Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vikings Experience....What you didn't see on the big screen......

"He says it's really kind of simple,
Keep your mind in the middle ,
While your butt spins 'round and 'round...

Take heed to Sankey's preachin',
Keep liftin' and reachin',
And ridin' like there ain't no clowns...."
Garth Brooks

My life is hard to desribe or sum up in a few words, roller coaster is one I used to use a lot, but as I have started riding I think it is closer to broncho riding, a lot of lulls with a few really crazy moments thrown in here and there.

Earlier this week I was struggling badly with some challenges in my life, and said to a couple people close to me how I feel like I always get the harder road, that nothing is ever as easy as it should be and that I had had enough of it. But then today I stood staring at 50,000 or so people all looking down at me and thought, how lucky am I to be living the life I am living. How many people get to have the experiences I do, and in this case got to do twice? Once with the Twins and now once with the Vikings (hey LTF I like Hockey, can we three-peat with the Wild *grin*).

Days like today challenge my thinking. I was raised by a mother who spent a lot of time trying to convince me I was nothing special in the world, that to be proud of myself was wrong, that I was nobody and to think anything different was delusional and that I was more a hinderance than anything to the people around me. And for the most part I have let her thinking control a lot of how I view myself and the world. I have marginalized and minimized myself out of a lot of experiences and chances to have fun - big and small. So to stand there today while people say "you did something worth noticing" was hard for me, and truthfully really uncomfortable.

But today I tried my best to push past that, to take in what was going on and why. That I have done things others havent accomplished, that I do have a story that isn't common place and that it is ok for others to notice that.

The interesting part for me though is the parts of the day that others won't ever know about. Yeah the big deal from the outside was down on the field, but for me that was probably the least miraculous part of the day.
For me the little things today are what I noticed and what made me smile....

  • Fitting in the seat at the stadium and not feeling like I was either squeezed in or spilling over into the people next to me (although I will admit I still worried about the second part and kept turning to not bump into the people on either side of me...that is "brain fat think" and not sure it ever goes away)
  •  Walking down the stairs in the stadium which had no hand rails without falling on my face
  •  Handling the three flights of stairs down to the field and back up without being totally overwhelmed or having to stop to rest
  •  Being able to balance standing on the light rail all the way back
  •  Having to squeeze between a pole and the wall on our way to get our tickets and not getting stuck or even slowing down
  •  Being able to walk fast enough to keep up with people
  •  Wearing a Vikings sweatshirt from a normal store in a normal size
  •  Being seen with my trainer and not feeling like people were laughing at me and noticing only how fat I was comparably to him.
For me THESE were moments that took my breath away much more than standing on the field or seeing myself on the big screen. These are the battles I have fought to win! It has never been about publicity or fame, but about being normal, about not having my life controlled by my weight.

Am I all the way there, nope. I still looked at my pictures from today and cringed at my stomach and my chin, I still fought all the voices in my head last night and this morning about not eating before I went so I wouldnt look fat (sadly my eating disorder won that battle).

But despite that, when I stood there on the field and looked over and saw my trainer standing there I knew I had a lot to be proud of, of how far I have come, that I havent given up in this last year when things arent going as I want and just how lucky I am to have the ability to have people around me who keep me moving when I stall or start moving backwards, who genuinely care and do want to see me win this battle and who have stood by me even when I wasnt making the kind of progress I should be.

Today wasnt about all the fans or the recognition of others, it was about me having that chance to remember where I have come from, what I have accomplished and how lucky I am to have had the chance to walk with some really great people along this journey!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another View from the Field.....

How many people in the world can say their first professional baseball game they got to stand on the field and have their story told. Very few. I figured last year when it happened at the new Twins stadium that I was one in a million. So I am guessing this year I become one in a zillion?

Because tomorrow my first time at a professional football game I get to re-live the same experience. I am being featured as Lifetime Fitness's "Fit Fan". My story of this entire journey (good and bad) will be in the game book, along with my pictures, I will be down on the field during a break in the second half while my story is told and will be giving away a LTF membership.

Ok so let me say right up front, not a huge football fan, but still am jazzed. The bottom line, this is an experience that few people get to have in their lives, and I have been blessed enough to have it twice!

Anyone who has read my blog knows this hasnt been an easy road, especially the last year or so, the scale isnt moving, and my eating disorder is winning a lot more than it should. But I am proud of the fact that I have hung in there. And I credit having my trainer with a lot of that, for not letting me give up the zillion times I have tried to, and lord knows I have tried and fought him on it *smile*.

As much as this is a recognition by LTF, I am also looking at it as a re-energization (is that a word?) that I really need. A lot of me has fought with should I even be doing this tomorrow, I am up about 15 lbs in the last month (my first real gain since I started this journey) and I a feeling far from a role model these days. But things happen for a reason at a time they are supposed to, and maybe standing there in front of 60,000 people hearing my story is what I need to get myself out of the rut I have been in for way too long.

When the LTF marketing person called me to ask me to do this, she didnt ask me because I have lost a ton of weight, but because my story is unique was her wording, and it is, and I need to remember others fight the plateaus, fight with food and eating disorders and that I am doing this tomorrow to represent THEM.

For anyone local who feels like taking in a game I would love the support, please let me know if you are at the game, no clue where our seats are at yet, but will hve my phone with me. Let me know you are there and I'll find you!

Btw for those who weren't in my life last year when I went to the Twins game here is the post of that experience
I was one in a million.

The following pics are the ones I sent in for the playbook (not sure which they are using)...

February 2009

July 2009

December 2010

September 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The scary blue tarp....

“I have an empathy for horses, when something is scared for their life, I understand that.” - Buck Brannaman

The last few months have afforded me some really amazing experiences. It is hard to believe how many different horses I have ridden in just a few months, the things I have accomplished and how far I have come. It still stops me cold when I think about it. But last night trumps them all. While overall the event I was participating in, a trail riding clinic, was nothing unique or awe inspiring. I found in the middle of it a truly life altering moment.

The clinic was based around learning how to help your horse deal with the challenges they might encouter on a trail ride...crossing obstacles, needing to ground tie, moving objects tied to their saddle and packing.

One of the stations involved working with the horse until they would easily walk across a blue tarp on the ground. Until you've done it it sounds easy.

What few people realize, and what I am still coming to appreciate, is that despite the size of these mighty creatures, they are big babies. As prey animals they see the world as out to get them, their instinct is to flee first and ask questions later, everything is the enemy and safety trumps all. Emotions I get!

To a horse a blue tarp lying on the ground has the potential to be a mortal enemy. It is a different texture and feels weird on their feet, the color stands out against the brown sand, it makes noise and when you step on moves. Death for sure! And when Cody saw it that was his first thought. Him being a school horse I actually thought this might be easier, he's pretty bombproof, but at heart he is still a horse. He saw it and he wanted to be anywhere but there. He started his natural behavior of turning, backing and activating his escape plan. My job, help him realize that this is safe, that we can do this and to trust me enough to not put him in harms way. This is where the moment became magical.

Watching Cody work through his fears gave me real insight into myself. After I worked him into at least checking it out, he sniffed it, he moved it with his foot, he took a tenative step on it. But between each of these he tried to flee. He was getting more comfortable but still wasnt ready to put his safety on the line. It might be ok, but why take the chance it isn't? Even 1% risk was more than made sense to him. Throughout it all I could see him thinking, processing, trying to make sense of it all, trying to understand why he should take the risk. And why was I asking him to do this.

Cody wasnt the only one facing a "blue tarp" yesterday. Like I said, in watching Cody face down his fears I saw a lot of my own. But in my case the blue tarp is food, and my goal of getting through 30 days of consistently eating the right foods and meeting my calorie goals!

I have been doing an awful lot of fleeing lately when it comes to eating, my weight and my fears. I wake up every day saying today I will face it down, I take a tenative step, but each time something spooks me I run, I go back to what is comfortable for me, either not eating or eating the wrong things. Like Cody, each step bring me closer, I try to learn from it, but in the end my need for safety overcomes the lesson. I want to succeed, I want to overcome this, I dont want to live in fear, I dont want to let down the people around me who keep telling me it is ok, that I need to do it, but somehow we still havent found the trick to keep me facing the goal like I have been taught to do with the horse.

I want the same success Cody found. By the end of our work he was not only walking, trotting and backing across the tarp, but did it with confidence and almost a look of "why was I so freaked over this, it's fun". A look I have had many times!

I just hope the people around me will come at this with me the way I did with Cody, with patience yet persistence. Letting him have his room to take those tenative steps, but never letting him give up and never giving up on him. Realizing that fleeing isnt quitting, it is just trying to find the courage to take the next step. Understanding that what seems a simple blue tarp sometimes feels like a dragon waiting to strike.

 I would like to believe someday I can get there with food and my body, but for now, I am still sniffing the edges and ready to bolt!