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Posts Tagged ‘water’

Memories of my Dad

The last few weeks I’ve been dreaming a lot of my Dad and stories he used to share with me when I was a child.  Quite often on a Saturday morning my Mam would wake me and strip my bed.  She’d put me into bed with my Dad and he’d snuggle me in and tell me stories.  I think he was hoping I’d go back to sleep, but it never worked out that way.

My Dad was born and raised in a city…Manchester.  There was a canal that some people fished in…my Dad fished in it for bicycle parts as that is what he saw dumped in it most often.  His first bike was a Frankenbike made up of about a half dozen different bike parts.  He and his buddy Charlie got up to all sorts of mischief in their youth.

My Dad was an introvert and craved alone time.  As my brother and I grew up Dad got less time to himself.  At one point he bought an inflatable dinghy from a garage sale and used to take it out to Minnow Lake.  He also bought a fishing rod because, in his words, “if a man is seen alone out on a boat he’s a weirdo, but if he’s fishing, he’s okay”.  So he used to inflate the boat at a gas station, shove it in the backseat of the car and head out to Minnow Lake.

He’d put the dinghy out and he’d jump in with the fishing rod, then float for awhile, set the rod out (note, no bait) and lay back and relax.  He never had a paddle with him.  When I asked him this he said “eventually I’ll blow close to shore” and he must have because he always came home.  In the city where we lived, there was a roving news reporter who would capture footage of local landmarks and places of interest that would be used as a backdrop to the nightly weather forecast.

One Saturday night, after supper, we were watching the evening news when the weather shot came on.  The weather announcer said “and here we have footage of a solitary fisherman out enjoying the sun on this beautiful summer’s day”.  And you could see it, the yellow dinghy, the sole of my Dad’s shoe propped up on the edge of the dinghy and the fishing rod bobbing in the water.

“Dad”? I asked.  “Good Jesus” he replied. “I can’t be left alone anywhere!” We all had a good laugh at that.  My Dad’s fishing adventure captured on film for all eternity, or until it was filmed over.  The last time he took the dinghy out he was happily floating around the lake when the wind shifted.  He began to float towards shore but heard a slight hissing sound.  By the time he reached shore the dinghy had taken on water.  He safely dismounted the boat (do you dismount boats?)  rolled up the dinghy and threw it in a nearby garbage can.  I asked him where the boat was and he said he was finished with it.

Perhaps he saw the leak as a sign from God or perhaps he realised he could be solitary in some other way. Regardless, I’ll never know the answer to that.  But thinking about seeing his foot on the evening news does make me smile.  My Dad, the television personality…or at least, his foot was.

 

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Recently there has been a great deal of attention given to fat shaming, usually in the guise of “concern”.  There is a You Tube “comedienne” who recorded a video called “Dear Fat People”.  I started watching it, got frustrated, angry and then started to feel sorry for her.  I didn’t finish watching it because I’ve heard her arguments before.  The thing is, this woman does not know me.  She does not know my struggle.  Yes I’m fat.  But that’s not all I am.  That’s not who I am.

I am a 47 year old woman who has battled demons that she would likely never imagine.  I wouldn’t wish my burdens on anyone.  They have strengthened me.  They have formed me.  They have softened the hard edges in me.

There was a time when I was under-weight.  And I was in terrible shape.  Psychologically I was unwell.  Physically I was frail.  I wasn’t anorexic, I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder.  I was naturally under-weight and extremely sick.  At 16 I was in a car accident that changed me.  I became afraid of everything and everyone.  I sought comfort, in food.  So I ate, and I ate and I ate and soon I was a “healthy” weight.  But still sick.

As I have aged I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food.  There was a time when my diet was almost exclusively ready to eat or heat and serve.  And I was malnourished although I was overweight.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a delicate person.  I have an above average skeleton so I “hide” my weight well.  But I am overweight; I am fat.  You may think you know me, but you don’t.  And you likely won’t ever get to know me because all you see is my size.  Not my heart.

I am an Anglican Priest in a small town.  With my arms I have held those who were in mourning.   I have hugged those who are celebrating.  I have anointed those receiving the sacrament of baptism; and anointed those who have died.  I have written hundreds of pages of homilies, read thousands of prayers, and heard more stories than my heart can hold.  Some of those stories are of triumph and hope; some are of death and despair.  All of them are held sacred.  They are part of me.

I have witnessed people seeing the face of God for the first time.  I have listened as folks poured out their heart and soul, looking for forgiveness which they didn’t feel they deserved.  But they do.  We all do.

To those who feel sorry for me because of my weight, please don’t.  I have no desire to be on the cover of a magazine.  For those who judge me when I order dessert or french fries, go ahead.  Your judgment means nothing to me.

I have a weird relationship with food…I always have and likely I always will.  I struggle with food addiction, but instead of feeling a victim to it, I am re-learning to enjoy food, without guilt or shame.

I walk every day, sometimes more than once a day.  I walk for me, to see the world around me.  I don’t listen to music or compete with besting my time, but instead, I walk to feel the rhythm of my feet on the ground, to feel the rush of air into and out of my lungs.  I walk to strengthen my body.

My hearts desire is to make a difference in the world.  I have the best vocation in the world…to teach people about love.  I live that the best way I can.  And in doing so I am learning to love myself.

So for those of you who cast judgment when you see me; my clothes, my hair, my weight, my diet…go ahead.  I’d rather you cast that venom in my direction, then to someone who isn’t as strong as I am.  You see, your words mean nothing to me, they don’t define who I am.  Only I get to define who I am.  Only God will judge me.  Actually, many will think they can judge me, but only God’s judgment matters to me.

So go ahead, bring your fat shaming.  I know who I am.  I know of what I am capable.  You don’t.  And likely, you never will.

I am Fat Woman, hear me roar!

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I’m not even sure if that is a word…but it is now.  It’s been ages since I last posted and that’s for a variety of reasons.  Since Easter I’ve had a funeral, a wedding, have met with two couples who are getting married.  Spent time in hospital at bedsides, attended meetings, and contracted a devastating 48 hour ‘flu.  Aside from that there’s been not much happening.

This Spring I’ve been overtaken with the need to de-clutter.  I’ve been consumed with the need for open space, for clean shelves, uncluttered tabletops.  In short, everything in it’s place and a place for every thing.  I decided two summers ago to empty the room that was, at one time, my home office.  It became a storage wasteland for all the things that entered the house but didn’t have anywhere to go…so they ended up in that room.

That room is now empty of my stuff.  There’s a growing pile of garbage at the sidewalk in front of the house because this week is the community garbage collection.  There’s broken clothes racks, broken glass, broken chairs…just about everything but broken hearts…

And while there’s been a great deal of space opening in the house, there’s still boxes of things that need to be sorted through…books to be returned to friends or put in the box for the Church Yard sale.  There’s more stuff than space, even though there’s a whole empty room.  Thus, the discombobulation.

In the course of a couple of extremely busy weeks, I reached for Coke Zero, my go-to caffeine kick at Seminary…and in short order I was guzzling a horrifying about each and every day.  I’ve also been eating a great deal of food that is little better than garbage and not drinking nearly enough water.

So last week I decided that I needed to get my unhealthy self back to healthy..

I purchased a Fitbit that tracks my sleep patterns, steps, stairs, water intake, calories in and out. So far I”m using it to track steps, stairs, sleep and water…will work up to the caloric thing eventually.  I know I feel better when I drink water.  I can motivate myself to drink enough with Fitbit.  I”m not competing with anyone or anything but myself…even though that is an option.  I need to spend less time in my head and more time outside, moving my fat ass around.

And while I am learning to love myself, I am in need of health and that will come by caring for as well as loving myself. It’s not about losing weight, although that is something I want to do.  It’s not about scoring points on a chart.  It’s about doing all these little things that will help me to feel better, look better and be better.

If I don’t lose one pound, that will be okay, because I know with more water, more movement, less stress and better eating, I will be healthier.  And my body will thank me for that.

So while the de-cluttering of the house continues, the cleansing of the body begins.  As the garbage goes out and the treasures go to the Yard Sale, I will still and quiet my mind.

I believe it will be then that my discombobulation will begin to lift and I will feel more like myself.

Oh, how I have missed myself…and as soon as I find where I tucked my yoga mat away, that will be another goal realised.

Time to get up and get moving, the administration will wait until later.

Now where’s that water bottle…

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When I was a child I was a robust child. Not overweight, but healthy. I was not a stick figure, used to run and play outside all the time. When I was in high school I was in an automobile accident that caused my metabolism to slow, if not stop. So I began to gain weight towards the end of high school. I had also stopped running long distance, which may also have contributed to the problem.

At the end of my first, very short, marriage, I gained a great deal of weight in a very short time, leading some people to speculate, usually quite loudly, if I was pregnant. I was not. I lost most of the weight and was feeling really good about myself when I got married for the second time. That marriage was a disaster from the beginning, for many reasons, most of which were only revealed the long we were married. He was a bigot, he didn’t like my “gay” friends. He ran down my English heritage (his was Irish) and he made a point of noting my weight…especially as it increased.

I have always been an emotional eater. I usually eat in a cycle of sweet then savoury. I’ll eat a small tub of ice cream, standing over the sink, zoning out, shoveling spoon after spoon in my mouth. Then I’ll stop. I’ll pace for a few minutes, and then reach for a bag of potato chips, and eat them until they’re all gone. Then feel empty and go looking for something else to fill the void.

It is with some pride that I tell you I have not eaten a single potato chip in six months. I do, however, still binge on ice cream from time to time. Since I began to face my food addiction it has occurred to me that while I am in the process of recovery, I am becoming a huge food snob. If I’m going to eat chocolate, it has to be “good” chocolate. And I savour it, rather and shoveling it down my throat, blind to how much and how I am eating.

When I have lunch at home, which is most of the time, I set a place at the table, with a large glass of sparking water, a place mat, cloth napkin and sometimes a candle. I say grace, savour my food and often engage in pretend lunch conversation with some fascinating people. To date I have dined with Gandhi, The Queen, Jesus, St. Peter, Amelia Earhart, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Trudeau, Margaret Atwood (I guess I have a thing for Margaret’s), Margaret Laurence, and most recently, Adele.

Engaging in luncheon conversation helps me to slow down while I eat, to savour my food and to enjoy some sparking conversation (albeit one-sided, when my dining companion is imaginary). After lunch I clear my place, tidy up the dining room, and smile that I have had a healthy meal.

Breakfast is still the biggest challenge for me. I don’t like to eat breakfast. If I go out for breakfast, I stay away from home fries and ask for tomato slices instead. I may or may not have toast. But ordering breakfast is a great source of anxiety. I have steel-cut oats at home that I know I could make with some dried strawberries and raisins. And yet I don’t. I don’t really know why. I have a blender and could make smoothies. But I don’t. And again, I really don’t know why.

I’ve decided that this summer is the summer I get over my fat-shaming self. I will learn to love who I see in the mirror. I have a bikini top that I adore, and now I need to find a bikini bottom in which I will feel comfortable. That may be a challenge.

I am determined that this year I will wear a bikini. I’m not a single-digit size and likely never will be. But I am determined to love my body and be better at caring for and loving myself. I am more selective in which clothing I wear. If it doesn’t flatter me, look good or feel good, I don’t buy it. I never spend a lot of my clothing because I like to change it up. And I find some of the least expensive pieces are the ones I wear from year to year. It simply is what it is.

Today I have a lunch date, a meeting at the church this afternoon and one tonight. I’m going to dress for the weather, which is humid and stupid hot. And I am determined to love my curves, and even my bumps and bulges. I am dressing up as Adele for a summer party…wearing a dress that is much shorter than I usually wear, dramatic makeup, a brunette wig and fabulous “drag Queen” shoes. I’ve even been practicing some of Adele’s songs. Just in case I get a request to belt one out. 🙂

Yes, this summer is the summer I claim back my body. I will love myself and put only good things into it. I will be healthier, stronger and more beautiful because of it. I will care for myself and exude confidence. Because I am strong, beautiful and yes, at times, even sexy. I will rock it for all its worth. Why? Because I can.

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