Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learning to Walk

I read a quote today and this is paraphrasing but it went something like "As I grow I don't change so much as I become more fully myself." I have been turning this over in my mind all day and kinda mulling it over. It def fits where I am in my life right now. The task I have at hand is to get to know this version of me as I become "more fully myself".

I guess I like it because it gives the impression that we are all walking a path. I have this visual of being a glass and each step forward fills that glass up just a drop more.....soon the glass will be filled and you will be who you were meant to be, unless of course you are me and that glass gets spilled all over and you have to start over that is.

What I do know is I am more afraid right now than I have ever been- of everything. I am so unsure and unsteady and I have been having the worst dreams I can recall, all about someone or something being taken from me as I watch helplessly.

After talking to Chris I realized just how much of what I do and what drives me is fear based. I must admit I was taken back by this fact. I thought I was mastering my own destiny and taking control (grabbing life by the ballz and taking names) but really I am in blind panic mode. Everything seems so delicate now and it feels like it could all be taken away in a flash. I feel like I am barely holding on to my place in this world at times and I am just worried about how easily it can be taken away. Some of it is rational and some not so much. Like I still panic just a little but everyday that Chris is gonna find that fatal flaw and leave me. I know in my soul that isn't so and won't happen but those fears keep whispering to me "it could happen, couldn't it??". Then of course with my recent employment history (4 jobs in one year- yay me!) its no shock that I am more than a little concerned about the longevity of this job (compounded by the fact that it is a contract role). Even my family I feel (in some cases with very good reason) that those relationships aren't as solid as they could be.

So what to do? That is part of what has brought me to this place where I know I need to stick a pin in my life and just get on solid ground for a little while. I was showing Chris a pair of shoes with 2 inch heels that I could have never worn before (because of the lymphodema) and now they are my faves and my most comfy pair and he made a profound observation. He looked at me and said "you are learning to walk all over again."

And so I am, and by walking around in these new "more fully me" shoes and just being more aware and actually taking a minute to take a breathe, look around and just BE I hope some of those fears will settle down. I don't want my life ruled by fear and so I will walk until these shoes get as comfy as my bedroom slippers!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I am now, always have been and always will be a lover of TV. I have many friends who look down their noses at the glowing box that gives (most of) us so much pleasure and even my boy thinks that a day with no TV is a good day. Being a child of the 80's I grew up with TV as my babysitter and learned all of life's most important lessons from the after school specials I saw (oh, and all the Molly movies...RIP John Hughes, what would teen angst have been without you). What the heck ever happened to them? I'll bet you can trace the second the economy truly started to crumbled to the last airing of a heady lesson filled drama that was aired between 3 and 4 pm.

Anyways, what I am saying is I was always predisposed to TV brain washing. I am a willing victim and I have to say that this week marks a magical time of year. Fall Premier week!! Ahhhhh, let's embrace and wallow in this moment for a second. Before all the cancellations begin and before the shows we want to love begin to disappoint. Before shark jumping and before off set drama becomes a plot line spoiler (yeah, I am looking at you Izzy!)

This is the week where the fall line up lay before us like a field of new fallen snow. Unspoiled by the critics bashing and the fuckwad stars screwing it up for us....for now its all there before us beckoning us into the fall months where hot chocolate and sweaters await.

I am sorry but there is nothing better to me than a great story and I don't care where that story comes from. Reality TV, cable, network even a Monday Night Football game.....I love it all. I guess its the same thing the drove me to pursue (but not complete, details) a sociology degree. I love the way a story can unfold in the most unexpected of ways. Sometimes its a hero's story and sometimes its just watching some dumb asses make utter fools of themselves- either way the story grips me and won't let me go.

I used to feel guilty but dammit I get sucked in when Tim Gunn is telling someone how fabulous their garment is or when Tom Colicchio gives his nod to a great dish (oh when are they gonna invent smell-o-vision??). Do I think this is Oscar worthy faire? Maybe not but it is entertaining and that is the point (and that's why they invented the Emmy's- thanks NPH!!)

Bring it on, bring on the specials and the challenges and the "most dramatic rose ceremonies" yet. Show me the twisted plot lines and character flaws. I dare you to make me laugh and cry and to inspire and perhaps even teach me. Do what you will with me fall TV season cuz I have been waiting all summer long for you!!

Slow down and breathe.....

I have to apologise to my beloved blog readers.....I have been pulling away from you. Not on purpose mind you but for some reason I haven't been compelled to write recently. I have been having a good long think about that and a bunch of other things and I have come up with a few truths that I am working through. This is in no small way due to my wonderful boy who helped me talk a bunch of this stuff out on a beautiful date last week. Amazing how easy it is to find peace and clarity when you are surrounded by twinkly lights and listening to the splashing of a gorgeous fountain with the man you love with all your heart.

Hmmm, the boy. He is as good a place to start as any. You know, lemme back up actually. Starting with Chris is kinda jumping in the middle. So...backing up. You guys all know that a ton has changed for me over the last 2 years (and for those new readers who don't know read the archives then re-join us.....we'll wait.) What I have discovered is I am totally overwhelmed by all the change. It just doesn't stop. The changes in my life keep going off like a mine field in the middle of a battle. Now I have copped to being a change junkie but I don't want to become one of those people who have chaos be their "status quo". I want my change to be purposeful and lead me to a path where I find peace and comfort and serenity. I don't want mock 10 with my hair on fire to be my "go to" state.

So what's new besides everything? Seriously....since we lost Troy, and really tack on at least 6 months before that....there is not a single area of my life that isn't totally changed. The weight loss alone would be enough but that is just a piece. A big piece but its not the whole story. That being said- I knew I would change as a result of the journey I took in losing the 200+ lbs but what I have come to realize is I have not taken even a second to get to know me now. I have changed, I am not a whole new person but I have taken on so much new stuff and I haven't done a good job at assimilating this new "stuff" into who I am and then getting to know this enhanced version of myself. I am all brand new and I don't know who -this- me is yet.

I look in the mirror and for the most part it is still a surprise to see the face and body reflected back at me. This isn't the me I have known for over 35 years....this is a brand new person and I haven't even said "hello" and "welcome to the party" yet. I thought that was what I did when I went home in July but I was still so "in the process" there wasn't a chance to breathe let alone stop and take it all in. And it hasn't stopped since. So that is one small piece...new body, new girl. Who is she? I, for one, would like to get to know her.

Next....ahh yes, here is where the boy fits in. My wonderful, cuddly, cute, kind, and amazing boyfriend. Yes, MY boyfriend. It will be 4 months on the 25th and I wake up everyday stunned that someone like him loves me. And I know he loves me, I feel it with his every look and touch and even text how much he loves me....what I keep wondering is why?? I know I have earned a man like him I just can't believe he is really real. And the challenges we have already faced as a couple prove to me we can handle anything but this is so new to me. Honestly it has been so long since I have had a serious relationship and I have never been in love like this before. Funny how real love makes the relationships you tried to force into "love" status seem so pathetic. So being a girlfriend? Totally new territory....I have no idea who "Tracey the girlfriend" is let alone how she melds with this new Tracey that exists. It's an interesting layering process.

Then as one great love enters my life I have to acknowledge the truth that one of the most important relationships in my life is broken, perhaps forever. It may very well be beyond repair and while I cling to the shreds of hope- this loss will haunt me everyday and I ache for it.

Then as I look at the rest of my family....well let's just say I wish like hell I had a magic wand that I could just wave all the pain away. But I can't and I can only walk my path and give as much to them as I can while keeping my own head above water.

So that is what has been on my mind......so much change and I haven't done anything to deal with it. So what I have decided to do is just breathe, relax and settle into this life for a bit. I have a great new job that requires a lot of brain power and I am very excited about the challenges it has and the opportunity I have here to grow. I want to learn how to be a girlfriend, how to be the best girlfriend I can possibly be for my boy cuz he deserves the very best. He gives me so much and I want to make sure he knows how much I love and appreciate him everyday. I want to be a good sister, aunt and daughter cuz my family needs me. And I want to get to know me.....I think I might like this chick, she's got some spunk to her- I can tell.

So if I have slowed down please understand that it is what I need to do. I love you but this space is first and foremost my healing place and it must always be that or else I'd be cheating us all.

So now, slow down and breathe me with.....we can get there.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If You Don't Stand for Something, You'll Fall For Anything

This topic has come up in a couple of different ways for me and it got me thinking about taking a stand and when it is important to do so.

I missed my chance to make a big 9.11 speech and I feel like that is something that is best addressed on the day so I will save what I had to say until next year save this....I don't know about the rest of you but I never got the "National Day of Service" memo and I think it is a fantastic idea. It was too late this year but next year I plan to -at the very least- organize to deliver bagels/donuts to the local firemen and police officers to express my personal thanks for their service (as you may recall my brother was a fireman). I also plan to donate blood- this is what I did the day the towers fell. I was living in Chicago and had no family close by so rather than go home and sit alone I went to the nearest blood bank and waiting to donate blood. I was so far down on the list that I never got called but I sat there for a good 5 hours perfectly content to just be with other people and doing something...didn't matter what it was. I got out of the habit of donating blood which I used to do very regularly (being AB+ I always felt a certain obligation to donate- being a rare type and all) so I am glad for the reminder and plan to make that my new 9.11 tradition. This is an issue worthy of taking a stand on.

What is important to people- to you- changes in a moment. You may love your house but if burns to the ground you may find that what you loved most were the people you invited inside it. Priorities can change in the blink of an eye.

So many people have had so much throw at them these past months and it changes what is important. For me, I feel like I have lost so much and my feet still aren't quite on solid ground. It is getting better and I am getting more and more steady each day but when you have lost so much you get in survival mode and then get in defensive mode. I know how much I am willing to give up right now and its more than I ever thought because I realize how much of it just isn't important. How much is just what I call "background noise". I have learned that I can give up TiVo and dinners out and other "things" and "stuff" that used to seem so important. I know where the lines in the sand are, at least until that line creeps up to my toes and I have to once again re-evaluate to see if that is really as important as I'd thought- again. You have to adjust to survive.

I have been chasing a 6 figure income for so long. I have gotten in range a few times and it always seemed possible with the sales jobs I have had and the talent I felt I possessed. Hitting that target was always such a driver for me and so important. And now for the first time in over 15 years I have a job that isn't commission driven because I have realized that, for now, a 6 figure income isn't what is most important to me. Having a solid position with a good company that I can grow with- now that is important! Work life balance is important. Making time for my boyfriend and family- that is important!
All these things I never thought would be an issue for me is what is critical for me now. I was joking with my buddy who got me the new gig that I am trying something new and plan to keep my head down and mouth shut and just do my job. You may giggle at that but I have long prided myself on being the one who points out that the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes... and by the way here is the ensemble he should be wearing. I have been a loud voice and being the change junkie you all know and love you can correctly guess that carried over into my work life as well.

Now? Not so much.....I was joking a bit when I said I was gonna keep my mouth shut. Of course I am going to fully contribute and help my team grow but I really kinda meant it too. Frankly I can't risk losing this gig. I have to fight to keep this stability thing I am building going and so I am not going to color outside the lines. If they tell me black is white....as long as no one (especially me) is getting hurt but saying black is white then....for now....I am happy to say black is the new white all fucking day long. My priorities and different right now and I have lost too much. My line in the sand got shifted.

Now here is the interesting thought.....I know my line has been pushed back and I know it is fear driven. I am not happy about that but it is what is is. The risk is too great to step over the line. I know I am not the only one who has had their lines pushed back so when you apply that to a society, all who have lost so much and are scared and being fear motivated right now trying desperately to protect what they have now rediscovered as important to them....what does that look like? I know my bullshit tolerance has gotten much much higher and I will put up with a much wider swing than I used to. But I will still only allow the swing to end where my nose begins.

So the question is.....what do you stand for now? Where is your line in the sand that you cannot be pushed back from? Do you know where it is? How far are you willing to be pushed to find out and what would it take for you to push back and come out swinging?

Cuz at the end of the day.....if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything and the world is watching.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Endings

I have been drifting around in a bit of a trance today. Just soaking up the feeling of being safe and secure and totally content. Lord knows its not a feeling that comes around in MY life often so I am soaking it up like a sponge. I just am tingling with this feeling. I feel like the whole world can see my every thought and each thought is of and about love.

I love Chris for a thousand reasons. The way he looks at me, the way he puts me ahead of his own needs (even when he should put himself first- right baby?), the way he holds me....but most of all I love how he sees me. He really sees me. I have never had someone so close to me who is watching me and actively trying to figure me out. He is so observant and intuitive and he is making me look at myself in a whole new way. He has pointed out some of my mannerisms and just the methods that I tackle as I go about life in a way I never noticed or thought of in quite the way he has seen. It's been fascinating as someone who spends a fair bit of time with my nose in front of that emotional mirror actively working to figure myself out. Some people go their whole lives not looking in that mirror, I would rather look in that mirror than a normal one...that is where you see the real person anyways.
This really isn't as easy or as simple as it sounds. You have to remember I have spents years hiding in plain site. You may think you have seen me, and after reading this blog you may feel like you know me but there is so much that I could back even now and keep locked up. To have some start to turn the key of that room- a room that has been locked up airtight for so long is terrifying. Yet because I trust Chris totally (more important than I love Chris is that I trust him completely) I am OK with him poking around those dark dark corners. That is the biggest sign of all that he is the one I can be with forever.

I love how he sees and brings out the very best in me. We were just talking last night about an ex of mine who just pushed my every wrong button and I hated the person I was when I was around him. Chris inspires me to be the very best version of myself I can be. Not that he isn't happy with who I am yet I am still compelled to push myself to a higher level to make him proud of me.

This was a great weekend for us and our relationship. We had a wonderful day in Prescott but before that I had a pretty important meeting. I met his mother...I know. Pretty big stuff. The day did not get off to the best start and it looked for awhile like it might not even happen but things worked out and we ended up going to a favorite watering hole of theirs and had a good time listening to a great band and just spending some time together. Since there was a band there was not a ton of talking which in some ways I think was good- it took any pressure of small talk off the table and we had a shared pleasant experience. At one point his mom asked Chris to dance and being the good son he is he obliged and then when he got back to the table he asked me to dance.


My first dance with my boy.

It was such a great feeling dancing with him. I can't lay any claims to being a good dancer and frankly have not danced since college and even then it wasn't a slow dance. Still, I did my best to not step on his feet or trip (and there were not many people dancing so that would not have been good). It felt wonderful being in his arms and was the perfect ending to our evening.

We dropped his mom off and then we headed back to my place for an early start to head up the mountain to Prescott. For those non-AZ peeps Prescott is about a 2 hours drive away up the mountain- which means it is about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix- and on Labor Day they have a town festival called Fair on the Square.

We had a perfect day.

It was honestly exactly the day I wanted and I hope to have a lifetime of days like that with Chris. It was simple and easy and beautiful. The weather was perfect and I enjoyed every single thing we did. We had amazing crepes and funnel cake and saw some great art. We snapped some silly pics and spent half the day just kinda gazing schmoopily at each other. It was total bliss. We drove back and Chris showed me the property they are going to build on someday and it has amazing mountain views. So peaceful and wonderful- it felt like paradise to be there with him.

We ended the evening at El Encanto for a great romantic dinner and had a great conversation about where we are in our relationship. Bottom line is we have had so much thrown at us in such a short amount of time but I really feel like the dust is settling and we are coming into a very comfortable, quiet and lovely time for us where we can stop reacting to the rapid fire events that have been exploding like grenades around us and just relax into being a couple. Just be and get to know "us" and start building a whole library of life experiences like the day we had in Prescott.

I almost feel like apologizing for talking so so much about my relationship and being in love but I know how happy you all are for me and in some way its gotta be a pay off for you guys as well. In any good story at the end the hero gets their hearts desire right? Otherwise why do you chuck down your $10 to see the flick?

Well you can send your checks cuz this is the start of a very happy ending......this is the beginning of my "and they lived happily ever after" but in no way is it the end. ;)
For Chris and I....happily ever after starts now!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I don't know about y'all but I am DAMN glad to flip the calendar and have a crisp, fresh new month to look forward to...just me?? Didn't think so...

Well kids, lots and lots of change has come my way this summer and as the temp slowly creeps under 110 (for us in AZ) things are slowly getting back into a groove for me. It's been a truckload of new adjustments to make and I am still juggling and seeing how things work.

The new job is going great so far. I really like my coworkers and the office is pretty close and in an area of town that I love to that all rocks. There is a huge learning curve, bigger than I have had to tackle in a long long time but it will come with time so I am not worrying about it to much and frankly, -that- is the kind of change I want not this musical employment chairs dealio. I even got some good news that makes the new job even better than when I first was offered it! I am just so grateful to have landed where I did and I look forward to settling in and kicking ass there!

Chris is, as you all know, my dream come true. There is no doubt he is the one for me and we are finally getting past the brand new relationship stuff and getting into the "how does my life work long term with you in it" stuff. Up until now I have put spending time with him as my biggest priority- over friends, yoga, making any kind of plans at all really. So now that I am certain that there will always be a next time so each date is not sooooo critical to nail down I can get back into MY routine and do what works best for ME on a daily basis. The last thing I want to do is make my life all about my significant other. He is a big part of my life but he isn't my whole life so now that we have gotten past the first "quarter" of our relationship we both need to attend to parts of our lives that may have gotten neglected because of the newness and the drama (for me at least) that has happened over the summer.

So that leads me to my confession and the reason why I have been a bit more sparse with the blogs that I was....did anyone but Fran notice?

Yeah....so the thing is after my whole little victory tour and the article and all the kudos and pats on the back and the new relationship and the celebrating and......blahblahblah.

I gained 20 pounds.

There, I said it.

God I hate typing that....makes me feel so frustrated.

Now before everyone starts making me feel better and handing me "get outta jail free"cards- cuz that is what friends do, we make excuses for each other and minimize things. "Oh, that's not so bad..." I know its just a slip and I WILL get back on track. I have some very good reasons why I gained but honestly the truth is I LET it happen and to a degree I am still letting it happen so me writing this is sucking it up and confessing my sins so I can refocus and get back on the wagon.

As I think about my fall from grace I have to say it pretty much went down exactly as I feared it would. I just don't have impulse control and I can't do "just a little". I am either IN or I am OUT (little Project Runway ref for ya...). When I came home for my party I gave myself that time to "cheat" and have some of the things I have not had for so long. Well guess what? That was July and I am still on that break.

There was the party, then getting back I had my medical situation which took me out of the workout routine. I think that was the critical piece because I am just not barely getting back to where I was months ago with my workouts. It's gonna take awhile to build back up to where I was and that is what makes me so mad at myself (cuz I knew better!!). Then there was the stress of looking for a new job and the one thing that became crystal clear to me is I am still, and always will be an emotional eater. Even right now as things settle when I get that twinge of stress I want something sweet. Now I have been trying to be good and get low cal treats (Mmmmm fudgicles) but when you eat 2 of them it kinda defeats the purpose. And now as I get into a routine at my new place it's interesting because going out to lunch is a big deal. Lunch is social and I want to fit in and be a cool kid but that also puts me at risk so what do I do? Be the loner who never leaves the office or go and blow my diet cuz healthy isn't always the first consideration in choosing a place to eat for this group. Oh and then there is free lunch provided everyday....today it was lasagna. I do love me some lasagna!! Choices......all about choices. And for me its all or nothing.

So what do I do? Well.....back to making workouts a priority is tops. Yoga was even put on the backburner cuz of cost issues but now with the new gig and cashflow getting back to where it needs to be I can fit that back into the budget which is huge. Yoga does so much for me mentally and spiritually as well as the physical. I need to pace myself and in 2-3 weeks hopefully I will be back where I was, or at least pretty close.

The hard part is striking that balance of being able to have a "normal" meal when Chris and I go out. He is super supportive and wants to drop a few pounds as well plus he is a great cook so that all helps but it's still nice to go out and have a lovely meal with some wine and not worry about it blowing the diet. That is what I need to work out....how to find that balance. I love him but every once in awhile we need to go out amongst the people and not just sit in my condo and stare at each other- not that we don't still do that in public. Hey, we are still newly dating and all schmoopy!!

So that is my confession and now I must bust my ass get to get back where I was but hopefully I will make it back there with a few more lessons learned so I can make sure that this is a life long change and not a dip in a roller coaster ride. What came down will NOT go back up....at least anymore than it already has!!

Grrrrr, back to the gym I go!!!