Saturday, August 20, 2011

cut the crap

i'm a real life gal. behind a real life computer screen...there's a real life heart.  and an extremely active mind. sometimes, that mind isn't very nice to me. 

i'm gonna share something that is something i don't really like sharing. and i've debated about it...time and time again. even typed out a blog...and then erased it. cuz, let's be honest...baring one's heart and soul is only something one does...once in a great while. But i figure, like most girls struggle with their self image, i am in the 'most girls' category.  and i do struggle with my self image.

It's something i've struggle with for most of my life (i'll be a quarter of a century in a couple months...) and thats a long time, i think! It goes all the way back to when i was just a little monster.  no disrespect to anything, or anyone mentioned in this's just the facts.  but when i was sister and i were left with our grandparents when mom and dad went to work, or during the summertime when school was out.  i loved going. i loved being with them. i loved them then. and i love them now.  i just wish i was smart enough back then to say no to a bag of Funyons. or a candy bar from the grocery store.  that was their way of showing us  of course there were hugs and kisses and learning how to play poker as well.  and tent-building and cops and robbers and other such shenanigans. (with the cousins of course)  but the cupboard was always full of goodies.  and we were always full of those goodies.  

as i got older, i learned to stuff the way i felt about myself.  i was a tomboy ( i still kinda am...) i played street hockey with boys, football with boys, tag with the boys and wore jeans and the boys.  i never wanted to carry a purse. that was too girly. i never wanted to wear a dress. that was girly, too.  i always wore my hair back...cuz it would get in my face, and i HATED that. entering school was hell.  by 7th grade, i wore glasses and had a head of curly hair that was the subject of envy.  but i HATED that too.  one day in computer class, i found out just how 'envious' it was to one of the popular boys.  i sat in front of him and he turned to his other popular friend and said, "Oh man, now i can't see over her big hair."  i felt my face turn red and my heart sank lower than i could sink in my chair.  i wanted to disappear.  i learned to keep to myself and keep quiet.  because if i didn't give anyone the chance to know me, i didn't give anyone a chance to make fun of least not to my face. and that was good enough for me.

nearing high school, still playing street hockey (with the boys) i started to branch out and explore the idea of church.  this one particular summer, my coaches were Christians and invited the whole hockey team to a fun night at their church.  i thought, "I may as well go. I really like the coaches."  So i went. it was fun. up until this one game.  im not even sure what the name of it was. all i know is that i was excited to do it...until someone made fun of me, or pointed out the obvious. it was all the same to me then.  it was a 3-man team. 2 of the team members pulled the 3rd team member on a tarp across a certain distance.  i thought it would be fun!  i started to walk over to the starting area and i saw an older teen boy and girl. they were CLEARLY a couple.  as i began to walk across the field, i heard the boy say to his girlfriend, "Hey! Let's get her to pull us! She's fat!"  his girlfriend playfully hit him on the arm and probably gave him a 'that's not nice' plug.  i acted like i didn't hear it.  i acted like i was just walking across the field to some other game. i acted like i wasn't hurt.  but i was.

the start of freshman year was hell too.  i didn't really have any friends, and i was kind of ok with that. i thought if i could get through high school, nice and quietly, keep getting my good grades, i would be ok. i would 'just make it thru'.  one particular weekend, i went to the rink for an open skate.  any of you that know me, know my obsession with the game of hockey.  it's the only thing i'll admit to be good at (before i blew out my knee...).  i was skating around, feeling particularly good about myself. not thinking about what i looked like, because, hey, i was a darn good skater. no one could make fun of me for being good at something, right? Wrong.  i learned later that some boy went up to my sister while i was skating (somehow he knew we were with each other) and said, "Hey, she's a really good skater. But she's really ugly."
I acted like i wasn't hurt. but i was.

all that stuffing, all that negative talk, all that...crap (i really wanted to say a different word...) and it's a recipe for a disaster of a self image.  i had deduced my self image to a nothing.  if i was a nothing, then no matter what anyone said or thought...i already knew it was true. whether it was my big hair, my fatness, or my ugliness...i already knew it was true.

I struggle with my self image.  like most girls.  but now...i've finally realized that im not a nothing. and the way i looked never used to really bother me on the outside...but now it really does.  i started running, working out and changing the way (and what i ate) and things started to change for me...about a year ago now.  and yes, i'm more happy about the change.  and yes, im more happy when my jeans sag. it used to be because i didn't have a butt for them to sit on. And actually, they still don't.  but there are other reasons for the sagging.  i don't feel as awful about myself when i go shopping. i actually enjoy picking out clothes...and trying them on.

but the negative self seems...has only increased. and it makes sense.  i don't even stand in front of the mirror when i brush my teeth. when i brush my hair. when i put the mouse in it. when i put on my pants (that sag).  and it makes sense.  ive made a change...for the good.  so obviously, i'm gonna nit pick at everything i see that's wrong with my body.  and clearly, in my eyes, i have a lot of things wrong with my body. this is too big. this is too flabby. my nose looks like a button.  my dimples are too dimply.  that tanned runner looks like a rail. i look like a boulder barreling down the sidewalk.

but today i came across some pictures.  older ones. and recent ones.  when i flipped through them, my negative mind was all of a sudden halted, if only for those few moments, as not only did my mind's eye see, but also my naked eye, confirmed the reality of the pictures that seemed to stare back at me, rather than i staring at them.  there's really nothing that needs to be said.  i'll just post the pictures and let them speak for themselves.  ...i've spoken enough already!

before pics on left
after pics on right.



much love.  thank you all for sharing in my blogger journeys.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


this post is kind of interactive.  if my blog has peaked any kind of inkling of interest, i thank you. deeply.  the fact that you would take time to read my endless thoughts and comment or not comment, means a lot to me.  this post is interactive because there is a song that needs to be heard...and not just listened to before you could understand what i write that follows.  So please, find a quiet place and really hear the words to this song. hear the Truth. treat yourself. the song is called "Lovely" and it comes from Christian songwriter, Shawn McDonald's album called, Ripen. The link below is the only decent one i could find with the song. ive written the words to the song. read them as you listen to the song. the video does have a homemade slide show, but i think watching the pictures takes away from the meaning of the song.  enjoy...

Let me tell you a story of a little boy who had lost his way
in search for something to make a better day
and all he seemed to find was a world of hurt and pain
and a place that didnt seem to care that he'd lost his way
So the boy began to cry
yes the boy began to cry.

Does anyone love me
does anyone care
is anyone out there
that finds me lovely?
that finds me lovely?
that finds me lovely?

just when the little boy had lost all hope
well along came a Man. ushered him in
he held him to His chest and he said, "little boy its time that you rest."
He opened up His arms and said,
"Ive been searchin' for you, for some time"
Now little boy youve found a home and no longer shall you roam"
And the Man began to cry
Yes the Man began to cry.
"Dontcha know i Love you?"
"Dontcha know I care?"
"And i will always be here"

And i find you lovely
Yes i find you lovely
Yes i find you so so lovely
I find you lovely
Yes i find you lovely
I find you lovely
Yes i find you lovely
yes i find you lovely
I find you so lovely

...I find you lovely.

I'll say it for you..."wow." What a great song, eh?  while i was at the church this morning, mindlessly laminating little badges, i had my iPod on shuffle. ive always known i had this song in my iTunes. I even have the album in CD form.  And yes...ive heard the song. many times before, in fact.  but this time, it hit me so much more.  i almost wanted to just sit down right on the floor and just listen to the words...almost.  So when i got home, i opened it up and listened to it again. and again. and then put it on repeat.  Then, my writer mind kicked in and wanted to look up the word "lovely." Since...after all, the song's title is such, and it's used so much throughout the song.

Not only did the song touch my heart...but the stupid dictionary did.  even made me chuckle.  first i googled it.  then i wanted to read it on paper. so i opened up my Webster's Dictionary.  This is the definition of the word, "lovely"
lovely: beautiful

...Seriously Merriam Webster? that's the best you could come up with?!? those were my thoughts as i read it. So then i thought, "i'll look up the word, beautiful. Merriam does a better job
beautiful: characterized by beauty. Lovely.
oh my gosh.  still unsatisfied, (though somewhat humored as i flipped from the "L's" to the "B's" when i skimmed past the "C's" and saw the word 'couch potato' defined), i decided to look at the definition of the word 'beauty', i mean, i was already in the "B's" anyway.
Merriam nailed it.
beauty: qualities that give pleasure to the senses or exalt the mind.

as i listened to the song, i was intrigued.  not only by how many times the word lovely was used. but because before the word lovely is used by this strange Man, he says, "I find you"
Two things occurred to me.
1.) This Man was actually searching for this little boy
2.) when this little boy was found, in his most desperate and depleted state, this 'Man' still found him in a state of loveliness.

this little boy...was STILL lovely.  that's the way he was found. that's the way he was made.  i guess we all feel like that 'little boy' sometimes.  and i guess we all should allow that 'Man' to find us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"It IS a booty day!"

...that was my thought on my drive to the mall...and actually...on my way home from the mall.  it reminds me of something that my little cousin said once.  When he was in his "i repeat whatever you say to the best of my ability" phase.  My little cousin, Bradley, whom will be 6 at the end of this month, and my mom were walking along somewheres...probably a few years ago and my mom said, "It's a beauty day!"  And Bradley "repeated" it back and said, "It IS a booty day!"  He wasn't able to enunciate all of his letters...what 3-year old can? I laughed when i heard that. just like i chuckled when i heard it in my head today. 

i love that little man.  sometimes he brings me back to the simplicity of life.  the stresses of playing with toy trains and coloring a page from a Batman coloring book.  i've also been learning the power of the tongue.  how damaging a word can be...or how very uplifting one could be.  Last week in particular, I was having a rough time with the patients at work.  As a patient sitter, i have the fun job of telling the patients just what they can't do. try telling a detoxing patient they have to stay in bed and "sleep it off" before being evaluated by the psych nurse.  it's not the most fun thing to do.  I've been called every name in the book.  I didn't realize "the book" was so thick! holy moly!  these guys come up with everything!  "I'm gonna have you fired!" "You get the hell outta here right now or i'll give ya something to complain about!"  "You're dumber than a box of rocks!"  "You're just a bump on a don't do a damn thing!" or the more 'light-hearted' requests like; "I gotta get the door. the pizza man is out there with our pizza."  (at 3:30am)  "Go get me the half gallon of Bacardi." (at 3:31 am) "Go get me a swig of that rum over there."  "Bend over and pick up my cat and put him up here on the bed." 

Ya know...normal stuff like that.  So...all of that rolled up into one week of work, and i was about ready to grab that half gallon of Bacardi...that swig of rum.  ...just kidding. you can't drink on duty. ;) I'm just playin'. point. I'm reaching it.  Sometimes, all it takes is a word, or a sentence and it completely diminishes all of the crappy words or sentences that have been fed to you.  So last Friday when my mom picked up my cousin Bradley to go look at the speed boats downtown, the first words out of his mouth were, "Is Erica gonna be there?"  I hadn't planned on going because i had worked Thursday overnight and was working that Friday night.  My mom called me around 3pm when i was taking my mid afternoon nap before work and woke me up.  I was a little peeved.  just a little...cuz i was sleeping.  She said, "Say hi to Bradley!"  She had me on speakerphone. I said in an excited tone, "Hi buddy!" I heard a soft boyish "Hi!" in the background and my heart melted and i felt a smile on my face.  "Bradley's first words when we got in the car were, "Is Erica gonna be there?"  my mom said to me.  I laid my head back down and thought, "Gosh, how could i say no to that?"  I said, "Aww he did?"  So i said, "Ok, i'll come." 

For that short while, i felt important.  even to an almost 6-year old.  it's the little things...that aren't really things.  when we came to the cross walk to head towards the boats, he reached up and grabbed my hand without saying anything and just kept walking.  im certain i smiled then, too.  i think it's safe to say, that little man loves me back.   

Saturday, August 6, 2011

...maybe not so much.

...addict was maybe too strong of a word. Maybe. I mean...I guess sometimes I feel like one. And then other times, I feel like a gigantic failure to the sport of running. Ya know how in a full marathon...(me either) when the runner comes to the mid point and feels like the race is NEVER GOING TO END!!??? but by mile's like sippin on one of those frilly umbrella drinks? Like...not a care in the world. Any inhibitions...gone. Just you and the open road. I felt like that. Once. Not in a full marathon. Not even in a half marathon. On a random 9 mile trek up and down big hills and around bends in Washington.
I haven't been on a 9 mile trek since then. About a year now. I feel like I've hit that runners block. And I think it's cuz of a lot of different things. Mainly...bc of my job. I feel like there should be race day volunteers standing outside the employee entrance holding those hose-water-filled Gatorade cups. And I'd gladly take one. Bc most mornings, when I free style sprint outa there, I probably look like a marathon runner gunning for the finish line. Except for the dress shoes and clothes...
I'll have laid out my running shorts, shirt and even my socks in my chair the night before and when I get home they'll be right there. Just begging to be donned. And lately, I feel like I need to wipe the tears my running garb has shed bc of the lack of use this past couple of weeks. I just mapped out my desired route for later today when I make my getaway from work In about 4 hours. It's about 6 miles. And my running clothes are still sitting in my chair.
I hope my bed doesn't look too inviting when I get home...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


...i think so.
to what...
i think running....

last night at work i guess i shouldnt have expected anything different. lately it's been extremely difficult and trying for a few various reasons.  ive been sitting with more combative, confused elderly patients.  if you would like to test out your own patience...(no pun intended) see how quickly your patience runs dry sitting with people who insist on climbing over the bed rails and setting off screeching bed alarms.  who insist on getting into bed...when they are already in it.  who clench and raise a fist, hawk loogies, make passes at you (im serious...), talk to you like you're the scum of the earth.  patience is a virtue they say. here's what i want to know...WHO THE HECK IS 'THEY'??!?!?  and did 'they' sit with these kinds of people, deal with these kinds of people night after night?  ok, i'm done ranting. for now.  my irritation began as soon as i set foot into the room last night.  there was a chair, smack dab in the middle of 2 beds, both with bed alarms on, both with soft wrist restraints hanging off the bed.  see...we're (us patient sitters) are not allowed to sit with 2 patients.  but it happens. and when it just kinda have to take it.  its been happening more often than not.  here's the funny part (maybe not funny...), the floor ive been sitting on a SURGERY RECOVERY FLOOR!!!! not a confused, dementia, combative patient floor.   all night, i heard confused yells and babbled shouting all up and down the hall.  it really is sad. and the even sadder part (sadder???) is that all the floors are like that.  oncology, med-surg, selective, ICU. it's really sad.  i heard that nursing homes won't take patients from a hospital that require a patient sitter...whether it's true or not, the hospital is FULL of them. 

more irritation.  the nurse that was taking care of these 2 gentlemen hardly ever set foot in there...only to pass meds.  she was nice...i guess.  except when you needed her because 'guy in bed 2' ripped off his gown and pants and started straddling the bed rails in the nude...while i try helplessly and hopelessly to coherse him back into bed...without getting punched or shoved or kicked.  i saw the nurse aide on several occasions, and heard her frustration about the nurse that never seemed to come answering the call of desperation from my room.  all the while, keeping in mind, im not even assigned to 'guy in bed 2 that takes off all clothes trying to leave bed to find his bed.'  luckily, 'confused, combative guy in bed 1' was asleep for nearly the entire night.  and not combative.  but still...i would have been SCREWED if 'guy in bed 1' hated me as much as 'guy in bed 2.' 

all i could think about, besides jumping out the window, was blowing off my steam and irritation by running.  not just out of the hospital...but just running.  i got home and was so tired.  as would be expected when staying up all night...added to wrestling around with some big old confused guy all night.  T-I-R-E-D.

but i wanted to run, NEED to run haha! So i got home, plugged in the iPod, put on my running clothes...and fell asleep.  DOH!!!! i hate when i do that. because by the time i wake up, its hot outside (well, in the summer it is.)  i woke up at 11:45am.  sighed deeply when i realized i was in my running clothes, but hadn't utilized them as they were orginally intended to be used.  i groggily pulled myself out of bed and walked to the livingroom.  then decided i needed to go to the store for a few things. i added a few things to my list, per my dad, and left.  when i walked outside, it was actually nice out. not too hot.  it was overcast. perfect running weather.  and wouldnt ya know it, i still had my running garb on.  i dismissed the want to run, the need and got in my car and headed to the mall.  i drove around the parking lot, and then left.  i didn't really need anything there anyway.  i headed to the grocery store, my intended destination.  as i drove alongside the cement trail on the main drag, the desire started to overtake me...again.  luckily, the grocery store has a trail head that leads up the main stretch of highway. and i thought..."gosh, i could totally get a run in before i go into the store."  I parked next to the trail, tied up my shoes and hit the trail.  i didn't even have my music.  im not sure ive ever run without my music.  you know now how bad the addition is. Ha!

i jumped on the trail and let loose.  it was wonderful.  the noise of the 6 lane, 2 directional highway masked my heavy breathing and otherwise labored respiratory difficulties.  it's hard to run after getting over sinus congestion...  

i got back to my car, not even knowing the distance, or the time (which normally crosses my mind, oh every 2 minutes) and it didn't even bother me.  i was gone for 30 minutes.  i wished it was longer.  but it would suffice.  it was just...nice to know i could get out of my car, jump on a trail and go.  no music, no agenda, no restrictions, no time restraints, no old men trying to make moves on me, punch me, kick me, shove me or cuss me out (at least not that i knew of...).