Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Self loathing and how to get rid of it. July 2, 2008

While flipping though a recently filled journaling/shopping list/sermon note/random lists book, I came upon this observation:

Does the fact that I don’t believe the Bible verse, “His (God’s) commandments are not burdensome,” reveal a serious lack of faith? The two greatest commandments, says Jesus, are to love the Lord and love our neighbors. So loving is not burdensome but it is. I believe the Bible is true and that Jehovah is God Almighty. So the wrong is with me. Why? How do I get over it?

So many wrong ways of thinking are revealed here. The one which seems clearest deals with self-loathing and personal value, something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I spent over a decade and a half of my twenty-seven years on this earth struggling with low self esteem and self-loathing. During the last six months to a year, a lot of those struggles have disappeared. When my sister asked what I had done to get over or rid of self-loathing, I struggled to answer her. There have been so many changes, both to me and around me, I wasn’t really sure exactly what happened to reveal to me, my own intrinsic worth.

The number one factor is my husband. He is my biggest fan. He’s hugely encouraging and always ready to tell me I’m wonderful and beautiful and brilliant. But I can’t share him. Wanting something to pass on to my sister and others I know, I’ve spent the last two weeks mulling over the question, “Who do you rid yourself of self-loathing when you don’t have an Israel Walker in your corner?”. I’ve talked with my husband at length, started at least one blog, and have talked with some close friends about it. The answer I’ve come to is that it’s all about belief; heart belief to be specific. What you really believe in your heart of hearts. Some things which, were you to voice them out loud, you would deny believing but deep inside you embrace them as truth.

One of the main beliefs whose dismissal has changed my view of self is revealed in this passage from my journal.

I said, “The wrong is with me.” Because I believed the Bible was true, literal and the inspired word of God and exactly as modern Christianity said it was, when it said that God’s commandments weren’t burdensome and yet I found them so, the only answer was that I had a problem. If I take myself back three years ago and I imagine a friend coming to me and explaining that she finds loving people to be burdensome and asks what to do about it, I would have answered that she was trying too hard to do it on her own. I would have advised that she rely more on Jesus to love people through her and not lean so much on her own understanding.

The problem resided in me. It was my fault. I was either not “faithing” enough or not trying enough. I didn’t have enough discipline. I was too busy seeking pleasure. Simply, I wasn’t good enough.

If I wasn’t finding joy in Bible reading, it was a failure in me. It couldn’t possibly be that bible reading wasn’t something I enjoyed and therefore not joyful. I wasn’t good enough.

Other parts of my “Christian” doctrine supported this. As a teen I was given a list of statements about my identity in God. I was a child of God, saved by grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, etc. This was how I was to build my self esteem. By realizing I was these things, I wasn’t supposed to be discouraged by the world’s view of me.

Yet, I only had this identity in God because Jesus had died for me. Without that, I was worthless, all my goodness as filthy rags.

A couple of thoughts sprang from this. If I’m a dirty rotten sinner without Jesus, (This is one of those heart beliefs I spoke of earlier. Most Christians would refute this belief but deep inside it’s what many believe and I certainly did.) then Jesus died for a loser and God loved and was willing to sacrifice his son for a world of worthless people. Jesus must not have valued his life very highly to give it up for piles of crap.

I wouldn’t step in front of a speeding bus to save a cage of hamsters. My life has more value than that. However, if they carried, within them, the cure for AIDS or cancer or depression, suddenly they have value and are worth my life.

So by believing I was worthless without Jesus, I not only removed the value of my own life, but also from Jesus’ as well.

The other thought turns to the promises of the Bible. To be honest, I’m not sure how many of these “promises” are actually Biblical but they are definitely “Christian.” You will find joy in the Lord. Your day will go better if you have a quiet time. You will feel peace when you spend enough time praying and meditating on the things of the Lord.

These didn’t work for me. Focusing on who God said I was didn’t lift my self esteem. Reading the Bible, praying, “pressing into the Lord,” none of it brought about character or behavior change nor did it even make me happy. Happiness or contentment being the safety net if everything else fails. “You should find contentment in the Lord. Be content where you are. Bloom where you are planted.” etc.

To paraphrase what Israel said in a blog, “I didn’t want to feel better about my crappy character and unhealthy behavior; I wanted to not have a crappy character and not have unhealthy behavior.”

Another thing I believed was that a wife should be submissive to her husband. I was never raised believing this made exploitation or abuse acceptable but simply that the wife was to put the husband’s needs and wants before her own. Another quote from my journal:

The Lord said to me: …Your job is to minister to Israel. You will have other ministries but right now, your sole ministry is to Israel.

I asked: How?

He says: What means a lot to Israel? A clean house? Clean the house. Your time? Give him your time. Your full attention? Give him your full attention. Your enthusiasm? Be enthused. Ask in my name and I will give it.

Jesus, I ask in your name for more enthusiasm when it comes to things that interest Israel. In Jesus name, I ask that what he finds interesting, I would find interesting.

I should change. I should mold myself around Israel. Why would God create me as me if He only wanted me to be a drone of Israel? It’s not even what Israel wanted then nor wants now.

Because I believed I was his help meet and nothing more, what I wanted to do with my life wasn’t important.

When I was a high school freshman I had an English Literature teacher who encouraged me to go to college. I said I didn’t want to, that all I wanted to do was be a stay at home mom and raise my kids (homeschooling of course) to be godly men and women. I thought I would raise them to be something amazing. Of course, if I never did anything with my talents but be a stay at home mom, why would my daughters aspire to anything else, but that’s another blog. I said “no” to college because I thought my place was at my husband’s side, supporting his dreams and his passions.

A couple of months ago, Israel found a bit of information which rocked my world. He came across a discussion about the apostle Junia(s) (Romans 16:7). There is debate as to whether this is a man’s name or a woman’s name. There is support on both sides but it leans toward being a female name. A female apostle wrecks a lot of havoc with other verses and beliefs regarding women in the church and the leadership roles they are or are not to take. Finding out that there may be biblical record of a female apostle is not what really rocked me. What bothered me was that I was twenty-six years old before I found out it was even a possibility. I grew up being taught that women should not be in leadership, until I joined the Rock, which taught that men and women are to partner in leadership but never drew upon Junia as an example. With this simple name, I began to take an honest look at some of my deep seated heart beliefs and began to reject many of them.

Around this time I also read a book called “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” and it, too, had a profound effect on me. I began to see where my self loathing had come from.

I’m fat. I’ve not always been fat but I’ve always been a big person. I have a large frame and I’ve always had a good amount of muscle. But since the third grade, or there abouts, I’ve thought I was fat. And with this fat came a whole slew of unanticipated baggage. If someone was rude to me, it was because I was fat. If I didn’t get the part in the school play, it was because I was fat. If I didn’t have a boyfriend, it was because I was fat. If I wasn’t having a quiet time it was because I was lazy (a.k.a. fat). Fat became the reason behind every bad thing that happened to me.

It wasn’t until I read Shanker’s book that I realized how unhealthy and unrealistic blaming everything on weight was. I began to ask myself where this idea of fat being synonomous with lazy, unlovable, undesirable, untalented, and worthless came from.

The conclusion I came to was startling. My religion told me I sucked. I felt within that I wasn’t really that bad and so subconsciously I found something abhorrence worthy within myself to hate. My weight was an easy target. Our culture readily agreed with my prognosis of ugliness and inadequacy so it was an easy transition to begin hating myself for my fatness rather than for the unbelievable innate worthlessness Christianity told me I had.

Letting go of the religious lies I’d been told, whether purposely or not, was the really big change; the change heralding in the rest.

During the time of belief cleansing I began to challenge my view of sex. I think I was a fairly unprudish woman with a healthy sexual appetite but when I began to see myself as someone with value, I found myself incredibly desirous of my husband. My sex drive kicked into overdrive, much to Israel’s delight. As I began having more frequent and more fulfilling sex, I felt more desired. As I felt more desired, I wanted sex more. It was a fun self propagating circle.

I began to feel sexy and beautiful. My naked form in the mirror did not induce gagging as it once had. I began to see the beauty in my full thighs and supple abdomen.

I also began belly dancing. Belly dancing is very sensual. It does not have to be sexual. I read a book, “Grandmother’s Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing,” which told of Arabic women belly dancing for and with the women in their family and community. It was a dance of life, a dance to celebrate a girl’s entrance into the realm of womanhood, a dance to ease the pain of childbirth, a dance to share with one’s granddaughters, and a dance to mourn the passing of a loved one. It was feminine and beautiful. It was full of life and vigor. It made me feel alive and graceful.

I practiced belly dancing in my living room, in front of a full length mirror, with my pants or skirt pulled low on my hips and my shirt tucked up under my bra. As I danced, I watched the way my body moved and found it pleasing. I watched the way my muscles jumped when I flexed them and saw beauty. I shimmmed and reveled in the way my belly undulated.

I started taking care of myself. I began to eat healthier. Not because I needed to lose weight. I ate healthier because I was worth taking care of and I deserved to feel more energetic and clear headed.

I started taking care of my appearance. I was worth those couple of extra minutes.

After meeting a weight loss goal (for my health I do need to lose some weight but it is no longer a life sucking obsession), I got my hair cut. The haircut and products were nearly $100 but I was worth it. I don’t have to look like a frumpy old woman.

I started studying and reading books which previously I would have overlooked as “too technical” or “too involved.” For what? My tinee-tiny little brain?

I started looking into taking college classes. I have been given intelligence and it is wrong to squander it.

We had some of the guys from Israel’s shop over for dinner. Not the crappy guys you might have heard us complaining about. These were intelligent guys. They were fun and flirty with me, which Israel didn’t mind and I really liked. For some reason, I was suddenly able to see what Israel had been telling me for years. I was beautiful and desirable. I had believed for so long that Israel was attracted to me more out of duty than out of actual attractiveness on my part. Having these two single guys, well versed in the ways of the world, find me attractive was hugely encouraging.

Because these friends, the guys and others, were not “ministry opportunities” or “prayer concerns,” we were able to just be ourselves and enjoy having friends. We enjoyed having them over and there was never any pressure to “turn the conversation to things of the Lord.” We could just be our selves and give ourselves to our friends and receive what they had to offer. Both parties left feeling rejuvenated and eager for the next meeting.

Instead of feeling quilt at the end of every night because I’d made love to Israel, wrote a blog, and made curtains instead of spending time with God, I felt happy I’d had a day so full of life.

So was my newfound self-respect and, dare I say, self love, a result of turning my back on religiousness? Or was it making friends and realizing I was liked for me? Or was it bringing my weight under control?  Or was it realizing a life half lived is one not lived at all?

I don’t know. As I said, so many things have happened and changed at the same time, I’ve no idea which was cause and which was effect. All I know is I’ve quit trying to be a perfect christian; I don’t count calories; I try to do things which bring me joy; I try to spend time with people who have something to offer me and to whom I have something to offer in return. Maybe that’s the secret to happiness. It’s working well for me and mine.

 

April Update April 24, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 6:50 am
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We went swimming last night, which was the third or fourth time we’ve been this spring. Last night was finally warm enough to be enjoyable. I don’t know if it was because the water felt so much warmer because the sun was down and the air was a bit cooler, because I jumped in the deep end first thing thus avoiding the tortureous inch by inch method I’ve used previously, or because the water was actually warmer. I guess I don’t really care. It was great fun. I’m hoping we can squeeze another swim in today. I wish we didn’t have to shower afterwards. I’d love to come home from storytime, jump in the pool, dry off, have some lunch and lay Jael down for a nap. If we don’t shower, we have time for that but with a shower thrown in, it ends up being 1:30 or 2 before she’s laid down for nap and that’s just too gone late.

What else has been going on? We are going to the Crawfish Festival tonight. Sounds lame, doesn’t it? But they’ve got a carnival/fair set up so that’s really why we are going. Jael has been so excited. It’s at the Coliseum (the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center) which is half a block from our house. Every time we pass by, which happens at least twice a day, she points and says excitedly, “There’s the fair! We are going to go to the fair on Thursday!” She’s invited every person she’s talked to in the last week to go with us. Our friend Alex is going to come with us which will be fun. She’s great.

Let’s see. Anything else of note? I broke the 230 mark. As of Monday morning (my official weigh-in day) I am 229 pounds. YAY!! So, if I am under 230 next Monday, I am scheduling a hair appointment a at a posh salon near Mobile. No, I don’t trust anyone on the Gulf Coast to touch my hair. The one place I’ve had recommended to me from a curly girl was not very friendly when I talk to them. They weren’t exactly rude but they didn’t seem super excited to be chosen by me either. So screw supporting local business. I’m going to Alabama.

 

I am fat. Fat and sexy! April 20, 2008

I’m fat. Fat and sexy. I used to just be fat, and then lately, I’ve realized that I can love my body just the way it is. I’m not a bad person because I’m fat. I’m just fat. I’m not lazy or ugly or undeserving of affection. The word “fat” carries so much negativity with it that a friend of mine will not say it in front of her sons. She doesn’t even want him to know what the word means. My daughter, on the other hand, will pat my butt and say, “I like your fat butt, Mommy.” To us, “fat” references the quantity of fat cells one has. It’s not a value judgment.

For so long, I thought I sucked. I had been told I was a dirty rotten sinner for so long, I came to believe it in a way I don’t think the church ever intended. I came to believe that without Jesus I was worthless. I believe that deep in my heart, I knew this was false and so I had to find some reason that I sucked so. I chose my weight. It must be my weight that made me suck. It became my excuse for everything. Why didn’t I have more friends? Because I was too fat to be outgoing. Why didn’t I have a better job? Because I was too fat – revealing to potential employers my innate laziness and lack of enthusiasm. Why didn’t I get the full ride scholarship to Bible college? Because they saw that I was fat and “knew” I lacked self discipline and self-control (which is a fruit of the Spirit, revealing also the immaturity of my faith).

At some point in the last three months, I’ve realized that I am a valuable person, regardless of my weight. I don’t have more friends because I don’t go want more friends. I have a few close friends and that’s the way I like it. I don’t need a bazillion friends. I need a half dozen close friends that I can call up and hang out with when I need companionship. I didn’t get the scholarship because I didn’t apply myself in school. I didn’t do anything above the bare minimum. I didn’t get a better job because I was doing nothing to better myself. I didn’t look good in pictures because I bought crappy clothes because, after all, I didn’t deserve anything better.

Since coming to believe that I am valuable, I’ve changed some things in my life. I’ve spent some money on clothes. I went jeans shopping. The pair that fit best happened to be on sale for twelve bucks but I’d have paid the full price of forty for them. I went to a consignment shop and bought some cute shirts, spending about thirty dollars on five shirts. (Notice I didn’t go to the Goodwill…because it sucks here.) I bought a sixty dollar swim suit. I spent a hundred bucks on underwear (bras and panties). I’m scheduling a “spa” day for me. The hair cut will cost about sixty dollars and the wax another sixty. But that’s okay…I am a woman and I should not hid in crappy clothes that wear out in six months. I don’t have to have a bad hair cut (or in my case, no hair cut whatsoever). I don’t have to have a fifteen dollar Wal-Mart swimsuit that I’m embarrassed to be seen in. I don’t have to wear a shirt that I’ve had for over seven years and is full of holes. I don’t have to wear jeans that fit badly. We have the money for me to dress like I respect myself and so I’m beginning to.

I no longer stress about working out. I still try to get to the gym a couple of times a week. I need to be active for my health. I’ve no problem with that but I don’t beat myself up about it. I feel no pressure to have “perfect” attendance at Curves. I don’t pay a lot of attention to what I eat. We try to buy healthy foods so there isn’t a lot of garbage to snack on but when there is, I simply try to partake moderately. By not focusing on my weight all the time, I’m not focused on food all the time and it doesn’t control me the way it once did. It’s like Israel and porn. The more he stresses about not looking at it, the more he’s thinking about it and the more he wants to look at it. If he just relaxes and doesn’t beat himself up when he does, than it’s not that big of a deal. It’s the same way with food. If I think about eating healthy all the time, than I’m thinking about food all the time and what I can’t have and then I just want to eat all the time. (Right now, I am seriously having some cravings, even though my stomach is full of lunch and iced tea and I am absolutely not hungry.)

I don’t worry about not looking like the women on TV and in magazines. A number of months ago, we watched Dove’s Evolution video, Pro-Age, and Onslaught videos, and my personal favorite, True colors.

After watching these, I realized that I had let the “industry” tell me what was beautiful. I’d been frustrated because I knew that my body would never look like “theirs” no matter how much fat I removed from it. I knew this but felt deep inside that maybe if I just did more sit-ups or regular cardio maybe I’d bring about a miracle. It was magic thinking and I’m done with it. I realized that I am who I am. I began to love my body. It’s amazing. When’s the last time you walked into a store and instead of criticizing the way the entry doors make your hips look fat, you focused on the feeling of your leg muscles as they move your body forward? Do you know that we can’t make robots walk? They’ve been working on it and working on it and are beginning to make head way but nothing beats the human body for walking. Feel each muscle as it contracts and relaxes. Feel your biceps. Lay flat on your back and move your arms above you, feeling the beauty as they move in the way you tell them to. It’s amazing.

Oh, and the average American woman is 5’4″ tall and 154 pounds. The average model is 5’11” and 117 pounds. Most of us will never, ever, ever look like a model. They are freaks of nature. You wouldn’t judge a Chevy Aveo for not being a Lexus. Don’t judge your body for not being freakishly tall and thin. You are you. They aren’t comparing themselves to you. Don’t compare yourselves to them.

Okay, so as this happens, Israel’s friends start to notice and it’s very flattering. When he worked at Pizza Hut, I knew the guys wanted me for my cookies (as in chocolate chip cookies, not a euphemism for something else). This is something new. I find out that I am, in the current shape I am in right now, desirable to other men. This sounds so funny to say because I should have known it but when your world view is skewed it affects everything. Subconsciously, I believed that Israel found me beautiful out of duty. He loved my body because we were married. To find out that he desires me because I am desirable is amazing. It was revolutionized my life. I feel so alive and so powerful. I have power. I chose to use it for good but I have power. I am not helpless. It’s part of what has given our sex life such power of late. I could be sleeping with any number of other guys but I’m not. I’m giving something of great value to my husband every time I choose him. And vice versa. He’s giving me something great as well. We are mutually choosing to be with each other, not out of desperation or duty, but from free will.

This has also affected how I spend my time. Since realizing that because I was fat did not automatically make me lazy and undisciplined, I find I don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things I’d like. Unlike before, where I spent too much time watching TV and movies and playing stupid games on the computer, I now don’t have enough time because I’m reading books that teach me things and reveal things about the world at large. I’m writing more (obviously). I’m researching things that are important and/or fun. I’m learning German. I’m trying to learn to belly dance-which is a ton of fun. If I can find a class here and then one in Germany, I’m going to be so psyched! My house is cleaner because I’ve realized that being fat does not mean I’m dirty and slovenly. It’s not necessarily less cluttered because I’ve also realized that there are more important things in life than having a clean house. My quality of life is improved by a clean house. It is more improved by reading lots of books and listening to lots of different music. But I can clean the house in about thirty minutes now, instead of the two or three hours it used to take me. I am comfortable throwing things into the closet to deal with another day (probably the day we move) because it doesn’t mean I’m a fat, disgusting, slob. It just means I’ve more important things to do then stress about where that pile of knick-knacks should go.

I think what I’m trying to communicate is this: it doesn’t matter what your weight is. It matters what your state of mind is. Example: if, a year ago, someone had taken me out and bought me really expensive, well fitting clothes and given me a “make-over,” I would not have been transformed. I would not have been happy with the clothes. I would have still looked “fat” in my eyes and it would simply have reaffirmed what I dreaded to be true: even with expensive, great clothes, I was still ugly. Until I felt beautiful within my own skin, I would never feel beautiful on the outside.

I just finished “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” by Wendy Shanker. A lot of my mental changes have come about because of this fabulous book. If you receive this book from me for Christmas, do not be offended. Everyone, fat, thin, zitty, short, tall, curly haired, big-nosed, apple bottomed, bow legged, has something to learn from her insights. If you have something you feel insecure about, you can learn from this book. If you are completely satisfied with yourself, good for you. You still need this book. It will give you insight into the heads and hearts of those of us who are working on self contentment.

 

Beaches March 31, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 8:09 am
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The beaches here are so much cleaner than last year. They’ve worked really hard and I appreciate it. Now, I am not saying that our beaches are nice but with what nature has given them, I think they’ve improved the beaches a lot since last year. Because of the islands off the coast, we don’t get real waves here and so the beaches don’t get cleaned naturally. When it rains, the whole sandbar which is Biloxi, drains into the Gulf, which is about two feet deep the first 1/2 mile or so out. So the beaches have a lot going against them.

Where as last year, the sand was filled with debris, supposedly from Katrina, this year, the sands are fairly free from crap. The water line is still yucky but like I said, I think that’s due to the storm run off as much as anything else.

So anyway, Jael and I went to the beach yesterday. It was a lot of fun. She played in the surf and sand while I laid out in my new swimsuit.

My new swimsuit. The first time I’ve ever spent real money on a swimsuit. I think I spent $28 on a suit in highschool. Since then I’ve probably spent about that much on the last two suits I’ve bought, both from Wal-Mart. This year, I decided I didn’t want to feel nasty in my suit. We have a pool and are a 1/4 mile from the beach. I figure I’m going to be spending a lot more time in my swim suit than I have since we lived at Knightsbridge. So I spent $60 on a two piece tank suit. You know that kind, it covers everything that a one piece covers but it’s in two pieces. I really like it. Because it’s not snug against my belly, it smooths the appearance there. It also has a skirted bottom, which, because it’s not connected to the top, hangs better and freer than others I’ve tried. It was totally worth it. I actually felt attractive in my swimsuit. I don’t know that that’s ever happened to me before. It was very exciting.

But…I got a little burned again. If I make it through life and never get skin cancer or have a skin cancer scare, it will be a miracle and of no credit to me. To be fair, I don’t think I could have gotten sun screen on my back in the places I burned so I don’t think I’m completely to blame. Of course I could have worn a t-shirt but what’s the fun in that?

 

Character Flaws and What to Do About Them March 4, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,parenting,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 12:49 pm
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I would like to write but I’m having a hard time nailing down a certain thing to write about. I’ve been researching home birth and have stumbled across a nest of rabid anti-homebirthers. You think homebirthers are crazy? Check out the opposition. They are crazy, too. I mean, they’re really out to get DEM (Direct Entry Midwives). Calling names, slandering, bickering, skewing of statistics, commenting on every article regarding homebirth on a blogsite. Yeah, they’re nuts, too. That’d make a fun blog but it would take a lot of researching and I just don’t have the time.

I talked on the phone with a friend for about an hour about discipline and spanking and general parenting. I would like to write about theory of parenting; each family must find the methods that work for them; consistency is always good; spanking vs. not spanking; how much do you let the expectations of others affect your parenting style, etc. But I only know what’s worked for us and I don’t really feel ready to back up anything. All I can do is spout about what I think. I don’t really know anything.

I’m also reading this interesting book called “Odd Girl Out.” It explores the bullying and cruelty of girls. It’s horrible scary. I’m realizing, first of all, that I really didn’t have, and still don’t have, any idea what’s going on in other females’ heads. It’s made some things I’ve gone through make more sense and has made the way I parent a little different. But I’ve not finished it and so don’t feel like blogging about it yet.

I’d like to write fiction again but I don’t have any stories fighting to get out. I’d kind of like to explore Mystique‘s mind again and maybe even continue the story I started with her. I think, if I do, I’m going to have to do Chapter 2 over again. I don’t like where I was taking the story and I don’t think it really worked.

Oh, I thought of something I might blog about. Israel helped me come to a revelation about myself. I want the end result, right now, and am unwilling to do the work to get to the result. Example: I started studying German and thought, seriously, that I would master it within about nine months. Certainly by the time we got onto a transAtlantic flight. So, when I hit a spot where learning German was no longer easy, I quit. I wasn’t going to be a German linguist in less than a year and so I gave up. That’s not cool.

Another example: I want to write. I want to be a good writer. I bought a book and started working through it. I never said this but in my heart, I thought that by the time I worked through the book, I would have a completed novel ready for publication. Naturally, that wasn’t going to happen. But I didn’t understand that so when I got to a chapter that was hard for me, I shut the book and haven’t opened it or my writing notebook since. Again, that’s not cool.

There have been a few things that I did master quickly. And grew bored with them just as quickly. Embroidery was easy. I made a beautiful Christmas quilt. I embroidered nine different Christmas pictures onto remnants from my wedding dress (Windsor satin) and then framed them with some Christmas material and sewed them into a quilt. I did it in about two months. The last three or so pictures I did were done so well and the stitches so small and perfect that it did not look as though it had been done by hand, by someone who had only learned the skill two months previously. And after I finished the quilt, I’ve never picked up an embroidery hoop since. I have no interest what so ever. I’ve mastered it and so I’m bored.

I can’t think of a single thing that I’ve really strived for that I’ve not given up on because I wasn’t an expert immediately. I wanted to train horses and when I got bucked off, I quit. I wanted to crochet and when I couldn’t make a mitten, I quit. I wanted to be a photographer and when I didn’t blow my teacher away with my innate talent, I never took another class.

So, what do I do? How do I change a character flaw that has plagued me for as long as I can remember?

I think the first thing for me to do, is to admit that I am not a prodigy. I must decide that something is worth the work of working. I need to put my nose to the grindstone and tough it out instead of taking the easy way out and quitting.

I’ve made a plan with weight loss. I’ve set a series of goals for myself. I’ve got about eighty pounds to lose. I’ve made a chart with fifteen pound increments marked and at each goal, I am rewarded with the noted reward. The first goal is 230 and I’ve only another five pounds to go before I meet it. When I meet it, I am going to get my lip pierced. When I hit 215, my eyebrow; 200, hair cut; 185, tattoo; 170, two piece swimsuit; 160, belly button piercing. I know that losing about a pound a week is the ideal amount for long term results so that’ where I’m aiming. This means I’ve a little over a month to save up for the first piercing and another fifteen before the next. Then I’ve got over six months before the tattoo, which will be expensive. So, by setting these goals, not only have I spelled it out for myself that I’m not going to be wearing a size 6 at Christmas, I’ve also set up goals that encourage me to keep working even when the going gets tough.

Unfortunately, learning German is not so quantifiable as weight loss. It’s not like I can say, “When I’ve learned 10% of the German language, I get a day at a spa. When I’ve learned 20% of German I will get a manicure. It just doesn’t work. It’s not measurable.

My quest right now is to figure out how to stay on task even when it’s not fun in order to have the fun of mastering a hard thing. I believe it is very important to enjoy life and live life to it’s fullest. I don’t believe it’s good to do thing you don’t want to do. It’s important that you reap happiness or joy from the things you spend time on. Time is one of those things you can never get back and it’s paramount that you love as much of your time on earth as possible. That said, it’s also important, at least for me, that I have more to show for my life than a bunch of immediate and temporary pleasures. I will really enjoy knowing another language. I will reap many, many rewards and benefits and warm fuzzies from being being able to converse with German’s in their native tongue. I will gain much pleasure from reading Wolfgang Simson’s Houses that Change the World in the original German. I think I will enjoy knowing German more than I would enjoy goofing off for four years but when I am presented with the choice of playing or studying, playing seems so much more valuable.

I don’t think I’m going to come to any conclusions today about all this. As Israel likes to say, “There’s nothing to do but to do it,” and I think he’s right. I must remind myself of the ultimate goal and acknowledge that it will be a process to get there and not an instantaneous transformation.

 

An Update on Evil Psychotic or Bad Management February 26, 2008

Shortly after posting my previous blog, I received a phone call from my apartment manager. Michele was incredibly professional, almost friendly even. She let me know that the bookkeeper (who’d been out most of last week) had got back into the office yesterday, spent yesterday playing catch up, and gave her a call first thing this morning. They were prepared to send us our refund. Michele wasn’t sure if they were going to send it out right away or if they’d send it out with the rest of the bills on the tenth of the March. If we haven’t received our money by the 13th or 14th of March, we are to give her a call and see what’s up.

I wish so much that I could have heard that phone conversation. I like to imagine she got a royal chewing out. I’m a little concerned at the maliciousness of my thoughts. I wonder if I’ll still have this attitude towards skinny obnoxious women when I’ve reached my weight loss goals? I don’t have a problem with thin people. My good friend Chris is about a size 4 (I guess. I’m terrible at guessing sizes and so, Chris, if I’ve horribly misguessed, please don’t be hurt. You look great regardless of what size I think you are.). However, she had to lose thirty pounds before she got there and she works out regularly to keep her body fit. I only have a problem with thin people who didn’t work for it and then judge those who have to work to be fit.

Anyway, the “check’s in the mail” so that’s good news. I apparently need to forgive Michelle and Amber for being rude to me as I’m harboring a grudge which I don’t like. I like to be nice. I’m fat. I want to be fat and jolly, like Santa Clause. I don’t want to be fat and grouchy, like Jabba the Hut. Next time I refer to my apartment management team, hopefully it will be without the resentment I’ve expressed here.