Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Joyful all Ye Nations.



(Anyone else feeling like this lately? No? Just me then? 2016 has blown goats.)

On Christmas night we all gathered together for a post-Christmas-yay-it’s over let’s eat party at Mama Joye’s. After stuffing our faces with all the holiday sweets my mom in an effort to keep every one’s phones in their pants asked us to gather around campfire style and talk about their strongest Christmas memory.

My first thought was shit. My second thought was if I hide out in the bathroom would anyone notice?


Listening to everyone’s strongest memory it was my turn. This is what I said/wrote:

“The Christmas in which I remember most was Christmas 2013. It was the last Christmas that Emily was able to come home she was pregnant with Thea, everyone was home and it was the last Christmas we had Grandma before we lost her a month later.”

As I sat up late Christmas night I realized would I have done anything different if I had known that was my last* Christmas? (*When I say last I mean the last Christmas of my childhood.)
Which makes me wonder am I prepared for things to be my last? I’m in good health and I’m relatively young but life changes in the ordinary instant. Which means I’m building up the memories of my last.
First off. My last meal. Realistically my last meal will be one that I’m too sick to eat/and/or be one that I will throw up. So I have decided that my last meal so to speak will be all the family dinners, the wonderful meals eaten in cities which none of friends live, and tasting things for the first time.
After having that morbid thought I thought to myself what are the things I most enjoy in life? What are sixteen things I can look forward to next year?

Here’s my list:

11.My family.
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22. Spontaneous trips to cities I’ve never been.

33. Driving over the bridge to the house in Sun Valley in Fall and seeing the trees lit up in the various hues of red, gold and amber.

44. Spring. Mainly that magical moment when it is finally warm enough to open your windows and air out all the despair and stale air of winter. Also after finishing your spring cleaning and reading a new book and smelling spring come.

55. A bottle of regular coke and floating in the pool in Summer reading People magazine.

66. Eating dinner with friends in cities we don’t live and probably will never be in again.

77. Fresh clean sheets. Oh is there nothing more delicious than when you finally are able to get all comfortable in your bed after a long day of cleaning and enjoying a freshly made bed that’s your own?

88. Taking a bath with a really good story.

89. Sitting on the beach in the late afternoon in Maui under an umbrella and watching the sun play on the ocean.

110.         My grandpa’s stories.**blogpost coming soon on where I learned the art of story**.

111.         Flying in a double or single prop plane and looking out over the mountains, people, and that sense of being in the middle between sky and earth. It’s a rare feeling and it’s hard to describe.

112.         Thanksgiving dinner.
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113.         Ice cream.

114.         Rain.

115.         The quiet hush of the first real snow fall. Walking out late at night when no one is around, traffic is quiet and listening to that peaceful quiet. The rare quiet of nature. No phones, no dings, no loud music, just absolute and peaceful quiet.

116.         Laughter.

What are your sixteen things you look forward to? Or sixteen things that have been positive in this last year? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter 1

“How much can a heart and a troubled mind take?
       Where is that fine line before it all breaks?”
              -Dolly Parton 

I hate winter.

I’ve tried making peace with it. Yet as I’m writing this I can’t feel my toes, which for a fat person causes a great amount of panic because you start worrying that the diabetus has finally appeared.
Winter is my least favorite season because everything dies. All color gets sucked out and for us Utahans the inversion hits and it becomes nothing but grey.

I’ve been feeling a little disconnected and frustrated so I went out for a walk in the mountains to reconnect. I had my I-pod on shuffle as one does and Max Richter’s Recomposed Vivaldi’s Four Season Spring 0 and One came on. I relate to this album because on how it came about. From an interview with Classic FM

How did the idea for the piece come about?
When I was a young child I fell in love with Vivaldi's original, but over the years, hearing it principally in shopping centres, advertising jingles, on telephone hold systems and similar places, I stopped being able to hear it as music; it had become an irritant - much to my dismay! So I set out to try to find a new way to engage with this wonderful material, by writing through it anew - similarly to how scribes once illuminated manuscripts - and thus rediscovering it for myself. I deliberately didn't want to give it a modernist imprint but to remain in sympathy and in keeping with Vivaldi's own musical language.

How does this relate to winter? Because I’m choosing to look at it a new perspective. 2016 was the year that I started laying the ground work for change. If I had known that I would be spending so much money on self-help books in my thirties I would have joined Amazon prime years ago.

I am tired of spinning the story of how damaged I am and what I want, what I’m not getting, why certain situations are impossible, what I wish would happen, why it’s too late etc..and I usually end with I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!
Which why this winter as I was starting my usual story of damage this voice yelled at me from deep within me.START KNOWING.


Start knowing? Start knowing what? So I wrote it down in my journal. I gave the sentence a voice. What it said to me was: Look stop pretending you don’t know what to do. You’ve read so many self-help books, attended classes and exhausted your friends with the same boring sob story. Either you really want to change or you want to martyr to your story of I can’t but you know what to do. Start knowing! 

As Max said when he had stopped hearing the music and found it as irritation so have I become with wanting to change my life. What I wanted and what I was doing were two different things. With all the self help books I've read this last year I've noticed a trend that most people have the solution within themselves but are too afraid or have become attached to the feeling of they can't to move forward. I want to move forward.Cause I'm tired of martyring.  It's boring and people tend to give me odd looks at parties. 

So 2017's theme is to Start Knowing. This winter is going to give way to a beautiful spring. Both outside and physically. 



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I'd Like To Be You For A Day


 “And the Moon’s never seen me before..
          But I’m reflecting light.”
                        -Sam Philips

I’ve been absent from social media. (**This is not one of those self-righteous posts where I bemoan social media and then go on a major liking cat pictures on Facebook spree and clog up your wall post. **) I’ve had to go in hiding because A. So much ranting. B. So much Trump. Oh gosh. So much Trump. C. I couldn’t take another round of I’m thankful for post.

I needed a moment to reflect on myself and see myself truthfully without a shiny Instagram filter to project a false sense of togetherness. By togetherness I mean that my life is together and that I had answers.

Cause in reality I’m a big broken mess. But so are you. So is everyone. Even Oprah. Heck I’m sure that when Martha Stewart was knitting ponchos in a federal prison felt a little low. It’s that lowness that messiness that proves the proof of our creation. The only absolute truth I know right now is that I’m child of God. I’m flawed. I’m imperfect. Yet I know I made of the same matter that made stars, mountains, trees, and water. The foundation of life. This is the label that I’m choosing to define me only. Earlier this year I was drowning in a mass of who am I? What am I? How am I doing? And where am I going?

To find my answer I sat down at two thirty in the morning and wrote out all the labels I had thought of and labels that had been applied to me on note cards. Just simple words. Brother, son, fat, angry, tired, hard worker etc. I dug deep. At the end of this activity I took all 400 cards and I laid them in a spiral with me in the middle. Standing up and looking at all these cards I found myself drowning in ideas, misconceptions and outdated ideas. After looking at all of them the only one that glowed that made me feel at peace was I’m a child of God.

Why just this label? Cause it’s the label I was born into when I came into this life and it is the label I will carry with me on the way out.  
I’ve wasted so much time judging myself, comparing myself to others, worrying about what I was doing where the world is going etc. I felt as if I had been baptized again. Wiped clean.

There have been four different endings to this post. Each one sounding more and more self-righteous. Here’s the best way I can sum this up. Clean out your labels, find one that resonates with you and start fresh. Oh and #lightoftheworld.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

F-A-I-L-U-R-E or we aren't doing that here.


The biggest complaint I’ve heard since I’ve started this journey and in my current job (I now schedule for registered dietitian’s) is this sentence I know I should do this BUT… insert I’m so busy with work, my family needs me, I just love eating ice cream, or the one that broke my heart I’ve started so many times I don’t know if I could handle another failure.

What is it about the fear of failure that stops us from progressing forward? In this day and age of social connection we do not launch any journey without this fear that we are going to fail. Look I’m not a fan of failure at all. It’s painful and it’s awkward. In Sunday school*(*I promise I’m usually quite good in Church. I have my own quiet book and I share my goldfish crackers and I don’t kick the pew in front of me.) our teacher told us that we weren’t failures but rather they were lessons from us to learn from. Which I raised my hand and asked but what about the “lessons” that scare us from moving forward? The look on everyone’s face was OH. We aren’t doing that here.


Yet isn’t it time to acknowledge that failure is what propels us forward? I have failed so many times when I get on the scale. I have failed when I have to buy a bigger size of pants, I have failed when I eat two pints of ice cream to deal with emotional situations instead of talking about it. One day in a major shame spiral I called my therapist and said I can’t fail at this whole life thing anymore I can’t fail one more time. Which there was a HMMM pause. Then this ground breaking sentence.

“The worst thing in your life has already happened.”

Woosh went the ground beneath my ideas about failure. If I had already experienced the worst thing in my life then in theory I had already experienced my worst failure, my worst heart break. Which then raised the question of why do we allow ourselves to be haunted by past mistakes? Ask anyone about the things they are good at and you will get maybe three things. Ask someone about the things they fail at and the list will be four pages long.


The truth is our failures is that they make us feel comfortable. If stay fat then I don’t have to deal with the reality that it isn’t my weight that holding me back but rather it’s myself. It keeps me in line with everyone else. Failure and shame keeps us in line with everyone else. You failed so you have to stay here.

While I dwell on my failures and fear of doing anything I feel that my best self is just hanging out sitting in the corner buffing his nails going are we going to get work yet? Which raises the question. If I am so comfortable with failure how do I feel about success?
I’ve been so afraid of what the answer is.
All I know is that I’m open to giving myself a second chance. That when I fail I’m going to keep going. Failure is not how I define myself anymore.


And yes. We are doing that here

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sugar, Butter, Flour


I have a confession.

I love waffles and pancakes. I mean seriously life is too short not to enjoy this wonderful carb creation.


I mean how could you say no to this?

Well if you were celiac or suffered serious gluten issues then I would understand why you would say no. 
Which leads me to the crazy that is me. Last night I dreamed I was singing this song AKA like Sandy in Grease. I even was walking around the kiddy pool Here’s the lyrics or well the best I could remember them.

I’m hopelessly devoted to you.

A Dedication to Waffles.

This isn’t the first, you aren’t the first I’ve eaten all of. There’s just no getting over you. I know I’m just a fool who is willing and save his money for you… Baby can’t you see I’m hopelessly devoted to you.

But now there’s nowhere to hide you make my pants wide. I’m so out of my head and my trainer is going to make me cry. My heart is saying don’t let go.
Hopelessly devoted to you.

Xo,
Blake 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wait For It.


Three days ago I was standing at my mailbox getting my mail (the coupon mailer, and the annoying letter from my internet company encouraging me to get cable. Nice try Comcast but I already spend more time on my couch.) and then there was a nice envelope. My first thought reaction was oh goody. Another wedding/we’ve reproduced announcement. Instead it was from alma matter.


          Dear Alumnus Blake,
          As a former Aggie we invite you to contribute…

As an English major it’s cute that they thought I would have money to donate to them. Included in the letter was the annual Alumni newsletter showing what my classmates were up to. Some were off building orphanages in Africa ,one was creating Apps, and then there's was me whose biggest success today was bending over and tying his shoes and not ripping his pants.

Before I could help it I felt that huge wave of shame and embarrassment and oddly I felt fat. As if my size was in same correlation in what I’ve done with my life post college. Then I remembered DNS. Did Not Start.
I’m fascinated by this idea in this culture that you aren’t allowed to change, create, or do something till you are good at it. I’ve been paralyzed by this concept when it comes to losing weight. I’ve taken tons of classes, done tons of research, I’ve spent more money (*money I could have donated to my Alma matter. Yeah let’s be honest it would have been spent on ice cream.) than I have buying objects that will make me good. In the last seven years I’ve seen more people declare I’m going to lose this weight. I’m going to finally start my novel, I’m going to finally learn to cook etc.


The problem is that most people and myself included is we actually start becoming good or even great at our goals and then we quit. It seems I always quit when I have to defend or explain why I’m doing this blog. It’s easier to be the one that goes with the crowd. I’m a great creator but a terrible lawyer.


So I’ve stopped trying to explain or defend what I’m doing. If I’m eating great really staying within my macros but one day I say life is too short not to eat Chick Fil La chicken nuggets (yes, the grilled ones are amazing but they don’t come with waffle fries) I’m going to eat the nuggets and not defend myself nor am I allowing myself to feel guilt over it. My job is not to defend my creations. My job is to create and work on myself.


I’m not wasting anymore time not creating my best life by looking at the lives of others. I’ve been to a lot of funerals within the last few years and the things that stays, the things that resonates about you is not what bought, or looked like but how you made people feel.

Ugh. I’m sorry. I know this is very Oprah-esque. Tomorrow's post is my ode to waffles so there's balance. 


So I wrote a letter back to the Alumni magazine (I didn’t send it)


          Dear Alumni magazine,
          Thank you for reminding me that I’m seriously lacking in the success department. So I wanted to let you know that you aren’t that special. None of us are. So that’s why you aren’t getting a check from me.

Sincerely,

Blake



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

October. The land of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Ugg Boots.

How you do you celebrate the fall?

I love fall. Like write send the whole I heart you text, stand in front of the lockers making out with each other, will you go steady with me kind of way. Fall is one of those tricky seasons like spring. It never just shows up rather it teases us with the leave subtly changing, the weather slowly drops, and in my neck of the woods tornadoes. There are things that everyone looks forward to. For some it’s hunting season (which for me growing up meant the sudden appearance of dead animals in the freezer and playing find the BB in game meat.) others its Halloween, and for basic white girls pumpkin spice lattes, leggings, and Ugg boots. For me it is the return of the Costco Chicken Noodle soup.


I know. Soup? Really? However I believe this soup has healing properties. I was introduced to the chicken noodle soup when I had pneumonia and I got in a care package. Which I’m still embarrassed about because my apartment was a disaster and had to expose it to the world. Anyway back to the soup. It was the only thing that I could eat. I had no energy to cook let alone go to the store. Since I don’t live in a city where you can order things twenty-four seven so hence the soup. It’s magical for the fact that it’s not like regular chicken noodle. The noodles are thick and homemade, the chicken is actual rotisserie thick and juicy not that weird stewed meat that makes me think of the cannery. The veggies are realistic not that weird freeze dried stuff that you wonder is this real or was this just created in a lab?


Which was why I was so excited to receive it a few days ago when Mr. Migraine and his sidekick Super Nausea hit. After they left it left me drained, tired, and feeling like I went rolling in the deep in my stomach. Thank goodness for Moms and their Costco memberships. One coke and bowl later I knew I was going to make it.

I knew it in that moment that Fall was here. Last year this time of year I fell off the cliff and hit three hundred and three pounds. Yes. That’s right. I finally had enough weight to be on the biggest loser and none of my clothes fit. For three months I lived in my LuluLemon pants and my draw string pants. Even though the last few days have been a roller coaster as far as my dates with the gym and food choices have been a little more lax but this fall I’m actually going in with a plan that’s working. Also I’m not three hundred pounds I’m 269.



Bring on the pumpkin spice.