Highway From the Comfort Zone

This journey I am on has taken me some pretty cool places.  Physical places and places within myself that I need to go more often.  I keep using the word ” Journey”  all the time, but , really, there is no greater word to use.  Its not a secret that this year has not been my best.  I have let myself down.  But the biggest change within myself , by far, is that I am not letting myself be derailed.  So while I may have not worked out in a month ( oh my fucking ugh) I have not lost sight of the goal.

This weekend, I took on one of the coolest things ever.  Waterfall Rappelling.  What the frack is that you ask?  Lets go back to the beginning….

This past Thursday was my husband, Chad  and I’s 15th wedding anniversary.  We wanted to do something but not break the bank.  So, a few months ago, we started looking and I found this deal on Living  Social for Waterfall Rappelling.  It was in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I love the mountains.  We decided it was a go.  Bought the deal.  We had a lot of questions and I have got to say, the owner of North Ridge Mountain Guides,  Jamie, was amazing.  We planned to go away for the weekend, with our waterfall excursion on a Saturday.

Jamie suggested The Bartlett Inn, in Bartlett NH. What a great place this was! Great owners at the Inn.  We were complete pains in the ass.  We had to arrive late on Friday, so we made several calls to make sure we would be all set.  When we arrived on Friday and found a note on the door addressed to us with complete detailed directions to our cabin, I knew we were going to be good.   It was a cute little cottage with 2 rooms. A big bedroom with queen poster bed and fireplace and another room with a mini kitchen and living room area.  Then there was a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.  It was really clean, something I noticed right off the bat.

We had to meet the waterfall group at 9 am in Twin Mountain at the NRMG office.  So, we got up early.  The Inn offers breakfast every day.  They have a special each day and if you do not care for that, you can go for eggs.

Breakfast starts with a fruit plate each day

Breakfast starts with a fruit plate each day

 

We walk into the main house and are greeted by a nice guy offering us juice or coffee.  There is limited space for eating so they have a common waiting area and cycle folks in as others finish.  We are then greeted by one of the owners, Nick.  I cannot say enough about his personality.  Just a great guy.  He states that he knows we need to meet Jamie  and says he is going to do something he does not normally do.  He set us up for breakfast at a table in the main living area.  He got us in and out with a delish breakfast.  We then “officially” checked in, got our key and Nick even gave us directions to the office where we were meeting the group.  We were on the road around 8:20 am.  Now, I have an excellent sense of direction – Excellent.  I am very good with directions.  I do not get lost.  Until this day.  I drove right by it.  When we are driving along in the White Mountain National Forest, I knew I had gone too far.  So, the hubs called up and they very nicely gave us directions to turn around and head back .  We arrived around 9:15 .  I hate being late.  Hate it.  Felt like an ass.

Now this is where, the big steps on this journey are taken…. I walk into this place and am visibly the largest person in here, and I walked in late.  Awkward.  We are greeted by Jamie and Travis.  Super nice guys.  We start cracking some jokes and start chatting with the others waiting.  And I am like – shit this is real and we are going to do this.  We got our harnesses and our helmets.

There were 10 of us in the group.  We got in our cars and we caravan to the site where would would hike, then hit the waterfall.  We parked and got our stuff together and headed down the trail.  It was the ” Falling Waters Trail” .

 

 

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Falling Waters Trail

 

We had to go under the highway to get to the trail, we were greeted by these 3 forest rangers or workers.  One of them was this little older bitty with purple hair.  She was fierce! They told us it was about 1.3 -1.4 miles to Cloudland Falls.  An 80 foot waterfall. I wore my sneakers, I didn’t have hiking boots and realistically, I was not going to buy some just for one day. It was a trail, so rocks to climb up, mud to get around, uneven ground.   We had to cross the river a few times, at this point, we were going to get wet anyways, so it didn’t matter.

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At one of our stops

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Along the trail

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Falls on the trail

 

 

Honestly I thought I was doing okay with it.  We stopped a few times on our way up. Stayed together. Jamie mingled in with us while we headed up, I thought that was cool.  He spent time with all of us.    About 1 mile in I was dying. It didn’t help that the whole time, there are dogs running back and forth no problem.  then , not just big dogs, but little ones , with their little legs. what the hell? here I am dying and these little puppies are running along, no problem.   All I kept thinking was ” Are we there yet? ” and ” Just keep walking “.  I was bringing up the rear when I asked Travis how far we had left, and thank the Sweet Baby Jesus, he said its right up ahead.  And it was! We set up at the base of these beautiful falls.

Cloudland Falls!

Cloudland Falls!

Jamie gave us a lesson on the equipment that we would be using and set up some ropes so we could practice while Travis headed to the top of the falls to set up the ropes. He explained the hand signals they use as well .   So, we get our harnesses on and I have a mini panic attack, cause I can barely get this thing over my fat ass.  Thank goodness, I just had to loosen it.  It was very odd to wear, but we were all wearing them, so, not so bad!  I get in line to try it out and he shows me this tiny little strap thing.  I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the piece.  But it is like a little piece of fabric sewn together.  You take this fabric and tie it through your harness and it is what the carabiner hooks onto .  The other end is hooked to the rope.    So of course he is explaining all of this and my only thought is, this guy is out of his tree.   Like not just out of his tree, but he fell out, hit his head  and forgets what a tree is.  I ask – ” This little thing is going to hold me? ”  His response – ” Absolutely” He goes on to explain the ratings on the equipment and what they mean.  Basically, I was getting freaked out and the equipment was rated for 5000 lbs.  Once we were all confident with trying it out, it was time to climb the rocks and head to the falls.  I raise my hand to go first.  I figured, if I can do it, anyone can.

The trail from the base of the falls to the place where we were starting from was hell.  We literally had to climb up rocks, then walk over more rocks, trying not to fall off the edge and not to slip in the mud to get to the start point. But of course, who slips? Of course its me.  I was terrified I was going to slip right down the side.  I got right back up and got my footing, waiting my turn.  Figured if I fell before the falls, then I would not fall to my death on them.

Two lines were set up with each guide assisting on each one.  I ended up going second.  So, I watched the first guy go, It took him a bit and then we hear the screaming.  It was confirmed, they were “good screams” . Then its my turn .  And I was hooked up and getting into place.   Jamie went down with me the first part of the way.  The Water was sooooo cold! They told us to watch out for green or black stuff on the rocks, its slippery.  I start dropping myself down and Jamie is guiding me on where to go.  It is a very surreal feeling.  The rocks look slippery, but they are not.  Once you get past that, its just dealing with the cold ass water.  I started moving my way down.  It was soooo freaking cool!!!! Such an awesome feeling.  I keep moving , following my directions.  Then I get to the spot.  There is this spot in the falls where Jamie warned us that we would ” become stupid” and our IQ would drop.  It is the spot where the water starts gushing on you and it is sooooo cold and you totally go stupid.  At that point, my thought was ” make it to the bottom, make it to the bottom”.  But that was no better, we ended in a pool at the bottom about knee high! Once you hit the ground, you had to unstrap yourself, release the rope and hand off your equipment to the next person.  THEN – you bask in ultimate glory cause you just RAPPELLED DOWN A WATER- FREAKIN- FALL!!! We would cheer each other on when we got to the bottom. Got to meet some really great folks!

Then it was my husband Chad’s turn.  He finished in about 4.5 minutes!!!! Faster than anyone!!! He will not let me live that down, lol.

It was so much fun, we did it again and both went down twice!   Some folks even did 3 times! After everyone was done, it was back down the mountain to end our day.

Here are some pics of me on the waterfall:

 

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2nd time down, feeling more confident

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so much fun

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Making sure my feet are wide enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Success!!!

At the bottom! Success!

 

 

This was one of the coolest, most awesome, things I have ever done.  Being someone who is overweight, I don’t always think I can do these things.  It was a huge thing for me to step out of that comfort zone.  I didn’t let the weight stop me .  And though I plan on getting rid of this weight, its here for the moment and I am not going to let it stop me.  We are already planning on going back up north next summer and trying ziplining!   That does have a weight limit, but I will for certain be under it by next summer.

For now, I am happy to be a plus sized adventurer.

Once we got back to the inn, we were starving.  We hit up a local mexican restaurant, Margarita Grill.  To say the Margaritas were delish or amazing or awesome does not do them justice.   I got the Strawberry Lemonade Margarita and the hubs got the Jalapeno Margarita.  SOOOOOOOOO GOOOODDDD!!!! Food was excellent as well.  Then it was back to the inn for a fire pit.

The Inn put on this great fire pit with marshmallows for the kiddos.  We brought some chocolate and graham crackers to share.  We brought along some adult beverages too.  It was so nice.  We sat by the fire and chatted up with the different families.  We ended up staying out with the inn keeper and some of the guests til 10 pm.  The sky was full of stars, so beautiful.

 

This was a weekend I will never forget , for so many reasons.  I challenged myself and I conquered the waterfall!!!

 

I know I sound like an ad for these companies, in no way did I receive any compensation for this.  These are my opinions.  I just want to share our experience because it really was great.

If you ever go the the White Mountains of New Hampshire, explore!  There is so much to see and do.  I have been going to the mountains since I was a kid and to have such a magnificent new experience is something I did not even think of.

 

Stepping outside your comfort zone is good , taking the highway there is even better!

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Photographic Evidence !

My fancy way of saying – I have pictures of the Biggest Loser Run/ Walk Off Road Challenge!

Again, I have to say how great of a day it was.  I am bruised and sore still, but so worth it!

I am the jackass in the Bright Green sunglasses 🙂

 

Ready to go !

Ready to go !

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Right after going through the wall

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The Misfit Mud Honeys!!! And Matt from Biggest Loser season 15 !

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Crossing the Log Bridge

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Ascending the hill

You can see more pics of the event on their Facebook Page here.

Gotta step it up to get ready for my next one! Cause I am definitely doing this again!

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Obstacles Optional

Yesterday I completed The Biggest Loser Walk/ Run Off Road Challenge with my crazy friends , Melissa, Christel, Kristina, Jeannie and Lindsay.   We were the Misfit Mud Honeys!

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It is 3.4 miles of the Spartan Race with the obstacles optional.  In the Spartan Race if you do not complete an obstacle, you have a 30 burpee penalty.

It was a day full of emotions and it all started from when I stepped onto the turf.

Walking in to the area, it was Spartan City – at least that is what I will call it going forward.  Spartan stuff everywhere, contestants all over with their medals, covered in mud, gearing up for the run.  Ahead of us this giant hill, which I have seen before, plenty of times , except people were riding snow tubes down it.  Obstacles galore on the hills, people running all over them.

Oh shit.  This is really happening and I am really going to do this.

We find our Biggest Loser Tent and seriously , there is about 10-20 people there.   I am like.. ” What?”  I totally expected more people to be there for this particular run.  My husband had made us T Shirts at work.  We march in there with our t shirts and are promptly told we need to wear our Biggest Loser shirts.  More to come on that…

We change, we check our bags and start getting ready.  Then, Tara Costa , former contestant on the Biggest Loser, gave us a pep talk.   It was really great and inspiring. Also there from the Biggest Loser was Matt Hooper from season 15.  Then she tells us that our Biggest Loser shirts are our ” Get out of jail free card” meaning if we did not have them on and could not do an obstacle, the refs would make us do the burpees.  So, I was VERY glad to have the shirt! Plus it was moisture wicking which came in extremely handy.  They also pointed out some volunteers that would be joining us along the way.  Doing the race with us.  Plus it meant we would have a dry shirt to put on after since we were not wearing the shirts we went in. Standing there in this tiny group surrounded by such amazingly fit people, I felt like we were the ” red headed step children” of the Spartan Race.  Going into it, I knew the race was on the Spartan Course, I did not realize that we were going the same time as the Spartan Racers.  That was really intimidating.  I was embarrassed.  I felt like these folks were going to be pissed that this fat ass is in their way.  Here I am chubby butt and all going to try this course that these crazy athletes are doing.  What the hell was I thinking?  Yes, I am way more fit than I have ever been, and yes, I can walk this, and yes, I can do what ever obstacles I want, but what the hell am I doing?

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My shirt – after a few washes

 

Too late now….

We headed together as a group to the start point.  The announcer ( totally forget his name) said some really great stuff about how he was on a weight loss journey and it brought him to where he is, and he understands what we are doing .  I had my friends by my side.  No turning back now.

 

And we are off! Running up this fococka hill! Ready to die within the first 2 minutes….. lol.  Let me tell you, there was mud all over this thing.  And it started at the top of that hill.  And balls to the wall, I dove in.  First thing, I am covered up to my neck in mud cause I lost my footing.  I got out of that and there is another little hill. Covered in mud and the marks from where everyone has slipped down it trying to get up.  And who was there to help me and lend a hand? Tara Costa.  Tiny little thing, and strong as shit.  So, I am covered  all over in mud, my sunglasses too. My hands .  Oh my God, my hands.  I hate having dirty hands, so I was freaking out on the inside.  No turning back.

I am going to try to remember the obstacles in order, and I tried to find a map for reference, but I couldn’t so, here goes…

There was big mud trenches to get through, and again, dived right in, almost swam through them.  Then a log bridge to go over, thank goodness there was one with 2 logs together. That was Easy Peasy.  There was a set of 3 walls, 1 to go over, 1 to go under and 1 to go through.  I tried the over. And my awesome buddy Kristina, offered her leg to boost me, but I didn’t want to break her. And The Biggest Loser Volunteers were right there with us, giving us tips and trying to help us.  So, 2st obstacle, fail, but I climbed under the 2nd and went through the 3rd! Okay, now I am in the shit! No going back! There was alot of hilly terrain, it felt like we just kept going up and down hills.  My legs were and still are on fire.

As the race went on, I had to keep ” pulling over” to catch my breath.  I am truly shocked at how many Spartan Racers said ” Good job!” ” keep going!” ” You got this!”  The stigma I had at the beginning, completely gone.  It was just like class, everyone helping each other, everyone pushing each other along and cheering each other along.  It goes to show what a great community it is.

There was a sand bag carry.  The guy giving out the sand bags said to me and Melissa when he saw our shirts that we didn’t have to do it, and we were like, no, we are going do it.  We run with 55 lbs sand bags in class, so the 35 lbs bag they gave us was nothing….Until I had to come back up the hill. Took me forever and a day, But I did it.  It felt so good to throw that bag down, especially when the guy tried to get me to not do it.

There was one where you dragged a concrete block by a chain, I could do that.  There was one where you dragged a giant tire towards you , then pulled it back out.  Could do that.  I could not do the monkey bars.  There was this great Biggest Loser Volunteer Ben, who was with us a lot during the race, trying to help me and even suggest I climb on his shoulders, bless his heart.  But, no.  It wasn’t even straight across monkey bars, they were up and down, fuck that.

All of the various walls I could not do.  Kinda stunk, but I was more afraid of falling off the wall and getting hurt so I chickened out.  I mean, I fell, I fell all over the place.  I fell in spots that were muddy, not muddy, paths, everywhere, I fell.  Me and  the ground became good friends.  But I kept getting up and moving.

There was one part through the woods and it was thick dark mud.  So, everyone was going along the outside of it where it wasn’t as mucky.  Someone started yelling out ” Artreau!” From the Neverending Story… I couldn’t resist and I threw out an ” Artex, you’re sinking!” It was great. I love shit like that.

I got to the rope swing and I wanted to do it so bad, so I stepped up and freaked out.  Ben tried helping me.  I was just scared of smashing into the other platform and killing myself.  I tried it though.  I was close, but I guess I let go to early, and into the water I went.  But, hey, I tried it.

From there it was the worst one for me.  You had to fill a bucket with rocks and carry it up the hill and down the hill.  You could not put it on your shoulder either.  My God, it was horrible.  I was exhausted.  It was heavy.  I basically went 10 steps and put it down.  Picked it back up and went 10 steps.  Took me a while and my back was screaming.  At one point when I had it down , this chick came over from the spectator area and she says to me ” You got this.  You are doing great. Pickup the bucket and keep moving.  You can do this!”  Don’t know who she was , but thank you!  The greatest feeling was dumping those fucking rocks back into the bin.

From there it was a sand bag pulley lifting thing.  That was no prob.

Then it was up and over this giant apparatus that you went under to start the race.  It was like a giant ladder on each side and you crossed the top.  But the top was open, almost like someone nailed down some pallets and you had to make sure you watched your step.

Onto some barbed wire to crawl under up a hill, then another wall which i skipped.  More hills. Steep hills.  Then it was a rope climb.  In water.  Cha, no way for me.  But Kristina killed it.  She is so inspiring! Then it was some sort of side wall climbing on tiny pieces of wood thing that I skipped too.  We tried the javelin toss type thing . I got really close.  Melissa and Christel nailed it.  Then there was the field of barbed wire that you roll under.  Surprisingly, I was able to make it through 3 of the 5 sets of them.  I started getting really dizzy and did not want to chance anything.  But I was shocked as shit I could do that much as it was.

After the barbed wire roll it was jump into a muddy /watery pit and go under the wall.  yes, under the gross water, under the wall.  I wasn’t going to do it.  But I was so crusty from the mud from the rest of the day, I figured what the hell and Christel and I did it together.  Up another little hill, mud covered.  It was slippery.  Cause not only are you slippery but everyone who came before you is slippery.. I get to the top and bam, on my ass.  Some nice guy grabbed my hand and helped my down the slippery hill .

Last but not least  – the fire jump! I jumped over that fire and we went down the hill to the finish.  It was an amazing feeling.  There was a Biggest Loser person there to give us our medals.  So proud!

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2.5 hours later – 6 of us went in and 6 of us went out.

There were so many times that I was going to give up.  So many, and seeing all the people taken out by medics on golf carts did not help .  I just figured if I kept moving, eventually it would end.  I cannot believe I did it.  Any part of it.

If I can do any part of this, then anyone can.  The Biggest Loser Walk/ Run Off Road Challenge is great for those of us who want to take it to the next level, but can’t quite do it yet.  ” Spartan Race on Training Wheels” they told us in our pep talk.  And they were right.  I highly recommend this if you are thinking of doing any obstacle race.  It gives you a taste of it.  The Biggest Loser volunteers were so great through out the whole thing, right there with water if we needed it and tips.  Matt and Tara popped up here and there too.  We even ran into Matt at the hose off shower station at the end.  Real great people.  they took lots of pictures of us along the route, can’t wait to see them.  I will definitely post them!

I got home and walked in and first thing my daughter says is home much I stink.  And boy did I.  The mud was horrible.  That was by far the greatest shower ever.   I still have mud in places.  I think another 20 showers and I will be clear.

If I really sit and think about it, I get so emotional.  Especially after this year not being my best fitness wise.  This has totally got me pumped to keep on the path.  I definitely will do another one.  They have one in Boston in November at Fenway Park.  At least there won’t be as much mud, they can’t have all that mud inside Fenway.  I am thinking about it.  And now, the actual Spartan Race is a goal.  Now I know what I need to work on and what I need to do to complete it.  It may be 3-4 years, but its a goal for sure.

No matter where you started, no matter where you are , we are all on this journey.  Different places, different times, different paths, but WE ARE DOING IT.

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS FAR BETTER THAN SITTING ON THE COUCH WISHING.

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Back to the Beginning

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Whenever I say the phrase ” Back to the Beginning” I think of the Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya ( played by the amazing Mandy Patinkin)  is drunk and Fezzik ( played by larger than life Andre The Giant) finds him when he needs to clear the Thieves Forest.  And I say it in my head the way Inigo says it…. silly, I know but it makes me laugh.  Check it out.  I tried finding a good clip of the line but the one I found was of horrific quality, and my readers deserve better than that! Seriously, The Princess Bride is my favorite movie of all time.   Yes, I am one of those people who can quote the whole movie.

Had such a crush on him when I was a little kid....

Had such a crush on him when I was a little kid….

 

 

But I digress…

So, tonight was my first night back to Cross Fit in almost  month.  As much as it stunk for me not working out – I am kinda glad my doctor said to take it easy, it is a strenuous activity.  So, I am glad I waited.  I felt like it was my first night.  I regressed so much. Ugh 😦

Here’s How I did :

Strength :

Back Squats 4×12

Last time I did back squats, I PR’D! Tonight – it was more reps and totally did not even get close to my PR. My PR is 145 lbs. Tonight it was 65 lbs.  And Good Lord was it hard! But I did 4 sets of 12.  So, I am happy with that.

WOD

3 rounds for time

10 OHS

30 abmat sit ups

45 Kettle bell Swings

15 min time cap

I made it through exactly 2 rounds.  My Overhead Squats were atrocious, so so so bad, so incredibly bad that I had to use the training bar.  Granted, its been quite a while, but the training bar ? Christ, my ego was crushed into tiny itty bitty pieces.  I could only do a few reps with the womens bar, no way I could do the whole workout with it.  Soul crusher.  Blah.

The abmat sit ups I feel I did really good, I decided to challenge myself and do them as butterfly sit ups.  I could do those…

Kettlebells – I usually use the 35 lbs KB, but first night back, I didn’t want to kill myself, so I went with the 26 lb.

All in all, it was great to be back .  I feel good.  Looking forward to tomorrow night!

Then, this weekend, my friends and I are doing the Biggest Loser Walk/ Run ! Should be interesting!

Gotta keep swimming!

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Reboot = Reignite = Rejuvenate

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Reboot

Looking back on this year so far, and UGH.  UGH CITY.  In fact, I am THE MAYOR OF UGH CITY.   On one hand, I am pissed. So pissed at myself, for getting into all these funks and straying off my path and what I NEED to do.  I have not worked out nearly as much as I should, I have gained weight back, and I feel like shit.  I have had some legit reasons for not making all my classes, but still, it stinks.  I have made piss poor eating decisions which doesn’t help either.  I failed, badly.  Time to Reboot!

But…. Here’s the good part – the old Meg would of let all of these bumps and hiccups knock her down, and keep her off the path.  I am still here ! I am conscious of the now and what I need to do! I haven’t fallen completely off the wagon, I am still dangling ,dragging along the back .   So, on the other hand, this is the best I have ever done, stuck it out more than anything I have done before. I AM going to get back at it.

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Reignite

I am back at it Wednesday this week – I have been out of the gym for a while due to the vertigo/ concussion symptoms I had.  Scary shit.  Doctor said no strenuous activity.  I am so excited to workout.  I seriously love working out, I love Cross Fit, I love my gym, I love my coaches, I love my community there.  The whole package is nothing but amazing.  It is such a great feeling after a killer WOD. Good Lord I miss it!!! I have reignited the flame that drove me.  I feel like I say this shit all the time, but for me, this is a constant process and constant journey.  So yeah, I am gonna say stuff this all the time, but that is just me keeping it real, like I tend to do.  This is real life.  Real ups and real downs,  at least that is what folks tell me they enjoy about my blog.

I always try, admittedly not as much as I should, but there are times, I try my damnedest.  I need to try harder for me.  I have goals and dreams and aspirations of who I want to be. What I want to be.  I know for certain, its not this current costume I am trapped in.  This reminds me of a poem I wrote back in 2011.

Adrift

Staring at the reflection in the mirror
The stranger she knows so well
the horrid eyes that look back
Her lids cannot shut fast enough
There is a person there, in there somewhere and she screams
Dear God does she scream
Misunderstood for so very long, she is stuck
The zipper on this clown suit is jammed and she is a prisoner
She tries to yell, to fight, to win
She is silent, she can’t move and she loses
Dying to win this fight
Aching to find the girl that was lost
APB’s and milk cartons are not cutting it
She cannot give up

I AM DYING TO WIN THIS FIGHT.  I AM ACHING TO FIND THE GIRL I LOST.  I WILL NOT GIVE UP!

You know I love writing my poetry.  Its such a release for me.  I don’t tend to share as much as I write.  I suppose cause I write for just myself and I don’t think others would get it… but then again, maybe they would.  I don’t know.  But I do know, in reading back some of my past poems, I have used that stuck zipper reference quite a few times.  See – I don’t belong in this body.  I need to fight my way out of it.

And don’t get me wrong, this body has carried 3 perfect, healthy, beautiful children.  There is something to be said for that I guess.  And there are some people who are perfectly happy to be larger, plus size, obese even.  Its all about what makes YOU happy.  Right now, this body is not where I am happy and I am going to fix it.

 

Rejuvenate

I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me for lack of a better term.  I know for certain I am a different person, than I was before .  I may not be taking the journey exactly as I had hoped, and it may be taking me way longer, and I may have taken 10 steps back, but I realize it.  This is something I never ever would of admitted or done before.  Like Ever.

 

So, here I am .

 

Back to the beginning it feels.

 

Determined to keep it going.  Determined to Keep Swimming. I still got some fight left in me 🙂

I hope you will continue following the journey with me .

 

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