Health and Wellness · Musings · Relationships · Weight Loss · Writing · WritingPosts2016

It’s Not All About Fat

I trusted doctors for years until after post-partum depression several years ago. Now I wonder which health professionals are committed to wellness and which ones are out to make money.

I’m only one person. Who am I to judge the experts who have invested their money, time, and energy to commit to serving others’ health needs?

I run into the issue of sincerity every. Single. Time. Most careers have people who care about the patients/customers they help. But also, there is no lack of greed, where a re-coupe on investment is someone’s priority. I wasn’t- (and still am not sure) what category the doctor who consulted me to seek a weight-loss solution center-falls into. People are multi-faceted, and it goes beyond how a person outwardly acts or speaks to others, regardless of profession.

There is no doubt; I wasn’t happy in the delivery of this news from the doc that I needed to face my fears about weight-loss. About a week into sadness, anger, denial, and depression over the long road I faced, I began to accept it’s not all about fat.

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Mr.Incredible and I pose for dear daughter to photograph us in (2015) 

I can’t control others’ motives for their interpersonal skills (like the good ole doc’s polar delivery that I was beyond repair aside from surgery or diet pills)-but I can control how much I let an individual’s actions and words affect me.

It’s not “me vs.them.” It’s me and why it’s so hard to let go of this fat that is slowly killing me. I wonder what I’m trying to smother out or at times if the binge-eating is a self-punishment (beyond coping with anxiety.) I have self-harmed by removing tiny imperfections from my skin (only I see them as flaws) as I discuss in a piece I’ve written on Kyrian Lyndon’s blog. Another thing to consider is, am I possibly trying to take up more space physically with my body to make up for feeling unheard or inadequate in some aspect?

I explore the possibilities and solutions on a regular basis in my quiet time.

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Me after long day of work (November 2015)

(BTW, self-harm isn’t exclusive to teens. If you need resources to help cope with self-harm, take a look at videos from Trauma Recovery University. Helpful stuff, there.)

Continuing with the doctor’s visit: There is something else here, beyond the fat. Just like the doc who had reasons I couldn’t see for a tough bedside manner-my self-talk had been so bitter and unforgiving that I’d given in to the hoplessness. I’d essentially quit on myself.

Maybe that is why I allowed myself to cry that evening after seeing the doc. My sweet husband said the most beautiful reassurances to me and continues to support my pro-activity to live healthy in a larger body. After talking with my husband, I felt better, but I knew I was in the weight-loss marathon for the long haul. I’d progressed to the point to where I knew I am WORTH the change: Something I’ve heard over and over, but until a person CONVINCES themselves, it falls on deaf ears.

(Tiny disclaimer: the remainder of this post features faith and mentions religion and how it has affected me. If you are triggered by this in some way, please do not scroll down and know I completely understand! My blog isn’t religious, but faith has been a prominent part of my life and recovery.)

My body today is not my destiny. My body is not my present or past. My body isn’t for anyone’s acceptance-my own or others. But my body is capable of progress. It is lovely and covered up most of the time because I hold it respectfully in a world where media longs to compare one body to another. I’ve learned my clothing, style, or image is for naught. Faith in my creator has taught me these truths in the way only seeking God daily can do.

A great deal of abuse I’d survived was in the care of organized religion from a young age. Some may see it as foolish to seek faith as a refuge after enduring such fear and pain. This post may seem extremely shallow to you. I’ve been on both sides. The shallow end of religion and then the side where I know God’s endless love. Because of this, there is a very clear and distinct difference in religion and God’s actual love and care for me as his child.

Only a day ago I listened to a song that touched my heart in a special way. It is Good, Good, Father by Chris Tomlin. My father and I have met after 20 years of estrangement, but nothing could have made up for his absence. The song Good, Good Father refers to God as my father. I couldn’t stop the hot tears from streaming down my face in that precious moment at 3am when I knew I was hearing “I Love You” being whispered from God straight into my heart on Valentines Day. Those words were never uttered by my earthly father, who spent his last years before retirement inside of pulpit. Those words have been muttered from me and others who I thought I’d loved and who I thought loved me. Those words finally began to sink in as I held my newborn daughter seven years ago and my marriage survives and flourishes during emotional darkness.

If a person is survived by love, what else is there? It certainly goes beyond the anger, sadness, blame, pain, and how a body looks.

May you know love each day of your life. I’m not done with the subject of love and acceptance. I understand for many of you this is quite a surprise because I’m a private person with my faith.

Back to our regularly scheduled blogs.

Have a great week.

~Laurie

Health and Wellness · Inspiration · Mental Health · Messy Muses Childrens Book Project · Musings · Parenthood

Somewhere In The Middle–Silence, Strategy, and Strength #amwriting #confidence #productivity

Bullying is an issue far and wide. Even in adulthood, there are those who still revert to the “playground bully” mentality. They are either: the obnoxious bully with a silver tongue lacing their tones in undercurrents of sarcasm, anger, and rigid perspective. (Oh, and the crowds follow, being blindly led, OR ELSE.)–or they are a single, silent, and isolated being who is afraid of being heard or seen.

As a kid on the playground, I was somewhere in the middle. I keenly observed the kids who were taunting others, taking note of the different approaches they took. Deep down, I knew I’d be a victim one day, but although I stayed mute, I wouldn’t divert my eyes from them. I was a discerning loner who learned early on that there were some battles not worth fighting.

My energy was spent strategizing a way I could be of value to those who needed it most. I kept an eye on those who weren’t as skillfully strong at fending off the bullies. The ones who would talk and end up crying. My scrawny little self may not be able to defeat a large group or individual, but I knew I had more brains than to stoop to the level of the kids jabbing and jawing at others. I learned staying mute made me unusual, but it was also my strength.

I sat next to bullied kids during class or on the bus while the other kids laughed at them. I partnered up with them during class assignments and sometimes they drew confidence from my presence though they and the bullies would look at me like I was crazy. But the bullies left them alone while I was near them.

I didn’t credit myself for being a saint and still don’t, but the values I held onto then, still resonate in my life today.

Don’t Look Down

It’s easy to get distracted by the fear in the world, and rightfully so, convenient to “feed the fear.” Here are some examples of what I’ve done to feed the fear: (A) Deny myself the right to rest when I’m “in the writing zone,” but my body is tired. (B) Said no to going to events that could improve writing because I can’t afford it. (C) Interviewed for a job that was a horrible fit–got it, felt like a failure–then immediately knew I was better at writing than anything that the new job could offer me.

[Photo credit: Design by Christer S. Rowan Photo by Darren Deans]
[Photo credit: Design by Christer S. Rowan
Photo by Darren Deans]
Notice there is no lack of effort here. Laziness is not in my repertoire. I compromised my health; lack of sleep. Finances; refusing to invest in a creative career that pays. And confidence; proving to myself I could get a job other than writing, providing a steady income–that is when my inner bully decided to dance around, isolating these situations as stone cold facts in my mind.

But they aren’t.

They don’t have to be your truth, either.

I now understand my self-worth and value will never, ever come from any outside circumstance. Also, busyness does NOT equal PRODUCTIVITY. I’ve had to take on a new perspective, recently, but it isn’t new to me. It’s envisioning myself as the bully on the playground, then asking my young self (the one who embraces the kids being bullied)–what would she do?

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Keep Living Your Best Life, Write About Those Life Things, and Don’t Stop.

I’ve had a few people ask me (they remind me those who are careful not to “feed the bears” in the zoo–a little in awe, but a lot confused): “how do you keep up with everything at home, publish short stories, and write a novella while keeping up with a blog…then also read and review other author’s books?

I sit stunned, not knowing how to explain it. Not in awe of my accomplishments–but the opposite; a little embarrassed that they’ve noticed something different in me from what they’ve seen in others.

The only thing I can sum it up to is: I view silence and resilience as wisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are not the same. There are plenty of people who know how to write, do, and are successful. But it’s in the how of their success where they are wise.

Don’t tell me how I should do it, tell me how you did it. And show me how it’s done, so I know what lasts and what doesn’t. Then the results of your work…put you in the “informative” category.

But, I have to admit, the delivery of a person’s success is vital to how my cynical mind process their presence in my life. If it is humble and respectful, yet potent and distinguishable from the crowd–then I know it holds weight.

The young girl me on the playground doesn’t shout to the world she’s done this, that and the other. She’s quite embarrassed to take credit for her hard work though others notice it. It may seem like a weakness, but this is where not giving up comes in handy. Plus, if I don’t tell people about the books I write, I don’t get paid, so there’s that, too 😉 Also:

Knowing Where I Fit In

There is no way to set standards and discern what I value without it reflecting what I see in myself, to some extent. Everyone wants to know they are valued. Perceptions of others are often mirrors to what we expect of ourselves.

Many of the most boisterous voices out there need to know they matter. But being in the background doesn’t always mean giving up. Quite the opposite. It’s what a person does during the time when others are evolving around them, openly, when they have rapid access to drawing water from their inspirational wells during the quiet time.

I cannot see past where the world wants to put me if I don’t take the time to give to myself and others. 

My morning starts with listening to motivational podcasts that are liberal enough to inspire without sequestering how I should or should not do something. Then I briefly journal to sort out my daily goals while the inspiration is flowing, noting what I had accomplished the day before. Joy comes from reading other author’s books when I’m not writing, then reviewing those books in an honest and uplifting way.

The beauty of being a newbie author is that there is still so much learning to do! It excites me to review a great book, but challenges me in my writing to deliver the same caliber stories as the wonderful books I love to read.

So, where do I fit within the grand scheme of things? SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE 🙂 Can’t say that I’m disappointed, either.

I consider myself average. I don’t torture myself over unwritten words anymore when life calls. Because when life calls, there is where the well starts filling. How else do people continue to write books, if not to some extent weaving those stories from their own lives, observing the wise ones who walk their talk, then implement that new-found wisdom to benefit their situation?

It’s simple. They (and I) don’t.

Keep writing. Keep dreaming and doing. Continue to strategize and implement. Don’t be afraid to step back, stay silent until able to grasp your true footing, and Punch Fear in The Face. Whatever you do, try not to feed your fears.

©LaurieKozlowski 2015, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful week. Stay warm! Burr….

Commenter Question of The Day: 

Can you remember an instance when what you thought was a weakness turned into a strength? 

Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Media and Appearances · Relationships · Things That Matter · Weight Loss · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Deep Gratitude Hits Home – My First Booksigning Event

 

This year has been a roller coaster. Not just for me–for many of my friends and family, for just about everyone I know. Then there is the gratitude that comes with knowing we are all not alone. We can laugh together. We can still hug our loved ones through the doubts. And those who have lost loved ones understand another’s loss–they send encouraging thoughts, offer their help, and when there are no words…simply pray healing for that person’s heart. This type of community derives from a sense of caring, compassion and being motivated to help one another knowing we are all, in some way, broken, but not defeated.

The morning after my first book signing, I awoke at 2 am to journal. Journalism is nothing new. The insomnia has to be fed in positive and constructive ways, and sitting down with pen and paper to write down things running through my head is a natural occurrence.

What was different that morning, however, was waking up in the middle of the night feeling an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.

I curled up in my robe with tea and wrote in my journal, teary-eyed and smiling. I knew this type of ‘knowing everything is going to be okay’ was beyond anything I could describe here on the blog. My heart beat with meaning, with a satisfying love, and with contentment… is how to describe it.

An author from whom I had bought several of her books had endured the death of her husband only the night before my book signing. I didn’t want to type my condolences in some thread on Facebook (though I am grateful for those who did), but I wanted to hug her.

I wrote about my first book signing, too, and what a wonderful experience it was. Not bragging, but seeing those in the community come out to buy my book. To talk with me about my book and to see, in action, what beautiful people surround me on this journey. I was overwhelmed with love and happiness at what I thought would be a room of empty chairs.

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~ Morning of book signing photo, as I wrote out an outline on flashcards for the event. ~

My sister helped to take a few pictures of friends, family, and new acquaintances approached the signing table. I had a great time speaking with individuals one-on-one. I’m not one for sitting around when socializing, especially as the guest-of-honor at an event.

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Look! No sweater to cover up those arms! Insecurities, be damned.

People showed up. More people than I ever thought possible. It wasn’t the mosh pit of a concert (thank goodness), but it was a gathering of smiling faces, a pleasant reunion with some I haven’t seen in quite a while. Even the local Italian bakery my family and I frequent made a delicious cake for the event as soon as they found out about it. My husband and daughter had surprised me with the cake only moments before I spoke to the small crowd.

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“CONGRATULATIONS!”

I hugged my husband and daughter when I saw the gift they had bought for me, and later laughed when my husband told me the pastry chef and bakery owner asked him what message to put on the cake…this was his reply: “You’re asking the wrong person. My wife is the writer and would know what words to put on there.”

As you can see, the message is simple, but still, looking at it now, it makes me smile.

The stack of books of my new novel, Serendipity Summer, soon dwindled down to small stack as people offered warm smiles, questions, book chat, and I got to catch up with a couple of good friends. My family gave hugs and congratulations as their kids were hanging out with my young daughter in the childrens part of the library. Though not everyone was blood related, I felt at home as I handed each person who showed their support by buying my book a copy of Serendipity Summer with a bookmark and the pen I signed it with. The potpourri mason jars, once filled with pens, emptied by the end of the event.

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The front book on top of the table, beside the business cards, is my original proof copy. I read the excerpt from it, and the big jar in the back, was for the giveaway of the self-spa gift set raffle.

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It was a wonderful time of celebration and beautiful memories. The morning after the event my husband asked when I had woken up. He always seems to know when something is off or if I’m going through an emotional time.

My daughter was shuffling around in her pj’s, petting the dog and yawning while my husband was turning omelets on the stove, with a spatula, for breakfast. I had a cup of coffee this time and looked at him with watery eyes as I wrapped my hands around the warm cup.

“What’s wrong?” He asked.

He stood holding the spatula, eyebrows crinkled, while my daughter and dog began to fill my lap, offering kidlet hugs and puppy kisses.

I chocked up but finally got out what I wanted to say.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

He turned the heat down on the stove eye and started towards us.

“Happy tears?”

I nodded as he embraced all of us in a big hug.