Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Best Thing I Did

It's been about six months since I've written here. I know it's probably not my record for time in between posts but this time was a little different. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to come back here. I wasn't sure about many things six months ago. So much has changed since then. I still live in the same place. I still have the same friends around me. But. I quit my job. And I've taken a couple-few months off to just be. I don't know if you got it from the last post that I was drowning in my own thoughts...but I was (haha).

Can I tell you a background story?

Let me take you back to the year 2000. I had just graduated from Ricks with an Associates in History and had been accepted to BYU to finish my degree. I decided to spend the summer in Utah for some reason and work until my roommates joined me in the fall. My brother-in-law had gotten me a job at the local call center. It paid something like $8 or $9 an hour, which was a lot back then (man, how did I get so old?). Everyone who has worked in a call center knows the monotony of it. The loneliness and Big Brother of it. Maybe some people can thrive in that sort of environment, but I was not one of them. I spiraled down and down and down until I was wrecked by the end of the summer. By July, I decided I had to leave Utah. And I did. It led me to Barnes & Noble early in September and that was the absolute best thing that could have happened to me at that time. The warm family environment that promoted acceptance, tolerance and knowledge sculpted me into a wonderful human being. Every store I would go into brought a new set of challenges but the core values were always there. I loved it. I still love it. Maybe, if they will have me back, I'll come back into the fold.

Fast forward 15 years. I decided to accept another phone center job. I do not know, for the life of me, why why why I thought this would be different than before. Maybe I thought there was a level of professionalism and opportunity that I did not have in the previous one. But, in the end, it was the same. The monotony and loneliness and Big Brother of it all. And I only had one friend. Well, two, but the first left me after only a couple of months. There was no physical contact with the outside world. I would sit, alone, every day and look out these giant glass windows onto the roof of Barnes & Noble. I would look at the store that had given me a job transfer in the middle of the recession when no one else in the district was hiring. And with that I was able to begin my life in Salt Lake. I would remember almost everyday because I was reminded almost everyday. There was a point when, walking with that first friend who left me, we came to the place where both buildings (my then-current workplace and Barnes & Noble) meet and I just burst into tears (looking back, I can't believe how many times I cried during work hours this past year). And I just pointed, quite dramatically, with my arms to both buildings and shouted out loud, "how ironic is this???" I can't remember the rest of the conversation but I do remember that dramatic flinging of the arms pointing to both buildings. One had saved me and one was slowly crushing me.

So, instead of trying to make it work again and again and again, knowing in my heart that if I stayed, no matter how successful I became, I would never be happy or fulfilled in my job, I left. No regrets.

Fast forward to current day:

I realized a few days ago that I feel normal again. It came on quietly and slowly. It came on with talks with Jana and with my mother and with Melanie and with Mari and with the ocean. It came on with late nights watching my kitty sleep and then waking him up to throw hair ties for him, which I will probably do tonight. It came with reading and watching talks of people who know more about life than me. It came with music (can I just say how amazingly talented Lady Gaga is?). It came with exercise and joining a group that loves working out with Jillian Michaels as much as me (Jillian Michaels Workout Junkies...they are seriously the best Facebook group out there).

And then, I thought to myself, "what a wonderful world I am part of."

So, here is the big lesson I learned: never, ever, ever again will I ever take a call center job. No matter how glamorous they try to dress it up. My personality will wither and die in that environment.

Lesson learned.

Now. Onto the next big adventure of my life.

But first...pictures of Mr. Charles Xavier, Mr. X for short, age 1.5 (sweetest kitty there ever was).



Now, I'm not saying life won't ever throw me a curve ball again because I'm old enough to know it will. But, just look at that face. He makes it all better :). Yes, the best thing I did this year was adopt this guy. Right in front of all the other stuff I wrote up top.





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Stranger in a Foreign Land

Most times when I log into my laptop these days, it's been so long that I have to complete a security scan in order to feel "safe" to proceed online. This bums me out because I'm all ready to write something profound but I have to wait while I check for these viruses that might be on my computer. They never are, but just that one time I don't, it might be there and who knows what lasting damage that can do to my computer and personal information. Who knows. Who knows anything, really. It's the start of a new year again.

Again. Again. Again.

My 37th year on this earth is rapidly coming to a close. Each year, the year before goes by quicker and quicker. This past year, though. It was a year. It was one of those defining years of my life that I'm still not sure will have a lasting impact but it was different. I changed careers. Completely changed. Most days I wish I hadn't. There. I'll admit it. My new career is hard and it's a boys club and it's an uncomfortable environment (yes, even after a year, I'm still uncomfortable). And it's not something I really believe will be able to fill that hole in my life of being needed and doing something important. Take today, for example. I was sick and it was so easy to call in sick...because I wasn't needed. Not really. I guess that is good because of all the years where I went to work sick because I was actually needed. But instead of feeling grateful for that slight freedom, I feel almost utterly useless in this world I've created. I've found that the more I am alone, the darker my thoughts get. If I'm alone for more than one solid day, it's hard to get up to do anything and I watch so much TV to drown out these thoughts.

Tonight, I'm letting them in because I need to change them.

I had a dream the other night about a silver pistol. It was a present from Jana. It was shiny and the end was long and skinny (sorry, I don't know much about guns). I took it out of the wrapping, with my family around me and felt the weight of it in my hands. I was confused why I would be given this. I knew I couldn't have a gun with these dark thoughts. In my dream, I looked up and I knew what it was for. It was so heavy. I wish I could be funny here and blame Hamilton lyrics for the path of this dream, but it was my mind portraying what would happen if I followed through with these thoughts. I've almost convinced myself there is nothing after this life. It would be easier if I truly believed that. I wish I believed that. My faith is small at this point. None of this is what I pictured my life would turn out as. I want to be positive. I want to be happy. I want to be of service in this world. I want to help others realize their potential. I want to exercise. I want to eat right. I want to sing. I want to share everything with one person. I want to leave Utah. Every time I feel like this, I return to my touchstone.

Home.

But I didn't this time.

I thought I had enough support here. But everyone has their own lives. And that's okay. Everyone has moved on to the next phase of their lives (family-wise) or moved far enough away from me that I don't enter their thoughts. And I can't ask them to drop their lives because I want to end mine. I'm the strong one, right? I'm the one who can do it on her own. All of it. I think there are more like me than we know of. Those forgotten ones. Who are strong enough. To live without someone else weighing in on their decisions. Who have no one who really depends on them. But if you think about it, that fact really makes you weaker. Because I have no one who depends on me, I have the freedom to completely ruin my life. And who does it hurt? Who does it hurt if I gain 50 pounds? Who does it hurt if I isolate myself from social interactions? Who does it hurt if I sit everyday, all day? Who does it hurt if I stay in debt? Who does it hurt if I keep having these destructive thoughts? Who does it hurt if I quit life? Me. That's who. Well, it's the start of a new year. Why don't I make some goals to turn this life around?

Because nothing ever changes.

I can make all the positive changes in my life, but the important things will still be missing. And that doesn't change. Ever. I've lost all the weight. My life was still the same. The only difference was men wanted to use my body. How will changing my body fix my life? As of right now, men do not want my body. So, at least I don't feel used. I don't feel like I'm only as good as the man who is pursuing me. But without that this past year, I've tried replacing that with work. And here I am. With these dark thoughts swirling, consuming and erasing sanity in my life. And I don't know how to change it. Everything I try seems to bring me back to this couch. Listening to music or watching TV and crying. I can't imagine feeling like this for another year. Why would I want to feel like this for another year? But I'll get up and go to work tomorrow. Stamp my time card. Put in my eight hours. Sitting, staring at a computer screen. Come home on the train. Get something to eat. Sit on my couch. Watch TV. Go to bed. Get up too early again. Go to work. Stamp my time card. Put in my eight hours. Sitting, staring at a computer screen. Come home on the train. Get something to eat. Sit on my couch. Watch TV. Go to bed. Oh, but here comes the weekend. I'll sleep in Saturday (if I can), finally get out of bed. Go upstairs. Sit on the couch. Watch TV. Get something to eat. Facebook. Sit some more. Go to bed. Get up. Go to church (because I can now). Sit in the back, smile to anyone who looks at me. Talk pleasantly. Go home. Sit on the couch. Watch TV. Dread the next day for the rest of the afternoon. Go to bed. Get up too early for work. Put in my eight hours and so on and so on and so on.

Even after all this time.

I feel like a stranger in a foreign land.

I need my touchstone.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Track 7

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by The Carpenters

Today is Mother's Day and it seemed only fitting to share with you one of my favorite traditions we had growing up. So, mom...here is my letter to you.

Dear Mom,

I'm sitting here at my computer listening to Christmas songs because I knew that your song had to be Carpenters and had to be Christmas. I am fully assuming that you are already listening to Christmas
music, if you ever stopped. I cannot wait to see you in only a few weeks. We will have to celebrate our birthdays (maybe at the beach!). I love that I have a May birthday like you.

  
Remember this? I love that we can travel together :).

Did you know that growing up, I always thought you were the most amazing mom? I know it's Mother's Day and every child is supposed to say that, but I felt lucky to have you as my mother. It seemed like everyone loved you. You always made those around you feel like they were important and that you cared for them. It didn't matter who it was. As a teenager, young adult and now full fledged adult (yikes!), I always looked to that example as one I wanted to emulate. Sometimes I fail at it. But I still have your example to look to.

You had a hard job. Seven kids. Seven kids, people. You know what I loved about growing up in our family? I always had a friend. And I still do. My best friends lie in my family. And you had the greatest impact on that. Why? You never made us be friends. You let us make our own decisions (except for playing the drums...but I'm slowly learning to get over my Sixth grade disappointment). I don't know about anyone else, but I saw how much you enjoyed being with your own siblings. You made it a point to spend holidays and family reunions with them. Family was always the most important thing to you. From your relationship with dad, to your kids, your parents, siblings, grand kids and beyond, family was your main focus. That love of family has radiated throughout our sibling relationship.







I think I've always wanted your job. Luckily you have one now that I can eventually take over! Being a mother was always something I wanted. I, like many daughters, thought that being a mom was the best job in the world because our mothers made it look like it was. There is such a deep love between mothers and daughters. Instead of being a mom, I am an aunt. Right now, I think that is the best job in the world. But I know, mom. I know that if I am ever called to be a mother, whether in this life or the next, I have had the BEST teacher.

Thank you for making our home the most wonderful place to grow up in. Thank you for always supporting me and my sometimes crazy life. Thank you for your unwavering belief in me and what I can accomplish in this life. Thank you for celebrating Christmas all out every single year. I look forward to spending many more Christmases with you. Thank you for introducing us to good music. You took me to my first Celine Dion Concert, remember that? You are a Gift. An Angel Mother (and yes, I am stealing that from Michael's favorites).

I love you,

Stefanie












Sunday, March 20, 2016

Track 6

"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne

I'm just going to say: this is a spring thing. Yeah. That is why I haven't written since last June. So much has happened! Well, the biggest thing is I had my last retail Christmas. What? Yes, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend, no more Holiday Retail Rant posts. I now work in finance and well, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Life is good. Complicated. But good.

I've been thinking about different roles I've played in life. Daughter...sister...student...friend...co-worker...mentor...girlfriend...employee...and so on and so forth. I look at the roles and I realize that many times I am different depending on which situation I'm in. It's almost like a level of security that I put up. For example, sister access is all access. They (my sisters) know just about as much as anybody is going to know. And it will always be that way because that is how we have developed our friendships over the years. Daughter access is the next level down (sorry mom). Friend access is the complicated one. There are superficial (and I say superficial in the best way) friends where you might have one major thing in common and that is all. That is the bulk of people that flow in and out of my life, and it is just fine for a season or two. Then, there are the ones that come into my life, strip down all the walls and stay important.

These are the rarest and most precious kinds of friends.

I have been lucky to have several and usually they come into my life when I really need a friend to laugh with, to ponder with, to get me off the ledge with, to believe that there are still people in this world worth getting to know. I know, I know...that sounds a little harsh, but have you seen who we are going to have to choose from in the next election?? This world is very complicated. And it's not a place I want to be sometimes.

Last year was a rough one for me. I keep thinking this whole life thing is going to get easier, but every year, I look back and I think, "phew! I made it through another terrible year! This year is going to be so much better!!" Now, I am grateful to have that positive outlook, but man. Last year was terrible. So many things went into that terrible-ness. I dated a musician, which was pretty awesome...until it wasn't (but I'm tired of talking about failed relationships, so I'll just let that one go...this time). I've questioned everything. I was yelled at...several times. I cried. I always cry, though. For being so tough and independent, I sure do cry a lot. Now, I rambling, I know. But I think I'm just trying to avoid what I want to or need to say. Last year was different because every other time I have had a bit of a dark time, I knew how to get out of it. I was able to form a plan and pull myself up.

Last year...I didn't see a way out of this life that had become a, for lack of a better word, chore (I do have a better word, but my mom is going to read this.)

Y'all know how much I loathe being stuck. Not knowing what my next move is. I have never been a go with the flow type of person. I want to know what's next, but last year...I couldn't see it. I couldn't see where my life could move to that would make anything better. I probably should have seen someone, but, this time, I didn't want to get better. I hated feeling bad about life and about myself, but I knew that as soon as I felt better and life was good again that is when it would start getting bad again. If that last sentence didn't make sense here's another one: I would climb up that mountain, but I was never able to stay at the top. I always had to climb back down  into the valley.

The valleys teach us to climb.

But I was tired.

Too tired to climb.

So tired.

I stayed in the valley for a bit longer last year. I think society has taught us to be ashamed of these valleys. But I have learned my greatest lessons in them. Then, I climb up the mountain to teach others the lesson I learned. Shout it down into the valley behind me. This time, I learned that I'm not alone on my hike. I have so many people in my life who lifted their hands to push me up the mountain this time. I didn't necessarily want to go up on the mountain I am on now, but here I am, telling you what I have learned from my time in the valley.

1. God will never let me just stay in the dark. There are always options and choices. Trusting them to be right is the hard part.

2. I am surrounded by the most amazing support. Yes, there were many days/nights I spent either just watching tv or staring blankly at an electronic device because it was easier than being present in my life. Thank you to those who noticed and said/did something. I don't know if I would be on this mountain right now if it wasn't for you.

3. When I'm climbing up the mountain in front of me, I seem to pick up the people I need to help along their way. This brings me the most joy in my life. For me: Please remember this the next time the valley hits you.

4. I have a whole mountain and valley story just for my life!

5. There is one person who is exactly like me out in this world. It's a little freaky. But pretty awesome at the same time. And here I was thinking this world could only handle one me. Apparently, it can handle two. I guess I can't be everywhere at once. Ha!

6. Having a meaningful calling in the church I believe in makes all the difference at how I look at my role in said church.

7. There are going to be many good times, but expect the bad times. Don't be surprised by them.

8. Stay on top of the mountain a little longer next time.

9. Don't be afraid to ask for help. But if I am afraid...help will find me.

10. I like me. The true, authentic, smart, funny me.

Now...let's take it all the way back to 2002.....














Sunday, June 21, 2015

Track 5

"Consider the Lilies" by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Today is Father's Day and I think it only appropriate that I write about my father today. It will be a little different, but this was tradition in my home growing up. I'm going to write a letter.

Dear Dad,

There are so many things I want to tell you right now and they're all jumbled up. Normally words just flow out of my mind, through my fingers and onto a screen or page, but for some reason, I am having a hard time formulating what I want to say. First off, how can it already be almost eight years since I've heard your voice. It was eight years ago today that I sang this song for you in sacrament meeting. Your cancer was back and you knew that you probably weren't going to go into remission again. You asked me to sing this at your funeral. I said no. I hated funerals by that point. But I said I would sing it for you on Father's Day. I remember being up on the stand. I can't even remember if I was part of the Prosser ward anymore or not, but it didn't matter...it will always be my ward. I remember exactly where you were sitting. In the back on the chairs in the overflow to the left when I looked out. Whenever I have sung in church, I always said a prayer before that my performance would not be for my praise but to be able to touch whoever needed to hear my voice and the words I was singing. I don't remember every single note that went on with the song, but I remember when I got to the part about healing, my voice was soft and I just looked out at you. I knew you weren't going to get better. But I am so glad I was able to give you that gift of my song for you on that Father's Day.

I was telling stories about you the other day. You were such a good daddy. I loved it when you would
come home from work and run around the kitchen and living room while "Chariots of Fire" was being hummed. I loved how you would kiss mom. Thank you for loving mom so completely. Yes, it was icky, but it taught me that I want that kind of long lasting love and romance. I loved how you would give us piggy back rides and "bucks". I loved how you taught us how to work. Whether it be in the home or in a profession. I love how you carried the same scripture set your entire life, well from your mission on. I use a phone now, if you can believe it. It has everything in 3x6 inch small device. I wonder if you would have changed over. You loved technology, so I bet you would have. I'm glad I'll never know.

I loved how quiet you were. I loved that your personality was almost a secret except to those who
were closest to you. You were so funny. I like to think I got my quirky sense of humor from you. And only those closest to me really get to know it. You and mom raised a really, really good family. The relationships we have now are amazing. Everyone of them are my best friends. When one is in trouble, we circle around them and make sure they know we are here, being a support and carrying them until they are able to stand on their own again. I've felt that before myself before. It is a gift beyond measure.

Thank you for never taking your responsibly as a father lightly.

That night, "Consider the Lilies" was the song you passed through the veil to. I remember holding your hand, wanting to stay connected to you for as long as I could. I had never seen anyone die before. It is not like the movies at all. It is much more sacred. When it is someone you have loved since the day you were born, it is heart wrenching. It stays with you. You were healed in that moment. You left your broken body behind and became a force for good in my life. I grieved, of course, I grieved and I know you know, but my life fell apart for awhile. But I also can't imagine there was ever a moment where you doubted I would right myself and come back stronger. And I did! With the help of so many people. You know, that whole circle around me thing.

Dad, I love you.
I cannot wait to see you again.

Love,
Stefanie





Monday, June 1, 2015

Track 4

"New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel

I don't know why yesterday's post left a bad taste in my mouth, but it did, so I am doing something I've never done before: write two posts in two days! Let's just move right into a fun time in my life: traveling! Back in 2008-9 the travel bug bit me. I had always enjoyed travel, but never really did it. It
wasn't something that was a big part of my growing up years. We only had one big family vacation and that was to Yellowstone. I have the awesome white stretch pants pictures somewhere here.... Hmmm...I can't find any Yellowstone pictures, but I do have this one from the same summer (1991)!



It's almost the same. Plus, you get to see how cute Ronald McDonald was. Or me and my siblings. Also, if any of my siblings have pictures of that Yellowstone trip, feel free to post some in the Facebook comments. Ha!

Let's fast forward to 2009: Hawaii. I had planned a trip with my friend, Rachel, to Oahu. 10 days on the North Shore in a beach house. I had never been so far away before and even though it is part of the United States, it seemed like half a world away. To say I was excited was an understatement. After it was all planned, my brother, Michael, decided to move to Hawaii, the same island, the same side of said island. So, instead of my vacation being great, it turned out to be freaking awesome! I spent half the time at the beach house and half the time with my brother and his family (seriously...I miss you guys and yes, that may be a little guilt I'm laying down there to move back to the mainland, but no pressure).

Since Hawaii is so beautiful, I've decided to just do a visual tour of it. Enjoy....

One of my goals was to get a picture with all of the "hot" guys at the PCC. Yes, I did use my nieces shamelessly for this purpose. I mean....no....no, that's what I mean. ;)
I also used my sister-in-law. She was game. Even though there are women in this picture, you see how I am strategically next to the man.
We had way too much aunt fun that day. I let them get tattoos and everything!

Dole Plantation. Yuuuuummmmmmm. I would go back just for that ice cream.

If you are wondering what I look like just after I wake up...with a crown on....here you go. I turned 29 for the first time!

The Epic Battle of Katrina and Stefanie Against the Coconut. I have not laughed so hard ever. Who knew it was so hard to crack a coconut? We tried the traditional way, then we decided we had to go outside and try to hit it against random things. Finally, finally, we whacked it open. And it was rotten. 

I love these girls!!!!! Also, travel tip to those not used to humid weather: wear skirts. So much cooler.

This is one of my favorite pictures I took. The sunsets were amazing. The sky felt like you could touch it.


Hawaii will always be special to me. It felt like I was on another planet away from any cares I had at the time. I loved it so much that I decided to go to the opposite side of the country the next year! Bring on....New York! And New Jersey and Minnesota...but we won't really talk about those two. 



New York is big. Really big. This is from the top of the Empire State Building. No, in case you were wondering, my true love did not meet me up there.

So many beautiful bridges connect Manhattan to the rest of the city.

The "reason" I came to New York. BEA!

Can I say enough about the food of New York? It was glorious. If anyone decides to go, make sure to take advantage of the luxurious culinary scene there.

Next time I go, I'll have to actually visit that place. I hear it's historical or something like that. Thanks France!

I just came from New Jersey. This is the only picture I have of that day.

Chinatown was...cool.

Still so much remembrance and respect there for the heroes of 9/11. 

One of the coolest places I visited. This was an old church that had been turned into a strip mall of shops. You might think this was slightly sacrilegious, but it completely captured the spirit of the New Yorkers.

Brooklyn Bridge. Another place I'm so glad I walked across. Also, you may notice my tennis shoes in this picture (stop looking at how I posed the same way as the New Jersey picture above). I bought what I thought were comfortable, yet stylish shoes to walk New York. By the end of the first day, I had blisters where I didn't know you could get blisters. Okay, they were on my feet, which is an obvious place to get blisters, but painful nonetheless. My hurt won out against my desire to be stylish in NY. So...tennis shoes after the first day. But look! The Brooklyn Bridge. 

I knew Manhattan had a Temple, but I had no idea where it was. NY was so big! As I reached the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, there it was. Like a light of hope in this huge city. I loved it.

New York had amazing nature thrown into small pockets around the Burroughs. Oh, and Central Park. This was in Brooklyn.


You may be wondering why I picked "New York State of Mind". Why are you wondering, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend? It's New York. Oh...why not a Hawaiian song? Because Billy Joel is awesome. There's almost nothing sexier than a man playing the piano. And IZ just didn't play the piano well enough ;). 










Sunday, May 31, 2015

Track 3

"Unfinished Songs" by Celine Dion

This next song has been a tough one to crack. If I am going backwards in my life, this would bring me to working out. I have so many songs that could fit the bill. There's one that I had decided on, "4 Minutes" by Madonna and Justin Timberlake, but the video wasn't exactly what I wanted on my blog...not that I'm a prude or anything but I cringed when I saw the bodies melting away, so...no. But here's the real problem: I have had so many other thoughts lately that don't correspond with a workout track that I haven't been inspired. How can I skip this most important part of my life? This is when I learned everything I have ever wanted to know about the human body and why I am like I am.

Why would I skip it?

 I think it comes down to the fact that remembering that part of my life leads to unsettling thoughts in my current life where I am not as physically active, and I eat out, and I drink soda, and I have completely undermined everything I learned and accomplished. Here is the thing: when I was working out and eating right and all of the good things for my body...that is all I did. I would work out almost everyday, sometimes twice a day. I read books and blogs and articles about health. I decided then to make it my life's journey. It completely consumed my life and, as soon as I focused on anything else, my health would slip. It seemed as if I wanted to even maintain my current svelte body, it was the only thing I could do. There was no energy to do anything else. You know, besides the basics of work and religion.

I realized this on my way back to Utah yesterday. I had to drive 10 hours alone, something I usually enjoy, but yesterday was rough. The thinking part was rough, I should say. As I contemplated that time in my life, in anticipation of writing this, and coming to the above realization, I started to cry. I don't think I ever grieved over the loss of my work. I've realized some great things about my life and about my journey here on this earth, but, in order to do that, I sacrificed my physical health. If you go back to my Four Pillars (bloghttp://thoughtsofstefanie.blogspot.com/2013/08/four-pillars.html), I've been spending the greater part of these almost two years trying to accomplish them. I thought for sure that the physical pillar was the thing that was wrong. How could it not? But then, if you read it, gaining weight was a manifestation of something else going on in my life. I still work out. All of the time. But weight was not coming off.

 One thing I learned the first time was there is always a cause of your weight gain. If it is medical, that's an easy one to figure out (and yes, getting older is a medical condition ;-)). If it is emotional, then, that could be more difficult to sort out. Bear with me, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend, this is about to blow your mind. If the emotional or mental pillar is out of whack, I gain weight. There is no other way my body knows how to respond. This will be great for the Zombie Apocalypse when I need this genetic ability, but right now...no. But I've conquered this before. I won. I figured out the way my body reacts. I know ways to combat this, such as focusing solely on my health. This past year of taking off school was supposed to be the year to do that. Things got in the way. I put it off. Stressors entered my life. Then, I decided it was time to date.

And here is the mind blowing part: I need my future husband to fall in love with this body. More to the point: I need my future husband to see past this mortal, fragile, always changing body and see everything else I have to offer. When I was thin and tall and gorgeous (I'm still tall and gorgeous), lust was all men sought me for. It's a very "used up" feeling to deal with. It is also something I will not stand for anymore. Here's another thing I don't do anymore: compete in the dating world. I know this doesn't have anything to do with my workout track, but meh...it's my blog. I don't see a husband and a wedding as winning some sort of prize. I will date, and I will show men my charming, funny, charismatic personality. I will make time for another person. But I will not compete for his attention among other women whom he chooses to pursue. I will politely thank him for his time and move on. Now, this isn't to say I won't give him plenty of chances to realize how amazing I am because I will. And I will make him a top priority/concern in my life. I was talking with my mother about dating this past week and we both came to the same conclusion that while we both want(ed) marriages (she's remarried), we have never been in the position of needing them. Heck, if I was only waiting around for a man, my life would suuuuuck. I've been able to do so many great, fantastic things! And I've been able to know myself so much better, as an individual.

That being said: I'm ready to move on. Where this takes me, I don't know. But I'm excited for the ride.

This track doesn't fall in the timeline of when I started working out, but it's on my current workout list. It reminds me that while I was busy waiting for the "best part to come along" I wrote, I dreamed, I played, I loved, I built, I gained, I lost, I lived. Also...Celine Dion.