June 22nd, 2008
On April 15, 2014 I started a one-year experiment to see how many positive changes I could bring to my life in one year. This is a month two update.
A West Coast State of Mind
I pulled up roots from Lake Tahoe, CA and moved to Minneapolis in 1991 to raise my kids. The cost of living was within my means as a single parent, and the education system was one of the best in the country. I don’t regret having lived here, but it’s hard to be a transplant in Minnesota, even in the metro area. The culture of “Minnesota Nice” is a subtle reticence I’ve never quite grasped, and in too many ways, I’ve felt like an impostor for the last eighteen years.
Mostly though, it’s the winters. Yes, I’ve lived in snow and liked it, but Tahoe snow was different. It was warmer, dryer, and appeared in only one season of the year. I could walk out of my house in January with a sweater. I could also drive to the ocean in a single morning, or take a trip to San Francisco and back over the weekend.
I knew I was missing the California sun, but when my friend Linda recently came for a visit, I realized how much I missed the openness of the culture, too. And since no revolution would be complete without at least one daring trek, I’ll embark on the adventure of moving after Elisabeth gets married in January. By next Spring, I’m determined that I’ll be writing this blog from some redwood deck underneath the California sun.
Speaking of Writing
I really did know better at the time, but I went ahead and took the advice of an editor who told me that there were too many first person novels on the market and that she felt my book would do better if written in the third person. I don’t normally write in the third person because I don’t like the distance. I like to be my characters while I write them, feel what they feel, and think what they think. Holding them at arm’s length makes them less real and less genuine to me. Still, I’m not an editor, and the business of publishing is not my forte. (Okay, I really find it kind of stifling, revolting and anti-art, which doesn’t exactly endear me to the many Dr. Robert Stadlers of the literary world). After 160 pages, I finally hated what was happening enough to take the alien bug out of my ear. I’m back to working on what I want to write, without any concern other than using my own genuine voice, and telling the story I want to tell. Yay me!
Remember those Jeans?
First, they got a little longer. Then they began to fall farther down my waist and off my hips, and finally I no longer needed to unzip them to take them off. Inside my head, a happy little chorus broke into song. I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it. The Pointer Sisters, my secret soundtrack. Well, not so secret anymore.
My feet giddily jumped onto the scale yesterday and whoa, wait – I had to move this thing to more level ground. I had to check the batteries. Okay, it read the same, so it must be right. 25 pounds gone. Yay me! My body has shed the equivalent of five bags of flour. A huge watermelon and a couple of cantaloupes. A gigantic holiday turkey, or a fourteen month old child.
I jumped back into my fat clothes and ran out the door to do all that needed doing. A lunch date, a dentist appointment, shopping. I half-expected that everyone I saw that day was going to notice the thinner me. EXCEPT NO ONE NOTICED! It didn’t really bum me out, but sobered me up to a reality that was even more motivating. I haven’t pared enough of the excess to make an impactful visual difference. Like removing 25 sheets of paper from a ream of a hundred, the difference isn’t all that perceptible — yet.
I feel lighter, though, and I am definitely noticing some changes. I’m seeing the hint of collarbones. My biceps are beginning to show. Even my shoes are looser. So other people not noticing doesn’t really matter. I’m still saying “yay me” and celebrating! Tonight, with a delicious chickpea salad and a fat-free banana milkshake for desert.
While I was out shopping, I realized that wearing loose clothes makes me feel delusionally thin. It sends a signal to my brain like some false mission accomplished” banner, when I’m actually in the neophyte stages of a long journey. Not a battle, not a war – I absolutely refuse to lug around that whole “your body is an enemy” burden. I wonder who the hell thought that idea up? How can we despise the very thing that keeps us alive, even when it’s not in the best shape? It’s like saying we hate our eyes because we don’t like the view. The view is always changing. Bodies can certainly change, and in reality there can’t be any separation between the body and life itself. Our bodies really are ourselves.
And the Rest?
It’s all a work in progress, but two months and one week into my personal revolution, I feel great! I haven’t reordered matter or discovered the meaning of life, but I am making positive, long-term changes, pulling up roots that don’t work for me, and gaining energy by being energetic. Yay me!
And yay you, who have been encouraging, enlightening, and kind enough to share your own ideas, thoughts, and stories. I’m going to ask “what’s on your mind” more often — I just loved your responses!