The Sassy Pear

Finding my way through my forties

the ghost in the bleachers — August 7, 2018

the ghost in the bleachers

Last night was the first volleyball game of my daughter’s senior year in high school. We’re not going to discuss how this year will fly by or how busy it’s going to be or how much money I’m will sink into things because senior year = expensive…no we’re not going to talk about any of that today because I enjoy living in denial. I like pretending that my girl is still two years old and sticking her feet in my face while giggling hysterically. I prefer to disregard any and all notions that this time next year she will not be living in my house. Ignorance is bliss, y’all.

January 07-07
This little sweetheart is now a 17-year-old killer on the court. 

What we are going to talk about is the fact that no less than three people – parents of some of the girls on the team – came up to me last night and asked which player I belonged to.

What the what???

My daughter has been playing volleyball since 7th grade. My husband and I have been to nearly every home game, sometimes together, sometimes only one of us, but for the most part I have been sitting in those same bleachers with those same parents all this time. My daughter is captain of the team this year – all the parents know who she is – but apparently they thought she was an orphan or something because each of these 3 parents who I talked to (separately, at different times during the game) had no idea who I was. They were so surprised when I said I was her mom.

I mean COME ON. Really?

Maybe I should be working as a spy because I seem to blend in seamlessly with the background. I could drop a briefcase full of important spy documents in the middle of Times Square and NO ONE WOULD NOTICE ME. Apparently.

I could be a private eye and solve mysteries because I could be in the same room while the guilty party monologues to their henchmen and I would never be noticed BECAUSE I AM INVISIBLE. Apparently.

I’m going to go hang out at a bank and follow the VP around and when he goes to unlock the vault, I’ll waltz right in and take a couple of bills and no one will remember BECAUSE I AM COMPLETELY FORGETTABLE. Apparently.

I mean, really. Am I so vanilla, so bland, so unnoticeable that these parents really had no idea who I was? Not that I expect everyone should know me and be my biggest fan, but when I’ve been sitting 6 feet away from them in the same bleachers for 5 years, I’d at least expect them to know whose mom I am (I’m not one of those quiet parents either – I cheer. Loudly. A lot.)

But honestly, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it happens more than I’d like to admit. Every once in a while I’ll run into a friend of a friend I’ve spent time with or someone I am a casual acquaintance with and at some point in the conversation they’ll say “I’m sorry, but I can’t remember your name…” Or they’ll look right through me as if they’ve never seen me before when I see them in the store and smile.  Once I saw my neighbor’s mother at the airport. This is a woman I have spent time with and have had many conversations with. When I saw her, I gave her a hug and we talked about where I was going and where she was going and ten minutes into the conversation she says “I’m sorry, who are you again?” Oy. That was awkward.  For whatever reason, people don’t remember me. I don’t make enough of an impression to last beyond a few minutes.

cream ice cream in cone
Vanilla. Like my soul. (Photo by Somben Chea on Pexels.com)

 

I’m not super bothered by this – I was kind of amused by it last night really – but it just makes me wonder what is it about me that is so unremarkable, and should I do something with this knowledge? Is it a call to action to change my appearance into something that will strike a chord ? Is it a prompting to be more confident and outspoken when I meet people so they’ll remember me? Or should I just delight in my anonymity and be thankful I blend in with the wallpaper?

I guess if I’m going to be an international spy and solve mysteries, I should keep a low profile, right? So maybe it’s better this way.

 

 

I have let myself go — March 6, 2017

I have let myself go

It’s not that I didn’t already know this, but I’ve never really said those exact words to myself before.

I made this realization as I was standing in the dressing room of my local The Walmarts last week (and that sad fact right there should be proof enough) when I sort of caught a glimpse of myself and thought “Wow, I have really let myself go.”

It wasn’t a sad thought or a Mean Girl thought – it was just the realization of a fact. I have indeed let myself go.

When I was little, I remember looking at photographs of older family members and seeing how thin they were when they were young women and then seeing more photos of when they were older and plumper.I thought it was sad that they had once been so beautiful and young and then later they just “let themselves go”.  I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen to me because when I was a kid, fat was not something you wanted to grow up to be.

I am the perfect example of fear manifesting itself into reality.

I can laugh at this now because it’s sort of the same thing as having a friend with no kids trying to tell you how to raise yours. If I could go back to my younger self I’d laugh and say “Oh just you wait, kiddo. You have no idea. You have no idea how often you will eat your feelings or how you’ll be too exhausted from chasing toddlers to work out or how later perimenopause will screw with your metabolism. You have no idea how fast those pounds will pack on once you get a boring desk job and how lunch and snack time will be the highlight of your day for those 8 hours. And to soothe yourself after a long frustrating day at work, you’ll partake in a 1,000+ calorie binge and still eat dinner an hour and a half later. You just really have no idea.”

I let myself go. But honestly, it’s not something I could have stopped even if I wanted to (but I really, really wanted to – hello, 20 years of dieting) because I just didn’t know what I didn’t know: that an hour of talking on the phone with my best friend is way more satisfying than eating a dozen cookies; that taking a walk after work is more fulfilling than a binge; that letting my husband and kids help out does lower my stress level because ultimately it’s not “just easier to do it myself”.

Little by little, day by day, I’m learning more and reclaiming what I lost. I’m learning to love vegetables, I’m learning to cook, I’m learning to love exercise more for what it can do for my brain than my body. I’m learning that taking time for myself yields some serious dividends and that once in a while you really do just need to Treat Yo’Self.

So yeah, I let myself go, but I’m getting myself back.

My body image has a personality disorder — July 25, 2014

My body image has a personality disorder

So let’s talk about this body image personality disorder I’ve got going on lately. 

Before I went on vacation to Texas a few weeks ago, I was lamenting to one of my best friends (we’ll call her Daphne) about how I didn’t want to wear shorts because of my short, chunky, pasty-white legs. Daphne has known me pretty much my whole life and God love her, she reached through the phone and smacked me upside the head. “Jill, it’s going to be 100 degrees, you’re going to be walking around an amusement park and trust me, you will want to be comfortable. Go find some cute shorts and some sleeveless tops and get over yourself!” I took her advice and found a couple pairs of adequate shorts (not too short, not too matronly), some cute sleeveless tops, and Sweet Mother of Pearl I’m so glad I did. Texas was hot hot sweaty hot in mid-July and I learned to not care how I looked as I traipsed around the amusement park. In my shorts and sleeveless tops – baring jiggly arms and flabby thighs – not one single person cowered at the sight of me. Not one single person “mooooo-ed” at me as I sauntered by. The world did not shift on its axis because I chose to show a little more skin than normal. In fact, no one seemed to care or even notice. I took it a step further and stopped wearing makeup two days into our trip (what’s the point of putting it on when it’s going to melt off 30 minutes later?). By the end of the trip, I felt totally comfortable being bare-faced and exposing my legs and upper arms to the world. I put all of my self-consciousness aside and focused on enjoying my family. It was awesome.

So when our vacation ended and it was time to get back to the real world, I decided that maybe I should carry a little of that care-free attitude with me into my normal routine. Except…the fluorescent lighting of my office showed every scar, every vein, every bump and roll on my skirted lower legs and sleeveless upper arms. Trying to go with minimal makeup made me look washed out and haggard without the effects of natural sunlight on my face. So I went back to pants and long skirts and summer cardigans and a full face of makeup because my reflection in the mirror told me that I looked much better covered up and plastered over. 

While I was on vacation, I adopted the attitude of “I am a woman – I’m supposed to be soft and curvy and luscious” but when I came back all of that softness and curvy-ness and lusciousness became something that needed to be banished ASAP. 

There’s a part of me that wants to be okay with my body as it is right now (and let’s face it, other than a little extra cholesterol, there is not one damn thing “wrong” with this body) but then there’s another part that knows that if I could get this weight off, I would be and do so much more in my life. Everything I do or don’t do is clouded by these 60 extra pounds.

Some days I wake up and I think I look great – I’m comfortable in my own skin and I rock the day. Other times I can’t stand to even look at myself in the mirror – I feel so disappointed in myself that I let my weight go this far. I feel like I have let myself down and that’s a hard, hard feeling to reconcile. Twenty-three year old Jill would be really pissed at forty-three year old Jill – twenty three year old Jill had a very nice, toned figure and what’s worse is that I TOTALLY DID NOT APPRECIATE IT. *sigh* But that’s a post for another day. 

I waffle back and forth between loving this body as it is and wanting to completely change this body into something a little more acceptable in my eyes. I haven’t figured out how to make the two sides coexist peaceably in my head. I appreciate my body, I am grateful to my body for all it does for me every day, but I just want to lose a little (okay, a lot) of the jiggle!! Is that too much to ask??? Apparently it is, because I haven’t been able to make that work yet. 

So I continue to struggle. I know I am very hard on myself when it comes to what I see in the mirror, but I think it’s because I know I can do better. I know the potential is there, I just don’t seem to know how to unlock it. I need to find the key, except I have no idea what the key looks like. Maybe the key looks like therapy? Maybe the key looks like hiring a personal trainer? Maybe the key is just trying harder at what I’m already trying to do (eat less, move more)? 

Gah! It’s enough to make someone crazy, right?! 

I don’t have any answers right now. I don’t have a solution yet. But when I find one, I’ll let you know. Unless you find it first, then you have to share with me, okay? 🙂

The Benefits List, PF Relief, & An Ego Stroke — November 13, 2013

The Benefits List, PF Relief, & An Ego Stroke

As promised here is my “Benefits of Not Eating This Junk Food Right Now” list. I appreciate the comments and suggestions you all made to help me with this. This list is for those times when I’m not hungry, it’s not a special occasion, and I’m just looking for some sugary/salty entertainment for my mouth. If you think of anything else that might be helpful to add, just leave me a comment and I’ll come back and add to this later. 

Why I Should NOT Eat This Delicious Poisonous Food Right Now Even Though It Would Be Totally Tasty

  • I will be that much hungrier for my next healthy meal or snack so it will taste that much more delicious!
  • My “NO” muscle will get a good workout
  • I will not want to come back and punch myself in the face later
  • I will not be flooding my body with trash chemicals that will make me feel awful in a half hour
  • I will feel incredibly noble and virtuous, like a queen, when I put the food down and say “This I do for me!” 
  • My arteries will stay clear and free-flowing if I don’t eat this ( and who doesn’t love free-flowing arteries?)
  • My libido will remain “on”. Let’s just leave it at that. 

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In other news, BIG thanks to Debby and Katie for their suggestions on dealing with my Plantar’s Fasciitis. Debby sent me an article about stretching and Katie suggested using Orthaheel orthotics and I’m having good results just in the last few days! Just the simple stretch alone has helped me feel about 75% better. I ordered the orthotics and had a little trouble the first day but once I realized I had put them in the wrong way (facepalm) I fixed the issue and they have been working great!! My hope is that I can get this thing licked within a few weeks and then I can start jogging (slowly) and start training for realz for the 5k in March. 

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About a month ago I got an email from Swamimami Teas saying I had made their “Bloggers You Should Know About” list. Here’s what they had to say about me:

The Sassy Pear

The Sassy PearJill is on the journey to slowly but certainly produce a brand new, healthy life for herself. Jill knows that even when the focus is weight loss, life intervenes with and it’s not the only thing we have to think of.

That’s why her website is so much more than just tracking the pounds on the scale. It’s about discovering a purposeful, permanent way of living a healthy life. That’s the sort of weight loss and fitness goal which everyone can appreciate.

Why Swami Mami adores The Sassy Pear? This 40 something trying to lose 40 pounds speaks about her amazing journey. We love her real and raw approach to not only changing the foods you eat and your exercise routine, but her journey to change her thoughts about her own body. We love Jill!

Very sweet!! Then a couple of weeks ago, they sent me another email offering to let me try their 2 week TeaTox and I agreed. Because I like tea and I like free things and BECAUSE THEY SAID THEY LOVE ME. That’s why. Tell me you love me and I’ll pretty much do anything you ask (which now that I think about it, might have been the source of much heartache in college, but that’s another blog post entirely). So look for a review of Swamimami Teas in the near future (sneak peak: the tea tastes really yummy!).

 

Until next time! 🙂

Thin is a wrapper — October 17, 2012

Thin is a wrapper

“Thin is a wrapper. No one eats the wrapper. We admire it, but then we throw it away. We’re not wrappers, and shame on society for making it about the wrapper rather than the person.” 
 
 
Kyra said this to me in an email  the other day, and I gotta tell ya, it stuck with me. And how appropriate is it that today is also National Love Your Body Day*? Sometimes things come together for a reason I believe.
 
In full disclosure, I have been in a bad body funk for over a week and I can’t seem to shake it. I know, right?! Me! I’m usually all about the “love your body – it’s amazing  no matter what size it is!!” but lately I have been struggling with my own body image and my apparent inability to lose weight.
 
 When people see my wrapper, they see an overweight woman with hair that has a mind of it’s own. What they don’t see is (and what I need to remember about myself):
 
  • I get up 4-5 days a week an hour early and work out
  • I work 40 hours a week so that my family can have affordable health insurance
  • I cook dinner every night for my family even though it would be so much easier to get take out
  • I drive my kids to activities nearly every day even though it means sometimes putting in a 12 hour day
  • I have a great relationship with my husband
  • I have friends who I can count on to be there with a kind word or a hug whenever I need it (and I love returning the favor)
  • I am so much more than my wrapper

I think the first step to seeing past our own wrapper, is to focus on what we do right. Also it helps if we take care of ourselves – too much sugar can make me crazy and I know this, yet I feel the need to test the theory regularly (learn the lesson already!).  I’ve also decided to stay away from the scale for awhile and focus on the things I can control: how much water I drink, the kinds of food that I eat, the amount of exercise I’m willing to do. The number on the scale has nothing to do with anything but the wrapper, and I need to take the focus off my wrapper for awhile. I need to stop obsessing about the size of my thighs and start thinking about increasing the size of my character.

It’s what we do that matters, not what we weigh. (Note to self: tattoo this on your forehead so that every time you look in the mirror, you’ll see it. Of course you’ll have to have it tattooed backwards, but whatever. Just do it.)

I encourage you to go the Love Your Body website and click around. There is some empowering information there that we can all use.

*thanks to Vicki for the tip off about this- I didn’t even know it was a thing!
 
Honesty is a dish best served covered with chocolate sauce — June 16, 2011

Honesty is a dish best served covered with chocolate sauce

Wow – you guys were great with all the dinner suggestions and websites!!  I’ve already had Leslie’s BBQ salmon twice and it has earned a place in my regular rotation. I still need to do some more ‘sperimenting and find some more new dishes, but thanks to y’all at least I have some new places to look.

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would go get all my medical-type testing stuff done this year, since I turned 40 and all. So far I’ve had a physical and my annual Lady Bits exam and on Friday I go get my first Mamm-o-gram (sounds like an old lady should come sing you a song while you are getting squished). So far all of my results have been great. I’m healthy. I’m a healthy woman.

Which sucks because that was my whole reason motivation excuse for losing weight. When my daughters ask me why I walk on the treadmill, I always tell them it’s because I want to get healthy. When they ask why I like to eat salads, I tell them it’s because I like to eat healthy food. Which is a total lie. I like to eat chocolate.

So, all these good test results are making me wonder why I’m trying to lose weight. And do I really NEED to lose weight? My motivations for losing weight now are purely vain and shallow. It’s because I want to be a smaller size. It’s because I want to look good.

vain, Vain, VAIN!!

But am I any different than 90% of the people out there who are trying to lose weight? Yes I do know of a few bloggers who have serious health issues who have changed their lives and their weight for the better (Pubsgal I’m looking at you), but really aren’t most of us doing it for vanity reasons?

But back to my original point – do I NEED to lose weight? If I’m already healthy…then what’s the point? If I can keep doing what I’m doing and keep my numbers good, then why should I even worry about losing weight? Well, I think I need to refer back to my post of 5/26/11 entitled Because…

because I’m starting to waddle when I walk

because my fat jeans are now my so-tight-they-are-inappropriate jeans

because when I jump on the trampoline, I’m afraid I’m going to rip it

because I don’t recognize myself in the mirror

because getting up off the floor is becoming harder and harder

because the older I get the harder it’s going to be

because I want people to say “she has pretty hair” and not “wow she’s gotten big”

because turning over in bed is an exercise in itself

because the elastic in my underwear is shot

because I don’t want my kids to be embarrassed

because 14 years is long enough

 

I suppose all of my reasons aren’t purely shallow and/or vain and I guess I’ll keep walking and Zumba-ing, and eating salads (I really do like salads, especially when there’s chocolate for dessert) and guzzling water and doing all those things that tend to whittle one’s waistline with the hope that my waistline will be whittled as well (alliteration, anyone?).

I suppose I’ll look at my weight loss as entree of practicality with a little bit of vanity on the side. And hopefully some chocolate for dessert.

Bon appetit!

BuhBye Funkytown, hello body image talk — February 17, 2010

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!  🙂

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