Sunday, July 10, 2016

Those Awesome Obnoxious Pants

It's time.  It's been time for quite some time, I know, but I had ignored it for way too long.

What's it time for? 

Those awesome, obnoxious (dare I say slightly derranged, possibly somewhat ugly) pants.
Yes.  I have invested in three pairs of cheap workout pants.  They are the kind of pants that many have worn for a long time, that I always would roll my eyes at (mentally) and wonder what on earth is wrong with people who wear them.

Now, I own them.  Now, I'm wearing them.  I'm wearing them at this very moment.  And, I'm rolling my eyes (mentally) at myself, wondering what on earth is wrong with me.  They're so boisterous.  I am not a boisterous individual by nature.  I prefer to not be noticed most of the time.  And here I am, in bright, loud, workout pants.    

Why this change?

I have been wondering that for a while now, which is why I haven't actually talked much about it.

I've been going through a lot over the past years when she has been transforming.  My transformations have been different.  I went through the betrayal, abandonment, homelessness, emotional manipulation (and so many more things) associating with the ending of my marriage.  I worked hard just to stay awake most of the days, to feed my kids, to work, to smile, to laugh, to cuddle, to hug, to pray, to hope, to cook, to clean, to breathe.  I struggled through countless emotional days and weepy nights.  I was on a rollercoaster like I had never known existed.  I transformed, I know.  I don't always see which ways I've transformed.  It's rare I can detail the changes to anyone.  

Some transformations have been by choice.  Some have been necessity and God's sifting in my life to purify, change me, and mold me into the woman he's called me to be for the plan He has for me, whatever it is.  

This change... this one is deliberate, an unexpected choice. 

On Mother's Day, I had the blessing of being able to spend a long stretch of kid-free hours with my Bean (for those new around here, that would be my cousin Tarah, who has been one of my best friends since college).  For the past couple of years, she's taken an active role in bettering herself on many levels, but one of them has been with physical health and fitness.  One she's shed pounds and inches and gained so much confidence, energy, and enthusiasm.   

I can't say that there was a single conversation we had, or a single activity we did, or any moment that I just hit this switch, but after that weekend, I decided it was my turn.

Mother's Day weekend, I decided it was time to tackle one of the most seemingly cumbersome transformations there are- physical.  I decided it was time to pay more attention to my body, my meals, my exercise, my sleep.  Instead of staying up two extra hours every night so that I could have quiet, alone time without my kids, I go to bed earlier.  I read food packages, though I occasionally still eat something not as good for you.  I have nearly all-together stopped drinking soda.  I've been trying to not push myself so hard, especially with the rib that still hurts.  

The most shocking thing though- the pants.  

It's not necessarily the pants themselves (well, okay it kind of is), but what they represent.  They were a treat to myself after I willingly joined a group of women on (for $2 a month, which wasn't a daunting investment so I couldn't think of any great excuses since I gave up soda after all, and NO this isn't a sponsored post) and completed 12 consecutive days of 12-18 minutes worth of workouts called Core Camp.  I sweat my face off and I even enjoyed it.  I wasn't daunted by the pain in my rib cage, because when it hurt too much, I modified.  She (Courtney, founder of MommaStrong) said I could and should modify things.  Instead of feeling guilty for doing that, I felt empowered. I felt smart.  

Somewhere along the 12 days, while I powered my way clumsily through workouts in front of my kids who questioned what in the world I was doing and why, I realized I was looking forward to the workouts.  I was looking forward to reclaiming this piece of myself. I was looking forward to taking control of yet another part of my life that felt overwhelming and cumbersome, daunting and embarrassing.

If you know me, I've never been one who talks about working out.  I love to go on walks, and back before I went to college and had a bicycle, I loved to ride bike.  That's about it.  I lift my babies and babies at work.  That's sort of a workout.  I clean.  That is slightly sort of a workout.  But otherwise... nope.  I had no desire to get sweaty and gross because I was too weak and fat and whatever else and it just seemed pointless.  There was so much  negative talk within myself and I didn't even realize it until I realized it was slowly being silenced.

I can think of fifty excuses (guesstimating) why I couldn't, shouldn't, didn't want to work out.  No space. No time. No energy. No money. No privacy.  No strength.  No, no, no, no, no.

Then I said yes.  I just gave in and said yes.

I'm proud of myself.  Sure, I'm still overweight, I'm still out of shape, I'm still weak. My rib still bothers me and some days it hurts to take deep breaths.  I'm still tired.  I'm still busy and I certainly don't have the privacy.   I still can't do a push up or a pull up, and my running distance is small.

But I'm doing it, or I'm trying to.  And in doing it, I'm silencing the lies that I've told myself, I'm silencing the enemy and I'm breaking off his strongholds.  I'm diligently working (sometimes minute by minute) to shut down the devil and keep him from bringing me down in this area of my life as I have had to in so many others.  I'm doing it. I'm trying to.

I'm working on it. I'm working out.

My oldest recently asked me why I work out and why I exercise. I told him something along the lines of "I do it because it's good for me. It makes me stronger, healthier, and a better mom and a better person.  And I'm the only mommy they have, so I better take good care of myself, for me, and for them.

With that let me tell you- if I can do it, you can do it.  I have so many things working against me, so many reasons why it would be easier not to, so many reasons to just be complacent.  They're legitimate, for the most part.  I know we all have them. 

But yeah... The pants.. they're super comfortable.  They're still kind of ugly.  But they're kind of awesome.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I think...

I think about that last day, a year go.  The sky was cloudy. The wind was blowing. You were in yellow.  The kids were anxiously excited. They hadn't seen you in many days. Their laughter rose over the rustling leaves as they squealed your name and ran to you, jumping into your arms.

You followed them around, playing occasionally on the park equipment.

 After 40 minutes or so, you asked briefly about your daughter's hospitalization the week before. After another twenty minutes, you declared you had stuff to do and had to leave. 

The laughter subsided and smiles faded. The kids all protested as we walked them to the van. You helped buckle them into their seat belts after giving them a hug. You told them you loved them, and you would see them soon. You promised to call your oldest son the next day, and planned to see them after the holiday weekend. 

I closed the van doors. They cried. They didn't want you to go. They missed you so deeply already. My heart ached for them as you drove away.

They never heard from you again.

I have been thinking about that day, the last times, frequently throughout this past week. I think of their joy and subsequent sadness. I think of your lies and broken promises. I wonder how much truth was in your salutations and hugs. 

I think about the days that followed. I think about how our son waited around for you to call. I think about how he asked me over and over to call you, and call you again, and you wouldn't answer. I think about the fury burning in my heart as you silenced the last calls and I told him daddy didn't want to talk today. I think about the next two days before you text me the last time. I think about how I asked you why you didn't call or answer and your response was an illegitimate non-answer, and when I pointed that out, you never corresponded with me again. 

I think about how I tried so very hard for the next few days, and weeks, and months to get answers. I tried to find meaning. I longed for even a stupid excuse. I tried to help your children find you and tried to foster a relationship between you and them.  

I think about all of the "I don't see daddy anywheres" I heard, or the "I miss my daddy" cries, or the "where'd daddy go" questions. I think about how I had to explain to our daughter who the man in the pictures was and how he had no idea what I was talking about, and decided to just call you Jake instead.

I think about all the cries at night. I think about all the prayers that we have said for you.  I think about the hours of therapy our sons have undergone trying to make sense of your absence.  I think about all the anger and sadness and frustration that they have and how they take it out on me, because I'm the constant in their lives, I'm their safe zone.

I think about how they used to say you were lost or missing, and how in the last week and a half, our oldest has realized that you're not just lost.  He has told me that his daddy ran away.  He knows it was a choice.

I think about how much I have struggled knowing you chose to leave.  I used to sit and doubt myself, my sanity, my mothering, my friendship, my love.  I used to think how much easier it would have been if your disappearance hadn't been a choice that you made, but just a circumstance of life or some other means, because a choice feels like abandonment, like being tossed into a dumpster, then crumpled and burned before buried in a landfill.  I think about how I am an adult and I can hardly wrap my mind or heart around it, and how our children are too young to comprehend as well as I do, knowing full well even I don't really comprehend.  It slays my heart to know they're going to question themselves and doubt and wonder why they weren't good enough for you to stay  or to even send a birthday card.  I pray that a miracle will prevent it, but mentally brace myself for what feels like the inevitable.

I think about how much I loved you, how I still house some love for you, and how badly I wish I could run you over with a piece of farm machinery, knowing full well that is completely an unGodly thought, and knowing it wouldn't really solve anything anyway.

I think about how I want to see your face.  I think about how I want to get answers.  I think about how your answers would probably be non-answers anyway, or lies that I would have to try to decode again, and how I know that maybe it's better that I can't ask you questions because the agony of trying to trust your answers would wring my heart dry.

I think about how I want to forgive you, and how often I feel like I have forgiven you, and other times I realize there's more I haven't dealt with that I need to deal with in order to forgive each piece.

I think about how people I know run into you, and tell me they run into you, and how you act like nothing is out of the ordinary and everything is normal.  I think about how not once in a year have we ran into you.   I think about how you were literally blocks away from our children last night and had absolutely no idea.  I think about what would have happened if you knew that or even cared about it enough to see them again.

I think about how much I wish you could see them now, but how much I do not want them to see you.

I think about all the lies you've spread about me. I think about your boyfriend and how he claims you tell him I'm a great woman, and our kids are amazing, and I think about how he was so excited to spend time with your children.  I think about people telling me you're both good guys, but how I know that can't be true if you can abandon and he can support it.  I think about the lies that have been told about me or are told about me, and the lies others believe about the situation.  I think about the webs you're still weaving and the messes you're still making.

I think about all the effort I spent trying to find you to divorce you, and all the effort I still have to spend in order to either find you again so that the state can force you to pay all the support you owe, or how I have to work my butt off to make ends meet all on my own indefinitely.

I think about all the ways, the words, the time you spent trying and often making me believe this all my fault, like I had this intense power I had no idea about while I felt crippled by weakness.

I think about how you walking away and shattering our lives and pulverizing my heart brought me closer to God, and how God brought such dear friends and supports into my life that I had never imagine I would find.  I think about all of these people who care so much for and love us all so much when for months I thought we must be completely unlovable.  I think about how your absense has given me freedom to gain mental clarity and personal strength and control.

I think about all that you've taken away, but I think about all that we have gained.

I think a lot.

I still think about you.