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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, Battle of the Nations, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, HMB, HMBIA, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success, WMFC

Imperfection…

Not the worst Monday morning I have ever had but I can certainly tell you waking up for a consultation to see if I am a candidate for a Panniculectomy/Abdominoplasty was certainly up there on moments I could have lived without.

Normally I am not really too self conscious about my body these days.  I have no problem getting in and out of my armor in front of whomever is around.  However, with that being said, standing in a room in front of not one, not even two…but THREE complete strangers and being completely naked was indeed not fun.  Now, for the record, all 3 of those folks (2 men, 1 woman) were all doctors and probably had no interest other than medical necessity to see this 49 year old woman’s naked body.  But for the past 72 hours I have been dreading that moment. When they took my blood pressure and it was 148/95 that definitely told me that I was much more stressed than I had really admitted to myself.  That is much higher than I am normally…ever!

I have been torn between being ‘body positive’ about myself and worried about what the doctors might have to say about my body.  In the end, I sat in a very large chair, one I probably would have been thankful to have at my original body weight, and waited to meet the judges aka doctors.

Prior to this appointment, I had no other real interaction with plastic surgeons other than those involved with my initial gastric bypass and them discussing future options once I lost my weight.  Things were drastically different 9 years later.

First and foremost, we have to see if my insurance will cover the Panniculectomy.  We already know that they will NOT cover a Abdominoplasty and I can live with that.  If they will cover the panniculus removal, I will move forward and will see if I will need other surgeries down the road.  This is the bare minimum that will get done once approved.  Depending on what happens when the surgeon gets inside, will be up to him, but he is limited to certain things within the confines of coverage.  With a panniculectomy my down time of NO exercise whatsoever will be 2-3 weeks.  After that I should have no restrictions, other than any unforeseen complications.

My maximum time of recovery may be as long as 6 weeks, depending on how the surgery goes.  Typically its not that long unless there’s something inside that they need to deal with that they don’t know about.  So all in all, my recovery time is much less than originally described to me.  But its also a much less invasive surgery than what I was described too.  Originally I was told I would need a full body lift and that would require a much more in depth recovery time.  I don’t need that.

There is some worry as to how the rest of my tummy, above the incision line, will look if they only do a pannus removal.  They will not go in and remove any excess fat storage from below my breastbone to my belly button, so I may end up with something that looks like a muffin top with the way my body is right at this moment.

I do not think that would be too much of an issue moving forward and if it does bother me more than I think it will, there is always liposuction that can be done down the road.  My main concern is my pannus aka the ‘pontoons’.  I need them removed.  Plain and simple.

I was lucky enough to have Greg with me all morning and he has been a rock for me.  When I forgot to mention certain things to the doctors, he stepped in and gave them more info than I could have remembered on my own.  He kept me calm and seemed surprisingly appreciative of his nude wife in front of complete strangers.  That made me feel awesome.

He knew I was worried and he took it in stride.  He never fully gets all the ins and outs of my chaotic brain but he definitely gets it more than most.  He was just there, supporting me and loving me the whole time.  Even when I was nervously playing with all the breast implants and talking wildly about which ones would feel better when he would hold them lol.  He probably would have drawn the line at me juggling them, but then I am a horrible juggler…and would be an even worse jubbly juggler I am sure🙂

In the end, its a waiting game and I am sure my blood pressure isn’t going to go down anytime soon until I know whether or not my particular insurance policy will cover it.  I was very surprised at the cut and dry of it all though.  There won’t be any submitting photos or proving past medical problems.  If my insurance covers the panniculectomy that is what I will have.  If the answer comes back No, then we figure out what it would take to pay for a abdominoplasty ourselves and start from there.

Either way, today wasn’t as bad as I had thought, but it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped.  I did have to get naked infront of strangers, but I wasn’t subjected to every single flaw of my body being pointed out.  I guess that’s what an ex is for lol.  So all in all it wasn’t horrible.

Do I still feel conflicted about being happy with one’s body and wanting to make improvements when possible?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But Greg’s words to me on the drive home keep ringing true.  He just kept telling me to do what makes ME happy.  That’s all he cares about, is that I am happy.  It doesn’t matter what my body looks like, he loves me.  And he is what matters most to me in this world.

I do want to remove the excess skin & weight that I don’t need.  I do want to look better, and be that girl I see under the weight.  In truth, I want it all.  But if absolutely NOTHING changed about my body, I would be happy.  I would still be married to the most amazing person on the planet.  I would still wake up every morning and smile at the person in the mirror.  I would still have lovers who cared about me for who I am, not what my body looks like.

But yea, I want to remove what still remains of all the hard work and pain my body has gone through.  There is nothing more nature can do.  My body has bounced back as much as it can.  I gave it 9.5 years and have worked my ass off the last 3 to push myself as far as I can.  Its time to see what else can be done.

The paper work is being submitted and all I have to do is wait.  Its just another step in this whole adventure that is my life.  There will be good and there will be bad with both options, but taking this step was the hardest part…

Let the Fates be kind…

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, Battle of the Nations, BotN, Dragon Con, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, HMB, HMBIA, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success, WMFC

Extensions of Me…

Along my path I have been asked about various things that I do when I fight, when I make my weapons and what prepares me to do what I do.  Last night I finished up my new axe and was painfully reminded of why I don’t skip steps.

Years ago at Melee Madness, an awesome SCA event that gets held at the closest thing we have to a castle here in Utah, I was awarded a prize, a beautiful axe, and proclaimed the “Meanest mother” for that event.  Not in a Motherly sense…in a bad motherfracker sense just so you know.  That axe was awesome but using it in steel practice had cracked the haft that came with it (hard woods don’t last long in this sport) and thus sat on my work table needing to be fixed for several months.

I decided to re-haft it with rattan and put my own energy into it so that I could use it in competitions when I wanted to use a punch shield & single handed weapon instead of my halberd.  I also wanted to be sure Hannah had something to fight with at ITOC in a week, so I got to work on Sunday.

Everything went smoothly once I got the old haft out. I shaved down my rattan, formed it to fit the head almost perfectly and then got it all stained.  I let it cure in the heat of my garage for a full 24 hours and last night I was ready to put my finishing touches on it, knowing I wanted Hannah to have some time with it to get used to the feel.  Only I had to work late.  So, once I made it home I got to work.

I had everything I needed, I’d done the rune transcription and all I had to do was put it all together!  Easy!  Or so I thought.  Since Hannah was going to be using this weapon I decided not to follow my regular hafting rituals.  Normally I rune my own inscription into my weapons as an extension of me, putting part of my energy into it, as I have taken away some of the earth’s energy that it had.

However, I knew this weapon would be used by others, so I inscribed its name instead, therefore letting it carry its own energy to the user. I usually also add a few droplets of blood to the weapon, its a personal thing for me and something I learned from someone who has much more magic inside them than I ever hope to.  But because again, I felt that it might interfere with the energy of another user I decided not to.  In that very instant that I made the decision not to, my lovely furchild Heimdall, the BattleCat pushes my leather shears off the table and some how manages to carve a nice gash into the tip of my big toe.  Then he jumps down, and promptly lays on it, rolling around in it like a wee devil of a beast.  For those of you that know me personally, you know I tend to follow the Norse Gods, and I found it quite fitting that the message I got, was in the form of a cat.

Thus, I did end up adding several drops of blood to the weapon (some not by choice), whether it was a message or not, and decided then and there I would never forego a step in my own ritual again.  Feline message received, loud and clear.  Raven’s Beak feels great in my hands and I can only hope that the energy that went into it, will flow freely for anyone else that wields it.  I will also take care when and if that weapon gets used against me, for a weapon will always transfer energy back into its owner…one way or another lol.

I talk a lot about energy.  I truly believe in good and bad energy, and that you can transfer that energy from one thing to another.  A tradition I learned many years ago from a man I admire greatly taught me that everything in this world gives something up to become another thing.  Camric and his crew that were visiting us from Gleann Ahbann burned their shields at the end of an event, returning the energy to the earth. The shields had protected them and given their energy to the bearer and thus that energy was returned.  At my squiring ceremony a year later, Camric, who is also known as Green Shield, sent me part of his ducal shield, that had won him two crown tournaments.  It was to be burned so that the energy released would protect me, as it protected him.  At the time it was the most touching thing a fighter had ever done for me, and I didn’t want to let it go!  But when it came time to put that relic in the fire, along with bits of my fighting history and other relics from fighters I knew and cherished, I knew my first personal ritual had been born.

Now, when I retire a shield or a haft is broken, its burned. When I haft a new weapon, bits of it are saved and I burn them at various points when I want to put a little bit of me into the earth.  I took shavings from my halberd to Prague this year and burned them in the campfire at our encampment, to add my own bit of magic in a far away land.

I rune my weapons, I engrave my swords.  I carry Valkyrie wings into battle, so that I can pass them on to people who have inspired me.  I have small bottles of earth, rocks and other natural tokens from my battlefields because I was given a small container of earth from the first battlefield the United States team ever walked on to…and that meant the world to me, so I have carried on that tradition.

Simple things and simple actions, with sentiment behind them mean a lot to me.  The tokens I have received from fighters these past few years aren’t expensive or laden with gold, they simply mean something to the giver and to me.  That type of tradition, that type of ritual…that type of energy, is what I feel when I talk about magic.  They all invoke a spirit of togetherness, of inspiration and of a moment in time that can never be taken away.

So when I create a weapon, or hand sew a garment, or give away a token, its all an extension of me.  There is thought, inspiration and yes, even a little bit of magic in everything I do.  Its a part of me, a part of who I am…of who I’ve become, because of all those that came before me, of those that inspired me to do more.  Who gave a little bit of their magic to make mine stronger and to help me confront the negative we all inevitably have to face in one form or another.

Put good into the world.

Return positive energy to the Earth when you can.

Live a life worthy of inspiring.

Pass on your own magic.

Believe…

 

 

 

 

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, Dragon Con, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

Dragon Con 2016

I got back from Dragon Con 2016 last night.  I fell asleep surrounded by my furbabies and my loving husband.  When I woke up this morning I was rejuvenated in ways I can’t describe.  I am an extrovert that thrives on energy others give off and Dragon Con is one of the best places to ‘feed’ on energy.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and immediately spent time with friends I usually only see once a year. That seems like a theme for me, since when I compete overseas, I only get to see those fighters from other countries once a year as well.  All in all its much better than not seeing them within the span of a year, that is for certain.

This year I drank deadly mai tais, danced with dragons, fought with 15 other fighters in the ‘Octagon of Doom’ and still ended up with plenty of sleep and feeling refreshed at the end of it all.  Some would say I was doing it wrong…but I can tell you, I am doing it right.

My husband only goes every other year, and this was his year to attend.  Sadly, he wasn’t able to join me and I really missed him, as did our friends. Sometimes I wonder who they’d miss more lol…not really.  He is perfectly amazing in his introverted ‘extrovert’ shell and more loveable than anyone could ever imagine.  He is committed now to next year as I have already secured the hotel AND his pass.  Gregman Cometh…or there will be hell to pay!

This year I was also saddened that one particular entourage was no where to be found.  Alas, he and his companions were kept away by a crazy shooting schedule, thus I was left to my own devices.  Those included a lot of coffee, some banana bread and sleep.

I did however get to be a part of a particularly wonderful panel of women, show off my armor in an armor fashion show panel and fight my ass off on Sunday.  All in all, a damn fine showing for Dragon Con. We didn’t walk or fight in the Parade this year and I missed the Geek Girl Fun Run thanks to previously mentioned deadly Mai Tai’s but still, it was a great event.  I even have highly inappropriate video to prove it…maybe if I get the ability to edit it, I will post what I can.

Aside from my family of friends and fighters, the thing that stuck out most about this year was the love and affection I felt everywhere I went.  Whether it was a longtime fan or someone that had just met me, they made me feel great. I went into this con a little down but coming out the other side of it refreshed, empowered and filled with love and kinship is amazing.

Having people walk up to you and tell you that you’ve changed their lives…that pretty much takes the cake on winning anything…ever.  I just love knowing that some how, at some point I made people think about things differently and that makes any kind of pain or discomfort I have in sharing (or oversharing) worth it.  I truly love my life and I wouldn’t change anything about it, even if I could.  Its way too much fun!

So for all those folks that stopped me at the panels, in the halls, on the Marta or even in the airport to tell me how much they enjoyed my talk and my fighting…thank you.  You are the reason I continue to do this and I hope that I never let you down.

And for those folks that told me I remind them of Lynda Carter…I still love you to the Moon…or maybe even all the way to Themyscira  :)

I also want to take a moment and thank David Skirmont for the amazing portrait of me this year.  He always does such wonderful things for us at Dragon Con, and he is an amazing photographer.

Also, Aaron Cherrington who took great photos of us all and filmed all my fights.  As well as Thomas Riley at youtube/MedievalReview who filmed many of our panels and fights.

All of you gentlemen contributed time and efforts to us that can never be repaid.  Thank you so very, very much.  It means a great deal to us all!

To the Palmetto Knights and all the fighters and support that came and helped out in the panels, in the fights and in The Armory…y’all Rock!  Much love to each and every one of you…<3

I had a wonderful time and I am already counting down to next year.

See you in 2017 Dragon Con!!!

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

You can’t please everyone…

I had a long talk with my husband Greg yesterday, I simply asked him if I was enough.  His answers were pretty amazing, just like he is.  But one thing he said really stuck with me, “Baby, you are the Queen of Trying.  You try to please everybody, all the time.”

I realize he is right.  I do try to please people.  I can’t help it.  It’s simply part of my nature. But I also realize when I do that, it opens me up to accept a lot of stress and pressure (and sometimes abuse) that I probably don’t need when I can’t please everyone.

Whether I am trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect friend or the perfect lover, I will never win.  I can’t.  The game is rigged against me, because all I can do is try.  Yet, at times you feel like you can almost reach perfection…but you can also fall flat on your face.

At 49, you would think I would have already realized I am enough.  But evidently it takes a lot to let that sentiment sink into my not so thick skin.  People say things that hurt me, criticize me, accuse me, whatever, and I let that sink in just fine, but people praise me or tell me I am good enough and it takes forever to scratch the surface.

Well…I am enough.  I am perfect just the way I am, flaws and all.  I can’t be the perfect wife, I can’t be the perfect friend, fighter or lover either.  All I can do is be me…and whether I measure up to anyone else’s vision of me is something I need to quit worrying about.

The only person I need to be better than is the me I was yesterday, and even then I doubt I will always be better.  Some days are great and they can’t be topped…and that’s ok.

I did some longsword work last night and it suddenly occurred to me that no matter what I do, what I accomplish in my life, I will never please everyone.  Some people will be inspired by me, some people will feel the need to compete with me, some people will fall in love with me and there are even people who will want to do me harm, simply because of what I have in my life, and I can’t control any of that.

I love and adore my husband more than anything else on this planet, and his opinion of me matters more than anyone’s, so even if I don’t measure up to that…its still nothing I can control.

That’s the key…its nothing I can control.

I am enough for me.  Whether I am enough for you is beside the point.

Love me

Hate me

Kiss me

Fight me

It’s all up to you. Because I am enough.

I’m just a girl, figuring out her place in this world, one step at a time.

I will accept you just the way you are…hopefully you do the same.

 

 

 

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

No Fear…and strange men

I often find myself perusing the Facebook feature that allows you to look back through the years at your timeline for that day in history.  Today I was struck by several things.

The first was 8 years ago I had just gotten my dragonfly tattoo that was designed for me by Derek, a wonderful tattoo artist out of Sacramento.  He designed it just for me and I have loved it from the moment I saw it.  It was ink to celebrate my 200 pound loss milestone. Derek has done 90% of my ink and I trust him like no other, and we met in a game called Everquest in 1999.  It’s crazy to think that I have known and loved this man for 17 years now and how strange just how much of an effect he has had in my life.

Derek was the first man I fell in love with due to words on a screen.

It would be years before I met him in person, but I knew I loved him.  Greg, my husband knew I loved him.  In fact, Derek was the person that led us into an open marriage, not by his guidance really, but by his willingness to be open with me, understand the fact that I was married and happy, and still be willing to love the person I was, no strings attached.  It wasn’t really a sexual bond, not in a traditional sense really, because simply put there’s only so far you can go with words, texts and phone conversations, but there was a bond between us…and our characters online.  Selor and Sorcha belonged to one another, and that bond carried us through many games and many characters through the years.  The last time we spent any time together in a game was World of Warcraft.  Hellfyre and Hellfury were the same as we had always been, devoted to one another, we were the hellions!

Through those 17 years we’ve seen each other off and on, I’ve gotten a lot more ink on my body because of him and he has even inked Greg now.  He gave us beautiful works of art for our 18th wedding anniversary when we stopped in to see him on our way up the coast.  He has gotten married, has a beautiful wife, adorable children and we have all ended up perfectly happy.  He is someone who will always be in my world, one way or another and 17 years ago I am not sure how I would have described the us that would exist today…but no matter what, I am sure the reality is much better now than anything I could have come up with at that point.

I love him dearly and he is one of the boxes in my heart, and always will be.

Second, I was also reminded of that same trip to California that I got my dragonfly.  After I saw Derek for ink, I traveled down the coast to visit other friends I had gamed with in WoW.  Caught and Hawkke, two men I had gamed with for several years and never met in person, yet there I was, going to spend an entire weekend with them, in their home.  Alone.

I can vividly remember the moment I pulled up to their house they shared as roommates, and I knock on the door but there was no answer.  All of a sudden all those stories you hear (especially back in 2008) about never going to someone’s house you’ve only met on the internet.  How so many women end up murdered or tied up in the basement for years.  But there I was knocking…only to find out they had misjudged the timing of my arrival and were only minutes away.  I meet them, and was immediately put at ease.  I had talked online with them for hours on end for years, my husband (also a gamer) had met them on vent as well and we were ALL comfortable with my trip, albeit some of Greg’s friends thought we were all crazy, and we probably were.  But that’s not a negative in my book lol…

I look back at the photos of us (see below) and at that point in time I would have thought those two would be in my life forever, but now, 8 years later, I couldn’t even tell you their real names.  Hell I don’t even know which city I drove to from Derek’s tattoo shop to meet them!  Its so interesting the path that life takes us sometimes.  I honestly would have told you I was in love with those two as well.  In fact part of that weekend there was some true awkwardness because I really wanted to sleep with them both, and to be truthful, I couldn’t make up my mind, so NOTHING happened at all lol.

One of the TRUEST things in my life is this…

Rare people come into my life for a reason.

Whether its for me to help them or for them to help me is often unknown, but when I meet these people, I know.  I do find it interesting that most of the time those people are men, but I really have a hard time getting along with “normal” women.  They make me crazy and I simply prefer the company of men, which lends itself to that skewed ratio, but the women that are close to me in my life are truly phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Today was an interesting day for introspection on my life with men who start out as complete strangers and who end up lovers.  But the converse can be just as true. Because I have no fear of men, or falling in love or even lust with them, it tends to open me up to some that can do more harm than good.  Like I said, people come into my life for a reason and sometimes that reason is to teach me a lesson, which isn’t necessarily a good one.

There have been people in my past that I’ve loved, cared about, treated with way more respect that they deserved and gave more chances to than I would have given to almost anyone else in my life.  I grew up in an abusive home and spent my childhood in fear and being psychologically manipulated, but I also had prime examples of what a great man can be like, so I realized early on how to shield myself.  My weight always allowed me some blatant honesty and in the end, I learned to defend myself against just about everything, but sometimes you still have to learn the hard way.

And I have.  Many times over.

I don’t draw a line in the sand on when my heart has to stop loving someone.  Or even whether or not I can or even should love someone.  It just simply happens.  Sometimes before I even know it.  At times that love is so bright I fear it overshadows everything else in its path…and I am the first to admit that sometimes that newness is what I needed, what I craved and so I forgive a lot of hurt because that rush I feel is worth it.  Then, its not nearly as bright and you start to see the hurt and pain that’s being heaped on you when you don’t even know it.  That’s when I have to walk away, even when I don’t really want to.

Sometimes I can put all those feelings and memories away in their own little box in my heart.

Its like I have a shelf, with all these various beautiful boxes.  Each box is different, and they hold the memories and thoughts about one person I love and care about but they are someone I can’t have in the forefront of my life any more.  Either they have moved on or I have, it doesn’t really matter,  but when I hear a song or see something that reminds me of them, I can move their box to the front, go through the memories and feelings and still feel good about them, about me loving them and I usually enjoy the moment, even if it tugs on my heartstrings.

Those boxes are precious and very few…but they will always be with me.  Derek is one of those boxes…his art is a part of my body, his love is a part of my soul.  Whether or not we ever see each other again, in game or out, doesn’t matter.  He will always be a happy place for me.

For a long time I held on to other boxes, filled with hate, anger and pain.  I thought it would help me remember to not let it happen again, but in truth, all it did was radiate self loathing and hurt.  It took me a long time to realize I could throw all those memories and pain away and not have them stuck in the back of my mind, growing strong in the darkness.  There was a certain comfort in them, because I could always feel right in my decision to be rid of whomever hurt me.

But in the end I realized I just had to clean house and get rid of all that pain.  No matter who caused it, or why.  Letting it sit inside me was no good for myself or anyone else that was around me.  Every so often I have to remember to clear those boxes out and get rid of all the lingering bad juju that can cloud my judgement and cause fear, even when there isn’t anything bad going on.

Past history does count, and while I will never forget the pain someone has caused me, I can at least let it go and not carry it around with me any longer.  I don’t usually care about revenge (I can’t say never because truly there are some people on a list that will some day pay for their mistakes) but generally, its just easier to let go of it all and toss those big crappy boxes away.

So while I love the “looking back” feature of Facebook, sometimes those little reminders can be a little painful.  All you can do is look to the future and be happy.  I have so many people I love and adore in my life.  Many of them are people I can only interact with as “words on a screen” due to the distance between us, but that never stops me from loving them or enjoying them for who they are.  If we are lucky, we see one another once a year and if I am VERY lucky…we get to hit one another with swords too.

I am not really sure why all this came out of me today, but I knew when I saw the pictures that it needed to be said.  And maybe it was as simple as I had to clear out some old boxes that I’d let sit for too long…or maybe I had to start making some new boxes for good memories.

Either way, it feels good to have it all out…and I know that whatever comes my way I will be ready…to love, to feel, and to enjoy…the strangers that cross my path.

No Fear…and strange men

It’s just simply how I roll…

 

 

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, Hockey, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized

Throwback Thursday & a little Dorian Gray…

Throwback Thursday to July 28, 2008

The 2008 me on the left versus Me today sitting at my desk trying to do the same looks.

Its funny the things you forget, like how happy yet unhappy I was with both of the photos back in 2008, which would have been just over a year post-op for me. Greg and I had gone out to brunch with Johnny Hunter and sent him on his way in the top photo. The lower photo I was sitting on Vent listening to my guild bitch about Black Temple in WoW.

I hadn’t hit my lowest weight yet, that wouldn’t come for a few months, and my boobs hadn’t really started shrinking yet. But I’d dropped my first 150 pounds at least, probably close to 175 by these photos and while I was putting together this comparison it just struck me the differences in the way I feel, the way I look and the way I enjoy my life now.

The girl in the 2008 photos never thought of herself as an athlete. I never thought I would be good at anything really. I’d given up my dreams of becoming a musician, I’d been sucked into the world of online gaming and was still struggling to break free of that monkey on my back. I looked at my pictures back then and while I was happy with the weight loss, I hated how old I looked. I was torn by being happy to get skinnier but despised the way my face sagged and I wasn’t seeing any resilience in my skin, and up til then I had hoped it would bounce back a little bit. It didn’t.

I was 41 years old. I was on the verge of being the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Yet I had put my body through hell and it was starting to show. My hair, my bones, my boobs, even my teeth were paying the price for the war I had waged on my body with so much weight for my entire life.

It was shortly after these pictures that I started figuring out I couldn’t sit back and let life pass me by. That I couldn’t sit in the basement and hope the weight stayed off. I had to get out and keep moving, and get active. Constantly and consistently. There was no ‘magic potion’ that was going to do it for me, other than getting off my ass and working for what I wanted.

Its funny, I look back at the ‘transition’ photos and think yea, actually there was some magic happening…because I compare then to now and I look younger, I feel younger and my entire perception of life has changed. So some where in that mix, my world magically changed for the better and I have never stopped pushing forward.

But its hard some days, looking backwards.

Its not the 450+ pound Amy photos that bother me the most, its the ones where I look my age, I can see how hard this whole thing was on my body and I know at some point that all will come back again and I don’t want it to. I know I’ve cheated Death, and I am so thankful for the second chance at living, that I can never regret a second of what I have now.

But when I get glimpses of what that transition period was like, I begin to feel like Dorian Gray and I wonder when it will all come back to haunt me again. My 50th birthday is December 13th. A mere 137 days away. I feel amazing, I am happier than I have ever been in my life, and I my body & health are more balanced than they’ve ever been, so why worry right? But I do…and I will get through it.

The things I constantly forget about are those bits of wisdom I gained through the struggles I hated, that push me through to the next level, the next wall, the next obstacle life gives me.

I weighed over 450 pounds and I got through it. I lost half my body weight and I got through it. I lost most of my hair and I got through it. I lost friends, lovers and family and I got through it. And yes, I’ve looked old…and some how I got through it.

Who knows, 8 years from today I may look back and think damn I looked old and wrinkled at 49, who the fuck cared…because honestly, 8 years ago from today I looked old and wrinkled at 41 and no one cared. But me.

Back then I was the happiest & skinniest I’d ever been in my life. In those pictures and even with time marching right across my face, I was fine. 8 years from now, I can only hope to be even better and who knows what the hell I will be doing with my life then. I can only hope I am as thankful as I am today.

I always need to remember to be happy with the NOW (and the then), live every day with as much verve and gusto as I can muster and be the best me possible. There are no guarantees in this life, we get whatever we can make of it. If you’re unhappy with something, change it.

Time is not on our side…so get off your ass

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Always be true to yourself…

Dr. Seuss has said many things that have meant a lot to me over the years.  He was a wise man who had a wild imagination and a wonderful gift.  In today’s world, I think we could all use a little less judgement and a lot more Seuss!

I have noticed, far too much recently, that people are becoming so much less tolerant of uniqueness and originality.  They seem easily offended and demand to be catered to, far more now than I have ever seen in our past.  It is becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd than it is to just conform to the norm.  Its so much easier to hate something because everyone else is, than it is to do your own research and figure out where you, as an individual, stand on any particular subject.

Forming your own opinions is part of living, part of growing up, part of making a meaningful contribution to society.  Yet so many rely on what social media tells them, they just quit thinking for themselves, and its becoming increasingly alarming.

We live in an age of technology that both overwhelmingly enables us and yet also hinders us from making informed decisions.  An age where simple participation out weighs outstanding performance.  Where logic and original thinking are bypassed for likes and shares.  Where actionable contributions to society are whittled down to mere ‘thoughts and prayers’.

Am I a perpetrator of some of these atrocities?  I am, I whole heartily admit it.  But I also feel like that outsider looking in, wondering why no one else is waking up, bewildered at some of the statements my friends make and appalled at some of the decisions made by people who supposedly represent MY interests.

How did we get so lost in the sea of sameness?

There are a lot of things in this world that I can not control.  Yet there are so many more that I can control and I try my best to be an example of.  Some good, some bad, all me.  Whether you like me, follow me, respect me, ignore me or feel I’m a loud mouth cunt who thinks too highly of herself…you are all correct, because at the very least you have an opinion, one that I hope is formed by your own interaction with me, not one that was given to you by someone else.

I am a lot of things to a lot of people.  Wife, lover, opponent, guide, fool, teacher, coach, student, sister, brother, idealist, intolerable, insatiable, indestructible…just to name a few.  I am all of these things and more, because I choose to be.

I speak my mind.  I talk about things some people find inappropriate.  I love sex, and being married, yet know I could never be monogamous.  I enjoy the word cunt and hate the word average, I would rather be called one over the other and if you know me at all, you know which one.  I embrace violence like a warm blanket, yet hate that the world turns to it before trying to logically work things out.  I would rather fight with a sword than with a gun, I think it takes a lot more will to run someone through, than it does to simply pull a trigger, yet I don’t feel guns are the problem in this world. Have them or don’t, but if you do, know how to use them properly.

I am a fat girl.  I used to be a fatter girl.  Now, not so much, yet people judge me on my weight, my weight loss and my body all the fucking time.  So be it.  I judge myself by it all the time too.  Yet it is not everything that I am.   I am an American Indian, a bastard, a fighter, a geek, a gamer and an athlete.  All of which combined, form the basis of the woman I am, yet once people find out that I used to be over 450 pounds…that is usually what I become in their head.   It happens.  I can’t control that.  Your opinion of me is truly none of my business.

All I can do is be Me.

If that helps motivate someone in some small way I am so completely happy, you have no idea.  If my existence erodes the very earth on which you stand…so be it.  We all have people in our lives we enjoy hating.  Hell, I have an irrational hatred for an entire country simply because of one single person…I wish I didn’t, but I do, for now.  The point is, you will feel how you feel about people and that’s ok…as long as its YOUR feelings and not feelings based on a meme, or politics or for fuck sake…religion.  Don’t foist your feelings onto other people…again, their opinion of you, or me, is none of your business.

Society tells us a lot of things, how to live, who to love, what to wear, how to act, the list goes on and on.  But when you truly understand that you can “be who you are and say what  you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” then you are above the curve.  Standing out, being original and making your own damn decisions is virtuous in and of itself.

Do it…and don’t feel guilty about it.

Because society tries to tell us how to be…we feel guilty about far too many things, simply because we are taught they are bad, and believe me that list is growing hand over fist, when it should be shrinking!

Embrace the You that you want to be.  Don’t be afraid to live outside the lines that box us into a certain category.  Don’t let society define who you are…some of the most genuine people I know are complete and utter assholes and they don’t try to hide that fact, they embrace it…and it works for them.  Define yourself and be true to your own ideals.

So whether you love me or hate me is perfectly fine…it doesn’t define who I am.  I’m going to be person I need to be to please me, not the world.  I will find ways to help make changes in this world as I can, regardless of likes, shares, thumbs up, thumbs down, swipe rights, swipe lefts or plain old kicks in the ass.

Always remember “You’ll never be bored when you try something new.  There’s really no limit to what you can do!”

The Bad Ass Valkyrie

 

 

 

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