What happens when 1 + 1 ≠ 2

What happens when 1 + 1 ≠ 2?

Eating right + Exercise = thin and healthy

Right? Not so much.

Eating right + Exercise ≠  thin and healthy

Thin ≠ healthy.

Thin ≠ eating right.

Thin ≠ active or strong.

Fat ≠ unhealthy.

Fat ≠ eating wrong .

Fat ≠ lazy or weak.

In my mind, I know all of this is truth.

In my heart, 1 + 1 = 2. And if I eat “better”, and exercise “more” then I will be thinner.

By two different doctors I have been told that I have to eat more and exercise less.

Eat more?!? calories, eat more fats, eat more salt, and even eat more carbs.

Exercise less?!? do not incite the “fight or flight” response within your body.  HIIT Cardio only twice a week, no more than 20 minutes, no Spinning. Strength Training only twice a week, no Crossfit style, and absolutely no boxing. Yoga twice a week – or more.

The doctors are glad I am so healthy, and seemingly couldn’t care less that I have not lost a pound in 7 months, or that I am still hovering over the 200 mark.

The problem is not just in the structure of my equation – it is in the solution that I am trying to achieve.

Thin ≠ lovable.

Thin ≠ pretty.

Thin ≠ wanted.

Fat ≠ unlovable.

Fat ≠ ugly.

Fat ≠ unwanted.

In my mind, and truly in my heart I know all of this is truth.

And in all honesty, I still want healthy = thin.

I know why….

I know why.

I know why writers drink, and I know why writers write .

We drink because the glass says:
“..just. One. More. Sip. and you’ll fall asleep and you won’t feel a thing.”

Oh the lie of the glass”.. just. One. More. Sip.”

And thoughts that haven’t been thought in years flood the mind.
“..just. One. More. Sip.”

We write because the pen chimes in:
“Get it out.
Now.
Write it down.
Write it.
Now.
Someone else feels it. (You are not alone.)
Someone else thinks it. (You are not alone.)”

And the conversation becomes between the pen and the glass and the drunken vessel…just.

“..just. One. More. Sip.”
Alone.

Adulting, or lack thereof.

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You never know when or where inspiration will hit and by inspiration I mean maybe a mini meltdown.

I am currently sitting in a recliner chair… between stacks of boxes…. at Costco.

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I’m not here looking for gallons of shampoo or pounds of kale, but to get four tires for my car. Yesterday’s $29.95 oil change somehow became me having a flat tire last night, and a several hundred dollar adventure today. The day that rent was paid. It is the 7th of March.

If I am indeed an adult,  why does my life feel like a constant playing of the most annoying childhood game ever? (Chutes and Ladders.)

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I go from feeling like I have it all together and I am able to be generous towards other people or splurge on myself , to somehow having to pay my bank $35 because my cell phone bill hit my account the day before my paycheck. Thankfully, the fee was reversed. But then I did it again one month later. Whoopsies!

I go from feeling physially better, to a doctor telling me I need to have surgery.

I find a workout regime I love, and it’s blowing up my adrenal glands.

I return to a job that is made just for me, it’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling, I get to be creative and connect with people all day long, I only work 40 hours a week, never on weekends but I just don’t make “enough”.

The last three things I thought I was going to do to supplement my income, haven’t panned out.

I could go on, but I wont.

I don’t quite know what my expectations are for being 34, but I feel like I should have a little more together than this.

I try to keep things in perspective. Really, I try.
The script reads: “Julie, God is in control. My parents are still so emotionally (and financially) supportive. I have the greatest friends any girl could ever ask for! My life is full of love and laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever gone without a meal, I’ve never been homeless, I still have my car, I’m happier and healthier than many.”

But some days, I just feel like
I. Just. Can’t. Adult.
And today, is just one of those days.

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Bikini Season, Macy’s and US.

Once you pass the age where you pick out the cutest, brightest, rainbow unicorniest swimsuit you can find, no one I have ever known actually enjoys swimsuit shopping.  As tweens and teens and even grown women, this is a dreaded task that many of us put off, for years at a time.

It is the one plight as women we do not go alone. It does not matter if you are tall or short, fat or skinny, flat or curvy, black or white, or any where in between, shopping for bathing suits just plain stinks.

Study: Trying on swimsuits makes women feel anxious, depressed.

The stress starts long before the fitting room.

It’s unavoidable, especially in my little slice of paradise where the weather seldom dips below 70.

It’s unavoidable anywhere, actually. In February, the middle of winter for the rest of the country, the ever anticipated Sports Illustrated that is dedicated to women starts being reported on…. The Swimsuit Issue. (I hope you rolled your eyes too.)

“Get into shape for bikini season” The articles in women’s magazines and endless advertisements cry-out.

“Eat this, tone that, shave here, wax there, get tan – but avoid cancer…… ”

Just head on over to Pinterest for some “Fitspiration” so you can shame yourself into fitting into the bikini you feel miserable in.

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Women’s bodies are constantly in a state of flux.

Like most women, I am somewhere between fat and skinny. I am no longer “Plus Sized” but do not have a “hot Bikini Bod”.

My breasts that barely fill a B-cup are smaller than average, as is my waist. My hips and thighs and backside, however, more than make up for any “lack” elsewhere. And that is ok. I am ok.

So for the first time. I accepted a new label with pride: Curvy.

It’s that time. Join me on my journey to find my swimsuit.

Here we are. Together. Women (and the men who are still reading this), united as one.

Congratulations, we have demonstrated a level of acceptance of where our bodies are this bikini fun in the sun season and we avoided the minefield in our minds and mustered up enough gumption to shop for our swimsuits.

It’s 2015 friends. Thankfully this search starts not with piles of awkwardly cut Lycra and fitting rooms, it starts in the comfort of our own homes… with a Google search.

I Am. Curvy.

With confidence I type “Curvy Girl Swimsuits” into Google.

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Oh those pictures are cute!

Macy’s!

I can find something here, maybe they will have it in the store. I am saving time. Maybe I can find a coupon…..

I am feeling GREAT…..

I am feeling confident and excited and….. *click*
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WHAT THE F…ornication?

Now I don’t like shaming any woman. I don’t like fat shaming, I don’t like skinny shaming…. Those women are beautiful, albeit photoshopped, and I am sure they have some issues. Just. Like. Me.

But by golly Macy’s…. I confidently and deliberately typed in “Curvy Girl Swimsuits”….. I did not type in “Flat Stomach in a Bikini” or “Thigh gap in a one piece” and I certainly did not type in “Holy Shit! Look at those collar bones in a sundress”

Being the first one down after the ads – I can only assume that Macy’s has spent some time and money on search engine optimization. Bathing Suits for Curvy Women – Macy’s I happily clicked.

I don’t know how to make Macy’s listen. But I want it fixed. This confident curvy girl demands proper representation of my label. Please?

Ladies, clearly the “attack” on our bodies, self-esteem, confidence, is endless. But it is avoidable. Confidence starts in the mind and can stay strong through any “attack”, perceived or premeditated.

I am still confident that I will find my curvy girl swimsuit for this fun in the sun season.

I will be frolicking without thoughts of thigh gap. Chafing from chub rub? Maybe, but not thigh gap.

I will play without thinking about my collarbones.

My cellulite already has its first sunburn.

As it should.

Happy Fun In The Sun Season Ladies.

You are loved and not alone. Regardless of your label, or lack of representation.

Why I Stopped Waiting “Until…..”

I was waiting until I had “my own” place to paint my bedroom, to plant a garden.

I was waiting until a special occasion to wear the last few spritzes of my favorite, and now discontinued, perfume.

I was waiting until I met “him” to date. To set the table, to cook the meal, to play the music. To get dolled up and go out on the town.

I was waiting until who knows when to use the special bath salts I got as a gift.

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( photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/34517490@N00/)

I’m not sure when, and I’m not sure why, but one day I just decided to stop waiting.

I got tired of hearing myself saying “I want to.. but…”

So:

I painted my bedroom yellow, myself.

I planted an herb garden, with the help of a friend.

I used the last of my perfume, and often take off the lid just to smell it again.

I started dating my friends. I buy them flowers, surprise them at work, cook dinners – set the table, play the music, make the mix tape-ish playlists. We get dolled up, we go out on the town. Love letters are written. Happiness is spread.

Most days now are not filled with “I want”, but “I will”…. No more waiting “Until”….

She calls me Hilda.

There have been many “compliments” that I have shrugged off as idle chatter: I’ve been told that I am sensual, and flirtatious and gregarious, that I ooze confidence even though I am quite clumsy…  I know there were more, but like I said, shrugged off.

But recently, as I have been struggling with my ever evolving body shape, I have come to realize: I’m not sure if I have ever seen myself clearly. Emotionally or physically.

Faced with this realization I did what every sane woman would do: I went on WebMd and diagnosed myself with both Depersonalization Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am sure I have other undiagnosed mental disorders, as well as an undiagnosed tumor on my pituitary glad, but I was strongly rebuked by Danne that I am spending just too much time on WebMd. She might be right. She usually is.

Last summer, as we were sunbathing and celebrating our weekly ritual known as “Sunday Funday”, my neighbor Lynette gets very excited.

“You are HILDA!”

“Lynette, what are you talking about?” ( I am unamused.)

She then shows me dozens of pictures of this “Hilda” and with increasing excitement points out in each picture “how this is so” Julie.

hilda5 hilda6 hilda7 hilda8 hilda9 hilda10 Hilda1 hilda2 hilda3 hilda4

I get very uncomfortable and my initial reaction was:”Lynette, I don’t even wear a bikini”… Clearly annoyed, she sighed, put her phone down reluctantly, and said “You are a spectacle, You are Hilda! I love it. I love you HILDA!”

Even though I shrugged off all of the delightful descriptions of “How I am Hilda”. I didn’t shrug off that this is how my neighbor sees me, but I didn’t fully accept it either.

Until last weekend.

A spectacle indeed – in my swimsuit, with my suntan oil and books and beach chair in tow, all while riding my pink bike to the beach. I laughed, and a grin comes over my face each time I remember it.

I almost took a picture for your enjoyment. Almost. Acceptance is “enough” for now.

:)

#slaythefrumpmonster

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Back in August writer Leslie Streeter posted this on Facebook.

So my sister Lynne Streeter Childress, who like me is trying to streamline her fitness and body and whatnot, decided that she is not giving into the insecurity that makes less than svelte women think they need to wear giant T-shirts to the gym, that make them look even blockier. So she challenged me ‪#‎nomorebigtshirts‬. Here is my less-than-svelte photo yesterday at CrossFit CityPlace. Ladies and gents – I wanna see your gym shots without the giant T-shirts. Please post them here or at the The Sweet Midlife with Lynne and Leslie page (which you should like). Be fit. But be you. ..

She posted it with a “less-than-svelt” picture of her wearing fitted workout clothes instead of frumpy clothes.

It completely resonated with me and the picture above is probably one of the only “selfies” I have ever taken for the sole purpose to be posted publically.

See, I’ve been working to slay the frump monster since about June.

I liked my frumpy clothes.
They were comfortable, and cozy, and free.

My whole life I have used clothes to hide or blend in. I never had “style”. I was ok if clothes just fit. And by fit I mean covered me completely.

But as I was losing weight, I developed a serious problem.

As I was shrinking, and my clothes weren’t, I couldn’t actually see that I was losing weight…..Yes, seriously.

My Danne is a godsend. Honest. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know how patterns or colors or clothes that actually flatter me would have ever ended up on my body.

We are the complete opposites. Though she has never been petite, she has never been unstylish! She’s one of those girls you see on Pinterest where they have the little outfits and the pictures and such. I mean it – she is literally on Pinterest with her outfits!
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I don’t even wear a belt when my pants are falling down! And there she is with a belt to match the boots! Add a sweater and a scarf to a summer dress and all of a sudden she coined the term “wonderfallish”.

Complete opposites.

After some much needed tough love from her regarding my frumpy monster ways, I bagged up and gave away all of the clothes that did not fit me correctly. Except jammies.

I had been wearing scrubs at work for almost a year and I switched jobs and needed real clothes again!

So, I went shopping for clothes that did fit me properly. It was horrible! I went by myself (even though my nearest and dearest offered several times to go with me), I cried in the dressing rooms, I broke into hives, and all of a sudden I was in middle school again. I was actually having panic attacks….shopping for clothes.

I found pants that fit me and flattered me, so I bought one in navy blue, one in khaki, and one in black. Then I just bought bunches of shirts.

I wasn’t quite convinced about this whole “clothes not being frumpy thing” , so there were many mornings where Danne would get a selfie, and I would wait for her stamp of approval.

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When it comes to getting ready for a special occasion, I now actually get excited to look my best. Mostly because of the process leading up to that point.

The process is this: We go to the store, Danne finds everything and anything that is in my size (or a size smaller). If she thinks (or I tell her) I would never wear it, she makes me try it on. I refuse to come out of the fitting room. We banter back and forth. I usually end up giving in and buying the dress that she recommends.

Then, when I get to the event I do what every self-respecting woman would do…. I send her “selfies”…. taken in a bathroom.

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Thankfully for all involved, the process is getting smoother and shorter.

I am learning that I look better when I feel better and I feel better when I look better.

It’s hard to appreciate curves I spent my whole life hiding.

Don’t get too excited though, you probably won’t be seeing any more selfies anytime soon.

But.. There is an upcoming “updated” photo shoot with my dear friend, Kim Freeman. ;)