I typed the text message. I stared at it. I thought it. I felt it. I cried.
I didn’t hit send. But I didn’t erase it either.
I stopped. I thought, “I don’t want to reach out to him. It isn’t safe.”
He doesn’t want to be my other and I can’t be just friends.
“I just want him to know I miss him.”
Why do I want him to know? So that he will miss me? Probably.
I wonder if he does. And if he does, I wonder what it is that he misses.
My smile, my voice, my eyes, my head on his chest. I miss wrapping my arms around his waist, leaning my head back and looking up into his eyes. He would look at me and smile and stroke the sides of my face so gently that he was barely touching me. But he was really touching me so deeply that he was reaching all of me at once.
Ugh, that makes my stomach hurt because it is a cliche. Ugh, I’m a cliche.
But, how could what we had be something he could walk away from? We had it, right. We. Not just me.
Perhaps I never touched all of him like I thought I had. The way he was always touching me.
Touch not lest ye be touched.
It’s 7:30 a.m. I’m dressed in my new Fabletics outfit, sitting at my coffee table with my bottle of water and my cup of Greek yogurt with chia seeds on top. I’m a little sore, ‘cause I am a little sore every morning before I get moving and drink some water. Plus, I’m thinking about going for a walk after I eat it.
But that’s not all I’m thinking.
I have a cacophony of thoughts running through my head that are going so fast that I can’t even identify them all. Let alone counter act them. I imagine – no, I hope – some of them are positive, uplifting, Crystal-building thoughts. But every time I am able to concentrate long enough and follow the path of one of these things long enough to catch it by the tail momentarily and look it straight in the eye, it seems to be something ugly.
How much is enough?
25 pounds is not enough.
What if you just gain it all back?
You didn’t lose any weight last week.
What if you can’t lose the rest?
What if you see him on the street?
What will you say?
Will he even notice?
Does it matter if he does?
(He always thought I was beautiful before)
You aren’t beautiful enough yet.
What if the food wins?
What are you going to do to keep this up?
Can you keep this up for the rest of your life?
What’s the plan?
No beef? No dairy? No gluten? No soy?
No bread, no sugar, no noodles?
Mmmm, I want noodles.
I have good thoughts that I have been intentionally cultivating. But they don’t seem to be bouncing around my head all by themselves unbidden like those horrible monsters above. And I’ve been emotional about it. And I think fear is the big emotion. And I don’t like it. I want be brave and ready and able to jump into the fray – whatever the current battle may be. Especially if it is a battle for a better version of myself and my life.
But this is getting really hard – every time I need to eat these thoughts are the ones bouncing around, and the only thought I need at that time is: What can I eat to take care of myself? I need to be ready and eager to let go of the weight. Not because I might see Rick, or because I want to attract love into my life. But because I don’t want to hide behind it anymore. I don’t want its excuses any more. I want the big version of my life that I can only have if I am healthy enough to chase it down and jump on top of it.
I want to love myself and my body. And I do…but I want more. I want to go swimming and hiking and rowing and dancing. I want to be able to sweat in public and not instantly be reminded of how heavy I am and feel fat and ugly.
And I want to trust the Universe enough to feel safe letting it go. We have enough of anything we might want, and we will have enough in the future. There is enough food, and enough time. I don’t have to clean my plate. I can eat it later. I don’t have to save it up inside my body in case we don’t have enough later – there will be enough.
I can let go of the shame and fear that somehow got attached to my body and sex. I am enough to make this physical thing my soul is attached to into something beautiful – no matter what size it is. And I can let go of the resentment about being judged by or assigned worth by my pants’ size.
I am brave enough to say no to any unwanted sexual advances. I don’t need a wall between me and the bad guys. I can take care of us. Of myself. I can protect my body heart and mind from all of this. I will keep doing a better job of it. I am brave enough. I am strong enough. It is safe to be thin. Really, it is. It is safe to be the beautiful version of me.
We can let it go. We can. We have. We don’t have to have a target weight. We can have a target life. I want to be thin enough and strong enough that I can play in a million ways with the people I love. With myself. With my lover, wherever he is.
I can let go of the fear. I see it. I know it’s there. So, I must be able to deal with it. Otherwise I would not know about it yet. So, why am I afraid of these things? Lately, everything is coming back to love. Giving it to myself and others and being willing to accept it fully. So is that it? Do I want to be loved and I am afraid messing up this “weight” thing will make me unlovable?
How can I re-program that? I guess that’s the big question for now. And in the mean time I have to imagine that big life and keep telling myself that it is safe to let go.
We all know Rick is gone. In a fun twist, I am letting go of a lot of weight. It’s the end of school, so the kiddos are gone. I even lost my room at the school — and now I have to move to a new classroom. I’m am honestly trying to let go of things I don’t need anymore. I cleaned out a few closets and I’m considering what needs to stay and what needs to go. On a more emotional scale I’m trying to get rid of old ideas and practices that aren’t good for me too. And of course trying to replace them with better things.
It has been hard work both emotionally and spiritually. But I have been lucky enough to have a physical manifestation of the process in my body letting go of weight that is doing me no good. And I have been both feeling and looking much better.
But I hit a bump this week, when something else was taken away. Tuesday I lost a contract job that I had designing a special publication for the local newspaper.
I found out in an e-mail that simply said, “We will be designing the rodeo book in-house this year. Sorry for the confusion.”
That’s putting it mildly, in my opinion. I had talked to people about this way back in February and March. I’ve been getting e-mails about content for the book since then. I probably have 100 e-mails about it all.
My first reaction was anger – for the reasons stated above.
Then fear. What am I going to do without the money from that job? I do trust God to help me make any ends meet. So really something will just have to come up to help. I don’t have to know what it is. I just have to trust that it will be there. And when all else fails, I know for experience that I can live off my credit card if I have to. Okay, fear dealt with — for the moment.
A small amount of relief came next: “There must be something that I am supposed to do with that time instead,” I thought. “And I won’t be all stressed out and working late nights trying to get it done. I can relax.” Well that will be nice. I wonder what I’ll get to do instead. What will be more fun than designing the rodeo book?
That’s when the sadness rolled over me. At that moment I couldn’t really think of something more fun. I really wanted to do it. I really liked designing this publication – even though it meant a lot of computer time all at smooshed into one week. Even though it was stressful. I got to make something that I thought was beautiful. Something that had great typography, good photo editing and placement and something that those High School rodeo kiddos could save as a memento of their time at the finals. I haven’t really moved past that sadness yet. I really want to create this thing.
My final intentional thoughts were to assuage my anxiety about losing a print job. I wondered what I had done wrong. But to my best knowledge, I did a good job. The customer and I had a great relationship. She was happy with my work. I had gotten everything in on time and they had proofed each page, so I didn’t have to worry that there had been any mistakes set into print.
So, as far as I know I had done everything I could, and I had done it well. The rest of it is out of my hands – out of my control. So I just have to trust the Universe. Trust that it’s a “God thing.” That it is for the best – for me and everyone else involved.
So, I’m still sad that I won’t be designing this year. It is honestly a part of my identity at this point and not having an upcoming project messes with me a little bit. Am I a designer if I have nothing to design? I do miss it. I do love it. If I could have figured out a way to be a page designer without having to deal with the bull-shit of the newspaper industry (especially in our town), I would not have become a teacher.
But I am. I’m a teacher. Is this the plan? Do I have to completely let go of this part of who I am in order to step fully into being a teacher? Honestly, this is something I wish I could teach. Especially to some of the people laying out the local publications here in Rapid City. I guess for now I’ll just have to be a page designer in my own heart and mind, or figure out a way to completely let it go. I wonder which one the Universe is aiming for.
As of yesterday I am 18 pounds lighter than I was a month ago. I have been getting nice comments here and there from people who have noticed. And I have had several people ask me what I have been doing. I know they are expecting a simple answer like, Zumba, or a Paleo diet, or a pill. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. The following was written as a response to someone who asked me what I have been doing because she genuinely wants help to let go of some weight herself.
As many of you know, I had my heart-broken about a month ago. At first I was sort of soul-sick. Everything I considered eating made me want to cry or throw up. Looking back, I don’t know if it was a psychosomatic manifestation, or if the whole experience actually thrust me into a mindful place where I was finally listening to my body about what was good and what was bad and how much was enough.
The “sick” part only lasted about a week or two. But when I realized that I was letting go of the weight along with letting go of the relationship, I decided to make it part of my new plan. Part of what life was going to look like moving forward. Part of loving myself and taking care of myself. I have to say that the mental work has been the biggest aspect of it. Because I am hungry a lot, but for some reason, this time the hunger isn’t winning.
I’m working very hard on everything that looks like loving myself and taking care of myself. I have been doing a lot of nice things for myself – even if they are impractical. I look in the mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am. I spend time telling my body parts how much I love them. I tell my tummy – one of the places my body has been holding onto extra weight – that I appreciate the protection it has given me, but that I am okay and I can take care of myself. That it’s safe to be thin. I tell it that there is enough of everything. We don’t have to save up and be scared of not having enough. We can let it all go. And good stuff will come.
I have adopted a few mantras. My body is wise. It knows how to take care of me. My body can fully digest and use all of the food that I give it. And it will let go of all of the food that I do not need. I’m being as mindful as possible about every move. Telling my body that I want to take care of it and asking how I can before I eat anything.
I also have some goals that are related to weight, but not directly about weight. I have a vision of living fully and loving fully that will require me to be in better physical shape and strength in order to achieve it. I imagine hiking through hills I’ve never seen before with people I love – experiencing that beauty together. I think about swimming in a little natural pool that has a waterfall flowing into it. And I’m there with someone who loves me intensely. Who wants to play with me. Who wants to take laps around life with me. I imagine rowing a boat down a river. Rock climbing, jumping off of rocks into water. All sorts of outdoor fun. Connecting with nature in a physical way.
As for what I am doing – on the outside, the motions I am taking – I have been preparing and eating smaller portions. I have been trying to eat a lot more protein. I haven’t been eating fast food or eating out at all unless there is a social reason to do so (about once a week). Almost everything I’ve eaten has been something I “made.” But even that is a bit of a misnomer. Most of what I have been eating has been raw. I made it by cutting it up. I suppose if it were a diet it would look most like a Paleo diet.
I’ve been avoiding dairy aside from fat-free Greek yogurt. I have been limiting processed carbs almost completely. But I haven’t really eliminated anything completely. I had some garlic bread Friday night. I had some sour cream last night. But just a little bit. Just the tablespoon that is a serving. I have also forgiven myself, and told my body that I trust it to take care of me every time that I have decided to eat something that I would have, in the past, considered “bad” food. Like a sucker, or a cocktail, or some cheese.
I’m kind of counting calories. I’m picking things with fewer calories when I shop. I’m adding up how many calories are in what I’m eating at each meal. (Which is easy because I’m eating less-processed stuff.) But I’m not really adding it all up.
My doctor said to shoot for around 1000-1200 calories a day and for 60% of it to be protein. I’ve probably been hovering around 1000 for the most part. I definitely haven’t hit 60% protein even once. So, it’s a lot of little things. And I’ve been drinking like 60 ounces of water (or so) a day.
And I have been thinking almost constantly about what it means to take care of myself – all day. Every time I eat. Sometimes it means I’m going to eat a 15 calorie sucker. Sometimes it means I am going to drink 20 oz. of water before I eat anything else. Sometimes it means eating lettuce first. Or spaghetti and meatballs without the noodles. Today it meant trying a protein shake that turned out to be AWFUL. But the point is to love myself with my food. Which means I don’t really have a plan.
This meme has been circulating around Facebook for the past few weeks. When I saw it the first time I thought it was awesome and just shared it. I quickly thought I was good to go in this regard, and thought, “Yeah, I do things that make me happy every day.”
The next few times I saw it, I slowed down a little more. I thought what are those things I do every day that make me happy. I thought of a few really easily. Petting my puppy, eating…anything, hugging the kiddos at school, cleaning off my coffee table so that the living room is clean when I come home from work.
But then I realized I was doing it backwards. I was thinking of the things I did every day that made me happy instead of thinking of things that made me happy and trying to find a way to get them into my life every day.
When I thought about it in this direction I couldn’t even think of what to put on the list of things that make me happy. I can easily make a list of things I do every day and let you know if they make me happy or not, but honestly, I have been working so hard for the past few years that I have really given very little thought to what things make me happy that I want to add to or enhance in my life.
So I’m working on a list of things to try to see if they make me “happy.” And trying to figure out which things are worth trying to add to my life on a daily, weekly, monthly, basis. Any ideas for things to add to my to try list?
“I know, it’s kinda crazy.” I replied.
“Man, I thought I would be married by now,” I said with a sigh.
“Me too,” she said.
I let out a quick, soft laugh.
“I mean you’re amazing. You’re beautiful, funny, smart, caring…”
She went on. And it was so sweet of her.
I had breakfast with my best friend from college this past Saturday morning. It was great. We talked about all sorts of things, probably most notably my love life, given current circumstances.
She was sweet, she listened — and she made no judgement whatsoever about it all. Which I appreciate so deeply.
I know I did a lot of things during the relationship that most girls say, or think they would never do. Heck, I probably thought I would never do some of it either. I honestly faced some of the hardest choices of my life during this pairing. And you know what, I’m glad I did.
Now I know for sure, when it comes to Crystal, love wins out. Pretty much every time. I can see the beauty and wholeness of the people in my life even when they are behaving like the lowest versions of themselves. But I know the truth. And I can hold the truth about that person in that moment. And that truth overcomes a lot for both of us at that moment. I can have the deepest levels of compassion and empathy for people who are doing things that hurt me.
Up until this point I don’t think I have been very great about doing that for anyone, especially myself. I know I’m getting better at it. And I know that I need to love and accept myself fully, and that will draw in someone who loves and accepts me in the same way.
So, if this last relationship is an indication of how I feel about and treat myself, then I’m doing pretty good. I was always incredibly comfortable with him. So, comfortable with myself? Great!
I was very grateful for him at all times. I had a deep desire to get to know him better. I wanted connection as often as possible. So, same for myself? I would hope. I think maybe. Yeah.
So, the next relationship? Well, I’m working very hard to take care of myself currently. I hope that means I will attract someone who does the same and will want to, and be willing to, take care of me. I’m always working to slay my dragons and exorcise my demons. So, hopefully, he will do the same, and his past won’t hang over him like a shadow. He won’t be defined by his pain. But he will have dealt with it. Confronted it and learned the lessons there.
I’d like him to be someone spiritual so that he can respect and understand that aspect of my life. Someone who has done the work to become a version of himself that he not only loves and accepts, but is proud of. Someone courageous. Someone who likes his life, or who — at the very least — is working to make it better.
Someone who wants an adventure…wants THE adventure. Of life. Of love. Of me.
I really just want to get close and share and build something — create something — together. Even if I am too old to have kids by then, I want to make something together. Something that can grow.
Man, I thought I would be married by now.
So Tuesday night I got all of my work done before I left the school. I didn’t take home any papers to grade. Which is a good thing really. But it also sucked. Because I was home alone with nothing to do. Okay, not nothing. I have food in the fridge that I could cook up, or a closet that I could clean out. Or…well, I’m like any adult, I always have something I “could” do.
But I was overwhelmed with loneliness. I cuddled with my dog a little. I thought about what I could do, or how I could spend my time that would be more useful. I tried to find something on the TV to distract me. I even tried to talk to some strangers online — but all they wanted to talk about was sex and I so can’t deal with that right now.
As I wrote yesterday, “I guess what I’m saying is that I feel lonely without Rick around, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to really connect with other people on a deep level, but I’m not sure how to do that. At the very least, I’m out of practice. How do adults make new friends?”
And I want to fall in love again and stay that way. I want to commit to one another and create a life together. But where the heck am I going to meet a guy? (And every time I think about that, my brain still says to me: a guy like Rick.)
So, I have been thinking about my situation, and I sort of realized that it is going to take some major engineering in order for me to meet some new people and have some new experiences. I need to get out there somehow. And I think I need my friends to help.
I put a post on Facebook about it and I got some great responses.
“Okay everyone, Crystal needs some fun and some changes. If you haven’t seen me in a while and you miss me, or you never got to know me very well, but you would like to get to know me better I am open, ready and available for deeper friendships with all who want to try. I’m interested in new experiences and great times. Let’s have some fun.”
31 great responses to be exact. So I have some plans — that’s a start. Some social engineering for myself. I think I need to meet some new people. I know I want to reconnect with my old friends. I also want to find a way to enjoy my alone time again — rather than just wanting to have Rick around. And I used to enjoy my alone time a lot. I would take myself to movies, out to eat, all sorts of things.
So, of course, the big question is how. How can I invest in, and deepen, my current friendships? How can I create new ones? Seriously, how do adults become friends? I know a lot of folks meet people at work, but what if it doesn’t work out and then you have to see that person at work every day? Ick.
Well, I want to go new places with new people and make new friends. New friends who know amazing single guys that they can set me up with. Well, eventually. I am so not ready for that yet. And I don’t want to put myself in the position.
Tuesday night I got to go on a walk with a new friend who already feels like an old friend. Last night I got a good dose of healing at a prayer meeting, And tonight I’m taking care of myself by drying fruit and grading papers — and going to bed really early.
This weekend I have a breakfast with an old friend, plans to get my nails done, and a ladies night in the mix. And tomorrow night I’m making dinner for my parents. I’m pretty excited. Which reminds me, I had better go make sure my apartment is as clean as I’d like it for my parents to visit. Here I go.
And I’m interested in any ideas you all have for new experiences and new people. I think I’m still itching for a small dose of adventure.