Over the past few weeks, I have not only received my second Second Degree, I have received a powerful message from our Mother Goddess Demeter. Belladonna LaVeau and Dusty Dionne have been bringing this message to Pagans across North American this spring and summer. You can read more about their mission in the Wild Hunt. If you have not yet had a chance to hear from Demeter directly on the World Love Tour, I strongly encourage you to meet up with them on one of their final stops if at all possible.
In order to continue doing the Work before me, that of bringing a living faith community to all Wiccans and witches of all generations, as well as sharing and spreading knowledge and learning, I am now seeking students to join me on this path.
Have you always felt a calling to the Gods but have not been sure of how you can serve? Do you want to improve yourself and learn how to manifest the best possible world for you and those you love? Do you want to be a part of building this living faith community in Mid-Michigan?
Please come out and join me at Weavers of the Web on Wednesday nights in Lansing. All our Community Night and Sabbat events are free and open to the public, although donations are greatly appreciated. Come and learn and practice with me, and if you’d like to do more, please, let me know.
I’m ready to help the light of the Gods shine a little brighter in this world. Would you like to join me?
The word “church” in our Western culture has become almost synonymous with the idea of Christianity. If it’s a church, it must be a place where the Abrahamic god is worshipped and pastors lecture from the pulpit on the teachings of the Bible, right?
Maybe not so much.
Merriam-Webster has several definitions for the word “church,” and while a couple still reference Christianity, it is not the main focus of the word. The first definition says, “a building for public and especially Christian worship.” Another definition reads, “a body or organization of religious believers,” and still another, “a public divine worship.” When we remove Christianity from the discussion, we find that the word “church” really means, “a place for public, group worship of the divine.”
This is the spirit in which Lansing’s new Weavers of the Web was born. Founded in 2018 by Solinox Silverstar, Weavers of the Web’s mission statement is “to provide the community support and public ritual structure so that all Wiccans can celebrate and worship together, at all ages and stages of life.” Weavers is a Wiccan church, founded on the principles established by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.
A Wiccan church, you say?
The unit of organization usually associated with Wicca is the coven, a close-knit group of initiates. Everybody within a coven is generally an initiate, working on their own path toward priesthood. Everybody is involved in studying the Craft and in working magick, and (theoretically, at least!) everybody is working toward their own elevations and eventual priesthood.
Where does that leave those who believe in Wiccan deities and principles, but who do not have the calling to become clergy themselves? What about the other elements of a church community, the social group that provides support through rough times and celebration of good times? What about children, who are not old enough to initiate but want to share in the celebrations of their family’s faith? That is where the Wiccan church comes in.
Solinox Silverstar, founder and High Priestess of Weavers of the Web, grew up in Christian churches as did many Pagans of her generation. She continued to attend different Christian churches for a couple of years after admitting that she did not believe in the religion itself. She wanted to belong to the group, to go to the youth group field trips and participate in the choir, to have someplace to go once a week where people knew here and welcome her. Ever since then, Solinox has had a vision of creating this kind of community for Wiccans … a Wiccan church.
Do you want to participate in a Beltaine or Samhain celebration, but don’t have the resources or experience to put on your own and don’t know how to join a local coven? Do you have kids, and can’t imagine bringing them to an adult-oriented ritual? Come on out; at a church, celebrations are always open to the public of all ages. Do you want to learn more about Wicca and magic, but don’t have the time or inclination to initiate and spend years in study? Come on out; the church’s Community Night events provide Wicca 101 basic instruction and offer opportunities for working rituals, meditations, and more. Looking for somebody to officiate at a wedding or handfasting? Come on out; that’s what the church’s clergy are here for. Are you interesting in taking the step to become clergy yourself? The church can provide that as well.
Are you looking for a place that offers you the opportunity to belong, to practice and celebrate your Wiccan faith? Look no further than your local Wiccan church.
Git ‘er done. Tackle that to-do list. Finish the job.
What about the jobs that never end?
What about the work that keeps growing as you do it?
And where on earth did we get this idea that we have to finish everything every day anyway? That’s the big question my brain is pondering this morning. Because I know that this idea is sunk deep into my very bones, but I am not sure why or where it came from. All I know is that it is causing unnecessary stress and harm, and probably not just for me.
My first job after high school was working as a secretary in a patent and trademark law firm. After I’d temped there for a few weeks, they hired me, and within a few months I had several attorneys to myself as well as the whole firm bringing me work. I wanted to be a good worker, and I actually enjoyed the work, so I worked hard every day to clear that inbox. I was very quickly staying late, sometimes until 8 or 10 at night, just to clear the box and be able to say I was done. It took the office manager explicitly coming over and telling me that I wasn’t expected to clear the box, that it wasn’t my job to clear the box, before I started going home with work left undone.
Is this an autism thing? Or a cultural thing? I don’t know.
Looking at my life today, I do have this huge to-do list. I maintain it in Todoist, with many categories and priorities and tags to try and get a handle on it. It’s so big because I expect Todoist to relieve a lot of that “mental load” so many wifey articles talk about today. If something needs doing, I put it into the list so that it won’t be forgotten. Then I don’t worry so much about what I’m forgetting.
Instead, I worry about getting everything done every day. Nevermind that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things that theoretically should be done every day. Exercise, cooking, housecleaning, gardening, studying, practicing music, schoolwork with each of the kids, working on church activities, writing…these are all things that are supposed to be done every day, and I’m pretty sure I just filled a couple of days there. And none of it will stay done. People get hungry every day, exercise is not a “once and done” thing, the kids will mess up the house and dirty the laundry. It’s not like an entry for “Send flowers to Christina” or “Buy this cool thing for David for a present,” where I do it and then it’s all gone. All of this stuff just keeps coming back. And if I’m supposed to do all of that repeating stuff every day, when do I get time for me, or for the once-and-dones?
Why do I keep measuring myself against impossible standards? What does it take to permanently shift my mind-set into “journey” mode instead of “project” mode, where it becomes okay to just keep swimming? I’m getting better at it. Having my head clear and my body energized with enough blood is helping everything these days. But I still catch those thoughts bubbling up, and that constant running narrative in the back of my head telling me it’s not enough, I’m not good enough, I don’t do enough.
And I think back to that first job, and I wonder what gave me that idea in the first place.
I realized recently that I never posted much here about the biggest little thing in our lives this past year: Brian’s Little Friend, the asshole brain tumor. The acoustic neuroma that appeared out of nowhere, so big that every surgeon looking at his MRIs had to do double-takes and come back to us saying things like, “Did you see those pictures?!?!” The tumor that is technically classified as “giant”, since a “large” neuroma starts at 2.5cm and Brian’s is more like 4-4.5cm. The tumor that has already taken away his hearing and balance on one side, leaving him now deaf as well as blind and struggling for balance. The tumor that has already required one extensive brain surgery, needs another one in less than two months, and might require yet a third surgery or radiation to completely eliminate.
Such a little thing. Such a huge disruption to our life. All our plans went on hold as our stress levels went through the roof. Just dealing with the anxiety and panic attacks, for both me and Brian, has been difficult, to say the least. Brian is still in pain more than six months after the first surgery, and knowing the second one isn’t going to be any easier is not helping with the anticipation leading up to it.
It keeps surprising me when I run across people in our life who haven’t heard yet. And then I have to explain all over again, and people never know what to say. Who would? It’s the ultimate conversation killer.
We received some wonderful gifts from friends and coworkers last fall that helped us get up to and through the first surgery. We were able to take a wonderful trip down to the Caribbean, and tour some breweries in both Michigan and Florida. We’re hoping to get some support again as we head into Surgery Part Deux, because we’re maxing out the credit cards right now just trying to stay sane. Going to do it anyway. But anything helps.
And if you’ve wondered why I’ve been a little flaky this year, why we haven’t been at festivals much, why I keep not going out…this is it.
If you’d like to help you, you can contribute to our Part Deux fundraiser below, and blessed be to all who can help, whether with money, or prayers and energy.
Before we get started, I’d like to announce that anybody who says, “You need to get your kids to do more of that,” is automatically drafted to come live in my house for two weeks while I take a much-needed mental health vacation alone. You get my kids to do that, and then you can show me how you did it. Or you can run away screaming and never say that again, which is what most people do. The best I’ve been able to get on a good week is my kids doing maybe half what they are capable of doing, and most of that’s only if I stand over them, telling them exactly what to do and how.
It’s time to shake up my life again. My health is doing some things that say my self and my body need more attention. My gods are seeking my attention. My home desperately needs more care to again become the haven it should always be. And my budget needs more income. My husband is having his second brain surgery in less than three months, and having good solid routines in place in a house that is clean and welcoming to him would be a huge blessing right now. I need to find a way to maintain my health, mentally and physically; to cook healthy meals for myself and my family; to maintain my daily contact with deity; to devote necessary time to school and church commitments; to teach Kender how to read and stay on top of schooling for Jarod; and to declutter and clean my home and maintain it that way.
Last week, I worked really hard, but I couldn’t get much past the daily chores, laundry and dishes and cooking and such. I spent 19 hours driving last week, which is not entirely unusual; although when my second-oldest is home she helps with the driving, she is gone for the next three weeks, and when she gets back she has her own job and school to deal with.
I have been on top of my game before, but things are always changing around here, so I am seeking crowd-sourced suggestions on new routines for getting things done. The current skeleton parameters for my life are:
- 8 hours of sleep per night for me, with an average wake time of 9am
- I’m guessing an average of 5-10 hours a week of driving people around
- At least two doctor or vet appointments per week, sometimes more (for reference, I see ten appointments for somebody other than myself on my calendar over the next month)
- 2.5 hours of therapy for Kender on Fridays
- Date night with my husband used to could be a weekly or monthly thing, but for his sake right now needs to happen at least twice a week, if not more
General household requirements:
- Two loads of laundry every day
- Two bathrooms to care for
- One dog that must be thoroughly brushed, walked, fed, medicated, and trained every day
- 5-6 cats with five litterboxes that need daily attention and medication
- Dinner for eight every night (plus occasional guests, with planned leftovers to cover lunches and off days, requires menu planning and shopping time)
Here are the additional things that I need to add in just for me:
- Time for nutrition logging and body monitoring (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.)
- An hour a day for exercise
- Time for personal hygiene
- Daily meditation and journaling
- Daily time to create (knitting, crochet, sewing, whatever)
- Time to pay attention to my household altars and shrines
- Time for music, I have a harp and a piano here that are only getting played once every 2-3 months right now
Household additions that are needed:
- 15-20 minutes per day decluttering and clearing
- Regular time each day to balance the checkbook and pay bills
- 1 hour a week of routine housecleaning
- 15 minutes per day of deeper house cleaning
- Regular time for home repairs (and time to learn how to do them)
- Time for car cleaning
- Time for yard work and gardening, so the outside looks welcoming and all my plants can survive
For my own seminary studies and volunteer work, I would like to have:
- 2 hours a day of study time
- 1 hour a day of volunteer time
- Time to work on community commitments (writing rituals, prepping and holding regular sabbats, prepping workshops, maintaining my blog and social media pages)
For my kids’ homeschooling requirements, I need:
- 1-2 hours a day working with Kender
- Time to prep Kender’s school materials (the Brailler needs a complete overhaul, his books have to be brailled, things need tactile labels, etc.)
- Time for field trips and park days with our homeschool group
- 1 hour a day working with Jarod (with the rest of his to be done on his own, and reviewed during our time together)
I also need time for errands and things like:
- Getting the car maintenance done (the little car has needed tires and alignment for two months now)
- Giving gifts (bloody hell, I wish somebody else could do this for me, I love my peeps but I am a terrible gifter)
- Sending thank you notes to people who have helped us (yeah, I know…)
- Getting old clothes out to Goodwill, getting bottles out to the recycling center
- Filling out paperwork for doctor’s appointments, A’Kos certification renewals, school forms
What I have found to work well in the past is to have strong routines, wherein the same thing happens every day. This has been hard to maintain, especially since Kender was born and the doctor appointments started increasing, and since the older kids became teens and started doing so many things away from home. I can’t even keep the doctor appointments away from the days we do other things, because (for example) our homeschool group does our weekly co-op/park days on Tuesdays, which is also the only day our retinal specialist sees patients. Things like that. I feel like every time I have tried to establish a regular routine over the past few years, it’s gotten shot in the face. Nevermind how difficult it feels to me to be able to fit all these things in. If I had all my wishes come true, there’d be money for a private school for Kender that would place him in kindergarten despite his age and adapt all his materials and teach him Braille, and there’d be a housekeeper coming in here once a week to do all the major cleaning. Not sure anything else could be outsourced.
But anyway, there it is. Give it a try. Leave a comment here, or on Facebook, or come by and chat with me sometime. I’m open to suggestions.
This gallery contains 18 photos.
God has a plan. Pick your god, they all seem to have a plan. Or at least that’s what people tell me. The message comes in many flavors. Some of them I have expressed a personal belief in myself. Right now, I am struggling with reconciling all these messages of planning, safety, and purpose with my life right now. I don’t think I would call this a crisis of faith, necessarily, although the phrase has come to mind. It’s more of trying to wrap my mind around the way things are at the moment, and relocating that inner sense of peace and purpose that tells me my beliefs and my reality are aligned, and I am moving again in the right direction.
I’ve been quiet on my blog for a while, but as usual life continues at breakneck speed around here. As of today, I am finishing up my junior year at Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary (with homework that needs doing), working towards my second-degree priesthood for the second time (new tradition), running an online and festival-based business selling the full variety of handmade things I can create, homeschooling my two youngest children, trying to keep my four teens on track with their own schoolwork and life planning, and coordinating and managing medical care and therapies for blindness, autism, allergies, and hypermobility for myself and the other seven people in the family. A couple of months ago, I felt like I’d managed to find a balance for all of this and was feeling that sense of alignment and purpose, moving forward and getting things done.
Then we found out about my husband’s Little Alien Visitor, the giant brain tumor. (“Giant” was the neurotologist’s word, I didn’t make that shit up.) And I feel like every kind of “missing floor” scenario happened all at once, and just won’t stop. Missing the top step, falling down the stairs, waking up from a dream of falling, the memory loss you get from head trauma. I feel like my brain is completely scrambled, and I can’t seem to find my footing. The falling never stops.
We’ve been down the path of new and crazy medical things before, certainly. And every time a new diagnosis comes along, there’s people who try to offer advice that comes across as offensive or at least not at all helpful, like the woman who wanted to sell me her company’s special blend of macronutrients to cure the genetic condition causing my baby’s blindness (puh-lease!!).
What’s really getting to me right now is the comments about planning (and the subtexts that I hear inside them). My Baptist mother-in-law tells my husband that God has a plan, so don’t worry (because God plans on disability and pain and suffering, and let me just state right here that I find that idea abhorrent when combined with the idea of only getting one life on this planet). I hear variations on the same theme from various teachers in seminary: The Universe is a safe place (so death, disability, and permanent brain damage shouldn’t be anything to be afraid of). It doesn’t matter how crazy your life is, we all choose our priorities (as if I can just sort of choose not to get therapy and medical treatment for my children or clean the house or be there for my husband during this or something).
And this is where I get into trying to align my perceptions and feelings right now with my beliefs, because I have espoused the planning concept before, in different ways. I have always believed that we choose the lives we expect to live before we are born, that as non-corporeal spirits we have a wider multidimensional view and have some idea of what we are getting into when we choose a body. I believe that we know the genetics of the body we are coming into, and we know the personalities of the parents we are choosing, and we are actively making those choices either to accomplish personal spiritual developmental goals or to place ourselves in a position to help somebody else with their own goals. So yes, I believe that babies who die shortly before or after birth chose that path, that my husband chose a blind body, that I chose a hypermobile body with a neuro-divergent brain. I also believe that I was destined to meet up with the family that I have, blindness and all, that I knew they were coming my way long before I even met my husband. I don’t presume to know or understand why some of these choices have been made. But I believe that I knew before I was born into this body, and that I will know again after I move on from this life.
So I guess that means my struggle right now is to accept all of that, without being able to understand why. And I can’t seem to get there yet, and maybe that’s why I keep feeling like I’m falling and I can’t ever manage to get up. I don’t do the “denial” stage of grief much, because my logical brain doesn’t see the point. But I am smack dab in the middle of the FUCKING ANGRY AS ALL NINE HELLS stage right now, of wanting to scream and cry and ask “Why” at the top of my lungs, because it’s NOT FAIR, it’s NOT FAIR AT ALL, and how dare anybody plan this shit for us.
(Part of this is a rewriting of a previous post that can be found here. I have updated my writing on Loki and added some on Aphrodite.)
Loki started out Calling me quietly. His name would come into my head, especially in times of difficulty or when I felt lost, with a compulsion to look Him up and learn more. I would read a few stories or websites, and then dismiss it as something I didn’t need to pursue. This went on for several years, each Call a little louder than the last. It culminated in early 2013 at ConVocation, when I felt the urge to attend a workshop on Loki and Trickster. The feeling that I got during that workshop was akin to the way you feel upon getting the solution to a tough riddle or puzzle, one that has bothered you for years. I had been looking at Him all wrong, and once I got the angle right, everything seemed obvious. My whole life, which always felt like one long series of extremely unusual events, was just preparation for serving Him openly and directly.
That very weekend, I acknowledged Loki’s Call and accepted Him as my patron. The next twelve months were a period of reflection, introspection, and revelation for me as I worked through His charge to Know Myself. I learned to see my life and my self through a new lens, one cleaned of the foggy filter of perfectionism and trying to fit in. I learned to see all the intricate ways the randomness in my life is connected, how so many chance things have converged on my path. I spent time studying both the religion and culture of my ancestors, in an attempt to better connect with this god of my ancestors. I even took on teaching a class on the Vikings in our homeschool co-op, forcing me to delve deeper to stay a step ahead of my students (often at 1 a.m. the night before the next class).
Essentially a year and a day passed, and I found myself again being nudged by Loki. Except with Loki it doesn’t really come as a nudge; it comes as spilled drinks and broken cigarettes, random jukeboxes and fritzy elevators, machines that don’t work, stumbles, power outages, loud noises in the silence. I can be dense sometimes, but I did finally realize He was trying to get my attention, so I asked a close friend to do a reading for me to shed some more light. The impression that I took away from that complicated reading was that the first year was analogous to my postulancy with Loki, my year of learning and thinking and looking around through these new eyes. “Now,” He said, “it’s time to step it up, move forward.” There is no time with Him for sitting around letting the same old same old go on every day.
It was a hard place to be in. I am already in a fringe religion, and here I was being Called upon by an even fringier god to light my torch for Him in this world, to stop observing from the sidelines and be that agent for change, be the one to shake things up, be the one to be loud and proud. This was not a request that I abandon my path toward priesthood in the Craft, but rather that I take a step up in working for Him and owning His patronage in my dealings with the world. I had a strong feeling that an Oath was wanted, but I wasn’t ready for it yet. I knew how serious an Oath was with the Norse gods, with any gods really. I knew that anything could happen once that Oath was given.
I did smaller things for a while. I wrote a prayer for Him and added it to my daily devotions. I started studying my ancestral crafts, making them also a part of my daily practice (and how “lucky” for me to finally find something to use as a nalbinding needle the very weekend I got that nudge!). I bought lottery tickets for my altar. I kept my mind open to His voice and paid attention when I noticed it, heeding nudges as simple and silly as, “Let your hair down,” or a little bigger like, “Bring your music back and share it with the world.” The negative nudges mostly stopped (except the trouble with machinery) and positive ones started to flow again, the serendipitous encounters, the chance findings of lost or needed things.
It took a couple of years, years of further upheaval in my life, both mundane and magickal, but I finally took the Oath in 2016. I swore to be His now and always, and marked myself with a tattoo in a place where I see it every day, so that I will never forget. I am Loki’s boundary priestess. It is part of my Great Work, to be that reminder to others of things unseen, things overlooked, assumptions too quickly made, processes that need tweaking, bugs in the system. Knowing this helps. I still live in that stream of craziness, but most of the time I can remember that I’m still just doing my job as Loki’s priestess, whether pointing out the holes in a first aid system by having actual panic attacks at a festival, or pointing out the holes in an educational system by having kids that don’t fit into government boxes.
Now I am also working with Aphrodite. She came to me through a certain turn of events, and She was much more forceful about announcing Her presence. When I look back at my life, though, again I can see a place for Her, a void that She has come to help fill and smooth over, a way She can help make my life a little more healthy and whole.
I see myself getting distracted while writing this. Working with Her is going to touch on things I’ve been skirting my entire life. She scares me. Her energy and power scare me, I’ve felt them and it still scares me.
I know about as much about Aphrodite as I did about Loki when I first acknowledged His Call. I know the myths. I’ve called upon her for spells. I worked more closely with her for a few weeks here and there. I’ll be working with Her as closely as I work with Loki for the next year or so, and I expect to learn much, much more.
Aphrodite is love, and sex, and passion, and sensuality, and lust. These are all things that I have believed in since I hit puberty, things that I advocate for. I identify as bisexual and polyamorous. I believe strongly in the logistical benefits of having more than two adults in a household, especially a large family with lots of children. I’ve always loved the concept of a line marriage. I don’t believe that my love for person A is in any way diminished by my love for person B, whether I’m talking about loving other adults or the love I have for my own children.
And I always wanted to be Maureen when I grew up, wanted to be that woman with enough sex drive for two or three women instead of barely enough for a quarter, who was never too tired or too sick, who didn’t actually get headaches from orgasms or have GI problems that made her too shy to let anybody near her or partially dislocate her hips during sex. I kept waiting for it. I heard somewhere when I was twenty or so that a woman’s sex drive peaks in her 30’s, so I thought, yay, once I get to my thirties it’ll happen! Yeah, that ship’s sailed and never even saw the fucking port.
When Aphrodite came for me, She hit me harder than Loki ever did. It was like getting bowled over by a sexual tidal wave. No other analogy comes close. It felt a little like going crazy, like some other personality had moved into my head and altered my drives. And this happened before I ever called on Her for working, before I had any clue that I was to be Hers for the foreseable future. And like Loki, when I realized what was happening, it was like solving a riddle, and everything suddenly made sense.
And I was scared. So scared that I haven’t invoked Her for months. She’s kept a place on my altar, and a place in my rituals, but real work and communion? That feeling of being taken over still scares me. And yet, like I said, I can see this void, a longing in my heart that I know she will fill.
Right now, I feel a bit like I did before pledging to Loki. I felt then like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, and I was being asked to jump off. It takes so much courage to take that leap, and I don’t think it gets any easier the more times I do it. I’ll jump. I’ll jump off the cliffs into the deep blue water, and dive deep, and take a long, long cruise with Aphrodite. And then in a year or two, perhaps I’ll look back and see how silly it was to be scared, and how low that cliff really was.
I will open this by saying that I’ve been told I was overweight or obese my entire life. My whole life, all the way back to junior high. My mom had me in Weight Watchers and special exercise programs and therapy programs for fat kids as a teenager. I learned all the height and weight charts and everything they had to say. I’ve known ever since I was 13 that I was supposed to weigh 135 pounds, no more no less, and until I did I would be considered unhealthy and a health catastrophe waiting to happen.
I’ve also known that I don’t have a typical woman’s body. My bony wrists are so big that I can’t buy bracelets and watches for myself off the women’s jewelry racks. My bony fingers are so big that I need men’s sizes in rings. My bony ankles and feet are at the top end of women’s shoe sizing, and so wide that I can’t even buy shoes in the regular stores anymore, especially not with the arthritis in my feet. I have to make broad back adjustments in any clothing I sew, and jackets and coats never fit me off the rack because of this.
As an adult, my weight has cycled up and down quite a bit, but I have never once been below 170 pounds, not since I was 15 or 16 years old. I think I was around 210 when I got married.
Mostly I’ve bounced around between 170 and 210. I think I was around 175 when I took this picture, and I wasn’t very active at all, not doing any real exercise outside of housework and child care:
Here’s one of me when I was probably 210 or so, near the end of my running period. At this point I was running about 40 miles a week and doing lots of strength training, so the shape of my body and my strength were very, very different from when I was 210 when I got married.
Somehow over the course of the years, I started to lose that belief in the height/weight charts, and the BMI numbers that succeeded them. I could see that they didn’t work quite right for me. I spent time researching other ways to measure my health. I could see that I was a runner who could do 12 miles at a stretch and then drop and give you 20 pushups, and yet my weight wasn’t what the weight fanatics said it should be. I found alternate ways to measure body composition, using a variety of body measurements, and found that at the peak of my running and strength training, my body was right about at an ideal 26% body fat even though my weight was over 200 lbs.
These days I’ve gotten back up to the large end. My weight is between 230 and 240, but my clothing size is about the same or smaller as when I got married, about 18/20. I’ve let myself go, even though I have some residual muscle hanging around from the running days. I stopped exercising almost entirely when I had to stop running. My pain levels just kept going up, and I kept thinking a little more rest would do the trick, until I realized this past winter that it had been almost three years, and now I was having trouble getting up when I sat on the floor.
I saw my blood pressure going up, and I had several nudges from the Goddess to wake up and start taking care of myself again. So in April I started walking every day, and in June I started up my strength training again. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten very far. My shape is the same, and my weight is the same, and my pain is about the same. But I can feel the functional difference when I get up off the floor, or get the bug to clean the house. Life is getting just a little bit easier with every week, and that’s good.
Last week, I participated in a medical research study. They paid me $20 to poke and measure me for a couple of hours as part of a study on the long-term effects of chronic illness on overall health. During this, I got the chance to step up onto a very nice high-tech body composition scale.
This wasn’t your ordinary bathroom scale, with the little pads you put your feet on. Those don’t do much better than height/weight charts, really. I’ve owned a couple, and I’ve been put on them in doctor’s offices and weigh clinics. The best number I ever got out of one of those was probably a projected ideal weight of 145, which is only a little better than that 135 height/weight number.
This high-tech scale was something else entirely. It didn’t just have feet pads, it had something for my hands to hold on to as well, and according to the printouts it measured each quadrant of my body as well as the overall total. Can you guess what it said my current ideal body weight would be, the weight that would bring me back to 26% fat if nothing changed in my muscle mass?
173 pounds. That’s with me feeling out of shape, with a lower than ideal amount of muscle on my body. Still, it says my ideal weight is 173 pounds, and that’s if I did absolutely nothing else to get stronger and more functionally fit, and just starved my body to drop fat.
I feel so vindicated now. I feel very sad for teenage me, thinking I was fat when I wasn’t, letting that drive me into giving up so many times and letting my body get truly unhealthy because I still had it in my head that the number on the scale was everything. I feel even more sad for all the other girls and women, and men, out there who think this number on the scale is everything still, who do amazing things for their health and fitness and then eventually throw it all away because of the frakking number on the scale.
But I feel very happy to see that I was right to think that I was healthy at 210 a few years ago, and now I know for sure that it’s okay to let that thinking continue and nurture it and let it grow as my body grows stronger again. And this time, I will not be ashamed of my clothing size or the number on the scale, dammit! I have a strong body, a beautiful body, and this is the shape it comes in!