Search

AUTHENTICALLY BOLD: REBECCA

BETTER, NOT BITTER

Month

July 2014

Have You Ever Looked….*THERE*?

During a recent vacation, I was forced to take an indoor shower. Yes! The horror of an indoor shower while on Cape Cod when the luxury of a warm temperature, blue sky, and ocean salt air infused outdoor shower exists.

outdoor shower

Let us not discuss the reasons behind why the indoor shower was utilized, but instead, let us ask the reason(s) why on EARTH the owners have a full length mirror hanging daftly on the wall just outside of said indoor shower.

While brushing my teeth on our first night, I was reminded that the beautiful farm house we rented has a large mirror above the bathroom commode and when your eyes boringly scan the horizon, there is suddenly a reflection of your backside – a full length vision – courtesy of a full length wall mirror behind you.

mirror

This year I promised myself that I would not go through the typical, annual charades of self-loathing on my body while on vacation. Yes, the constant, internal verbal bashing that occurs every third week of July was NOT going to happen this year. Enough is enough.

As I sat on the beach, the Gremlin started up and I would envy an athletic looking mom that walked by, before telling myself that I am also an athletic mom – albeit with a very different body. That is all. Enough!

When I reached for my cover up to literally cover up after a swim in the ocean with my children, I paused for a moment and I asked myself if I truly needed the *safety* of hiding behind my thin piece of cloth. Yes, yes, I did need it at that moment. Keep your judgments to yourself.  My flabalanche is rather invisible behind these threads.  You do NOT see it.

Ok, I thought I was doing fairly well until the unfortunate Great Indoor Shower event. As I bent over to dry myself off, I happened to inadvertently take a peek .

Ohhhhhh Myyyyyyyy GAWDDDDD.

shock and awe

Oh. My. Oh….heavens. Oh….geesus….. Oh. Oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. Whoa.

You see, as I took my terry towel on the insides of my legs and ankles to dry off from washing; I was not-so-graciously bent over.  I *MISTAKENLY* peeked behind me, through my legs and, and, and….there was *THAT* mirror.

Shock and awe!

shock and awe lucy

Should I stay or should I go?

peeking

It is not every day that a woman gets a full-sized view of the entire tundra of where the sun does not shine. Part of me was horrified and I could not stand to peek for a millisecond longer.  Even with an imaginary thong on, the view was nothing remotely close to the recent social media images of Miley Cyrus and her nethers. A piece of me then halted; I realized that three of the greatest human beings on Earth had humble beginnings in this far part of my world (and yes, god forbid they read this they will cringe and crumple in disgust at their Momma.  Sorry, kiddos!)

miley cyrus

My eyes were suddenly magnetically drawn to the quarter-sized mosquito bites that singed red on my artic white ass cheeks. Literally, I told you, the sun does not shine………well, at least the fear of ass melanoma is likely slim-to-none positive. However, I am now pondering the random thought of whether a mosquito takes a bite into my gluteus maximus with the same ardor that one would chew on a succulent morsel of a rump roast. Anyone?

As my vision shifted and focused like an electron microscope, the scattered hairs demonstrated a need to take better care while shaving – slow the heck down and graze that razor over the vast land of skin, lady!  The latest issue of Cosmopolitan at the hair salon does not promote the mangy, homeless cat look, am I right?  The very chemotherapy that left me bald and looking like a pre-pubescent eight year old, well, my hair follicles are now pretty pissed off. Yes, there is hair……here, there, everywhere……and I must take better care to razor-fy myself with every future shave. No, I cannot bring myself to my nearest hair removal salon and ask them to……….   Did you know my toes and feet could likely resemble Sasquatch if I did not keep my razor near? Since when did *THAT* happen? (I redirected your attention there, intentionally so.)

Enough is enough.

Somehow, I came out of the reflective stupor I was mesmerized by and decided to very quickly get the heck out of the upstairs bathroom. Clothes went on and my thoughts recalculated as we drove to the beach.

Remember that promise to myself? Mmmmhhhhmmmm. Yes, yes, I do. My brain fought the urge to go down the self-destructive path.  Instead, I had to muscle up every ounce of inner strength; and I chose to focus on all that this body HAS done again (please recall I have a hearing impairment….I need things repeated repeatedly in order to *hear* them).

Instead of the flabalanches, cellulite, stretch marks, surgery scars, radiated tissue, extra weight and aging spots upon my being, I decided the mirror reflects only what I choose to see.

My vision of this body has earned every notch and then some over 40 years; my body has:

  • birthed three babies and lost two others early on
  • fought off an aggressive form of breast cancer and won
  • run a marathon
  • completed a triathlon
  • run several half-marathons and countless other road races
  • regularly picked up heavy things and put them down at Crossfit
  • hiked mountains
  • cuddled tears
  • belted out ridiculous laughter
  • advocated for others
  • championed for a better world for all of us
  • hugged friends, and still
  • sprouts way too much hair.

What’s your reflection in your mirror?  Will you be a kinder, gentler person to yourself?

be kind

Advertisements

Guest Blogger: Jill Devaney “A Shady Thicket”

It’s that time of year again.

‘Summer?’ you ask.

Yes, it’s summer. It’s also time for my annual gynecological exam, the bane of many women’s existence. This anniversary of sorts prompted an odd trip down memory lane for me of the many exams I have endured in my life. I thought about how many people – medical professionals that is – had gazed upon my vagina.

speculum 

I have a fleeting memory of my first internal exam. I had availed myself of the Health Services Department at college. I always tried to do the right thing at the right time and considering that I was ‘an adult’, I felt that I needed to take my health and wellbeing seriously. On my first visit to Health Services the physician’s assistant commented on my watch, it was a Swatch. I laughed to myself, ‘Good try lady, but there is no freaking way you are going to take my mind off of what you are doing.” No pictures on the ceiling.  No dangling butterflies or planets. I know exactly what you’re looking at, where your hands are and what is, excuse the term, going down, down there. Let’s just keep the chatter to a minimum.

As my personal life developed I felt it was time for a trip to Planned Parenthood. Word on campus was that that was the place to go for cheap care and affordable birth control. So, off like a prom dress, I went. Poor Planned Parenthood, their operation was pretty minimalist. White walls rejected mismatched office furniture and a few posters tacked to the walls. The administrative employees were always the same as was the price for a pack of pills – a whopping $4. In my three years going there I don’t think I ever saw the same doctor twice.

pills

On one particular visit I remember having a younger female doctor — they were all female. I assumed the position and she came at me with her gloved hands. “Into the sandwich,” she exclaimed. I was super-focused on the constellation map over my head so her comment didn’t sink in immediately and then it hit me. I laid there in a stupor. I felt a bit like a piece of meat – a nameless, faceless vagina. I’m sure after decades in that line of work it’s probably what it all comes down to, they may forget our faces but can recall the structure or attitude of our vaginas. I can hear it now, ‘You know, the lady with the tilted uterus, C-section scar, narrow hips … Nope. Well manicured landing strip, definitely doing her Kegels. “Oh yeah, I remember her.”

landing strip

Well, this young doctor was green. Maybe she was eight years older than me but nevertheless too young to be using such jaded comments. I wonder where she is now and if she perfected her gyno shtick. Hopefully, she was just fulfilling her clinical rotation and moved on.

After that my annual visits are a bit of blur. I’ve moved around a bit so I have had quite a few gynecologists. Many a person has examined my lady parts. The one thing I do know is that all of these visits were scheduled first thing in the morning and that a cleansing of epic proportions took place before each and every visit. The preparation that goes into these exams is unparalleled. Every year it’s the same. The level of aesthetics is at its all time highest. Even your husband doesn’t warrant this kind of attention to detail anymore. I hope for the gyno’s sake that every woman takes the time and effort that I put in pre-visit. God bless them if they don’t.

At work I sometimes cross paths with my gynecologist. Initially he was my O.B. but sadly and gladly he is now just my gyno. I am not sure if he remembers my name but he knows my face, maybe he’s running through his mental rolodex of facts on me: four induced births, all full term, huge babies, reeks of Bath & Body products…’ He always asks how my children are doing.

One day a coworker asked me who he was and I told him. He was horrified. ‘Doesn’t it bother you he’s seen you naked?’ he implored. ‘Nope,’ I replied. “Well at least he recognizes your face,’ he snickered. I would hope so; I’ve been his patient for almost 20 years! We’ve had a great working relationship.  He never comments on my weight and I never comment on his.

So, in retrospect there has been many a person that has witnessed my personal business. When you think about the process of labor and how many people examine you or ‘take a peek’ it starts to add up. I am most likely considered to be pretty modest with my body but as you age and the amount of views add up, in that particular area, you become more and more blasé about it yourself. It’s almost a separate entity.

It was ‘standing room only’ at our youngest son’s birth. He had an issue that was diagnosed in utero so there were three people in the room for the baby and four or five there, besides my husband, for me. We could have sold tickets. It was a teaching hospital and it seemed as though everybody and their brother did a drive by that day. ‘Can I take a peek?’ Sure, what the heck? It’s just the most personal part of my body but get on in there and take a gander!’ It was a far cry from when our first child was born and they asked if a student could observe and they got a resounding, “NO!”

So here I sit, writing this filled with nostalgia for my younger self. It’s funny how something can spark your memory or in this case tickle you’re fancy. It happened as I put on my Swatch watch on this morning. If you let it those experiences can be unpleasant and embarrassing. I try to look for the humor.

The way I see it I have 364 more days of regular upkeep until I am at DEFCON level again. I want my gyno to remember me in a positive light not: ‘Is she the one that seems like she bathes twice a week and does not tend the shady thicket?’

 shady thicket

 

Crossroads

(Photo courtesy Huffington Post)
(Photo courtesy Huffington Post)

Have you ever hit a time in your life where you felt like you were approaching or at a crossroads? The intersection of complacency and transformation, yet, you are unsure which direction to take. What do you do?

Being the adventurous “traveler” that I am I have found myself at this junction several times over; particularly in the past twenty years. Often times, I blame my Type-A personality, my need to achieve style, my *Can’tSitStillForAMoment* character trait for circling back around to said intersection of confusion.

confused

My arrival at this jointed station is always – always – greeted by the little Angel Rebecca and Devil Rebecca on each respective shoulder. Alas, says the Angel….what’s wrong with a little complacency? From a high level perspective, your life is pretty darn good at the moment….what needs to change? Enjoy the ride! STFU, says the Devil (she can be a terse bitch), why would you ever settle for what is? Life is too short, keep moving, keep changing, and certainly do not ever think for one moment that life is meant to coast.

angel devil

Who sets the pace of the journey we take called life? We do, of course. For some, the ride may be slower, less bumpy and pretty consistently wandered without much fanfare or ado. For others, like me, the ride may be like Goliath the roller coaster: ups and downs, fast and slow, exciting and scary – consistently changing and somewhat unpredictable.

For example, there are people who are perfect happy with the same job – year after year after year. Or there are folks who complacently live within the boundary lines of their home town, and contentedly so – not missing any happenings in the next city over or even nearby in Boston. Is there anything wrong with these satisfied gentlefolk who start their lives on a straight tangent and continue that way throughout their lifetime without any crossroads? Of course, not. Is it a simpler way of living, an easier life? I do not know. Let’s ask them!

What about people like myself, who stream along but when things seem stagnant for an undetermined amount of time, we feel the need to shake it up a bit? Why settle? Why ride straight when there’s that turn here, this turn there, whoaaaa – lookie that curve ahead………..right?

what to do

In addition to my *Can’tSitStillForAMoment* trait, I fear complacency. I strive for the need to be a better person than I was yesterday. New opportunities present additional lessons to improve upon myself: professionally and personally. Right?

Having had cancer and the typical cliché “awakening” that comes with surviving a potential death trip, I am more hyper-vigilant about ensuring I am living my life to the fullest and I wonder if that is why I come to more crossroads than ever before. I also believe this is why I struggle with knowing when it’s “okay” to ride the complacency train for a bit. You know, maybe I do not need to turn off at this junction and it is okay for me to continue straight for a bit. The nagging feeling of needing change is not one that *needs* to be acted upon at every junction.  My kneejerk reaction is to change my course, particularly when things are not going as I planned or envisioned.

right

My role at my current job is somewhat undefined, yet there is growth potential down the line when I am more ready and find it easier to balance motherhood and career (all while not jeopardizing my health). Much of who I am as a person is defined by my work, so the need to keep striving in my employment is compelling. Yet, I am *okay* with what my current role is because my children need me and my years with them are limited. My flexible work schedule also allows me gym time, which is becoming more and more important and compelling a factor in my future. Perhaps that’s a to-be-determined crossroad in and of itself in my constant scrutiny of living my life to its fullest? Ah, time will tell.

My role in charity and non-profits is certainly at a junction. Somehow, if the bills would pay themselves, I would thrust myself into the world of charity even more so than my current over-giving personality allows. What is my current role to be exact? Sure, I mentor cancer patients and help them advocate for themselves on a weekly basis. With my time being constrained by other responsibilities, the time I afford to charity and my favorite non-profits must be delegated wisely. Do I push forward with the ones I am currently associated, despite on-going challenges or do I take a left turn? Ah, time will tell.

Even with this particular blog, there are many detours and intersections of direction offered. Do we go straight? Do we turn left? Do we turn right? What direction do we go? Each turn we take navigates a different walk of life; some choices may be better for us and others may be entirely wrong. The pace in which we guide ourselves is only something that each and every one of us may determine – and it cannot be compared to those around us. Coasting down the straight away may feel weird to some of us, but sometimes, that is the answer as well.  Complacency has a place, at times, right?  Wrong?

complacency

Questions for YOU:

What are some of your crossroads? What decision do you make? Are you constantly evolving and changing direction? Or do you prefer the consistency of the straight away ahead?

 

Fatty McFatty Pants (The Gremlin)

You may recall in Right On Hereford, Left on Boylston, I completed the 2014 Boston Marathon; a lifetime dream of mine came true on April 21st.  Despite my months of training, particularly through New England’s Artic Vortex and miles upon miles logged; I somehow experienced a hip labral tear just past mile seven.  Because I am incredibly stubborn and ­­­_______________ (reader’s choice, you pick: crazy, tough as nails, resilient, stupid, mental, stubborn again…..), I did finish; albeit nearly an hour and a half after I expected to.

After a very painful (mental, not physical) six week, doctor-ordered mandated break from working out, I returned to Crossfit.  For those of you who have deemed Crossfit a cult, that “cult” welcomed me with open arms and had me feeling as if I were not only genuinely missed but everyone was proud of me for coming back in.  My workout “family” was non-judgmental and gently nursed my bruised ego as I crossed the gym floor to resume my vacant spot.

A gentle manner and easing into something is not a regular habit of mine; so I was even a bit worried about how my still healing hip would feel as I resumed throwing weight around – both that on my body and that on my barbell.  The pain was virtually non-existent in my hip, but there was a good instability and a random clicking to remind me to be safe.  My coach was excellent about providing modifications to me that did not further add insult to injury.  On top of that, my “box-mates” were constantly asking me if I felt good, if I was okay, and so forth on making sure I respected my bodily boundaries as I regained my pre-marathon weights and workouts.

Surrounding yourself with caring people in an environment where each person is out for his or her own, but he or she pushes you to hit new personal bests or simply get through a bad day is most rewarding.  I know I can rely upon myself to push myself harder than most, which is a hard-wired trait of mine. However, I cannot always stop the Gremlin – the voice that enters my head and tells me that I should have pushed harder, faster, stronger or better.

gremlin

Last week was a perfect example of how my Gremlin started to take over when she had NO business being anywhere near my sweatiness.  Our strength portion of our workout was a 1RM (one round max) of a bench press; or in other words, the heaviest we could go for one rep.  I had not done a bench press for a max in a very long time, so I had no recollection of what weight I should be at.  Instantly, I asked a strong Crossfitter friend of mine to work with her, as I am typically 10-20 lbs behind her and she’s an inspiration for me to work with.  This fellow Crossfitter is always encouraging me in the kindest of ways and making me strive to find my peak strength without losing my femininity (yes, I joke about my growing man-muscles).

We added weights and benched pressed our way up and down the rack.  Once I hit 125 pounds, I lost my mojo and simply could not get the bar up over a certain sticking point.  My box-mate rallied and pushed her way through to 137.5 pounds.  As we put the weights away to prepare for the next phase of our workout, I started to allow myself some disappointment that I did not hit the 130 pounds I deemed as the appropriate number for myself.  The funny thing is I have no manual on what numbers I should be hitting.  Crossfit, itself, has no manuals on what numbers I should be racking up.  My body told me last week that 125 pounds was the max it was going to afford that day.  Enough said.

We finished the rest of the workout, which included things such as toes-to-bar, handstand holds and double unders.  Yes, toes-to-bar. Anyone who is overweight and has had 3 kids has something of a pooch (not a dog, but a hanging flabalanche that starts just below the boobs and ends somewhere in the southern nethers) that is a clear obstacle to your toes meeting the bar.  Ah, yes, there’s a thing called a modification: knees to chest. Let us just say that my knees get parallel and I have to be happy with that (for now).  However, I swing and I sway so that my movements sort of blend in with the rest of the monkeys who make getting their toes to a bar over their head second nature; as if they have been practicing since they were in utero.  Maybe I should stick to running…….Fatty McFatty Pants can cover the distance.

Handstands. Publicly, I will admit it: I am TERRIFIED to try a real handstand in the vicinity of other people, regardless of how much they love me and how they would NEVER <ahem, publicly> judge me or laugh at me. I reluctantly did the modified version and I felt strong despite leaning the opposite way of my box-mates.  Take your weight and invert it upside down using the strength of your upper-body to hold it versus your legs?!?!  Who ARE these people?

Photo: crossfitannarbor
Photo: crossfitannarbor

Recently, another WOD (workout of the day) had me doing thrusters and pull-ups.  Thrusters are a barbell exercise that require you to clean the bar to your collarbone from the ground, squat and then press the weight up over your head.  While I manage to be fairly strong in any barbell required exercises like thrusters, I still carry a tremendous amount of extra weight for body weight movements – making things like pull-ups all but nearly impossible (did I not just outline the pretty picture with toes-to-bar above?!).  However, instead of just jumping up trying to reach the bar as I have for months on end, I am noticing lately that I can actually get my chinny chin-chin up there to the bar.  With more work and practice, I know someday I will be able to do a pull-up without using the force of my jumping legs up to get there.  I may actually complete a handstand as well.  (Insert eyeball roll as I wonder if I will EVERRRRRR get a toes-to-bar).

Every single day has become a routine:   I look at the posted workout on my CrossFit page and a part of me gets giddy. I anxiously await the time of day later that belongs to ME.  I *strut* into my box knowing full well I am about to get my big ass handed to me in some terrible manner, courtesy of no one but myself and my enormous girth.

During the workout, I will curse myself a million times over, and then a few times over again – for being crazy and out of my mind. I will actually question my sanity. I will tear myself down for being so overweight and for allowing myself to get there (chemo weight or not…it still feels like an excuse).

I will complete the workout to the best of my ability on that given day. Most days are given a good effort, but there is a random day where the energy cannot be mustered from any source. However, nine times out of ten, I will walk out of the vast gym feeling like a million dollars and high on an ever-growing addiction to endorphins.

hardest

CrossFit is hard; that is why it is not for everyone. CrossFit is not the latest fitness craze that anyone can just jump into. The workouts take hours practice for proper form, the weights take time to build up to, the endurance adds with each push or pull given by you.  CrossFit is commitment.  CrossFit is determination.  CrossFit is a lifestyle change.

One would not expect their life savings to grow overnight, much as one should not expect their health to grow overnight as well.  With each deposit into my health bank (i.e. a completed WOD), my health is vastly expanding.  I am chipping away at my future health by giving my body the strength it needs to be strong, whether it is in my muscles, my cardiac system or my mental health (including kicking that ugly Gremlin to the corner once and for all).  Each day I complete a workout, I am one day closer to changing my name from Fatty McFattyPants to something more appealing…….(i.e. The Beccinator; Beastly Rebec; Sweaty Bec; Bodacious Becca…….) but until then……..

strong

Yes, I am stronger, I am leaner, and I am a better person than I was the day before.

Should that not be the goal for each of us?

yestrday

P.S.  What do you do with YOUR Gremlin?

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

deerutty

Daily Life - coping with Depression and recovery from Breast Cancer

The Heart of Healing

My journey of healing mind, body and spirit

Small boobs, big smiles

Why laughter, happiness and a love of pink will help me beat Breast Cancer

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

making sense of the breast cancer experience together

CBS New York

Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic And The Best of NY

Otrazhenie

Reflection

My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Cats and Chocolate

A place for cats, creativity, and a dash of philosophy

he4dgirl

Portrait photographer, straight up about living breastfree after cancer

AUTHENTICALLY BOLD: REBECCA

BETTER, NOT BITTER

Life By Linda

LIfe is tough. Wear a helmet

CBS Boston

Boston News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and Boston's Best

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

LuckyScarf

BETTER, NOT BITTER

%d bloggers like this: