Friday, July 6, 2012

I Should Have Stopped 10 Bites Ago...

Addictions are a interesting thing sometimes. I’ve been in two separate situations that involved living with a person that had an addictive personality, so I know a little bit about them. The thing I know most of all is recognizing that you have addictive tendencies is very difficult. I’ve come to the realization that there are certain things that I might be addicted to as well.

A recent venture into the netherworld that is my closet proved to be most enlightening. Like most women, I had the 3 size range closet. The “it fits right now, although one more McDonalds hot fudge sundae (we will address that in a later paragraph) and I’ll be moving on up” size, the “crap, I’m almost into my fat pants” section and my personal favorite – the “I used to weigh thirty pounds lighter ten years ago” section. Add to that, the fact that I have work clothes, play clothes, going out clothes and the occasional “I was just guilted into going to church” clothes and you can begin to appreciate where I’m toeing a very fine line between hanging on to clothes for thriftiness and a quick stint on an upcoming episode of hoarders. It was time for a personal cleansing. Time to face the demons that had danced in front of me, waving all their naughty temptations in my face.

My first love is shoes. Yes, ladies, I love shoes. The funkier, the better! If I think even one person can look at my pair of chartreuse green, leather z-type shoes that could pass as Peter Pan shoes and turn up their nose, I’ll take two pairs. If I can strut around in my white Puma athletic shoes and be accused of moonlighting as a pimp, then my job as an undercover shoe extraordinaire is done. It isn’t that I look to offend, no, it’s that I’m honestly hooked on funky shoes. Maybe even a tad addicted…

My second love is jeans. I spent the better portion of my early years buying jeans on a budget, until the first time I bought a pair of Silver’s off the clearance rack (I am also very appreciative of a good deal). Once I saw how well they fit, I was hooked. There is a now a sizeable stack of jeans in my closet that make me look forward to charity jeans day at work. Maybe, I have a little problem saying no to a pair of Big Star Liv’s with funky pockets, but until you try on a pair of jeans that hugs you in all the right places, you don’t know how close to heaven 2 yards of blue jean material mixed with just the right proportion of spandex to cover the extra five pounds you picked up from the one funnel cake you allow yourself a year feels. It’s almost divine in my mind.

Back to the hot fudge sundae, the addiction which plagues me most and has made it necessary to include double digit clothing items in my closet is ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I crave it in a “grab the spoon, rip the lid off and dive right in” kind of way. I want to bypass a dish because honestly, that’s just another thing I have to wash. And for what? Ice cream comes in a wonderful package that really almost begs you to just finish the carton. Seriously, who wants to put an almost empty carton back in the freezer? I, for one, don’t. It’s at the precise moment when I’ve eaten my way to the bottom and I realize that I’ve almost emptied an entire pint of ice cream and the little voice inside my head starts to guilt me into stopping, that I realize perhaps there should be a 12 step program for me.

Five bags later and a closet reduced by over half, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I had forgotten that simplicity could make me happy. I didn’t need to buy something to make me happy or fill a void with food. I had allowed myself to get sidetracked and forgot that it isn’t possessions that make us smile, it’s simple things. Like a lifelong lover, a good friend, making someone smile, a beautiful flower, a summer rainstorm. I lost my focus on what was important to me, and in doing so, had lost a little of myself. Like any addiction, it made me forget…forget things that should have been important to me.

I woke up with a smile today, and remembered I had everything I needed to make me happy. My shoulders didn’t feel so tight. I didn’t feel so weighed down. My pile of jeans is quite a bit smaller, I let go of some shoes and most of my t-shirts are on their way to a good home via the local shelter. Most importantly, I realized that no matter where you look or what you acquire, at the end of the day, none of that makes you any happier. I had a much better moment of bliss dropping those bags off, knowing that someone who actually needed them would get them.

I, of course, treated myself to a hot fudge sundae…with nuts. I can’t give up everything! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Personal Thank You!

History has always fascinated me and the story of our own country bears remembering, if only for a few, brief moments during our Independence holiday. America’s storied past is something of inspiration and the reason I am even here with the freedom to share an opinion.

I like to re-read the Declaration of Independence every couple of years, and on this day, something different caught my eye. It wasn’t the courage it took to stand up and fight for what we term our “unalienable rights”, or the conviction to prove that we as a young nation could stand and even flourish on our own. No, what made me think twice was the following quote:

“…and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

How true those words ring. Often times, we as humans, suffer thru abysmal conditions, because we tell ourselves that what we face is tolerable. But the Declaration gave us another right, the right to pursue happiness. We, as a country, have freedoms given to us by our forefathers that ensured our right to make choices that would make us happy, not to suffer at the hand of another. Perhaps Shakespeare said it best:

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”

Our forefathers, in their imperfect wisdom, knew that their young country, in order to flourish and guarantee that the same oppressive government not take hold in American soil, needed to establish a government that allowed for the people to decide how they wanted to live. Not one that told us how we should “be.” Sadly, over the years, we have forgotten what rights our founders established, both in government and in our personal life. At times, we allow ourselves to suffer, to lead our lives in a manner that doesn’t benefit us.

This is by no means my personal soap box, but more a statement of self-truth. I myself have stayed in situations that are barely tolerable because it’s easier, and in doing so, have forgotten what my forefathers fought for and laid their lives down for and what our servicemen and women continually do today. They fight for America and its people to have basic freedoms and use our self-will to use our freedoms wisely.

Instead, this is a call to arms, so to speak. To appreciate living in a country where I can be me and to say thank you for the men and women that have fought, fight now and continue to fight and not disgrace their lives by ignoring the very freedoms they fight for. It may not be perfect, and we may still be a long way off from equality for all, but we live in a country where we can “take up arms” and not suffer silently. So to our Armed Forces, past and present, I say thank you for continually fighting to protect my freedom to just be what I want to be.