Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Girl America's dying... don't stop believing, my Girl America

[Girl America, Mat Kearney]

I'm totally starting to get into this fitness thing.

Do you ever apply limits and labels to yourself and believe them so fiercely that you simply couldn't imagine them not being a part of your life? Do you ever let them begin to define you, even if they're negative?

I've always been overweight. Even as an elementary school child I was the cute, mildly plump one. It got to be a little bit more and more by high school, and by the time I graduated I was 220 pounds, and about a size 18.

Then, in college, it got worse. By the end of my junior year I was 290. I went to China for a summer and came back at 260. I could fit into a 22, the first time in years. I spent most of college a solid 24.

Slowly I gained the China weight back, and then some. By the time I left for TFA I was 330, a solid 26. Then, two winters ago (so 2005-2006, my first year in TFA) I got up to about 360. That's my estimate... the only comfortable pants were a 28. By last fall I was down to 320 (I'm honestly not sure how I lost it... I didn't even really try, to be truthful. It just slipped off.). With some serious effort I got down to about 310 by January of this year. Then I gained some back, and at my last doctor appointment I was 323.

I realized I had to get serious. I mean, I want to have babies with Jason. First of all, the rate of miscarriages in women with a BMI over 25 increases sharply. My BMI at 323 would be a50.6. Ouch. We don't plan on children for about 3 years, but still.

I'm blessed that I don't have any real complications yet. My cholesterol is normal, blood pressure in healthy limits, etc. But I hate being the fattest person on the plane, in the restaurant, in the room, in the building.

Still... I often cling to my identity as the fat girl. I mean, you'd think I'd hate it- and I do- but a painful truth hit me recently:

I can't imagine a fit Tami.

I just can't. I can't see myself as one of those people who snacks on raw veggies and works out because it feels good. I can see myself gorging on 12 Oreos and a half a gallon of milk and ordering enough fast food for two people. You know what's sad? I've only bought Oreos maybe twice in the last year, and I honestly eat fast food maybe 1-2 times a month. I actually probably eat raw veggies and work out more than either of those things. Yet I define myself as the "fat girl".

It's easy in some ways to be her. I could always blame problems on her. When I had unrequited love spells, I could blame it on being too fat. If people rejected me I could always assume they just couldn't get close to me because of my stature. I accepted being friendliest and having the best laugh in high school because of course I'd never be most attractive. I overcompensated with personality, clinging to it as needing to be overly funny and fun because I hated fat people more than anyone, so why should people love me unless I was so lovable that they- and I- had no choice but to overlook the obesity that was me.

So... I have had to wrestle this demon, recently. The one that rejects God's truths (My body is a temple... Eat, drink, whatver I do, do it as unto the Lord... don't gorge on anything other than God's Holy Spirit (and His Word)... love myself... I am a beautiful daughter of the King... on and on...) and instead clings to lies about my unworthiness and definition being the uncontrolled, unhealthy habits formed in eating over the last 20 years.

Funny how the demon is far harder to deal with than the actual sinful acts. I can eat 1,500 calories in a day, work out like a fiend, and consciously surrender my desires to binge (and, sadly, I won't deny having purged- aka vomiting- in the past) and still feel like I'll always just be the fat girl.

God simply won't let me rest. He won't let me feel sorry for myself. He urges me onto health, to Himself. God loves me just as I am, but He loves me far too much to let me settle in comfortably and stay this way.

Praise Him for that!

So... the skinny (the fat?) is this: I weighed 323 pounds at the beginning of June. This is the second day of the second week of eating under 1,800 calories a day (I've been averaging around 1,500, methinks, and I was even careful enough to stay under 2,500 even during the crazy Memorial Day weeekend festivities) and exercising basically daily. My scale only goes up to 300 pounds, so I'm not sure where I am now, but pants are already feeling far more loose than two weeks ago.

This is humbling, but this time it's real. I've never posted my weight because... well, it embarrasses me and it would be far easier to say how much I USED to weigh when I weigh way less :)

I've got a solid accountability pair that I e-mail daily with what I ate that day and my work out status, and I'm serious this time. My life is changing. Not just to look a little better in a wedding dress- it's time to be bare before you (most of my readers are my good friends, so public as a medium as this may be, you're still my core group) and just lay all of my goods out on the table.

I'll let you know when I get under the 300 mark. I cannot WAIT to say good-bye to the 300's forever. No surgery, no gimmicky diets, just eating thoughtfully and exercising to save a life-- my own.

Hope you enjoy the ride-- I promise to write about more than just this, though. And... I'll be straight with you-- encouragement really helps so please, if you feel led to lend an encouraging word or five, don't hesitate.

PS My car hit 250,000 miles today; I watched the numbers change and happened to have Jas on the phone when it happened!

I loves me my Ac! Goldie has been so good to me- I pray she lasts a long time more for Jas since he'll take her over eventually when we get me something a little newer. Still- this is the shameless Acura plug- they rock! Get one if ever you can :) Mine is faithful and true and doesn't even burn enough oil to need to put in a quart between changes every 3-4 months. Boo-yah!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Don't you know it's violation?

[All These Lives, Daughtry]

I am sick. Sick. Sick. SICK!

I hate colds.

Do you ever do that thing where, when you're stuffed up and miserable, you swear you'll never again take breathing normally for granted? And then two days after you're back to normal you forget the misery that is having a cold?

I sure do.

I'm in the midst of feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold mode. But the good news is that, after a near week hiatus, we finally have hot water again. Praise the LORD! We went without the entire weekend- the long weekend, with guests and lots of swimming. Ugh.

I'm about to pass out, now- I only got about 3 hours of sleep last night.

Stupid cold.

PS Only 8 more days of school; 4 of them are half-days with testing, and I already wrote my final, my study guide, and end-of-year survey AND copied them! It's smooth sailing from here on- mostly just test prep/review and tying up loose ends. Yippeeeeeeee!!

PPS Today my assistant principal told me that I'm a "really good teacher" and to let her know if I ever need a recommendation.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Word of God speak

[Word of God Speak, Mercy Me]

Tonight I heard a fresh word from the Lord. A rhema-- His specific word, meant to speak life into me exactly where I am at this very moment.

It's rather incredible how God's Word truly is alive, living and active even, cutting through to the heart of me. I've read I Peter dozens of times, but tonight it was real, brilliant, and cut through me like a laser, slicing through the lies that have formed the foggy, muddled mass surrounding my heart.

I am so blessed to be reminded that Jesus Christ knows and understands exactly what I am going through right now. He lived it 2,000 years ago in His tenure on this earth, and words written by the apostle Peter nearly 2,000 years ago are every bit as powerful and meaningful to me now as they were to the people he penned them for then.

Praise God for that! I will cling to Him. I pray I will remain open and receptive to whatever He asks of me with no hesitation and no second guessing nor questioning.

I belong to God. I have been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ, whom I have proclaimed as my Savior.

I am not my own.

It's about time I get back to living like it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I won $20 in poker tonight.

The best part is that I totally ran four guys off the table. At least 2 of them are pretty experienced and played almost weekly last year. And I totally took 'em all down on only my third time ever playing. My second time I split the pot with a guy though I was winning because I was sick of playing.

I think I like Texas Hold 'Em. Though, honestly, I'd like it better were I not playing for money. But $5 is no biggie, and I won $20. Ch-ching! I'm thinking Jas and I need to make fun friends and have poker night with like pennies or something once we're married.

Today was good times all around- I got flowers today (I didn't expect them, but all things considered, the boy needed to remind me of how much he loves me... he put me through a lot this week), stayed home from school, worked out HARD (I will be SO SORE tomorrow, but that's aight), dropped my cell phone in a glass of water but miraculously it still works, took care of more moving logistics (insurance stuffs), bonded with Liz and Elise for a bit, then the three of us went to the boys' house and that was super fun. It included night swimming (though no skinny dipping, sadly), fun people, tasty treats, discovering how comfy Peter's bed is (he was in it- but so were 3 other people. We sort of woke him up by all getting in it with him), and then, of course, the poker victory.

Suffice it to say I'm out of my funk. So that's the best part :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So stop your tears and listen

[The Heart of Life, John Mayer]

Do you ever feel just really inexplicably sad?

Emotions have run torrents through me today.

The lamest reason deals with stuff that doesn't really matter... as in Blake got completely raped on American Idol tonight. Seriously, come ON- I know Clive Davis is a sappy song kind of guy- A Moment Like This, Inside Your Heaven, Do I Make You Proud, etc., but seriously- could the winning song have been anymore pushing of the same type of singer that wins every year- the balladeer (or balladette, as the case may be). I mean, I like Jordin. She'll do fine in the biz. But I LOVE Blake- he's absolutely refreshingly original and he's exciting to watch. There are fifty Jordin Sparks' on the radio right now- many of them who can sing better; she's good, but she's no Christina Aguilera or Kelly Clarkson or even Carrie Underwood- and there is no one like Blake.

That said... since Blake is clearly going to lose, at least that cheesy balls song won't be his first single. I don't care if Seattleites wrote it. It's CHEESY BALLS.


There's other stuff, but lately I find myself turning into a more private person. Normally I'm just all out there- I wanted to start off by pointing out that my period started today even though my boobs haven't hurt at ALL when usually they ache for a week and a half so when they started hurting today I was ready to expect my period in a week and then voila! there it was and it caught me totally off guard (despite my moods clearly signaling PMS all week) but then decided that maybe the world doesn't want to know that. So I... uh... didn't talk about it...


The point is that there is just stuff. And it sucks. And I'm trying to not feel sorry for myself.

I also find myself increasingly emotional about leaving this place. I love my roommates- well, 3 of them- and my house, I like my job, and I absolutely love my kids. At least once a day for the last month a student has said, in one form or another, that they can't believe I won't be here next year and that it sucks. I'm not sure they'll miss me nearly as much as I'll miss them.

I could barely type that last sentence. Tears are streaming down my face and my throat is so tight that I can barely breathe and the air is forcing itself into my lungs in ragged bursts upon each inhale.

On the upside I had to force myself to eat something tonight so I could get over the 1,000 calories mark. It's really unhealthy to eat under 1,200 calories a day (the metabolism actually slows down) and I clocked in at 1295 only because my stomach was screaming at me despite mentally having no appetite. Which never happens for me. I wish I could never eat again. So I guess that's something. Plus I came home craving exercise. That has literally NEVER happened. So maybe I'll get less fat.

I realized tonight, while watching skinny little bikini models on an Old Navy commercial, that I'm not sure which I hate more-- the fact that they look like that, or myself for not looking even remotely like that.

So... yeah. I guess I'll sleep now.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Would you change?

[Change, Tracy Chapman]

This is such a good question... really, when you come face to face with something that needs to change, will you do it? Will I?

What does it take? When there is an area of my life, for example, that is out of line with God's will, will I change it or will I make excuses and numb myself and keep on with it?

Two things come to mind. One is a really frustrating relationship. Honestly, it's relationship I would rather not have. The person has really betrayed trust in a lot of ways, so I have gone through the gamut... anger. Bitterness. Trying to pretend she doesn't exist. Trying to figure out a way to address the problem without hurting other people we both are also close to. I've even tried to pray it through, to trust God and let it go. None of these helped; the last did for a little while, but then there was a new offense and rather than cling to the Truth of God's Word about forgiveness and focusing on Him I went back to my sinful response of self-protection and bitterness.

So I know the Truth. Live unto God, be Christ and treat others as I would treat Christ. Will I change?

Also, for my entire life overeating has been a sin I cling to. I eat out of boredom. Out of habit. Out of addiction. It's sin. I try on my own power to get it under control, but I fail. I've failed time after time after time. I believe that this is just the way I am, obese. Big. Large. However you put it- harsh or gentle, I lack the belief that I could be anything more... well, or less, as the case may be. I try to reform myself, but I always fail. This is because only God can transform.

I cannot serve both God and my addiction to food. So often, food wins. God is to be my only master. Will I change?

Today, I choose to make the change. I'll keep you up to date on my progress.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

She's in love with the boy

[some country song by some country artist. Meh.]

I love Jason.

In other news, I also love American Idol. I think I might be PMS'ing early, because I cry at everything. At the senior awards ceremony yesterday (where all the seniors' scholarships are announced- remember, I teach high school) a girl got a Gates Millennium scholarship which will pay UNLIMITED monies for ALL expenses all the way through a doctorate degree for her. Could you imagine that? What a blessing. She's in the extremely impoverished local Native American tribe, and it's just incredible. So, though I was sitting amongst the most insolent, selfish, and rude section of juniors in the gym (I was the only teacher with the bal... gumption... to do so), I cried with tears streaming down my cheeks. Good reason, but still.

Then, I almost lost it today when I reprimanded my US History class. Yesterday they all decided that instead of doing 20 minutes- TWENTY minutes!- of reading together in small groups to prep for the rest of the lesson they would just put their heads down and sleep. Now, that ceremony yesterday completely threw the ENTIRE schedule of school off, I had zero planning, had to constantly discipline those afore-mentioned juniors as I watched my babies (my first classes last year were all juniors then, and almost all of them are graduating now) get college scholarships, lost 40 minutes of third period, and then had about an 8 minute lunch. Needless to say, I was already pissy. So by the time it came to be fourth period- my last class of the day- I was testy. When they put their heads down while reading I was downright angry.

See, I was sitting there reading stories about people like Emmett Till, a beautiful 14-year-old boy who was murdered- horrifyingly so- simply because he whistled at a white woman, and he happened to be black. One the two white men who killed him was the woman's husband, and after getting freed by an all-white, all-male jury (twice, no less) the man said something to the effect of killing the boy was his only choice because he couldn't let no [sic] black boy think he was as good as any white man. The poor kid was from Chicago, visiting relatives in Mississippi and simply didn't understand the way the world worked for blacks in the South in the 1950's.

I read about a man in the military whose wife and child almost died in childbirth, so he rode a bus home to the South from his northern station at a military base to see them, and was sleeping... a white police officer got on, woke the man up (he was black), took him outside, and shot him in the heart, killing him. Reports showed that the white officer basically thought the man was a Freedom Rider- he just wanted to see his family, and they had to live the rest of their years with their father and husband dead.

There are countless stories of people- black and white alike- who gave their lives in the Civil Rights movement. People died so my students could have a chance at trying to attain equality. And to see my students decide they wanted to sleep because it was the last period of the day and my room was warmer than usual (not my fault- my school's HVAC system SUCKS)... well, I was so angry I couldn't speak to them. I couldn't even talk to them, not at all. I just put in a video about the movement, handed out their work and tried to make it through until 3:00 without losing it.

Today, though, they heard from me. They heard my heart. I told them the truth- that for two hours, I saw them and their peers jeer and sneer at Seniors getting scholarships and getting the chance at a better life. They laughed, text messaged on cell phones, hit each other, everything, and couldn't keep it together for one simple thing. And that's fine- sure, there's pressure out in the school to keep up an image and being studious and smart isn't cool. But then they come to my classroom, where I have worked my heart out to get them the education they deserve, a chance to really learn and prepare themselves for college, and they just want to sleep? And this is about the Civil Rights Movement, of all things. People- maybe their own relatives, but people just like them, people just like me- set aside the petty monotony of daily life and stood up for a cause, for righteousness, and some of them were slain. But they joined together to make this world a better place.

I put it straight- maybe out in the school it's not cool to be smart, to care, to want to change the world. It's about who slept with so-and-so and the hot new lyrics in Jeezy or Joc's latest. Whatever. But the fact is that in my classroom, we can actually set that aside, open our hearts, and care. We can see the faces of people who died for what we have today, and we can embrace their struggle and continue the fight. The schools are more segregated today than before Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The Little Rock Nine put their lives on the line to walk into a white school and get their education- I looked at my class of 15 black students and 2 Latinos and told them that they can be the ones to join today's Civil Rights Movement. They can get an awesome education and be that talented and bright teacher who goes into classrooms like W@rren County High School and ensures that the upcoming generation gets the opportunities needed in order to change the system.

I was straight- I told them that I could be doing a lot of things, but I believe in them enough to be here, pouring myself into them. I have had people all but flat out ask me why I would teach poor black kids in the South, and it angers me. How dare they judge my students! They don't know them. They don't see Jason, whose mother is addicted to crack and has dozens of men in her bed every week, "earning" her next fix, and who didn't shield him when he was young from those same men. They don't know Byron, whose father beats him. They don't know the dozens of students I have who simply don't have a father at all, or Ruby, who is haunted daily by memories of hiding behind the shed sobbing because her mother abandoned her, and then her father simply gave her and her siblings over to the state because he just didn't want to take care of them. She then looked for love the wrong way and was forced by her foster mother last year to have an abortion. She was only 14. They don't know Shana, who was raped repeatedly as a child. The stories are endless. And the fact is, generational poverty continues the cycle. So I'm here, fighting today's fight, and I refuse to let my students put their heads down because they just don't think they have anything better to do.

The whole point, before I lost myself in all of this, is that today it took every ounce of self-control to not cry. I was raw and honest with them- I said, "I am here before you not as your teacher, but as a person." I put it straight. And it was amazing when some of them said, "I appreciate it". They were reminded that this isn't the end, this thing called high school. And I told them that- in ten years not a single one of them will care at all how popular they were in high school unless they drop out and then spend all their time with people in high school when they're 27. Not a desirable future. They know it, I know it, and I put it all on the lines.

You never saw kids more into history than today. It was seriously, to me, even more intense than those scenes in Freedom Writers (great movie, PS). So that's that emotional story. I'm ready to cry right now.

Oh, speaking of, also today was the end of the movie Amistad in my two sections of World History, then the beginning of learning about the Rwandan genocide, which meant that to teach about genocide I pulled on their knowledge of the most infamous genocide- the Holocaust. That is also rather emotional subject matter, to say the least.

Plus, tonight they showed Bothell and Seattle on American Idol because that's where Blake is from and I actually did get teary eyed. I can't wait to get to Seattle, to Bothell, to home. Also, I was a little emotional to see Melinda go, but I absolutely love Blake and was delighted that he didn't go home. Yay Blake!

My fingers are cramping. I'm going to bed, and talking to my man.

One love.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Feelin' like this is perfect-o

[Hips Don't Lie, Shakira]

Yesterday was good times.

I know I haven't written for like 86 years. Muh-bad.

So back to about yesterday... it was the End of Year celebration for TFA. It was fun... pretty sentimental, actually. I can't believe how quickly two years of my life have flown by. It's interesting because in college there are so many transitions and it goes by quickly yet you see all the different phases of things you did in college- for me, my college years were full of the different roommates, and the new places around the country and world I visited, the classes that changed me, etc.

TFA has been so different in that it's been filled with so much... sameness. Get up, teach, come home, hang with the roommates, work, eat, sometimes work out, sleep, start over the next day. The weekends are filled with work, catching up on sleep, more hanging with the roommates, sometimes going out to dinner or over to the boys' house... just enjoying lake life on the LKG. And yet it's just gone by so quickly somehow, all the memories just blending into each other as one big strung out lump of living.

Last night was a chance to celebrate our two years of service and hard work, and one last hurrah to say our peace before we spread out and scatter across the nation. There were some speeches, dinner at the Sheraton, and a slide show. Oh, and a huge ol' certificate. I just can't believe I committed two years of my life- actually, it's almost 800; I just figured it out- and I'm 32 days away from the end. Wow.

After, we went out for a gal's bachelorette party. The dancing was REALLY fun. I got really sweaty because it was hot and crowded, but it was an awesome workout :)

So... yeah... life is good, last night was fun, and I'm a lil sleepy from being up until almost 4 am after the dance-a-lance-ing. Now I'm chilling with the beloved roomies, Joanna's here too, and we're just enjoying Sunday.