Friday, April 5, 2013

Five Minute Friday - After

I really liked it last week, so we're going to give it another go-round today.  It's called Five Minute Friday.

Here are the rules as laid out by Lisa-Jo, aka "Gypsy Mama" -

Basically, you set a timer for five minutes and just WRITE.  No editing, no stopping to second-guess yourself, just a free flow of your thoughts hitting paper....keyboard....whatever.  She gives the topic and then you just GO.   Then you link back to Lisa-Jo and invite others to join in.

So this is me....taking the Five Minute Friday challenge.  Feel free to join in!  Just go for it and write for five minutes on today's theme:  After.  I'd love for you to share in the comments the link to your post.  And be sure to link back to the Five Minute Friday hub!

....After



GO.  

I am an After.

When we were getting ready to pack up our whole family and move to a brand new city, it was scary enough.  Add in the fact that every person I met wouldn't understand my "before" and I was downright freaked.  My friends all told me I should wear a T-shirt or a sign on my back that said "I used to be Fat."

Part of me almost wished I could.  At my first week attending the group at church for moms of small children, I met a wonderful woman named Rachele whose personality jived with mine right away.  It wasn't until later when she saw my Before and After photos on Facebook that she really opened up and confessed how she felt a little aloof when our group first met because she felt she was surrounded by all these skinny moms that made her feel uncomfortable.  Once she realized I wasn't "one of them," she saw more of the real me and we were able to have a more honest friendship.  But that illusion of After had to be stripped away first.

I walk around today looking like an After, but it's not the whole story.  The number on the scale and on the tag of my clothes is certainly different than it was a year ago, but who I really am underneath is most definitely more of a During than an After.

While my weight was coming off, God was working on my heart in ways I never imagined.  I now have a whole new set of challenges and struggles that I fight against - pride, vanity - along with some old demons that will likely torment me like Paul's thorn - anger, control issues, selfishness, a desire for approval.

After is a myth.  At least in my case.   

Time's Up.

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I recently lost 45 pounds and yes, the after has many great things but all new challenges with it! Love this! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly does, doesn't it?! Congrats on your success!

      Losing weight is one of those tricky things. You think it will be the magic key that unlocks a new happiness you never knew, but while it is certainly a positive change, it challenges your character in ways you never thought possible.

      Delete
  2. Wow. First visit to your blog (saw this post via a retweet) and this is a great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you're here! Thanks for the comment and I hope you'll find something else that speaks to you around these parts. :)

      Delete
  3. Can I just say, this is another reason why I like being a guy. We are far less likely to judge other guys based on appearance (at least as far as fat/skinny goes).
    We are more likely to judge based on how a guy bears himself. Is he scruffy lookin' vs. if he has business clothes on. That makes more of an impression.
    Frankly, I couldn't care less if another guy is fat or skinny. If he's a nice guy, we're good. If he's a jerk, I don't care how skinny he is, I don't want to deal with him.
    Now, how men judge women based on appearance ... we'll have to leave that to another day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I know. You dudes just see the entire world differently than us, honey. And thank goodness for it! Can you imagine how stressful just LIVING would be if you men had the same comparison/competition/body image issues as women? Yikes.

      Delete
  4. Hello. First, I am an MN girl so howdy!! But a Vikes fan. Whoops, am I kicked out now??
    Second, this was a fantastic testimony. I am a new mom surrounded by other skinny new moms; it can be tough. Your story shows me another side. I am so glad you shared this story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeesh. I'm sorry to hear that. Clearly there must have been some kind of traumatic event in your life that has caused such a twisted loyalty to cultivate in you. May I suggest a pilgrimage to Green Bay, WI? It just might cure what ails ya. :)

      For real, you're totally not kicked out. All fans are welcome! I love me some good heckling and trash talking come football season.

      It is so tough as moms not to compare ourselves to each other in every aspect of life, including our parenting styles, our kids, our homes and husbands, and yes....our appearance. When I started my weight loss journey, I was four months out from having my third son and I was just finally done with it. I saw the "before" photo you see above from Thanksgiving and I knew I was really ready to make a big change. It's been so weird to be on the other side of it now though. If you get a chance, read about the encounter I had in the library with another mom. It really opened my eyes to how it's not really the weight that's the issue, but how we assign value to ourselves. Here's the link to that one: http://www.thearenaupdate.com/2013/03/judgment-on-my-mind.html

      You are most certainly welcome here. I hope you stay a while. :)

      Delete
  5. I've been really debating commenting on this thread all day but I just feel as if I need to. As a blog reader of yours who is overweight, I really feel like you put a lot of emphasis on who you are as a person by posting pictures of you skinny now. Or you in your new clothes. Or how you ate something and now you need to go work out. I'm sure you didn't used to be that way and I think it's great that you lost weight. But I almost feel like you write these posts almost as a pat on your own back. I do know you aren't intentionally trying to make other people feel bad, but I admit when I read your posts about those things I feel like I am this big loser because I don't look like that and won't ever been in the "cool club" because I won't ever look like that. I really enjoy your blog because it IS so real, but the more pictures and comments about you overeating or how your size small clothes don't look good or whatever, the more of those types of posts I read the more alienated I feel. I'm sure I am not the only person out there and like I said, I wasn't sure I even wanted to admit how I felt but I just felt I needed to. You DO look great, yes. You HAVE done a good job, yes. But the need to show it off all the time or complain about things that some of us still struggling with the overweight issue wish we could complain about, well that just makes me feel like less of a real woman and more of a schlump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I really wish you would have left a name so I could have made my reply more personal, but I totally understand why you didn't. First of all, that was very brave of you to write this. I know that must have been a tough one to be sitting there struggling with feeling this way, but not wanting to rock the boat. I appreciate the guts it took to come out with it and write what you felt and I thank you for your honesty.

      Really, I think I needed to hear a comment like this. As I alluded to in my post, I have found that the Enemy has found a new weapon to use against me: Vanity. Where I used to wrestle with feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem (and to be far, I still do), now it is much more effective to try to get me to think I am really something fancy-pants. I catch myself feeling inflated, like I've done the work therefore I must deserve the attention. The truth is that the whole thing, every last bit of it, was all God. Every ounce of motivation, every point I tracked, every mile I ran. All Him. And it is so easy for me to now take the credit like it I deserve it. Shame on me.

      No, I would never ever intentionally try to isolate you or create feelings like you describe and I truly apologize for doing so, even it if was unintentionally. The people-pleaser in me wanted to immediately go back through all my posts and erase every single one with a photo of me or with a discussion of weight. But I know that's not what you were saying and I also know that's not a solution.

      Hear me now. The yucky feelings you mentioned....of not being in the "cool club," of being a "big loser," or that you are "less of a real woman and more of a schlump." They are lies. Any voice that whispers that to your heart is lying to you, honey. You are valuable. You are precious. No matter what the scale or some tag on your jeans says, you are fearfully and wonderfully made and don't you believe anything different. CHOOSE to not accept anything less. No picture of some stupid woman on some stupid blog (aka - Me on here) should cause you to allow such negative self-talk to infiltrate your heart and mind. I know it is easy for me to type such things when the fact of the matter is that I fight this same fight all the time! I feel like a total schlump more often than I care to admit.

      So let's brainstorm together. I certainly do not want to make it seem as though I am "showing off," but I do still need to be able to talk about this aspect of my life because it is such a large component of who I am. How can I work on improving? How can I tweak my approach a bit to make it feel more welcoming and less alienating? Because really, at the end of the day, that is what I want for this little corner of the Internet. The "What I Wore Wednesday" series in particular is not meant to be a "Hey look at how cute I look in my clothes!" but more of a "Holy crap! I actually got dressed in real clothes several times this week!" kind of thing. There are amazing women of all shapes and sizes linking up every week and I am constantly inspired by them.

      Again, I apologize for any offense that my approach of this topic caused you. There is so much more I wish I could type here in response, but I know that I've probably already said far too much. From my heart, I hope you will stick around. :)

      Delete
  6. Before and after, inspiring and brave. I've just begun posting pictures of myself. Who am I kidding, I'm just now posing for photos. After I gained weight I didn't want pictures taken. I kept saying, and thinking, 'wait until I lose this weight.' Not only have I not lost it, I kept gaining. My daughter pointed out that I wouldn't live forever and if I didn't have pictures taken, the grandkids would have nothing to remember me by. I listened and agreed, and still hesitated to have a picture taken. After my husband's death, and I realized there are very few pictures of me and him and realized the truth of my daughter's words, I bit the bullet and began allowing camera clicks. Inside I still groan, but I plaster a smile on my face and endure. Now, I'm even beginning to post some photos online. I wonder, will I want to post more photos after the weight is gone, or has the need to hide become so much a part of me that I don't. Because, the need to hide, isn't just about weight. Love the post, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit on something really important here. Really, it's not the size/weight of a person that matters, but their health and their self-confident in who they are. Number one - I was NOT healthy. Number two - I was so self conscious that I would dread being in front of the camera rather than behind it. There are very few photos of me with my children or husband when I was this size because it was painful for me to see those photos. I regret this deeply. Looking back, I wish I would have done what you have said and just embraced the memory instead of getting hung up on appearances. Twenty years from now, my kids won't care if I was heavy or skinny. They will care that their Mom loved them and that it is documented for their recollection. Thank you for this wonderful comment!

      Delete
  7. This is great, Sarah! I think everyone struggles with feeling like they won't fit in - especially in new situations. I'm intimidated by stylish women. Fat or skinny, if they're rocking heels and a cool scarf, I feel less confident. It's definitely easier to strike up a conversation with someone who looks like me. But, I try not to let myself think that way, because I have found some great friendships in surprising packages. ;) That said, I just scheduled my first Stitch Fix!! Maybe I'll be a tad more stylish soon. I used your link, so hopefully, you should be getting a credit soon! Fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my word, I agree completely! I used to watch "What Not to Wear" all the time and even Stacy and Clinton would tell their victims not to get all hung up on their weight, but to focus more on dressing in a way that flatters the body they HAVE. It was amazing the difference that happened when they suddenly realized they could look put together and stylish with the assets they already had. It's only been a recent development for me that I've started learning how to dress up a bit more because for the longest time I just used my clothes to hide. Clothes should be fun, regardless of size! :)

      And thanks for the Stitch Fix referral credit! So excited to schedule my next one!

      Delete
  8. You are such an inspiration!!!! Look at you :) You look great!!

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me, Goose.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin