Fearless Friday: Be YOU

Walking with a friend the other day, after mentioning I was now working with a former schoolmate, we began talking about some of the people we went to school with. Did we recall this person, or remember that. Wondered what some of our classmates were up to these days. The type of conversation that inevitably leads to the statement my husband once made about his thought of me “back in the day” of high school…

“You were the weird girl with the White Zombie patch on her backpack.”

Little does he know, the girl I was then, is who I am today. I just live more freely.wp-1473422918669.jpg

I grew more and more comfortable in my skin and with my mind, my soul, with each passing year.

I shed more and more of the layers that stifled me. The dulled my shine.

I broke away from those figurative ties that held me back from being myself.

I am still that weird girl. I still have my “geek out” moments over comics. I still have my love of flannel. Big trucks. Mud. Loud music. Books. Writing. Reading. All of that is still a part of me.

But, now I wear pink. I paint my nails. I wear make up from time to time or put on a dress or skirt.

I listen to country loudly and sing along badly, even in busy traffic of downtown in the small city I work in.

I jam out to Britney Spears.

I water my plants in my two piece after sitting “pool side” of my son’s little turtle pool as he’s splashed water happily at me or we sat with our toes in the water and watched for planes.

This is the person I have always been, but feel freer to actually be. I shed that teenage fear of rejection or backlash for not being someone that had a specific place in life. Because when you’re a teen, you have (or at least you feel as though you do) to belong somewhere. You can’t be a little of everything.

And I am.

And that’s okay.

I also know that this “me” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And, that too is okay.  It doesn’t make me less lovable. Less likeable. Less anything.

wp-1473423171991.jpgAs I grew older, found more pieces of myself scattered around, and became comfortable in my own skin, my relationships changed.

I have stopped giving to relationships that only take. I stopped reaching out and trying to help those that really, in the end, don’t ever want the help. I stopped being around the constantly negative. I stopped letting the people into my life, or letting people stay in my life that thrived off of the Soap Opera themes of life.

I put at cap on how much bullshit I can take, handle, and process.

I stopped letting my heart get used. I stopped going out of my way to keep friends out of trouble. Or step in as protector when crap hit the fan.

A funny thing happened when I started leaving friends to stand on their own two feet. When I stopped planning. Reaching out. Giving, giving, giving.

They started fading.

Disappearing.

My life suddenly shifted.

It got lighter. Figuratively and for real.

The stress was less and less.

I had time for myself. And time for the solid relationships that I had managed to form around all of the crap ones.

I started to hear around the street that I had changed.

I wanted to shout that I hadn’t changed. I was still me.  They were all just so busy take, take, taking from me, that they never actually knew me to begin with.

We grow, we live, we stop giving a damn what other people think of us, and we live more. We find ourselves, that person, tucked deep inside, hiding, scared to show themselves. We yank that person out, and love them fiercely. Which makes us grow more. Live more.

What’s life without living?

 

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Why Not Wednesday: Protein Granola Bars

I have forever been on a mission to make myself a better snack. One where I don’t have to give (re: compromise) too much, if anything at all.

Remember my protein hockey pucks? Yeah, those babies steered me off the path of making my own snacks for a bit. I think I finally ended up just tossing out the ones that I couldn’t choke down, or even handle having in a smoothie.

Last Friday, I came across a recipe that promised more than a handful of protein grams, and less than a half-dozen handfuls of carb grams. And under two handfuls of fat grams.

Wait, did I read those nutrition facts right?

Typically, when you find a “protein bar” (candy bar pretty much), it boasts ten or 15 grams of protein, but you get hammered with 50 grams of carbs, a crap ton of fat and a scary amount of sugar. Hence, why I call them candy bars. They’re tasty, but they’re really actually not all that good for you.

The ones that have the lower carb amounts, give you even less protein. But the sugar content is still insanely high. And fats, well, like I said, compromise. Less of one thing always means more of another.20160831_104443.jpg

I made half of the recipe I found, just because I didn’t want another hockey puck disaster if I didn’t like them. And now, here I am, looking for a silicone tray to perfectly portion out my bars before I hack a finger off trying to cut one from my frozen protein granola bar loaf.

But wait, what does that even mean?

They’re good.

That’s right.

They’re good.

Of course, now I’m on the mission of tweaking the recipe a little here and there for different flavors, or ones with more protein, etc. But this is the bones of the recipe (which gives you something like 21g of carbs/9 grams of fat/11.5 grams of protein and about 190 calories a bar*).

Protein Granola Bar
(From ChocolateCoveredKatie.com)

20160831_104411.jpgIngredients

  • 3/4 cup of rolled oats/old fashioned oats (or Hannaford’s Protein Oats!)
  • 1/3 cup of 1st Phorm Level 1 Protein
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp of agave (or honey)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of chocolate chips (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Mix ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well mixed (should look like a giant ball). Line a bread-loaf pan (perfect for 5 evenly cut bars) with parchment or wax paper. Sit the ball on top of the paper. With clean hands, or another sheet of paper over the ball and press out evenly throughout the pan. Pop it in the freezer until hard. Cut into bars.

It’s best to leave these delights in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them, they stay fresh longer that way (can be stored up to a month – so great to make a big batch at a time!).

*I don’t have MyFitnessPal right in front of me, so it’s a guestimation from what I saw when I punched in the recipe I made for a total of five bars.

Step Outside of Comfort.

“Growth doesn’t happen until you step outside of your comfort zone.”

Even before I had my son, I typically went to the beach in the early morning hours. I preferred to get that sun in before it reached its “harshest” time (hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). I would be set up by 8:30 in the morning, and I would be pulling out of the parking lot just after 10 a.m. when the flocks of beach-goers would be rumbling down that hill.

It wasn’t just the better sun hours I wanted, it wasn’t even the risk of judging stares. It was because I just didn’t want to talk to anyone.

“I want to go out, but I want to stay in too.”

Before my husband and I started dating, I spent a lot of time with a group of women I worked with at the time. They had a routine of dinner out one night a week, karaoke at a local tavern another night a week, and then there was one other night that was a “grab bag” if you are looking for something to call it. When my ex and I split, I started tagging along on these nights for something to do. Get out more. Not just that, but GET OUT.

I’m a social creature of a different type.

I like chatting with people, meeting new people, etc. But, don’t expect me to initiate conversation. I’m just as content standing in the back of the room, watching everyone else interact, mingle, socialize. If someone catches me standing there and comes over and strikes up a conversation, then I’m game.

Or at least, I was.

Pregnancy shifted a lot of things for me. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know about my anxiety and that shift post-pregnancy. It has played a role in that part of me that could make conversation with strangers if they came up to chat.

I have, in a sense, lost my ability to just… chat.

Even with people I know.

A lot of times, I just listen to people talk to me and all I can formulate are the simple Mhms, head nods, pretty much the very basic in responses. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that my brain has shut down and I have found myself unable to give more.

Which is why taking my son to the beach at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Friday, near the end of summer vacation, terrified me.

I pulled into the parking lot of our usual beach and saw all of the cars. I continued to drive in, with the sole intention of turning around and checking a few other locations. I happened to see a spot in the shade, close to the entrance of the beach. Taking a deep breath, I parked. I continued focusing on calming breaths while I chatted with my son about how we were going to “shoo-shoo” the seagulls, build sandcastles and maybe find some more beach items for our beach jar at home.

Walking out on to the beach, all I could see were all of the umbrellas. The towels laid out. The people. Never mind that it was a beautiful, gorgeous afternoon that was literally perfect for spending time at the beach. I picked up my son, and scanned the beach for the biggest swath of empty space to set us up. As far away from possible chatter as I could get.

wp-1471882162581.jpgThere it was, way, way down at the other end. I laid out our blankets, set out his beach toys and slathered us both up in an “extra” layer of sunscreen. He grabbed his shovel and set to work digging away.

Moments later, we were joined by a sweet little girl who was instantly enamoured with my son. She asked questions about what words he knew, what shows he liked. She built him sandcastles to knock down. Her twin brother joined in after a little while. And then their mother came over. She explained that her daughter was waiting until she was old enough to become a Mother’s Helper.

And that was where the conversation started between the mother and I.

We stood between our two spots on the beach chatting. For over two hours. We found common ground with crazy neighbors. We had similar parenting techniques. Shared similar views on many things in the world around us. And we both had experienced infertility.

My son loved watching the boy and girl play. Watched carefully as the girl showed him patiently how to use the toy fishing net in the water. Studied with grand curiosity the crabs the boy gathered in his bucket on one of his rock pool excursions.

As the sun sank lower into the trees, I had realized that we had been at the beach for far longer than the hour I had told my husband we would be. As the sun sank lower, and I sent off an “I’m okay, we made new friends, we’ll be a little while longer” text to my husband, I realized that not only was stepping out my comfort zone worth it that day because it gave me the realization that not all hope is lost when it comes to me making meaningful conversation, but it was worth it to give my son the chance to work on his blossoming socialization skills, his play skills, to explore, make new friends.

Packing up our things and heading off to my truck, I was a little sad that we had to say goodbye to our new friends, knowing that we probably would never see them again.

Exhausted and asleep before we even left the beach road, I knew he wouldn’t remember that day, and just how much it meant to momma. Some day, I will tell him.

Taco Tuesday’s Pizza.

Taco Tuesday has become an enormous “thing”. #TacoTuesday floods Twitter, Instagram and the likes every Tuesday, just like clockwork.

Sometimes, my family and I follow along with Taco Tuesday. I’ll chop up veggie additions, get out the salsa and plain Greek yogurt (sour cream only gets used on potatoes, because in my world, that’s where the Greek yogurt just does NOT compare), warm the soft taco shells and cook up the meat.

Most times?

I make pancakes or French toast.

That’s right. Our Tuesdays are often Brinner nights. And it’s delicious.

But, I have some homemade salsa courtesy of mother that needs to be consumed before the end of October, so Taco Tuesdays may be in full swing at the Quarry for a bit. So much so, we’ll probably be sick of it.

I blame my husband, because, once again, he’s done the “new stuff in front, shove the rest to the back” and when the new kitchen was finished a few weeks back, I discovered a great many things that I sadly had to toss or am scrambling to use before the expiration dates.

This week, I gave my hand at taco pizza. wp-1470233553174.jpg

That’s right, taco pizza. I had to be careful not to make it too zippy, because of the little one, and he’s made it clear that he’s not particular a fan of a whole lot of pep in his foods yet.

The end result was: I was happy that I opted for just one pizza instead of two (we’re a two pizza household, we love food). And it’s very, very filling. But delicious.

Taco Pizza

What you need:

  • Premade pizza crust (I used Mama Mary’s Thin & Crispy)
  • 1lb of ground meat/chicken
  • 1 small can of sliced olives
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 cup of cheese (I used WalMart’s Fiesta Blend)
  • 1/2 cup chopped lettuce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning

What to do:

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Cook meat until no longer pink, then follow your taco seasoning packet’s instructions for the finish (usually just add the packet and 3/4 cups of water and cook another 10 minutes). While that is cooking, chop your lettuce. Spread the salsa over the pizza crust, then sprinkle the olives and lettuce over the salsa. Take just a little bit of the cheese and sprinkle that over what you have on top so far. Cover generously with the cooked and seasoned meat. The top off with cheese to your liking. Kick back the oven to 425-degrees and slide the pizza in (best to use a pizza stone if you have one). Cook for 7-minutes.

You can also break up and sprinkle in with the cheese top coat tortilla chips. The Tostitos Hint of Lime would be a super yummy addition!

The Stand Off.

Eleven.

That’s how many times I didn’t doze, but fully and completely fell asleep at the crib’s side rail.

How I didn’t fall off? I’m not quite sure. I believe how I was positioned played a role in keeping me from crashing to the floor.

Five.

Or maybe it was four? Could even possibly be six. That is how many times, sitting on the floor, I completely went out, with my head propped against the side of the crib. Its slats keeping me from going forward or backwards when I fully fell into sleep.

Three.

The number of hours it had been since this whole ordeal started.

Two.

The number of times, with my forehead pressed against those slats, I quietly asked my child of nearly 17-months “What’s going on buddy? Why won’t you sleep in here?” And on the inside, felt like I was dying and completely exhausted.

One.

That one time, sitting completely upright, a patchwork of his blankets across my outstretched legs and one wrapped around myself, that I legitimately fell asleep – upright – then heard just moments into my sleep, “Momma”, in a tiny little whisper from the crib. I turned to see his little face pressed against the side of the crib, eyes wide.

A few nights earlier, this song and dance suddenly started. The moment it became time for him to go to bed, if it was in his room and in his crib, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. At first, it was because we thought it was too quiet in his room. I’d done my best efforts, since his arrival, to make sure he was a child that could sleep in environments with noise. Daycare is noisy. The crane service that abuts the back part of our property is noisy. The five kids next door are noisy. ALL the dogs in our neighborhood (except our grumpy old man dog) bark, all, day, long. Our own house can be noisy at times (daddy watching soccer). I wanted him to be comfortable enough to fall asleep in his world and not become stressed because he did not have the quiet place to do so. I started to wonder if I accomplished this TOO well, and now he needed noise to sleep. So out came the sleep sheep from my baby shower. He would fall asleep and 45-minutes later, when it shut off, he would be screaming and appearing terrified.

So the continuous play “white noise” app was downloaded on a spare phone. For two nights, we achieved success.

Then that stopped working.

Which is how I ended up, desperate for him to sleep, desperate for sleep myself, wondering how the hell I was going to be on the road, headed two hours south, by 6:45 a.m. that day, when it was 12-oh-whatever, and we were both still, as stubborn as we are, having some type of stand off.

Defeated, I took him from his crib and brought him into bed.

I’m a working parent. My husband and I are up and out of the house early in the mornings for our jobs. We don’t have the time to wrestle with a child that has clearly inherited our stubborn gene, over bed time.

I had considered the pack ‘n play earlier in the day the “stand off” as I’ve dubbed it now, happened. But, I just figured it was a phase. He was dealing with separation anxiety, his room is the quietest room in the house, and was just getting over a cold and ear infection.

I look back on that night and realize the complete ridiculousness of the entire thing. Three hours. Trying to prove a point that all would be okay to my son, who, at 16-almost-17-months old, can’t quite grasp the concept that the world isn’t ending over mommy being in a different room, for three entire hours, was pointless. He took nothing from that night, he probably doesn’t even remember it. I got less sleep, and was stressed out over it, and barely functional the following day.

That weekend, the pack ‘n play was moved into our room. I looked at my son and said “I know you’re not going to understand this, but this is what we call a compromise. Mommy and daddy need sleep. YOU need sleep. But you have to do it on your own buddy. So for a few nights, you can crash here, in your pack ‘n play, in our room. This way, you’re with mommy and daddy, while you work on realizing we’re not going anywhere and the world is NOT going to come to an end because we went to the bathroom and you couldn’t come.”

The separation anxiety bit is getting better. Drop offs at daycare are less meltdowny again. Sleeping in a different room, most times, is okay again. We’re getting there.

Just as we need to learn to deal with that crazy being stubborn thing.

Beach week and mementos. 

It all started with a piece of blue sea glass.

Blue and purple are colors you don’t typically come across on the beach. It’s always green and brown. On several occasions, white.

Then the odd, almost translucent rock that my 17-month old picked up with an excited “Rock!”

It had been exactly one year since I had last been to this beach. The last time, he was just five months old, and spent the hour we were there, sitting under our umbrella in his bumbo, his chunky baby toes in the sand, watching his surroundings curiously as I pointed out things. We had the beach to ourselves that morning. That’s what happens when your mom is an early bird. We are at the beach before everyone else is even starting to pack for their beach day.

Last year, it had only been a few short months that I had been back to work when his daycare closed for its summer vacation week. Because of that, I was unable to take the time off to be with him. It hurt, and it sucker.

This year, I was able to get the time off. The weathermen promised a full week of sun and warm. I knew one place I wanted to take my curious and busy child: the beach. And quickly, it became Beach Week.

But it also became so much more. Every morning, I packed us up, and we headed out. Every morning, we spent an hour, or a little more, at my favorite local beach. We explored, we adventured. We gathered. wp-1468725160050.jpg

Every day I came home with a few more mementos to tuck inside a small glass jar.

Pieces of the week I got to spend with my son, completely uninterrupted. No interference from work. No commitments. Nothing. Except my son and I.

I can’t fully put into words what this week, and being able to have this week, means to me.

What it means to my mental health. My anxiety. The existing anxiety, and that postpartum anxiety that leaves me with that driving want to put just the two of us in a bubble. That anxiety that makes it hard to even share him with my own family. That same anxiety that has made it sometimes near impossible to make conversations with people I’ve known my entire life. That anxiety, that even 17-months later, I sometimes struggle with.

It’s been especially hard over the past few months, because our coffee shop shut down (read the post about our little shop here). It became a casualty of Small Town USA and road construction. So, as the result, I have lost my one thing I used to decompress from all of the build up of the world outside our door.

Looking at that glass of our collected things on the mantle over the television, it brings me a sense of calm. The week has given me something back that had sort of, lost its way over the past several weeks. It has righted my ship, and has set me on a course of things that can become our new “coffee shop”. My safe place to decompress.

It’s also shown me the importance of making sure I do get my self-care in. For not just the sake of my mental health, but because my son and my family deserve to have the best me that I can be. And I can’t give them that if I’m not making sure that I take care of myself.

Taking the “Bad” out of Bad Yogi.

For the longest time (the span of roughly a decade), I only practiced yoga once a week. Usually Sunday mornings to stretch out all the kinks of the work weeks, the workouts I’d put my body through and just life stressors. It wasn’t until the middle of my second trimester that I began to implement a more regular practice.

But even then, I didn’t identify myself as even a decent yogi. I was kind of like how Alexander’s day went. Terrible, horrible, no good…

But was I really?

I saw all of these great yogis on social media, YouTube, yoga sites, bending and flexing with fluid, hypnotizing movements. My yoga was absolutely nothing like that. My transitions were jumbled sometimes. My movement stuttered and stumbled a bit.

I called myself a “bad yogi”, and it became my identifier. So much so, that once my head latched on to the phrase, it started giving me a pass to not push myself more, or to try harder. My thoughts cluttered around whatever movement I was doing in a flow, and got the best of me. I didn’t focus, my mind never cleared. I never fully let yoga “hug” me.

Then one day, I was on my deck, moving through sun salutations, and tried a pose I had seen on Instagram a few times, and loved. I thought it was beautiful, but no, I could never do that. I’m a bad yogi.

No. I’m just a yogi.

I failed the first attempt, and several attempts after. Bad yogi my ass, I was going to do this. Once I pushed the “I suck at this” out of my head, I was able to focus more clearly on my body, my breathing, my movement.

I removed the negative mindset “bad” was putting in my practice and suddenly, the doors opened.

And I did it.

I executed a beautiful, smooth flow and nailed the pose I wanted to do that day. I have it on my camera, and I’ll probably never delete it. It’s my first, genuine, open hearted, quiet minded flow.

The next day when I practiced, I approached it in the same quiet minded way. And saw the same results in my process.
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I became a BETTER yogi when I left cut ties with the bad.

Suddenly my progress started flowing like water from and opened dam. My balance has improved quicker. Flows that I would avoid because they were just too challenging for my level, no longer seemed impossible. Certain poses that caught my eye before became a part of my daily practice. After months of slow progress with my ustrasana (camel pose), only ever being able to reach my heels with them propped by my flipped feet — I opened my mind, and heart, and found myself being able to bend back with flat feet. Properly doing an unmodified ustrasana. With absolutely zero lean. Proving that my flexibility is coming around. I’ve also found that I am able to bend myself a little tighter. My flows are becoming more and more seamless…

Yes, I still stumble a bit here and there. Lose my footing. Roll off the side of my deck. But I’m not perfect, far from it. I’m also not a bad yogi, I’m just a yogi.

The Heart Doesn’t Quit.

This isn’t a post about being unprepared to do something – which I totally was not prepared to do this race on Saturday. I hadn’t run since March, and only 1.5-mile spits at that. This isn’t a post about motherhood. Or even my total time. Whether I ran it all, or walked some of it. This is a post about overcoming.

For years, my months were filled with doctors appointments, tests and medications. All working tirelessly to make my body function as it should so that we could have children. For years, at the end of every month, the anticipation of “what may be” had me chewing my nails down to my fingers. For years, I watched as friends around me got pregnant and had children. I celebrated with them in genuine joy, because not only did they all deserved to have that, but I was excited for them to start an incredible chapter of their lives. For years, I sought to stay on the positive side of what was a negative, heartbreaking road. I had nights where grief struck, hard, and kept me awake all night. I had days that were, in all honesty, nearly impossible to get through. Because, why couldn’t I have just ONE? I endured years of comments like “Maybe you shouldn’t work out so much”, “Maybe you shouldn’t eat this”, “You’re too skinny”, etc… Which were harder to deal with than the actual infertility itself.

There wasn’t anything I did to cause it. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome with high testosterone levels. My ovaries are cystic, and my body produces so much testosterone, ovulating almost never happens.

After all of those years, in April of 2014, we were given the biggest blow: Even with medical intervention, my odds of getting pregnant were almost non-existent. We were now faced with spending tens of thousands in treatments, trips to the doctor several hours away, for a very, very small chance.

We stepped back to catch our breath before proceeding with whatever decision we made. I steeled myself to the fact that I would probably never, ever get to shower a child of my own with love and affection. I chugged on.wp-1466475524671.jpg

A few months later, in June, I ran one of many 5-kilometer races in my life. Just another day for me, but it was a big thing for my youngest sister. It was her first. I was there to support her, run alongside her and push her to show off all of the hard work she had been doing in the months before. I ran that Summer Solstice race, not even knowing that the next day our lives would change – forever. I didn’t know that this race would become so meaningful for myself. The following day, just before bed, I had a niggling voice in the back of my head that said “Just test, it won’t hurt anything”. With shaking hands and filled with shock, we found out that I was pregnant.

Suddenly, that weekend became one of the most important, powerful and meaningful weekends in my life. In our lives.

The 5k took a special place in me, in my heart. We sat out last year, because at 4-months postpartum, my body (and pelvic floor) just was not ready. But, on Saturday, Moose and I hit the streets for our second Summer Solstice 5k race. While he may have quit on me just past the first mile marker, my legs didn’t. Just like my heart didn’t quit during all of those years.

For the (not so) love of Oatmeal.

One of the things that has happened in my adult life is an interest in trying new foods. I’ve tasted, and fallen in love with foods from all over the world. Some foods, that if you told my 18-year old self a decade and a half ago that I’d enjoy – I’d have laughed at you, then polished off the rest of my large pepperoni and extra cheese pizza.

There are, however, some things that I have tried and just cannot like. I’ve learned a lot about myself and food over these years of food adventures. For example: texture. It actually has come to play a huge role in, of course, the one type of food I just want to like already. Seafood.

It smells amazing. Looks amazing. But I just can’t get past that texture. And it’s horrible. And heartbreaking.

Which brings me to oatmeal.

Like seafood, I continue to try it every now and again. Hoping that something has changed.

…and nope. wp-1460642424421.jpg

After my son was born, I began living off of Jamie Eason’s Turkey Meatloaf muffins. Guess what’s in them? Steel cut oats. There’s a start, I thought to myself as I popped my 100th one in my mouth. (They were super easy to eat with one hand and hold a baby in the other, and momma needs to eat!).

Next came lactation balls to try to keep my supply up while I was nursing him. The recipe a friend gave me had oats in it. Now we’re getting somewhere…

Fast forward to yesterday. I got a few things of the Quaker Instant Oats on sale at one of my local stores about two weeks ago. I figured it was my perfect opportunity to try again.

Made up my oats yesterday around lunch time because I was feeling lazy that morning and instead of prepping something, I just grabbed the package and tossed it into my work tote. While they were “standing for 2-minutes” in scalding hot water, I worked on cleaning up our photo gallery online here at work, letting the smell of maple and brown sugar fill my nose.

Damn, these better taste as good as they smell!

After a few minutes, I dug in. Then promptly resisted the urge to spit them right back out.

The oats were sweet, and partly tasted delicious (does that many any sense at all? It did in my head…), but I just couldn’t. I managed to gag down about 2/3 of the cup before tossing it. And it lingered with me the rest of the day. Every time I even thought about them, or when I was recalling the “incident” to my husband later that day, gag. Legitimate gagging.

But, a sucker for punishment, I’m not ready to give up yet. Even if I have to hunt down a unicorn and steal it’s sparkle to sprinkle over the top, I’ll do it. (Same with seafood).

What is YOUR favorite way to have your oatmeal?

No more apologies. I am officially UNapologetic.

“I’m not flashy with my body in public.”

This was a text response I sent to my husband after he sent one to me telling me that I should get a string bikini this summer for the beach, after I daringly sent him a collage of dressing room photos to get his input on cut and color for new suit bottoms.

After getting his response, I raised an eyebrow and ran through my head the series of jumping jacks, running in place, miming dive bombs and whatnot that I had just performed in the tiny, cramped dressing room – for each suit bottom I tried on. My mission of the day was to finally find the bottom half to a swim suit in which I could chase after an active 15-18 month old this summer and not have to worry about my butt cheeks eating the suit bottom, the suit bottom coming untied… and avoid as much as possible: judging stares, which was the driving factor in my response to him. And tends to be the driving factor in a lot of my presentation of myself in public. Anything to avoid those stares, the glances, the hushed (but audible) passive aggressive remarks…

I could sit here and type out every single time instance in my life that makes me hesitant to send even my very own husband, a photo of me just simply dressed in a swim suit. I struggle to do so with shirts, pants, anything. But that’d take days, I’m sure WordPress has a word count limit, this isn’t a pity party for me, and there is always going to be someone out there reading this, judging me because in their eyes: I have no right to “whine”. About anything.

Remember, no one’s life is perfect. Just because you perceive mine to be…

But this is where it all stops. This is where I stop apologizing.

I am not sorry.

wp-1459799895429.jpgI posted this picture on Instagram the other day as part of a yoga challenge. I had just gotten home from a run, and I’m one of those who gets extremely warm when I run. The second I stop, get to that end line… If I could strip naked? I totally would. I’d strip naked and jump in a giant bucket of ice cubes. My brain goes into slight panic mode if I can’t cool myself down in what it deems as a quick enough time. This day, was no different. I got to my front deck and started peeling my layers off and stretching out from what was a tough run physically and mentally for me.

I remembered the challenge started that day, propped my camera up, and let it roll while I was going through my stretches, and eventually incorporating that day’s pose. Not even thinking, I took my screen shot, used the black and white filter because it looked, well, really cool that way, and posted it. Then I walked away from my phone for a bit, enjoyed time with my son, picked up the house, made dinner. Totally spacing out about it.

Later, when I picked my phone back up, I had likes, a few comments, and some private messages. Two in particular, were in relation to the post earlier. I was being unfollowed. Why? These particular followers wanted to let me know that they were decided in that I “was no longer an inspiration to them” because I posted a pose in my sports bra and workout pants. I was now, in their mind’s eye, just like every other “yoga person that does yoga in their underwear”. I was no longer “one of them”.

It’s particularly fascinating to me that I garnered this kind of response, when just weeks before, I had received messages saying that I should do yoga IN my underwear, because it was sexier.

Let’s go over this: I don’t want to be sexier. Especially to the general public. I also do a lot of yoga with my 13-month old son, so I will be doing my yoga clothed thankyouverymuch. And lastly, I am sincerely disappointed that in just one post, I lost followers because I was seen as no longer relatable.

I saw the picture as me stepping out of my comfort zone a bit, because you could see my back. Which is considerably more skin that I show, ever. Typically I’m in my workout clothes, my pajamas, or even my clothes from the day (I still can’t figure out how I can nail crow in a pair of skinny jeans, but can’t in a pair of workout shorts….). I saw the picture, and see my muscles. The work I’ve put in with weights this past year. I see my inner strength as I stand tall and proud, having overcome SO much in my life, having risen above hard times, an abusive relationship, made it through deaths of loved ones and friends. That photo, putting truth the the “a photo is worth 1,000 words”, is so much more than tree pose for a yoga challenge on social media.

I started to type out that I was sorry… then stopped myself. I have always apologized. For who I am. For what I look like. For anything. No. More.

This is where leading by example for my son takes priority over everything. I don’t want him to be forced to apologize for maybe being tall. Or being strong. Or being fast. Just being anything either because genetics, in someone’s eyes, favored him, or because he put in hard work. I don’t want him to feel that he has to apologize for living his dream, or for even reaching for it to begin with.

So, I am not sorry you don’t like that I don’t do upward facing dog in my underwear. I am not sorry that I may occasionally do yoga in my sports bra and workout pants. I am not sorry that this summer I may even really step out of my comfort zone and post a yoga photo in my bathing suit. I am not sorry I am me. I am not going to come up with reasons, or make excuses. Not anymore.

And neither should you.

(Unless you’re doing something legitimately wrong, that is. But never apologize for what you look like or who you are.)