Monday, June 4, 2012

Beautiful Change

Change is hard for me.  I'm not good with change.  

Yet when I do accept change I find it freeing.  Liberating.  Beautiful. 

Yes, I quit my job of 19 years.  It was a long time coming.  A very long time coming.  But, as bad as this job was it gave me flexibility to take care of people in my life.  But, funny thing was, I never used that to take care of me.  Until last year.  When I got my run on full force. 

I ran fast.  I ran free.  I felt beautiful. 

Well, until I got injured.  

I broke.

Nine LONG months ago. 

And, then, it got ugly.  I got ugly.   

No marathon for me.  No diagnosis for me.  No running for me. A boot for me.

It sucked.  A lot. I pretended I was okay with it.  I wasn't. 

I gained almost 25 pounds of the 65+ pounds I had lost through running.  I was no longer that person my friends commented on how great I looked.  

Ugly. I felt it.  Inside and out.  It stayed with me day and night.  At work.  Things at work that always sucked, sucked more.  Because I didn't like how I felt.  My running wasn't getting better.  My pain wasn't getting better.  I saw no way out of this hole. 

And, then an opportunity came to me.  A new job came to me.  From all places, my sometimes running partner.  Why of course.  She didn't beg.  But, in a way she did.  Just in case I didn't hear her.  But, thankfully, I did.  

I took the chance.  I took a leap.  I didn't crash. I didn't break.  

I've never felt good about myself.  I have horrible self esteem.  I never think I have any worth.  Which is funny.  Because anybody who knows me in person would certainly say I'm a confident, strong woman.  I, however, would say I'm a very good actress. 

It wasn't until I started kicking ass (albeit my own ass) running that I started to think I was a bit worthy.  That I was perhaps a bit beautiful.  For whatever that meant.  

But, I lost all that.  When I broke. 

A few weeks ago at the Barefoot 24 I met Debbie's three beautiful girls.  And, when I say beautiful, I mean it.  Stunning.  Gorgeous.  And, sweet, nice, and funny.  When I walked downstairs for the first time that morning I had three of them staring back at me.  In silence.  No words.  They had been chatting up a storm.  But, then they saw me.  Silence.  

I started small talk.  Silly talk.  Soon, the chatter began.  Well, with two of them.  One of the six and a half year old twins, Miss H.  A confident looking beauty with a swagger of strength and individuality.  And, the baby, five year old Miss B.  A adorable 17 year old class president trapped in a five year old's body.  Who wanted to be my bff within two minutes.  And, perhaps may have.  During one of her deep conversations with me (not the one at 2 am when she jumped in bed with me and wanted to girl talk) she looked at me and said, "I have lots of words in my head"  I said, "Yes, I see that".  

But, then there was Miss K.  Sitting back away from us.  Silent.  Not talking.  But, I could feel her sizing me up and down.  Figuring me out.  She, was, quite frankly, stunning.  Long blonde hair.  Gorgeous big eyes.  But, quiet.  

We all did yoga together.  I taught them hard stuff.  We did back bends.  They rocked them out.  I did headstands.  To prove to witnesses that, yes, I can indeed rock a headstand.  They thought that was pretty kewl.  

Later Debbie told me that Miss K, had huge self confidence issues.  She hated the way she looked.  Hated that she didn't look like her twin.  Or her other sister.  Or her mom.  She didn't have brown hair.  She didn't have curly hair.  She didn't look like anybody she knew in real life. 

That was until I walked down those stairs.  There was a grown woman.  With long blond hair.  Who perhaps looked like her in a sense. 

It pained me to no end to know that such a beautiful girl could think she was so ugly.  How could this be so?  How could she feel something that was just so obviously untrue.  How could she not know that she was strong?  That she has so much to offer in life?  That she was worthy.  

How could she be, well, me

Wow.  She was me

I made sure to give her extra attention all weekend.  It was hard to do.  It was a crazy weekend.  Her sisters are pretty outgoing with their attention demands.  ( I love them for that!).  But, we had our moments.  When she was fighting with her sister over shared candy and her crying was overwhelming her I felt her pain.  Not over candy.  But, I felt what she was feeling.  Of not being heard.  Of not feeling that someone was hearing her.  Of course they were.  But, I made sure I did.  Crisis resolved.  Candy shared.  Tears stopped.

But, the moment that got me was when she was sitting at the kitchen with Debbie and me just after dinner.  I asked her if I could braid her hair.  She had told me the day before how she liked braids because when she took them out her hair was curly.  I got that.  I always wanted curly hair too.  She said she would like me to braid it.  So, I started to brush it.  And, I realized something.  Her hair was exactly like mine.  It was straight.  It was thin.  It was fine.  

So, I told her as I brushed her hair that we had the same hair.  She turned around to look at me and she smiled.  I grabbed my hair.  I told her to feel it. Feel her hair.  The same.  Exactly.  I told her how lucky she was to have such hair.  I told her how all the cool high school girls spend lots of money dyeing their hair blonde and straightening it because they want hair like hers.   After I braided her hair she was to go upstairs with her sisters and watch a movie with dad.  She did. For a bit.  But, then she returned to hang around Debbie and me.  I didn't know it then, but I do now.  She wanted to hang a bit more with this person that kind of looked like her.  Like no one she had ever seen before.  Me. 

I was that girl.  I am that girl.  But, like Miss K, I need to change what I can to make me a better person.   To know that I have worth.  That I deserve better than what I think.  And,  to accept the beauty with which I was born with and know that it is what makes me me. 

And, that is and always will be,  beautiful.  Even when I'm hurt.  Even when I gain back weight.  Even when I struggle.  Even when I don't have confidence.  Even when I don't think I deserve to be beautiful.  That I can be more.  I can do more.  I'm still me.  But, I deserve more.  I'm worth more.

Last weekend at the Chicago Do Life 5K I once again met some amazing people.  People like me. People who may not be the fastest runner.  But, whose journey could be a mirror to mine.  With different events, different demons, but a reflection of me in some way.

Long after Ben was in his car and on his way to Indy five of us women (including dear Claire ) stood on the corner where we said goodbye to him and talked.  And talked.  And talked.  And talked.  For over an hour.  Amongst us 420+ pounds had been lost.  We talked about our feeling of not being worthy, of who we had become, the better person we had become.  How we couldn't let go of the "old me".  How it was hard to accept the new people we had become.  We talked about our thighs.  We talked about men.  Even if people saw the beauty in us, we could not see it in ourselves.  We were not worthy to see it in ourselves.  It made me sad.

There stood strong, confident (and extremely tall, by the way) women.  Beautiful women.  Who all felt like little Miss K.   We didn't feel pretty.

But, the good news is that we also talked about we were going to work on accepting the beauty in us.  That we WERE beautiful.  That we would say "thank you" more to compliments instead of deflecting them away. We would no longer think ourselves undeserving of a compliment.  I'm not saying it will be easy.  But, we will try.

Sometimes change is necessary.  To make us better.  To be better.

But, other times we are fine just the way we are. More than fine actually. 

Thank you Miss K for teaching me some valuable lessons.  I can't wait to see what you become.  Whatever it is it will be yours alone.  You will be great at it.  And, you, my dear. are, and will always be beautiful. 

By the way, on another night Debbie told me that Miss H was working on her headstands.  Miss B asked when the tall lady was coming back.  And, Miss K wouldn't take out her braids after I left.  That made me smile so much my cheeks hurt.

I need to remember that when I don't think I am worthy.  When I don't think I'm strong.  When I don't think I'm beautiful.  That I am worthy.  I am strong.  I am beautiful.  I may not look like you.  Or the person who society thinks I should look like.  I may be a bit broken.  But, I'm me.

I can take that me and be a better me.

I've changed my job.  My future.  It's still a bit uncertain.  However, I'm confident it's good change.  I still need to get back to where I was physically a year ago.  Not because I care what you think.  But, because I'm a better me.  A better runner.  A happier person.

But, hey, I already can do a killer headstand.  And, it's quite beautiful. 

So, there. 

>>>>>>>  Debbie blogs about beauty. <<<<<<<<<<<

Its these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane


  1. Awesomesauce. You are amazing, Andrea! Thank you so much for sharing what so many of us girls feel. You are beautiful!

    1. Aw, thanks girl. Right back at ya! :)