Sunday, June 16, 2013

When the going gets rough....

I've had two particularly difficult dance lessons lately. One I ran of air and the other I ran out of talent.
Both have caused me to indulge in narcissistic life review.

We, my handsome, private, Russian dance teacher and I, are working on a seemingly very simple step. Its basically moving to the right, left, forward and backward with a hip action...kind of a swivel.  This is the kind of step when you are drunk and with your girlfriends on an all girls weekend, you can pull off without thinking.  Because you're not thinking.

Unfortunately, I cannot be drunk at every lesson...though perhaps I should try that.  Anyway, this step is on the verge of defeating me.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but you try it!  In heels!  My dress shoes are little, black Me Too flats.  I don't wear heels.  Now I have to practice in pedal (pronounced peedal) tools of torture.

So a few weeks ago, we were working on this step.  I start at one end of the studio and do the step across the floor to the other end.  And its not just the hip action that is important.  You must also:  keep your shoulders down,  stand up straight with your gut held in, toes pointed, feet turned out, toe lead, one hip back and the other knee bent and lined up over your foot, your arms are up and held out in front of you with slightly bent elbows and then you take a step, on the inside of your foot and WITH ENERGY AND A SMILE, then switch hips with beauty and precision.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Towards the end of the lesson my energy was waning and the smile was long gone.  I made it 3/4s of the way  across the floor and could not take one step more.  I was out of breathe, my knees were killing me and I was exhausted.  So I stopped.  So I could breathe.  Big mistake.

"DO NOT EVER DIE ON THE DANCE FLOOR!!!" yelled Vlad.  "You make it off the floor, smiling, and then collapse".

"Jesus Vlad", I said while gasping for air, "I was practically there.  Just a few more steps".


"All right, all right.  Jesus.", I said as I dragged my fat ass back to the starting point.

And I did it all the way across.  And you know what?  NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING ENDORPHIN!!

Yesterday we were still working on the same freakin step, but now going to the left.  I'm not going to say I mastered the step going to the right, but I was sort of getting it.  However, going to the left was virtually impossible.  I couldn't even start.  When I had to do it in reverse, every time I tried to take a step, it was like my mind stopped and my body ran into a brick wall.  I could not do it.  I was not feeling good about this at all.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were not succeeding, let alone miserably failing, and every single moment of insecurity comes rushing back to you?  Suddenly you remember every single time you were embarrassed.  Every time your confidence wavered.  Fucking up in math in first grade.  Being on the wrong foot in a recital in 5th grade.  Having to wear  bright yellow tights and a leotard during your high school senior dance program and looking like a giant Easter egg dancing across the stage.  Going to Wendy Ward's Charm School in 7th grade, before plus sizes were invented and during the final fashion show, having to model a rain slicker with hippopotamuses  all over it.  You heard me.

All these memories and feelings come flooding back, plus many, many more, washing over me like an emotional tsunami.  You are literally unable to remember one thing you have every done well.  Not to mention I felt at least 400 lbs.  Not an ounce less and possibly an ounce more.  I just finished reading an interesting book called Half Assed, about a woman who lost over 200 pounds.  As I was reading I felt compelled to eat.  Just reading about someone else's issues made me anxious enough to eat.  I put the book down.  Clearly I've got my own shit to deal with without eating on someone else's behalf.  jesus.

So I find myself ONCE AGAIN dealing with issues I have been dealing with as long as I can remember.  Being in the same position at 54 as I was at 12 begs 3 questions:

1.  Is this normal?  (lets not waste a lot of time on that one)
2.  Am I someone who never gives up and keeps persevering?
3.  Am I someone who always gives up before the last 3 feet and therefore never really succeeds?

Clearly, I would like the answer to be # 2.  I would love to be the persevering warrior who never gives up in the face of adversity and because life has so much adversity, she's still carrying on after all these years.  I'm not so sure.

I posed the question to Vlad, my dance teacher.  He did not even pretend to think about it.

"You're someone who gives up.  When it gets too hard you stop".  Soooo glad I included him in this poignant, personal discussion.

My best friend Maria, God bless her, said "You are strong and tenacious.  And you have a short attention span.  When something is time limited you work VERY hard, like the Triathlon.  But when its a change for the long haul, if it doesn't come easy, you get frustrated and discouraged and then look for something else to move on to".  Isn't she sweet?

So, clearly, the answer is #3.  I was watching the Blackhawks game with Patrick last night and asked him about giving up and getting discouraged.  Does he get discouraged?  Does he ever feel like giving up?

"Giving up has really never crossed my mind.  I feel discouraged but giving up is never an option."

There you have it.  I know there is very little benefit in comparing one person's challenges to another, but come on.  I think I can learn a little something from this kid.

So I am committing to all out.  Not stopping 3 feet short.  Finishing the whole bike ride, swim, walk when I'm training.  Not taking short cuts.  God, I LOVE short cuts!  I invent short cuts!  I live on short cuts.  The thing I worry about is I'm such a bitch when I stick to something and don't use food or short cuts.  SO crabby!!! So I'm giving fair warning to those around me.  I'm not even going to try and temper my temper.  Its just too much stress to work as hard as I can and be nice.  I'm just too much of a bitch.

I give anyone permission to remind me of this when I start to waiver.  Just do not expect a nice response.  Clearly, Vlad does not need permission.

Finally, I WANT A TEAM PATRICK!!!  Truly, who can claim they are not in shape when I AM DOING IT AND HAVE DONE IT!  Friends of Pat, get off your skinny, young asses and join me!  Think how young and vibrant you will look compared to me!

                                                     Me, Patrick and our friend Jeanne Jacobson
                                                     watching the game last night.  Jeanne and I
                                                     are in Patrick's bed.  I hope it doesn't have a
                                                     weight limit.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 84 COME JOIN ME!!!!L

OK, here's the reality:  people are not going to be fascinated and motivated by me forever.  I am not the only overweight, middle aged woman trying to get fit and also raise money for a cause close to her heart.  Over time, its just not that interesting anymore.

SO.......I NEED YOUR HELP!!!  Get off your fat or skinny behinds and come join me!  Start your own blog.  You'd be amazed what you notice about your day when you know you'll be writing about it later.  OR, don't start a blog, but join me at the triathlon and have your friends and family sponsor you and you can raise money for Patrick.  You can refer your supporters to my blog and they can donate from there.  You can also always accept checks to Sr. Paulanne's Needy Family Fund, Attn: Patrick Stein in the memo section.

It is so much more fun to have a group.  The energy is contagious.  And frankly, I'm a different person today than I was last year at this time.  Unless you are one hundred percent satisfied with your self, and god bless you because you're going to hell for lying, its amazing to take on something like this.  Your stories will mean so much more to your family and friends than mine.  Your transformation will transform them.

The triathlon is August 26, a Sunday.  On August 25, there is a super sprint triathlon.  Its half the distance of the sprint, so the break down for the super sprint is 1/4 mile swim, 6 mile bike and 1.5 mile walk/run.  I started at this level several years ago and it is very manageable  Anyone who participates on Saturday I will be there with bells on, balloons, signs and lots of cheering.  Its a GREAT way to work your way into a triathlon.

August 26 is the full distance and the sprint distance.  The sprint is 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile walk/run.  The traditional distance is twice that.  

And, ultimately its all about Patrick.  The personal transformation alone is worth it, but then to raise money for a great doesn't get much better than that.  Personal indulgence at its best!

I committed at the start of my blog last year to not let politics get in the way of reading and writing.  So anything I write here is fact and you can draw your own conclusions.  Right now, the Steins and Patrick are in imminent danger of losing all their nursing care from the state Waiver program they are involved in.  They have already appealed once and lost.  They are now appealing in Circuit Court.  I am a glass is half full kind of girl, always.  But the state is not flexible.  The cost of care is about $300,000 a year to care for Patrick at home.  The state's recommended alternative to those who are not in a financial position to support that care, is to place the child in a hospital or nursing home.  They will pay for a long term hospital or nursing home for the child.  Without boring you with the numbers, it is hugely more expensive to pay for care in a hospital or nursing home.  The Steins are not the only family faced with these type of decisions.  A child, living in a nursing home?  My God.

The reason Pat has lost his Waiver status is because his trach is out and the state feels he no longer requires the level of care needed to qualify for their program.  Again, I'll skip the details, but if you are interested, message me and I will fill you in.  I was at the appeal with Patrick and his parents.  Remember, Patrick's primary goal was to get his track taken out, and it was last October.  After the appeal, when we were back in the van, Patrick said (blinked), "What exactly happened in there?"  I explained.  He said, "Why didn't anyone tell me I would lose my nurses if I lost the trach?"  I asked him if it would have mattered, would he have considered keeping the track.  And he said yes.  Imagine making that kind of decision.  At 19 years old.

So money continues to be needed to keep Patrick at home.  He's also on the verge of getting an awesome electric wheelchair that will give him so much independence and drive the rest of us crazy.  Money is needed for that.  And for continued therapy.

I really hate talking about money.  But its money to support a life.  And not a life in terms of  a beating heart kind of life, though statistically a person's life expectancy decreases hugely when in a nursing home, its about supporting a life in the fullest sense of the word.  Life as an experience, a calling, a roller coaster, a living vision, an opportunity to make your mark in time.  That's what you are supporting.  How cool is that????

So of course I welcome any contribution you can make.  Anything.  Our goal is to beat last year's $10,000.  But much more awesome for you, me and Patrick, is if you joined me and engaged YOUR buds to pitch in.  And we'll have a giant party!!


(if that's not the right sight, google it)