A Budget of $0

Hello, family and friends and readers of my blog. This is just a note to let you know that I am not crazy or in an irrational state of mind :). I am, however, in a mood to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, remodel my kitchen. Here are some pics

I have been watching DIY shows and looking through Pinterest and HGTV magazines for years and I finally have an idea of what I want to do to my kitchen. No, I do not have a budget. I am a single mom with a part time job and the dreams of being a professional writer. My bank account frequently screams in agony and every time I use my debit card I hear alarm bells sounding. This will not stop me and here’s why.

Life is really fucking short! It’s too short to wait until the “perfect moment” and definitely too short to wait for my bank account to always be in the black. Life is too short to sit around and whisper “someday” into the air. My someday is now. To some of you, this might seem foolish, stupid and perhaps a bit absurd. I mean who starts a remodel without having a budget in place!

The answer to that, perfectly understandable, question is this: someone who doesn’t need near instant gratification, someone who plans on doing most, if not all, the work herself. Yes, I do have big plans. Yes, I do know that not all of those plans will work. After all, I am not a plumber or an electrician. I do know how to hang drywall and swing a sledgehammer, I can use a saw and put down tile. I plan on doing things slowly and scouring places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army for materials. I also plan on using some material from my basement that will no longer be needed down there. I will price and shop around for needed supplies and buy them as money comes available. I am in no hurry. In fact, I want this project to take a little while. Believe it or not, this project is helping me deal with stress as well as satisfy my desire to remodel. I am not perfect and I am sure there will be times when I curse myself for even starting this project. Mostly, though, I am happy. I am adding to my coping skills. In the past, I have used retail therapy and food to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy. Today I am using my writing, the gym, and now home improvement projects to cope.

The last, almost, 6 years has been rough. I have walked that long, lonely road of grief and I have done and said some stupid and crazy things. Through it all, I have had my family and friends standing beside me letting me know that I am safe and loved. These past 2 years or so I have finally decided it is ok to be happy and I am figuring out what that means. I have had to rediscover who I am and who I want to be. Please try not worry, I am ok and I do know what I am doing, for the most part ;).

Just so you know, I will still complain about not having any money. That is a never ending situation no matter what I am or am not doing. Love to all! I will continue to share my Remodel on a Budget of $0. Demoing is kind of fun, the clean up not so much.

No Money, Stressed, But Positive

I have done it quite brilliantly this time! I have managed to put my finances so far into the toilet that there is no way for it to be fixed. Yep, about negative $500 in my account and growing. Went to Walmart with the charge card to get a few things and it was promptly declined. Now I am in panic mode. WHAT IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO? ¬†Did I mention that the outlet in my bathroom doesn’t work, my dryer is near death and my stove is acting up? Yeah, I am in one hell of a shit storm right now. Again, what the hell am I going to do?

I am going to take a deep breath, get as many hours as I can at work, have a garage sale and remember that as life goes, mine is actually very good. I have had some craptastic moments but I also have a bunch of wonderful people in my life who are there for me in those moments.

What I am not going to do is sit around feeling sorry for myself or blame other people. It is no one else’s fault that I am not good with money. It is no one else’s fault that I use loans to dig myself out of holes, temporary fixes. Now all of that has caught up with me and I have to do what I should have done in the first place. Pay bills and quit spending money.

Please do not think badly of me, I was, at one time in a more financially stable place. Truth be told I would still be there except I went ahead with the publishing of my book when I should have waited. Shoulda woulda coulda will not get my money back and neither will sitting on my ass crying about it.

The point, my friends, is that when life throws up rough spots you can either boo hoo or you can stand up and take action. You can blame others or you can take responsibility for yourself and your life. I have always believed: You can’t control other people but you can control yourself and how you react.

Living in a constant cloud of negativity makes me feel like crap. I don’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week, I am talking about constantly complaining about life. I think that if a person continually focuses on the bad things then that is all they will ever see. If instead, a person looks for the good things then the rough stuff becomes easier to work through.

Life is full of big bad stuff that is harder to overcome and takes a lot of people working together to change. Why then would I choose to focus on the little things all the time? Be angry, friends, be sad, shout some curse words, sheds some tears, then take a deep breath and let it go, because life is too short to hang to the little things that anger you. Instead, hang on to the little things that make you smile. Life is much better that way :).

Just a few little things that make me smile. There are much more ūüôā

 

Don’t Eat My Cereal

If I have invited you into my home for more than a 5-minute conversation I consider you my friend. If you have spent the night in my house you are, more than likely, considered family. I only have one hard and fast rule in my house, do not eat my cereal.

I am a generous person for the most part. We are all a little selfish from time to time and I am no exception. I will let you read my books, use my shampoo, make your dinner, I will even sleep on the couch and let you have my bed. You can borrow my clothes and use my computer. DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

See? I am generous. I am loyal to a fault and I usually share everything I have. However, if I am eating please do not stand over me and say, “I want some!” and then expect me to hand over my bowl or give you a bite. Have I not already given you everything else? Do not take another mile if I have already given you 2. In other words, DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

You want something from my garden? Ok, it’s yours. Want me to bake you some cupcakes? No Problem! Just DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

Welcome to my house, where the only hard and fast rule is:¬†DON’T EAT MY CEREAL!

 

 

This a work of fiction, maybe ;), for all those generous people out there who would give you the shirt off their backs. Also for parents because we all know that if we were eating a shit sandwich our children would want a bite simply because we were eating it :).

P.S. If you like my writing check out my children’s book, Stuck by Valerie Prather, on amazon.com

My Book!!!!!

I wrote a children’s book! And I published it! Holy¬†S***! ¬†I am so excited!!! I am so nervous!!!! I keep thinking “what if people don’t like it?” and “what if people love it?”. AHHHHHHH!!!! DEEP BREATHS!!!! Ok…I’m alright now :). I am just so excited. I wrote this story about 5 years ago and finally decided to go for broke and publish it. It took me a little bit to find an illustrator. I found a good one, I think anyway. He was great to work with and really understood what I wanted for the book :). After several meetings and a couple of reworks the book is finally complete and ready for sale. Below are the cover and the first page of the story for your perusal, a sneak peek. You can buy my book (my book…eek!) at http://www.createspace.com e-store or from Amazon.com and this weekend it will be live on Kindle. ¬†I plan on donating a minimum of 10% of the royalties to ¬†a children’s charity. I have not yet decided which charity. I am still doing some research. If anyone has a suggestion or a favorite charity please let me know :). I hope you enjoy my book! Yay! Have I mentioned how excited I am? Ahhh!! So excited!!

Parenting is Rough!!!

Hello, everyone! A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my daughter’s escapades with in-app purchasing and her resulting consequences, I would like to update you on that situation and lay out some thoughts I have on punishments.

A couple of weeks ago my beautiful daughter bought $122.36 worth of in-app purchases for a game called Builder Buddies. She was promptly grounded from her iPad, video games and Youtube for a week, all seven days of the week, much to her great displeasure. I came up with a way for her to work off the money she “stole”. Yes, stole, she did not find it laying around, she did not earn it or ask for it, therefore, she stole the money. I put together a list of chores and designated a minute value to each chore. My daughter earned $8.50 for every hour of work completed. Let me tell you she worked her little behind off to pay that money back before her Spring Break started! She now has her iPad back but no longer has access to the iTunes password, in case she did not learn her lesson. All is right again in our peacefully chaotic home.

For the last five years, I have been a single parent. I have run through the gambit of parenting styles. I have yelled, negotiated, screamed, gave the silent treatment, grounded, spanked, bribed and so on. I wouldn’t say that I was a bad parent, just as I wouldn’t say I am a parent of the year. I am just trying to figure out what works with my head strong nine year old. I make tons of mistakes, but I make a lot of good decisions as well. That being said there is one trend in parenting that I do not understand. Public humiliation, I just don’t agree.

The last several years there have been many Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram pics where parents have their child on the street holding a sign describing their misdeeds. I have even watched some reposted videos where the parent has punished the child and is following them filming his or her reaction to the punishment and making the child tell about what they did wrong. I don’t understand this and here’s why. If I make a mistake at work and my boss decides that everyone¬†in the office should be present while she yells at me I would be pissed! I certainly wouldn’t want to try to do better, I would start looking for another job. Unfortunately, kids can’t just go looking for a new family, so what do you think they will do instead? If it were me, I would hide in my room and speak as little as possible to my parents, I would withdraw from them. I would do this because I would feel like if I make the littlest mistake I might be humiliated again. I would think that the people who were supposed to be my guides in this crazy life have now become my enemy. My parents would cease to be my champions and teachers and now become my humiliators, my punishers. The people who I thought were supposed to love me unconditionally, just showed me that there are conditions to their love. That’s just me, I don’t know how you all feel.

Before any of you go berserk on me let me explain something. I know that children need to have punishments or consequences for their misdeeds. This is how they learn right from wrong. I am a believer that an occasional spanking, usually as a last resort, is ok. I believe in grounding and taking things away from children. I think that sometimes raising your voice lets them know how much you dislike their behavior, but a simple look and shake of the head can do the same thing in certain situations. I do not believe that public humiliation is the answer. I think our children get humiliated enough at school by their peers, by the teachers, and the bullies. Home is supposed to be the safe haven, not a place for more knocks to their self-esteem.

Parenting is hard! We all know this and finding ways to parent effectively in both good times and rough times is no picnic. Parents are deemed awful if they say that corporal punishment is okay. Then the same people who glare at them for that are giving out disgusted looks and nasty comments in the grocery store when a kid is throwing a tantrum because they can’t have the gummy bears they demanded. Bribing children into good behavior is seen as weak parenting, ignoring bad behavior is seen as non-parenting and spanking is seen as abusive. What do we do when everything we try is criticized? the answer to that seems to be public humiliation. Here’s what I say, my fellow parents, let people talk, let them judge you¬†because they don’t matter. Whether you spank your kids or ground them, whether you ignore the bad behavior or yell instead is up to you and what you know works for your child. Raising a kid is a lot like a science experiment, trial and error. We try one thing and if doesn’t work we move on to the next. The one thing that we should never forget, our children depend on us to offer them a safe place where they won’t be embarrassed to make mistakes or be themselves, for this reason, any punishment for mistakes or misdeeds should not humiliate them. Punishments should help them understand and learn from their mistakes, not alienate them or cause a rift between parent and child. Remember, there is always someone out there who is going to say “if that were my kid…”, but she’s not their kid, she’s yours, so do the best you can, and when in doubt ask for advice. There are others going through all of this parenting stuff too and they might be able to help ;).

Well, that’s my two cents! What do you think? Is public humiliation ok? Any thoughts are welcome but please keep it civil, we are all adults and it’s ok to disagree but it’s not ok to be a jerk. Thanks all!

The Learning Curve

I got ready for bed about 10 o’clock last night. Decided I would check my bank account before turning off my phone for the night, I wanted to make sure I had enough money for essentials this week. To my great surprise, there were five charges that I did not recognize! I start to panic thinking that someone has gotten ahold of my bank information. I took a deep breath and looked at the places the charges were made, the next word that came out of my mouth was my daughter’s name. All of the charges were made this weekend on iTunes. I was sick all weekend so my lovely daughter was on her iPad pretty much from the time she got up until she went to bed. Now, normally I would have an issue with this and tell her to go ride her bike or do something else for awhile, but as I said, I was sick. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would charge $122.36 in in-app charges on iTunes. We have had extensive discussions about how she is not to purchase anything without asking me first. She has had her iPad for about five years and has known the password for buying apps for about two years. Never have we had an issue. Until this weekend.

To say that I am furious is an¬†understatement of the grandest proportions. I have been struggling financially since my husband passed five years ago. I have also been trying very hard to overcome this financial difficulty while still being able to be at home when my daughter is at home. I have always felt that it is more important for her to have me around than to have things and be raised by babysitters. I have wonderful family and friends so I have, for the most part, been able to give her complete access to my time and attention. This is not an easy accomplishment in this day and age and sacrifices have been made. That is a story for another time, back to the issue at hand. I have not always been the best at giving punishments. There were times when the punishment outweighed the crime and times when the crime outweighed the punishment. Last night when I discovered the infraction it was late so I was tired and still not feeling the best, because of this I ended up screaming at her and grounding her for the week from her iPad. When I woke up this morning I decided that this was not enough, though I was feeling a bit guilty for the screaming at her part. I had an hour before I had to get my sleeping beauty up for school so I thought about what should happen. I started planning. I woke up my daughter and I gave her the first part of the plan. Then I dropped her off at school and I contacted my sister and a friend because I needed help working this out without being completely over the top or too lenient. It helps to have a sounding board or two when you are a single parent. Not to mention I was ready to smash her iPad into smithereens and ground her for the foreseeable future and possibly use corporal punishment just to drive my point home. Luckily I chose to go to sleep last night instead and took some quiet time to think this morning. I am happy to report that the iPad and my daughters booty are still intact. Let’s get to the plan shall we?

This morning: After waking my daughter up this morning I calmly explained to her that her actions have caused a serious problem. I will now be negative in my account unless I can find a way to put back the money she spent. Instead of going to visit her uncle, aunt and cousins in a couple of weeks I will now have to work. In addition, I will have to pick up some extra hours at work to cover the loss. Her mistake has cost me not only money but a trip to see my niece for her birthday. Her punishment is not being able to use her iPad, YouTube or play any video games for the entire week. She will have to do all of her chores and any additional chores without complaint. I have changed the password to the iTunes and apple store accounts, she will no longer be allowed to have the password. I explained to her that because of the problems with the roof, the need to pay bills and put food on the table was going to cause us to be negative in the account in April and due to her actions we are now going to have twice as less money. I accept responsibility for the first part and had already taken steps to remedy the situation, however, I will now have to figure out how to remedy both situations. This not only entails me canceling the trip north and picking up more hours at work but may also mean that we will have to turn off the internet and all tv services until the situations are fixed. While I understand that mistakes can be made she made the same mistake five different times on the same weekend, four of them in the same day. More importantly, she broke a rule. There are consequences for every action. Boom! Done! But wait! There is more! Here is what awaits my precious love this afternoon.

The Lesson in money: Under the advice of my friend I reached out to iTunes store and they graciously agreed to reverse the charges. Yep, all $122.36! Happy Dance! ūüôā Do you think I am going to tell my little one about that? Heck no! Baby Girl keeps telling mom she isn’t a baby anymore, did I mention she is about 5 months from double digits? Yep, she’ll be 10. I guess it’s time she learns how to earn money. Here’s what she is going to find out this afternoon. I have made a list of chores and assigned them a number in minutes. For example, sweeping and mopping the floors will earn her 30 minutes, dusting 15 minutes and dishes 15 minutes (we have a¬†dishwasher), etc. She will earn $8.50 per hour. We will keep track of her time with a time sheet, at the end of the week, we will add up her time and figure up how much she has earned and then deduct that from her debt. If she does her job without complaining she will receive a raise. If she complains or gives me a hard time about the chores there will not be a raise. If she refuses to do the chores she will extend her grounding by one day for every time she refuses to complete a chore. Bam! That’s right mama’s got her dancing shoes on! All done and without a single smack to the ass or slap upside the head!

Thanks, Sister and C for the listening and assisting! What do you think my blogging friends and loyal readers? Too much? Too little? Am I completely off my rocker or on the right track? Constructive criticism only, please! Being a parent is tough friends so let’s not have any hateful words, only helpful ones :). Thanks all!

Flirting, Dating, What’s That?

Time for a confession! I¬†cannot flirt and I have never been on a real date. My husband was really a good guy but we didn’t really go on a date, at least, a traditional date, until after we moved in together. Let me define what I mean by date. To me, a date is when you go to dinner or coffee or drinks or a movie, something of the sort. Justin and I went for walks or talked on my front porch or in his apartment. He never picked me up in his car and took me to dinner or a movie. Not judging, truth is, I never missed the dates. I liked our conversations and walks in the park. I have only had about 3 boyfriends in my life. My first real boyfriend was in middle school, my second was in high school and my third would later become my husband. In middle school, I was only allowed on group dates. In high school, I was more focused on school work and the guy I dated never took me out, he did bring me breakfast once. In college, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, making friends and didn’t really want a boyfriend. Then I met Justin and my life changed and everything was good :). When I lost him everything changed again and I thought I would never want to date or anything ever again. Fast-forward to five years later and I find that never again is unrealistic.

So here is the situation, I seem to be attracted to a guy at my gym. Cliche, I know! Since I don’t really get out much I guess the gym and the grocery store are about the only places I will meet a guy. I suppose it might be time to mend my hermit ways ;). Anyway, I met a cute guy (so, high school sounding) and I have no idea what to do next. I have never been able to flirt without sounding like a total goob and even if I could I have no idea how a real date goes. Oh and there is the whole widowed single mom thing that doesn’t do much to turn guys on. It’s a lot to handle. You may be asking yourselves why I am even mentioning all this. Well, because I have no idea what I am doing so I am seeking assistance from all available avenues! Friends, some family, and you all. I am not even really sure I am 100% ready to date. I guess if I am now looking at guys going hmmmm….I wonder, then it is probably time to start figuring out how all this crap works. You know, at the young age of 37 it might actually be time to figure out to flirt or what to say and not say on a date, especially a first date.

So my blogging friends, tell me, how does this all work? Please don’t say dating websites because I am definitely not ready for all that jazz. Who asks who? I am almost in a place where I am confident enough to do the asking but I have a fear of rejection. It stems from a lack of confidence in my appearance. I was made fun of a lot when I was a¬†kid, weight problems, glasses, socially awkward. Yeah, not much has changed. I am a bit more confident but I still have the glasses and weight problems. For those of you who never had these issues, it sticks with you, even when you believe that you are a well-adjusted, self-confident adult. Self-doubt is ¬†a little monster that must be fought at all times.

Give me your thoughts friends, I look forward to hearing from you :).

 

Good Wine, Good Food, Good Friend

Five years ago I felt like my world collapsed. I honestly thought I was only surviving so that my daughter wouldn’t have to lose both parents. I didn’t want her to feel any more pain than she had to feel. Then in April, I was slapped by death again as I lost my grandma. I kept going because I couldn’t do anything else. In June of that year, death beat me down again as my Dad lost his battle with cancer. Keep moving, wall up the heart and close the gates of emotion. Ha! Not easily done. Honestly? It was probably the worst thing I could have done. But let’s fast forward five years, I think I have dwelt enough in the past.

This weekend I spent some time with friends. It was great! It usually is, I have pretty good friends :). We went to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw, Illinois. It was the second time I had been there and it was just as nice as the first. The first time I went with a group of friends to a wine and chocolate tasting, this time, we went and saw a murder mystery. It was so much fun! Dinner was tasty and the company was great! The little murder mystery play was put on by a small company of 2 people, a married couple, with the assistance from audience members. All of this with dinner and dessert in between. The wine you could purchase by the glass or by the¬†bottle from the vineyard. I am partial to the sweet wines and really enjoyed their Edelweiss and Diane’s Desire.

All of that was great, but the nicest and scariest part of the night was when a person that I had gotten to know during the horrible year of pain came up to me and said hi! I haven’t really seen much of anyone from that year in person for quite some time. I was a mess that year and not my best me, so when I run into someone from that year in person I have to stop a second and try to remember through the fog. I remembered her right away of course and was happy to see her. I’ll call her K for the purpose of this post. K looked happy and was with her husband. It was really great to see her happy and to get to spend time with her. The scary part, for me, is the question. The question that everyone who hasn’t seen me since that time asks, “How are you?”. My standard answer is I’m good. I found that this time it’s true. I really am doing good. I mean my life isn’t cake or anything, but it’s good :). I have a great daughter, a wonderful family, awesome friends and a life that I didn’t think would be possible 5 years ago.

The second question I hate getting when I meet someone after a long absence is “What are you doing now?”. I hate this question because when I explain my current life to people I get mixed reactions. I was not able to secure a teaching position after I finished my Master’s in Education degree. I know why and it stings horribly. I have been told by several that I would make a good teacher, so why don’t I have a teaching job? Well several reasons possibly, lots of people looking and few jobs in my area are at the top of the list. But I know the real reason and it bothers me tremendously. That, however, is a story for another day. The main reason I hate this question is because there are those who see my lifestyle as lazy or irresponsible. My choices are my own, for the most part, and I weigh each one heavily. Some do not agree and others just nod as if this all they expected of me. While I don’t always like the path that I have been forced to forge on my own, I am ok with my decisions. Yes, even the ones that I later regret.Why? Because I know that life isn’t easy and it so frequently lobs rocks and digs pitfalls and tries to drown a person at every turn. I have a choice, I can constantly bemoan those rocks, pitfalls, and tons of water, or I can see past all of that to the rainbows, the helping hands, the green trees and the blue skies. I can choose to see the smile on my daughters face or hear the laughter of my friends rather than the tears I have cried and the pain that I endure. Life is about choices and I accept the responsibility of all of my choices, the good and the bad.

My lost acquaintance/friend asked this very question and I asked it of her in return. K seems to be doing well and really likes her job. I am so happy for her! When I told her what I am doing now there was no judgment in her face and for once I didn’t feel worried that this knowledge would cost me a potential relationship. This was also the first time that I called myself a writer, so that was a little scary. I am so glad that I ran into K and her husband! It was nice to see someone from that year of hell and not feel awkward or like an utter failure. K is just as nice as I remember her and I look forward to getting to know her again.

As for the other stuff. I think too much! Here is me, my friends, down and dirty! I am a mother, semi-hoarder(I’m getting better at that), an artist, a teacher, a writer, a gym goer, a pescatarian, an art lover, a B-movie watcher, wine drinking, cussing, animal loving, goofy, middle-aged, young at heart, emotional, ¬†thinks too much about herself and not enough about the world around her(working on this too) person. This is me, unapologetically me!

This weekend taught me a little bit more about myself and I am good with what I learned. Also, this weekend rocked! I had good friends surrounding me, good food to eat, good wine to drink and it was amazing!

So here is to you, my friends! May you always have enough of everything! Love to all!

Love

It’s been awhile since I have written on youmakeyourown I’ve been over at my findidngbalanceinacrazyworld.wordpress.com blog. I apologize for that. This blog is what started it all, I began here because I needed an outlet for my emotions when I went through the year of death and fog. Many of you have read other posts here but for those of you who have not, I will give a brief recap of the year of 2011. January, 12th my husband died, April 16th(I think) my grandmother died and on June 25th my Dad died. The first month of that new year was awful, the next five added more grief and I was lost. The only thing that kept me focused was my student teaching¬†though I fear I did not do that well.

Anyway, that is 2011 in a recap, death, fog, depression, determination, anger and fear. Fast forward to 2016 and those have been replaced with more positive emotions. The first 12 days of January still tend to be a bit rough. I love this blog because of what it allowed me to do, so my goal for this year is to write on here a¬†minimum of once a month. I will share all sorts of things that open the emotional floodgates. Some may be light hearted and fun and some may be a bit sad. I am also thinking of adding a page for creative inspiration :). For now here is something I wrote a few days ago. It expresses what I’ve been feeling of late. I need to remember that moving forward with my life does not mean forgetting my life with Justin, it simply means I am ready to open my heart to the possibility of more love.

Love

Broken

Scared

Maimed

The heart that beats in my chest

Thump, bump, thump

Full of love

Courage

Strength

The heart that beats in my chest

Bump, thump, thump

Scared

Unsure

Guilty

The heart that beats in my chest

Thump, thump, bump

It stutters at the loss it has felt

It staggers at the possibility of more love

It feels guilt

It feels happiness

Broken

Unsure

It feels Love

Thanks for reading! Love to all!

Healthy has no Size

found on peoplemagazine.com

I saw this cover of People while in line at the grocery store. Upon seeing this I had simultaneous thoughts. Yes I really did think two things at once. One part of me thought “she’s pretty, good for her!” while the other part of me thought “Who employees a size 22 person to be a model?” Not proud of the second thought, but there it is. Later at home, while fixing dinner, I asked myself why I had that last thought, Tess Holiday is beautiful, why shouldn’t she be a supermodel? She also seems very confidant in herself and that, in and of itself, is beautiful. So why did I react the way I did?

As realization dawned on me I stopped beating myself up for my not so generous and rather fleeting thought. I was born in 1978 so I grew up in the 80s to the mid 90s. What seemed to be drilled into me as I grew up is that being a larger person was wrong. Being large meant that you were fat. Wearing over a size 10 meant that you were fat. Supermodels were a size 2-4, anything bigger was fat. I don’t recall the words healthy or unhealthy ever being used, it was fat or skinny. The scale and clothing size determined if a person was healthy or not. What a person ate or if they exercised did not matter. No, not in the era of Cherry Coke and ice cream, when people ate salads, not because they were tasty, but because that’s what you ate when you were on a diet. I have brought those notions with me from childhood into adulthood. I honestly thought I had left them behind. When I started on my get healthy journey I thought I had left those thoughts in the past. After my reaction to this magazine cover I can see I was terribly mistaken.

I realize now that the numbers on the scale and on my clothes have meant more to me than I originally thought. I say this because last year my lab results came back quite good despite my 220 pounds. I wanted to keep them that way, to stay healthy and keep all of my families health problems at bay. I also wanted to be able to keep up with my daughter and not feel like i was going to faint after five minutes of playing. That’s why in January I really started exercising and thinking about the food I ate. That’s why I switched to a semi-vegetarian diet. I understand now that I also did these things to make the numbers move. There is a part of me that wants to be the size 10 or less, a part of me that wants to yell back at the mean people from my past, “See! See I’m thin! I am worthwhile! Will you let me in now?” That poor girl:( she just wanted to fit in, wanted to be like everyone else. She couldn’t see, because they couldn’t see, that she was just like them. She liked music and tv and talking about boys. She was lucky too though. She had a few really great friends. Good thing she did, because I’m not sure she would have made it through those rough years without them.

That girl is 36 almost 37 years old now and she is doing pretty good:) There are days though when she sees magazine covers with size 22 supermodels and she involuntarily goes back to the rough times. Healthy isn’t a size. That’s the thought that jumps out of all this babble. Healthy has no size. A person can be healthy at size 22 or size 2. It isn’t about the scale or the tag, it’s about how a person feels physically and emotionally. I don’t know Tess Holiday, but I know that she looks radiant on the cover of People magazine and that is where my thoughts now stop.