Pardon me for ending the title with a preposition. “For what are you grateful?” always sounds so proper, and I’ve never claimed to be so proper. At least, most of the time.
As I write this, I’m thinking of a person who entered my life when I first moved to the U.S., way back in 1998. He went out of his way to welcome me, to listen to me and most especially, he always encouraged me to go after my dreams. For many years, he was, in a way, a mentor to me. I was grateful for his encouragement, but also for his belief in me. In my abilities.
For the past many years, this man has struggled with his own health issues – fighting the pain and issues associated with Parkinson’s Disease. It forced him into early retirement. At the same time, he and his wife’s youngest child has dealt with his own health issues – since his birth – and tonight I heard that this young man is in the ICU and the prognosis isn’t good.
No one should ever have to suffer in pain due to illness and disease, but unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. That this happens to even the best of us is very disheartening and heartbreaking. I pray that God looks over this family tonight and can only hope for a miracle.
I often feel that despite my attempts to try to help my family and friends as much as I am able, I can and often am a selfish person. I easily forget other’s problems, forget to ask them how they are – take the time to consider others. I’m guilty of that, for sure. I’m also guilty of forgetting how fortunate I am.
So this posting – while this is my weight loss blog – will not be about my journey and how I’m doing. This is going to be a post about the things for which I am grateful (see…no ending in a preposition there). So, here is my list of the things for which I’m most grateful:
- My mother. Having lost my father when I was 11, my mom became my savior and she’s been my rock every since. I don’t know how I could have gotten through some of the things in my life without her.
- My father. My dad Gerry meant so much to both my mother and me. I’m very grateful that I had him in my life, even if it was for such a short time. He adopted me as his own after he married my mom, and he was the best father – and man – that I could ever have in my life.
- My cats. I don’t have any children and likely never will. In my years alone since my divorce, my cats have been there for me unconditionally. They have made me feel like I am important, and they’ve helped me out of the darkness on more than one occasion.
- My family. Like Tula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I have a lot of cousins. More so than Tula, in fact. I come from a large extended family, and I actually am fortunate to have three families that I’m a part of – my mother’s side, my father’s side, and my biological father’s side. I have a great love for my family – no matter how crazy some of them are. But you know what, they’re mine. And I would protect any one of them from anyone that would do them harm.
- My friends. I have been fortunate to have some of the same friends in my life for over 30 years. People who have been right beside me in some of my darkest times – and never left. I know that they would have my back, just as I would have theirs. I also have many newer friends – people who entered my life for one reason or another over the past many years – who has proven to have kind, gracious hearts and who have welcomed me into their lives.
- My freedom. I’m proud to be a Canadian. I’m proud that I am from a country where my ancestor chose to move to and raise their families. I’m especially grateful for those who fought, were injured or who died fighting for our freedom.
- My intelligence. I often joke that I can be a dolt. And there are many times when I do question not only my sanity but also how I managed to get this far in life. I like to think that for what I might lack in sheer intelligence, I at least have a modicum of common sense. Be that as it may, I do feel like I have a lick of smarts. And I’m grateful for that.
- My talents. It’s not always clear to me what I should have done with my life as I grew up. The earliest memories regarding a career go back to when I wanted to be an archaeologist. Those that know me would find this a humorous paradox – because while I love anything relating to ancient history, what I don’t like is digging in the dirt. Especially if said dirt had bugs in it. I kid you not. In any case, I do believe that I have some writing talents, and considering that I’ve often questioned what else I might be good at doing, I”m grateful, at least, for those.
- My health. It’s almost funny that I state this – given the struggles I have every day with my health. But my grateful for two things:
- that I’m still healthy enough to do something about getting healthy, into shape and doing what I need to in order to extend my life, and
- that I’m still alive. I’ve come to be truly grateful every morning when I wake up – that I woke up. So now I’m working trying to appreciate every day to the fullest. Given the things that other people in my life are going through – it’s a cold wake up reminder that life is too short and we need to enjoy it and life it to the fullest. Every. Damn. Day.
Might I suggest that whoever is reading this also take a moment of your day – right now – and think about what you’re grateful for. You don’t have to write them down, but if you want to – please do.
Lastly, I’m grateful for you. You – the person reading this. Why? Because even if you don’t know me, you took time out of your life to read this post (or any of my others). I appreciate you spending your precious time – with me. And, of course, I’m grateful to all of my family and friends who continue to support me – through all my ups and down.
So thank you, my beautiful peeples. Bless you all.
I know, and am friends with many people in the “entertainment” industry. Actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, editors, producers, playwrights, singers, songwriters, bands, etc…
I also watch a lot of movies, some television and pretty much anything I can find on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If any of my friends are acting in, have written, produced or been involved in one way or another a project, I watch them and as often as I can, plug their projects.
I recently started watching This Is Us through my On Demand with my cable company. I’d never seen even a bit of it, had no idea what it was about, and I think at some point I actually wondered if it was like other ensemble television shows that I didn’t enjoy.
But I love it! I’m actually binge-watching several episodes each night to catch up to the new episodes that started back again last night. Now, I’m bringing all of this up not because I have ran out of weight-loss things to discuss…on the contrary. It is this show that has me wanting to write to you tonight.
If you have never seen the show, I encourage you – if you’re able – to give it a view. If you have seen it, especially if you really enjoy it, you’ll have a better understand of where I’m coming from with this post.
One of the main characters in this series is Kate (played by the stunning and talented Chrissy Metz). The other characters are wonderful as well – I’m especially fond of Randall – but it’s Kate that I resonate with the most.
This is Chrissy Metz. Stunning.
The reason it’s so significant is simply because there is a lack of characters like Kate on any show right now. You see, Kate is obese. She’s not a little overweight, and I’m not exaggerating her size – Kate is obese.
Think about many of the shows you watch (even movies). How many have obese women on them? Probably not that many. Is that because obese women aren’t talented and can’t act? I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s likely for a couple of reasons. Much of society finds obese men and women to be unattractive and the networks, producers and such (most of them, not all), want to fill your television screens with attractive people. Is this because they think we’re all too sensitive and wouldn’t be able to handle seeing obese actors and actresses (and don’t get me started on the double-standard that men can be obese and it’s not seen as harshly than if it’s a woman)? Do they think that obese people cannot act? Is it unrealistic to expect that television serials based on “real life” characters would actually have some different shapes, sizes, colors etc?
Yes, there have seen some women of size on television. Melissa McCarthy comes to mind. What I find interesting is that her character – Molly – did the entire “I’m fat” things during the series: struggled with her weight, weightloss, joined a weight loss support group etc. Yes, that’s part of that “real life” I mentioned about but I’m also wondering why. Why does an over-weight character on a television show have to even address her size? or the struggles of a fat person?
I ask this because it seems to be a pigeon-hole for over-weight women on television series. Of course, that’s if there are any over-weight women on a television series. There really aren’t that many. But I digress…
Kate on This Is Us is obese and like those pigeon-hole items I mention above, she struggles with losing weight, getting healthy, dealing with self-esteem issues, and generally struggles every day with many of the things that I do. I felt an instant connection to Kate. From the first episode where she stands naked (save for her panties) and fights to step on the scale, I felt a kinship to her. I saw the back of her body. I saw her rolls of fat. I saw myself and my first thought was – my God but that actress is brave. And then I thought, thank you to the producers, writers, and everyone else on the show for bringing this character to us.
Four episodes in, Kate has already dealt with many things that I have. In one, she’s at a party, one she originally didn’t want to go because of her self-esteem issues. The man she’s just started to see – Toby – is a clown-and-a-half and he convinces her to go. And for a brief time (before the booze), she feels happy – until she “sees” people laughing at her, talking about her. Now it can be perceived that she is imagining it, or that people really are laughing and talking about her. But I get her. Man, do I get her.
Most times when I go out in public, if I’m alone, I am always imagining people are staring at me, talking about me…and can run through all the dialogue I think they are saying out loud or thinking. Am I imagining it completely? Sure, sometimes. I do, after all, have an over-active imagination. And I don’t really consider myself to be so important that I imagine that I’m the talk of the town. But there are time, I know – I’ve heard them – where people are talking rude about me and staring. So, at that moment in the episode – I felt it. I knew exactly what Kate was feeling and thinking.
I’ve said before that while many people can sympathize with me about the struggles of dealing with my weight, many cannot empathize. And as I’ve said before, if someone has to lose 20, 30 or even 50 pounds – their struggles are just as real as other’s are – but it’s also very hard for them to truly understand what it’s like to be this obese.
So while yes, Kate is a fictional character, the writers have written a very real person. A person that is showing others some of the struggles I face all the time – whether they be physical ones or mental ones. And while she won’t break down many stereotypes or prejudices against obese people, I’m hoping she will open some eyes to the fact that we’re not all lazy and fat, eat 25,000 calories a day and are unclean. The people that think like that – the people who think ugly things about anyone, whether they be obese, mentally challenged or any other physical challenges, or even just because they are bigoted and ignorant – those people rarely have their minds changed.
I don’t know where the writers will go with the character of Kate – but I do hope they continue to be honest and true to her character – her struggles and all. There are far too few “real” characters on television nowadays – she’s a breath of fresh air.
Sending peace, love and joy to all…
I wish all of you, my faithful readers, a 2017 filled with much success, promise, joy, good health, peace and of course, lots of love!
I made it to another year. I’m grateful. The older I get, the more I realize that I can’t take each day for granted. So I’m looking forward to what 2017 can be for me.
As with most holidays, I understand that people fret and worry about not only surviving through them, particularly if having to deal with drunk ol’ Uncle Bill or crazy Aunt Ethel, but more so the worries of gaining weight from over-indulging. As I stated in last year’s post regarding dealing with the holiday blues and over-consumption, it’s probably the worse time of the year for someone to try to lose weight or to stick with a weight loss plan that had been working.
The New Year usually means Resolutions. I, personally, don’t believe in Resolutions. Mainly because they set you up for disappointment when two weeks later, you’ve already broken them and really…where does that leave you? Pissed off at yourself? Believing you’re a failure (again)? So why put yourself through that?
So like me, I hope that right now, if you’ve made any Resolutions you simply throw that shit out. Right now. Do it!
Instead, just vow right now that you will do your best. You will keep trying. You will try harder. You will have faith in yourself. But most of all, if you mess up – you will forgive yourself, toss out those negative thoughts and keep going.
As my buddy Brandon Auret says:
I know it’s not easy. No one knows that better than me. But now that the holidays are over – whether you’ve put on weight or not – if you still have a goal to lose weight and get healthier – for any Resolutions and just vow to do it. To keep on…keeping on.
I, thankfully, did not gain any weight this Christmas. I’m grateful for that, sure, but I also know that I probably could have lost some weight if I had just made better decisions. But that’s behind me now and I’m not going to dwell on the past.
So this is my vow to keep going, try harder and never give up. Live is too short and it’s time to turn it up a notch. And as Brandon said recently:
I’m hoping Brandon won’t mind me quoting him; so often he just says the right thing. The one thing I admire about him is that he doesn’t bullshit. So while he wasn’t talking directly to me, I like to think he was. Because I know he cares about me and my success. So thanks, B.
I know I can always count on his support, and a kick in the ass…
So here’s to a great 2017 filled with much success!! For all of us. No matter what our goals, plans and dreams might be. We all deserve to find our purpose and LIVE it.
Last year I posted several posts during this time of year about not over-eating, dealing with the stresses and blues of the holiday season, and how not to be one of the January People (go to the Archives for December 2015 for a refresher or if you’re a new reader – check them out).
Typical of this time of the year, most people start thinking about what they can change about themselves in the New Year. In the past, I was always guilty of making New Year’s Resolutions. I was also guilty of never keeping them. Then, the entire guilt and self-deprecating talk came out. Over the past several years, I vowed to not make any resolutions because frankly, while the concept is: New Year – New You…what I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t and shouldn’t be a set date for when to start making your life better. Whether it be to get healthier by losing weight, getting through an addiction, or even just to become a better person over all – whatever the reason – why do we feel we have to wait until a new year to do so?
Why not simply start now? Right now. Not later today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. And certainly not on January 1st.
Because of my physical limitations, particularly the nerve damage in my feet, and just the fact that I struggle with the simplest of physical tasks, it has been very difficult for me to many things. One thing I’ve been pushing myself to do is to just do as much as I can, even if that means taking breaks. I’ve been trying to downsize everything in my apartment – get rid of stuff I no longer need, use or want. It’s been a chore for sure. It’s amazing how much junk you can accumulate over the years and not even realize it.
So I’ve been pushing myself to sort/organize my things. And when I take a break, to not decide that’s enough for the day and just veg on my ass the rest of the day and night. No, I’ve been talking myself into getting up and going to do “one more thing” and lately it’s been working well.
Of course, that it’s only 60 degrees in my apartment helps. But as I’ve said before, the cooler it is, the more alive I feel. So as long as my feet cooperate, I’ve been able to get more physical things done of late. And it feels great. I’m proud of myself for – for lack of a better work – talking myself into getting up and doing something.
So back to the title of this post. 2016 has sucked. From what I’ve heard from many people, it has sucked for them as well. My family lost several of its members earlier in 2016 all within a short period of time. For me, work has become more stressful and something that I’ve struggled to just get out of bed and deal with. And, as you know, the summer this year was horrible for me physically to the point where I often wondered if I wasn’t dying. There’s been other things here and there as well. So yes, 2016 sucked and I’m hoping/praying 2017 will be better.
But 2016 had some good moments too, so I can’t just complain about it.
I got back into writing my book and it’s nearly done. While I had intended (and hoped) to have it done by Christmas, working full-time and just so much else going on, I unfortunately didn’t get it done. The last thing I want to do, especially for my first book, it to put out a rushed, inferior quality product, so I’m not going to rush to get it done before the end of the year. It will happen, when it happens, though I am aiming for before Valentine’s Day. We’ll see…
I also met some amazing people this year – some have become good friends, and other friends I’ve had for some time I’ve gotten closer to. I have been blessed with having so many wonderful, caring people in my life. They’re the type of people you want in your corner no matter what; those who won’t leave you when it gets rough.
Last year, some friends did a unique thing for the new year. They called it a Shine Jar. Recently another friend posted a similar suggestion for the New Year. The idea is that you write down one thing every day in 2017 and put it in the jar – something that was good. Maybe you got a compliment. Maybe something made you laugh. It doesn’t matter. Just put something good that happened on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve 2017 open the jar and read everything you put in it. Reflect back on the year with all of the good things that happened; it tells you that no matter how awful you think 2017 was, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Concentrate on the good of the year and not the negative.
I’m going to do this because with all of the bad in the world – the ugliness that weighs heavy on my heart – I want to celebrate the good things that happen to me.
So that’s my only New Year’s Resolution:
A 2017 Happiness Jar.
The rest…the get healthy, lose weight thing…well I’m not waiting. It starts now.
Love and blessings to all. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, I wish you and your family much love and joy, peace and safety – and all the best for a wonderful and amazing 2017!
That old adage “change is good” is sometimes something that I dread. I get comfortable with something and I don’t want things to change. I fear it most times. The unknown is pretty scary. But lately as I’ve been thinking about this journey of mine to getting healthy and losing a lot of weight, I’ve come to the realization that I need to try a different path. Oh, the end result will be the same (I hope) but perhaps my choice of a route isn’t the best. At least not for me.
So it’s time to flip the switch.
Time to change it up. Get a new perspective. Take a new path. And maybe gain some new inspirations. Get it from anywhere you can and from anyone you can. If it comes from someone you admire because of their commitment, then by all means, grab it and gooooooooooooo. Run with it. Because if you’re like me and you struggle daily with your battles, then you take any inspiration you can in order to “feed” that beast called “Motivation”. And if you’re like me, despite struggle after struggle where you’re nearly constantly reminded of not only your failures but you question how it is that if you know what you need to do, you can’t just do it.
As you know, I’ve struggled with not only getting motivated but keeping motivated. No matter how bad an experience has been for me, and I’ve had some doozies, it boggles the mind how come those horrible experiences – let alone even one of them – haven’t been enough to push me over the edge. To get motivated. To push myself to give it my all.
I’ve said I’m tired before. I’ve said it often. And I don’t mean just mentally tired of all the battles that go on in that hamster-driven brain of mine. I also don’t mean just the physical tiredness that comes around from literally and figuratively dragging around this ridiculously large body. But I’m also just tired of days, weeks, months and years going by and I have nothing to show for all the “trying”.
I will not give up. But I want to stop trying. I want to succeed. Finally. I want to just stop being so tired.
This certainly is in no way meant to take away from all the other love, support, inspiration and devotion I’ve received from others. I’ve had so so many people inspire me. Not just strangers who I’ve read about who have been successful at their weight loss struggles, but my family and friends who have been a great inspiration to me in so many different ways. Whether it be their own struggles, their constant support of me through all the ups and especially the downs, but even their complete and utter faith in me – even when I had none in myself.
I’ve had and continue to have support from so many people that it blows my mind. And I’m grateful for every single one of them – every single one of you! So I’m not going to say that any one thing or any one person is the focus of my renewed sense of getting healthy because I’ve been spouting about it for some time now. New Year = New Dani.
And please believe me when I tell you that it’s that continued support from all of you that keeps me going. Gives me the drive to not give up. And now, to learn that sometimes you have to shake it up to get results. So thank you all for all that you do for me, no matter how little or insignificant you think your help might be. A kind word. A “way to go, Dani”. An “I’m proud of you!” Or even just telling me you love my blog and it’s inspiring to YOU.
But I would like to thank one person right now – who through his own journey – has given me another spurt of inspiration, if you will. I’ve had the “I will not give up” mantra for some time, even when the days seemed the darkest, but as I said above, there are times when I forget that inspiration and/or motivation, and I need something to give me a jolt.
So I want to thank Brandon Auret. His “story” is far from mine but the principle is the same. Brandon is a talented South African actor and as such, many of his roles require him to have a certain look. And I don’t mean just his hair color or length, or facial hair or the like, but also in his physical body. Many of the roles Brandon does are physical ones where he’s playing a tough guy, so it requires him to alter his body.
So when he was preparing for his role of “Troy” in the upcoming feature film “Last Broken Darkness” (of which I’m totally SOOOOO excited for!) opposite Sean Cameron Michael (remember him?), Brandon took on a fitness/diet regime in order to get into shape for that character. While I didn’t really know him at that time, I suspect he did the same for his role of “Hippo” in last year’s movie release of “Chappie”, in which he really bulked up:
A few days ago Brandon posted on Facebook that he was starting a new role in 9 weeks (still at present a secret) so he was going to be “cutting” for this role. I admittedly had to look up what that was. After all, you’ve all SEEN me so obviously I don’t have a clue what that means/entails.
The idea was given to Brandon by Ross Learmonth. I’ve never mentioned Ross in this blog before but you’ve probably seen my tweets or FB posts about his band Prime Circle (of which Brandon was in their video called “Doors” directed by a friend Ryan Kruger – check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5Lz5LykdK4
Anyway, Ross suggested the Brandon post what he did to prepare for roles, besides learning lines. It’s an insightful way into how an actor prepares for roles certainly, but I think it also gives credence to how hard actors like Brandon work and makes you appreciate them all the more. And I have to give kudos to anyone who shows this kind of dedication in anything they do.
But I digress. Today (actually yesterday by now), Brandon posted his Day 1 schedule for working out and eating. And I have to say, bravo! It is impressive. And I’m not just blowing his horn. It’s not only extensive but for someone like me, it seems damn impossible. But more than that, it’s Brandon’s attitude and comments that made me really perk up and listen. And become inspired by him.
So I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote him a bit here:
So #ROYL it is.
The role of your life is the one you have now.
Make it count and be grateful.
Count your blessings and take nothing for granted.
Every time I get a job the minute a sign that contract.
I always close my eyes and say
‘Thank you for my talents’
I honor them with my performance.
That’s always step one.
Brandon at the premiere of Chappie.
Now he may not even read this blog. And that’s okay. But one of the reasons I like Brandon is that he’s honest and true to himself. He speaks his mind (remind you of anyone?) and he’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes. So while I’ve told him several times over the past couple of days how much he’s inspiring me to try a new path to success, I don’t think he realizes or even believes just how much he’s affected me. How much he’s helped to inspire me to keep going and keep trying – including to switch it up.
And that’s a shame.
So I’ve already gone through my cupboards and put many things I shouldn’t eat in a box to give away to the people in my office. I’ve dumped out the remainder of the Pepsi I had in my fridge. I’ve weighed myself (see note below), measured myself and made a list of foods to eat this week, as well as exercises I can do, including going with Kimmy to her apartment complex gym sometimes this week.
Oh and incidentally, with that weight gain before Christmas because of stress, and having not gained or lost any during the holidays, I am happy to say that I’m starting this week with a TWO pound loss! Woot!
The need and desire to be successful must come from within me, I know this, but it seems so much more achievable when you can tap into the determination and inspiration of others. And that’s what people like you all do for me: my mom Phyllis, Anne-Marie, Glenda, Kimmy, Michelle, Paula, Ivana, Darlene, Beth (so very proud of you and how far you’ve come in a year!!), Annette, Susan, Suzanne, Stelio, Sean, Marijan, Bindee, Sommer, Jeni, Barbara, Brandon and so many others…what you all give to me. Even when you’re not even aware of it.
So as I write this, it’s now after Midnight Sunday night. And by the time I’m settled into my bed, Brandon will have started his crazy tough but fantastic 9 week plan, since he’s 7 hours ahead of me in South Africa. And likely he’s already up as I finish up this blog.
And wishing him “good luck” almost seems superfluous. Because with Brandon, it really is some kind of an amazing plan. One that frankly would scare a noob like me to death. But with Brandon, it’s not a question of “if” he meets his goals, because he will. And while it won’t necessarily be easy for him to do it, he seems to show no fear in even the idea of this plan – because he’s done it before. And that’s inspiring!
So I’m just going to wish him a GREAT journey and thank him again for his part in adding to my BFI (my baggie full of inspiration).
Bring it home, Hippo!
Love and blessings to all. Whatever struggles you might have, I wish them gone. Be safe. Be happy. Be YOU!