July 2014 archive

Going Back to the Boat

My fourth of July weekend was full of laughter and joy and loud fireworks (and illegal fireworks) and wonderful food and amazing friends.

It was also full of some challenging moments because I went back to the boat.

The boat is parked at a friend’s house on the creek…the same house we drove the boat back to after hitting the tree and where the EMTs carried me across the grass onto a stretcher to get me into the ambulance and down the dirt road to the hospital. We were going there this past Saturday for a BBQ. I knew we were going, obviously, but the second the truck pulled onto the dirt road, I immediately had a flashback.

I didn’t expect it, I really didn’t. I was so surrounded with love and support I just assumed it would be weird and difficult and uncomfortable, but never for a second did I expect that the tears would start flowing on their own and my heart would beat so fast I couldn’t breathe. Bear parked the truck and we sat it in for a while. I peered out the window towards the water. I’m not sure what I was remembering specifically. I just know it felt like a weight pulling me down into the ground and fear was dancing on my eyelids.

Once I finally got out of the car, I think I stared out over the water for a while. The boat was parked around the other side of the property so I couldn’t see it yet. I could only see the grass leading to where the ambulance was parked. I kept looking for parallel lines in the grass from the stretcher’s wheels…as if they’d still be there after 10 weeks.

After a few minutes it was time to take the long walk to where the boat was parked. Bear’s mom and I decided to walk over by ourselves first. It was a long walk. Hard on my leg. Unnerving as we approached. And then…there it was. Floating in the water, all empty because the tree had effectively ripped most of the front elements out or off. I’ll give you my experience in pictures, as I know of no other way to do the moments and feelings justice.

This is the front of the boat. The circle on the floor is where a chair used to be.

This is the front of the boat. The circle on the floor is where a chair used to be.

This is where I landed. You can see were the bench isn't really lined up anymore. The helm behind it with the windshield is no longer attached to the bench.

This is where I landed. You can see where the bench isn’t really lined up anymore. The helm behind it with the windshield is no longer attached to the bench.

The broken windshield. Not sure if it's from me or the tree.

The broken windshield. Not sure if it’s from me or the tree.

I found these eerie little remnants on the floor.

I found these eerie little remnants on the floor. My sunglasses and my hair clip.

Here is where the helm and the bench split apart when I hit the helm.

Here is where the helm and the bench split apart when I hit the helm. I could wiggle the helm of the boat out of the floor with one hand.

Apparently the Bimini top was hanging in the tree after the accident. Here is it with the chair just sort of abandoned out here.

Here are the Bimini top with the chair just sort of abandoned out here in the grass.

I walked the length of the boat several times, looking for any clues as to how in the world this happened. Of course, I know how it happened. But looking at the boat, at what’s left, it doesn’t seem real. I asked questions like, “Where was the tree afterwards?” Bear told me a big branch was lying in the back of the boat and the rest of the tree was behind us on the beach.
“Why is the oar cracked?” I asked.
“Because just before I jumped out of the boat to push it in the water, the biggest spider I’d ever seen in my life was crawling toward your head so I smashed it with the oar,” he replied. He wasn’t kidding. “I didn’t think you should be worrying about a spider the tree dropped off while your leg was broken…”
Good call, Bear.
“How did you get the Bimini top?”
“I came back for it a few weeks after the accident. It was hanging in the tree.”

I stopped asking questions after that.

I left everything there. I spent the rest of the afternoon eating amazing ribs and texas caviar. I drank beer and decided not to push the sadness out of my head but instead to just let it come and go as it pleased. It went more than it came, but when it did I dug right into it. I got sad and I got mad and I got scared. But, I also made a new, more recent memory. I enjoyed a day with friends near the water, I drove out in the car of my choice (not an ambulance), and I STOOD on the boat where I last could be seen laying there. It will take a few more new memories before I will feel confident going there again, but the hardest one is over.

Forever 21 (kinda literally)

ac2610eeab7912b47aa0599f412c8090_400x400It’s the Fourth of July weekend and I had nothing to wear. It’s been almost a year since I went clothes shopping and I decided that after ruining a few of my favorite items in the accident (because those monsters cut my clothes off of me in an effort to “save my life” or whatever), I deserved something new and patriotic for the BBQs.

I am not a fan of spending large quantities of money on clothing unless I have a day set aside to focus and really contemplate my purchases. Seeing as how I can’t be vertical for an entire day at this point, I opted for Forever 21, a clothing store chock full of uber-cheap, stylish clothing.

I walked (wobbled) in looking for a cute red jumper that could serve me for the foreseeable future’s patriotic holidays. As I collected what felt like hundreds of different options to take to the dressing room, I found myself saying things like, “Well, this can’t be a top. It must be some kind of a bra,” or, “Weird. This dress says size 2 but I think it must be a top because I’d have to wear leggings under it…” In my naïve and jumper-hungry state, I pressed on.

I made it to the back of the store and gave the 12-year-old dressing room attendant my clothing. She hung everything in one of the stalls in no particular order and then appeared to roll her eyes as she alerted me to the fact that she was ready for me by swinging her arm out in one general direction. I’m not sure if she was unhappy with my clothing choices or if that was just her face.

As I began trying on shorts and dresses and jumpers, I realized that something has gone terribly wrong with hemlines recently. I could all but see my undies with everything I tried on. This didn’t seem right.

“I’m not even sure why she talks to Kyle anymore,” I heard in the stall next to mine.
“Oh, I know, right? It’s because she’s jealous of McKenna.”
“Right?! It’s like, get over yourself.”
“Seriously. So, are these shorts too short?”
“What? No. You can’t see your butt. You’re good.”

Yep. That’s what I heard. The new standard is that if I can’t actually see the flesh on your butt cheeks, then you can wear an item of clothing without consequence. As I heard this, I turned my back to the mirror to see if I could see my own butt in the high-waisted shorts I decided to try on because everyone was wearing them. I could not see my butt, but I could see that high-waisted shorts are the dumbest thing ever invented.

I found one cute red jumper, carefully exited my stall with a head-high pile of reject clothing that were either too short or I couldn’t figure out how to put on. The 12-year-old muttered, “Put them over there,” and then flung her head towards a wall of clothing. I set them down and decided to take another pass through the store in case I’d missed something perfect.

“Well, I mean, what do you want to do for dinner?” I heard one girl ask another near the bathing suit section.
“I don’t know. Do you want to like…cook?”
“Yeah, I mean. It’s just that it takes so long to cook. It’s so much faster to just go out.”
“Right. I bought all that stuff the other night and spent like $60 and I mean, I don’t even know what I got. Let’s just, just go out and eat.”

Every fiber of my being wanted to pull a pen and pad of paper out of my purse and create a meal plan for them that was easy to understand without too many ingredients producing a beautiful and healthy set of dinners that would nourish their bodies and be kind to their pocketbooks.

“You know what? Let’s just go meet Jacob at the bar for drink. It’ll be happy hour. That’s cheapest.”

Then I decided not to.

Just then Bear texted me.
“Finding anything you like?” he asked.
“Kinda, but I feel like I’m about a hundred years old.”
“Why?”
“Because I’m in a Forever 21. And I’m almost 33.”
“Ha!” he texted back.
“And what’s happened to hemlines? Why is everything so short? Is that what’s in, or have I gotten taller?”
“It’s what’s in for twenty-somethings. If we can’t see their livers, their shorts are too long.”

I pressed on.

I tried on a few other options after once again getting passed the 12-year-old dressing room bridge troll and enduring another 10-minutes of asinine, judgey conversation all around me. And at the end of the day, I still only had the red jumper. And I was fine with that.

I was rung up by a girl who had a bow in her hair she clearly borrowed from Minnie Mouse and a young man who’s jeans were tighter than anything I’d ever worn, including Spanx. I shook my head as I made my way to the front door through racks and racks of clothing I’d somehow missed despite walking through the entire store twice.

As I exited I took a huge, deep breath, so glad that I was finished in there and beginning to accept the fact that I will be 33 in a few short months and will probably not be able to pull off Forever 21 anymore…

Just then, a group of older, well-dressed women walked out of the Coldwater Creek clothing store. One had a cane, the other two held their pocketbooks close to their pearls and perfectly manicured bobs. Then, as I walked ahead of them, I heard this:

“Well, you know. Claire had a bypass in May.”
The one with the cane stopped walking, mouth agape. “Claire did? CLAIRE had a bypass? You are kidding me.”
“Oh yes. Oh yes. She did. That’s why she’s put on all that WEIGHT.”
“Oh, my. Yes. I’ve noticed her weight gain.“

Same conversation, same tone, 40 years later.

You see, boys and girls, the moral of the story is that you may feel too old for the young stores or too young for the old stores, but either way you will be surrounded by the exact same people having the exact same reactions to the exact same level of bitchy gossip. So we kinda really are Forever 21.

Happy Fourth of July!

What I Did Today

A lot of people have skirted around the idea of becoming a Beachbody Coach while chatting with me. Hey, I don’t like salsey-talk either. So, if you have questions about becoming a coach but don’t want to get caught in a sales-convo, watch this video. (It doesn’t talk back.)
Then, if you want to get in touch with me you can.

It took me all day to get this thing ready so if you don’t watch it, you’ve just wasted my whole day. No pressure.

If the embedded video doesn’t work, please click here! It’s 4 minutes. Relax. 

A Perfect Imperfectionist on Being Beautiful

tmars-or-ts-recovering-perfectionistI’m a recovering perfectionist. It is incredibly easy for me to slide back into perfectionism by trying to be the perfect imperfectionist. I will perfectly dress myself in an imperfect way so everyone can see how imperfect I am just to prove how not-a-perfectionist I’ve become.

Super cute.

Actually allowing myself to be myself is nearly impossible without the use of some kind of perfectionistic trait. If I look in the mirror and I don’t think I’m beautiful, I tell myself I am anyway because that’s what I’m supposed to do. If I eat a tub of Nutella, I announce that balance is necessary for a healthy and happy mind so it’s actually not just OK, it’s mandatory. If someone is coming over to visit me, I clean up quickly so they can see how organized I am ALL THE TIME.

So I was thinking about the idea of “beautiful” today and how, thus far in my life, it hasn’t really been possible for me to think I’m beautiful and believe it or say it. If I do actually feel beautiful on a day that I took a shower, dried my hair, and am not on my period, I don’t show it or say it because I feel guilty for feeling that way. Never of my own volition have I decided that I can be beautiful and it’s OK. And then I had a lightbulb moment.

I can’t do it alone.

You see, Bear tells me that I am beautiful on a daily basis. I typically choose to scoff or roll my eyes. He’s used to this now. Sometimes he flicks me in the forehead and sometimes he just smiles. It works for us. But the lightbulb moment came when I was drying my hair. It wasn’t because I looked in the mirror and suddenly realized I was beautiful. No. No, not at all. It was because I didn’t dry my hair straight. I left it curly. I haven’t done that since I was in High School. And the reason I haven’t left my hair curly since High School (and I rarely did it then) is because I don’t believe I’m beautiful enough to pull off curly hair.

Yep. That is a real thought I have been subconsciously having. WTF?

But all this time I have been trying to convince myself I am beautiful with positive affirmations and lip gloss and straight hair, I realized that hearing I am beautiful from someone else on a daily basis has begun to plant in me the belief that I am beautiful.

Wow.

The perfectionist in me is now on its hind legs, waving giant red flags, and setting off flares. Another person cannot make you feel beautiful! You have to make YOURSELF feel beautiful! If you’re not making yourself feel beautiful then you’re getting the feeling externally instead of internally and that will never last!

Well, here’s the thing, Perfectionist Me (who I will name Eryn because when I was a teenager I always wanted to spell my name with a “y” because I thought it was more beautiful than the “i”): sometimes a depressed person can only begin journaling and focusing on other happiness-increasing behaviors after a medication has helped them to climb out of the muck and begin trying. Sometimes a woman with a broken leg needs crutches in order to begin re-building muscles before she can walk again on her own. And sometimes a 3-year-old needs help opening a bottle of bubbles before he can do it himself.

Alone, I can’t convince myself I’m beautiful. And whether I like it or not, someone else telling me I’m beautiful everyday has begun to change my mind. Eryn wants to be able to convince herself, but it hasn’t worked in 32 years until she finally allowed someone else into her life who is willing to tell her everyday how beautiful she is. Eryn says telling herself she’s beautiful SHOULD be enough, but it isn’t. It just isn’t.

I can’t promise you a Bear, a friend, a mom or a dad who will tell you that you’re beautiful everyday, and I can’t promise that you telling yourself that you’re beautiful will work “eventually.” I don’t know what the rule is. I just know my lesson is that when I shut up and let someone help me (even if it’s to help me feel beautiful), I get closer to my goal.

We shouldn’t have to do it alone and I don’t think we should. I don’t think we’re meant to. Let someone help you. 

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