Originally posted 2015-07-12 13:10:40.
Sometimes you just need to decide if you’re a leaf or a sunflower.
Last year, my then fiancé (now husband) video chatted with me on Skype after his trek to Snug Harbor – where June 28th they were holding an annual Polish Festival. Since he’s a scuba diver, he went to support one of the local businesses (that he gets some of his supplies at while he’s here on his work visa in the States), that is owned by a Polish gentleman.
Funny thing was, at the time, I had Google Maps search the distance from the apartment, and it seemed like such a long way to walk, and that was while I was active in Halifax. Well, more active than I had been the rest of the year pretty much. It seemed so daunting to me.
1.2 miles (1.9km) from the apartment. Who in their right mind wants to walk two kilometers in the heat? Well, to be honest, I love to walk. I miss walking. What I truly miss is walking somewhere with someone. So when the possibility arises that I can go somewhere with the hubs, I get excited now.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I realise that part of this entire #100days is about self-discovery, but the other parts are about testing, challenging, and bettering myself to be something more than I was yesterday.
We stopped to take interesting pictures and chatted about the hows and whys of settings like aperture, exposure, and other structural elements to change focus, lighting, etc of a 35mm camera. Things I didn’t realise I would enjoy. This b/w 35mm film hobby is really starting to bring me a sense of joy and excitement that I had not foreseen, and I am delighted that I now have a means of sharing my #100days with punctuated moments of pretty pictures to go along with it.
Like ^ that one. I am so proud of that photo. It might not seem like it has anything to do with my #100days, or getting fit, or getting healthy, but it is a source of happiness for me, and that IS part of getting healthy. My mental health is just as important as the physical. My mindset for so long has just been “get through this second/minute/hour/day/week/month/year/decade…” and now it’s about “wow, that flower is not afraid to be unique and special and is standing there, open to the world of leaves, just saying, LOVE ME for who I am.” I could see it from a negative view I guess, but I don’t see the sunflower as being vulnerable in a bad way. She’s bold, and not afraid to be a flower amongst the leaves of the world. I want to be that sunflower.
This #100days keeps throwing new curve balls of hope and happiness at me. Things I am so proud of; things I want to challenge for another week to come; lofty-seeming goals that push me to better myself and make things so positive that even when I am having a “pointy edges” kind of day, the calendar is dotted with more happy faces than sad ones, and I’m one day farther from the sad, bad, mad days of the last few years.
Perhaps I should back up again, and start with the first walk we did when I first arrived here.
Now a walk is good if I can pace myself and I’m not doing more than I know I can do. But that first one, I didn’t realise I was in the process of getting very ill (a rotten cold/flu/nastiness that lasted over two weeks), and between gentle “Come along, dear” moments from the hubs (please do not read that as condescension or him bullying me in any way, because that isn’t the case), and my own “WTH is wrong with you, Sera? Come on, move your f*t ass, you just stopped like 15 steps ago!” (yes, I CAN be a very mean self-bully).
We walked to this one restaurant (that I now pass at least two or three times a week without even stopping to take a drink of water), and I had stopped *pauses to count* (gets distracted by Kaylee needing her toy retrieved from under the nightstand) 15 stops that I can recall. Yup, I’m even going to show you where they were. Laugh if you must, but know this was April 19th – less than two weeks after I had started to really force myself to walk more than 40 steps at a time. Six days before this epic walk, I had married the boy, and was barely able to stand more than ten minutes at a time.
Maybe for my 50th day, I’ll share the pics for you to see the difference so far… the actual wedding photos (which I can barely stomach to look at for scarcely a moment or two) might be a bit longer in coming to your eyes. Perhaps at the final reveal I’ll be willing to share those hideous “before” pictures.
Now, granted I was sick (but I didn’t know that at the time), and I was incredibly out of shape (think gelatinous life-form more than actual human), but that’s fifteen stops (including the actual restaurant – but by then I REALLY needed to stop). If you’re unable to zoom in on the picture for any reason, I’ll give you the highlights. There is a broken wall near our apartment building, and I sat on that for about five or six minutes. We had barely even left our place. I counted one day, and it is 157 steps from the edge of the parking lot on the 1st floor to that broken wall. The tiny little stops along the way to the restaurant were more of a “hey look at that!” distraction so I could catch my breath for a few seconds at a time.
We were at the comic book store for about half an hour at max, though I’m thinking it was probably closer to only fifteen or twenty minutes, because I remember wishing we could have stayed longer and looked around more. But by then, I was already ready to collapse, and just needed to find a place to sit for awhile.
Stop #9 was at a tiny little park like area (pictured below, thanks to Google Maps: Earth View). I
think we were here for about fifteen minutes at least, though if someone told me it was twenty-five, I wouldn’t doubt their time-telling skills.
Stop #10 was just at the other end of the building you can see in the park picture, at the bottom of a tiny hill.
The last large sit before the restaurant was on a cinder block (please ignore the car, as I got the pic from Google Maps) that the city usually uses to plant flowers in. I saw it as the greatest seat in all the universe. I tried to melt into that cemented piece of happy-bumness (yup, it’s a new word) permanently, but I think I might have had a casual ten minute chill out there.
It seems so long ago now, but it was less than three months ago that I couldn’t even walk half a kilometer/mile without feeling like I was going to pass out.
I will note, that the walk home that day was even longer than the original hour and a half to walk down to the restaurant (a walk I can now do in under 10 minutes on a cool day I will point out). We left the apartment around 10:45am, and didn’t get home until after 3:30pm. I managed to get to a little second-hand clothing shop down the street, though I was so worn out, and feeling like I was
about as sexy as the Michelin Girl, and managed to find only clothes that were several sizes too small for me. Surprisingly (not!) my inner dialogue was shouting that they didn’t have any clothes for a… well, you don’t need to hear that commentary. I assure you, it wasn’t pretty. That kind of disheartening sadness isn’t something you want to have added to your plate of shame, tiredness, achy, “I-just-wanna-lay-down” feelings. The hubs had managed to pop over to the store (two blocks away) and was back by the time I had walked around the tiny little shop, and I had hobbled back down the stairs, having promptly sat my backside down for yet another rest.
The reason I recall the time so well was that he was late calling his dad in England, and I had even tried to coax him to go on ahead and I’d make my way there slowly.
I was extremely defensive about talking about my weight, and my health. I still am. It’s the same for everyone though. You can talk down and belittle yourself as much as you want, because that is your armor. Your right. Your easy-go-to solution for defensiveness.
But if anyone else so much as mentions something they notice, or think that you can improve on, HOW DARE THEY!? Who do they think they are, trying to be superior to you?
And if someone so much as *HINTS* at a word, let alone uses one like “fat, obese, heavy,” etc., that person better run. Right? I know, it’s a vicious reality. The statement that did me in that day was said not out of malice, or spiteful glee, or anything but honesty.
I asked if we could get a taxi from roughly between the clothing store and the restaurant (there’s about a block – 250 steps max – between them I’d say). I’ll round up for the sake of my own ego, and say we were a mile (1.6km) from home. The hubs responded with “That would be embarrassing.”
Ground, open, NOW. Swallow me whole. Please.
I didn’t care that he was right. I didn’t care that he was being sincere, or sweet, or even genuinely concerned for the fact I couldn’t walk a mile. I cared that he didn’t pull out his mobile and instantly do my bidding. When did I become the pretentious cow that demanded things? Now, I’m angry at myself. But of course, I can’t admit that I’ve changed my defensiveness to internal attack…
My hubs adds kindly (though I was already in full forest-fire mode) “You can make it. We’ll take it slowly. There’s no need to rush.” I heard “You fat-ass lazy festering bovine, mooooooooovvve your corpulent orbital mass! Geez, you whine so much!!! Move! I don’t have all day to pander to you!” Crying and infuriated, I was determined to make it back and never speak to him again. Good, petulance is a great motivator. Oh, now he wants to give me more encouragement. I can see through this rouse of kindness you know! I can hear the dripping sarcasm in your, “Babe, we can stop if you need to.” (There was NO sarcasm, it was all in my head.) I stubbornly shuffled past him, bent on making the sidewalk remember my name. I might have stomped about 20 feet ahead, and I was out of breath again. Dammit, body, we’re being pissy right now. Get it together. Stop acting like you’re about to die and move before he says anything nice again! You know he’s just going to … wait… he’s not teasing you. **shhhh brain, stop being so logical**
“Dear, are you alright?” Okay, so that didn’t sound completely disingenuous… try to respond with something less aggressive than fiery iced words of contempt.
“No! I mean. I… I really don’t feel good.”
“When we get back you can rest.” GAH! Again with the kind tone! What is he playing at?!?! It’s as if he actually cares! **about his wife? Yeah, go figure.** BRAIN, staaaaaahp it. I get it; you’re the logical one, and the body is the whiny one.
You might be giggling at the fact that I was so defensive, but we all have our trigger points. Not one thing did my husband say that was cruel, malicious, or in any way suggestive that he wasn’t 100% supporting my (current) abilities. He was cheering me on, and I was getting angrier and growing bitter and resentful with each hateful step. Cursing the cement. Cursing Staten Island. Cursing everything but the reality that I had started the day with: it was time to get myself healthy.
Over the course of the following weeks, I ventured outside as little as I could, coming up with excuses to get out, but then the oddest thing happened. One morning, I woke up before the cute boy did, and I was feeling better.
And I was tired of being a giant excuse-machine.
So I sat down, and decided once and for all, I was going to fix all of *this*. I was going to correct my mindset, my viewpoint, my body, my sleep, my eating habits; everything. Even if at the start I was leaving the apartment building on the 3rd floor, and walking around the building to the 1st floor entrance, I was starting my process.
That was the day I saw Penn Jillette’s massive (sorry, had to use that word, as it was best suited for this) transformation, and I was gobsmacked.
He’s someone I admire for a host of reasons, and seeing his change was nothing short of the shock I needed to get myself in gear. I have no aspirations to drop the weight the same way he did, though I am well on my way to fixing the damage done these last few (read 40) years.
“I will get used to this healthy thing,” I told myself before a friend came to visit the last few days of May. I woke up the morning of June 1, 2015 with a motivation I hadn’t felt in a long time for anything. If I had only known then how much I missed endorphins working through my body the way they do now, I probably wouldn’t have ever stopped walking in the first place.
But that’s for another day.
Rewards: well, several are in this – My desk – which I assembled myself. *PRIDE* and sense of gleeful accomplishment. My Skechers “Shape Ups” walking shoes. New underwear. Yeah, this might sound funny, but it’s two sizes smaller than the current ones I have. TWO SIZES. And not only do they fit, but they fit perfectly. And I’m only at the end of week 5.
Have a great week!