When I met my guy I was about a year and half out of an engagement. Yes I was engaged at an early age. My heart was broken into a million little pieces and I was desperately trying to figure out who I was in this world and I was 20. My guy patiently waited for me to figure it out. He didn’t push other than to push me to be the best version of myself I could be.

He didn’t try and change me or ask me to be someone different and I will be honest in the almost 20 years we have been together I have been a lot of different people. I am a changer. I can’t stand to grow stagnate and bored. I long to feel inspired by the world and my surroundings and try and offer something better than what was there before I came. It is just my personality.

I didn’t realize this until recently when I thought about every serious job I have ever had and how much I loved each and every single one them. I thought with each one that I could grow old and retire here. When I didn’t feel that way anymore or at all…I left. To some that could be too flighty or too living by the seat of your pants. Especially, to someone like my guy who is so grounded sometimes I have bust cement around him. But never once ever did he say, “no, stop wait…maybe that isn’t a good idea.”

And truthfully that road goes both ways. I don’t necessarily always like the decisions he makes, but I always try and hear him out and support and love because that is our foundation. It is love. It is trust. It is being the best us together and trusting one another that that is our goal always.

And if this sounds a little too sappy it is. I acknowledge that. I also acknowledge it hasn’t always been as easy as it seems. We have grown up together in so many ways. I could give you all the stats of houses, children, deaths, births and vacations. But they all lead down the same exact path that both of us committed to one another and that commitment stands above all else.  It was a commitment first to God, a commitment to our selves and then a commitment to our marriage.

Never was there a bumpier patch as there was when he had his MVD or even TN struck because the reality is my guy and my marriage changed completely at that moment. It wasn’t the kind of bumpy where there is fighting and slamming doors or even lonely isolation. It was the kind of bumpy where we both were completely different people once things were better. We both shared very different experiences of what we had gone through. We both no longer recognized the person in front of us.

That is probably a newer realization. The advantage and comfort that I had coming out of that is my commitment has never waned. But it is life’s little intricacies that make him my one. The way he always makes me smile. The way he looks at me. He may not smile for the world, but he always smiles for me. The way he parents. The way he is dedicated to us and our family. The way he heads our family. The little ways he takes care of me every day. How he loves to run in the hot oppressive heat and I love to run in the cool crisp air. The way he grabs my hand when he is driving always. The list could virtually go on and on.

Times do get hard. We do get mad at one another and the secret is no secret. I remember the commitment every single day that I made to loving this man.  The commitment to our memories, our children, our public promise and private declaration to one another. That means more to me than anything.

My reward for this comes every single day even on the hard days. There is always a hand to hold, love to be had, someone to wipe the tears, some one to giggle with even when I do not necessarily agree with his political views or appreciate his “you kids get off my lawn mentality”. It just works. 7000 days strong and it works. Love always wins.

And in case you don’t believe we have been together all that time I have proof. We have literally grown together and I can honestly say we only get better looking and better together.

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Engaged…My guy and I

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Traveling…Las Vegas

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Yes this pretty much happened on a regular basis

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We were literal babies.

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Love winning. 5-22-99

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When our sense of humor collides watch out!

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Notice the look on my face. No one else gives me that look. It is a mixture of love, comfort and home. So there is the secret. Find the one who makes your face and body feel like that and you have found your one. That is also the warm fuzzy that is love winning.

I was one of those survivor reality people. 

My guy and I have watched survivor since the beginning. Well he has more than me, but one of the parts we bond over are the food rewards because we just know that all that glorious food and is going to come back and kill them. 

If you follow me on my social media stuff you know I have been down and out. Not an illness. Not an ailment. A punishment. I drastically changed my diet so much apparently while on vacation my body rebelled against me. 

On our way home I started feeling off. I couldn’t really say what was wrong. I just knew it wasn’t right. I exercised every other day and I still ate pretty good. But I definitely upped my carbs and likely lowered my greens. I opted for fries instead of broccoli. 

One night my stomach started hurting to the point I was doubled over in pain and couldn’t walk or move. Went to ER for two crappy visits where I was treated horribly. Tried seeing my OB/GYN who ran a bunch of tests and seemed pretty perplexed at where it was coming from. Recommended bland diet and rest but wanted me to seek further attention if pain worsened. Two hours later it reached a peak worse than it had. 

Attempted to go a third time but due to the previous ER treatment and super busy waiting rooms I opted to struggle through at home with lots of sleep and no food.  Finally, I made it into see a doctor in Fort Wayne on Saturday and had an X-ray. 

Found out due to the stupid surgery I had 6 years ago that has done nothing but cause me trouble has caused scar tissue adhesions all over my digestive tract. Therefore, my changing my eating habits has kept this potential problem at bay. Until vacation when things started getting infected and ulcerated and lodged because I drastically changed the way I ate again.

Thankfully, the doctor was extremely nice and didn’t push me away since I had “just” stomach pain and could not bear children. If you can’t have kids and have stomach pain you basically have to be bleeding out to get someone to listen. 

Basically, my digestive tract needs to heal now. I have been on a liquid and fruit diet. I am now on a fairly bland diet and I honestly will struggle to eat any sort of ridiculous not essential carb (think white potatoes, chips or limited grain breads). I never want to feel like that again. 

I would place the pain with child labor. I basically hulled up in my room and used Vicodin from my March surgery when I didn’t need it. I am just grateful for an amazing doctor that finally listened to me and didn’t think I needed to just suffer through. 

It will likely take me a while to recover and I am thinking about trying Whole 30 or the Ultimate Reset to give my body time to heal. I hate meds and now I am on three to heal and recover. I strongly believe food, rest and taking care of yourself spiritually, physically and mentally means more than any med you could take. Hoping between diet and oils I can turn this around. 

So even though I knew better I still struggled be caused fries. Fries will always be the bane of my existence.