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I’m baaack…did you miss me?

Hello my peeples!

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I know it’s been some time. The usual “tune” to this blog is that I can, and do, often go some time between writings and I have apologized for that. Often. In this case, I do have a better excuse than not having anything to say, or I simply didn’t feel like writing…

I have had a significant change in my life.

Those that know me, already know this but many of you may not. So…I have moved back to my homeland Canada, back to my hometown in Ontario. I moved in late July and have been busy settling in, taking care of legal matters, and at the same time, have continued to work for my employer training my replacement (remotely). I’ll be doing so until the end of October, at which time I am officially unemployed – for the first time in a very long time.

In any case, the last several months (more prior to the move), have been challenging – both mentally and physically.

While it may not seem that moving back to your hometown is significant to some, keep in mind that I haven’t lived here in nearly 20 years. And a lot has changed during that time. I’m also leaving a job I’ve held for nearly 20 years, and now have to find a new one (at my age!) in a city that – unless you are capable of working in a tool & die/automotive-type industry, a physical labour (<—note the spelling; I am in Canada now) job or a part-time job so they don’t have to pay you benefits – this city doesn’t have a lot to offer someone with my experience. I have been looking at the job market for over a year just to see what was “out there” and I have to say, it’s slim-pickings for sure.

And don’t even get me started on having to relearn the metric system! Though, if I’m honest, I’m not sure I learned it well enough before I moved away! 🙂

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So my life has been in a bit of chaos the last several months. Packing up to move back here meant I had to deal with some challenges I’m sure any of you who have ever moved have faced: what to keep? what to donate? what to throw out? where did I get this? why do I have this? And then the physical aspect of packing. And as you all know, being on my feet and doing physical things is a huge challenge for me. And this was a doozy.

By the time I left my empty apartment on my last night in New York, as I headed to my hotel, I cried. I cried a lot those few months. But I cried that night because it was finally all over. All of the pain it took me – mentally and of course, physically – to get through it was finally over. I’m grateful to those friends who helped me get to that point. I couldn’t have done it completely alone, and despite the help, I was still physically and emotionally drained. And so the tears flowed.

But I was also reminded of how being this size impeded everything I did in preparing for the move. The physicality was a huge barrier for me, and there were times that I cried even more because of the pain I was in. My feet. My lower back. My legs. Everywhere. It was a constant reminder of just how out of shape I am. It was a slap in the face and a “you’re a fucking idiot” every time I took a step. I was an emotional wrecking ball and there were times, I admit, I wasn’t sure I could get to the finish line.

Some legal things I had to deal with when I finally arrived back “home” didn’t help either. They weren’t anything physical I needed to deal with, but mentally, I wasn’t yet healed from the few prior months, and I honestly questioned if I had made the wrong choice in coming back. But I really knew I hadn’t. It would have happened eventually, and actually should have happened years ago – after my divorce.

But I survived.

I always do.

So here I am, 72 days after my move back home. I’m settling in. It’s been some adjustments, and I still feel a bit out of sorts sometimes. Like I’m not really living here; I’m just visiting. I’m sure that will pass soon enough. In the meantime, I’m working, helping my mom here and there, spending some time with some family and friends, and preparing to find a job.

I haven’t done any writing and I need to. I’m trying to help a director friend with getting the word out on a project of his. I’m finally finished dealing with the last of matters I had to deal with for moving back here. Things are looking up. Sort of. Kind of. I mean…you know I can’t just be completely positive and say things are going great. Besides that rarely being true, I am a bit superstitious and don’t want to jinx myself either.

Regardless, I made the decision earlier this week that I needed to buckle down more on the weight loss issue. During the months prior to moving, I really wasn’t thinking of that at all – I simply had too much else going on – so I ate indiscriminately. And it showed on the scale. But I was allowing myself that reprieve. Since I’ve been home, I’m eating more veggies and way less “take out” but I didn’t feel I was being serious enough, so I made a few adjustments and so far it’s been a good week.  I’m still not physically able to do much, but getting one thing more under control is helping.

So I’m happy to report that I am down 5.8 pounds (ugh…2.63084 kgs – see it sounds like more in non-metric/imperial measurements anyway!) since Monday. Mind you, I did detox one day earlier in the week but that didn’t do much. And I’ve been dealing with an infection which required me to drink a lot of water (and stop the detox drink) in order for the medications to work better. But I haven’t snacked as much, have had more salad/veggies (and less meat), and even less soda pop.

So, yay me!

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If this move has taught me anything (besides, cripes Dani are you some sort of pack-rat??!), it’s that with my body being so out of shape, there are so many other things that I just cannot do. And that has to change.

I will be honest and say that I’m really tired of saying “this is it!” or “I’m back on track” only to fail. But I’m using that term only because it gives a sense of how I feel, not that I’m necessarily failing. At least, I’m trying NOT to feel that way. Because it’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and I’m not going to be perfect at its execution, just like I won’t be perfect when I reach my ultimate goal.

Thomas Edison has one of my favourite quotes:

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So I am going to fail.

But I am going to keep on…keeping on. Until I find the way that will work, and achieve success!

Thanks for your patience, support and most of all, your love.

Blessings to all.

Love,

Dani

 

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What are you grateful for?

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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 5ab214406d8e3024452a05466bd3f97f
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Love,

Dani

Season of Change

Well, once again I’ve been remiss in writing more often. Life has a way of getting in the way of the things that we really want to do. Case in point, I had planned (hoped) to finish my first book Kiwi Kiss and have it published by Christmas. That is more and more likely not going to happen. Working full time (and often extra time), preparing for my trip home for the holidays, etc, all just seem to get in the way of finishing the book.

And unlike some writers I know, I am not yet quite disciplined enough to force myself to find the time and just write. Honestly, some of it is mental for me too. If those crazy-assed hamsters in my mind don’t slow down, it’s very hard for me to sit and concentrate on writing my story. Regardless of my excuses, it has been some time since I’ve written and for that, I apologize.

I know I have probably mentioned in past postings the fact that during the summer months here in North America, I suffer. Greatly. I don’t do well in the heat, especially when there is a lot of humidity. I can’t explain why – I’ve always been like that. That I’m covered in layers of fat probably helps with that as well.

But this past summer in New York State was atrocious. The heat and humidity were so bad that as I stated in my last couple of posts – I felt like shit. October turned out to be a much better month for me; ditto for November. I managed to drop 10.5 pounds in 4 weeks – the first time since late Spring that the scale was finally going down.

The cooler weather meant I could breathe better, albeit whenever I exert myself in the slightest, I am breathing heavy – but at least I can breathe better just merely sitting, whereas in the summer I couldn’t do that. Of course, I had a cold 3 weeks ago – the cough is still lingering and I’m not able to rid myself of it yet. I’m on antibiotics for the oral surgery I had a month ago but they are not helping with the cough. I swear sometimes I feel as if I’m a smoker.

But I digress…

While I’m still tired often, I’m not as exhausted as I was in the hot summer months. I’m able to move a bit better, feel a bit better physically but also mentally. Clearly I need to find a place that is relatively cooler all year long and move there. I don’t know how many more summers like this past one I can handle.

So Winter is my friend. I hate the snow. Someone as clumsy as me is never safe in snow or slippery conditions. I mean, I’m the person who fractured two bones in her foot just from bowling. Bowling!  But I feel 115% better in the Winter than I do any other time of the year and while most people hate it, it’s really the only time I feel alive.

And I can wear big winter clothes and not feel so “fat” and exposed.

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So I continue making baby steps, doing what I can without overburdening myself so I don’t lose the momentum. The best thing I can hope for is that I drop enough this winter that by next Spring when it starts to warm up, I’ll be down enough that the heat of the summer months won’t affect me as bad as they did…but more importantly, it would be a great start to continuing on my journey and having it be a successful one.

I am continuing my fight. I have the best supporters in my family and friends and people around the world I’ve never met – and I’m grateful for them all!

I’m never giving up. I’m going to keep on…keeping on (Thanks Brandon).

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Peace and blessings to everyone, especially as we enter the holiday season. May you all find your joie de vivre.

Love,

Dani

I’m “fine”

Warning:  I use the “F” word a lot in this posting. I use it a lot normally so if you know me, this won’t be a surprise, but this is just a word of caution to those who might not care for the word…

I think maybe I missed my “calling” and should have been an actress. I’m almost always pretending to be someone else; something else. It’s gotten to where I’m not even conscious of doing it most times.

You know that old joke that if a woman says she’s “fine”…

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Yeah, that. But while that’s funny and is normally meant more to make fun of men’s inability to understand women, there’s also the more serious side to when a woman’s says she’s “fine” which is the completely opposite. She’s not fine. Not at all.

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Some of the times, I really am fine. I’m okay. I’m good. Things are going okay, or well. And I’m okay. Sometimes.

But sometimes if I say “I’m fine” I’m really not. But I have this incessant need to not have everyone know it. No one. Not my therapist. Not my mother. I just don’t want to “share” because if I say how I really feel (which isn’t always clear to me either), it opens up everyone to have to discuss it. And there are times, most times, when I don’t want to discuss it. Talking about it doesn’t always makes me feel better. It really doesn’t; makes me feel worse.

Sometimes, for brief moments, I forget that I’m really not fine until something happens that reminds me. It could be weeks where I really am fine, but most times it’s mere hours, and if I’m lucky, a day or two.

I post jokes. I respond to posts with smiley face emojis. I try to mask everything I feel with jokes, sarcastic comments and sometimes even that helps me to forget. Briefly.

So I say “I’m fine” in hopes that people will just take the hint and move on. Some ask and don’t really care how you feel – it’s a nicety only. And there are those that ask because they really care, but I never really want to have the discussion with them about why I’m not fine.

Why?

Because most of the time we’ve already had the conversion. It’s like a fucking bad case of Déjà vu. Because most of the time the same fucking thing that had me upset before, is the same fucking thing that has me upset then.

My weight. My fucking weight.

That’s not to say that I don’t get upset or emotional about other things. I surely do. My job. My lack of a social life. My ridiculous feelings for someone I have zero chance with. One of my pets being sick. You know, the usual stuff in life that gets to you. That gets to everyone. Normal shit.

But my weight is not normal.

Worse is my apparent lack of ability to do anything about it. Sure, I do something for a day. A week. Maybe many weeks. I worked with a great woman who got me on track and then I went out on my own. At the time I was positive based on what I’d learned to strike out on my own and succeed. I even felt a weight lifted from my shoulders that I didn’t have to be accountable to someone else so I could avoid the anxiety of feeling I had to please her. But I didn’t keep succeeding. As with every other time in my life, I invariably fail.

Every. Fucking. Time. And you know what makes me more upset about that than anything is that I have no idea why. Why can’t I do it? Why can’t I get motivated? Why can’t I say motivated? Why do I give up? Why do I sabotage myself? I have NO idea. No one does.

There’s no one in the room with me. There’s no enabler here. It’s all on me. All. Of. It.

I’m not a stupid woman but I have to tell you, sometimes I feel like the most stupid woman on the planet.

A couple of months ago my therapist told me that if I can’t do this yet it’s because I haven’t hit rock bottom. And I have to tell you. I cried at that. Then I left her place and I cried. A lot. Because if this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t want to know what is.

And you know what happened? Nothing. Well, that’s not completely true. My weight did change. It went up!  As I write this, I am at the highest weight I have EVER been. Ever. Every time the scale goes up, I lose a bit more of sanity. My heart breaks a little more. My anxiety about my failures goes up and I wonder how long do I have left to live.

And it’s all on me.

And apparently the fact that I can barely move and that this summer the heat and humidity have made me feel more like a bigger blob of shit than any other time hasn’t been enough. Apparently that I can barely breath some days, and when I lay down to sleep hasn’t been enough. Apparently when I sweat just struggling to do the simplest things that most people don’t even think about hasn’t been enough. Nothing has been enough. And apparently this…

isn’t fucking rock bottom.

But let’s get this straight though – I’m not depressed. I’ve been depressed and this isn’t it. I’m not breaking down. I’m not depressed.

I’m angry. I’m pissed. And I’m upset with my life, how I’ve lived it (for the most part) until now and how I’ve let my health get so far out of control that I’m now struggling to just live.

So I act like I’m an Academy Award winner that everything is just super and most people, if not all, are none the wiser. And that has been just fine with me because otherwise it only reminds them, and me, of what a failure I have been up till now. And everyone will say to me…

“Oh Dani, you’re not a failure.”

“Just keep going”

“You can do this”

“Don’t give up”

etc…

And sometimes I believe it myself. But it doesn’t last.

I know losing weight is hard. I fucking know it. I’ve known it for 30 years. And it’s not getting easier and never will. And I wish I had some magic pill that would just fix the problem but there’s no such thing.

And the worst feeling is feeling like I can’t do this just because it’s hard. How do you not feel like a failure then? How do you not get to the point where you stop trying to do anything because if it’s hard you won’t do it?

How do you think you look to others, but most especially yourself, when you won’t even try to work hard to get what you want? I can’t stand people who float through life and expect they deserve everything they want. That they don’t have to work hard for it. But I don’t work on losing weight and I’m then surprised when I don’t and get mad at myself. There’s a word for that:

Hypocrite.

And you know what I dislike most of all? Hypocrites. Ergo, I don’t really like that I haven’t been able to walk the walk. To work hard to get what I want. It’s not even that I hate myself. I don’t think I really do. I hate what I’ve done, or not done. I hate my actions, and inactions. I hate that I can’t seem to do everything in my power to fix something that scares me to death. And may be the death of me, sooner rather than later.

Someone once told me that I won’t lose weight until I really want to. I argued that how could I not want to? How can I feel like this day in and day out and not want to lose weight? And I guess the answer is that I’m not willing to work hard enough. But I have no idea why.

So I’ve been concentrating on getting my book finished and published. So I can finally feel like I finishing something. I accomplished something. Anything. That I actually did something. And to be honest, I am grateful for the great things I have in my life. My mom, my family, my amazing friends. My cats. That I have a nice car, a roof over my head, money in the bank and a great paying job. I’m grateful for all of it.

But it’s not enough. Because none of that make me work hard to lose the weight. None of it.

It’s. All. On. Me. And we know how well that’s worked out so far.

I’m tired. Physically I’m exhausted. I can barely move. I can barely breath sometimes on really humid days. The pain in my feet get so bad some days that just walking to my car makes me cry. And mentally, I’m just trying to figure out what to do next.

So, friends…

I’m fine.

Dani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tipping the Scales

Depending on who you speak to about weight loss, and everyone has an opinion, many will tell you to ignore what the scale says. Other will tell you that it’s important to weigh yourself – even every day.

From my experiences, there are three particular things that stand out to me regarding the scale:

  1. I don’t like to weigh myself every day. The reasoning, as told to me, is so you can see fluctuation from day to day to help you determine what you might have done “wrong” the day before. Ate something you shouldn’t have, for example. I don’t really subscribe to this method for two reasons. 1) You become obsessed with what it says – good or bad. 2) And if it’s bad, you stress and freak out because you had a gain. When just sometimes, the gain isn’t really anything you did wrong. But the perception is there. GAIN = FAIL
  2. Some have told me to ignore the scale all together. To go by, for example, how I feel or how my clothes fit. I can’t really subscribe to this either. I need some sort of tangible thing to tell me how I’m doing. For me to feel better, I have to drop quite a bit of weight because right now, I feel pretty sucky. As well, I wear all of my clothes at least 3 sizes too big because I can’t stand having fitted clothes against me; I feel like I’m suffocating. If you’ve been around me enough, you’ve seen me even yanking on those looser fitting clothes because I can’t stand the restrictions. But fear not – I will not be running around naked. Ever.
  3. The scale is an evil bitch who shows absolutely zero mercy to those of us who struggle at weight loss and look for some shred of hope that all of our sweat and tears – lot of tears – is for naught.

I think the key is to not let the scale define me. Yes they are just numbers, but important numbers, especially to someone who has to lose as much as I do. But I know I’m so much more than the numbers on the scale. I know I’m not that scale.

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I’m a good person for the most part. I’m loyal to my family and friends to a fault. I do whatever I can to help and support them, even if sometimes I feel like I act selfishly. I feel passionately about things like protecting animals. I think I’m funny even if no one else does. I’m fascinated with history, learning about everything and anything. I love my cats. I love my mom. I miss my dad.

And I know I have to learn to love myself as much as I love them. After some conversations with my therapist, I’ve realized that I don’t hate myself. I hate what I let myself become, but I don’t hate myself. I’m just really disappointed in myself. There’s a difference.

So of course, anytime that I step on the scale and there is a gain – no matter how little – it does affect me. It hasn’t always been a good thing. I had a 3 pound weight gain one week and seriously lost my shit. And maybe people didn’t understand. Yes, a lot of people know the struggles of losing weight.

But when you have as much to lose as I do, a three pound gain screams EPIC FAIL because it could take weeks to lose it again and then you invariably feel like all you’ve lost is time.

After years of struggling, I still have those moments where I feel like I’m lost. Like I haven’t accomplished anyway. And it is very hard, as many of you know, to not feel like you’ve failed. To not feel like you’re going backwards.

I’ve been there. I have no doubt I’ll be there again. And I’ve said before, I wish I had some great pearls of wisdom on how to deal with it. It’s easy for someone to say, “Just forget it and move on.” It’s like also saying, “You know what to do, so just do it.”

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In any case, the point to all this blabbering is that for the first time in nearly 2 months, the fucking scale is giving me some hope.

I’ve lost 2 pounds since last Sunday.

And I’m going to take that as a win because frankly, this summer has not only knocked me on my ass but it’s dragged me around behind its car for a few thousand miles. The weather has been brutal on me in so many ways. Water retention, swelling, heat rashes. It’s affected me physically to the point where there are days I can barely move. Sleeping is a luxury most nights. Case in point, I was awake till nearly 3am this morning because I couldn’t get comfortable. I couldn’t breath properly. It’s just been a nightmare.

Unfortunately, it’s only the beginning of August. This weather shit can go on for another month, or two. So I’m doing what I can to fight it but I honestly have to say that this is the worse summer for me that I can every remember.

When you have a hard time breathing just walking a short distance outside and your lungs feel like they have water in them – yeah…that’s not something I want to feel every again.

So I’m taking the 2 pound loss for the win because given the past six weeks or so, I deserve it.

So here’s to telling mother nature yet again – fuck you – and fighting on. Never giving up. And…

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Blessings to all. Thank you for being with me on my journey.

Love,

Dani

 

 

 

Mother Nature Can Suck It!

First…

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^^^ That’s for my being remiss (again) in not writing sooner.

No excuses, really. But if you are a writer, or know one, you’re probably aware that while most of us feel we need to be inspired to write, many of us struggle to do just that – even when we feel that we have nothing to say.

It’s been 2 months since I last write on this blog. To my utter surprise, the hits on here have not only been consistent despite my not providing any new posts, but they’ve increased! Typically for the first day or two after I post a new blog posting, the number of visitors it receives is high,then gradually it fades. I don’t have a huge following; in all honesty, it was never my intention to have a large following. Not because I felt no one would want to hear what I had to say, but more so because I’m not really a well known person and I’m not actively marketing this blog. And frankly I wasn’t even sure if anything I was writing would even be of interest to anyone. I’ve since learned that people are indeed interested and that makes me very appreciative, but also inspires and helps me on my journey all the more. In fact, many of the visitors of late have been from all over the world, including places where I don’t actually know anyway.

But I digress.

Today’s post is dedicated to someone we all know. Someone who some of you might love, or if you’re like me, mostly feel like this:

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Now I’ve dealt with some bitches in my life but this one…I’d like to punch her right in her ovaries.

For as far back as I can remember, I have never done well with the heat and humidity of summer. My favorite season has always been, and still is, Fall (or Autumn depending on where you live). Most people I know, but not all, prefer the heat. Love to be out in the sun, roasting to a savory brown tan like the last Thanksgiving turkey. Me? I don’t tan. I go from one-shade-darker-than-an-Albino to burnt and back again. Sure, my arms will somewhat tan just simply from being in the car driving, but rarely, if ever, will you ever catch me actually out in the sun during the summer.

Think of me as your vampire friend Dani.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t about a little sweating. This isn’t about some frizzy hair due to the humidity. This is about me being physically sick – nauseated, sinus headaches, rashes from sweating no matter how many showers or how much powder I use. This is about being so fucking uncomfortable that I often feel like I’m losing my ever-loving mind.

And then there’s the weight gain.

Unlike most people who are more active in the summer and tend to lose weight, I am the opposite. I wish I could say that it’s just because I’m a stubborn bitch and I like to be rebellious, but alas, that isn’t it. Not at all. This also has nothing to be with my being Canadian. Contrary to popular belief, not all of Canada is a tundric ruin. In fact, where I come from (which incidentally is the only Canadian city SOUTH of a US one – look it up), they pretty much have the same weather that we get here in Ithaca. The only difference is the topography – Windsor being a epic flatland and Ithaca being a hilly nightmare (in the winter).

So I wish I could say that my childhood growing up in the “Great White North” was filled with cooler summers and ridiculously colder winters but I can’t. Sure, it got cold in the winters. It got to be what I like to call…brace yourselves…”snot freezing weather” but for as much as I often felt I was wearing tissue paper for pants…

I FELT ALIVE!

I am in my element in the cooler weather. Give me 45-65 degree weather all the time and I would be in Heaven. And as I said above, most people are more active and tend to lose weight in the summer…I don’t. I put it on. And put it on.

The heavier I start in the warmer months, most often the heavier I will get until the tides shift and we welcome in October. It’s then that I am more active; more pep in my step. And I start to lose the weight. During the summers, no matter how much water I drink, I swell up like a dead body the CSI team found in the lake – that had been there for 6 months or more. My hands, especially my fingers swell up to wear I can’t wear my rings. And they ache – my typing such as this blog, to even just flexing them to drive or any sort of movement.

I also having trouble with eating in the hot months. The idea of turning on the stove, oven or even using the BBQ gives me fits. But I also struggle with just being able to move around. To do the normal things around the house – cleaning, laundry etc. And forget about exercising.

And then there’s my feet/ankles.

If you’ve read this blog long enough you also know that I have foot pain nearly all the time. Unfortunately, running shoes are the only shoes I can wear that are supportive and that I can walk in. No flipflops for me. No pretty sandals that would show off pretty purple painted toenails. I don’t even wear shorts out in public because of how “deformed” I become (and because of the self-esteem issues). So no matter how uncomfortable I am due to the heat, I wear jeans and running shoes. When I am at home in the evening from work or on the weekends, I wear Orthoheel slip-on shoes. I can’t wear them outside because I cannot walk properly in them due to not always being aware of my feet due to the pain and numbness. I’m clumsy.

This is what my feet look like every night (dry skin aside and my apologies – I do not have pretty little feet):

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The darker red band is the normal size of my foot. The swollen part above it (below my toes) is the open part of the orthoheel shoes. Below that band is all the swelling to above my ankle. This is just from sitting. With no compressing, hot running shoes on. I don’t have A/C in my apartment; I can’t have A/C in my apartment.

Worse is in the past two weeks or so, the humidity in the air has had me having breathing issues. I used to get slightly winded walking up my walkway, up the road and down the driveway to my car. Now I am only half way up my walkway and I’m gasping for air. The moisture in the air is so thick sometimes, not only do I get huge headaches but as I said, lately I’ve been having trouble breathing. It became most noticeable to me when I realized that I wasn’t having that issue in my office or like last night at the mall – until I go outside.

I liken that I have a harder time with the heat because of my size. After all, I have a lot of fat (blubber) on my body which acts as an insulator. Think of a whale.

And I’m by no means being derogatory to myself. It’s a simple fact of biology. And unfortunately, while I wish I could just sit here and wallow alone aboard the self-pity train, I really don’t think I can wait until the Fall. I will never succeed in losing all the weight and getting healthy if I can’t get through the summers. I just can’t.

I certainly hope people understand now that when I complain about the heat that I’m not doing it just for the sake of whining about something; that it’s understood that it’s something that affects every part of my life – my body and my mind – my health and my everything. I have the tools and know what I need to do but the weather is messing me up – big time.

And believe me when I say that the fact that I have a hard time breathing in this humidity is scaring the ever-loving bejeezus out of me.

So starting tomorrow RIGHT NOW,  I’m renewing my determination to fight through this. To do everything I can to get back on track and succeed. I have to. I’m feeling lost in this gigantic dome of weather-related health issues and honestly, I’m scared. I don’t like feeling like I’m suffocating. I don’t like feeling so swollen that I can barely move. I don’t like feeling that I’m failing. And I really don’t like feeling like I’m dying.

So…

Fuck you Mother Nature!

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So here’s to another determined push to get through this and be successful. I could certainly use some words of encouragement from the masses on this one. I’m feeling so lost…

Thank you all,

Dani

The “masses” have spoken…

And by “masses”, I mean an enormous group of people.

And by “enormous group”, I mean a lot of people.

Okay, it was really just one person.

One person suggesting that she was “pretty sure” she wasn’t the only one waiting on a new blog entry. I don’t claim to be a wordsmith. Okay, maybe I do. But she didn’t sound very convincing. But given that I’d somewhat promised to not take so long between posts, and my last one was a month ago, I guess I deserve to only have one ardent “fan”. Er…reader.

Perhaps I have my first stalker!

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In any case, many posts ago I apologized for all of the future times that I would be remiss in posting in a timely manner so I will refrain from doing so again. We all know by now that I’m not fooling anybody. No matter how much I love to write, there are times I just don’t have anything to say.

Okay. You can stop with the laughing now. And don’t deny it; I can sense a disturbance in “the Force”.

So what, you might be asking yourself (or not) what I’ve been up the past month? I have to tell you, it hasn’t been an easy month and it does beg the question whether now was a good time to go off of the depression meds. But I felt it was time, and I also realize that 1) they were never that strong that they had that big of an affect on me and 2) they simply cannot stop every emotional “shit fit” I might have. They weren’t even strong enough to have dampened that down. Trust me. For the most part I’m convince I might as well have been sucking back aspirin.

I mentioned before in previous posts how hard this journey is. Some of you understand; others can only imagine. And if you’ve been reading this since the start, you also know that I’m upfront about my thoughts and feelings – warts and all – to some degree. That is, I’m not lying to anyone and I may leave some more personal stuff out, but the bottom line is that I have been struggling. There’s no easy answer for why. It just is. And I have to tell you, if you haven’t already guess from my previous posts, I don’t handle being “human” very well. That is, I don’t handle my mistakes very well.

I’m not a perfectionist. Far from it. But I have a degree of lunacy that is so ingrained in my mind that it’s actually harder for me to forgive myself when I make a mistake – or twelve – than it is to actually lose weight. I’ve been doing that yo-yo thing again and felt so disgusted with myself that I had to momentarily push some people away or hide it from those closest to me. I might have whined and bitched a bit but I didn’t have a full blown meltdown until a week ago. And I have to tell you. That feeling.

It sucked. It sucked harder than a Dyson.

I felt so helpless. But I also felt so ashamed. And sad. Frustrated. Angry. Alone. And then…

BOOM!

Around I went again. And again.

And it’s so very hard to be strong – to be the kind of strong that you HAVE to be to do this very hard thing (or any very hard thing) – so when you can’t be, you feel lost.

And I felt so lost. I felt so many things that I didn’t even know what to do. And it wasn’t just about my weight though that was a big part of it. Pressures from work have also been piling on. And I said this to my friends and family in my private Facebook group (the group is about my weight loss journey):

“I’m trying to not just be bitching and whining about everything because I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty sick of hearing me whine about something every time I mess up.”

The funny thing is that my group – that’s sort of what it’s there for. For me to express my feelings – good and bad – on my journey. To talk about my frustrations, my triumphs, the joys, the sorrows and the fuck-ups. Yet I sometimes feel guilty that I’m dumping on those family and friends. It’s then that I shut myself down, get quiet and suffer mostly in silence.

And you know what?

That’s just as messed up of a thought process as they come. Invariably I end up sabotaging myself and I find myself wondering if my friends and family aren’t rolling their eyes at me and thinking, “Holy shit, here she goes again!”

Maybe I’m right about that. Most likely I’m wrong. Most likely my over-active imagination and those damn hamsters are over-thinking it. But it’s hard. It’s really hard to express yourself without feeling you might be judged or worse yet, ignored. And that scares me because as I’ve said before, the importance of the support I receive from everyone cannot be minimalized or trivialized. If anything, it’s those times – when I’m feeling the worse about myself – that I need people that most.

Because I haven’t yet learned to treat myself well. To respect myself. To love myself.

When I have these setbacks, it’s so easy for me to use myself as the scapegoat. It’s absolutely easy. I want to stop it, I really do. And I really have to be honest when I say that I’m not sure I will ever get “there” until I give up the idea that I will not only make mistakes but I will make some mammoth ones. And it’ll still be okay.

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So until that time comes, I’m going to have “moments”. It’s during that time that I hope that people will still be there supporting me. And they know that no matter how I might feel about myself at any given moment, I will always be there for them.

Brandon told me once in my group: “I am proud. I said if one person got on board with me its all worth it. Thank you champ.”

And I feel the same way. I feel that if I can help even one person, even if for one specific thing or even as a continuous supporter of whatever their journey is – it’s worth it. So if my struggles help anyway, they make them all the more worthwhile and helps me to keep fighting. To keep going.

To keep on…keeping on.

So here’s your post my “masses”…er…Anne-Marie. Perhaps you’ll have to suggest that you’re “pretty sure” you’re not the only one waiting on a blog posting. I believe a fire has been lit…

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Blessings to all. Be back soon…

Mwahaha

Dani

Without a struggle, there can be no progress

Those famous words are part of a longer quote by Frederick Douglass. So as to not pull it out of its context, here is the full quote:

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In the end, the intent is still the same. One can’t expect progress, such as losing weight and getting healthy, without a struggle. Without trying. And in most cases, intense struggles. Even some “holy hell I’m never going to get through this” sort of struggles.

And there are times, just like with other instances in our lives, where something just seems to be impossible. That we won’t survive. But you know what? We do.

We survive.

I’ve had my share of some pretty awful things in my life. I remember many times when I though that things just couldn’t get any worse. Later, I’d realize they might have, but even if they did, I always survived.

Of course, as life goes, we know that not everyone believes they are strong enough to get through and they give up. On themselves. On their lives.

And that’s heartbreaking to me.

But for the rest of us, it’s that survival instinct that helps us. We learn from it. It makes us stronger. It proves to ourselves  (and others) that we are not broken. That we aren’t weak, or pathetic, or even useless. It is an enormous testament to the human heart; its drive to keep going, no matter how hard it gets.

And that’s sort of what it’s like to struggle to get healthy and lose weight when you’ve gotten so far out of control.

So while I might bitch and moan about how hard this is, I haven’t given up and I’ve kept going.

Et hoc transibit.

This too shall pass.

As with my many mood swings, I will have my good days and bad. I’ve been learning to not let the bad days take me so far out of the equation that I struggle to get back in. And with each passing day, the struggle – while never really ebbing – does somewhat feel easier. At least for that day. And you know what? That’s pretty great too.

Brandon Auret, whom I’ve mentioned often in other posts and is always so supportive (and it’s very appreciated!), always has the right thing to say to me that gets me going. That tells me to pull up my (literal) big girl panties and get to work. I sometimes feel like he’s the best kind of drill instructor. Imagine a deep, heavily-South African-accented voice telling you (and as I stated in my last post):

Hey chill shit happens we human. Ok!!!
Keep on ……..

To which I reply …keeping on.  And I do. I keep going. I keep on…keeping on. It’s become my motto of sorts. I could also hear him saying:

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But that’s not to say that the things that others have said to me have meant less, or have impacting me less. Every supportive comment is felt deeply and taken to heart. Even those that seem a bit scolding, like an unexpected spanking. It’s all good. It’s all chill.

The biggest take-away from all of it is that if this was easy, everyone would be doing it. And not everyone is. Do I wish it was easier? Sure. For the most part, I’m a bit lazy. But I’ve also learned throughout my life that if you really want something. REALLY want something. You work for it. You work hard for it. Or it’s not worth having.

So as I continue to struggle, I’m finding that my struggles, in part, are helping others. To keep going. To not give up.

To keep on…keeping on.

If I can help someone do that, well, it makes my struggles all the more important to me. And all the more worth every ounce of pain, frustration, heartbreak and heartache I go through. Because I also know that I’m not alone.

I’m never alone.

Blessings to you all.

Love,

Dani

Keep on…keeping on.

Wow. I am actually shocked to find that I started this blog posting 27 days ago. I am so very sorry that I’m not very consistent with keeping up with the posts. There seems to be an ebb and flow with me on just about everything I do – or try to do. So I do hope that I haven’t lost your interests in reading anything I have to say.

I also feel that if I blog all the time that you’ll be bored with it. Not to mention that I don’t want my posts to feel rushed or to be just “filler”. I want them to actually be productive. To mean something – both you myself and to you, my good people. So maybe I write shorter posts but more often, instead of just super-long ones every few weeks.

I wish I could say that I have a process down. I don’t. I wish I could tell you that I would or even could make more frequent shorter posts. But we all know that I’m not succinct. I apparently don’t even know what that word means most of the time.

I guess that means I was destined to be a writer.

But I will endeavor (no promises) to be more consistent and check in more often than I have of late.

So…

What do you do when your inspiration begins to wane? How do you keep up the motivation?

I shouldn’t have to rely on other people’s support in order to keep going but I’m finding that my attitude, inspiration and motivation all seem to be at levels in great proportion to the support and inspiration I receive. If it tapers off, I somewhat do as well.

And that scares me.

People’s interests change. As does their attitude. They also have their own lives.

I hate that I have to rely on others to be successful, especially for those very reasons but as I said in one of my very first posts – I need YOU!

I am struggling of late. My motivation is lacking. I can’t explain why really. What specifically it is that is making me less enthusiastic? What causes this ebb and flow of my feelings?

I can’t explain it. And I hate that.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far, sure. I’m happy I haven’t given up. You bet. But there are times when I just feel…

Meh.

That’s the best word that comes to mind. And I hate it. I hate it because I feel like I’m letting myself down, and you all down. And why can’t I just always feel motivated? The support I have received hasn’t gone away; it just ebbs and flows, causing my moods to do so as well.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming anyone for those ebbs and flows. As I said, you have your own lives. And I shouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to keep going on this journey. To keep fighting. To not give up.

But I’d be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t need you. Didn’t need that support. Because after all these weeks and months – it’s painfully obvious that I do.

So I will make mistakes. I will falter. But I won’t give up. And I won’t stop trying.

We human. Shit happens. Keep on…keeping on.

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And chill.

Till we meet again. Hopefully soon.

Be kind. Be gentle. Be loved. Be safe.

Love,

Dani

Making Your Mark

One of the things that I have been questioning as I’ve gotten older is what contributions have I made in this world; specifically, what GOOD or GREAT contributions have I made in this world?

And to be honest, I’ve struggled with this. As another birthday approaches, I’m reminded that another year has passed and what I have I really done to make the world a better place? When I looked for the answers, I was saddened that there aren’t any; that I haven’t done any such thing.

I almost feel selfish in this way. Someone told me recently that not everyone is meant to be an Einstein, a Newton or a Curie. While that may be true, I have had moments when I questioned why I was here. What “grand scheme” does the Universe have for me? And did I miss the “message”?

And I liken this to people’s “gifts” as well. What is my “gift”? Do I even have a “gift”? Other than the “gift” of not being able to be succinct, do I have talents that can benefit the world?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to change the world. There are days that I can barely get out of bed and survive myself, let alone change the world. Do I wish I could? No. At least, not by myself. But I’ve always believed that if many people ban together, they can make changes – what might seem small at first, which then become bigger. And that’s amazing.

This has always been one of my favorite quotes:

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If you don’t know who Margaret Mead is, here’s the link to her Wikipedia bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Mead

1976 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Betty Williams is another woman to whom people should admire. In Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Ms. Williams witnessed the tragedy of 3 children being struck and killed by a car driven by an IRA member. Her non-violent rally of 10,000 to march for peace was, ironically, interrupted violently by the IRA. Not to be deterred, Ms. Williams again organized a peaceful protest rally the following week – and this time 35,000 people showed up and it went off successfully. She then co-founded The Community for Peace People. And as I said, later won the Nobel Peach Prize for her creation of The Community for Peace People. Betty Williams was “just” a receptionist and mother at the time she took it upon herself to make a change.

I don’t mention these women as a lesson in history or feminism but only as examples of when people saw a need for change and did something about it.

But my own personal contributions to society have never been, and likely never will be of this magnitude. And I realize that maybe I’m not meant to be someone “famous” who did something to help the world. Maybe, in my own way – the things I’ve done – have helped others and I’m not even aware of them.

Maybe this blog and my weight loss journey has helped someone to try to get healthier themselves. Maybe it’s inspired them to not give up and keep trying.

Maybe my financial contributions to charities I’m passionate about have helped to make a change for the better, or saved the life of an innocent animal. That maybe I’ve helped stop a rhino or elephant poacher in South Africa or allowed a dog or a cat to live long enough to find their forever home because I helped the no-kill shelter in my town.

Maybe – just maybe – I’m someone’s reason to get up in the morning. To smile. To feel like they are special. To know they are loved.

So yes, when I’m gone, I won’t leave some huge mark on the world that will has a lasting legacy, but as I reach another year older, I’m finally realizing that that’s okay too. No regrets.

So however  you leave your mark in this World, make it one of honesty, kindness, and peace.

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And I hope that, in some small way, that maybe I’m making my mark on your hearts as you’re making on mine. Thank you all for your continued support, kindness and love.

Blessings to all.

Dani