I’m a Beached Whale!

Summer 2002. I had a waist!

I used to be skinny. Didn’t we all? Society says we all should be, right? All women should be a size nothing, with a thigh gap.

Until you are, and then people think it’s ok to say things about your too-small size.

What I wouldn’t GIVE to be skinny now like I was 15 years ago. Even 10 years ago. I mean, I wouldn’t give up my ice cream. Or most foods. Ok, I love food, and if you tell me I have to give it up to be skinny again, I’ll have to take a pass.

When I WAS 115lbs, at 5’8, people saw nothing wrong with making comments about my being too skinny. Asking questions like, “do you ever eat?” Some would wait until I left the room and then would ask my friends if I was anorexic, and heaven forbid if I went to the bathroom after eating, because obviously I must have been making myself throw up.

Why is it so hard to accept that some people are just twigs?

I had some pretty awesome friends back in the day, and I earned some ironic nicknames: Shamu, Fat Chick, Chubby Fat-Ass. These names were given in response to the ridiculous questions people would ask my friends. Like, “does she eat? Does she have an eating disorder?” The people I was close to knew these questions drove me crazy! I was self-conscious enough about my bone-protruding figure. Their responses would be something along the lines of, “that fat chick? What are you talking about!? She’s HUGE!” I always appreciated the people in my life who stood up to the skinny-shaming in my defense.

Of course now Justin smiles and says, “oh Bubba,” when I throw my Fat Chick sweatshirt on. Not because I AM fat (he’d say otherwise. Because he loves me. He has the self-esteem of a 14-year-old girl, so he can’t say anything), but I’m certainly not the underweight waif I once was.

I’m writing this in honor of a young friend of mine. We work out together. She has the elusive thigh gap, and she’s somewhere in the most desirable size 0-2 range. And she hates it. HATES it.

I can’t take myself seriously.

Let me take you back in time, to the summer of 2015. I had just been hired on as a lifeguard, after my 6 year hiatus from aquatics. Starting back at the bottom. Easily 12+ years older than everyone. And here was this super skinny girl with a bubbly personality, who laughed at everything, and was obviously liked by everyone. I immediately thought, “if only 18-22 year old me had that confidence and was happy with her size. This girl knows what she has.”

Come to find out, she doesn’t. Protein shakes, cheeseburgers, and lifting, all in an attempt to gain weight and shrink her thigh gap.

Shrink her thigh gap?!?! Is she crazy?!?!

In the time that I’ve gotten to know her, I realized she is equally the self-conscious skinny girl I once was.

If it isn’t ok to walk up to a person who is overweight and say, “damn, you’re huge,” why is it ok to say to a skinny girl, “do you ever eat?” Or “you look like you just escaped a concentration camp,” or “where’s your butt?” These people aren’t funny, and they aren’t friends. It is not ok to make fun of anyone, but don’t for one second think that skinny equals happy. We all have our own self-esteem monsters we’re fighting.

Her frustration is not lost on me. I know all too well the way people talk. Is it jealousy, or envy, or do they honestly think it’s funny? We are told every day that we, as women, should be no bigger than a model size 6, and anything larger is “overweight.” So, why tease the girl who indeed IS the “proper size?”

Every time she complains (probably because she’s sick of the “too skinny” comments), and says, “I WISH I could gain weight!” I warn her-be careful what you wish for, because someday you’ll be in your 30s, and you’ll weigh 50lbs more than you did at 22. And you’ll wish you could just drop 20lbs without giving up your ice cream (this is by far, the most important stipulation to any serious diet and exercise plan–do I get to keep my ice cream). And you’ll think, “I wish I had been less self-conscious then.” Telling her these things is my way of telling 20-something me to be happy and comfortable being skinny.

Everyone, every day, should wake up and look in the mirror and focus on the positives! If we could just stop wishing we could be something else. You’re fabulous, whether you need to lay off the ice cream, or enjoy another pint.

I’m Hip, I’m Cool

I’m somewhere between Dr Evil and Dr Nefario (telling people, “I’m hip. I’m cool,” and also shouting, “what?! Who is this??”). And of course my movie references are proof of that. A teenager in 1997; a mom in 2010. Of course, anyone who has to self-profess their coolness, obviously isn’t. Although as I’ve stated before, my Mom thinks I’m cool (MMTIC, because my sisters and I needed a short-hand to make the statement EVEN cooler. If you’re honest with yourself, I bet YOUR Mom thinks YOU’RE cool too, so really, how cool can you be).

I’m so flipping cool.

I became SUPER cool yesterday when I got myself SnapChat, or “The SnapChat.” Honestly, the kids I work with (20-somethings who are closer to their teen years than they are to their thirties) laughed quite a bit when I asked, “isn’t snapchat the app for cheating on your spouse??” What do I know!?

I also just added “Nap” to my To-Do list. Because I’m old.

My kids have actually been bugging me since winter break to jump on the snapchat bandwagon. My sisters introduced them to the fun things you can do, turning yourself into puppies, or bugs. And then a girl at work showed me the videos our friend Erin has been sending her since joining the Air Force, and I miss Erin. She’s a more outgoing version of me, but equally as squirrelly, and a decade younger. And in the Air Force. And want to get videos of her feet dancing around in green socks and her lip syncing while brushing her teeth. Weird people like weird things. She was my aquatics partner in crime, and in a month when we start getting the waterpark ready, I won’t have her by my side, being weird and working as hard as I do. I love the young people, but sometimes the work ethic is lacking.

I learn so many amazing things from the kids at work–they’re making me cool.

Low-key: I spent weeks thinking everyone was referring to Loki, and I could not for the life of me figure out what the Norse God had to do with much of anything, but young people are silly. Google to the rescue, and I realized just how wrong I was! But really, you shouldn’t slip “low-key” into every sentence. It is to 2016/17 what “like, totally” was to the ’90s.

Mashed Potatoes: I burst out laughing when a guy last week said, “you don’t want him to become mashed potatoes.” What?! Why!? I LOVE mashed potatoes! They’re delicious! When I finally stopped laughing uncontrollably and was able to ask, it turns out it means “soft.” Good thing I asked–I would’ve been telling everyone Justin was “mashed potatoes,” because he’s Cheesy and I love him.

I just added shower to my To-Do list. Because I need to be reminded. Because ADD is weird like that sometimes. Ok, because I’m weird like that sometimes. I don’t mean to be–I just keep putting it off and putting it off, and next thing you know my kids are home from school and I’m telling myself I’ll shower before bed. Then I fall asleep on the couch and tell myself I’ll do it in the morning. Next thing I know, Justin is asking when the last time I showered was, and telling me I’m gross. Maybe it’s the depression. Maybe I’m just gross. He’s so mashed potatoes.

Take A Deep Breath…and Try Not to Scream

When I sat down and wrote my first blog and said this would be random and all over the place, I meant it. My life is random and all over the place. I’m trying desperately to remain calm, because I am anything BUT calm.

I suffer from depression, which manifests itself in all types of ways. Firstly (and mostly), I get angry. And not just “ooh, I was so mad.” I mean blood boiling, steam coming out of my ears anger. Where every word out of my mouth is loud and screamy, and I am often left with a sore throat. All while the little voice in my head is whispering “stop yelling,” and trying to be heard over my own voice that is streaming out of my mouth at Threat Level: Broiling Hot Lava. My husband is also somewhere about, speaking in a normal tone, telling me to stop yelling.

We Snuggled; We Snacked.

My depression has also gone so far as to become debilitating–thankfully only once. Unfortunately it was while Justin was deployed, and I was alone in Germany. And I was pregnant. And un-medicated. I could fake sanity enough to get through a 9 hour work day (which, thankfully, began at noon). My partner -in-crime (and snacking) was Bruce, our grumpy pug. We watched tv together, and got fat together. It was fabulous. I cooked for myself until I ran out of clean pots and pans. Then I ordered take-out until I built up the momentum to clean my filthy kitchen so I could start all over again. My therapist at the time was amazing, thankfully. Each week she would reassuringly say, “this week, just try to clear off…” and would name one surface in my apartment to work at. Obviously I survived, but it was certainly the lowest of low points.

Back to anger. My daughter is difficult. Shea is 8, and she is beautiful and funny and sweet. Of course then she is also defiant, confusing, and the puzzle I can not crack. Most people only see the sweet, funny girl, and that’s a good thing! Her teacher has seen both sides, and is probably the most incredible teacher she will ever have. I am beyond thankful for his ability to help her when she is at her most defiant.

This morning it was her outfit. If you know me, then you know I am very carefree. My kids can dress any way they like, even if that means Shea is wearing her white flower girl dress over a pink shirt, with rainbow leg warmers and sneakers (and Justin is staring at me and saying “she looks ridiculous!”). Today was one of those days where I had to step in, and suggest a little more. Even now, an hour after she left for school, it is only 27°F. Shea chose a long-sleeved shirt (perfect choice), multi-colored pineapple print short shorts, dinosaur leg warmers, and penguin knee socks. It was really something, BUT it’s still below freezing, so I asked her to please put a skirt over the ensemble, or a dress. Anything to add an extra layer. “I don’t have any skirts.”

“Ok, here is a skirt.”

Grumbles and growls from Shea. I then brought her 4 MORE skirts. At this point, she is whining at a low and constant hum, something like a window AC unit. My last words are “fine, then you pick something else,” and as I walk away, she is yelling at me that she has nothing.

Nothing? NOTHING?! My heart rate is rising. I’m still trying to grasp on to calm. I suggest pants, skirts, and dresses again. Justin is now reminding her that they have to leave so he can take her to school and get to work on time. It’s already 8am, which is usually when they are walking out the door. Still she refuses.

And then Calm Mom whispers goodbye, and she floats off to the land of Children-Who-Don’t-Get-Mad-and-Growl-at-Their-Parents. Blood Boiling-Angry Mom steps in. And I yell.

Justin tells me to stop yelling. I yell back that “I CAN’T!” Honestly, I can’t. I want to, but the heat building up inside has to come out somehow. For a while, I pushed it back down inside with binge eating. I would get mad; I would stand in the kitchen eating Nutella from the jar, while I searched for a bag of chocolate chips, or any other candy I could shove in my face. Then I would get a stomach ache and find myself looking in the mirror, wondering how it is that I’ve gained 50lbs since getting married.

I’m fresh out of Nutella, and there is no chocolate in the house, and I stopped the self-destructive binge-eating a year ago. So instead, I walk away. I stand in the kitchen and drink my coffee, and occasionally go to check on her progress. Now, with my EXTREMELY CALM husband’s help, she is putting on jeans. That are way too small. I snap, “those do NOT fit! PLEASE put on pants that FIT!” Justin AGAIN (and still calm-how does he do it) tells me to stop yelling. “This is RIDICULOUS! What size are these?! 6?! WHY ARE THEY EVEN IN HERE!?” I take the jeans and leave. I am most definitely making everything worse.

Justin says I created the “Shea Monster,” and he might very well be right. In my defense, I try REALLY hard to stay calm. Really I do. I can go days, weeks even without yelling, or raising my voice. My therapist, and Shea’s, have told me I need to be firm with her, and not let her walk all over me, because it seems when I give up (“you did your homework and answered every question wrong. Let’s erase your answers and work on it together. Oh, you DON’T want to correct it? Fine. Turn it in like this”), I’m letting her win. But how are you supposed to “stay firm” and hold your ground (without yelling), and not give up, when your opponent (in this case, an adorable 8 year old with ADD and Oppositional Defiance) will NEVER back down?

Now Shea is wearing a pair of jeans that are downright falling off of her. Justin asks if she has any clothes that actually fit her, and I can’t decide who I want to yell at the most. I think I just want to stand in the middle of the room, stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs. Just because. I get Shea a THIRD pair of jeans, and while she take five whole minutes putting on her sneakers, I take our puppy, Emma, outside. And breathe.

Justin and Shea leave for school. Then Justin is off to work. I have 5 hours to regain my cool, and chances are, by the time Shea walks in after school, that happy sweet girl will have returned.

I still feel like a terrible mom. Justin would (lovingly) agree. Because we love each other, and are ridiculous. He is calm, and I am volcanic. Or at least my mouth is.

 

I Think I Just Became My Mom

It’s not a bad thing–my Mom is AWESOME! My Mom also thinks I’m cool, so you know it has to be true.

Well, I love aquatics. I really do. For so many reasons. Besides the simple fact that I get paid to people-watch. Yes folks, there is actually a job where it’s ok to stare at total strangers without making them feel completely uncomfortable–unless the pool has one person, and you proceed to stare directly at them the entire time they are in the water. Chances are they will probably say something like, “you don’t have to watch me the entire time I’m here.” But I do! Because how else can I come up with my own backstory for you. I mean, I need to make sure nothing happens to you that would require my assisting you in some way.

Talk at the pool is slowly turning toward summer. Maybe it’s because we’re all tired of the constant state of gray that Kentucky has been in for the past 40 days. We’re all dreaming of a time when we can be getting sun tans and staring at all of you at an outdoor pool. And while I may not be in charge of anything–not for lack of trying. Thanks to the military and our constant moving around (and two adorable children), my aquatics career has been a series of missed opportunities. I worked my way up the ladder once upon a time, but when Shea joined us in October 2008, I quit the aquatics game. Which forced me to start over. Which is fine! I basically used my nearly 2 decades of experience to weasel my way into “helping,” which is a nice way of saying taking-over-as-much-as-I-can-get-away-with.

I mentioned to some kids yesterday the idea of making waterpark orientation FUN, and then threw the “scavenger hunt” idea out there. Instant groans. As we discussed the general ideas I had floating around in my head, I was met with a good amount of negativity. One guy actually said, “scavenger hunts are SO 10 years ago!” That’s when I said the words, “it’s going to be fun! We’re going to be having fun AND learning at the same time!” and instantly flashed back to family trips as a kid. It was a total Mom statement, and I’m sure every mother has at least thought it. Now can we add matching outfits to the mix?! Of course we can!

I am pushing all the things that I HATED when I was a teen, and yet here I am, trying to think of fun ways to get everyone to know one another. Team-building? I STILL hate it! Put me in a group of people I don’t know, and chances are, I will slink away and die in a corner (or hide under the table until it’s over). At the same time, I think back to 17 year old me. As much as I HATED when we would play some Getting To Know You game at Camp Turk Counselor Orientation (did I always pair up with someone I already knew, and pretend we’d never met? Of COURSE I did), I also realize that AS an introvert, it is in fact sometimes helpful. Sometimes life has to be awkward AND uncomfortable, and who better to force (that is not the right word to use here. This is not a choose or die, in or out moment. This is an opportunity to create friendships that will last a lifetime), OK, to push them out of the comfort zone than someone who is already uncomfortable with everything happening in the first place. As much as I LOVE standing up and talking to groups about my love of aquatics, I’m also standing up there with the most random, squirrelly thoughts running through my head. I’M FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW!!!

Waterpark orientation 2017 WILL be fun, and they WILL learn something, and I won’t stand for grumbly naysayers. I’m going into Full Mom Mode for this one! Let the adventure begin…in 15 or so weeks (plenty of time to emotionally plan).

For the record, my mom would never EVER (EVER) push this sort of team building on anyone. She would be hiding WITH me under a table, and we would probably be discussing the best exit plan. Which door is closest, and how can we get there without anyone noticing. We would also, most likely be texting this to each other from 6 inches away, in fear that someone might HEAR us. Quick! Let’s get out of here before we’re missed!

This is the Beginning of a Whole Lot of Nonsense!

Congratulations to me! My first ever blog! And thank YOU (no, really, thank you for reading what is most likely going to be a whole lot of nonsense). My husband might also thank you, since my writing things down and sharing them with the ENTIRE WORLD, might mean that when the kids go to bed at night, I won’t just open my mouth and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, while he continues to tune out the long-winded monotony that it most of my days.

Wow, I really have a way of talking myself up, don’t I?! Aren’t you just DYING to continue on into the seriously sidetracked mind of me?!

Honestly, I should be cleaning. My kids are at school, my husband’s at work, I am alone in a moderately messy house. I have nothing but time. I mean it–I have absolutely zero motivation, so all I really have is time. And Seasonal Affective Disorder. And ADD. And Clinical Depression. And absolutely NO motivation to clean my house. Because, you know, rain. In my defense (I always have an excuse, and I like to think they are legitimate. I’m sure they aren’t. I’m sure there are plenty of people who struggle and still put their big girl panties on and fold laundry), I ALSO have a sleeping puppy who is desperate for snuggles, and a grumpy old pug who probably won’t get out of bed until some time MUCH later in the day. Nothing sucks the energy out of your like sleeping dogs. Well, sleeping babies as well, but I’m SO done with babies. I like sleep. I also like my free time when they’re off at school (you know, when I’m supposed to be getting things done and justifying this whole Stay at Home Mom thing I do).

I start out most of my days with a solid plan of what I will accomplish that day. I set my standards pretty low, so as not to disappoint myself. Of course, then activities like Leaving the House come up, which basically throws all plans out the window. That and the rain. Oh, to be a person who sees a rainy day as a chance to be inside, getting stuff done! Oh, to be a person who enjoys having a clean house MORE than she enjoys snuggling on the couch with a puppy and Netflix.

 

How can I get anything done when this girl crawls into my lap and falls asleep?!

I have now reached the point where I’ve gotten SO sidetracked, I have no idea where I was going with this in the first place. See, isn’t this fun?!

For the record, I DO work. Part time. Very part time. At a not-at-all-adult job. Yes, while MOST people become lifeguards in high school or college, as a job to pay for things WHILE going to high school or college, I decided that I would never grow up, and so here I still am. Working a job where I am at least a  decade older than my co-workers. It’s fun though! And I am able to be right here, every day when my kids get home from school.

The truth is, I was a full time Stay at Home Mom for a solid 6 years. My house was SOMETIMES clean (mainly if people were coming over. Which happens about once a year. Thankfully). I am one thousand percent grateful to Justin, my husband, not only for putting up with me, but also for providing me WITH the ability to BE a SaHM. If we were real adults, out in the real world, and he WEREN’T in the Army, my butt would definitely have to get a REAL job. For the record, Justin would make a WAY better Stay at Home Dad than I am a SaHM, but I would hands down be one of the worst soldiers in the Army. I can’t even imagine wearing ACUs in the summer in Kentucky, let alone in any country where the temperature goes up into the triple digits daily. I would be SO SWEATY!

So, you know, I’m here. Doing this. Because, why not? Maybe you will relate to my nonsense. Maybe you will think I need to find a hobby (oh my gosh I promise you, my list of hobbies is never-ending. Maybe I need to just grow up? I don’t know what I need. Does anyone though). Hopefully we can all have fun. There’s nothing more fun that this (remember? It’s raining. This is it)!