Vee 2.0

Have you ever looked at yourself, fresh out of bed, with sideways hair and sheet creases on your face and thought, “Where the eff did I take a wrong turn?”

This was me. Almost two years ago I sat down with myself and I said, “Self. Let’s do this. Let’s go all the eff out, balls to the walls, and buckle down and get it done.” I was talking about my choices in life, that albeit were fun and all, but they weren’t always healthy. I knew I needed to get moving. I can’t change my ass by sitting on it, right?

The thing is, a friend had asked me to join her and start making an effort to lose some ellllllbeeees and after I gasped (HOW DARE SHE?! Where’s the GIRL CODE?) and got over my damn self, I realized she was right. I was the queen of hiding behind the camera, smacking a kid right in front of most of me, of the perfect angles, or just taking it chest up. You were either getting close ups or inauthentic Vee. That’s just the damn truth.

Sometime in these past two years, I got busy. Like, way busy. Busier than usual. A lot of it was my own fault, and Ku often jokes that I get restless when my plate isn’t overflowing (well, duh, I AM LATINA). While I admit that is partially true, the reality is that last year I handled it pretty well, considering. I was really kicking ass (my own) at keeping with my commitment to change my lifestyle and share it with my friends. I was posting progress photos and just feeling so damn empowered and strong. Strong as all get out. Ubes strong.

And then something changed inside of me. I started to let my overflowing plate create a shadow in my mind. Slowly and then all of a sudden, working out wasn’t my priority. Clean eating went out the window. A cheat every now and then became every damn day. EVERY.DAMN.DAY. I recognized it happening and kept telling myself it was ok. I deserved it. I could take a break and it would be fine because who is anyone to judge me?

Except, I was judging myself. All of my shame gremlins that I had worked so hard at shutting up started to grow and get louder. I mean, visually that is how I see it. These little nasty creatures that chase me and bog me down with self-loathing. I mean, Grinch, get out da way! I am giving him a run for his money! I constantly tell Ku how upset I was with myself, how ugly I felt, how I was just ballooning (I mean, quite literally) back to the old Vee. I stopped posting about my self-care because it would have been a lie. I wasn’t working out, I was eating whatever I damn well wanted to and I was sure as hell not trying to post progression photos. Who would even want to see that? Wouldn’t I just be proving everyone right? I mean, especially myself. I was already in a funk. Can you imagine what posting a reverse transformation would have felt like to me?

The thing is, motivation is a sword. It’s either a tool or taking your life.

So, where am I today? I’m in student mode. Learning. I learned, so far, that it takes waaaaaaay more work to lose inches and pounds than it does to pack it back on. No matter how you do it, no matter how you did it, it’s coming back if you stop. I think I told myself I just had to put the time in now, because I’ve given enough of my life to being unhealthy and overweight, and I could rest. I told myself if I spent 14 months eating healthier and being conscious of what I ate that I could just have a good ole time with food for three. Now I’m learning that fun is a sometimes thing, not every minute of your day. I’m learning that self-love is always a work in progress, just like the rest of me. I’m learning that I have to start over because I clearly stopped at some point. And I’m learning that nobody will ever judge me as harshly as I judge myself. I think, anyways.

So, why put this out there again? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I don’t fit in my clothes anymore and you might start noticing me wearing the same things in all my pics, or maybe because you’ve wondered and I feel like I owe you all some super, SUPER awkward authenticity…

Or maybe it’s because you might feel a lot of what I’ve been thinking and you’re thinking mean things about yourself and trust me, you are not alone. Over the past two-ish years I’ve had the honor of having some pretty damn phenomenal ladies in my workout groups and you know what?

I’m joining hands, linking arms and taking the plunge with my fellow boss babe, Erin, to get you back on track. Because we are getting back on track and we freaking need you. We need fellow friends on our side who also want to be uplifted and cheered on. Do you need a little nudge, some love pats and a program that will help you get that ball moving again? Or moving for the first time?

Reach out to us. Send a message. You can even start it with some BS like “Hi!” We will get there. We will get you on board and more importantly, we will show you some love. Being unhappy with yourself is hard. We get it. Mostly because we are there, too.

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Oct 2014                                         Aug 2017                       Sept 2017                                                                

The trigger effect

forgivenessA car door slamming shut outside. Unexpected people walking up behind me. Fast movements out of the corner of my eye. Our account balance dipping below a certain dollar amount. Roses and tiramisu. Innocent questions about silly things like dinner or what I did all day. Tall men who tower over me.

All such different things but each with the same effect on me. They are triggers. My triggers that instantly put me somewhere scary, places where my breath is stuck, my heart is racing. They make me disoriented, flood me with adrenaline and put a wall around my brain within seconds.

A friend recently compared herself to me. She said she was an open book, just like I was and I really pondered that comment for days. Maybe even weeks. Am I really that open, I wondered? Yes, I put myself out there and talk about very vulnerable moments in my life. Are you an open book if you only share certain chapters? I will answer almost anyone’s questions as honestly as I can, and yet I think so much of me remains hidden. There are easy things to talk about such as being a mom raising three boys with my wife by my side. I can talk about my weight and what I’m doing to get healthy on the inside and even how I’m helping my brain and my mind feel better. I like to share love stories, laughter, the stupid things I do because the journey of rebuilding has been such a beautiful process. Even the lows are incredible highs compared to before.

I couldn’t even think about my decade long of surviving domestic violence until recently. Watching anything remotely like what I had put up with on TV gave me anxiety, made me look away with pain and disappointment. Friends would ask me some questions and I would freeze up, trying to figure out how to change the conversation immediately. Yes, I bring it up now, but still mostly in written form. My throat seizes up. It doesn’t even take asking. It could happen at the drop of a dime at any one of the triggers listed above, many more I can’t think of at the moment. For ten whole years, I was in flight or fight with sprinklings of okay moments I could handle. It wasn’t always horrible but I always felt unsafe.

About a year ago I downloaded The Book of Forgiving, by Desmond Tutu and would play it whenever I drove somewhere. At first I told myself that I had picked it out of a long list of books I wanted to read because it popped up on the “recommended” list and was on sale. The reality is that I needed this book in my life; forgiveness doesn’t come easy to most but it was undoable for me. I held on to things so fiercely. I began to listen to it with this “I will never forgive him” mentality. Let’s hear what Desmond has to say. Either way, I will not forgive him. I will not forgive them because I had an Arya Stark list of who had egregiously wronged me and it was written in stone.

bof

The book began and I was surprised at how calming it was. Desmond Tutu narrates it and while his voice is nothing close to monotonous, he manages to maintain his voice at the same volume, with inflection and emotion but never overwhelming. I found I couldn’t listen to it with the close-minded mentality I had hit download with. Little by little I found myself excited to drive somewhere. My commute to work was pleasant now, enriching my thoughts. I still felt like I couldn’t figure out forgiveness, but I kept listening. My heart was yearning for something and this was helping me listen.

**If you think I’m about to say I finally forgave my ex to which your response will be an eye roll or something equally justifiable, please bear with me.**

“Forgiveness means you are given another chance at a new beginning,” he said gently. I needed him to say that without fire or passion. I needed it to creep into my heart through the breaks and the cracks, and somehow he knew that was the only way. When I heard that, I parked my car in its normal stall, turned it off and took a few deep breaths. I have been so hell bent on rewriting my shitty first draft. I was CRUSHING it, in my opinion even though I knew I had some major road blocks. I didn’t think this was one of them. “If you can find it in yourself to forgive, then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator.” When he said this, I literally stopped in my tracks. Well, un-literally, as I was driving, but my thoughts did! It was in that moment that I realized I didn’t endure 3.650 days (plus some) of mental, physical and verbal abuse to spend ONE MINUTE more on it. “When we forgive, we take back control of our fate and our feelings. We become our own liberators. We don’t forgive to help the other person. We don’t forgive for others. We forgive for ourselves.”

And that was my ah-ha moment, friends. It was in that moment that I realized I needed first and foremost, to forgive myself. And I needed to forgive FOR myself, as well. The thing is, reading (or in this case, hearing) something said to me, no matter how absolutely perfect and full of sense it is, doesn’t fix the problem automatically. It still takes action. Requires a sense of desire, at least, to move forward towards that. One tactic Desmond shares, some wisdom he so graciously shared, was to give your hurt a voice. Don’t brush it aside and pretend it never happened, but rather, talk it out, talk about it with friends, write your thoughts down in a journal, pick a rock and name it your hurt. Carry it in your pocket and rub it in your hand and when you’re ready, place it somewhere. Leave it there. Behind you, rather than carrying it with you on your person.

I only did one of those things, and it was to begin journaling about it. Except, it was kind of an accident and it happened without me realizing it. That journal is this blog. Did I start this whole endeavor thinking, “What about my past life of hell am I going to share with my friends today?” No. But little by little, I keep thinking of things I want to share and often times, it’s about that. It makes perfect sense to me. My past marriage was wrought with so much pain on so many levels. I didn’t jump out of a vehicle and run for my life one night, five years ago to just move on and get over it in one day. Hell, it took me almost three years to even really start saying something to someone other than Ku. If someone would have said I would join the board of DVSAS even two years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I might have called you a liar. Even reaching out about joining gave me sky-high anxiety. And it was in that second that I knew I had to do it. Enough with being comfortable. Enough with wallowing in my inner pity party. I had to continue rebuilding and this was me staying on that path.

While listening to Desmond’s book has opened my heart up to understanding forgiveness, not just in the case of my ex-husband, but also other travesties I’ve held deep inside, I will say I didn’t come out SAVED by it. A book isn’t saving me any more than any one thing will. It merely provided me with some necessary tools to begin my own process. For me, forgiveness has become less about letting someone off the hook for something they may not even be sorry for, but freeing myself from all the negative energies that were binding me to them.

So, what about those pesky triggers? I can talk and talk about the act of forgiving; feel really good about life in general, and then I’ll hear a car pull into the garage and the door slam shut and before I know it I’ve jumped off the couch and rushed to the kitchen to pretend I was busy preparing a dinner I hate because I can’t cook and I already know nobody will like it. Except it’s Ku that walks in the door, excited to see me, giving me a hug and a kiss and I act like I wasn’t just in freak out mode, like I am not scrambling to make something because I remember that she was cooking dinner tonight. I hear one of the boys come in from playing outside and they are happy and everyone’s smiling and I realize I’m not in a small apartment with almost no furniture with someone yelling at me, pushing me against a wall. And it’s been over FIVE years.

Two weeks ago I attended a work luncheon about preventing bullying in the workplace. The facilitator was a retired law enforcement official. He was squirrelly, spoke robustly, but never made me feel intimidated. I suppose that matched the theme of his session, now that I look back. He went over what bullying is, why people do it, what to do if you see it happening, and why people don’t step in when they witness it. I found myself listening more for information that I could take back to my kiddos, especially Abraham. I wasn’t listening necessarily for myself, but rather to pass on when I saw fit. And then a face in the crowd asked a question that he read into deeper. He had said earlier that he estimated about 70-80% of any given crowd has been a victim of bullying, which he defined as an abuse of power that is repeated. He began discussing triggers, because we tend to respond differently to conflict when we personally feel triggered.

I perked up because I know I have some. Fearlessly, and I’m not sure where this came from, but I shot my hand up. It had just the right amount of gumption, because he saw it right away and called on me.

“Let’s say you recognize a trigger. How do you desensitize yourself from it?” I asked him. He looked around the room. “Does anyone else here want to know? It’s not really what today is about, but if enough people in the room are up for it, I can take a moment and give one desensitizing trick I’ve learned.” I’m guessing enough heads bobbed yes for him to dive in. “Here it is,” he said.

Step 1: Take a handful of deep breaths. Really deep breaths. Breathe in slow and breathe out slow.

Step 2: Tell yourself the date and where you are. This helps bring your brain back from whatever memory it decided to visit. It confuses it, stops the synapses mid-way and recalls them to somewhere else. Somewhere safe.

Step 3: Tell yourself you are ok. Say it as many times as you need to.

It could sound like this: Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath. Today is Monday, May 22, 2017 and I’m in my kitchen. I am ok. I am ok. I am safe. I am ok.

I don’t remember much of his other content. I’m glad he answered this and gave us some help. I’ve tried it out twice now and so far, so good. While I hope I don’t need to use it anymore, I know that isn’t logical so I will keep applying it, keep saying it, and keep breathing because I am okay. I am safe and I am happy.

And thank you for reading this. You are helping me heal.

Crazy Vee

 

 

When did you know?

 

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It doesn’t get much cuter than this!

 

When people ask me who I am I never think “Lesbian.” I almost always describe myself as a mother, a wife, an aficionado of wine, a lover of fat babies and children in general, a jokester, a wit mcgrit, a rhymer in an un-rapstar kind of way, a smart-ass, a badass, a babe. I dig the Gilmore Girls, Game of Thrones, reading of all sorts, writing; I am a Human Resources professional, I’m a developer of people, curator of ideas, a doer, a shaker. I’m ALWAYS A BOSS.

And yet, I’m asked often times the same question. I’m quite alright with it, so if you’re reading this and cringing because you’ve also asked me about my sexuality in some way, shape or form, don’t think for one moment it has offended me. It hasn’t. I welcome it, in honesty, because I’m also thinking my way through it for better ways to explain what I feel inside of me.

We have somehow become a society of labels. Sometimes those labels fit us so well, like wine-lover, and others we want to immediately throw out the window and not accept, such as overweight. We don’t always want to be just one of them, sometimes we want to add more to our plate and other times we don’t even know we have earned a new one.

I feel like that last one was my case, five plus years ago, when I fell in love for real, for the legit first time, forever. Not once did I stop and think about the gender of who I was falling for. There was no time for that. It was more of an excitement, a rustle in the air of emotions and charged feelings. What I have continually tried to explain is that I never once stopped and said, “Whoa, I’m in love with a girl.” All I could think was, “This is love. This is real.”

I don’t have a coming-out story like some do. Telling friends or family I was gay just never happened. At least not like it did for a lot, who maybe realized their attraction at an early age and tried to hide it. Or understanding how you want to look or dress and then “breaking the news to your people.” I can’t say if it’s because I didn’t know, or didn’t recognize. My sharing of a love story was me introducing her to family and friends. Just pulled the band aid off and did it. I didn’t worry about it one bit. I wasn’t scared. I was so damn excited about turning a new leaf, changing my life, taking a plunge, not in loving her, but in throwing away my shitty first draft and starting over. My loving a woman was the last bullet point on a new outline for life. It wasn’t saying, “Hey everyone, I love a woman.” It was me shouting, “Hey everyone, I AM IN LOVE.”

When the questions eventually started, because they inevitably do, that was when I realized it was a major change for people. Apparently you can’t drink coffee with cream your whole life and then cold turkey go to black (or vice-versa) without having to explain the ins and outs to people. They hit you with a stack of ideas that could make it acceptable. It’s not always the same but can look something like this.

“Ooooooh, it was probably because he was abusive to you. Are you scared of guys now?” No.

“Is this a phase? What if you change your mind again? And is this weird for your kids?” No.

“Was he not good in bed? You just decided to give ladies a try? He was just that terrible?” No.

And the ever perplexing: “That must be really embarrassing for him. His wife leaving him for a woman?” WHAT THE WHAT?!?!! Sure. Let’s all take a moment and have a moment of silence for the asshole that still haunts my nightmares. Let’s hope his miniature man balls can take such a blow. Sheesh.

People want to know what brought it about, they want to find reasons in the chaos, they sit and rack their brain about why you made this choice. And yet I don’t remember ever clearing choosing a woman. I merely let my heart decide. I can’t even say if I would be with another woman if something happened to us. I just know that I have never felt so connected to a man. I haven’t felt this immense, overwhelmingly beautiful pull to a man. What I can say is that the universe knew it was time for me to be happy and placed the PERFECT person in my path. I was luckily paying attention. Sometimes we aren’t, though. Right? There could very well be many of us who had amazing options right in front of our face and we chose to look right through them. It can be a best guy friend who wants to give a relationship a shot but you aren’t up for it, because you don’t want to lose a friendship. It could be the “nice guy” who just doesn’t make you feel butterflies in your stomach. It could be the ex of a friend and you can’t break the girl code. It could be someone of a different ethnicity or your same race who you’ve sworn you would never date because of it. Either way, it comes out in your questions to me.

I won’t say Kulia and I haven’t discussed what this is for the boys. It was really more of a slow process, because they were dealing with the divorce, which was hard for them. There were so many changes with that and a period of time they didn’t see their Dad due to a restraining order. That was the hard part and so we handled them gently. She was there as a friend and a confidant for them. She was around in such a seamless way and eventually, when it was time, we got a place together and they never batted an eye. She was so safe for them and they could feel it and they wanted her to live with us. We never openly engage in PDA around them, minus holding hands and an occasional peck on the lips, but not because we are two ladies. It’s because it’s not appropriate, even if we were hetero. There’s a place and a time for such acts, and we have never thought it was to be in front of the kiddos. We let them slowly understand we weren’t just best friends but also in love. We are respectful to not flaunt our relationship at their school events or outings but we also don’t hide it. We have always operated with 100% honesty, with them, with our family, with our friends, and with anyone who asks.

I promise that. Always honesty because I haven’t felt for one second that our love is not a beautiful thing. I hold her hand with pride, I smile when I call her my wife. I love that the boys couldn’t imagine life without her. I won’t hide it and I won’t shy away from any questions in regards to it. You have any? Hit me with them! I will always answer them. All I’m saying is, love has never been a choice when it comes to her. She was always meant for me and me for her and we had no say in the whole, entire matter.

 

 

 

The Birth of Vee

Being as I have officially reached my half-way point in life, at 35 years, I can really reflect on the last half of my life and have some real talk. Both with myself, and with my friends.

My whole entire life (well, the first half, stop correcting me) I was known as Virginia. People have forever been trying to give me a nickname. Seriously. There is the EVER ANNOYING Vicky, Ginny, Ginger (!?!?!), Vagine (but in the gross sense because kids are mean), and Virg. Ewwww. I never took a liking to a single one. I only ever answered to Virginia. I get asked all the damn time about if I realized I’m named after a state (and I mean, HOW COULD I NOT KNOW, LIVING IN THE USA!?!?!?!), they play the “There REALLY IS a Santa Claus!” with me, they mention queens, etc. Name games are so fun unless they are about you. It’s slap-your-knee funny except it isn’t. Everybody in my life called me Virginia.

And then my life stopped on April 14th, five entire years ago. And Vee was born.

It wasn’t foreseen but it should have been. For a legit decade, ten years, 3,650 days give or take a few, I had been living in my own personal hell. Granted, there were good days. Of course there were. I won’t say it was non-stop. It just gradually began to feel that way, slowly, like you’re falling asleep. Little by little, Virginia was fading away as each day, week, month, and year passed. That light I had been born with was dimming. I could see it and yet I couldn’t find the strength to relight it.

It’s weird, what trauma will do to you. It’s even more bizarre what repeating trauma does. To you. Today I woke up and felt blah. It’s unlike me but it does happen. My head and my heart very rarely are on different pages, because for the better part of the last five years I have been trying to rebuild who I am, because I gave myself a chance to start over. I talk so much about rewriting your shitty first draft but five years ago, ON THIS DAY, I threw away the whole damn book. I grabbed a new pen, found page freaking one, and started the HELL OVER. Today, though, my head was happy and my heart was heavy. I already knew why, though. I’m forever remembering numbers and dates and moments in my life. I can’t help it.

When I met Kulia, forces in nature began to bring us together. First with daily lunch dates, even though that’s not the right way to describe it. I hadn’t told one single person about what I had been going through for the past ten years and yet with her, I began to feel like maybe I could. How do you reach out to your family and friends, out of what would seem like nowhere, and say to them, “I’ve been a victim of domestic violence for the past decade?” How do you start that conversation? And what would they do? If they hadn’t seen it, or noticed it, or even wondered the whole entire time, could you trust them to know what to do? And WHAT DO YOU DO? That’s the real question. It is the question I had been asking myself, over and over, every day, for the past 120 months. It isn’t lost upon me that if one of my friends had come to me and said ANY of the words I had about what I was going through, I wouldn’t have known where to start, either.

I’m not blaming anyone for not helping me. I couldn’t even help myself, guys.

She (Kulia) talks often about how she thought I was happily married when we met. It isn’t just that I was putting on a show for anyone, but more because I can find a reason to smile every day. I had my boys, who I will forever acknowledge as my life savers and that wasn’t lost upon me. Without them I don’t know if I would be here, today. I had a fantastic job. There were positive things in my life and I used them as a shield. My smile was my sword. As we learned more about each other, I felt safer. I started to feel like the old me. I had a sincere laugh around her. Without knowing what she was doing, she was bringing me back to the ground, because all I had been doing, what was helping me deal, was floating outside of myself. I rarely felt like I knew who I was. She started to help me remember.

As I remembered how to blossom he noticed the changes. I started to find words to tell him that I used to be afraid of saying. I started to defend myself. It didn’t take him long to piece together that it was around the time her and I became friends. Except this time, I wasn’t getting convinced to stay. I told him I didn’t love him. I told him I never had. And he lost his damn mind. He started to pull the boys into it. Brought Samuel into the living room and demanded he choose, in that moment, if he wanted to live with him or with me, should we split. I started to see a maniac emerge, when all I had known was Devil’s Rage. When I wasn’t home he would harass my phone. He had to travel to the mainland for a few days and I didn’t answer his calls one night. He was upset I had gone out to dinner with friends and before I knew it, there was something like seventy-eight missed calls on my phone.

The more psychotic he became, the more I knew my life was becoming precarious. I read a statistic recently that said that 50% of domestic violence victims lose their life to their offender. It brought me back to those moments. He came home and big fights happened. More and more frequently and I didn’t know how to stop them anymore. I didn’t even want to. One day on my way home from work, as I walked there, he called me. “I’m in the car. With your kids. We are headed to the airport. You’ll never see them again.” And then out loud, in a scary voice, he said, “Tell your Mom bye, boys.” I tried to run home, frantic, because I didn’t doubt any of it for one moment, but I wasn’t a runner then. I couldn’t go more than ten seconds without having to stop and catch my breath. I never hated my body as much as that day, thinking I would never see my children again.

And then April 14th. My REBIRTH-DAY. Another dinner date with friends. Kulia was with me. As we enjoyed our meal and some wine, he called. A lot of times. I wouldn’t answer because I was hashtag OVER IT. Of course, he made it about the boys. “Abraham is sick and has a fever and there is no medicine in the house. I bet you don’t even care,” his voicemail said. So, I told her I had to get home. She took me to get medicine and then dropped me off. The next time I called her was for her to find me at a busy intersection.

I won’t go into everything that happened that night. I don’t even think I remember all of it. It was one of the scariest nights of my life, and then the best. Without thinking about it, without giving it a second thought, I found myself, less than four hours later but what only seemed like four minutes, jumping out of a moving vehicle and running, again, for my life. I didn’t have my kids with me. The threat of them leaving the island was still very real but I couldn’t stay with him and give him ONE MORE DAY with me, not one more moment. I had to trust that he would keep his word, just this once, and not run off with my little men.

When I told my Dad about it, for the first time and not without some anxiety, a few days later, he said he was proud of me. “You have to show yourself some respect, Mija,” he told me. And it finally made sense. We went on to have an incredible conversation about divorce when I got back to the mainland, a couple weeks later. It was one of the best conversations we had as father and daughter, in a way we never had before.

Whenever I think about that April 14th in my life, I feel my heart race. It has replayed in my dreams many times. I can’t escape it and this is the first time I’ve woken up on it and not hated the day. Never because of what I did to help myself, but more because of what had to happen for me to find that insane second of courage to finally do it. I feel like this is the first time, in the past five years, that I woke up and felt like I had finally forgiven myself for it, which seems backwards. Shouldn’t I be so proud of having done all that?

Yes, I am. But it’s hard to acknowledge every piece of that puzzle, for me. Sharing my story has helped me move forward, but it has come with a price that I didn’t know would be paid. Thinking about it keeps it fresh in my mind. My heart gets tender, my brain wants to forget, my body finds itself in fight or flight and I can hardly breathe sometimes. A friend told me recently that she’s like me, an open book. I agree to an extent that I can be, but so much remains off topic. So much still, hasn’t allowed itself to come to surface.

And then I try to imagine how Kulia must have felt, to get a call from me just so many hours after she had dropped me off, at a place she knew I wasn’t safe in. She had to have known that it wouldn’t be a happy call, although it was the happiest call, too. And to put herself out there and be vulnerable, without knowing what could come next. I try to remember that when we argue. That even when I’m upset with her or her with me, she has never made me want to jump out of a car and risk injury to myself. She’s never made me feel like I’m garbage or unwanted. She’s never made me think the next breath could be my last. When she answered my phone call, she never said no to me. She took Vee and made it feel right, made it feel like love.

She’s continued to encourage me to find this voice and use it. When I said I wanted to be on the board of the local DVSAS (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services) in the area, she knew it was the place for me.  And it happened! I was just voted on, unanimously, by the board this week and begin a new chapter, as a Domestic Violence Victor. I can use my words and my love to help others in this community. My mid-way point has just continued to get better. It feels amazing to be seen as someone who can make an impact. I mean to do just so.

I will never say starting over is easy. It was the fourth hardest thing I’ve ever done, and yes, I keep track. I have found so much beauty, though, in those moments. I’ll continue to share them with you all, as I find the voice for them. And April 14th will no longer be a dark day for my life. It is light and I will honor it.

Happy REBIRTH-DAY to me!

 

The Ides of March

When Julius Caesar looked upon the eyes of who was delivering his death blow, he was saddened to see it was his most trusted advisor, BFF forever, confidant, Brutus.

How could your bestie DO THAT TO YOU?!?! Long story short, the Ides of March was born. A thought or notion about being weary of who you call friend and just how loyal they can be. I’ve had many friends in life who have been amazing with a touch (family included) that would put Brutus to shame. I mean, Caesar got 23 stab wounds from a group of disloyal people. Been there. Minus the Coliseum. I get why he was so sad, as he lay there dying. I know what being backstabbed feels like.

Today, on the Ides of March of 2017, I think about my own worst BFF. MYSELF.

Since I started my journey to healthy, the biggest bumps in the road have absolutely been self sabotage. WHY IS THAT? Why is it SO easy to be shitty to ourselves? I mean, when I looked at myself in the mirror, days after a friend had asked me to join Weight Watchers with her, I said yes. I had just had this epiphany about how I had always said no. Not because I was saying no to someone who had best intentions for me, but because I was saying no to health, to sticking around longer, to finally knowing what self-love and self-respect would feel like. If I felt better, how would I talk to myself? These things scared me. But, alas, I stood there, in my bra and panties and just evaluated myself. I began a mental list of why I was finally going to say yes to her and, ultimately, to me.

“I hate my thighs. That’s always at the top. I hate my gut. I hate the baby apron that hangs over my thighs and sticks out in everything I wear. I hate my arms and how they jiggle whenever I move them.” OH MAAAA GOODNESS, that list went on and on. Never once, almost a year and a half ago, did I say yes for a positive reason.

Nevertheless, I did it. I began my journey and have reached some PRETTY epic milestones along the way. I ran a 5k, then a 10k, then a HALF MARATHON. Added a 15k to the mix. Ran numerous 5ks. It turns out I love long distance running! If I hadn’t started to figure out what felt good to me, if I hadn’t taken that first baby step, and then another, and then taken baby jog steps, I never would have discovered this side of me. It turns out I’m stronger than I imagined. I prove it to myself all the time.

The thing is, though, that I still find that Brutus inside of me. I still get stabbed by the disloyal friend. Me. I’m my own worst enemy. That’s the hard that is difficult to describe when you find all these awesome things out about yourself. I have so many new muscles and the one that I have to flex and work the MOST continues to be will power and motivation. Oftentimes it is said that it takes 21 days to break a habit or to form a new one and yet I’m so many cycles in to 21 days that I should have these routines DOWN and I do not. A part of me, that Brutus part, wants to shout that it’s because I’m a failure, I’m a joke, I don’t deserve results and I certainly don’t deserve to hear people tell me I inspire them to get moving. I hate Brutus and yet Brutus is a part of me.

I pushed play the other day at a time when I wanted to put sweatpants on and melt into the couch. Brutus tried to convince me that I deserved a break and some bread and I found that strength to get past the lying eyes, put a mint workout top on to remind myself of the upcoming wedding we have (mint is one of our colors) and the fact that I have HUGE goals for that big day, and set my camera up to record me. Not because I want to say, “Look at me and what I can do,” but really to share with everyone that if I CAN DO THIS, I have ZERO doubt in my mind that ANYONE ELSE CAN ALSO.

This isn’t a happily ever laughter story. I can’t stop here. It would be half of what happened and that would be untrue.

I watched the videos and then I deleted them. They sat in my trashed pics for two days because I HATED EVERY SECOND OF THEM. Brutus had emerged, full force, and was stabbing away. So many more than usual. I don’t feel good looking at this compilation. It makes me ugly sweat and breathe hard. Hell, I’m breathing hard IN IT and I couldn’t figure out how to mute the background. EVERY second of this is agony for me to watch. I had a MAJOR milestone that I shared earlier Monday morning, which was that I had finally, FINALLY, fit into a size 14 pair of jeans and I was over the moon wearing them. This video and my ugly, inner BFF negated all those feelings.

What could I do in this sitchi? Well, for starters, I could have ordered a pizza and gotten some beer, curled up and stuffed my face and let my emotions get eaten. Fitness? Fitness whole pizza in my mouth! *For the record, I have never eaten a whole pizza.

OR, and this is a big one, I could reach out to someone who will keep it real with me. Not Brutus, he’s the ultimate B. And I could have asked Kulia, but she has wifey goggles and she would have said too many sweet things. I love that about her but I needed someone NOT wearing “You’re perfect even when you poop,” eyes. I hit up a fabulous friend that I met through Beachbody, who has shared some of the SAME struggles I’ve faced with me. Some pretty effin real convos have happened between us and I expected no less from her this time. And she said, BE REAL.

Well, this is it. This is real. This is belly jelly and me continuing to show up. And I’ll do the same tonight, instead of letting Brutus take me out. You do the same for you, in whatever capacity that means because YOU CAN BE YOUR BEST FRIEND, BUT IN A REAL SENSE.

VINI. VIDI. VICI.