This time of year always makes me a little blue because it marks the anniversary of my sister's passing due to Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Two days ago, on the same day she passed in 2000, I was driving and glaring into the remorseful, gray clouds wondering why this particular day always seems to have rain, every year, wherever I am, just as that day 10 years ago in Michigan when I lost my big sister. The sky cried right along with loved ones, and once again the clouds began to weep in California. As I continued in my reverie of painful thoughts, I said a silent prayer asking for something to remind me of happiness and gratitude. Within five minutes, while turning right on the main drag toward my house, in the middle of the muddiest cloud, sprang a beautiful, bright, rainbow. I laughed and said, "Thanks Julie."
This past weekend I found the perfect venue to honor my sister's memory while fulfilling my sometimes insatiable need to acquire things: A garage sale with proceeds donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Just like you must exercise away excess fat, it is important to exercise excess junk. So in order to "binge" at this yard sale I required myself to do a little junk "work out." I donated my items and the lady offered to give me the things I wanted to take home for free, but I said no; It didn't feel right to rob the items meant for cancer research.
I think women are particularly guilty of presenting status symbols to one another, to say, "I am worthwhile," or, "Because I have this THING, I am a cut above." And you thought high school was over. Of course there are the designer purses, big rocks cast in gold, clothing, but among new mothers it is all about the stroller. A high-end stroller for a young mom is the equivalent of a sparkling porche bought by a newly successful business man. Both say, "Look at me, I am doing my job, and very well." I admit, I HAD to have the high-end stroller when I was eight months pregnant, and thank you family for all chipping-in to buy it. But my homeless nurse attire while pushing the high-end baby buggy must keep onlookers guessing. "She probably stole it," or, "Oh wonderful, another vagabond using a baby stroller to cart her junk around."
Here is my point with all this: I bought several items at the garage sale that to me were symbols of being "A cut above." The first item was a Barbie Jeep Power Wheels--yes it goes, FAST (my daughter drove it like she was in a demolition derby, so we fastened her helmet), and a barely used Barbie Dream House. The Power Wheels are just pure fun, but the dream house, I donno, it's locked away in storage. I realized kids can be spoiled, even on second-hand items, and honestly, was I buying it for my daughter, or because I thought it would make me look like a cool mom? I'm not sure. There is nothing wrong with nice things, especially when they come at a good price, and when they are useful, like my stroller. I just think it is important to be mindful of where "Things" fit into priorities and sense of self. Just like food, if I am consuming goods to fill some void besides pure need, I really shouldn't be consuming them at all. But thank goodness for donation--I cannot have an over-stuffed house AND an overstuffed belly. Wouldn't it be great if there were a place for fat donation?--You acquire too much blubber-junk in your trunk and simply unload it? Don't ask about the medical details and mechanics of this fantasy, alright? The organizer guy on Oprah has a theory that clutter and weight are quite connected. He published a book called "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big?" He is a well-dressed Aussie with a quick wit and great clean up advice--I think I might read that book. Sorry my Australian readers (yes I see you, and thanks) I cannot think of the guy's name.
I have finally tackled my Jillian Michaels goal. I've done her 30-day shred three times now--only about 20 minutes, good enough. But I had to mute the sound yesterday. My aching body and her "Get it done" tone were grinding on my nerves. Have you ever noticed that she scowls with her lips open when she is working out--like she is saying, "Look at me, I'm HARD CORE." She is great, I'm just bitter, cause she's in shape, and I'm not, YET. The running/walking is going well, and happening daily--I'm running .5 miles now every other day. OH! And today I wore jeans for the first time in two years. They were digging into my gut, but with the right shirt I have to say I looked "A cut above." The digging was also a good reminder not to overeat.
Thank you for your comments, please, please keep them coming. I know it's been a few days since I've posted, so I thought I'd make up for it by ranting just a little longer than usual. I'm going to keep chugging away remembering that just as rainbows emerge from the darkest clouds, success springs from difficulty. And through the toughness I can be something better.