Summer of Fun

 

As I was looking at Facebook and going through some of my pictures I couldn’t help but smile. As a mother of active teenagers and then the wife of a game designer I am always busy. Running here… taking kids there… then adding in the normal stuff that every household has to deal with: groceries, dinner, cleaning, WORKING… but this summer, this summer was a little different. I took time to do things for me, and let me tell you, I loved it. Not only did I love it, but truly, I needed it.

When I started the journey of #becomingabetterme, I had to start out by figuring who and what I wanted to be. Sure, I wanted to weigh less, I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to be nicer, but honestly, I wanted to be happier.

That was where I had a problem. I have never really been in a place that allowed me enough time to stop and figure out what is that made me happy. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom and a wife makes me happy, but I needed to know what made HEATHER happy. What HEATHER wanted out of life. This summer has given me a glimpse of all of that.

This summer started off with my Journey concert at the track. Then Def Leppard/REO Speedwagon/Tesla at Klipsch. Then two concerts in one weekend Chris Young/Brad Paisley followed the next night by Gwen Stefani. Then last concert of my summer was Rob Thomas/Counting Crows all at Klipsch as well. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but music is a big part of my life and to get to see some of my faves belt out their songs live, well, that is epitome of happy in my book.

Let us not forget my birthday extravaganza… I realize my birthday was a singular day, but as a lover of my special day, I tend to drag it out for at least the month.

Now only was the summer music packed but (as always) we added Gen Con to the mix. (Did I mention I am a huge nerd?) Four days of nothing but gaming… the “four best day of gaming” to be exact. Never a dull moment there. Not only did I spend a lot of brain power winning over half of the games I played, but I got to enjoy the cosplayers in their personalized versions of pop culture, comic, or game character costumes.

To round out the summer, there was a Housing Conference in Detroit I got the privilege of attending. For those who do not know, my job is all rules and regulations and compliance and structure… and I love it. My part of the conference was learning more rules and how to figure  cash flow and net operating income (blah blah blah, right… wrong. I LOVE IT!). Yes, it was mind melting, but I love learning how to do my job better.

Needless to say, in a matter of three short months I squeezed in a lot of play time. Which by extension was time practicing being a better me.

Before I sat down to write this, when I was looking at my pictures I started to get a little down on myself. I ran no real races (yes I have done a couple of virtual 5ks, but no real ones), I haven’t been with Mr T (my trainer) since the beginning of May, and there really hasn’t been a week where I have gone to the gym more than two times, where I was going three to four times each week… but then I looked at what I had done.

I spent time with friends, I walked miles upon miles without flinching, I made my brain stronger, and even taught the noob gamers a thing or two ; ) I enjoyed myself and still did what I needed to do to figure out that I am more than a mom or a wife… I am a person and the happier I am, the more productive I can be!

Once I got past all of that, I also realized that I did put in some serious gym time, and even managed to keep my weight right where I left off in May!

I can honestly say, with the kids back in school and the summer winding down I am looking forward to seeing what comes next!

 

 

 

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I Can’t Unsee That

A good friend and I were having a nice conversation today. We talk daily, so we are always sharing things we have seen. Somewhere in our conversation he pops off with a “Hey, did you see the article about the Playboy Playmate body shaming a woman at the gym?”  I had not seen or heard about it, so he sent me the link. Before I read it, I was a little annoyed, thinking that someone was getting shamed AT THE GYM, stupid – but then, I read the article. I WAS LIVID!

(To start I will say it was posted on TMZ, so feel free to give it a read for yourself)

The long and short of the story is this Playmate, Dani Mathers, is at the gym, in the “locker room” and took a picture of a naked gym goer taking a shower and body shaming her on social media. Her Mean Girl antics have got her into some seriously hot water (and I personally vote for jail time), but the kicker is her public apology that basically said, “I am not sorry I am a b*tch and meant what I said, I am sorry I got caught saying it out loud!”

After talking telling my friend I read the article, and finished practicing my swear words, we changed the tone of the chatter. We talked about the big what if…

What if that were me??  I have been going to the gym for about two(ish) years now, and am past the initial ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling that I had at the beginning of my visits… but what if I wasn’t… what if someone actually shamed me in my first visit… WHERE WOULD I BE??

The answer to that is sadly simple, I would be exactly where I was two plus years ago, unhappy, overweight, and unhealthy. Those thoughts alone make me tear up. More than that, I would not be where I am. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but there is so much involved in that. I would not have met my new friends (and family) on my Cornfed team. I would not have had enough self confidence to go on adventures without a responsible adult to be my security blanket. I would never had the belief in myself to finish – not one, but tw0 – Spartan races. I would not have been able to better myself enough to become a trusted and respected coworker to my team. Above and beyond all of these things, I would not have found myself. Yes, I found me. I am now the person I knew I could be… or at least am pointed in the direction of becoming that better person I am striving to be.

It scares me to think I would lose my sanctuary. I use the gym as my outlet for daily stress, I go and walk my negative thoughts away, I lift away the ugliness that I see going on in the world, and come out stronger and lighter. I need that.

What Dani Mathers did to that poor woman is the lowest of low, and I only hope that it does not turn her off from #becomingabetterher … and take away whatever it is that the gym does for her. I hope that she has the inner strength to give Dani the middle finger and go right back to doing her thang, and doing it her way!

When I thought about writing this post I was so mad, I was worried that I would just use this as a rant, and I finish up (I am still mad, don’t think for a second I am not) it shows me how lucky I am to go to a gym where everyone is friendly. Thank you for being awesome, AnyTime.

Keep it classy, Dani Mathers… hope orange is your new black!

Sticks, Stones, and Words

I have said from the beginning this journey of #becomingabetterme, it was more than just the physical changes that needed to occur. I talk about them the most as they are the easiest to fix. Now, do not get me wrong, it has taken a lot of work, a lot of tears, and whole lot of whining to get where I am now, and it was not easy, but changing your weight or your muscle tone is definitely easier than changing who you have been for the majority of 39 years.

I have not always been someone to say how I felt, believe it or not. I would get mad and cry, but a lot of times I would hold back what I really was feeling for fear of hurting the person I was talking to. My MoMo believed in the “sticks and stones” things and preached regularly how bruised go away, and physical scars healed, but those words… good, bad, or hurtful… are always out there. She even told me one time that it was like a constant word bubble over your head, and the one you hurt always saw it, no matter how many times you apologized.

Anyway, without the details I will just say that my life changed, and I decided I was going to be the one in charge. I was going to make sure I said how I felt when I felt it, so never again would I wish I had been honest.

As I have gotten even older my brass ways have gotten the better of me. Sadly, in my quest to be honest, I forgot that some people struggle with brutal honesty, either positive or negative. As a supervisor I would just say “yes, you did it right” or “no, you did it wrong” no difference in my tone, just a simple matter of fact way of saying how it was. I didn’t look at this as negative really, I felt that if I was giving as much emotion to the “yes” as I was to the “no” I was not being harsh. My mistake.

After a few (or more than a few) conversations with a fearless leader of mine – someone who also has a knack for telling it like it is – I realized that maybe this was the next box I should check? The me that interacts with others, the Mom, the Friend, the Coworker, the Employee… that me, she needs to soften the edges. Although my job is 100% figuring out the black and white of the issue, and how it fits into our MANY rules, I still needed to work on my delivery.

Since I have been more conscience of this decision, I can see a change in how my coworkers receive my words. Even in how they ask me for help. I have seen a difference in my children, they are less afraid of “being in trouble” and more realize that I am their mother and correcting them is my job. I would even go as so far to say I have changed as a friend. Being asked for advice and/or my perspective on a situation is really a form of respect, and I see that now.

Overcoming my fear of failure was hard. Overcoming my self doubt was hard. Overcoming my urge to fire back was really hard… but keeping calm, speaking in a way that does not come across as know it all (which, I have been accused of being), this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Each day I try just a little bit harder, speak a little bit slower, and sympathize a little bit deeper.  I will never be any less passion driven, or feel less of a need to succeed, but I am trying. Trying to become a better me.

 

PS. Fearless leader, if you have read this, thank you.