There’s An Excuse Around Every Corner…

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Five years ago, I was a hot mess. I had a double quad injury I was dealing with and it went on for ten long months, and the longer it went on, the worse things got. The longer the injury dragged on, the less I took care of myself.  The worse it got, the worse I ate and drank. It’s entirely possible I did a lot of binge-eating back then too. It’s hard to believe, looking back that I let myself go like that.

I know it sounds like I’m being hard on myself, but I’m not. I’m just stating facts. Do you know why I’m doing that?

Because the world is full of excuses. There is always an excuse for everything. I always had an excuse at the ready. And then…a friend came over one day and said to me “Rita…this could go either way. How do YOU want it go?” So, no matter how hopeless I was feeling about my injury and how incredibly resigned I was to life being the way it was…I signed up for a very strict nutrition (all natural) program that helped heal my legs in 8 days! it was incredible. And then…life started for me. I made a lot of changes, and then BAM! 3 years later…my relationship ended and I was right back on the couch, crying myself to sleep at night, and slowly but surely, eating poorly, going back to processed foods…all the things I had spent the last 3 years correcting in my life.

I feel like I have no idea how to be successful in this area of my life. Like I’m always finding ways to f**k it up. Like I’m just always going to fail and no one will be very surprised, because this is just how it’s always been. I try. I fail. I try again. I fail again. Over and over the cycle goes. Until I die.

2017 is meant to be the year….wait. Let me rephrase that. 2017 is meant to be THE YEAR. THE YEAR that I conquer all the bullsh*t excuses and move on with my life in a way that makes me feel good. And there’s a lot that goes along with that. A lot of emotional ups and downs. It’s a roller coaster of emotion to be sure. I swear some of the weight I’ve lost is from all the tears I’ve shed.

But as I’ve said before…I promised to give up emotionally eating, so now when those emotions emerge…or surface..I gotta get ’em out. And there’s usually a lot of tears involved. The other day, I was SO angry, after spending the entire day listening to people’s excuses. For everything. One excuse after another. I didn’t even know what to do with myself. i wanted to get into a fight with someone. And I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  So around 7pm I decided I would just put myself out of my own misery and go to bed and start again the next day. But…I talked it out. I cried it out. I felt better.

Eighteen years ago, I stopped smoking for good. I have never looked back. Five years ago, I stopped any and all alcohol. I wasn’t ever that much of a drinker, but whatever I was drinking, I stopped doing that, and never really took to it again. Four months ago, I stopped eating processed foods and sugar (mostly), and also, I was born a vegetarian and have remained one my entire life. So…truthfully, I’ve basically stripped myself of all of my excuses and bad habits. (I’m sure if I looked in the corners I’d find some). And I was really mad about that. I don’t have excuses to hide behind. Why? Because when I started this weight loss journey, I promised to share the in between. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I’m here to tell you, there’s a whole lotta ugly.

Life is ugly. Life is beautiful and it’s also ugly. There’s a lot of sh*t we keep inside, that we don’t say and we don’t share, or even acknowledge and that takes away from the quality of our lives. Someone hurts our feelings and we don’t say anything. So that’s a few pounds. We get into a fight with our mom and we don’t say what we need to say. So that’s a few more pounds. Our man breaks up with us. That probably accounts for 20 or so pounds. We lose our job. Well, that’s gotta be worth 30lbs. And it goes on and on. The world isn’t just full of excuses y’know? The world is also filled with circumstances. Some beyond our control and some that happen and it’s entirely up to us how we choose to handle it. Do we fall off whatever wagon we’re on or do we keep going and stay committed to what it is we want?

You can see from the photo below what life looks like when we choose to fall off the wagon. Thankfully…getting back on the wagon and staying put…looks much better on me.

I’m totally gonna do this. Just you wait.

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xo

Rita

PS Ditch the excuses in whatever area of you life you’re using ’em and see what happens.

 

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The Redesign

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“The level at which i am willing to participate in life, is equal to the level of ALIVEness I experience.” ~ my words, in my head

 

Ever have your heart broken? Ever not get a job that you really wanted? Ever had a fight with a friend? Get fired? Lose weight, only to gain back twice as much? Fail at something? Not attempt something even though you really wanted to? Lose a parent? A baby? Yourself?

I think we’ve all had variations of all of those I’ve mentioned. What do you think happens as you take one fall after another? I know, all the pundits tell us that we should get back up, and get up more times than you fall down, and all that other stuff. But the reality is, we may stand up again, but we stand up just a little bit shorter than we were before we fell. And then each time we fall, we stand up just the tiniest bit shorter again. I know that’s been the case for me. I’ve fallen more times than I’ve been able to count. After awhile…it didn’t seem worth it. Standing up…didn’t seem worth it.

I was only going to get knocked down again. Why not just stay there. Shave off all the important things that make me, Me.  I stopped being who I knew I was, and became a watered down version of something else. Someone who, on the surface made it look good.  I did stuff. I made it look great at times, in fact. But I wasn’t taking any risks? Not like I know to take risks. I wasn’t putting myself out there. Not like I know to put myself out there.

Someone pokes a hole. Someone says something. Someone looks at you the wrong way. You hear someone was talking about you. The guy you like doesn’t like you. The girl you like doesn’t like you. Someone breaks up with you. Someone betrays you. Someone rips you off. Someone steals from you. Someone notices you fell and rather than help you up…stomps on your foot as they walk away.

We get shorter…

and shorter…

and shorter…

We keep shrinking until someone, one day, someday says “hey…what happened to you?”

Well. That or you decide it’s time to take on your health and get right with everything that’s ever happened in your life that made you shorter, and you promise to stop stuffing all those feelings down by piling more crap on top of the already giant pile of crap you’ve worked so hard at perfecting, just so you never have to look in all the dark corners, at all the places you failed. Or all the relationships that didn’t work out. Or all the men who didn’t love you back. Or all the mean things people said. Or all the times someone poked you to see if your skin would bounce back.

For all those times that you looked at yourself in the mirror and told yourself you weren’t worthy…or enough, or beautiful. Or rather, all those times you looked at yourself in the mirror and simply said “blech!” All those times you’ve beaten yourself up for not doing what you know to do. All those things that you keep saying you’re going to do because you know it’ll make you feel better. All of those things. All of those things happened. All of those things were real. AND…All of those things…are no longer happening to me.

All there is for me to do now is to be willing to “trim the fat” (ha! see what I did there? That’s courtesy of my friend + health buddy) from my life…the taller I stand. This is no longer about chasing a number on a scale. F**K no. The scale doesn’t own me. The scale can suck it. This is about standing up tall, and being ready and beautiful now. This is about not waiting for something to happen, for me to be at x# of weight before I can have what I want. This is about having it now. All of it.

But first…I gotta stand up. And I gotta put my shoulders back, and smile at the world and take on this redesign like a mother f**king force to be reckoned with. There ain’t no stopping me now. Every time I go through the eye of some f**king needle, I think “that’s it…this was the big one…” and then something else comes up. And I can’t stuff it back down now. So…I let it come up, and vomit itself out in the form of anger or tears or rage or sadness or whatever…and I swear it’s like =2lbs every time I do that.

If it’s a conversation I need to have. I’m having it. If it’s a memory I need to get right with. I’m gettin’ right with it. If it’s a course I want to register for but don’t think I belong, or I don’t think I can handle it…well. F**k it. I’m doing it. Cause quite frankly, falling and failing are easy. It’s the standing up that’s hard.

And right now,  I consider standing up, my cardio.

Rita xo

PS…if you fell and you need some help standing up, tell me . I’m here for you.

Cold Shower Therapyaversary – 5 Years Strong

Five years ago, on April 1st, I did something I NEVER, in a million years would’ve thought I’d do. I had a cold shower, in my own bathroom, in a first world country, where I have hot water, on a Sunday afternoon. FIVE years ago! I did that. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I paced, I fretted, I talked myself out of it over and over and over again, I psyched myself out, I did the dishes, I paced some more…until I finally just climbed into the shower and prayed. The moment I turned that water to cold, I shrieked and I made funny noises for the next 5 minutes. I did set a timer, because I figured I had no way of knowing what 5 minutes would be when I’m in the cold water. I knew I couldn’t trust myself. I also remember climbing out of the cold shower, still unable to catch my breath, and laughing uncontrollably. I do that when I get uncomfortable. I laugh. I was hysterical. Between laughing and not being able to catch my breath I was pretty close to having to breathe into a paper bag.

I was proud of myself. I did something I never thought I’d have to do. No wait. Scratch that. I did something I never thought I would do. I got myself uncomfortable. I took on the original cold shower therapy challenge and have never looked back. Half way through the first challenge, I knew I was onto something. So…I accidentally, on purpose, tweeted Joel and told him I was in for the full 3-6-5. I immediately regretted it but knew I wouldn’t back down now.

And I haven’t. Saturday is my 5 year cold shower therapy anniversary and I can tell you, it’s still the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.  First of all, I’m 47 years old and look at me. I don’t look 47 years old. I don’t want you to think I’m bragging or anything. I’m being totally honest here. LOOK AT ME. My skin alone is worth the cold water.  20170322_133444

I purposely left the photo this big, and should let you know, I did not use a single filter on this photo. This photo is as it came out on my phone. No photo shopping necessary. I cross my heart. That’s not to say I don’t deal with skin stuff. I do. My scalp is horribly dry from the exceptionally long and cold winter we had. I get some dry patches behind my ears and such. But never on my face. I have had many people ask me why i do it? And also how i could keep doing it for this long? And what the benefits have been for me.

So I’ll answer those below:

When did you start? 5 years ago, April 1st, 2012.

Isn’t the water really cold in Canada? When you turn the tap to cold…all the way to cold it does let matter where you are. Cold is cold. So no, the water isn’t colder in Canada.

Why? Because why not? When I read the original post, I got nauseous and excited and goose-bumpy. So i decided to give it a shot. At worst, I figured, I could stop. You can always stop.

Why did you continue after the 30 days?  Because you can’t know how amazing it is for you, mentally, physically, even spiritually. Not until you do it. You can’t have a 1 minute cold shower and call it a cold shower. 5 minutes, cold showers. That’s where the juice is. And then when I started washing my hair, and soaping up, and also, cleansing my face…it was then that I realized how amazing it was. I have some of my BEST ideas in my cold showers. I cry in my cold showers. Not because they make me cry. But because I process stuff while I’m in there. If I have to be in there, I might as well make the best use of my time. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 5 minutes. My hot water bill also went down. Which was an added bonus. I noticed a few days in what a difference it was making to my life. I was happier, my mental state was clearer, I was afraid of less. I lost weight. I mean…it was a win/win all around. So why not?

Why didn’t you stop after the first year?  Are you crazy? I’m already 365 days in! Why on earth would I stop? I saw the benefits for myself. I knew the mental clarity. To be honest, I got my heart broken in 2013 and were it not for my cold showers…I’m pretty sure it would’ve taken longer for me to heal that sucker. When I heard there was an app coming out for iOS, I was choked. I bugged Joel endlessly. Gimme my Android app! And you know what? He did. He eventually did. But what’s funny about that, when I started using it, I didn’t really care about the competition part. I was already in a competition with myself. And after awhile, it became a part of my morning routine. I brush my teeth, I wash my hair, I pee, I put on make up, I have a cold shower. (Not in that order). I couldn’t stop after the first year, because it gave me so much to keep taking them.

What have the benefits been? Well I mentioned a few already above, but the main one, is it taught me discipline like nothing else ever has. I have often been the one who starts something, goes on vacation, or away for the weekend, or has friends visit, or family comes to town, or have a bad day, and I fall off whatever wagon I happen to be on. I think we’ve all experienced that. It’s easy to not go to the gym, or put gas in the car until tomorrow. But one thing I never compromised was my cold showers. I know Joel was just in Antarctica and he said the cold water was unlike anything he’s ever experienced. I’ve not been there, so i can’t speak to that, but I can tell you that the coldest waters I’ve showered in was in Ireland. And it was DAMN cold. Some of those showers are really small too so you can’t even move to the side for a second or turn your body…you’re just under it. And it’s damn cold. There were a couple of times where I was more miserable than I wasn’t…and yet…I had a cold shower every single day. I have never missed one single day. Not one single shower. No matter where I am. I’ve cold showered away hang overs,. headaches, fevers, sore muscles, aching joints, heartache, bad days, etc. About 2 years in, I knew I was reliable to take a cold shower every morning. I knew that’s just who I was.

Three months ago, I started working with a health coach. There’s a level of discipline that’s required to eat right, and food prep every Sunday, and to track my food. Every single day (for the past 81 so far). Just like with #CST, there are great rewards. I don’t need to tell anyone that I take cold showers every day. BUT…when I do…I get to feel like a bada**. And nothing beats that feeling.

Will I continue? Heck yes I will. Look. I can’t even wash dishes in hot water anymore. My tolerance level for hot water is not what it used to be. I also can’t warm up as quickly in the mornings, but that’s good for you. I also put heated floors in the bathroom which makes it easier to warm up after the shower in the winter. Let me just tell you, turning that tap to cold at 615 every morning…it’s like cranking the dial on my favorite song…I can smile and sing through it, or I can grin and bear it. I prefer singing and smiling. Much like how I go through life.

If you are looking for an accountability buddy for your cold shower therapy challenge…I’m it. I’m here for you. Just know…I won’t let you get away with anything. If you miss a day, I’m making you start over. If you only did 4 minutes, it doesn’t count and you’ll have to start over. If I can do it. ANYBODY can do it. Don’t talk to me about not giving up your hot water. You don’t have to give it up entirely. I don’t care if after your 5 minutes, you switch it over to hot. I switch mine to warm so I can shave my legs and wash the conditioner out of my hair. I have to. I can’t shave my legs in cold water. And conditioner doesn’t wash out in cold water. But if you wanna take it on…I’m throwing down… think of it as an anniversary present to me.

Just like Joel says…if you’ve got something you’ve been wanting to complete…some goal you’ve wanted to reach but you’ve been lazy/procrastinating at getting it done…now’s your chance.

Take me up on it…

I promise…you’ll end up loving it. And even if you don’t…you’ll be awesome-er for it.

Who’s in?

xoxo Rita

So now what…?

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When I was 8 years old, I got pneumonia and landed in the hospital for about a month. Back in the day when they used to treat pneumonia and much of everything with glucose IVs…I was hooked up to one for the duration of my stay. I drank a lot of pop because the doctor’s said I had to drink a lot of fluids, and pop was recommended. I put on some weight while I was in hospital and when I came out…it was like…something was wrong. I could tell my parents were looking at me differently. My mom was having conversations I couldn’t ever remember her having.

One in particular I remember is when I walked into the room and she was on the phone with my aunt and she was talking about how difficult it would be to marry me off if I didn’t lose the weight. I was 9. All I wanted was some cheese slices for my snack…and I heard her say that. In hindsight, I know my mom was worried about me. She wanted me to have the fullest life. I get that now. But man…at 8,9,10,11 years old. I SO did not get that.

Of course, it got much worse…Weight Watchers at 14/15yo. Diuretics that my mom ordered for me from a magazine that she saw. I didn’t take them like I was supposed to. I used to hide them. I’m not sure where. Or why, but I never took them. Remember those silver, plastic, space suit looking heavy duty sauna work out suits you could buy in the 80s? My mom and dad bought me one when I was in my teens. They’d make me wear it at night while we’d watch TV and I’d have to sit in front of the wood stove…y’know…to sweat it all off. Then on the commercial breaks, I would have to run up and down the stairs while everyone else sat and ate their snacks…I was going up and down the stairs in my noisy, uncomfortable, heavy duty plastic suit. Or I’d have to put the suit on and run around a track in the middle of town, while my dad sat in the truck listening to the news. I hated that chip trail. I hated that track suit. I hated that my dad would check to make sure I was sweating when I got back in the truck. Don’t worry, I got smart. I used to splash myself with water before going back…Kinda like my big f**k you to the whole thing.

These were my parents. They were just doing what they thought was best for me. So that I could live the fullest life. And because it looked bad for me to look this way. And they cared a lot about that. Especially my mom. She still does, but she can’t help it. It’s cultural. She was born into it. She loved me. She wanted me to be great in my life. And she didn’t think extra weight would provide me with that. She also worried that men wouldn’t love me if I was big. Parents don’t come with a manual. They do the best they can, and they f**k up all the time. And fingers crossed, they raise some pretty good kids.

I am the best kind of human being. I grew up to be a good person. AND…through all of those horrible and humiliating things that used to happen, I have lived a damn fine life thus far, despite what I looked like.  I’m well traveled, and I have great friends, a good job, a home i love, friends all over the world, a good job, etc. etc. etc. I’m thriving. I’m living. I’m loving. And I’ve done all that on top of, my mom only loves me 85%. She’ll love me 100% when…

Imagine, going through life thinking your mom only loves you 85%. How horrible is that? My mom never said that to me. She only did what she thought was best for me, 100% of the time. I kept telling myself that my mom didn’t love me because I was overweight and i was embarrassing her. I stated telling myself that at 9 years old. I’m 47 years old now. And about 2 weeks ago, I realized that conversation I’ve had in the back of my mind, always and forever, always there. Forever impacting my life. In the work I’ve been doing with my health coach and two of my besties, not only have I dropped some weight effortlessly and easily, I have also been digging really deep into some of this crap that keeps me here. Holds me in this place. Keeps me from having 100% relationships with the people in my life.

If you’ve never struggled with your weight, you may not get this…but the truth is, we all struggle somewhere in life. We all have some story we made up about some area in our life, and we have stayed committed to that story. I have spent my ENTIRE life looking for ways to lose the weight. To get healthy. To make my mom proud. Etc. Every thing I’ve tried…and believe me, I’ve tried them all, (with the exception of Atkins which is not a vegetarian friendly diet), to no avail. I’ll lose some weight only to gain it all back. Why? Because in the background of my life…I have this soundtrack playing that I am going to live the greatest life no matter what my mom says and I’m going to prove to her that she’s wrong. All the while, convinced that there’s something wrong with my body the way it is.

Ironically, i’m the only one suffering. I’m the one who puts on more weight and feels unhappier when I look at myself. Sure. I have a level of confidence that maybe not everyone has. Sure, I have traveled the world unafraid of the seat belt extenders and the judgments. Although that’s not entirely true. I’m afraid of the judgments…but my desire to see the world is far greater than what people think of me wandering around the world. I have seen and done SO much and I have contributed a great deal. I have opened my heart, I have made a difference, I have reached out. I have loved. I have lost. I have done all of it.

Except for the one thing that matters the most to me…I have not allowed the world to see the me that is 100% me. The me that isn’t living life with a niggling buzzing in the back of my mind that has me wonder what people are thinking about me, or discounting myself as a love interest for someone simply because I would rather head that rejection off at the pass. Better for me to take myself out of the running before they tell me they aren’t interested because they don’t date big girls. I know there’s more. I know I’m meant for something bigger in life…and yet…I have let the weight hold me back. From living the fullest life. I know I could say that I AM living the fullest life. Sure. It even looks like I am. But if you look closely…peer in through the door, turn on the lights, and shine some flashlights in the corners…you’d see that all I’m doing is living my life on top of “my mom only loves me 85% and there’s something wrong with me.”

There has always been something wrong with me. And recently…I realized that my mom is not to blame. My dad isn’t either. They just did what they did. I made up the rest. Cause that’s what we do. Someone says something and we make it mean…xyz. We can’t help it. My parents had a problem with my weight. I didn’t. They did. But it slowly became my problem. And it’s been a problem for me ever since.

So why now am I sharing all this? Well. To be honest…I only got this for myself about 2 weeks ago. Like a giant light bulb going on over my head. Suddenly, my life flashes before my eyes and I remember all that stuff. And then I remember why I used to cry at boot-camp every time we had an outdoor workout. I didn’t know it at the time. But I do now. I used to cry at outdoor boot-camp because of the stupid chip trail behind the rec centre in the middle of town and that stupid space suit. I called my mom and I shared all this with her. The impact on me, I cried and shared and told her all the stuff I remembered. She filled in some blanks. She apologized. She told me that she loved me 100%. I took responsibility for all the stuff I’d made up. I apologized to her for saying she only loved me 85%. She forgave me. I forgave her.

So now what? Now that I can’t blame my mom for my life going the way it did, and I’m doing some great work with my health coach and having some amazing results (as seen in the photo above)…now what do I do? Now WHO AM I? That pit in my stomach…that’s the pit of uncertainty. That’s the pit of what kind of life do I want now that I’m making myself a new mixed tape for the new soundtrack of my life?

Now what indeed…

We all have stories that hold us back from living the fullest possible life. I’m grateful, to have finally seen mine. Realistically, I don’t know how much time I have left on this world. None of us do.  Do I really want to waste it believing that my mom and the people in my life don’t love me? Hell no. You know what “they” say don’t you?  Allowing the experience of love is the elixir to life.  (I totally just made that up, but I do believe it’s true).

I think I’d like to try that. Starting right now…

xo

A Needle in a Giant Mess of a Haystack…(Part I)

I just got back from having lunch with a friend. She’s someone I have known for many years and who I love and who would be considered a “good catch” in terms of her eligibility. She comes from a good family, she has a good circle of friends, she’s a good mum, she knows how to have fun. She loves to have someone to love. She’s good people. And she’s been single awhile. A few short lived relationships. Some a year or so long. And today, she talked about possibly wanting to have another baby. To give her already 5 year old a sibling to count on…no matter what.

She isn’t in a relationship right now, and while there are a lot of viable options for her, including adoption, she wants to have a baby. But not with some anonymous sperm. She wants a baby to co-parent with someone she loves. Not necessarily someone she is in love with, but who she has a relationship with. Someone she cares about. She has 2 men in her life who she has known a long time who she has asked, and they both said that they are in love with her, so would absolutely do it but only if she were willing to be in a relationship with them. They both would love to be parents, but they are choosing no kids over this “opportunity”.

I think this is such a mind blowing idea. Both of those men are willing to forego having a family, because they are committed to something else. I get it. I wouldn’t want to be a parent on my own. I’ve thought about it. Over the past few years especially, as I inch my closer to the no-go zone. Sometimes, I find myself wondering what would’ve happened if I’d just gone ahead and stayed in the arranged marriage. I would’ve maybe had some kids by now so I wouldn’t have to spend my time thinking about who’ll take care of me when I can’t take care of myself.

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Here’s what my lunch time conversation made me realize. There was a time when the statement “These times, they are a’changing” would’ve been accurate. But I realized that they are no longer a’changing. They’ve a’changed. And nothing looks as it should. At the encouragement of a friend, I have now started having conversations with friends who aren’t necessarily in my closest circle, to see if they might know some fabulous single men they might like to introduce me to. I’m calling it Rita’s Referral Program. What didn’t occur to me until just this minute is, isn’t that kinda the same thing as how an arranged marriage gets started? Someone’s parents knows someone who has a boy of marrying age…Okay. So, maybe a little bit.

So my friend and I were joking that she might start a referral program of her own, to see if she can find someone who would like to have a child and co-parent with her. Not someone completely anonymous, someone who is clear he wants to be a father, but not full time and maybe without all the commitment.

Then, there’s the whole online dating phenomenon. I have spent the majority of my adult life dating online, or otherwise. When I first moved here, 20something years ago, the internet wasn’t a thing, so it was newspaper personals. That was fun. Talk about blind dates. Total randoms. But I sure did have fun, and I met some really great men. I remember there was a plethora of men to choose from back then. Men were single, and not jaded or cynical. They hadn’t had their guts punched out by their last marriage, or the ex who cheated on them. So they were still fun and caring and were considering relationship options.

This morning, I received an email from someone on Plenty of Fish, who has a profile claiming to want to meet someone to marry. Yet he sends me an email and says “Gee you sure are pretty but I’m only looking for friends with benefits.” And when I politely said that perhaps he could change his profile so women would know clearly what he was after, and that perhaps he should look elsewhere…” he swore at me in his response. Because I rejected him I suppose. But here’s the thing, men reject me online all the time. By either not responding or by giving me some lame a** excuse. I get it. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But 20something years ago when I first started dating, the haystack was just that. A haystack, filled with hay. And somewhere in there, there was a needle. NOW that haystack is laced with all kinds of other “my girlfriend cheated on me and I don’t trust women”, “i’m not taking care of you” “you better not be looking for a sugar daddy” “i’m mostly just looking to get laid even though my profile says i want to get married” bullsh*t, that the needle has become virtually impossible to find.

I sure do miss the days when a haystack was just a haystack.

So what are fabulous, single amazing women like myself and my friend supposed to do? I suppose writing about it helps. But mostly, I’ll be honest…I’m a little perplexed. Especially given I know that the majority of the men (and women) who claim to be looking to get laid, actually want nothing more than to have someone to come home to. So why can’t we just admit that to ourselves and then to each other?

I’m not yet sure why I’m writing this yet. I’m not sure what my next move is. I’m not even sure what my next sentence is…but I think there’ll be a part II. Just let me leave this with you for now…

Rita xo

Some Radical F**king Honesty

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I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say something that I probably shouldn’t say. Something that will likely make some people uncomfortable. I’m gonna say something that may trip some people up, or trigger some emotions in others. I promise you though…I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.  This thing is slowly kicking my a**.

We are taught to be self sufficient and independent and take life by the balls and live BIG and all that stuff. These days, everyone’s writing books and blog posts about how great life is and I swear to God, if I see another “Top 101 Reasons Why Being Single is Awesome”, I’m gonna throw my water bottle at my computer screen.

I get it. I SO get it. Being single IS awesome. You can walk around and belch and fart and not wash your dishes or shave your legs if you don’t want to, you can skip a waxing appointment every now and again, or not get your nails done, or even wait until the last possible moment to do laundry. If that’s your thing. You can do all of those things. You can also go out anytime you want, you can do anything you want, with anyone you want. You can sleep around, you can get on a plane without having to tell anyone where you’re going. You can take a road trip solo, and feel empowered by it. And you can binge-watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix for as long as you want, wearing whatever you want.

All of those things are absolutely 100% true.

Let’s just have a look behind the curtain for a minute…

And then…you have your 40something birthday…and you buy yourself a slice of birthday cake, and light your own candle, and see no one else all day. You wake up alone, you go to bed alone, your phone doesn’t ring all day, your family doesn’t send you a birthday card, actually come to think of it…no one does, cause birthday cards are SO yesterday, and you realize…you’ve never been more alone on your birthday, EVER. And then you realize how much you don’t like it.

That was me. Last Wednesday. I turned 40something, and while I am a big fan of Facebook birthdays (thank you Facebook for making birthdays fun!), I’m also a big fan of phone calls and birthday cards and presents and balloons and a little fuss. I’m past the point of ever having a baby shower. I’m also not likely going to be having an engagement party, and there’s about a 50% chance I may not get married, and if I do, I’ve already got everything I could ever need in terms of what I would need as a gift, so I have one day. One day a year. Just one day. A year.

So the past few days I’ve been wandering around pondering all these things. Catching glimpses of what my life might be when I’m old and grey…and I don’t like it. Not one bit. So I vent to a friend. I get it all out of my head. Swirling around in my head all by myself, is only making things worse.

And then…I get it. The past 45 minutes I’ve been ranting and raving about all of these things, and the things I’m mad about, or not mad about, or at who, or why, and it dawns on me. I’m not mad. Or sad. I’m done. I’m done with all of this aloneness. I’m sick of it. I am SICK OF BEING ALONE! I have been playing a game. I don’t know what it’s called, or what the rules are…but I have definitely been playing it. And I’ve been winning. I love winning games, but this particular one…the one where I am constantly winning at being single…sucks! Don’t play it. And if you’re in the middle of playing it right now, put down the dice and walk away from the board. THIS GAME SUCKS.

I am done. I am DONE playing this game. And I am ESPECIALLY done winning this game.

I am also, very very very done with being alone. My life is so much bigger, and my heart is so much fuller that it seems a waste for me not to have someone to love. AND what a disservice I’m doing to the person who doesn’t get a chance to love the pants off’of me. Seriously. If you met me. You would agree. I am so f**king awesome, even I blow myself away sometimes.

Now. What am I supposed to do about it, now that I’m done? Now that I’m so sick of playing this game, I never want to see it ever EVER again? What do I do? I don’t have a f**king clue. But I will tell you this. I’m walking away from the table. And it feels pretty f**king awesome. And I’m telling you. I don’t know what changed today that I feel like I can tell you. I’m independent, and awesome and have my sh*t together, and my life is awesome, and you should hear about the raddest summer of my life that I just had. AND I’m not gonna lie. All that stuff…it’s not enough anymore.

And that is the sweetest taboo. I’m not supposed to say that out loud. Shhhh…someone might hear you. Someone might tell you you’re not being grateful. Shut your mouth. I’m as grateful as they come. I’m not ungrateful. I’m just being honest. I have never been more in love with who I am as I am right now.

And now, I’d like for someone else to feel that way about me too.

Sue me. It’s true. It’s honest. And yes. It’s a little radical. So? I know I’m not alone in it. So there’s that.

Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Tell me how much it sucks. Get it out of your head. I know you likely go to bed thinking about it. Or maybe you wake up thinking about it. Tell me. It helps. I promise.

I feel better already.

xo Rita

What’s On Your List…?

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*I took this photo at WDS2015 while Jeremy Cowart was speaking. 

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~ Diane Ackerman

A million years ago, I used to work in a discount clothing store downtown. One quiet Sunday, I was in the store, and it was close to closing time, and this woman came into the store. After awhile, when she came up to the till, she said “I don’t know you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but something in me is compelling me to tell you to go buy the books “Feel the Fear And Do it Anyway” and “The Aladdin Factor” asap. She didn’t say much more than that, and I have always been a believer of being given signs, so as soon as I got off work, I went to the used bookstore next door, and bought copies of both books with the last $32 in my wallet.

I went home that afternoon and devoured those books. Especially “The Aladdin Factor” by Mark Victor Hansen.  That book CHANGED MY LIFE. Back in 1995 when I read this book, long before bucket lists were a thing, he talks about making lists. Lists filled with outrageous items that we’d never dream of telling anyone about. I never forgot that exercise. He says do not stop making that list until you have at least 100 items on it. Back in 1995, I couldn’t even think of 100 items. It took me WEEKS to come up with that many items. And outrageous? Gosh, y’know, looking at that list now, I hadn’t yet even learned to think big. I remember putting things like “Get a VISA”, since I didn’t have a credit card, or “buy a pool table”, which was weird cause I didn’t have a house to put it in and i didn’t play pool, and i didn’t even include “buy a house” on the list. That will give you a sense of it though. That first list was tough.

He also says “get as outrageous as you can. the more outrageous the better.” So, back in 1995, the most outrageous thing I could think of for my #1 item was “Meet Bruce Springsteen (backstage pass or otherwise).” I remember writing it down and I had butterflies. It seemed SO ridiculous. Meet Bruce Springsteen? Are you kidding? How on earth? BUT he did say, “be outrageous”. And that to me seemed pretty flippin’ outrageous.

I have since become a huge fan of lists. I even bought a journal that i use specifically for my list. And over the years, it has become fluid, so I’m constantly adding to it, as I cross things off. I get a lot of enjoyment out of highlighting the items I’ve accomplished. I’ve transferred items over to new lists, all the while, #1 always remaining the same. “Meet Bruce Springsteen.” Never occurred to me to take it off the list, but it also never really occurred to me that it was something that I’d ever cross off. What’s funny, is that it has always remained the most outrageous thing I can think of. Even with all the other big, outrageous things I’ve done.

A few months before I left for a road trip this summer (also a list item), I purchased tickets for Springsteen in NJ and shared with my FB world that i’d be going, how excited I was to be crossing this off the list. I shared it because I was excited about the concert tickets. AND in sharing it, it set some things in motion…

Remember when we were kids? 5, 6 7, 8 years old. “I’m gonna be a fireman!” “I wanna be a doctor!” My own nephew when he was 4 started telling us he wanted to be a paleontologist. What did we do? We bought him dinosaur books, and backpacks, and pajamas, and I took him to see a big dinosaur show that was here a few summers ago. He knows everything there is to know about each of the dinosaurs, and he made us love them again too. And because he was so excited about dream, we were excited too. So we did what we knew to do to help him along. To make it real for him. Whether or not he grows up to be a paleontologist no longer matters. What matters is helping him make any of his dream come true. And now, at 8 years old, he still loves dinosaurs.  So why, when we’re so eager to make children’s wishes and dreams come true, why wouldn’t we be doing that for ourselves? Or for each other?

Why am i even telling you this story?

Well. Because. After 20+ years of keeping my #1 item on my list as my #1 item on my list, I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen on October 4th.  I shared my outrageous dream with others, others got involved in helping to make it happen. Which put energy under it and into the Universe. Sometimes you can run into him on the streets of New Jersey, but you’d have to know where he hangs out for that to happen, and of course, a girl from the west coast of Canada doesn’t really have a good shot of that happening in her every day life. Despite the fact that I’ve seen him in concert 5x, it just never dawned on me how I would meet him. But, it stayed on the list.

How is it possible that I’m meeting Bruce Springsteen? Because one friend took it upon herself to make it happen, by being my fairy godmother and making it happen. The tickets sold out in under a minute for a special event in Portland. But she managed to get one for me. And it is safe to say that when I do meet him on October 4th, I won’t be the only one excited about it. When we get personally involved in someone else’s dream…it starts to matter to us too. It starts to make dreams possible for us as well. It lights a fire under us.

If you know me, or you’ve read any other my other blogs, you’ll know, I’m a huge fan of list making. I have challenged friends to make lists. I love lists! Lists are fun! Lists have us live our lives in ways that we may not otherwise. Lists force us to go beyond our comfort zones. Lists force us to be true to what we want. Especially when we share them.

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20 something years ago, I put that #1 item on my list. A bunch of words on a piece of paper. And the day I cross that sucker off the list..you can bet I’ll be sharing it with the world.

So. I ask you. What’s on your list? What dream are you willing to look foolish for?

There are people in our lives just waiting for an opportunity to contribute something to someone they love. What if that someone is you?

Share with me some of what’s on your list and if I can help, I will! And you never know who might be reading this post who might be able to do something to help you achieve the #1 item on your list…

Rita xo

 

Well Sh*t

boys-quote-fuck-girl-hate-i-want-love-sad-deserve-i-donx27t-i-wish-i-would-Favim.com-798658 “I don’t deserve to be loved.”

Yikes. Don’t you want to just hug the person who said it? Guess where it came from?

The dark, scary recesses of the back of my mind. Truly.

If you know me, you already know that I am a huge sucker for love. Love is where it’s at. Love is my religion. I want EVERYONE to have love that blows their minds, that grows their hearts a few sizes. I want everyone to experience love. In all it’s forms. In all it’s glory. Because what is life without love? A part of me wants to burst into song. And yet…another part of me…the part of me that believes that sentence above, is staring at the florescent light above her desk to keep from crying, because for me to believe that I don’t deserve to be loved is the saddest thing I ever could’ve discovered.

Don’t worry. I’m not wallowing in it. I’m sad. Oh boy. Am I ever. I’m sad that I believe that to be true. That at 45 years old, I’m living my life on my own, and watching the world go by…holding hands, making out in corners, sharing lives together. Because everyone deserves to have that. Well.

Everyone except me.

Somewhere, a long time ago, someone said something to me. And I believed them.

I have had an issue with my weight since I was about 8. Well. Actually let me rephrase that. My parents. Society. Etc. had an issue with my weight since I was little. For me, it wasn’t an issue. Until I was reminded of how big an issue it was. That no one would love me if I didn’t lose x..y…z. That no one would want to marry me until…And somewhere along the way…I started to believe it. I didn’t know I believed it. I mean…I live my life like love is all there is. I make sure people know that. If someone came to me and told me that they didn’t believe they deserved to be loved, i would be heartbroken for them. It’s simply not true. Everyone deserves to be loved. Everyone.

Except me.

Until yesterday afternoon, I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware. I had no idea that I thought/believed/felt that. It was just something that was back there, in the dark recesses of my mind, where no one looked, and I just lived my life. Like nothing was wrong. Every now and again, pondering, wondering, questioning, why I might not be in a relationship after all this time. But never turning the lights on back there. In the dark corners.

And then yesterday…I had a conversation with a friend, and suddenly, it came to me. It just flashed through my mind like an electronic billboard quickly switching to the next ad. I waited for the ad cycle to go through again. And then BAM. There it was again. “Rita you don’t deserve to be loved.” I was surprised. I think I may have gasped out loud. I quickly shared with my friend. Who immediately wanted to tell me how crazy that was. But I asked her to listen. Just to listen to what was there. Because if I didn’t get it out of my head, it would get spooked and go back to where it came from. So I just kept sharing. And a part of me was almost excited. Finally. Some movement. Something. I shared with a few people. The more I shared, the more real it became.

Until this morning. When I woke up and realized that this thought. This belief. This banner that I quietly fly over my head…was no longer in the dark corners of my subconscious. It’s right there. Sitting on my face, like an alien hand reaching out to suck out my brain. And no manner of etch-a-sketching my head is making it go back to where it came from. I’m sad to know that for most of my life, I have lived it silently believing that I don’t deserve to be loved. It’s f**ked up. And if you knew me, you’d know how ludicrous this is. And yet…There you have it.

I don’t quite know what’s on the other side. I’m delving into this blind. I don’t know. All I know is that in this moment, it’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s sad. My heart breaks for the me that has lived life with this belief.

And…I asked for it. I said, I wanted to get a look at whatever it is that stands between me and being in love. Well there you go. I just wasn’t expecting it to be such a big mother f**king big thing.

It’s why I make sure that people experience Love. It’s why I’m such a relationship cheerleader. It’s why love is so important to me. It’s why I fight for it. Because I don’t deserve it. But God forbid anyone else ever feel that. Even for a minute.

Tell me. Is there something you believe to be true about you that if you were to say it out loud, would sound ludicrous. And yet…you are 100% sold on it? Share it here. Let’s make this the dumping ground for all the bullsh*t that keeps us from having the lives I showed you mine.

I’d be honoured if you’d show me yours.

xo
Rita

#100Days Like A Boss

100 days

When Cindy and I started the #100Days workout challenge, neither of us really had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. It sounded cool to say 100 day work out challenge. But other than that, we didn’t really think it through. We had no idea we’d be tired for much of the 3 months. And when Cindy took on a 30 day yoga challenge at the same time, that sometimes, she wouldn’t have time to do anything else. The days when we thought doing a double was a good idea, or the days when just getting out of bed to go about the day was tough. Who knew that buying groceries, or keeping up on the housework or having some social time with friends would become less and less doable. My house wasn’t clean for the first 2 months. At least not as clean as I would’ve liked. I never seemed to get enough rest. God forbid I should want to spend time with friends. There was no time for that.

As time went on though, as we got into the 40s and the 50s, we start to find our groove. I could see myself racing from work to an earlier class if I had something going on that night. I could race home and shower and go out again if I had to. I was less sore. While my body still hurt all the time, I wasn’t incapacitated with how sore I was. The more I worked out, the less sore I was. Weird hey? I think it was because I was constantly doing something different. Cindy and I do the same bootcamp together 4x a week (as often as possible) so we were always mixing things up. No class is ever the same. So we never got bored. Well, I suppose it’s wrong to say never…because I remember around Day 75 saying to Cindy…”I kinda feel like we got this one already and I”m a little bored with it.”

Funny how that happens. You take on something you’ve never done before, and never thought you’d be able to do and then bam..you’ve done it. You’ve shown yourself it’s possible. And then one day…it’s Day 100 and you’re out celebrating with a hearty breakfast of pancakes and omelets and the like. We reflected over breakfast, what we wanted to get and whether we achieved those goals. For me, my number one was to see if I could do it. For Cindy also. I am not what I would call an athlete or even an active personality. I do a lot, sure. But that’s never been my life. I played team sports when I was younger, but preferred walking and aquafit/swimming to team sports. I never learned to play baseball nor did I have a desire to learn. I was more of the sit in a corner and read kind of person growing up. Plus I was always forced to do exercise as a kid, (that’s too long of a story to share here) in some pretty humiliating ways, so for me, as a grown up, i didn’t have to do that. But there came a time when it became important to me. It did wonders for my self esteem. I felt stronger. I felt hotter. It was starting to transform me mentally. I Liked it.

That’s how I felt with this challenge. My second goal was to alter my point of view about myself. That I actually could be someone who works out all the time. I could become one of those people that other people knew went to the gym a lot. There was a time in my life when people would be looking for me and they’d find me at the club every night. And now…if people are looking for me, they know they can likely find me at either of my 2 gyms. I wanted that. I wanted to alter my own point of view, but also impact my environment. I also wanted to inspire someone. Anyone. Even one person to take on something like this. To want to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

Cindy and I talked about how people work out all the time. Especially those who are training for races. They work out hard core, all the time. But neither Cindy nor I are those people. We aren’t training for anything. We aren’t entered in a race. We just wanted to do something to show ourselves we could. And we did. We are not the same height, the same build, the same body type, or even have the same lifestyle. And we both did it. I like to think that we proved to the “every man” that it’s possible.

Exercise is one of those things that you either love or hate. And let’s face it, it does kind of suck. BUT if you find something you love, it makes a huge difference. While I don’t love bootcamp, there are elements of it that I do love. Especially the support of the rest of the group when something is particularly hard. Like last night’s Day 101 class. It was the worst class EVER. I’m surprised I could get out of bed today. But we all did it together. And we survived. No one puked or passed out.

There are always reasons not to go. Too busy, too tired. Gotta go buy groceries. Have to get the kids to their x, y, z. Need to make dinner. Have to something or other. But Cindy and I…we kind of debunked every single excuse in the book. We started off the challenge, both of us with tooth infections and root canals. We both put our right hips out. We both suffered from exhaustion. And yet…we just kept showing up. I had a fever for a few days, and I kept doing something. Because I said.

So often I have let my reasons get in the way of what I said I was committed to. If I had said at the beginning that I was going to do some form of physical activity every single day for 100 days, but I could double up if I knew I was going to miss a day..then great. I could’ve done that. But I didn’t. I said every single day for 100 days and if we miss a day, we start over. Trust me..when you get to day 55 the last thing you want to do is start over.

It’s been an amazing journey. I am taking tonight off. And I”m pretty excited about that. Monday starts a new journey…I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks for being here.
Rita
xo
PS a big giant thank you to my dear friend J who doodled this amazing photo for me in celebration! xo

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