Moving On - Goodbye To The Skinny Jeans

Time for vulnerability post of the week ;) And it’s about our least fave topic – weight.  I think it is my biggest pet peeve and was one of my most significant battles.

I have this very clear memory of being in my early 20s, fitting nicely into a size 4 GAP jean and saying to my mom “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and in hindsight that is true. At least for me.  I loved the way I felt when I was thin, energetic and had that feeling of weightlessness about me.  I adored clothes shopping because everything looked good.  I was in love with my form.

Fast forward 20 yrs and lord knows how many pounds heavier.  After my daughter was born I hovered around a size 10 for a long time and that was ok with me.  Then my illness decided to flare up with a bit of an attitude these past few years.  Exercise intolerance (ya, that’s a thing) is a huge factor in my everyday life. I am intolerant to working out (aren’t we all!) but this is actually a medical condition. When I exercise within about 1 hour I get extreme fatigue. A few hours later I feel as if I have the flu and by the next day I am bed ridden.  The most I can accomplish is a few minutes on my rebounder.  Plain and simple, it sucks.

In my 20s, exercise was the thing that kept me in shape all those years ago.  I was dedicated to my routine. Plus I had a good metabolism and eating plan.  I am now limited to stretching and a few yoga poses.  If I don’t do that then I can get really stiff and immobile.  My metabolism has essentially tanked. I don’t overeat but it seems anything that goes into my mouth heads straight for my hips.

I hover now anywhere from a size 14-16.  Oh but here’s the kicker.  I can’t wear anything tight on my body (I get rashes from anything that clings to me) so I always have to go a size up to feel comfy. Wide leg pants and loose flowy tops are now momma’s best friends.  Some days I feel dumpy but other days I feel pretty good in my own skin.  Weight isn’t as big of a deal to me as it used to be. I am who I am. And so it is.

If I could go back though to my old self would I tell her to not be so vain and focused on looks? Honestly, probably not.  I would tell her to really enjoy those days of looking and feeling fine cause wow, they are fleeting !

What keeps me smiling though are far more things now that I had in my younger years.  I have my wonderful family, a great income, a home, a paid off vehicle (yaaaay). Plus I take care of myself a lot more than I used to.  I baby myself and get plenty of rest. So though nothing may taste as good as skinny feels, a soft warm bed with clean sheets trumps a size 4 for me now any day!


The Curse of the Chronic Migraine

There is no joy that comes with chronic headaches or to be even more specific, chronic migraines.

I used to get a nasty “knock you off your feet” migraine every few months.  Now I get them a few times a MONTH!  They come on suddenly and most times without warning. Other days, I know they are on their way when I start to yawn and cannot stop.

They are, without a doubt, debilitating. I end up vomiting, crying or both. I have to hide away from sunlight and loud noises for hours.  Sometimes Advil works, sometimes not.

Today was one of those days. I woke up and could feel the beginning of one over my right eye. Within 10 minutes the nausea hit and I was downing 3 Advil faster than you can say Bob’s Your Uncle!  Thankfully the Advil started to work almost immediately and the pain dissipated but the follow up was worse; crippling fatigue. What sucks is when you have no choice but to push through it because of commitments you have made. It's like forcing yourself to wade through cement.  Do you ever get that? Where you have no idea how you can even take one more step?  I do, a lot.   It’s totally different from just feeling tired.  For me its as if someone poured an entire bucket of exhaustion over me and it has seeped into every cell of my body.  The pain of migraines is one thing, the aftermath is another.

I remember growing up and my dad telling me about his brother who suffered from chronic migraines. He had tried everything under the sun but then ventured into the great unknown and consulted with a Chinese Acupuncturist. That must have taken a lot of courage (or he hit rock bottom and had nowhere left to turn) because Chinese medicine was quite a taboo thing “back in the day”. From what I heard, the treatments completed cured his migraines. 

I am not a needle fan. Not many of us are but I absolutely hate them.  Then again, are migraines any better?  If the only treatment that works are mini needles inserted into my body, well I just don’t know. Maybe Advil and I will stay besties for quite a while longer.  Signing off now to go and hide in the dark and pray this head splitter doesn’t come back for another visit today.


A Saddened Heart

I have been hiding a saddened heart for a few days now. I am pretty good at hiding emotions and trust me, that is not said with any ounce of pride.  In fact, it is the primary reason I decided to launch this blog.  

First let me tell you a story.  A gorgeous, bright and sunny Sunday morning. My daughter and I were up bright and early to head out to get some french pastries for breakfast and a quick stop off at our local drugstore to pick up a few essentials. I was in a fantastic mood then boom, goodbye happy and hello sad.

As we were about to enter the shop, I noted a homeless man, I am guessing in his 60s, standing near the entranceway, eating a can of beans with his hands.  I won't go into his appearance, his belongings he had with him, etc, because I think the description given is enough.  In fact, it is pretty much all I can remember now - his dirty and worn hands digging into the open can of beans. 

My first thought was to help him then and there but then for some reason, I had a hard time making eye contact. My throat started to swell up, my eyes began to fill with tears... I just kept walking.

Once inside the shop, I took a moment to compose myself and thought, "Ok, on your way out see if there was anything you can do to help".  Didn’t happen.  By the time I left he was already gone. 

This was 3 days ago and I am still thinking about him. I went to bed last night feeling gutted and hoping he was somewhere safe and warm.  

Why am I writing about this I ask myself. Well it brings me back to the reason I started this blog in the first place:  to get stuff out of my head and onto the paper (granted, virtual paper) instead of letting it eat a hole in my brain (and my heart).

See here’s the deal. Every time I see an elderly man or woman who is in need of support I am immediately looking at them through my orphan eyes.  I long to take care of their broken hearts and spirits, to get them the help they deserve and when I fail to do so I get bitter with myself.  And so lies the unresolved – my belief that I failed as a child; I was unable to save my own parents from their suffering. 

I have walked this earth for 18 years now with a heavy weight; the loss of two beautiful souls who loved me unconditionally.  Over time, I have adapted and the memories have faded but it is a moment like this, when something triggers a heartache, that they come back to swallow me up. My eyes still look for my mother and father in the crowd.  18 long years. Do we ever stop searching for those who are gone?


The Beauty of a Paper Clip

I woke up this morning, made my coffee, and settled in to enjoy the quiet of a slumbering household.  Seriously, mornings when everyone is still asleep are the best mornings of all for me. I have this deep, loving and committed relationship with solitude and quiet.  I get the people who go and live in a hut in the mountains…but I digress.

Sitting there, enjoying my coffee (I will never break this addiction nor do I want to) I started looking at my surroundings.  Not just a passing glance at the d├ęcor, or wondering if I should hang a wreath over there, if the flowers need water, “oh my god is that a spot on the floor”? No, none of that. I actually, for the first time in forever noted the texture on the sofa, the green hue of the carpet and the swish of color in the paintings on the wall.  And like some kind of awakening moment, my little mind said, “You are surrounded by the fruits of someone’s creative mind. People designed these things; they chose the colors, the fabrics, and the styles. Everything around you is a result of creativity. Drink it in.”  Perhaps these pieces of art, which I now see them to be, deserve a bit more respect than just a toss into the basket at Home Sense with the sole intent of filling a vacant space in my house.

In this day and age, it is easy to get lost in consumerism. I mean isn’t that the goal of life; to buy, to own, to amass? Isn’t that what makes you worthy? I used to think so. I grew up poor; borderline dirt poor. Safe to say, we didn’t have squat.  Fast forward to my adult life and my need to show the world and myself that I am not the result of my childhood. Ain’t that a hoot?  I am so intrinsically connected to my childhood that inside it probably resembles a big ball of Christmas lights. Good luck unraveling that mess. 

Happily I can say that hitting my mid-40s didn’t just come with saddlebags, more cellulite and wickedly gray hair but also this newfound sense of self-worth. I have moved past the goal of impressing others; I am warmly tucked into the bed of “I don’t give a damn what you think of me.” Sure, I still have a self-rewarding mentality as in “buy it, I deserve it, YOLO” but I do it for my own pleasure, not to impress or keep up with the Joneses.

But today was a little epiphany for me.  Something deep inside of me is saying that its ok to slow down, to breath, to connect with my world in a different way and see the beauty in something as simple as a paper clip.  I can finally see these “things” as more than just acquisitions but almost as living beings – filled with the energy of the people that created them.  And that, dear reader, is kind of cool J


Welcome to the blog (and my life)

I don’t have a defining event or light-bulb moment that led me to writing this blog. I think, in fact, it has always been a creative idea endlessly gnawing at my soul.

Life passes us by so quickly. I am in my mid-40s now and I am always shocked when I look in the mirror. Who are you? When did “this” happen? Ah yes, “this” happened during the time I have been too busy being a mom, an employee, a caregiver, a griever (is that even a word?), a patient – the list is fairly endless. “This” happened right under my nose but my head was too buried in my life to see it.

When I was younger (with that I mean my 20s) I remember dreaming of writing a novel. I had no idea about what but I just wanted to express myself creatively. Heck, I had loads of dreams.  Then, as we all tend to experience, life took over.  My life, for as long as I can remember, has been hectic and riddled with trauma.  My strange little brain loves to hold onto the tragic moments and wipe clean any good ones. I am still trying to remember pleasant times in my childhood and early twenties but I think, dear reader, they may have been flushed from my mental filing cabinet. You never know, this blog may open up a door to those locked memories. We shall see.

You might be asking – what is this blog about exactly? As you can see by its title, it is about the creative mind: MY creative mind. I will use this space as an outlet for digging deeper into life:  past, present and future.  Will it be a joyful and fun read? Some days yes, some days no. It’s here to help me live life more fully, to nurture courage and to explore creativity. It is here for reflection, for connection and for hope.

A Curious Mind is my mental melting pot – filled with all sorts of different ideas, memories and insights; the odd, the quirky, the amusing, the fascinating and the downright sad events of my life. For the first time in my existence, I am not afraid to share with the world. There is no need for a Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak or wearing a Martha Stewart mask.  I am here to be me; to feel and write about my life. Welcome to my journey.