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11 weeks, 5 days.

I am preparing to bathe my children as the verdict from the Dunn trial begins to slowly drizzle down my news feed.  I can’t describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach, but it isn’t a good one.  I’m not going to get emotionally invested in this. I can’t do it this time.

“Time for bath!” Groans (from my five-year-old daughter); gleeful squeal accompanied by the rustling of a diaper on toddler legs running for the bathroom (my 19-month-old son).  I can’t think about this right now.  I run the bathwater, pour in the Jake and the Neverland Pirates bubble bath (for the person who doesn’t even care what kind of bubble bath it is, just as long as there are bubbles), wash little bodies.  I run water over the beady-b’s on my son’s head. He squints from the water hitting his eyes.  One day he’ll be bigger. One day he’ll wash his own hair. One day he will be 17. I can’t think about this right now.

But I do think about it.

I think about the miscarriage I had before he was conceived.  That didn’t make me special. Millions of women have miscarriages.  But mine messed me up.  I cried for weeks after seeing that still fetus on the ultrasound screen. That image is still burned in my head to this day.

Then I got pregnant with my son.  I hoped. I prayed.

I worried.

He was my second chance.  He was my rainbow at the end of the storm.  I staked my hopes and dreams in that little mass of cells that grew in my womb.  I thanked God for every day he was still inside me.

I think about the night he was born.  How his heart rate dipped dangerously low while I was in labor.  How I begged God to let me have him.  Not “your will be done, God.”  No. Give him to me.  After what I had been through, I felt like I deserved him.  Was I wrong to think like that? Maybe. I didn’t care. I just wanted him.

I was six months pregnant with him when Trayvon Martin was killed.  And his killer claimed self-defense. It hurt then, as the prospective mother of a Black son, to know that one day he could walk down the street in a hoodie, and be deemed threatening enough to end up “justifiably” dead.  It hurt even more after I gazed upon my son’s face for the first time.

He was a year old when the trial for Trayvon Martin’s killer was held.  I couldn’t bring myself to watch.  I read about it on Facebook. But I couldn’t watch.  I’m a lawyer.  I have practiced law in a criminal courtroom.  I know about jury instructions and elements of murder versus elements of manslaughter.  I know about imminent danger of receiving a battery.  I get it.  But my head, though sizeable, did not have room for my lawyer hat on it.  My mother-of-a-Black-son hat took up all of that ample real estate.

I think about what it would feel like, after nearly losing my rainbow once, before I even got to meet him, to have him grow up by the grace of God to be a teenager, and have him taken away from me.  I think about being told the circumstances of his death, and knowing that his killer was told “that’s okay, you were justified in killing him.”  And then I can’t think beyond that.

So then when the trial for Jordan Davis’s killer is happening, I can’t watch it either.  Because I keep seeing my son, as a 17-year-old in a hoodie, as a 17-year-old in an SUV listening to loud rap music, and I can’t think anymore.

Because how can anyone tell me that the son I prayed for and cried over and pleaded with God for means nothing? How can anyone tell me that the son who means the world to me is worthless, that if he dies simply for being a teenage boy, it’s okay?

No lawyer hat in the world will be able to justify that to me.

Hi there.

 

So, what had happened was…

 

Okay, seriously: even though it appears I abandoned the whole chronicling-my-fitness-journey endeavor, I didn’t actually abandon the journey itself.  There have been a great deal of changes in my life recently which contributed to my virtual dropping off the face of the earth (at least as it relates to this blog).  I am happy to report, though, that I reached my goal weight!

It’s funny, but the last two blog entries I completed before this one pretty much sum up my take-away from this experience perfectly.  The only thing I will add is that when you get closer to your goal, it actually gets harder to maintain focus, rather than easier.  That came as a surprise to me.  The reason is because on a physical level, as your body becomes more efficient at using energy, it becomes harder to see significant changes on the scale.  On an emotional level, the perceived stall in progress becomes disheartening and it is tempting to give up or settle for your current stage.

“So, I was aiming to lose 39 pounds and so far I’m holding at 35. Thirty-five pounds is still pretty freaking good! I could stop right here and be pretty proud of myself!”

Yes, the above statements are true, but you have to examine what is inspiring the words.  Chances are frustration disguised as contentment is the force behind the sentiment.  The truth was I was not going to be satisfied with stopping at 35 pounds. I was proud of myself, sure, but I didn’t feel as if I was finished.  So even though it took me nearly two months to lose the last four pounds (compared to my first month in the journey in which lost ten pounds), I finally did it. I had setbacks and cheat days and days where I really didn’t want to work out, but when I looked at that scale and saw the number I had been dreaming about for months (okay, years) it was all worth it.

 

So this is my last post in this particular blog.  Not that I have been completely overhauled, mind you.  I will always consider myself a work in progress.  Right now, however, I’m trying to figure out the next chapter in my life and I feel like that journey will be best chronicled in a different way.

I appreciate the handful of eyes that graced my sometimes (read: all the time) rambling words and cheesy thoughts.  May your endeavors be fruitful and your satisfaction sweet.

My clothes don’t fit.

My suit jackets look funny on me, like I’m playing dress-up in someone else’s outfit.  My skirts hit my legs in unflattering places.  I put on an article of clothing that once fit perfectly and then immediately have to whip it off to stare in disbelief at the tag.

My freaking glasses don’t even sit on my face right.

And yet, as I look in the mirror at the hot mess that is me, as I return to my closet for the second, third, fourth time for something that will look remotely presentable, there is a smile on my face.

Almost all of my clothes are too big.

And yet, as I pack up everything in my closet to get ready for our big move, I am having a hard time letting of the sizes I once wore. I’ve been back and forth so many times over the past few years, a part of me wonders if I will need to wear them again. (Another part of me wouldn’t shed a tear if these clothes burned to ash in a fire.) I know I should leave the past behind and walk boldly into the future, but I’m a little wary.

I am roughly 8 pounds away from my goal weight. I started this journey 39 pounds away. I have run two races (a 5k and a 5-miler) and will be doing a third in two weeks.  I can eye-ball a half cup of quinoa like a professional. I crave fresh strawberries.  The thought of anything smothered in gravy makes me slightly nauseous.

There is still a part of me, though, that can wolf down a handful of miniature Reese’s cups without even blinking.  I still dread running days. (And strength training days. And core workout days.) I take swigs of high fructose corn syrup disguised as “juice” instead of water when I’m really, really thirsty.

I thought the point of this journey was changing my lifestyle to be more physically fit, to stop feeling so frumpy, to become as attractive to myself as my husband continually insists I am to him. I was wrong though.  Because I am more physically fit, and I feel pretty, and sometimes even (gasp!) sexy. But I am finding that, even having reached those goals, I haven’t reached my final destination.

This journey is about not looking at the past as something to kill, suppress, bury.  The “old” me wasn’t irresponsible or without discipline. Just like my old clothes aren’t ugly. They used to fit once; they just don’t anymore. The way I used to look at food (and still do at times) and exercise (ditto) worked for me once, but doesn’t anymore. There will be times when I will look at the comforts of my old ways with nostalgia, and maybe even indulge here and there, but it will be like putting on my too-big jeans. Good for a laugh, but most certainly not permanent.

If you happen to be in the Chicago area and are looking for a fun, engaging, vibrant, and thought-provoking way to spend your St. Patrick’s Day, join me at The Riverbank this Sunday, March 17 for The Riverbank Exchange. I will be there, of course, but if that’s not reason enough (hehe), there will be great discussion and great people! (And I’m not making any promises, but there might even be food! If there’s not food, I will be more than happy to bake you some cookies to make up for it.) So come on! What’s your excuse?

The Riverbank Ministries

Hello All,

Grace and Peace be with you. I am so excited about this month and personally want to extend a warm invitation to The Exchange this Sunday, March 17th 2013 happening at The Riverbank, Chicago.

What is The Exchange ?
The Riverbank Exchange is a wonderful platform where Guest Ministers can infuse, teach, encourage and uplift The Riverbank family with a special word of faith and power based on God’s word.

Do This –
I want you to come to "The Exchange" with our special guest – Rev Niyi Eboda; bring someone and do spread the ‘word’ to your respective networks. Use the attached flyer, post and share it. Do it right away!

We’ve saved you a seat actually a few seats and I am personally looking forward to seeing you all. God’s Grace be with you always,

Pst Flo

Sr. Pastor – The Riverbank
www.theriverbank.org
312-602-2792
@theriverbank

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So, I’m reading this book, Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon (a new author for me, my favorite author is Tess Gerritsen but I’m always checking out different books and authors because I’m an avid reader let me get off this tangent and get to my point) and I’ve just read this line that hit me so hard I literally had to close the book and get up for a minute.

It seems like we’ve gotten to the point where our experiences, our memories–our entire lives, actually–aren’t real unless we post about them online.

Yes, it is ironic (or is it? I’m one of those Philistines who consistently misuses the word “ironic”) that I’m doing the very thing that line is talking about, but where else am I going to share this profound revelation I just experienced? (Don’t answer that.) I started thinking about how I’ve given up Facebook for Lent and how, ever since Ash Wednesday at least once a day I have a thought I want to post on Facebook. Then I have to remind myself that I can’t and why. And then I start thinking about why I wanted to post it in the first place instead of just keeping it in my head or saying it to my husband like people used to do back in the long-ago days before social media.

I suppose I seek validation. Isn’t that what most people who are on Facebook want, though? What makes me worse than anyone else? What is the purpose of publishing your every mundane thought, if not to have it validated by someone?

How did people validate themselves before Facebook, I wonder. I was alive then, but I can’t really remember. Just like I can’t remember how people checked movie times at dinner before smart phones.  Or how people did anything before the Internet.

Maybe no one needed validation. At least not to the degree we all seem to need it now. Maybe just having the thought or the experience was enough. Maybe we thought accolades and applause were for those who truly achieved something noteworthy, instead of someone who managed to get through a day without losing their job or their kid. Such is our culture now.

Babies have an online presence before they can crawl. Even pets do. An online persona will soon replace a social security number or a birth certificate as proof you actually exist.

I’m not sure where I was going with this, except that it struck me and I wonder if it’s a bad thing that we need validation so much. And even as I write that I wonder how many people will actually see this post. Ha ha! It’s so deeply ingrained now that I can’t turn it off.

I’ve got to get past the point where I don’t think something I’ve thought or done matters unless it is “liked”. Maybe that’s the reason I gave up Facebook for Lent.

This is a really quick post. I’m a little pressed for time at the moment so I can’t write out everything as fully as I’d like, but by way of an update:

I have lost 19 pounds since the beginning of my journey. I’m currently on a plateau for reasons I hope to jot down in a more lengthy post soon.

I’ve been growing spiritually. I still have some issues with my patience, but God is working on me. I don’t get as stressed about work, which I count as a small victory.

I’ve been tracking on MyFitnessPal for 85 days in a row! Some days I reeealllly don’t want to (because I want to eat like a 7-year-old left alone in a convenience store with a $100 bill and I figure if I don’t track it, it doesn’t count) but I do it anyway.

I still work out, but my frequency is suffering due to being busy and fatigue.

I think the craziness of this year is starting to get to me. I have a vacation coming up, during which I hope to get back on track fitness-wise (Ha!) or at least get some meaningful soul-searching time in (much more likely).

So that’s it for today. Not my best work but the length of time I had gone between posts was starting to weigh on me. Hopefully I’ll get some time soon to really expand upon some things.

Disclaimer: I will get political in this post. It is one of the only times I will. If you feel passionately one way or the other and you’re afraid your passions will ignite, I urge you to proceed with caution.

The purpose of this blog is to document my personal transformation, not my politics. However, I don’t pontificate about politics on Facebook and 140 characters aren’t enough to full express what I want to say, so this is the forum I will utilize today since I have it available to me. In other words, I don’t usually do this, but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. 🙂
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month may be almost over, but breast health is a year-round responsibility.

Relationships Do Matter

Here are 10 facts about Breast Cancer from the ThinkPinkRibbon.com site

Please Be Proactive, Perform Regular Check ups, Stay Alert and Prayerful, Donate and Support Survivors. #relationshipsdomatter

  1. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
  2. There are over 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.
  3. All women are at risk for developing breast cancer.
  4. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.
  5. Nearly 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2012.
  6. At present, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, which is why regular mammograms and monthly breast self-exams are extremely important.
  7. The causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known although a number of risk factors have been identified such as late menopause, diets high in saturated fat, late pregnancies, estrogen…

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Depending upon which word you emphasize, this question can have a variety of meanings. In some form or fashion, I have asked myself every variation of this question over the course of my life. More so over the past few years.

I will start by answering the question for here.  As in, this blog. I am here basically to chronicle the complete overhaul of myself on a physical, professional, and spiritual level. Over the last year, I have felt brewing within myself a restlessness, a need to jettison something in order to move forward. I had come to realize I was trying to be content with stagnation and had even fooled myself into believing that I was. But the curtains have been lifted and I am ready to make the transition to a healthier, happier, more fulfilled me.