Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memory Reflections

“I barely recognize my own reflection.” This is a line in a song I heard that caught my ear this week. The last 3 days I have spent reflecting and remembering. This weekend was my 30th year high school class reunion. I started my preparations for the reunion on Thursday. I dug my yearbooks out of my “hopeless” chest. I didn’t want to face people and be totally in the dark as to whom was who. I found my yearbooks from 7th-12th grades. I found my group class pictures for kindergarten, 1st & 4th grade. I looked at the pictures and read the “autograph” sheets. As I looked at the pictures, I chuckled some. As I read the words printed by classmates and teachers, I was astonished by them. I wondered just who they were talking about. Some I wondered just who they were. Names I didn’t recognize were scribbled below a nice sentiment. Some names were first names only. I guess we thought we would always be able to recognize that handwriting and signature. I was astonished by the sentiments because I certainly don’t remember me that way. I don’t remember the school days the same way they were portraying it. The reflections they were providing were not the reflections my memory held.

It would appear I was the class clown in many entries, even by teachers. I was the lunch table entertainer. I just don’t recall it that way. Actually I don’t recall much about school except feeling awkward, out of place, and struggling to feel like I belonged. According to many entries and many recalled stories at the reunion itself I was the one who always had a smile on her face. I was the one that always brought a laugh to the table and made people feel “at home”. I was “a ray of sunshine”. One gal at the reunion blew me totally away with her memory of me. She was a gal I never felt liked me, always tried to make me feel unworthy and unwanted. She said she was always in awe of me because I was always so positive, always had a smile on my face and always put people at ease. WHAT? I wasn’t that at all. I was shy and tried to remain on the side of the stage. I heard several talk about my dry humor that snuck up on them, bit them and infected them with laughter. Evidentially I was a decent dancer. I felt like I had 3 left feet and no green thumbs. How can someone dance with 3 left feet? I can remember going to dances and dancing, but I sure don’t remember being a good dancer. Today the only thing that has major moves when I dance is the skin under my arms. Back then according to the entries on the autograph sheets, I guess several guys wished they would have been able to dance with me. Well, I think, why didn’t you ask? I guess they thought the guy I went to the dance with was the only one I was supposed to dance with. Anyway, it was a real eye opener to read what people said during an awkward time in life for any person. Growing up is not easy for the majority. To listen to them reminisce at the reunion was an eye opener as well. They reinforced everything I read on those autograph sheets. So maybe I was what they remembered me being. Sure wish I had the same memories.

At the reunion I pulled out the 7th-12th grade year books along with the group class pictures for kindergarten, 1st & 4th grade. It was so much fun to watch everyone look, laugh, remember and share. The elementary sheets spurred people to go find people in their elementary school. In Abilene there were 4 public schools and 1 Catholic school for grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. So for 7 years you went to school with the same people. Then in 7th grade all 5 schools consolidated into one Jr. High/Middle School (7th & 8th grades). Then on to High School (9th-12th grades). New friendships were formed in 7th grade, then again in 9th grade with different people older than you. Many of those friendships pulled you through your senior year. We gathered in our elementary school groups for a school picture, then into one large group for the graduating class. I thought how so many people from similar walks of life from the beginning, to so different walks of life in our adulthood were formed once again into one big common group. We had survived life in different fashions, different avenues, different modes, different life paces, different consequences and outcomes; but we had survived! And here we were sharing a common theme, even if it was just for one weekend. It didn’t matter if you were popular, pretty, talented, athletic, musical, outgoing, shy, a class clown, straight, gay, entertainer, intellect, or whatever; what mattered was you survived and had a story to tell. You mattered!

Yeah, I barely recognized my own reflection as presented through the eyes of people who probably had a clearer perspective than I did. Much of it wasn’t a familiar reflection to me, but I have to trust the printed words and the reminisces of the “masses” and believe it to be true. Maybe I wasn’t so alone growing up in the school system. Maybe I wasn’t so different from the next person. Maybe I made a difference to someone within my reach all those frustrating growing years. Maybe I still make a difference today. I sure hope so.

Means you can't change the modifications or complications that come with maturing,
you might as well laugh about them.
~Patsy Clairmont paraphrased~

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is the Cost

What is the Cost?                            

This week I am not thinking about just my weight loss journey. I am thinking about life in general. Many of my thoughts were in my head before going to church this morning. Many of them were expanded because of the worship time and then the message. It still amazes me how I can be thinking about something and Dave's message will expand my thoughts to greater depths. God truly uses him to speak to me where I am at the time. I think that is called divinely inspired.


I think about how my weight issues must be balanced with every other aspect of my life; my friendships, my thoughts, my desires, my actions, my need for happiness, my need for the even keel. My weight issues are a part of me, but just a part. There is a balance to everything in life. Even the earth is balanced in order to remain afloat. I think about the "what if's", the "how about's", and the "it is not…, but…"


Do I hear what it really is or do I hear what I "need" it to be? Am I ready for the answer and for what it will really take? Will it depend on how comfortable it will be to pay the cost? Am I willing to turn from the familiar to gain the benefit, the health, the happiness, the joy? Am I willing to walk through the process and keep up the steps, even though they can be tiring and the feeling of the challenge can be scary? Sometimes it is easier to feel horrible than it is to deny the familiar.


I think of coping skills and how the familiar can be so comforting compared to changing, even knowing the changing will bring bigger benefits in the long run. This week I struggled with eating some things even knowing they would make me feel horrible. Even though I knew the outcome would be uncomfortable (physically as well as emotionally) I still chose to side with the familiar instead of work the challenging.


Something Dave said today made me think "what is unavoidable pushes us to become knowledgeable to sustain ourselves, not necessarily for the value of the unavoidable". It is unavoidable that I will want to eat things I shouldn't, because I enjoy the taste. Even though often the taste isn't as good as I remember it being. It is through the knowledge of the outcome that I must base my decisions for my actions, not on the feelings of the moment. I must remember at the moment what those actions have shown me to happen in the past. Therefore my decisions are activated. I don't know if this makes sense. I sure seem to be able to over-look the inevitable misery for the instant gratification. There lies the need for balance.


Jesus said "Seek ye 1st the Kingdom of God". Why is it I try to balance out everything? Why can't I remember in my moment of "weakness", that all the strength I need, is in whom I should seek 1st? Why is the need for balance, how I justify not seeking God first? Why do I think I have to do it all on my own before I reach out to Him? Is it because the familiar is more comfortable than that which feels unnatural—seeking help 1st? God must be everything to me, not just one of the things that mean something to me. If God means everything to me, then everything will fall into place.


Where is my safety net? Where do I place God? What is the cost?


God can free us from our past; from our familiar, to His healing. He is the safety net.



"Moments of joy will pass, but so will my pains and sorrows.

I will try to live with them, learn their lessons and let them go."

~Lori Erickson~

Sunday, May 2, 2010



This has been a week of reflection brought on by the anticipation of a Saturday event. The reflection brought on a lot of thoughts and feelings which led to the writing of this:



There is a knock on the door

I have kept locked for some time.

If I open the door

what will I find?



Laughter and


Feelings bundled

and kept at bay.

Small doors of my heart keep opening

and the closed up hurt and tears

come pouring out.

As each door opens

a small bit of healing occurs.


This Saturday we celebrated the graduation of my youngest niece from college. I was filled with pride for her. It brought on pride about many areas in my life. I have focused the last few days on pride. I am so proud of my progress in growing. I am also proud of the people in my life. I think of all the support I get from those around me. I will share a few of my thoughts from this week as I reminisced.


I am proud of the progress I have made in my weight loss journey. This pride is not just centered on the pounds I've lost, but in the health I have gained. It is in the activity level I have obtained, going to the YMCA daily and exercising as I have never been able to do before. The activities I can do now that I couldn't a couple of years ago, such as participating in family gatherings and helping with preparations. I helped my sister and niece prepare for her graduation reception. This is something I would not have been able to do before my last year and half journey.


I began to think about areas in my life that have been a challenge for me. I have talked openly in this blog about my struggle with dealing with feelings. Over the last few months I have struggled with them head on. Some have been happy feelings and some sad feelings. Some easy to recall and some difficult to face. I hate to cry regardless of if they are sad, angry, hurtful tears or happy tears. This Saturday as I watched my youngest niece walk across the stage to receive her reward for her college journey, I was filled with happy tears, but they were as difficult to release for me as the sad ones. I have been trying to embrace all of them in my heart as they surface.


I think back to a time in the mid 90's that was very difficult. Daily I was faced with a situation I hated and challenged me in so many areas of my life. Through that challenge it cemented a very special friendship I still treasure to this day.


I think about the support I gain from my support group at IWLS. Although I do not have any strong friendships there, I do connect with a few people on a monthly basis. It is their encouragement and comments that lend to the feeling of support. I pray I offer that to them for the short time each month we connect.     


I think of how I hate change. It is scary when things are different than what we are comfortable with. But I also know it is through those changes that we grow. As the scenery changes and people change and move in and out of our lives, I try to walk through the changes and reach out as they pass. Hoping to grasp a little something I can tuck away in the memory banks of my mind. I try to embrace them in my heart. I know it is through this embracing that when the knock on the door comes, I can open the door, face the feeling and allow the healing and rejoicing to flow.



"The constitution only guarantees the American people

the right to pursue happiness.

You have to catch it yourself.

~ Benjamin Franklin~