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Something is changing in how others see me…

Back in November I made a decision.  It was one that has changed my life in a lot of ways – in some ways I’m still uncovering.  The biggest unexpected change was the weightloss, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that.

I have had a long battle with both my physical and mental health.  With Fibromyalgia and it’s host of associated issues (IBS, TMJ, and others) my body has rarely allowed me the freedom I crave.  But it had gotten to the point where I had to do something.  It hurt to move, it still hurts to move…  but it hurt laboriously so.  I couldn’t keep up with my daughter, and I had far more bad moments than good.

Now!  It’s important to note, that while my body may not have FELT good physically, I loved my absolutely FLABulous self.  I loved my curves, my bends, my plump, fantastically round self.  I was glorious in my fatness. 

This was not about losing weight.  This was not about fitting into societies view of what can be considered PURDY.  In fact, my desire to do better for myself had NOTHING to do with how I looked.  In all honesty I was shocked when my clothes stopped fitting.

I don’t know what I expected…  honestly.  I mean.  I knew my body would change somewhat.  I figured my clothes would fit better and that I’d lose some weight.  But I figured I’d probably drop from my 188 lbs to about 160 and that things would just fit nicer.  The end. 

I was working out daily for 45 minutes to about an hour for several months and tracking what I was eating, making healthier choices.  I never cut out any foods.  If I wanted it I ate it (and still do).  But I don’t need to eat an entire bar of chocolate to get that marvelous high that comes from allowing a perfect square of chocolate to melt away in your mouth, it’s gooeyness spreading through every crevice filling your senses with it’s delectable self.  In fact, I eat between one and three squares of chocolate a day.  LOL  I love it – especially when it has something salty in it too, like a peanut or pretzel or popcorn.  Mmmmm….  so I’m not about to deny myself that pleasure.

Even now that I’ve moved into what I consider “maintenance” mode, I am still losing weight.  And I truly am not sure how I feel about it.  Like I mentioned.  I LOVED my fat self.  Fat is beautiful.  This body of mine now seems strange and odd, and I’m not entirely sure it’s mine or how to embrace it the way I did before.  I’m sure I’ll get there…  but I haven’t yet.

It’s an odd thing.  Being secure in yourself.  Loving yourself…  and then changing so much.  I’m still FLABulous on the inside – but people look at me differently now.  In the span of the 20 minutes it took me to drop the girl off at the library for book club until I walked home and started blogging I was checked out by two people.  And, okay…  I got checked out before too.  And it was the nice subtle “yeah she looks hot” nod I’d get, respectful, but with a little hint of the good kinda bad.  I got one of those today.  I like those, I think most people do.  But today I got checked out in the creepy way that makes you want to rush home, lock your door, and have a searing hot shower to wash the scary grossness away.

I didn’t worry for my safety or care how others saw me when I was bigger.  Now, someone like the guy in his classic car today…  who stops close enough to the curb that he could have hit you, and then drools over you, memorizing your body and the way it moves as you cross the street in front of him, locking you away in his horrifying spank bank?  Now people like that make me feel fear.  And that is SOOO not okay.

In a quest to get healthier, to keep up with my seven year old (yeah, she turned seven this July… mind-blowing, right?), to play and run, to go on hikes, and carry arms full of treasures, and backs full of growing girl…  and to do it all at the same time.  Somewhere in these awesome wonderful goals I have also opened myself up to those who leer, ogle, and make one feel small and afraid.  It’s a pretty shitty thing to realize about our society.  And I knew it all along.  I had just figured that things were getting better, but they aren’t.  They really aren’t.  They aren’t better at all.

So here I am, 45 pounds less of a person than I was before, feeling things I don’t remember how to feel.  And it’s time to walk back to the library to pick up my daughter from her book club.  I need time to process, but I’m a Mom… time to process is one thing I don’t have.  I’ll continue.  Because that’s what I do.  And I may not be as FLABulous as I once was, and people may have started looking at me differently, devaluing my personhood pushing me into a little spank-bank in their brain, but I’m still the same fabulous me.  I just need to learn how to live within this new body and appreciate her for what she is… because who she is hasn’t changed.

I am Supermom!

Sing with me now:  “I am…  I am Supermom.  And I know what’s happening.  I am…  I am Supermom.  And I can do anything.”

I read a blog post today that I had to come share.  It started out saying:

Look, I know the areas in life where I excel.  It unfortunately doesn’t involve me being a size two and wearing the most. stylish. boots. you ever did see.  I will not be doing a triathlon, I’ll be the one over there handing out water and cheering you on while eating a muffin.  My house isn’t ever company ready.  Just move that pile of Legos, I will make dinner.  I can make you laugh, I can make you think.  I am a great friend.  I am amazing in bed.  I like the woman that I have become.  I can also throw a party like you wouldn’t believe.

My name is Michelle and I throw “Pinterest worthy” parties for my children.

I don’t think this makes me a shitty mom, a superior mom, or that I have too much time on my hands.  I assure you, I do not.

I also don’t think it makes you a shitty mom for NOT throwing parties like that for your children’s birthdays, having a spotless house, and working full time.

I encourage you to check it out here:  http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

The whole point of the post was what I’ve always said, that our priorities and skills may be different, but that doesn’t make any one of us better at being a Mom than the rest of us.  That it’s time we supported one another, cut each other some slack, and honestly do the same for ourselves.

The author goes on to say that she is NOT Supermom.  But you know what?  She’s wrong.  She’s totally Supermom.  Just like you and I.

We are ALL Supermoms.  I mean honestly!  Think about it!

Today, I’ve already walked back and forth from my daughter’s school three times, and I’m going to do it one more time before the day is through.  And yes, one of those three times I seriously contemplated stripping down to my skivies and laying on a neighbour’s lawn because the heat was so freakin’ unbelievable (35 degrees, insane).  But taking the time to make my daughter feel safe and valued?  That makes me Supermom.  Does it make those Mom’s who’s kids are in daycare or who have to eat lunch at school less super?  Hell no.  It just means we’ve made different choices about how best to parent our individual families.  And that’s totally okay.  Being a Mom is tough.  It’s not for everyone (and kudos for those of you who recognize this is not the life for you BEFORE you end up in the middle of it).  There’s a whole lot of judgement out there for the things we do or don’t do… but come on.  At the very least we should be able to count on our fellow Supermoms for support and appreciation.  We all rock pretty freakin hard!

I am not ready to give her up!

It may be ridiculous, but all I can be right now is sad.

Summer hasn’t even started yet, and already it’s too short.  Two months?  That’s barely enough time to picnic, forget finishing our unpacking, fixing up the house, gardening, heading to the lake, and all the other things we want to do.  We’re going to blink and it will be time for school again.

Autumn used to be my favourite time of year.  I loved the weather, the leaves, the fact that most folk stopped coming to the lake – leaving it just for us…  I loved everything about it.  Now I’m dreading it.

Autumn this year means my baby is leaving me.  And the kicker?  I’m the one who convinced her to give grade one a try, she wanted to stay home and have me teach her.  But Ms. Jackson, the grade one teacher at Mayfair?  She’s fabulous.  Is so obviously passionate about her kids, and I just know Lily-Ann could learn so much from having her be a daily part of her life.  I’m just so not ready to give her up.  Not even close to ready.

Moving from Pre-k to Kindergarten was hard enough.  I still miss our Friday afternoons.  But the idea that come Fall I will only have my girl for a few hours every day???  It’s just too much.  I honestly cried myself to sleep last night.  It’s ridiculous, I know.  I can’t help it though.  I am not ready to give her up.

We haven’t even started Summer holidays and already I’m depressed and upset over Summer coming to an end.  How the heck am I going to make it through?  There isn’t enough time in the world to prepare me for giving up my daughter full time to the school system.  Can’t she go part time?  Honestly?  Truly?  Is that an option?  Because THAT would make it all better.

A Woman’s Razor, a Tool of Oppression?

When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day.  The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it.  I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.

As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency.  I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears.  But I still shaved and moisturized.  It was part of being a girl.  We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.

Then I became a Mom.  And yes, even then I shaved my legs.  By then it was just one of those chores you do.  Going swimming?  Better shave.  Wearing shorts or a skirt?  Better shave.  Just part of the self-grooming routine.  Something I didn’t think about.  Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are.  Not all Women shave.  In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so.  My daughter believed this until she was three.  Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave.  That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.

Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one.  But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency.  It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice.  We don’t have to shave.  We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.

I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride.  And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on…  but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.

She has options and choices.  We all do.

Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it.  Sometimes, that’s what we need.  Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into.  Something to bring us back into personhood.  A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun.  Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves.  And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.

my hairy leg out in the sun

Out working in the yard, clearing away the Winter ick. My hairy leg enjoying the Spring sunshine.

Craft Crazy!

This time of year I tend to be on crafting overdrive.  Far too many projects and not nearly the time needed to comfortably complete them all.  I love it anyway though.  🙂

MLP ATC

A My Little Pony Artist’s Trading Card for the Trading Post. The theme was “holiday specials”, which is why Frosty is stuck in the corner – clearly I didn’t feel adventurous enough to sketch him myself.

It used to just be me, crafting all by my lonesome… but now that Kid Kid is five, she’s in it right along with me.  It’s awesome to see how well she’s doing to, in so many mediums.  Embroidery, sewing, painting, drawing – and that’s just today.  We still have planting, baking, decorating, packaging, more painting, more embroidery, more drawing, and a buttload of sewing still to go.

paint covered pants

Paint covered play clothes. Crafting is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I wish I could share all the projects, but some of the folk who are on the receiving end of our efforts may stop by the blog, so we gotta keep it all under wraps.  I gotta say though, as artsy fartsy as we are, all this creative work is absolutely exhausting.  It is with great relief that we welcome bedtime tonight.

falling asleep on a bed full of stuffies

The girl and Sweets (the old man chi) drifting off to sleep as Daddy reads… a bedtime well deserved after a day of working hard.

Easy and Inexpensive Ornament for the Holidays

It’s been another long day.� So it’s been a long week.� I was sick.� Our old dood, Sweets (the Chihuahua) was sick.� Puppies spent the day at kindergarten.� More plumbing trouble.� Girl didn’t hardly sleep last night (so neither did Mommy).� So yeah.� I’m beat.� I’ve got nothing left in me to write a blog post.� So here’s something cute from another MomWriter friend of mine.� A super cheap and adorable little angel ornament you can make up for all your kids friends, teachers, and family members:

Easy and Inexpensive Ornament for the Holidays.

via Easy and Inexpensive Ornament for the Holidays.

Our mother’s day

I’m kinda tired and I don’t much feel like telling a long story. So I figure I’ll just share a few snapshots from our day.

A dandelion bouquet, my first of the season.
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The girl’s frozen yogurt.
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My frozen yogurt. Gotta love a trip to the yogurt bar.
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The kid and I wearing the matching necklaces I made for us from the strawberry charms I’d commissioned from Nanashi-no.
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The treasure box the girl and I made for my mom… Upon which she placed her little mouse figurine after putting it on the big window ledge in the kitchen.
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Lily and her cousin, eating spaghetti out on the deck, enjoying the sunshine and one another’s company.
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The picture the kid drew of me “in a princess dress” right before bed.
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Now… I’m posting this with my fingers crossed, as I’m doing so from my phone. Hopefully it works and the formatting isn’t all goofy. LOL

Sending out tons of love to all the moms (to both skinkids and furkids) and would-be moms. You’re all awesome! We may make different choices, and parent in different ways, but we all make the best choices we can for our individual families… It’s not always easy, and it takes guts, but it’s so worth it. Happy Mother’s Day!

Domestic Goddess I Ain’t

My brain is swimming tonight, and I’ll admit, that makes it hard to decide what to write about.  I’ve just got so much on the go right now that it’s difficult to focus on one thing.  I spent the day on the phone with several different people.  I also spent a little while at the girl’s school – putting feathers in the hair of her teachers.  I worked on one of the scrapbooking kits I’ll be selling when my design studio launches at Polka Dot Plum.  And I thought my way through a couple things I’ll be needing to make decisions on soon.

Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess Image by MinxGrafix

When I look around the house, it doesn’t really look like I did much today.  And that’s the one curse of the work-at-home mom.  My day was incredibly full and busy, and I spent it almost all at home…  but looking around me?  You’d think I’d been eating bon bons watching stories on the tele.  😉  You know what though?  I’m okay with it.

I had a full day.  I have a full life.  And one day, when things are not so busy, when I’m not focused on being a mom, a professional, and an activist all at once?  Then maybe my house will look like a sanctuary of cleanliness…  probably not then either though.  ‘Cause I’m sure I’ll be busy just having fun with my man.

Our Family Portrait

As a photographer I’m usually behind the lens, so when it came time for me to decide on a Yule gift for my husband I thought that I have a family portrait done…  but a portrait of the non-photographic kind.  And right about this time, a fellow artist had shared that he was having some financial woes and could really use a few commissions.  His style was a perfect fit…  very heavy on line, graphic in nature with a grungy flare.  Ideal for an unusual and memorable family portrait.  So I sent a message off his way.

I have to admit, I’ve been dying to share the results of all our back and forth.  I think it’s pretty fabulous, but I had to wait until after Yule – as I couldn’t very well blab about my husband’s gift before he’d received it.  But now that the Solstice has come and gone?  I have to share!

Our Family Portrait - drawn by "gravitiational tim"

So, my thanks to Liam (aka gravitational tim) for all his work, and for his patience with my nit-picky perfectionist nature.  I’d say it was well worth it.  How many families have a portrait as cool as this one?  I’d venture to guess there aren’t many.  😉

Grrrlz R Awesome – a photography preview

So, I’m all caught up and am able to resume running my photography business how I’m happiest.  Only a few shoots a week – which means I can edit those shoots in the same week.  I am decidedly a much happier photog when I don’t have to keep my customers waiting on their photographs.  🙂

Today I got to work with a delightful Mom and her two daughters.  We really did have a lot of fun.  Belinda was a little nervous about our shoot, and had been stressing a little during the week leading up to it.  But I can safely say that shortly after getting started she hit her stride and did fabulously.  Her and her girls were a blast – and the resulting photos are evidence of that.

So Belinda!  Thank you for the wonderful afternoon.  It was a pleasure working with you and your girls.

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