Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At exactly the right moment

I finished my summer classes on Monday.  I am now officially a college graduate - WOO HOO!!  That feels really good to write.  I am the poster child of perseverance.  I started my college journey in 1991.  Obviously I didn't take all my classes without stopping because who takes 22 years to get their degree?  No, I had starts and stops in there with a big gap of years where I didn't take any classes at all.  But, once I decided to really get my degree, I pushed through and did it.  I even did well in my last two classes.  I went in with the attitude that all I needed was a "C" in each class, that's all I needed.  The people that really know me, though, know I wouldn't have settled for just a "C".  I tell you, the most challenging class for me was that last darned Spanish class.  It had been three years since I had any Spanish, so I was pretty nervous that I wasn't going to do well because this class was taught all in Spanish with not a lick of English.  While it was only six weeks instead of the typical 16 weeks, I felt like a robot who was learning so much in such a short period of time and having to be fluent in it.  The new words weren't so bad, but it was the verb conjugations that were killing me.  Do you know how many ways there are to conjugate one word?  There are many tenses, like present, present perfect, imperfect, preterite, past, past subjunctive, future, conditional, past participle, blah blah blah.  I feel so much empathy for those that are attempting to learn English or any other language for that matter because there are rules and exception to rules.  Ick.  That's over, thank you God.

I was supposed to be on a summer road trip as I type this, but I'm not.  On Friday, I took my car in to get serviced for the trip.  I thought I'd do an oil change and have them check out the tires.  Turns out, for the distance of the road trip, I actually needed some major work.  I just had several things coming due at once and they would have to be done before I could hit the road or I would likely have major problems on the road since it was a 1,600 mile round trip journey.  They were things like both my front and rear brakes, all four tires needed to be replaced and more.  It ended up costing me $1,375.  I was completely unprepared for that.  I have gone to the same shop for my car needs since I was 17 years old, so I trusted them when they told me what I needed.  They were even gracious enough to throw in two additional things and no cost to me to make sure I would be safe on the road.  So, I had to make the difficult decision to cut out the Utah part of my trip because of the unforeseen expense.  I am still going to Vegas because I really need a mini vacation away from home before I return to work.  I've done nothing this summer except those two classes, so I need a break.  If you've ever taken a summer class, you know how absolutely intense they are and I was taking two.  I didn't do anything else besides the two classes because there was no time!  I'll be heading out to Vegas on Sunday and I'm definitely looking forward to it.  This morning I was playing a game on my computer through Facebook, just totally in relaxation mode, when someone "liked" a post of mine.  I was curious what that was about because I didn't know the person.  So I clicked on it and saw the post below in an Optifast forum (I erased names and pictures of people to protect their identity):

As I was reading my original post and all of the comments, my heart sunk for a little bit.  This was back in September, not even a year ago.  I absolutely remember the feelings I was going through when I posted this.  Imagine being nine sizes smaller.  It was just a feeling of utter joy like I had never felt before.  I got a little bit sad because I know I'm not there any longer.  I have gained a lot of weight back for a myriad of reasons.  Actually, the reasons are unimportant.  They are important because I need to deal with them, but the fact remains that the weight gain is there and that's something I have to walk bravely through.  I know this post came at exactly the right moment because, just this morning, I was looking at the mirror and being incredibly critical of myself.  I'm not where I started, that's certainly true.  But I'm also far from the happy girl in the post above.  In fact, my Facebook profile picture now is the same one from back in September.  I guess there's a big part of me that hasn't updated it because if I change the picture I think that somehow I'll never get back there.  Silly, isn't it?  There are many things that have hurt me in my life, but I have to say this battle with weight has been gut-wrenching.  It's the single greatest challenge of my life by far and many of you know I have been through absolute hell and back several times.  So for me to say that, it's saying something big.  I really do believe, though, that God put that message before me today to get my attention and to remind me that I absolutely can do this.  I can be healthier and I can feel better about myself.  I'm working on it, but it's not always an easy thing.  Food is a battle and I think it always will be.  However, in that moment, I knew that I needed to see my joy to remember that I did it once and I can be there again.  I must remember, I drank shakes for ten months and didn't eat any real food during that time, so, seriously, I can do anything!  I won't be doing it through Optifast this time because of the medical toll it took on my body, but the will and perseverance are still alive in me.  If I ever doubt that, I can look at college degree that will soon be in my possession as a reminder.  I can even look at my own smile at that smaller size and know that, one precious day at a time, it is possible.  I just have to do the work.  That doesn't mean just exercising and eating right, but that means the emotional work that feels so much bigger than anything else.  It's just one foot in front of the other, though.  I don't have to run at full speed to the finish line.


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