… dating, jeans and great ankles

I have great ankles, no really … when I stand in front of the mirror I say, and out loud I have great ankles!  They look great in heels, flats, flip flops and even my running shoes.  There is nothing I would change about them.  They have the perfect balance and very shapely!  So, why can’t guys notice more ankles in this crazy dating game?

This takes me to my Facebook posting of being at the gym, and wishing to be anywhere else but there.  I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  It’s not a secret so there is no need to pretend that it hasn’t been a part of my every day life for as long as I can remember.  Up, down, sideways … these are all the directions I have gone.  One fad diet after another and the frustration of the image that society places on us and how we should look.  It is heartbreaking at times to know that you are this amazing person and people take one look at your size and suddenly you are the fat girl and not worth their time.

I am incredibly athletic.  Most people wouldn’t believe that at first glance but I have strength that will stop a man in mid lift, okay there is a little satisfaction in knowing that I can out lift some of those ego crazed weight lifters.  I was a swimmer for years and developed muscle mass that has allowed me to be strong.  My sweet Caroline is built the same way I am.  She is solid, and I mean solid.  I remember growing up and my dad saying make me a muscle, Pam and then he would say “solid, that is what you are” and how I just wished that people would consider that an attractive quality and accept me.  I will raise Caroline to know she is perfect and that her body does not define who she is.  I can play a mean game of basketball, run with great stride and bike for hours on end.  It’s been great for my ankles!!

After the divorce the kids would come home and tell me about their weekend with their dad.  One of the things that they would tell me was that dad thinks that (insert any name you wish here) looks so great in a bikini.  Or a girlfriend would say to me that she and her husband would have met him for drinks and how he would mention how he needed to hit the gym to keep in shape for the thin, young girls he was interested in.  He was hard on me about my weight, especially when we fought and I allowed it to define who I was.  I didn’t help matters in this area and it really wasn’t all Josh’s fault.  If I felt bad about my weight I would take that frustration out on him and find something to fight about.  It was no more fair to him as it was to me.

Let me stop here and say this, I know that I will never be the perfect size 8 that society says is acceptable.  I don’t think I will ever be a perfect size anything but I have something to offer someone, the right one.  Dating in your 40’s is just hard and then when you add kids, the dynamics of Elizabeth … schedules and the day to day struggle of life it seems near impossible.  The deal breaker for most is not how many kids you have, where you work or if you and your ex can get along but one thing and one thing only … what size are those jeans you have on.  So suddenly you find yourself 14 years old again standing in the hallways of Junior High and wishing someone would just look past your outer appearance and see you have so much to offer.  Listen to me, you are beautiful.  That number on the scale staring back at you every morning does not make who you are.  If someone can’t get past that, trust me when I say that they are simply not worth your time.  Embrace who you are, find your calling and show them just exactly what they are missing out on.

This does not give us the freedom to forget about being healthy, however.  There is a set of stairs that I stare at about once a week at the University.  I feel like Rocky until I get to the 5th one and I can feel my heart beating out of my chest and I look up to see I have about 95 more to go.  About a month ago I had to climb those damn things and when I got to the top I seriously contemplated calling 911.  It became clear to me that it really didn’t matter if my date liked how I looked in my jeans but how my overall health for Elizabeth needed to be my top priority.  Taking care of Elizabeth is a physically demanding job.  Having no use of her arms or legs requires me to make every move for her.  Elizabeth is almost as tall as I am and is gaining weight by the week.  Her wheelchair weighs 60 pounds and that must be lifted multiple times a day in and out of the SUV.  Even the simple act of changing Elizabeth takes strength to hold her up and manipulate her limbs to move the way you need for them to.  I want to be here for her as long as I can and I do have some control over that.  Several years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and not long after that I ruptured my L4 and 5.  It was a wake up call but not one that I took seriously until I got to the top of those stairs a few weeks ago.  Oh I have had more than my share of come to Jesus meetings with myself every morning when those numbers stare back at me but what I am finding out is that healthy is more important than skinny … discipline, accountability and a daughter who needs me to be here for years to come is where my focus needs to be.  Believe me, I just like everyone else craves that companionship, that relationship that every girl wants to have but to the right one it won’t matter what size jeans I wear.

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