Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Ho-Bath Gone Wrong

Warning: The following blog post is for the ladies; it will make you laugh and cry and probably pee your pants a little. Depends are advised past this point. To my readers of the male variety, this blog post will contain references to personal hygiene products and tender lady parts; continue reading at your own discretion.

This is the story of a mom; a miserable mom; a miserable mom, with miserable kids; a miserable mom, with miserable kids, in a hurry; a miserable mom, with miserable kids, in a hurry, in desperate need of a shower.  This is the story of "The Ho-Bath Gone Wrong".
This is the OPPOSITE of a Ho-Bath
It was a beautiful June morning in north Texas........Okay that's a lie.  It was a hot, humid. sticky, miserable morning in north Texas.  At nine am the temperature was already 99 degrees and it was climbing fast.  Normally, I am the freak that  LOVES this kind of weather but two major things were wrong with this particular day: 1) It was unusually humid.  I love heat; I revel in heat but I hate humidity.  I can't breathe, my joints ache and worse of all my hair looks like a pile of writhing snakes, it's all kinds of curly hair drama.
2) More importantly, our air conditioner was broken.  By broken, I mean it had turned my entryway into a swimming pool with large bits of ceiling plaster floating in it (our AC unit is upstairs, above said entryway).     Gallons of water had come spewing from the ceiling.  My husband (bless his heart) determined that he and Google were up to this particular repair challenge.  I love my husband; he can do magical things with a computer, he can make them stand up and dance.  He however, is not a plumber or an A/C repair type guy.  Knowing this, I called for an estimate on what the repair was going to cost, despite his well intention-ed assertions that he "would fix this".  The quote wasn't pretty, in fact it was bleak.   I decided that maybe he and Google were up to this challenge after all; mistake 1.

 So the house was a cozy 105, swampy degrees. This was day five of  no A/C in the north Texas summer (also known as Satan's Thermostat).
If I was miserable, the boys were more miserable.  If I was cranky (and I was), the boys were MORE cranky.  We had done every single day trip I could think of in the past five days; lake trips, water park trips, wild life refuge trips, ice cream trips.  The house was trashed because we were only home long enough to eat dinner, shower and sleep on the mattresses we had scattered around the living room downstairs; heat rises, you know.  Suddenly an inspiration struck, I would bring the boys to the movies! Movie theaters are cool, movie theaters are quiet,  movie theaters entertain the boys so I don't have to.
" Dear God in Heaven, Thank you for creating movie theaters. AMEN."  I sent a quick prayer of thanksgiving for this sanity saving miracle, as I feverishly looked up movie times on my phone.  I needed the first showing of any appropriate movie I could find. I didn't care if it was The Smurfs 2 on an endless loop (I was  that desperate!).  I found a movie that the boys wanted to see and it started in exactly 50 minutes.  Now 50 minutes doesn't sound like a time crunch. However,when you factor the movie theater is twenty minutes away on a good traffic day but good traffic days had ceased to exist since they decided to do construction on every single highway, byway and side road between our house and the theater, it meant we would be lucky to make it in time if we left immediately.  This presented a true crisis.  Remember, how I mentioned it was a swampy 105 degrees in our house?  It was in the best interest of the general public that I have a shower but there was no time for even a quick shower.  But if I skipped a shower I may be considered a bio-hazard and put into bio-hazard unit for detoxification......I would have to make time for a Ho-Bath, not ideal, but a functional compromise between public safety and my sanity.  I ran up stairs where the temperature is a blistering 115 degrees, or something close to it.  I rushed through my bedroom, taking time only to grab the essentials: clean clothes, deodorant, perfume, body spray.  I purposely ignore the thousand loud "MooooooM!!!!!!!!"'s I  hear.  I try to ignore the thumps and the crashes and pray "Dear God, let them survive five minutes while I get ready!  PLEASE"   I hear my bedroom door open as I am turning on the water in my bathroom sink and stripping down for my less than ideal toilette.  "DO NOT COME IN HERE!!! I"M NAKED!! GET DRESSED, put shoes on and get along for five freaking minutes!!"  Nice mom, pleasant mom, somewhat together mom, has been replaced by a naked, raving lunatic with snakey hair and smelly arm pits.  This is not the day to mess with me!  I splash water on all the important parts, keeping an eye on the bathroom door (the lock hasn't worked in ages, we really need to fix that).  Still keeping a wary eye on the bathroom door I reach for the feminine hygiene wipes I keep under the bathroom sink. " Thank you God for inventing these public shaming savers." I whisper as I rip open the package, still looking at the door.
Then I set about my task at hand, hurriedly but thoroughly cleansing the most offending areas.  The arm pits and under boob area complete with no issue I reach for a second wipe and go to work on my lady parts, thoroughly cleaning with no real thought to finesse.  Then all the sudden it hit, this terrible burning.  My hoo-ha was suddenly being burned alive by the fires of hell.  I let out a scream, that was heard all the way down in the Devil's lair.  My ears were ringing, my eyes were stinging, I stumble over to the bathtub and turn on the cold water and sit down.  It is to no avail, Satan and all his demons were still burning the living daylights out of my tender flower.   I confessed all my sins, I pleaded with God to make it stop, I promised to live a perfect life, to never swear again, to never, yell at my precious, hellion, children again, just please GOD MAKE THE BURNING STOP!!!!!!!!
I hop out of the bathtub and dry my tears with a towel, then I see it, laying on top of the first hygiene wipe package was a second, much smaller package, one that under normal circumstances I would never confuse for a ho-bath wipe.  There sitting on my sink, plain as a day, was an open alcohol swab.  I had just thoroughly scrubbed my sweet lady parts with an alcohol swab!!!!!!
I toweled off, applied all my deodorant, body spray and perfume,all the while ignoring the hell fires that persisted in my nether regions. I quickly dressed, loaded the boys into the truck and headed to the movies, the burning slowly, so slowly, fading away.  The boys enjoyed the movie and the rest of the world continued on as if nothing had happened.  But my world had changed, never again would I be able to look at a feminine hygiene cleansing wipe without feeling the echoes of the flames of hell licking at my lady parts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Miracle,3500 Miles, the Plague, A Book and A Dance - part 1

Oh my word friends, it has been too long. I was going to apologize and say just how crazy it has been but what's the fun in that.  I am after all a story teller and the past few months are one heck of a story.  This will take a moment or two.....or twenty; so pull up a chair, grab some sweet tea, and settle in, the journey starts:now.

April first dawned bright and early, there was a buzz of excitement all around Skiffdom, today was the day we'd been planning for almost a year.  Today we were driving back to Virginia, as a family, for the first time since we moved to Texas more than six years ago.  We'd prepared for  this trip, unlike other Skiff adventures.  At Christmas, all the boys received a personal electronic gadget to keep them occupied over the long trip; each child had brought their favorite blanket, stuffed animals, books, toys, etc, in a personal bag that they kept with them at their seat.  The back of the truck was piled high with fourteen days worth of luggage for the seven of us, and Phil the cat had a pet sitter arranged.  We all piled into the truck and headed to Brookshires (the local grocery store) to have breakfast and wait for the pharmacy to open to pick up a few prescriptions.  What fun, the boys ate pastries, I bought "clean" snacks for the long hours in the truck and hubby and I sipped our coffee.  Okay we guzzled our coffee; sipped just sounds so much more genteel but there was nothing genteel about the way we clasped our mugs and downed the caffeinated ambrosia.
Finally, an hour later, the pharmacy opened and we were on the road, the bright sky and open road spread out before us.  
We were heading back east for my sister Jennifer's wedding. Normally, if there is a family function, I just hop on a plane, fly out for 48 hours and then I'm back home. No fuss, no muss.  But Jennifer really wanted the whole family at her wedding if possible. That combined with my father's recent heart attack made it important that we all travel the 1400 miles back to the state that is for lovers. 
Ah yes, my father's heart attack, here is where the miracle of our story enters.

I remember the day like it was yesterday, Sunday December 8th all of the Dallas area, where we live, was under at least 4 inches of  solid ice.  Everyone was completely iced in, a rare sight here in the land of 100+ degree summers and mild winters.  So we all sat around, watching movies and thanking God that our electricity had not gone out like thousands of others had.  It was late afternoon when my phone rang, flashing my mother's number.  I answered happily, expecting that my mom was checking in on us because of the weather. Instead it was my sister Stephanie, calling in tears, to tell me that my father had had a massive heart attack while on a plane in Salt Lake City, where he had a layover on a business trip.  
Dad had died twice, my sister relayed; once on the plane where he was brought back by a Cardiologist and a doctor who just "happened" to be on the same flight and once in the ambulance on his way to the hospital.  Things were looking really bad.  I have never felt the amount of complete helplessness that I did at that moment.  My father, the man who had always been so strong, stronger than any ten men I knew, was laying in a hospital in Utah and I had no way to get there.  The ice that had been a mere nuisance before was now a cage, keeping me trapped, far away from where I needed to be.
He stabilized over the next few days and I was finally able to fly out early Thursday morning.  My Father was scheduled to have a stint placed that afternoon, just as an emergency hold over until they could get him stabilized and back home for open heart surgery at a later date, when he was stronger.  I sat in the waiting room with my mom and four of my brothers, when fifteen minutes later the doctor came out and asked us all to follow him back to the cath lab, where my father still laid sedated, with wires hanging everywhere, a picture of his heart beating on a monitor before us.  The doctor was grim and we all stood by while he explained that things were much more dire than anticipated and my father would have to undergo open heart surgery the next morning.   My last brother and two sisters made arrangements to fly out to Utah that night and the doctors began to prep my Dad for surgery.
The surgery started before six am the next morning. We all sat huddled in the waiting room, now all eight of us siblings and my mom were there.  We pretty much took over the whole room.  We did all we could to pass the hours by, praying, playing cards, talking, praying more.  The nurses called every hour to give us an update but it was taking much longer than predicted.  Fourteen hours later the surgeon came out, so exhausted he could barely talk.  His prognosis was not good.  He said if Dad made it through the next three days he would then have a 50% chance of making it.  The days ticked slowly by, the progress slower than the doctors wanted. It was the slowest three days in my memory.  This was the first time my brothers and sisters and I had been together sans spouses and kids since I was married fourteen years before.  The one positive thing that happened was that we all drew much closer together.  One of my favorite memories of that time is my sisters and I sitting alone in the waiting room praying and singing worship songs together.  Such a poignant, sweet moment in time.
hospital and mountains in Salt Lake City
Dad made it through those three days, but when they removed the intubation tube he was not himself at all, he couldn't speak and his personality was gone.  The doctors confirmed he'd had a stroke during the surgery.  As the days passed, one by one, we all had to fly back to our families, leaving mom with my Dad.  Two days before I was to fly back our rental car was broken in to, in the hospital parking lot.  It was late and we had done a quick run into the hospital to drop food off to the sibling staying with Dad that night.  My brother Joe, who is a Maryland State trooper, was due to fly out first thing the next morning.  Thankfully he was able to stay and help work out the details of the robbery and the insurance on the rental car covered the cost of everything stolen. God was even in this, that next day my father was still pretty sedated and he seemed to only respond to Joe when he needed to eat because they were going to put a feeding tube in if he was unable to eat
Me at the Hospital in Salt Lake City
.  Had the car not been robbed Joe would have been gone and would not have been there to get Dad to eat!  My brothers and uncle flew out at different times to be with mom, so she was alone as little as possible.  The doctors were saying that Dad would probably have to stay in Utah until at least February.  They didn't know my Dad.  Once Dad set his mind on recovery, there was no stopping him.  The Meier stubborn streak has no equal and it was put to good use in this instance.  The first week of January my father was flying back to Virginia, medication ports still in his arms.  

After that dramatic crisis it was doubly important for the whole family to be together to celebrate my sisters wedding and my Dad's miraculous recovery. 
We Skiffs were excitedly driving through state after state on our way to celebrate. That first day we drove through Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and stopped in Atlanta for the night.
While in Louisiana, we stopped at Duck Commander to stretch our legs for a few minutes, it was literally a mile off the highway.  The boys liked the show, especially Benny, so it was a fun little breather.  We bought a few souvenirs, saw Willy, and grabbed some pictures.  The boys were particularly impressed with the Duck Dynasty RV's.  Then we were back on the road, driving, driving, driving.  
The boys were enjoying the trip, they were all getting along, without any meltdowns.  Talk about miracles!!!
Duck Commander
Duck Dynasty RV at Duck Commander West Monroe, LA
By the time we made it to Atlanta for the night it was 1 am and we were exhausted.  I had made reservations online at one of our favorite hotel chains, The Country Inn and Suites, once we knew for sure where we would stop for the night.
My eyes were practically held open with toothpicks when I went to check in.  The night manager was as sweet as pie but she was just confounded as to why she couldn't find our room.  It seemed Travelocity had booked us a room that didn't exist.  She was very apologetic but she only had the smaller suites; we didn't REALLY need all those beds did we? I assured her we absolutely needed ALL those beds.  She resolved the issue by comping us a second smaller suite.  All was good, we were so tired, we just wanted some beds.  I put some boys in the first room and made my way to the second room to get the other boys settled.  I slid my key card into the lock, excited to be getting to bed; I opened the door to a completely unmade bed, stripped down to the mattress and the room hadn't been cleaned.  I called down to the front desk and explained the issue, the manager apologized profusely and promised us ANOTHER room.  We all crammed into the first room to wait. Another fifteen minutes and the manager was at our door with the key card to another room.  This time Hubby brought the older boys to the room, as soon as they walked in Sam began to have an asthma attack; although it was a nonsmoking room, someone had been smoking in it.  Once again we called down to the front desk and once AGAIN they gave us another room. I would like to say I found humor in this all to Skiff hotel adventure but alas I was exhausted and irritated but at least they would have a good breakfast in the morning (my boys absolute favorite part of any hotel stay is the breakfast).  The hubby and I finally settled in for a very uncomfortable nights sleep on the pull out couch in the room with the smaller boys around 2 am.  But Breakfast was going to make it all right, really it was.
Around seven am we began making our way to the breakfast room in batches. The delightful smell of coffee and waffles assailed my senses as I walked down the hallways with the younger boys.
We made our way to the breakfast line only to discover there were no clean plates, forks, or made coffee!!! They were out of everything.  I wanted to cry, no room, no bed, now no coffee!!!  After another 40 minutes they brought in clean dishes and began to refill the depleted food trays but there was still no coffee.  I was not a happy camper.  That was the worst $130.00 we'd spent on a night at a hotel in a long time.  The hubby was in a much more gracious mood than I and discouraged my impending rant to the hotel manager. Lucky for her that I have such a good guy for a husband.  By nine am we were back on the road, making our way steadily towards Virginia.  We drove through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and finally made it my parents in Virginia at nine o'clock that night.  1400 miles, two days of driving and the boys were still doing great! 
The next day I had to go buy my bridesmaids dress for the wedding.  This is another miracle, let me tell you.  My sister was having a casual wedding with her bridesmaids in pink. Now it seems like finding a pink bridesmaids dress would be no big deal but add to that I am plus sized and we bigger women don't usually wear pink, I had one day to find it and the malls near my parents didn't have a single plus sized store!! I was truly sweating the whole dress thing.  My mom and I looked everywhere and finally ended up at Dillards where I found a casual but not too casual dress, in pink, in my size, ON SALE, and it actually looked good on me!!! Let me tell you, I was doing a happy dance because I was thinking I would be rolling it down the aisle in jeans and a t-shirt at the rate the dress shopping was going.
The rest of my days before the wedding were spent in wedding prep, while my amazing, wonderful, terrific, cannot brag enough about him, husband took care of the boys, bringing them to all our old haunts. I was sad to miss out on the trips down memory lane but I loved being a part of my sister's wedding preparations.  I worked on decorations with the girls while my Dad was busily baking my sisters wedding cake.  Five months from being brought back to life, surgery and a stroke and my Dad was not only well enough to walk my sister down the aisle but he made her wedding cake!!!!!
Martha, Mary and I working on wedding prep
Boys at General Shephard Crump Memorial Park Glen Allen, VA
Alex at Crump Memorial Park with sheep
Paul in front of trains at Crump Memorial Park
Boys at Maymont, Richmond VA
More Maymont
Maymont April 2014

The Big Day arrived, bright and beautiful.  Jennifer made a beautiful bride and her wedding could not have been more perfect.  She had her wedding at the historic Carillon in downtown Richmond.  Friends and family came from all over to celebrate my sister's marriage and my Dad's miraculous recovery.
The Boys at Jen's Wedding

My beautiful sister Stephanie and I getting in place for the wedding
The cake my Dad made 5 months after his heart attack!!

Alex and I at the reception
The wedding was a huge success; after the reception there was a huge "after" party at my parents house.  It was so good to catch up with everyone we just didn't want it to end!! The fun lasted late into the night, with hubby and many of my family playing poker.  I however was exhausted and went to bed around 9.  Sunday we visited with family and started to pack up. Our plan had been to stay in Virginia for the remainder of our trip, doing fun day trips but in true Skiff fashion we just couldn't do a "normal" near cross country trek.  Nope, on a whim we decided we might as well go to upstate New York to visit my husband's family, we were after all a mere 600 miles away!  Stay tuned for the rest of the story!!!

The picture of my whole family: brothers. sisters, spouses, grand-kids, my mom and Dad and Jen and her new husband, Hunter 4/5/2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Glimpse of Acceptance

Come my friends, pull up a chair, while I bend your ear about things unclear
Things of import, things of faith, things of beauty and things of grace
This world, of mine, so precious and dear, I wish to share
Now that you are here
I've waited a while, so let us begin
Here is my story, my friends and kin

That little poem pretty much sums up the way I see this blog.  It is my virtual living room and you are my guests.  I am a story teller, a weaver of tales and my life has given me plenty of thread to weave with.  I'm never sure what each story tapestry will look like as I begin.  I pick out a few threads and just begin to tell you the story that those particular threads are a part of.  I am always surprised what the finished product is. For this reason,  people often have a hard time defining my blog.  Is it about motherhood? Autism? A personal diary? A creative venture, perhaps?  Yes, to all those and so much more.  This blog is a series of glimpses into my life, my family, my heart and my head.  No one glimpse is enough to tell the whole story but if you step back and view all the glimpses as a whole, the tapestry of me will emerge.
I say this to clarify for some of my newer guests.  You are all welcome, I am enjoying our conversations together.

The story I have to tell today is one that is still developing.  The threads are still a bit tangled and I am still working out the knots to see my way clear to the beauty inside.  So bare with me, as I may travel a few rabbit trails, or even get hung up on a brier or two.

I have been very honest about our autism story , if you will.  It has been a huge, life changing, beautiful journey.  I am blessed beyond measure by the boys God has entrusted me with.  However  even in great blessing there can be great heartache.  The trick is to feel the heartache, accept it's reality and move on to the beauty God has.
I have alluded to the rough year my oldest son had in 2013, without giving the details.  For you to understand, I am going to give more specifics.  Paul has always struggled with high levels of anxiety directly connected with both the Asperger's and his giftedness.  In February of 2013, he had an appendectomy.  
This started  full year of spiraling anxiety (though for a long time we didn't know that was what was going on).  He spent months in pain, laying in one position on the sofa, after the surgery.  We sought out specialist after specialist, made repeated runs to the ER, had every test imaginable, only to be told they could find nothing wrong.  We had to remove him from school because he would have major pain attacks almost as soon he got there.  Over the summer he seemed to improve so we decided to give school another try.  We are so blessed to have a middle school that more than worked with us.  They twisted themselves into a pretzel to accommodate Paul but in the end he still could not handle it.  A month after enrolling him I was once again unenrolling him.  It was October, this journey had started at the end of February and Paul was continuing to shrink his world.  He now confined himself to one spot, on our sofa.  His pain-free, safe zone.  Our doctor said Paul needed to be medicated for his anxiety and sent us to a Psychiatrist.  After three and a half months and two medications, Paul is doing much better.  As a matter of fact he is slowly working his way back into school! This is fabulous news.  I cannot tell you how incredible it is to see my goofy Paul coming back after a year of him being completely paralyzed by his anxiety.
Seeing how well this had worked for Paul, we decided to bring Jamie.  As Jamie has entered the pre-teen years he has become much more difficult to deal with.  He still does not correlate his action to consequences and still has a very big problem with any sort of boundary to contain his compulsive behaviors  I wanted to get a another professional opinion.
The Psychiatrist sat with Jamie and I for an hour and twenty minutes.  Jamie did most the talking and she mostly observed and asked questions.  Jamie then left the room and she and I had a long talk.  I expressed my concern about his lack of development in several key areas.  Jamie is so advanced in other areas and has been in therapy since he was about 3.  Most of the time people think I'm crazy when I express concern that Jamie may never be able to live independently.  I think a large part of me wanted to hear a professional tell me I was an overly concerned mom and everything was going to be fine. That isn't the conversation that occurred however.
Instead the doctor confirmed that there were significant developmental concerns that she could see and that unless Jamie built some of these bridges over the next few years, I was correct in thinking he would not live independently.  She also said that his major splintering (he is highly advanced in some areas and has major deficits in others) further complicated the situation.  She was not negative at all and I thought I was prepared for this news, after all I had seen it coming.  Instead hearing my intuition confirmed, broke my heart all over again.
Friends please don't tell me that the doctor can be wrong and that he still has more years of growing and maturing to do.  I know this.  We have already overcome such monumental hurdles that we were told impossible to overcome when it comes to Jamie.  I am not giving up but you need to hear my heart here, this news just about crushed me.  Even I need a moment to feel my feelings, to scream out "This sucks!" before moving on to the business of fighting and forging and finding beauty.  
It sucked that my beautiful, talented, sweet child may not be able to drive or live independently or go away to college. It sucked enough that I broke down in tears in front of a random stranger who was kind to me.  Talk about embarrassing!!  It sucked enough that all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and cry for two days,  I didn't because life doesn't stop just because your world is falling apart.  
I called my two best friends and they listened to my heart and didn't judge me.  I cried and then I accepted it and began to move on.  This is life folks.  All the time people ask me how in the world I handle five boys, four of whom have ASD, a husband on the spectrum, both my husband and I having lifelong diseases and all the other stuff our daily life entails.  Here it is folks.  Here is the secret.  You grieve, you cry, and then you accept.  Once you accept God's plan, the why of it all doesn't matter nearly as much as the how. How is this going to work?  How are we going to plan for this or that?  In finding the how, you find the beauty of God's perfect plan, his complete provision and his amazing grace  This may read like a Pollyanna reality but it's not.  I have hard days, my heartbreaks.  I know it isn't easy, believe you me.  But in fixing my eyes on what is and not on what I wish was, I have found peace, I have found grace, and yes I have found amazing beauty.         

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Too Fat and Back- a glimpse of my journey of acceptance and healing

Hello friends!!!!  It has been way too long.  I have taken a break from my writing to focus on a few things that I was working through.  My mamma always said if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all.  Sage advice that I have followed these last few months.  I must say I have missed you all so very much.  I cannot let so much time elapse between our chats again.

Warning- this is going to be a very personal blog, maybe the most currently personal I've ever posted.  I would ask that you understand that this is my story, which I have hesitated in writing for the past year and a half.  My counselor told me that when I was ready to share, I should; that this would be healing not only for me but for others out there who have walked a similar path.  This is written not to wound but to heal.  Unfortunately, others have been a part of this journey (for good or ill); I will try my best to protect them but I will no longer be shamed into silence.

A year and half ago I wrote a blog about being fat ( read here   I thought after that blog that I had exercised my fat demons. I thought I was whole.  I was wrong.
The church I wrote about, we did leave.  The story of why is long and convoluted.  It involved a lot of hurt and brokenness for both my husband and I.  We had loved our church and the people we worshiped with.  We weren't planning on leaving but a circumstance arose that put me in a position where I could either stay silent about something I felt was very wrong or I could address it (with the appropriate people).  I, being the meek and mild mannered person that I am, tried to address it.  My thoughts on the subject were not appreciated, as I was told in no uncertain terms.  In the midst of this, heart wrenching conversation, someone I loved and respected very much, looked at me and said  "The only thing I see when I look at you is your weight".  Of all the things said that night, that crushed my spirit.  I had been fat shamed straight out of God's house and it took me over a year to be able to go back.
The person who said that to me, did me a HUGE favor (I'm not even being sarcastic).  What was said as an off the cuff, hurtful, barb, eventually drove me into counseling.  My whole life I have lived life ashamed of my body, ashamed of who I am on the outside.  I tried every diet imaginable, to no avail.  I prayed, fasted, exercised, tried to starve myself (I make a lousy anorexic, it just wouldn't take), tried to make myself throw up (it seems I have very little in the way of a gag reflex, so I failed at bulimia too), I even tried diet pills.  I berated myself and was berated by others.
The stories of what made me hate myself are numerous.  Once as a young girl, I was wearing a spaghetti strapped shirt as we went out to dinner with friends (a BIG treat in a large family with limited funds).  I was excited and thought I looked pretty cute.  While eating someone looked over at me and told me my arms were too fat.  I shouldn't wear shirts without sleeves. On my eleventh or twelfth birthday'  I was told that I was too fat to have a birthday cake; they were just looking out for me you know.  I was made to weigh myself and record my weight on a chart in our bathroom,every week, an utter humiliation for a teenage girl, already struggling with self image issues.  Grandparents, parents, friends, family and strangers all reminded me that I was a sub-par woman because I weighed too much.  I was even told that I would never get married because though I had a pretty face, I was too fat .  No man would want me; if by chance I was lucky enough that one would, he would be old and fat and just looking for someone to take care of him.
I tell these stories, not to make others look bad, or to make people feel sorry for me.  I tell them simply to give background on why that last comment, made in the bastion of the only place I had ever felt truly accepted (the church) cut so very deeply.
After a few months break, we tried to go back to church but every time we did, all I could think was that I was so fat these new people obviously were judging me and wouldn't really want me in their congregation.
It got so bad that I finally went into counseling.
young me
Let's be honest, there are a lot of things in my life that I needed counseling for.  But the one thing that became very clear was that I was deeply damaged.  I could not accept that others could love me because I felt so unworthy of their love.  My weight had literally become the barometer by which I gauged my acceptability to the world. Over several months, I slowly began to work through my issues.  I came to begin to accept and even embrace the woman God created me to be, no matter what numbers on the scale read.  I began to shop for fashionable clothes and to buy jewelry and make-up for myself.  Before I had always felt guilty if I did those things because I didn't deserve them in my mind.  I always made those things a reward I I lost ten or twenty or thirty pounds, because anything pleasurable or nice was dependent on if the scale said I earned it.   I was depressed because I could never, ever be thin enough to earn all the things I needed (forget wanted, I went for two years with a coat that was basically in tatters because I refused to buy a new one until I lost more weight). I even refused to go to MD's because I was so ashamed of what the scale said.  Once when I was 8 months pregnant with my last son, I had to go for an unscheduled appointment at the OB/GYN (we thought I was going into labor).  My normal doctor wasn't in so I got one of her partners.  He was in the hall reading my chart and looked up at the nurse and said "You seriously want me to check on her and she weighs this?!?"  I was mortified.  He didn't know I had heard him, so I smiled and politely spread my legs; knowing the whole time what he thought of me as he examined me in my most vulnerable of positions.  I haven't been back to the gynecologist since my son was born over nine years ago.  This week I scheduled my first appointment.  This is a huge step in the healing that has happened in me over the past year.
As I have learned to love the woman I am, an amazing thing has happened, I've become stronger and healthier.  I have made changes to my diet, not with the focus of losing weight, but with a focus on my over all health.  As I've made these changes the numbers on the scale have been steadily falling.  The amazing thing is that this fact is so very secondary to me.  Other people are more excited about the weight loss then I am.  To me it is the fact I was able to scale the cliff (okay more of a steep ledge) to go fossil hunting with my boys that is the bigger deal.  The fact I now have energy and creativity to make my home into the home I want my boys to love and treasure is HUGE.  The fact that I now can enjoy the holidays with my family instead of being nearly comatose from the amount of pain I am in from preparing for them, is the most treasured huge deal.
My focus has changed.  I like me, regardless of the scale.  I hope one day others who can only see my weight can come to appreciate the amazing person I am but if not, that's okay.  I am no longer shamed by their prejudice and ignorance.  I am fine with who I am and I really do like the me I see in the mirror.  I look pretty darn cute with my hair done up and my red lipstick on.  I look just as cute in my pj's with wrinkle cream on my face because who I am doesn't change because of what I'm wearing or what I weigh.  Who I am is a child of the most high God and he finds me beautiful.
Me now

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Kristine Meier-Skiff. Powered by Blogger.