The Ugly Duckling {Revised}

Once upon a time, up a narrow street, down a quiet path, in a peaceful park, by a shallow pond, there was a Momma Duck who had a nest of 9 eggs.  She loved those 9 eggs and sat on them diligently until they hatched.  One by one, cute, yellow fuzzy ducklings broke free of their eggs.  Finally one egg was left.  It was the largest egg and when it too finally hatched, a large duckling emerged.  She was not fluffy and yellow like her brothers and sisters.  Her feathers were dull and grey.  She was tall and awkward.  Her feet were too big.  Her neck was too long.  Her brothers and sisters looked at her and laughed.

Momma Duck worried.  She loved her ugly duckling but what would could she do to help her child?  Undaunted Momma Duck determined that she would raise all her little ducklings into the best ducks she could, just as she had been raised.  So the ducklings soon found themselves following Momma duck and learning the ways of the world.

Up and down the narrow street and the quiet path, through the peaceful park and in the shallow pond, Momma Duck and her ducklings joined the other ducks in their daily activities.  Momma Duck led the way, then 8 fluffy ducklings, and one ugly duckling with the other ducks laughing behind her back.

First job of the morning was the breadcrumb begging from the old folks who came to the park benches each day.  Momma Duck taught her ducklings not to get too close, but to show their cutest sides to the humans to get the best pieces of bread.  She encouraged her 8 fuzzy ducklings to eat their fill.  “Not too much now,” Momma Duck said to the Ugly Duckling, “You are already bigger than your sisters, you don’t need to eat any more carbs, besides, the cutest ducklings get the best bread for us all, best hang back with me and have a salad.” Momma Duck didn’t want the humans to laugh at her Ugly Duckling like the other ducks did, but her Ugly Duckling saw and heard more than Momma knew.

Next Momma Duck worked on swimming with her duckings.  Unlike land, here Ugly Duckling felt graceful and beautiful.  In the water her awkward legs felt strong and powerful and she could easily beat even her brothers in the duckling races.  She loved to make herself fly across the water, and to dive deep down to the bottom to grab the tender seaweed that grew there.  She loved it….until, she heard Momma Duck say, “Dear Ugly Duckling, you need to slow down.  If the mallards think you are better at swimming than they are they won’t want to share a nest with you.  You cannot afford to be so bold”  Momma knew what was best.  So Ugly Duckling choked back her strokes and her tears as she tried to be the best duck she could.

Finally, Momma Duck began to teach her ducklings to fly.  Their larger feathers were growing in now, and soon they would be fully grown and ready to soar.  Her brothers heads were turnings shiny and green.  Her sisters were becoming mottled and brown, ready for important nest making.  Ugly Duckling however, just kept growing.  She was bigger than ever, no matter how much she listened to Momma’s diet advice.  Instead of becoming a beautiful brown her feathers were turning white.  Her neck was longer too.  She was just so Ugly.  They all knew it, and she did too.

Finally the day came to make a first “real” flight.  Momma Duck planned to take her ducklings from the shallow pond accross the narrow road to the lake and back for an outing.  One by one the ducks took off and flew to the lake for their day away.  When they got there they were amazed by how many new things there were to see at the lake that they never saw in their shallow pond.  There were new fish and birds.  New kinds of ducks even!  As they took a break for lunch, they watched all the different kinds of birds who lived there at the lake and along came a group of swans.

The Brothers and Sister ducks got up and laughed and pointed at the swans.  “Look” they called. “There is a whole group of ugly ducklings here just like our sister!  Why do you let so many ugly ducks in the lake?”

Then the lake became very quiet.  Even the bees stopped their buzzing.  The group of swans got up out of the lake and came over to the ducks.

“We are not ducks,” said the swan, “We are swans, and it seems that your sister is too, though she does not know it.  Swans not the same as ducks.  In some ways we are similar, but in many ways we are different as well.  If we make ugly ducks, you would make ugly swans.  How much better it would be if we just said we both make beautiful birds?”

With that the swan turned to the Ugly Duckling and said, “If ever you want to learn to be a Swan come join us at the lake, for you are a beautiful bird regardless of what you are called.”

Shaken, Momma Duck and all her ducklings went home.  Her brothers and sisters were glad to see their shallow pond once more. “Swans think they know everything,” they said, “but they are still ugly.”  They happily spent the remaining part of the day begging for bread and racing in the pond.

Ugly Duckling spent the rest of the day thinking.  The narrow street, the quiet path, the peaceful park, the shallow pond, these places were all she really knew of life, but here she was the Ugly Duckling and would always be the Ugly Duckling.

“Come to the nest” Momma Duck called Ugly Duckling, “I made you a seaweed salad for dinner.”

Ugly Duckling turned away from the shallow pond, took flight and flew over the narrow street back to the lake of beautiful birds of all shapes and sizes.

Fear of Dreams

There is a Doc McStuffin’s episode where Doc has a bad dream and doesn’t want to go back to sleep.  The toys eventually help her diagnosis her illness (the scary-scares? I forget.) and together they work through the cause (the monster from her book) and the solution (they finish the story and get to the happy ending) so that Doc can go back to sleep without fear of more nightmares.

What, I have a toddler, I don’t get out much….

Anyway, as I was blogging, in the episode Doc is afraid to go back to sleep because she is afraid of having a bad dream again.  Her fear keeps her from doing the thing she knows she needs and truly wants to be doing, aka sleep.  Fear is a cruel thing, and I am starting to realize just how much control it has over my life, even when I am not actively feeling afraid or anxious.

The last time I was actively losing weight and pushing myself to make goals and keep growing and thriving, I feeling good and strong.  I was signed up for a half marathon at Walt Disney World, I was losing weight regularly and my activity kept my weight loss moving in the right direction and gave me the option of the occasional splurge.  It was working.

And then life intervened.  I tore my meniscus in my knee, shortly after experiencing a baker’s cyst on my knee from the Susan G Komen 3 Day walk.  I was unable to run or do much exercise for 6 weeks.  I spent money on PT that helped and did my exercises, but I hit a plateau.  I had a few gains and I lost confidence.  I experienced a few episodes of binging.  Fall and winter started and as the sun left my depression too hold and the binging continued.  The exercise never really resumed and a short 8 months later all the weight I had lost had been re-gained and all the confidence I had gained had been lost.  There was more too it than just that of course, there always is, but that is the short story of it all.

Since that time I have been working to get out of the cycle of binging and depression and I have successfully broken that and have been in a good place for a few weeks, even months now.  It is not perfect and there are hard days still, but it is SO. MUCH. BETTER.

But the reality, is that I am afraid to take next step into active weight loss again.  On paper we’ve been trying for a few months now, but in my heart, I am not fully committed, because my heart and my head are still afraid.  Afraid of failing and falling again.  I know the clawing it took just to dig out of the bad space I was in, but I also know the benefit and desire to be in a place of confidence, joy and strength again.  I want to be there.

So I to dream a dream that will be bigger than the fear, but somehow I feel even too scared to dream dreams.  Like I stop and pause and think about where I’d like to be in 5 years and I get…. *crickets* ….. ….. ….. …. …. ….

So I go to one year and I think and …. … … .. .. . . .

I have been operating in survival mode, and work mode and family mode for so long, I don’t even know what I want for me any more.  And I’m afraid of figuring it out because to do so is just another opportunity for me to fail.

It is ridiculous I know, to make that assumption and have that attitude before I even begin.  And it sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I don’t want that either, so perhaps that is why I don’t dream and make those goals, so I won’t make them until I am ready to complete them and succeed?  But I want to be ready.  How do I get rid of the fear and dream again?

Anyone know?

The blog is up!

Look the blog is actually up!  We’ve been stuck under errors as widgets fail and hackers apparently take advantage and hour hosting crashes and who knows what else, but for now, the blog is up!

Did you miss me?

Ha.

tongues outOh, my hair is red for a while…Long story, I had to dye it orange because of my Sunday school kids and their mission donations (they picked the color) then it washed out and I was left with roots and a blond orange mop so now I have red hair for a bit…

Anyway, I have been wanting to get back here and get some thoughts down on, well everything, but the blog has been up and down, and my mood has too, and it hasn’t happened until now.  But I am here and the blog is up so we are going with stream of consciousness on a tired Sunday night.

E1 had his birthday party today, at the YMCA.  We were in the pool and it is tiring, but fun.  The kids all had fun, but between that and Sunday School/church this morning I am pretty tired.  I also was running around crazy, I ate Wendy’s chicken nuggets for lunch and a handful of fries, we had Papa Murphy’s for dinner.  There was cake.  It is what it is and I don’t feel guilty about it per se, but I do feel a bit icky just by the processed factor of the day.

E1’s party was this weekend because last month when is party was SUPPOSED to happen the entire family got the flu, and the kids also got strep at the same time.  It was a bad week and a half.  Hubby and E2 got Tamiflu, E1 and E2 got antibiotics, I got to rest for a few days and then pick myself up and care for others.  (I was an early flu victim while grandparents were here to help).  I think I’d had a mild case thank to the flu shot, but a month later and my lungs still complain from time to time.

As a whole, I just feel acutely aware of being far from where I’d prefer to be.  The good news is the self-deprecating about it seems to have lessened.  On the whole I am in a far better head space than I was even a few weeks ago.  I am working productively, the house is cleaner than normal, I am caught up at work, and I occasionally feel like I might know what I am doing as a parent (this seems to be the best you can hope for).  With the weather improving this seems to be the time to add the next step….

But what?

I have my team.  Obesity specialist MD. Dietician. Therapist. Psychiatrist. and of course the love and support from family and friends.  The team is great.  The help I get is great.  There are next steps they can guide me with around food or eating or exercise, but they also want me to be the one to help choose them, because they want me to take a lead in this process too.

And honestly, even with a crack team, food is seductive, and I cannot say I am feeling strong there.  Is exercise the thing to add?  I like being stronger and more in shape?  Here time comes into play…

So often I feel stuck at a crossroads, knowing a decision is necessary, but wondering if I wait just a bit longer something will be clearer.  It is a type of procrastination I guess, I am not putting it off because I don’t want to do it, but I delay because I very literally don’t know what path might work and I am very afraid to fail again, because failing for me is akin to “Do not pass go, do not collect $200” and a trip back to binge-land.

So I sit and wait for a sign of what to do next.  And in the meantime I eat.  Not the smartest idea ever.  So tomorrow, perhaps I will just make one tiny decision.  Yes, one small decision, to do/add one tiny thing.  That will work.  One thing at a time.

The blog is up, that is a sign I guess.  Time to get to work.

On getting gifts.

Well, we made it through the holidays.  We are on the other side of the new year and 2016 is before us.  People are setting (and already breaking) resolutions left and right, Christmas trees are left on curbs and everyone is back to school and work.  There is a vague sense of holiday hangover around, not a literal one necessarily, but a sense of being both glad in the normalcy and dismayed by the stretch of winter that lies ahead of us.

The Goat family holidays were good.  There was time with some family, though we missed heading to Wisconsin to see my side of the family – there was just not enough time off.  Our kids were spoiled rotten of course, by Santa and grandparents and aunts and uncles.  Though we don’t spend a lot, a bunch of family members conspired to get E1 just what he wanted – which involved a new video game system too.  It took a team effort but the look on his face Christmas morning was priceless.

I love to give gifts at Christmas time, but I do like receiving them too.  Beyond the great gifts from my family (Dr. Who legos, clothes $$, books, etc), were a few unexpected treasures from unexpected places that related to this weight journey that I am one.  I wanted to share those with you.

  1. Smaller Size Bigger Life – early in November I got an email from Heather, a dietician who stumbled upon Prior Fat Girl and read about my struggles with binge eating and my relationship with food.  As it turned out, she has been there herself in the past, struggling with eating addiction, eating disorders and excess weight.  My story touched her and she reached out to me and offered me a scholarship into the program.  This was not a blog deal, but a gift from a stranger who related to my story and offered a way of helping stem the tide and turn the ship.  The program opened in January and I have been slowly working through the first steps which begin in the mental realm.  I confess I am often slow at it due to some fear of failing at this again, but the generosity of the gift and her confidence that I can and will succeed in mental and physical health with food and weight give me such a sense of hope.
  2. Reiki with Margo from Fitbloggin – a friend from Fitbloggin, Nacho Mama, is licensed in Reiki and a unique version that specializes in long-distance Reiki.  Reiki is a form of healing that deals with healing energy.  Honestly it sounds a little weird but it is a compelling concept and I have seen several Christian practitioners of it during my time as well.  This distance Reiki was new to me as I didn’t know it was happening at the time but Margo provided a transcript of what she sensed and gathered during her time in communication with…me?  It sounds so weird, but what I got was uniquely personal, very much me, and definitely related to my inner voices around my own struggles.  It was so spot on and specific in places that it made me shocked.  It was an unexpected gift to see myself and to “hear” myself from that point of view.  It is hard to say but it provided a sense of perspective I was missing.

I started this post at the beginning of the year and it is now the last day of January.  Life continues to be busy but the scale creeps its way downward rather than upward.  There is no great weekly numbers, but there is progress and that is a gift in and of itself.  Slow is ok so long as I am healthy in body, mind and spirit as I do it.  So I carry on.

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