The winter frost always seems so hard to break free from as I find this time of year a struggle. I long for the warm sun on my skin, I lust after the days I get to feel the lush green grass fall under my feet and I have begun to despise the monotony of the belt on the treadmill as it spins on and on while spring still seems a lifetime away.
Exercising is a lot like letting go of your past. You know it is good for you, and you know in the end you will feel better, confident that the only way to change is to keep moving ahead yet the questions and fears gently reach out and grasp firmly around your wrist. I feel the pull to go backwards, it is dangling in front of me like a
carrot carrot cake, I acknowledge it and embrace it then do my best to let it go and forge on.
Sometimes I am simply exhausted from the struggle, the simplest of stumbles and I wonder if I will ever figure this all out. Am I doomed to be fat all my life? I refuse to let those thoughts simmer for too long but still they are there lurking, and in my desperation to end them I remind myself that this is part of the process and part of my life, as much as I hate it. February is the hardest month, and I think the last part of January I gear up for February being awful…which equals a lot of wasted time. I was finding it hard to write, hard to focus and questioned myself over and over for so many things the past several months have conjured up.
The box was waiting for me when I arrived home from work last week. I was not expecting anything in the mail, but smiled when I saw the return address, the package was from my friend Amy who is a powerhouse of support and kindness. I tore into the box and inside was the most beautiful handmade scarf (some people have a shoe addiction, I have a scarf addiction!) I wrapped the soft layers round my neck and opened the card that was still tucked inside the box and read the following…”I’ve been looking at this scarf and decided I needed to send it to you, it was finished by Christmas, but I procrastinate (bad). Thanks for all the inspiration in your words!” There are those moments you wonder how it happens, how the acts of kindness can protect you from the darkness that just appears out of nowhere. I have never been so glad not to receive something when I was supposed to, because it lifted my spirits and pushed the door open just a bit to let a flicker of sun shine through at the exact right moment.
I am not lying when I say that changed the game for me. I wore the scarf the next day with a spring in my step but it could not protect me from the ice and snow storm that hit our area hard on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning was a nightmare of broken ice scrapers, popsicle feet and lots and lots of cussing. I picked Lauren up on my way to work so she didn’t have to dig her car out of the igloo mother nature spit down on top of it. My Explorer is old but I love it, and it gets the job done as we trek to work the ice crunching under our tires and heat blowing out not nearly hot enough to fight off the bitter cold. I had confessed a few days earlier to Lauren that I was struggling, she never fills my head with words simply to pacify me or fluffy pointless promises for making it better in the moment but she never lets me sit in my darkness alone, never. She manages to quietly pry open the door a bit more, and the sun spills in and for the first time in several weeks I am pretty sure it’s all going to be okay.
Friday night was spent gathering with dear friends Lora, Nik, Amy, her adorable son Drew and her daughter Grace…who is my sweetheart of a god daughter. Bowling was the name of the game and what a hilarious adventure that turned out to be. Imagine an episode of the Twilight Zone directed by Tim Burton and throw in a little Seinfeld for good measure. That was our night. Nothing worked, pins flew backwards, balls got stuck, little men came out of nowhere and all you saw were legs hanging down from where the pins should be…. and that does not include the spinning disco ball, blaring time warp music from my high school days, or the family birthday party going on at the lane to our right. Holy over- stimulation Batman! I think it took, four hours to bowl two games I could be stretching it, but I think that is pretty close. Of course we laughed our fool heads off, made up ridiculous dance moves and song lyrics, but most importantly I was reminded how I am seen through the eyes of a 7 year and 10 year old. Nothing makes you feel quite as special as being adored by a child, ones who do not see you defined by weight, by your past but only see the best in you. I told myself one of the very best things I could do for myself is to try to see me as they do if only for a short time in little bursts it would be enough to get me through. Using one of their Taekwondo moves Grace and Drew kicked the door open and the sun streamed back into my world full force and they steer me back onto the road I am meant to travel.
If you are struggling this time of year as I often do, you are not alone. Hang on, spring IS going to show up eventually until then hug a dog, hug a kid, knit a scarf for someone or go bowling on a Friday night and see what kind of hilarious memories you can make!