The Body of my Youth

September 24, 2008

Originally uploaded by mark sebastian

I have a love hate relationship with my body. I often catch myself day dreaming about the days that my body was something I was proud of. Though I owe all praises to God and my sincere appreciation for my family’s DNA that provided me with my form, I also take some credit for my stature since about the age of nine. I remember in 4th grade gym class we had the physical aptitude test, not sure what they are really called, in which you would run and do chin ups and sit ups, and all the other ups you can think of. I don’t know why, but I loved it. As a kid I got hooked on physical activity; thank God for that because I also loved to eat. I can remember waking up at 5am most Saturday mornings because I was so excited about the cartoons; of course they did not start till 8am. So for fun I would watch the news, educational programs and exercise. I was a kid with insane amount of energy but I was able to sit still with no problem so I was a delight to both academic and PE teachers.

I loved sports that required leg power: kickball, soccer, field hockey, and track. I also loved volley ball. I never tried out for a sports team. When I moved from Texas to Detroit all of a sudden the sports focus was on basketball. I was in sixth grade at the time and I was a little self conscious, which I’m sure was spurred on by the culture shock. I’d never played basketball before or been to a dance; not only that they only played rap music, no country at all. Lucky for me I was quickly accepted but I again made it a point not stand out by displaying my weakness; dancing in public and attempting to play basketball were out of the question. At home I still did my 200 sit up and made sure that I danced in front of the TV or in my room as much as possible.

By the time I was in high school I had fully assimilated into the Detroit culture, my speech was still different but acceptable, I’d gained confidence as a dancer and was now a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor, and I no longer had any desire to wear my white cowboy boots with the fringe in the back. Now I went to high school where my aunt was the basketball coach. She encouraged me to try out with the promise that she would work with me and make sure that I gained skill and confidence. I was very tempted, but did not want to have to keep the fact that she was my aunt a secret and no desire for my teammates to look at me with hate as they realize that I’d only touched a basketball maybe 3 times prior to making the team. Besides, I did not want to participate in any school activities. My mom and dad had recently separated and I did not want my mom to worry about finding a babysitter for my siblings. So even though I wanted to join the track, volleyball, dance, and debate teams I decided against.

When I was in high school guys would ask me for my number all the time, but when I got to college guys openly noticed my body. I got lots of compliments on my big legs, a lot of stares at my round bottom and a lot of hugs around my tiny waist. My freshman year I wore a size 7 and weighted 135 lbs. On my own for the first time it was obvious that guys did not pursue being my boyfriend as much as they pursued sleeping with me. My body was a blessing and a curse. I desperately wanted to find relationships where friendship was the driving force and sex was on the back burner, but I was not successful at finding guys who did not push for more physical “interactions”. Though I hated the feeling of strangers undressing me with their eyes, I liked not having to worry about if my body was good enough and just celebrating its beauty.

I miss that body. It was so easy to dress to impress, to dance for six hours straight, and to feel confident in the bedroom. My body now is not toned,to be frank I am obese. I am 5’2’’ and I weight 210 lbs that is with a recent weight loss of 24lbs. I wear a size 18 and my chest is still really small. I am frustrated: trying to find clothes that fit, doing thing to lose weight that use to work but now make me gain, working out and getting winded so easily. I sometimes feel like my body is out to get me, but the funny thing is, I still love it. I remember when I first started getting a tummy and I use to stare at it in the mirror for hours, not in disgust but in delight. The first time I saw the cellulite on the back of my thighs I was surprised, but not disappointed. Lucky for me I have grown up thinking that women of all shapes and sizes were beautiful. Of course I would prefer my body to look like it did when I was 18 or even 28, but I’m OK with how I looks now. What I’m not okay with is going out and people looking at me with disgust. I’m not okay with feeling like I can’t turn my husband on like I use to. I’m not okay with feeling the need to sit down after I walk up a flight of stairs. So I am going to try hard to take care of myself and my body. I want to take care of it as much as it has taken care of me throughout the years and I want to help it earn the respect that it deserves. I will lose weight and I will share my journey.

About LL&L

September 23, 2008

Love Lust and Life is a memoir and journal in which I share all parts of my life. On LL&L, you can see that someone else has gone through the same things you’re dealing with, learn from my mistakes and discernment in order to make wiser choices, and be encouraged to openly talk about things you’re keeping hidden or consider taboo. Love Lust and Life is also a social network where people are able to have open discussions about anything that is on their minds and seek constructive advice from others. When people constantly try to keep their feelings and thoughts inside, the affects can be tragic: depression, addiction, insanity or suicide. I truly believe that all people need to be able to confidently express their whole selves and not just what are considered the good parts.

Love Lust and Life is a blog that I started in August 2008. At the time, I felt really frustrated with my life and most of my relationships. I used to consider myself a very open person, able to talk about most things with most people. I found myself not investing my heart in a lot of my friendships because I no longer felt respected; later, I stopped opening up to my family because of a perceived lack of acceptance and support. Eventually, I made a conscious effort to not talk to about anything that would leave me feeling vulnerable or criticized; I found myself not calling or spending time with anyone, because I no longer had anything I deemed acceptable for conversation. This left me feeling lonely and disconnected.

The initial purpose of the blog was to share the things I have learned in my life with whomever was interested. As I started to write, I discovered that I had things that I needed to share and get off of my chest first; I will use this blog as an opportunity to heal some hurts that are holding me back in life. Later, as I get more comfortable writing, I will focus on sharing lessons that I have learned, either through my personal life experiences, from advice that I have sought, or through the books that I’ve read. I decided to have themed days so that I can make sure that I keep the blog balanced and that you, the readers, can make sure you read posts that interest you:

  • Spiritual Sundays: bible scriptures, mindfulness, meditation and morals
  • Manic Mondays: emotions, mental health and money
  • Talented Tuesdays: music, books, poetry and other forms of entertainment
  • Wellness Wednesdays: my weight loss, body image and health journey
  • Taking Care of Business (TCB) Thursdays: goal achievement, career and educational goals
  • Freaky Fridays: my scary or traumatic events and some of my sexual experiences
  • Saturday Love: my relationships like family, friends, dating and marriage

I hope this sounds interesting and encouraging. Until I gain consistent readers, I will treat this blog as my diary and my notebook. But please join Love, Lust and Life, and let me know what you like to talk about or need to get off your chest. I am looking forward to getting to know you.

Don’t Worry

September 21, 2008

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Luke 12:22-23

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat: or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”

Sometimes I think that I am a professional worrier, but lately I’ve had a low tolerance for it. Worry I think has been the cause of different health issues: it exhausts me but keeps me from sleeping, it gets my energy levels revved up but keeps me from exercising, and it gets my anxiety levels up but keeps me from fixing the problems. I am sick of worry so much and I am ready to do something about it. For the rest of this month and for the whole month of October I am going to study how break my worry habit. I’ve heard, many times, that it take thirty days to institute a new habit. Since I have practiced worrying for about 15 years, I figured I could take a little over a month to study how not to worry so much.

Luke 12:22-34 is titled Replacing worry with faith. After reading this scripture I have a new understanding about worrying. Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about food or clothes. Food and clothes are basic necessities; you need those to live. If you are not supposed to worry about that, then I guess you are not supposed to worry about anything. Also I learned that each and every life and body is important to God. That life is not the same as our bodies. Starvation does not necessarily kill the body, and killing the body does not kill the life that body holds. Luke 12:24,”Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them”. You mean to tell me that if I do not over stuff my cabinets, freezer and belly God will still feed me.

Worrying serves no purpose but it deceives you into thinking that is the way you accomplish you goals. You worry about what you are going to eat, God feeds you, and worry gets the credit. So worry is like an addictive drug. You try it, it makes you feel better so you try it again until it convinces you that you will die without it, and then it becomes painfully obvious that it no longer produces anything positive, but it is too late your hooked on it. When you try to stop using you will go through withdrawal: panic attacks, headache, upset stomach, high blood pressure, depression, etc…

Here a little commentary on Luke12:1-21. In Luke 12:1-9 Jesus addresses a crowd of people and gives them life lessons on how to avoid becoming a hypocrite: remember that everything you do and say will eventually be found out, do not be afraid of murders because they can only kill the body, God loves you and knows you well, and don’t worry about having to defend yourself because the holy spirit will speak for you. In Luke 12:13-15 a man in the crowd ask Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me”. Jesus refuses to act as a judge but warns them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance if his possessions”. He further illustrate his point by telling a parable about a rich man who tears down his barn so that he can store more crops and live and easy life later on, but he ending up dying that night. Luke 12:21″This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God”. It was tempting for me to think that God punishes us with death and hell if we are faithfulness, but now I have a new understanding. A life filled with hypocrisy, greed and worry is a very difficult and joyless one. Jesus says he came that we can have a full life with only a few burdens. Jesus did not come to show us all of our sins to provoke guilt and mindless submission, but to give us an alternative lifestyle and to help us discover the best life experience possible. If you do worry or sin, it probably means you are human and God forgives like no one else. He wants to be close to you because he loves you and he wants to protect you like any good father would. So don’t worry about worrying, just try to learn what faith looks like and imitate. Better yet get to know yourself through daily meditation and you will discover the faithful and joyful soul you already posses.


New Year, New You: Step 1

September 17, 2008

Originally uploaded by jillyemm

March is fast approaching.  Do you know where your New Year resolutions are? Have you achieved any of them yet? If the answers are “yes”, congrats, you got my respect. Maybe you are only focusing on two out of 12 goals. No worries; that is still impressive. Now, if you’re anything like me, you don’t even know where that piece of paper is anymore.  That’s okay, too; who said you had to start self improvement on New Year’s Day?

Now is always the right time to focus on becoming the best you possible.  One of my first goals is to stop procrastinating.  If there are things that you want to change, dreams that you want to obtain, don’t wait till the end of the year to come up with a plan – let’s work on it together.  I believe that I can learn from those goal-achievement gurus and come up with a well-balanced plan. The plan is not yet made; I will wing it as I go along.  And, since we are all friends here, I would love to share my goals, my beginnings, my plans, and my journey.

The first step is a little soul-searching exercise. Get out a piece of paper, (better yet a new journal or a notebook) to keep track, and divide it in four sections by drawing one line down the middle lengthwise from top to bottom and another across the middle horizontally from one side to the other. The first section (top left quadrant) I want you to label Passions, the second your (top right) Talents, the third (bottom left) Values and the fourth (bottom right) Problems.

Now, when you have a minute, I want you to sit and fill out each section. Your goal is to write at least ten different items for each section, but write as many as you can think of or as many as will fit in the space allotted. Start with your passions: What are the things that you love to do? What are things that you would do for others for free? What are the hobbies that make you come alive? what activities make you lose track of time?

When you’re finished, move on to your talents: What are you a natural at? What have you practiced or studied? What do people ask you for help or advice on? What do others say that you are good at?

Next: What do you value? Who are the most important people in the world to you? What would you die to protect? When do you go against the popular majority? What convictions do you uphold? Where do you get your sense of morals? If you were going to die soon, what would you need to accomplish?

And, finally, let’s move on to your problems: What are the major stumbling blocks to attaining your dreams? What are the mistakes you keep repeating? What keeps you afraid, anxious, idle, depressed or angry?

This is fun right?!? Next, I want you to look at each section, and rank each item’s importance by number, “1” being the most important. When you’re finished with one section, move on to the next until you number all of them. Next, draw the table, four sections with the titles, on a new sheet of paper. Take the items ranked one through six, and rewrite them in order on your new table. When you are finished, pat yourself on the back; you have just completed step one. It should look something like this:

Passions

1. Blogging – about my life and sharing things I’ve learned
2. Making New Friends – gives me an opportunity to be myself
3. Talking to Kids – it would be number one on the list if I did not get sad afterward
4. Psychology – reading, learning or talking about psychology
5. Learning New Things – and figuring out a practical application of it in my life
6. Giving Advice – makes me feel useful

Talents
1. Encouragement – I’m good at seeing people’s true essences; it’s good
2. Customer Service -I’m great at calming down irate people
3. Writing – I’m a little rusty, but I am ready and equipped
4. Document Creation – a newly discovered one (I avoided office work)
5. Music Knowledge – tried to make it sound fancy; I just know a lot of songs
6. Finance – Money missing? I’m your man. I can write up a spending plan

Values

1.Freedom – to be my true self and gain acceptance and respect
2. Emotional Intelligence – principles or morals that enable harmony among people
3. Becoming a Parent – I want a successful pregnancy and to learn quality parenting
4. Family Pride – I desperately want my loved ones to be proud of me
5. Simple Living – I want everyone to live within their means, to enjoy life, not to be burdened by things
6. Education – Let this debt not be in vain, please let me earn a lambskin, AMEN

Problems

1. I lack confidence and tend to assume people think the worst of me.
2. I have no income.
3. I’m in debt.
4. My family is hurt by my absence.
5. I’m overweight.
6. My house is a mess.

Child Abuse

September 16, 2008

Originally uploaded by Southworth Sailor

Did you watch Oprah yesterday? It was hard a one to take but I think the message was necessary. The internet has provided a means for molesters to get instant gratification, fuel their addiction and justify their actions. Children are being brutally raped, even infants. Technology exists that can track down the offenders ,but the current funding for police enforcement allows only 2% of those cases to be prosecuted. Instead of feeling helpless you can go to oprah.com and get all the info you need to get in touch with your senators and demand that they pass Act 1738- Protect Our Children Act. The bill will be voted on Friday, Sept 26, 2008. So please if this touches your heart, contact all your friends and give them the info so that they too can help. On Oprah’s home page you will see a variety of ways to get the info, like Child Predator: Take Action. Even if you’re unsure, please just take some time to look at the info or try to watch the show and decide ,without guilt, what you will do next.
Thank you

Going on a Guilt Trip

September 14, 2008

Originally uploaded by operation_clash

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proven yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11.

On a scale of one to ten how much does guilt play into the kind of mood you’re in and what kind of decisions you make? My answer would depend on my mood. On a good day I would say four, but on a bad day I would say nine. Guilt is one emotion that pretty much takes control and has its way with me. Sometimes people try to make me feel guilty, but that does not bring me down; if I felt I’ve done something wrong I already feel guilty, if I do not agree with them I try to make them feel better but I won’t take the blame for it. Just recently I’ve realized that guilt is not naturally strong in my character, but years of training and meditating on all my faults, mistakes and weakness has lead to a life of guilt at the drop of a dime. It comes off as moody, mousy, and self centered. This was a bad week for me. It started with a phone call to my dad and a promise that I would keep in touch this week. My aunt was coming in from Texas; I haven’t seen her in over five years. She was staying for a week at my aunt’s house that lives in walking distance from me; I’ve never been over there even though she moved in a few months ago. In addition it was my dad’s b-day this week. So I had a lot of reasons to call and visit.

I currently live a pretty frugal lifestyle. I try my best to only spend money on the essentials because of my money situation. I decided that once again I would not get a present for my dad, instead I would call him and visit; I knew that he would be sincerely happy with that. When his birthday rolled around I became overwhelmed with guilt: I did not have a present, I was not going to be able to visit him that day, and my social anxiety made me hesitant to visit my aunt. I had every intention on calling him but the next thing I knew it was 11pm and I was now too late to call. The next day rolls around and now I can’t call because I did not even call him on his birthday. The next day rolls around and now I can’t call him because my Aunt is leaving tomorrow and I haven’t even talked to her yet. Earlier that week I’d made plans with my mom to go out to eat with Cinna, my sister-in-law. My mom called me and asked if we were still on and told me that my dad had brought my aunt by for a visit. I felt shame and sadness. My mom, former sister-in-law to my aunt, saw her before I did. I was sure that they had a great time of bonding and just before leaving talked about how terribly selfish and insensitive I am; having no love for my own flesh and blood. The next day my mom came to pick me up and took me over to my aunt’s house. Though I did feel some shame and wondered how mad they were at me, I was so grateful to see them and spend time with them.

Though I wish I could start this week over I am happy that it turned out the way it did.I’ve learned that guilt makes it hard for me to be courageous, honest and apologetic. It saps my energy and my confidence, but it is my reflex reaction when things get difficult for me. Guilt lies and tells me that if you feel guilty enough you can earn forgiveness, but instead it usually helps you to justify my bad habits by voicing lies like,” their better off without me, because I’m just not dependable”, and ”they should have know I wouldn’t come through, I never do”. Guilt that is not dealt with can bring on depression, idleness, insecurity, and death. However, I do believe that everything has a purpose. In the book, Lighten up Dance with you Dark Side, author Al Galves writes, “Guilt tells us what we don’t want to do. It keeps us from hurting other people. It is crucial in enabling us to become better people, more loving, kind, considerate, and helpful to others…People who don’t feel guilt are scary and dangerous. Author M. Scott Peck has gone so far as to define evil as ‘people who don’t own their imperfections”, pg 34. My description of guilt looks a lot different from Galves’ description. I believe that guilt that is exhausting or makes you sick is worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow helps you to empathize with others and makes you work hard to right your wrongs; I experience both quite a lot. My new strategy fro changing worldly to godly sorrow will be Galves suggestion on pg 41. When experiencing any negative emotion I will ask myself a few questions: What would I call this emotion, why did I start feeling this, how does this clarify my values and dislikes, what is the lesson or moral, and how can I use this energy for something constructive?

I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

A Little LL&L Disappointment.

September 12, 2008

Originally uploaded by loepie

I am a little disappointed today. I want LL&L to be a place where people can feel safe to open up and find people who are in the similar circumstances in there life. Originally I was going to use my name and keep this blog very impersonal, but I felt that my heart pulled me in another direction.I am having a hard time balancing my desire to want to tell everything with my reflex to shut up and not talk about anything of significant. I guessed that their were probably a lot of people who feel like me, desperate to get it all out and find a place where people won’t misjudge or take advantage of them, that is what I want for Love Lust and Life.

The disappointment came yesterday when I received a comment that I did not anticipate. Just one sentence,”I bet it felt real good.” I assume it was regarding the losing my virginity post. I shared my concern with my husband; I’m worried that people who just want to talk about sex, or people who fantasize about hurting kids will be attracted to my site. He was shocked by my surprised and said you must have know that you would attract a lot of people with a title that included the word lust in it. He assured me that I don’t have to change what I’m doing and that their are precautions I can take if I decide to.

Such is my life. I am a person that has experienced a lot but can still be naive. I thought that I would take a while to build up any viewership, but that magically everyone that came to the site would be gentle, and loving and would all have pure intentions. Then I had another thought. I realize that I am judging the person who left the comment. I don’t know that person or their intentions. I don’t know their age or level of interest in sex. I know that their are people out there that like sex, and that’s why there are people are out there. As someone who like sex herself I don’t want to jump to the conclusion; that person did focus on the wrong part of the story, but maybe that was my fault. My desire for people to learn their own lesson has me writing more details than morals. My intention was for people to learn from my mistakes and understand the consequences of bad decisions.

So I’ve decided that I will remain Love Lust and Life. I will still display the detailed story of my life for people to learn from and connect with. Regarding my sex life, I will leave out most details and focus on the moral of the story. I learn by making mistakes, so please forgive me. And I apologize to anyone I might have offended. I am responsible for not taking this very important matter into consideration and should have thought things out. Further more I want this sight to be for everybody, but I want for people to be considerate of each other and to take others people feelings and welfare into account. I don’t know how I am going to accomplish that yet but I am open to suggestions.