That Picture

 

Until I saw that picture, I had no idea.

I mean, I knew I would need to order my matron-of-honor dress one size up (as usual). And, I knew I was already wearing a size 26, but didn’t understand what that really meant.  I wasn’t in denial. I knew full well I was up-sizing my wardrobe more often than I should have been at full-figure specialty stores. Those stores had dressing room mirrors, and I saw myself in them as I necessarily self-modeled pre-purchase.

At home, though, without a full-length mirror, l rarely felt the need to review below the bust. Make-up made everything ok, except for airline seatbelts and movie theatre seats. Occasionally, I would back up outside the bathroom door to try to get a glimpse of the overall picture. I was mostly looking to determine that there wasn’t any non-existent-waist bunch-up. I didn’t need a mirror to tell me that if I could easily glance deep-down the 4x low scoop-neck designed more for a large and tall woman than a large and short one,  so could everyone else.

For me, I just didn’t see it. The way we see ourselves every day, gives no herald of big change. Steady creeping leaves little to compare this week to last week, or even this month to last month. There was no step away interval, and I didn’t think I needed one, anyway. Until, that picture.

How did my mind play this trick on me for so long? I should have seen exactly what shown in a tri-mirrored, harshly lit, try-on cube. I should have seen it. I just didn’t.

The picture became my “Julia,” based on a 1986 Lifetime movie about (to simplify) a brain transplant. The first time the brain sees itself in its new body, it see what it expects to see: Julia. As a tall, beautiful model Julia models a nightgown gift in a swish. At the second turn, Julia’s brain now reports her transplanted body more accurately. The problem is that it is nothing like the body she had.

This isn’t at all the plot of the movie. The movie is more about dealing with the issue of two husbands who both believe she is their wife, with an after-thought warning to the beautiful people about what happens when they are no longer “beautiful.” But, the mirror scene is what’s stuck with me all these years.  Revived by a few episodes of “The Swan,” it was enthralling to imagine being so unsure of your reflection that you must touch it.

Reality caught up to me in that picture.

I’ve had 10 years to wonder about this; and to try to correct it. I deeply regret that my dear friend’s wedding album features that creature I still don’t recognize as me. Of course, I know it’s me. I just never felt that way. Perhaps, because something more important over-rode whatever the mirror might have said. I had someone who loved me for my brain and my heart and what later became my soul.

I have just as hard of a time now believing “that was me,” as I do now knowing, “this is the new me.” I can pick up a size 16 pair of pants and without trying them on, based on the brand, know from experience they will fit. Yet, I hold them up in front of me, every single day before dressing, and am momentarily seized by three seconds worth of  “there’s no way I’m getting even one leg into these” panic.

Even with the new picture, mirror-image reversed, I am the least comfortable I have ever been.

All that extra saggy stuff; yeah, I hate it.

Being able to buckle-in without an extender; yeah, I love that.

Missing someone who accepted me as I was; yeah, I’ve got to learn to accept me as I am.

Quote for the Week:

2015 06 30 I think we all dream of finding someone jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Who is Julia?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9nN9va4y_4

Misleading Mirrors: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/science/22angi.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

A Picture of Who You Used to Be: http://www.lightsource.com/ministry/refuel-with-rick/articles/a-picture-of-who-you-used-to-be-14032.html

 

 

Blogback Tuesday

Although, sometimes, criticism is actually complimentary, it can still ruffle my feathers.

Thank you to my friends and family who notice without fail when I am healthier, which includes being smaller. Some of you been with me on my weight-loss journey for the past 10 years; some maybe only have seen recent changes.

I’ve been considering participating in the “Throwback Thursday” rage so long that it’s really run its popularity course. That one particular slap-up-a-photo without much explanation day isn’t the best way to go about it, anyway.  I am therefore instituting “Blogback Tuesday.”

I don’t usually allow pictures of myself to be taken, and even more rarely allow them to circulate. I can tell you everything I don’t like about the last picture posted of me, and it’s quite a list. I look completely bald. I have serious neck waddle, unsightly elbow hangover, and my clothes, while cute, seem too big. I’ll deal with that last notice later.

I can also, after more than a minute, manage to see some good in it; a genuine smile.

Ok. RE: my clothes are too big.

It’s such a nice thing to say, and a great validation that the self-work I am doing is noticeable. The problem is my clothes are not actually too big. They unfortunately fit perfectly around the parts that are going to remain a problem for the rest of my life.

Slowly, with effort, I adjusted my forage and exercised off 100 pounds over the course of 3 years. Then, there was plateau, devastation, regain, some re-loss, stressors, plateau, some regain, more re-loss, discouragement, encouragement, life with its ups and downs. My latest attempt is the one that complicates things a bit.

I was feeling pretty good about where I’m standing. I also felt pretty good in 2005 less than a pound away from 300. I also felt pretty good in 2009, down 108. Between those points, I fluctuated – mostly up. With great effort, I’m now below 2009’s benchmark, but well-aware that between then and now, the goal line was completely achievable. Total, I’m down 114, but not I’m feeling good about it.

Shoulda-woulda-coulda doesn’t count anymore, and I am left with the consequences. Without being gruesome: there’s a lot of extra, saggy, flabby stuff; everywhere. The elbow hangover is the most inoffensive example.  Yes, it’s incredibly awesome to be able to fit my arms into sleeves that don’t restrict my movements to B-9 level.

For my own mental comfort, I’d rather wear garments that come down past the joint point. I certainly don’t want to feel that flap or see it reflected in photos. I highly suspect nobody else does, either.  While I thought the sleeves on the picture-blouse were adequate, I now think I need to invest in more three-quarter length sleeves.

I mentioned this before, but I don’t have a magic mirror. I physically prefer not to roll-over or roll-under any garment.  It’s just not comfortable, and I don’t need the what-was-she-thinking speculation that I admittedly quick- judge when encountering people either have magnanimous mirrors, self-righteous self-confidence, must need to spend their money else-where or simply don’t give a cat’s patootie.

The problem really isn’t with them, though. They’re obviously as comfortable with themselves as I used to be at my max. I thought I dressed appropriately, but historics show otherwise.

For those who haven’t seen me in a long time, please try to understand, through comparison, why I’m letting last Saturday’s picture float around through cyber-space. Having pictorially reminded myself how things used to be, I’m feeling a little more inclined to say it’s not such a bad one.

So here I am: 2004, 2005, 2014 and 2015, all out. Re-photographed just this evening with bumps and humps and lumps and not bothering to suck-it-in, because I don’t  live that way. I’d pass out from pretending.

I’m used to majoring things on my own, but I think this time around I could use some real encouragement and positive reinforcement as I try to affect the few things I still have the power to.

I’d also like everyone to ignore my clothes. Please.

Quote for the Week:

06 23 2015 What looks like a disaster to one person jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

B-9 Level: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_B-9 .

Take the Picture: http://www.purpleclover.com/relationships/1435-what-i-see-when-i-see-myself/

Naturally: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/ways-to-tighten-skin-after-weight-loss/

 

Happiness Deserve

“They deserve to be happy, don’t they?”

A barb aimed at my heart.

There’s a song for that. “It Don’t Matter to Me,” by Bread wasn’t a suffer-through but it wasn’t a favorite, either. At 13, a decade after release, I was already exercising my inner music critic. Though, melodically lovely, the lyrics were unfathomable as true, disastrously hollow-spoke and even more skewed by the awkward step-ball tempo-change stanza. Preposterous posturing. No one really feels this way.

“If you love someone, let them go,” was never my favorite saying, either. I didn’t buy into the decade of free-love, exploration release and romantic unselfishness, so it’s taken me a while to pin down my feelings on that agitated charge.

Happiness is not a privilege.

It’s not a right, either. It’s an elusive chase that doesn’t have to be that way.

Life ebbs and flows, and there are things that even enthusiasm can’t make happen. Yet we continue to try push them forward, hold them back, or to hold ourselves together and are crushed when the vision and effort both fail.

I don’t believe someone deserves to be happy at someone else’s expense. I also don’t think the expense we assign to our disappointment is always or ever factually proportionate.

The perception that someone’s happiness must come at someone else’s cost is inaccurate. Not getting what we want does not preclude it. Not having things go our way should not negate it.  The way to happiness is not over, undermining, or through anyone else. It’s not based on winning the competition; because it’s not even based on a game.

Most happiness is based on the assumption that we will know it when we see it.

It seems, we really only recognize it having dragged it along behind us for decades. Originally thought unflattering, old photographs show us what we were, and that what we were was fine, and that back then, who we were should have been happy with who we were. These current snap-shot days should have the same impact.

Today’s internet is full of one-line “if you love someone” quotes, musings, and rationalizations claiming it is possible to be happy for another, even if their happiness does not include you. This might be true, but letting go is still letting go, and time isn’t always on our side. Higher forces are always at work, and all we really need to know are the answers to these two simple questions.

Who deserves to be happy? No one.

Who can be happy? Every one.

Quote for the Week:

2015 06 16 Most happiness is based on the assumption that jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

It Don’t Matter to Me @ 11:56: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvsHkyqzy9M

You Do Not Deserve Happiness:  https://30days2011.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/happiness-doesnt-just-happen/ Happy With You: http://www.clarke.edu/page.aspx?id=3562

Happy With You: http://www.clarke.edu/page.aspx?id=3562

 

Talking At

I’m not reading “Woe is I,” by Patricia T. O’Conner.

It came my way via an abandoned textbook pile, which is also how I was able to matchedly outfit an entire wall of white wire mesh cubbies. I don’t normally engage in dumpster-dive, but over the years, semester-end in Ann Arbor has provided a few useful hardly used items, apparently not graduated-student worthy enough to haul and retain. An impeccably clean garbage can price sticker intact, a delightful 6 foot faux-bamboo, a very nicely nearly-new floor lamp, the assembly required standard dorm cube fare, all have found a home with me. Along with the book that has become the bane of my stubborn existence.

Garrison Keillor adds his faith right there on the paper jacket, purporting clarity, usefulness, and embarrassment saving. I keep picking it up and putting it down. I spent three days re-reading the first four meaty sections, then hopefully paged to 182 in search of something else I could decipher. It didn’t matter. I just don’t get it. I can’t even recognize what it is I am supposed to be processing.

No, really. I know all the words, but the arrangements are foreign. Designed to be a simple to-do or not-to-do guide for what has become acceptable and what will remain formal, I’m apparently in possession of a brain no longer agile enough to follow through lyrical little ditties, and gyrations of text. This is not O’Conner’s fault; I haven’t failed Keillor’s expectations, either.

I must have known these things once. Or, not. I think I struggled through grammar in school. I can’t remember. I do remember branch diagrams, unfondly. I’m pretty sure my limited taken-for-granted knowledge was learned absorbedly (or learnedly absorbed) from reading books and books and books of proper authors writing proper sentences.

I guess the good news is that I don’t have to absorb all this propriety. It’s not like I’m going to fail a major final. The WordPress editor feature disagrees with me a lot. I don’t care. At least I don’t care enough to try and figure out why. If it sounds right to me, I’m gonna go with it. And, everyone knows, if I can’t find the right word, I’ll make one up.

So far, no one has asked me what I’m talking at or getting about.

So far, I’ve got a delightful following of friends and family and fringe who tolerate without being tweaked.

Well, it’s either that, or I’m their “Woe is I.”

Quote for the Week:

2015 06 09 Endorsements add validity jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Neologism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neologism

Gerund:  http://grammar.about.com/od/fh/g/gerundterm.htm

Stephen Kings says: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/can-reading-improve-grammar-writing-30370.html

Edmund F

History is always a lost turn in Trivia Crack.

Songs about the Civil War – that’s what I remember the most about many years of history class. Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans, specifically, and while I appreciated and still do, knowledge more easily remember attached to music, I didn’t ever imagine songs like this as radio worthy.

Of course, I missed the fact that many like this were indeed played on radio stations. A little later in life,  there seemed to be another significant round of historical story-telling. I lightening flicked stations when songs such as, “Calypso,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” found their way into rotation. I didn’t care if I landed on sports or talk, as long as I wasn’t listening to a lament about a ship.

Unfortunately, when I wasn’t in my room, I wasn’t in command of the music. The ballad of the Edmund F would run straight through the car radio, the living room stereo. The fact that my older brother adored the song shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knew him. He loved all things history.

Knowing the song by heart wasn’t really a choice I made. Yet, here I am, all these years later, with the words embedded in my brain. What’s interesting is that I never, in any of my future-forward plans, had any intention of moving to the Great Lakes state. I’ve been here 16 years and counting. The logistical relevance never once occurred to me. I never even considered the connection, and might have never made it on my own.

The reason all of this is relevant, is that I found myself at my regular hair salon last Saturday, a little bit early. I arrived with my own pictorial aim collage, but thought I’d check out the usual stash of hair magazines and books, in case there was something more fabulous.

There weren’t any, though. Neither hide nor hair of a hair book to be found. Instead there were a half-dozen neatly stacked children’s books on the under-rack of the tiny table near the three-seater sofa. Stumped, I figured I was looking in the wrong place. It was a salon! The hair-oriented periodicals had to be somewhere else. The only possible somewhere else, was cornered across the way, next to a single seat. On another tiny table next to the lone chair, was a lone book. “The Edmund Fitzgerald.”

My first thought was that it was a strange, not light-reading choice for a salon.
My second thought was the doomed stanza, “..the wreck of the Ed-mund Fitz-Gerrrr-aaaald” streaming on instant internal audio loop.
My third thought, wasn’t so much of a thought as a smile at the unlikely reminder that our loved ones never really fade away.
They leave us with memories we gladly connect to coincidences.

Quote for the Week:

2015 06 02 leave me with memories jakorte

 

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Predicatably: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vST6hVRj2

Documentary-tation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3uOnnIv5Qs

Strange Pull: http://discovermagazine.com/2009/the-brain/26-music-melody-strange-pull-they-exert-over-our-minds