4/19/95

I was all set to do some silly post about cranberries, but then I remembered what today is. It’s the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. I don’t know if I’ve ever told this story before on this blog (I searched my own blog, but couldn’t find it) so I’ll tell the story now. It’s funny how I can’t remember what I had for dinner last week, but I can damn sure remember every detail of that day.

I was a 24 year old student teacher at Putnam City High School in April of 1995. I would be graduating in May and was soclose to finishing my college days. First period had just ended and I was standing in the hallway talking with two other teachers when we heard a loud boom. At first I didn’t know what it was, until the older male teacher said “That was an explosion.” We all were concerned for a second, and then someone said, “Oh the chemistry  lab must have exploded…hahahaha”. We all laughed it off, thinking a nearby transformer had exploded or something benign like that. We really thought it happened on the school campus because it sounded so close. A couple of minutes later when I was trying to get my class settled, an announcement came over the speaker that there had been an explosion at the Murrah Federal Building. We were all appropriately concerned, but didnt have any details. We went on with class and by the time third period rolled around, details were becoming available. Kids were talking about it and always being the naive one, I said “I hope nobody was hurt” and one of the students (he was a tall blond kid who wanted to be a chef – I’ll never forget that) looked me dead in the eye and said, “You haven’t seen the pictures, have you?” He had a small pocket-size TV with him (yes it was against the rules, but we let it slide) and we all gathered around the little screen to watch the breaking coverage.

Oh. My. God.  (that was not an expletive. It was a prayer)

(source)

A huge crater was taken out of the building. Wires were hanging loose. Concrete and ash and debris was everywhere. I told myself to hold it together – don’t break down in front of the kids.  Then the reporter mentioned that a daycare filled with children was in that building. Yeah, I lost it.

(source)

I ran to the bathroom and bawled. I couldn’t imagine anything like that happening in America, let alone the very city I was living in. I was scared.

I dried my tears and cleaned myself up as best I could, then went back to the classroom. As I entered the room, the kids looked at me and about six girls came over to  hug me, which made me cry again, and we spent the rest of the hour sitting  around, stunned. The rest of the school day was kind of a blur, and I don’t remember how, but I met up with another teacher after school and we decided to donate blood because we felt like we needed to DO SOMETHING. We headed to the Red Cross donation center and waited for 5 hours watching the news, only to be told that they really didn’t need any more blood. So we went headed home.

On the way home, the city was dark and empty. I was driving along the highway when it hit me: I knew the exact moment that all those men, women, and children lost their lives. I heard with my own ears the explosion that killed those people. In an instant, their lives were over, and I felt like I witnessed it. It was almost more than my young naive self could bear. There have only been a couple of times in my life when I have cried that hard (thankfully). I hope I never have to again.

(source)

I didn’t know anyone who died in that bombing. I didn’t lose any close friends or loved ones, but those who died were still my people.  I’ve never been to the Memorial site because I just can’t go. I’ve heard it’s beautiful there, and maybe someday I will go, but for now, I just can’t do it.  I’m not a big fan of the ugly cry, and I can guarantee you that there will be some ugly crying going on the day I decide to go.

(source)

I remember being so surprised about the aid and support that poured in from not only the rest of the country, but from all over the world in the days that followed. The feeling of love and kindness that people showed each other after this happened was so uplifting and it made me proud to be an Okie. I’m still proud.

So that’s my story of the OKC bombing. I wasn’t directly involved, yet it still lives with me, and every year on this day I will remember those who were lost, and those who were saved, and those who will never forget.

Edited to add: Lisa at imanokie.com has a really wonderful post about this day as well, and she does a MUCH better job of explaining the events of that day. Really, please go visit her site for me and like she said, say a prayer if you don’t mind. 

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October 1999

Because of this, I will share this:

In 1996 I got pregnant with my son fairly easily. A little too easily if you ask me, as I was not yet married and really hadn’t even planned on having kids EVER.  But I did get pregnant, got married, and had the most beautiful baby boy the world had ever seen.

Two and half years later, the hubs and I decided that it was time for our son to have a sibling. Once again, getting pregnant was a piece of cake – I come from a long line of Fertile Myrtles.  I waved the pregnancy test in my husband’s face and proceeded to tell everyone who would listen that I. WAS.  PREGNANT!!

Twelve weeks later, we went in for our first OB check up.  The OB listened for the heartbeat with the doppler radio thingy (technical term), but couldn’t hear anything. “No big deal” she said, “sometimes it’s hard to hear, I’ll get the nurse – she’s a little bit better with this thing than I am.” I wasn’t worried. The nurse came in…and she couldn’t hear the heartbeat either.  I still wasn’t worried, because after all, I had had the perfect pregnancy before and delivered just fine. Why should this time be any different?

My OB said we would have to have a vaginal ultrasound (and yes, it’s as unpleasant as it sounds) to see the baby’s heartbeat. I was still very upbeat about everything – laughing and joking with the nurse while they got everything ready. My husband was quiet – not unusual, but he wasn’t saying much of anything at this point.

So I’m laying there on the table with this very cold, very long instrument in my hoohah and the doctor keeps saying things like “this is bothersome” and “see how the uterus sort of caves in right here”… I STILL didn’t get it.  Finally she turns the machine off and she’s talking about things that I don’t understand. I finally ask her “So what does all this mean?” She pauses and says, “it means it doesn’t look good, kiddo.”

It all finally sinks into my naive brain.  I’m not going to have a baby, after all.

I ask her why I hadn’t miscarried before now, and she says that it would have happened within a couple more days, judging by the way my uterus looked in the ultrasound.  She gives my arm a squeeze and  leaves the room and I crumble in my husband’s arms and sob.

We went home and Shawn called all the family and told them what had happened. I hid in my house and didn’t talk to anyone or see anyone other than Shawn and my son for over a week. I wanted to hide away and not talk to anyone. I didn’t want anyone to tell me they were sorry, I didn’t want to hear that we would have another one someday, I didn’t want to hear that sometimes these things just happen.

I especially didn’t want to hear anyone else’s stories – I didn’t want to hear how someone else had lost a baby or had a miscarriage. I didn’t care about anyone else – I only cared that I wasn’t going to have this baby. To say that my heart was broken…I don’t think I’ve ever felt that kind of crushing pain before or since. “Devastated” was the word I used in my head when I thought about it. It was the most tremendous loss I’ve ever felt.

For a long time I thought I had been too proud, too sure of my fertility – that maybe God was knocking me down a peg or two.  I know that’s not the case, but it was the only explanation I could find.  The only one that made sense to me.

My OB had said to give it a couple of months before we tried again, and just to be safe, we gave it 3 months. In January of 2000 I peed on the stick again. It was positive. Instead of waving the stick around and proclaiming my fertility, I told Shawn and no one else. I kept the secret for 12 weeks, when I went in for my first check up. This time I was subdued and quiet. I told the nurse that I was scared and why, and also told her it was my 28th birthday that day. She patted my arm and stepped out of the room, then came back a couple of minutes later and told me the doctor said we could do an ultrasound.  I laid on the table, they squirted cold goo on my stomach and within seconds, I saw my precious baby’s heartbeating.  I burst into tears (kind of like right now) and asked the doc if she was SURE everything looked okay. She assured me that yes, all was as it should be.

Six months later, I had the most beautiful baby girl the world had ever seen.

I had another baby girl 5 years later with no complications. My kids are happy and healthy and I am abosolutely blessed to have them in my life.

It’s been eleven years since that first miscarriage, but I still cannot hear a news story or watch a movie or anything having to do with miscarriage without crying a little. I have a tiny hole in my heart where that baby lives and I will always carry a little sadness with me wherever I go.

That’s my story. It’s only one of millions similar to it, but each story is as profound and heart wrenching as the next. I pray that no one else would have to have that story as their own, but I know that somewhere, a woman is grieving and hurting right now. I’d like to send her a hug and say “I know.”

Fifteen minutes of meaning

Today a very dear friend lost her dad to ALS. It was a long battle (for both of them) and on Sunday Laura had planned on running a half marathon. She still  wants to run it because SHE CAN. She has a healthy body that can do glorious things – things her father can no longer do.

Remember the 5k I ran a few months ago? The race was for a young man who had cancer. At the time of the race, he was in remission and was doing very well. Not long ago, the cancer came back with a vengance and today, this young man lost his battle too.

 

*sigh*

 

But a wonderful thing also happened today. I got a call from Oklahoma Blood Institute telling me that my blood that I had donated was used at a hospital in OKC and had helped save someone’s life.  That feels pretty amazing to me.

 

All of these things has made me realize that I have been acting like a spoiled, petulant brat.  I have this gloriously wonderful body that, despite my best efforts, is still amazingly healthy. I don’t have any chronic conditions, no pain, no recurring illness, heck I don’t even have seasonal allergies. And yet, I abuse this body with food and lack of movement. I take my health for granted every. single. day. and yet it continues to hang on, hoping I will give it the proper attention it deserves.

Today, I finally gave it some attention. I had some errands to run this evening and I thought that while I was out, I would stop by the local park and walk for a bit. I knew I didn’t have long before the sun set, but I also knew that something was better than nothing. So I walked. I walked because it’s what I do best. I only had 15 minutes but those 15 minutes held a lot of meaning for me. They signified that it’s time to grow up a little bit a lot and stop playing Russian Roulette with my health.

But what does that look like? Getting serious about health? For me I think it looks like this:

  • taking my calcium supplement every day (and a multivitamin)
  • working my body at least 3 days a week for as long or as short amount of time as I have
  • finding ways of incorporating more veggies into my meals
  • continuing to work hard on overcoming my emotional eating problems
  • making time for things that keep me balanced – yoga, my friends, God, books.

So that’s it. This isn’t a Rocky Balboa kind of “I’m really going to do it this time!!” kind of post, but instead it’s more of a realization that I need to stop kidding myself that this body is going to last as long as I want it to. I know that there will be times when I forget all this when faced with a decadent brownie, but maybe if I re-read this post often enough, some of it will sink in.

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Thinking out loud

Trying to do a little self-analysis here, mainly thinking out loud, so bear with me.

This morning I weighed in at 170 pounds*. I’ve gained back a lot of the weight in the last 6 months. I think there are 2 things contributing to this, one outside of me, the other inside of me.

Thing #1 – I have some “issues” with a coworker which started back in February. It is very awkward and uncomfortable being around this coworker and I try to avoid him as much as possible. When I am at work, I feel a low level of stress ALL THE TIME. I don’t know how to resolve this issue without quitting my job, and honestly right now I cannot afford to quit. I think this has something to do with my binge eating for the last few months and the subsequent weight gain.

Thing #2 – Working backwards here, I’ve been bingeing a lot, eating things that I normally would not touch with a ten foot pole. I feel bloated, tired, sluggish. I have a sort of attitude where food is concerned which I think can be attributed to my lack of exercise. I haven’t exercised in months.  I still think of exercise as a weight-loss activity instead of an antidepressant-mood-lifting-self-esteem-building activity. I think it would do me a world of good to sweat out the stress and anxiety I’ve been feeling – use exercise as a way to deal instead of a way to burn calories. I love yoga, but it’s not the sweaty steady movement kind of yoga, it’s more about technique and doing the poses separately.  Zumba class starts next Tuesday, but I think I might start walking or getting on the elliptical this week because I need the brain boost NOW.

I’m toying with logging my food, but that always seems to lead me into CrazyDietLand, so I’m really hesitant to do that. I”m really fighting the urge to take action NOW – jump headfirst into a PLAN! and get these pounds off. However, I want to do things differently, so I guess that means being patient and working on the emotional stuff. I do think some cardio would be good for me, so I’m going to try and do that this week.

*I’ve decided to weigh myself once a week on Mondays, yes Mondays so I can get a true assessment of just how much damage I’m doing to myself.

I don’t have a weight problem, I have an eating problem

Yep – you heard me. My weight is not my problem…my style of eating is my problem. My tendancy to eat lots of flour and sugar at 5pm is my problem. My need to eat my feelings is my problem.

If I were 164 pounds, but most of those pounds were muscle, I wouldn’t have a problem with my weight. That number is just…a number.

And the fat on my thighs? It really is not the object of my hate. A source of disappointment, yes. But hate? No.

The number on the scale, the jiggly thighs, the bat wings, they are not in and of themselves, the problem.  They are the physical manifestation of my lack of self care and lack of knowledge about how to best express my emotions. When you see me and see that I am a good 20-30 pounds overweight, what you are really seeing is years and years and layers and layers of boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness, disappointment,  heartache, happiness, and joy – all soothed and encouraged with food.

I tried a little experiment a couple of days ago. Instead of eating right after I got home from work, I tried to just deal the anxiety of the transition. I tried to just “sit with the feeling” and damn, it was hard. I think I kind of get in small way how a smoker feels when they decide to quit. It was not a pleasant feeling, so I soothed it with whatever was handy…I can’t even remember what it was that I ate.

So yeah, I’m an emotional eater. I’ve confirmed it. I’ve diagnosed myself as an overeater. Now I have to figure out how to deal with it. Notice, I didn’t say “conquer” it – I said deal with it, because I don’t think I’ll ever conquer my need to eat for emotional reasons. If I can at least find a way to deal with it though, and live somewhat peacefully with it, that would be good enough for me. Coexisting peacefully, that’s all I really want.

I can go on any diet in the world right now, and I would fail, because it doesn’t matter if I’m eating donuts or carrots, if I”m eating them to comfort myself, I won’t lose weight.  Believe me, I’ve overeaten a salad just as ravenously as a slice of pie – different foods, same need to soothe. I’ve overeaten healthy food just as much as I’ve overeaten junk food. One may be nutritionally better than the other, but does it really solve the deeper issue? No.  And that deeper issue is the one I want to face head-on. I want to confront it and put it on a leash, so that I can have some control over it, and not the other way around.

So that’s where I am right now. Ordering books, doing exercises, and thinking –  lots and lots of thinking in hopes that I can start to inch my way to a happier place.

BuhBye Funkytown, hello body image talk

I’m feeling much better today. I drank 6 glasses of water yesterday, which is lower than my planned goal, but also more than I had been drinking over the weekend, plus I got in 23 minutes on the elliptical last night. Woohoo!! I really needed that cardio last night, and I was bound and determined that I would NOT bring Jillian into the picture, so I got in as many minutes on the elliptical as I could and I claimed those 23 minutes as a Small Personal Victory.  Yay!

This was me after my workout!

Those crazy folks over at iChange are doing some experimenting and I offered to be a lab rat.  They are letting me have my own group on iChange!!  I’ll get more details later, but in a couple of weeks you can join me on iChange and I will hold your hand and help you get a jump start on eating better/losing weight.  It’s a simple program, but it will be tons of fun – so keep it in mind and when I know more, I’ll let you know more.  :)

My kitchen is 90% finished – we just have to do tile the kitchen floor. I had planned on showing you all pictures on Monday, but “the funk that would not die” kind of overtook anything I wanted to do. I’ll get my kitchen tidied up and take some pics and hopefully post them on Friday. Hopefully.

 We had a good discussion on the iChange forums yesterday about body image (started by me). I don’t know why, but it amazes me that we as women are still so hard on ourselves.  It’s taken me 3 years of exploring and trial and error, but I finally feel like I’m mostly over my body-hate.  Sure, there are still days when I wish I had Cindy Crawford’s legs, but really, I’m fine with what I’ve got. I think it’s because now I’m working from a place of health and strength, and not so much from vanity.  I’ve still got 20 pounds to go, and I might decide once I get there, that I want to go for another 10 (I doubt it, but who knows?), but if I didn’t lose another pound, I think I’d be okay as long as I was building up and toning up my muscles. Maybe it’s just a part of getting older, but whatever it is, it’s a nice place to be. I spent WAY too much time bashing my body and filling my head and heart with thoughts of self-hatred.  I just don’t have the time or the energy to do that anymore, and I’m much happier for it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just flip a switch and turn all the negative thoughts off – it took me a long time to get to this place. I took an online course about emotional eating (Shrinkyourself.com) that really turned on some lightbulbs for me. Then I started dabbling in Intuitive Eating and reading Body Image blogs – although I personally don’t think IE is a viable way to lose weight, the IE blogs and community really helped me see that I am more than my weight. Then when I started this blog, and people started reading and actually commenting (!), I saw myself through their eyes – I was funny, I was insightful, I was real, all things that I hadn’t been for many, many years. The more I wrote, the more I realized that I have so much more to offer this world than just my looks (which are pretty average if you ask me). Then I started reading running blogs and realized that there are a whole group of people who exercise FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF IT. That was contrary to everything I believed about working out, but I kept reading and I realized the tremendous health benefits of exercising and eating well.  Slowly but surely, I have come to a place where I see how it all fits together. If I eat well, and move my body, I feel better about myself, which in turn makes me not so dependant on food to heal my wounds, which makes losing weight so much easier, which then makes moving my body easier, etc etc etc.  See how it all works?  Isn’t it awesome?!

So if you are one of those who still struggles with a bad body image, do something about it! You don’t have to live with these thoughts – they are not who you are.  Do some research – read books, read blogs, talk to other women whom you admire – and start to heal yourself.  If you need professional counseling, then by all means, GO!  Do whatever you have to do to be satisfied with yourself.

Okay, I’m going to get off my soapbox now, but really, this is something I wish I could make every woman understand – YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOUR WEIGHT.  How many of you still struggle with body image, and do you think it gets easier or harder as you get older? Chime in and tell me your story!  :)

Dear me

Dear Jill:

 

You’re tired today and you might possibly be coming down with a cold (thank you hacking-coughing-boy-who-spent-the-night-at-our-house-Saturday-night), so you need to be gentle with yourself.  Your mood is completely reflective of these two facts, so stop being such a downer and just do what you need to do in order to make yourself feel better.  You need to eat good food today, you might need a nap after work, but you definitely need to get to bed early tonight, and by early I mean no later than 10pm (9:30 would be even better).  You also need to get up early and work out – it makes your day go better and gives you energy to get through said day.

As far as the work drama goes – let it go. It’s not your issue. Don’t give it any more power over you, and don’t spend any more time thinking about it. It’s not worth it. Just do your job and do it the best that you can, and if another opportunity arises that gets you out of here, jump all over it.  But until then, just deal.

Tonight when you go home, you are going to be tempted to dive head first into the rest of that birthday cake. DON’T DO IT!!!  You have plenty of healthy snacks at home that can tide you over until dinner, so just don’t even think about the cake. You can do it! I believe in you!!

Okay, that ought to do it for now.  Just do what you can and do the best you can.  Hang in there, it’s one day closer to a 3 day weekend. 

 

Love,

Jill  ♥

VIM – I got the vision part down

I really didn’t want to post about this. I mean, I did, but it’s kind of embarrassing, so I have put it off for awhile, but Debby’s post today (go read it, I’ll wait) made me think that I need to go ahead and just do it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a yoga DVD and meditating when I got this vision of myself. I wasn’t particularly trying to envision myself, it just sort of popped into my head all of a sudden, but I was really struck by what I “saw”. In my mind, I saw myself in the middle of a very lush, very green yard, standing on a yoga mat. I think I was leading a class (that part’s a little fuzzy) and I was lean and trim, very toned – my muscles were well-defined, but not big and bulging; they were just right for my frame. Here’s the shallow, vain part: I was wearing the cutest yoga outfit! Two layered tank tops, and some really form fitting yoga pants – not tight, just fit my curves well. And my hair was PERFECT! (Shut up!! It’s my vision!! I told you it was shallow and vain! :) )

Anyway, what I remember most about this vision is the smile on my face:  it was HUGE – not crazy, giddy huge, but the kind of smile that comes when you are totally at peace with yourself and your surroundings. I was happy. I was content. I was peaceful.

I so so so wish I could have taken a snapshot of that woman. I would have put it on my mirror to remind me that THAT is what I’m striving for – good health and peace in my body and soul. That is one reason I’m posting about it now – to help me remember.

This is my vision for myself. Do I have the intention yet? I’m not sure, but I think I’m getting there. Being able to “see” the end result is very motivating. And yes, I have the means – oodles and oodles of means.

So is this completely crazy or does anyone else have a vision of how you want to be? Do you have a picture in your mind of how you want to live your life? And in your vision, is your hair perfect like mine? :)

And the lightbulb goes on

Well today was just one big nutritional train wreck. It started badly, it continued badly, and it ended badly. Today was one of those run-around-all-day-doing-errands kind of days and I felt myself at the mercy of my family’s eating whims. Shawn made cinnamon rolls this morning, which I didn’t eat but I wanted to, so instead I ate about 1/2 cup frosted mini wheats. I was feeling deprived and pouty, so when they wanted to stop at Taco Tico (do you all know Taco Tico? It’s like the McDonald’s of Mexican fast food) for lunch I didn’t say no. I did the best I could there – a sancho, which is really just a flour tortilla with shredded chicken and shredded cheese and shredded lettuce (they’re all about The Shredded), and then when we got home I wanted something sweet. The only sweet thing we have in the house is graham crackers, so I ate one of those. Then I had some Doritos. Then some more Doritos. And a couple more Doritos. Did I mention that I don’t even like Doritos that much? That’s why they were in the house – I thought I could deal with having them around. A few hours, a couple slices of pizza and 4 Milano cookies later, here I am.

Sigh.

 

So the real deal here is that my daughter Sarah is away on an overnight Girl Scout trip at an aquarium. I am not with her. I know who she is with and I am confident that she is fine and having a good time. But…

I am not with her.

And I have been nervous about this thing for a week – I don’t know why – and it culminated into the feeding frenzy that was today.  I will be okay in about 12 hours when I go to pick her up and she is safe in my care once again.

The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize that this event is what set off today’s binge until I started typing this post a few minutes ago.

And THAT, my friends, is why I blog.

My For-Really-Reals New Year Resolutions

You know how I listed in great detail about my NYRs (it’s just a couple of posts below this one)? Well those were all fine and dandy, but over the last couple of days I have been thinking about what I would REALLY like to change this year. They aren’t terribly exciting, they won’t mean a thing to anyone else, but honestly these are the things that would impact my little world the most:

  1. Get my family to eat at the dinner table as often as we can. We ALWAYS eat in the living room, in front of the TV. We are always together, but I think eating together at the table would be a huge thing for us as a family, especially since I’ve got pre-teens who are becoming increasingly withdrawn.
  2. Get my digestive system “regular”. I’m not going to explain this one further. You’re welcome.
  3. Spend more time developing my faith. I have been stalled for a looooong time in this area and I want move on down the road a bit.
  4. Put a little more effort into making home a comfy and well-cared-for place. I tend to not decorate much because I am totally lost in that area, and it seems like my house is always a half hour away from being tidy. I’m just going to spend more time picking up, and shopping (cheaply) for things that will make my home more functional and comfortable.

So that’s it. Nothing glamorous or Bucket List-y, just things that I would love to see some improvement in, in the next 12 months. This list feels more real to me than my other list, and while I’m not going to ignore my first list, I think this list is the one that I will spend the most time on. I think I should also add to my list a fifth item – learn to write without ending sentences in a preposition! That bugs me to death when I do that, but apparently not enough to do anything about it.  :)