Thank you again for letting me have this space on your blog - it really is so sweet of you!  Now, on to the post:

If you're reading this, you should know that I'm fat.  Not one of those size 4s who think they're fat, not even the "I sure would like to drop about 50 pounds" kind of fat - more like "does your circus sideshow know that you're missing?"  (and yes - you can laugh at that.  I did!)  I'm also 35 years old, and I've been overweight since I was 7.  Anyone who has ever been this big can tell you that it is about far more than putting down your fork and going for a jog.  There is a lot of self-hate and low self-esteem and emotional "stuff" involved.  Up until very recently, I was someone who hated herself.  Not just hated - loathed.  I was ashamed of myself.  I saw no value in me at all - all I could see was my fat body.  And I have finally learned that what I look like and who I am are not the same thing.  (That is SUCH an important lesson!)  I had to get *there* before I could feel like I was worth doing something about my weight - but I still lacked the motivation.  (So if I can do this - you can too!!)

Life, the universe, whomever you believe is in charge of this kind of stuff, has a funny way of giving us what we need, right when we need it.  I randomly happened upon the Tripping While Standing Still facebook page, and found the page owner to be charming and funny and most of all - inspiring.  One day she posted pics of herself before and after running - and I thought the after pic was even more beautiful than the before.  I wanted that glowy, "just worked out" look, that "I DID IT" look, for myself!  Then I read a quote she posted that says "dead last finish is greater than did not finish, which trumps did not start" and I decided enough was enough and I needed to get up off the couch.  For lots of reasons (health-wise and just personal preference) swimming is my exercise of choice.  So now I was faced with the knowledge that I was going to pour MY self into a bathing suit and go to a PUBLIC pool and let myself be seen by OTHER PEOPLE.  lol  I knew it was going to be tough - after all, I'm not exactly a supermodel.  The first day was a bitch, not gonna lie.  I was nervous, and self-conscious, and I hit the pool when it opened (5:30 am!) in hopes that I'd be the only one there.

As it turns out - there are only two other people silly enough to hit that pool at that time, and they are serious-pants lap swimmers who are training for a competition.  So there I am in my granny swimsuit, doing water walking at my slow poke pace, and these graceful fishes are over there looking like Michael Phelps!  For the first week, I showed up every day, slipped unnoticed into the water (or so I thought) and went about my business.  But then one day, as I was doing warm-ups, I was watching these two guys swim...just watching their form and speed and ok yes one of them is super hot lol but I guess he saw me watching because when he finished his last lap, he came over to my side of the pool and introduced himself (we'll call him D) and asked my name, and we had a really nice chat.  I told him that I was just starting out, and was envious of his speed and agility and perfect form - and he said that he was impressed by ME (!!!) and was very encouraging and sweet about me hanging in there and that one day soon I'd be joining them over on the lap swimmers' side.  It just felt like...validation.  Like I really AM doing something good, and important, and that I will make progress.

I've been going daily now for about 3 weeks, and I've added swimming a few laps to my walking routine.  And I'd love to say that it's gotten to be habit, that I just leap out of bed and think "Oh goodie!  Time for the pool!" lol and some days are like that -- but some days are like "Ummm...NO."  Tuesday was one of those days.  I woke up in a horrible mood, spent a lot of time crying, and finally forced myself to the pool, still trying to suck up the tears.  As I was walking out of the locker room to the pool, D was coming out of the mens' side.  His face lit up and he said "I have something for you!" and turned around to go back into the locker area.  It turns out that he had been so...impressed, I guess, by me that he had gone home and told his wife about me - and she made me a lap counter!  It's the cutest thing -- a little suction cup on each end, and sealife-themed plastic beads strung between them.  It sticks on the end of the pool and you slide a bead over each time you complete a lap.  It's a little thing, but it was a HUGE gift, and I managed to thank him without becoming a puddle of snot and tears.

So it's funny to me how the inspiration I needed got dropped into my lap at just the exact moment I was ready for it - and in the form of a facebook page that I started reading for its humorous content.  In turn, I have somehow inspired D and his wife, and their gift to me could not have come at a better time.  It's still hard - today I needed someone to shove me out the door because I was feeling so sorry for myself about how pitiful my little workouts are and how far I have to go to reach my goal weight, and because I tend to give up on myself very easily.  But it doesn't matter how long it takes. I am *doing* this!