Photo Challenge | Pure

They only see the wonder and beauty that the world offers.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge | Pure

Young children are as pure as you can possibly get. They have not yet been touched and molded by all of the judgment and hatred that fills the world. They only see the wonder and beauty that the world offers. They will make friends with anyone willing to play with them, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or handicap, because they do not see the differences that divide us. They just want to play, and share their enjoyment with those around them.

Innocence is pure. And beautiful.

Daily Prompt 4/1/2016 | Uh… YOUR Style?

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 4/1/2016 | Colorful

What the hell is your style? Recently, I witnessed a ridiculously petty Facebook argument between Kyle’s sisters, two fully grown women. The younger sister posted a picture of her and her boyfriend, and the older sister commented, “Shirt stealer.” Now, the shirt wasn’t really hers, she was just pointing out that they wear similar clothing (they always have)… well, duh, they are sisters. This caused a back-and-forth sisterly squabble, which spanned days, and got pretty nasty. There was name calling, bringing up personal shit from the past, and other aspects of their lives that had nothing to do with the shirt. The older sister accused the younger of “stealing her style“, which I thought was strange, because neither of them really dress in a unique way, certainly not enough to warrant saying they have a “style” of their own.

They both wear jeans and leggings. Plaids, patterns, and solids. They both wear leopard print a lot. Teals, pinks, reds, beige, black… nothing unique at all. Nothing cutting edge, or trend setting. I believe if you were to classify their style as anything, it would be “basic“. But this got me thinking… do I have a style? Well, the answer is no, of course. I spend most of my days as a stay-at-home mom wearing pajamas, or yoga pants, with t-shirts. All the t-shirts. I have two pairs of jeans that actually fit, which I only wear out if the place I’m going to is too nice for yoga pants. But have I ever really had a style? Did I ever fit into a category? I’m not sure.

I’ve always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, never really one to get particularly dolled up, but the style of jeans and t-shirts that I wore varied with my various life phases. Jeans and t-shirts are a style, right? I’ve never stuck to one particular thing. I was never labelled in high school as a prep, or a goth, or emo. I was always just me. Just Jan. I wore band t-shirts if I wanted to, or a graphic tee, or something with lace or some other detail. Changed my hair and make up constantly. I always wore jeans. Flare, boot cut… I never even owned a pair of skinny jeans until I was 19, and didn’t own a pair or leggings or yoga pants until I got pregnant, but that’s pretty much all I wear now. Nothing original. No one is original.

Well, maybe Lady Gaga. But anyone who says that someone is “stealing their style” is being petty, because they got their style choices from someone else, who got it from someone else, who got it from a magazine, which was inspired from someone else. Nothing is original.

Wearing jeans with a plaid shirt is not “your style” for others to steal. Neither is leggings and a tunic shirt. They are just STYLES. Not YOUR style.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. I just thought it was amusing.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | A Fleeting Moment of Confidence

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | Fleeting

I have a very love/hate relationship with diet and exercise. As some of you may already know, from the middle of October to the end of December, I decided to make some changes, and started eating a mostly vegan diet (I still ate eggs). I didn’t do it for any moral reason, and I don’t care if you eat meat, or don’t eat meat, I did it for me, to be a healthier individual. I struggled a bit at first with giving up dairy, as a large part of my diet tended to include cheese, or milk products, but I found that giving up meat was pretty simple, as I never really ate much of it, and didn’t really crave it in any way.

Not only did I make this change to my diet, but I also decided to actually DIET during this time. I downloaded a free app called Lose It!, which I had used previously to lose weight, and began tracking my daily calorie intake, as well as my weight loss. If you are counting calories, and want a free, simple app to help you out, I highly recommend it. Between this complete overhaul in my diet, and counting calories, I found myself struggling to stay on track early on, as well as struggling with cravings. I had many, many slip-ups and cheat days for the first month, and kicked myself over it, feeling guilty and disgusted with myself. I tried to keep junk food and dairy out of my fridge, but that becomes incredibly difficult when you live with a dairy crazed carnivore who wouldn’t touch a vegetable if would save his life. Every other day he was bringing home cookies, or ordering pizza, or bags of chips, and it was unbearable. I even asked him to stop, but he never did.

I was losing weight, slowly, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I started exercising. I was already going on somewhat regular walks with my son, around 2.5 miles each time we went out, but with the weather getting colder, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would be forced to stay indoor. At the recommendation of a few friends, as well as my mom, I started looking up beginner Zumba videos on YouTube, and was instantly hooked. I was able to burn several hundred calories in 1/4 the time as walking, and it was fun. The weight started to melt off after that.

I lost 10 pounds. Then 15 pounds. Then 25 pounds. I had already reached my pre-baby weight, as well as my lowest weight since college, and I felt great. My skin had cleared up from the lack of daily in my diet, and I was able to buy clothes, several sizes smaller, for the first time since getting pregnant. I even began considering buying a bathing suit, and shorts, for the first time since college. I am not joking, I haven’t owned a bathing suit in 7 years, or work shorts in probably 5 or 6. I felt good, and I looked good.

For a fleeting moment, I was the happiest I had been in years.

Then, the holidays came. I tried to have some self-control, but no one in Kyle’s family seemed to understand my struggle with my body, or my diet. Despite being very open about my dietary restrictions, and politely turning down their cooking (they are the type of folks who cook everything with ten pounds of butter), they would just repeatedly tell me to “Just have a cheat day!”, or “You look fine, just eat!”, and it drove me nuts. Even when I did eat, his grandmother would keep pestering me to eat MORE, or actually BRING ME PLATES OF FOOD when I politely declined. She would get offended when I said no. I hated being forced to eat, but I allowed it to happen, just to please her.

That was the start of the end.

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely. Over the course of barely two months, I gained back 9 pounds of the 27 total pounds that I had lost. I noticed the definition in my legs and waist going back to being flabby, and the new, smaller clothing that I had bought stop fitting me in a flattering way. And once again, I hated myself.

I tried to get back into my diet several times, but no longer had room on my phone for my calorie tracker app, and used that as an excuse to ballpark it, which ended in failure. I would get stuck eating my son’s leftovers from his meals, and using that as an excuse to eat other meat or dairy items, as I had already lost it for the day. I made a lot of excuses, and it showed. It showed all over my body.

The weather has started to warm up, and I have been able to get outside to walk more with my son, and he is finally old enough to play with me at the park. This has given me hope, and determination, to try to get back on track. My birthday is in a month and a half, and I have decided that I want to lose 10 pounds by then. I ate a vegan diet today, and managed to get a good walk in with my kiddo, as well as a brief Zumba workout (I am astonishingly out of shape from my time away from it). I felt great… until Kyle got home, made two amazing smelling pork burritos, and only ate one of them. He was going to throw away the other… and I ate it. Granted, I didn’t go bonkers on the calories today, but I ate a burrito that was basically nothing but meat and cheese, and I hate myself for it.

As I’ve written about in the past, self-control is my biggest downfall when it comes to anything. It has ruined everything in my life at some point. I love eating healthy, and I love exercising. I love fruits and vegetables and salad and cooking… but between the weather, my empty bank account, my un-supportive, carnivorous husband, and my horrible lack of self-control, maintaining any sort of healthy lifestyle is a massive struggle.

I’m hoping my self-hatred can outweigh my lack of self-control… otherwise, I fear I will never be happy with my appearance. And I can’t live like that anymore. I miss my fleeting moment of confidence.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan