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The Beauty in the Journey

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I am discovering today that Tuesdays are really just the evil stepsisters of Mondays, or at least this one feels like it. It is almost noon, and I have been so busy accomplishing things that I feel as if I haven't accomplished anything. I admit that my plate-spinning may not be as involved as some, but I'm a person who doesn't handle stress so well, so even spinning saucers gets to me once in a while. Today, it seems my head is spinning, though I won't be spitting up any pea soup anytime soon, as I try to keep all the calories I take in. (If you don't get that reference, talk to Dr. Google about little Regan, and I don't mean the president.)

On days like this, I have a hard time with my Nutrition Tracker, simply because it seems like yet another tick on the to-do list to have to go in there and put the calories in. Early on in my Sparking, I added a favorite that I called "Quick Add" and gave it a nutritional value of one calorie; this way, whenever I don't feel like looking anything up, I can simply put in this favorite food and use the number of the calories for the serving size. For instance, if I eat one of the sesame brittle squares that I love (seriously, hit up your local Dollar Tree and look for these tasty little suckers), I just put Quick Add in at 28 servings, and viola! There's my 28 calories. It saves a lot of time, albeit it doesn't really give me a very good record of what I've eaten. Sometimes you have to give yourself shortcuts just so you don't skip out on it altogether. If someone was to ask me what the biggest key in my weight loss has been, I would have to say it's accountability, and Spark provides that, even when we have to "cheat" with shortcuts like my Quick Add.

Early this morning, I stumbled into the bathroom and dug a hair straightening kit out from under my vanity. (My hair has always been like the love child of roadkill and an ostrich nest, so I have to chemically control it a couple times a year, or I'll end up looking like Don King meets Einstein). As I opened the box and started pulling out enough little bottles and tubs and pouches of chemicals that I expected Jesse Pinkman to come knocking any moment (not that I would mind, as I find him somewhat pathetically adorable), I pondered that: "This sink with the cabinet beneath it is called a vanity. Hmm..." That got me thinking about things like vanity and beauty, and that got me thinking about the mirror, and that got me thinking back to all the times during my journey when I felt so much more beautiful than before. The interesting part is that all along this journey, what was beautiful to me six months ago now looks a bit too...fluffy. I remember feeling beautiful when I fit into this white skort I had, after losing 60-ish pounds. I remember feeling beautiful when I hit that 100-pound mark and thought I looked PDS (pretty darn sexy, for you elder folks who never hung out in chat rooms; I wish I wouldn't have, and maybe I wouldn't have met the ex that is now a "why?," but I digress...) I remember feeling beautiful (or at least cute) in my black capris just a few short months ago, capris I eventually had to give to Goodwill because they fell down on my way to the bathroom! This all might sound a bit self-deprecating and ungrateful, but it's not. On the contrary, I think it's beautiful that I found beauty in my journey, all along the way...or weigh, as it were. (Sorry. I know I pound that word comparison far too much, so I'll try to scale it down, but I like to pun and...oops, there I went again with that "pound" and "scale." Do puns shrink buns? Surely all that mental energy burns calories...but I digress...again...)

Anywhatever, while I was pondering all this about beauty, I thought about myself back at 329 lbs. I did not feel beautiful then, but it really didn't have anything to do with the gasp the scale let out when I stood on it, nor did it have much to do with the fact that I resembled the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man every time I wore white. It had far more to do with the fact that I felt out of control. I had let life devour me at that point, and I, in turn, devoured things without a second thought. In terms of analogies, it was as if life had punched me so much that I had swollen up from all the blows, and I wasn't even putting my gloves up to stop it. I just let go of me, and that was not beautiful.

What is beautiful is any person of any size who sees enough beauty and value in themselves to take care of themselves. This does not mean one has to live in Planet Fitness and only eat wheat grass smoothies. It does not mean one has to have a perfect tan or perfect teeth or perfect hair. It does not mean one has to have an impeccable wardrobe or a perfect figure. All it means is that beauty comes from within, and it shines when we realize we're worth polishing. I do not feel beautiful every day, even at 170.3 lbs. less than I was, but I do feel more beautiful when I can look in the mirror and say, "Today is a hectic Tuesday, but I am not going to let anything devour me...and I'm sure as heck not gonna devour a whole bag of Sta-Pufts because of it!"

Today, with all this pondering on my mind, I hopped over to the Chicken Soup site and wrote a story called "Beautifying the Temple" to submit to them for their upcoming CURVY AND CONFIDENT volume. I have been published with them before (a story about my daughter hosting a funeral for her dead toad), but I'm really hoping this story will be published, because people need to know that fat or skinny, Twiggy or Jabba, real beauty comes from within, and it starts with not giving up on oneself, no matter how ugly life gets. Please cross your fingers and fold your hands for me, that they'll accept my story for publication, because I'm a writer and the only thing I love more than muenster cheese, Reese's cups, my kid, and Survivor is a byline with my name on it!

Wherever you are in your journey in weight or any other aspects in life, no matter how many plates you're spinning, and even if you feel like spitting up pea soup, I encourage you to look in your mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful right now, in this moment, because you care enough to try.

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