Legacies

A little over a month ago, a girl that I knew in high school passed away. I was pretty good friends with her step sister, and even though we’ve all lost touch over the years, I still frequently feel  like those years when we were friends happened just yesterday.

The entire situation has brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for me. I’ve watched a number of people lose loved ones, friends, and family over the past few years. I’ve been very fortunate in my own life when it comes to this type of loss; I still have my 98, almost 99, year-old great grandmother.

Whenever someone passes away, it makes me re-consider mortality: both mine and my loved ones’. (From what I hear, this is common for a lot of people.) The big question for me lately has been about what really matters in life. If I were to die, what would I leave behind? What would be my legacy?

For this girl who recently passed, her legacy has been her smile and her love. Everyone who loved her or even just met her in passing remembers those things. And, in my opinion, that shows you who she really was. Her legacy is love and joy.

If I were suddenly taken away, I wonder what people would remember about me. I also have to ask myself this: what would I want people to remember? What would I want to leave behind as my most important contribution to the world? And will I have made my time here worthwhile?

I wrote in an earlier post about how my weight does not determine my worth. I have never felt this to be truer than when it comes to answering these questions.

When I am gone, I hope that nobody will remember my weight. I hope that it will not be the most important thing about me; it will not be the most important thing that I do here.

At the end of the day, who really cares about the number on the scale? At the end of it all, what does that really matter?

Yes, I want to lose weight and be healthy. Yes, it matters to me that I accomplish this goal that I’ve set for myself. But it only matters while I am here; it will not matter at all when I am gone. I believe that who I am and my worth as a person will ultimately be determined by what I leave behind.

I can leave behind bitterness, anger, and resentment. I can leave behind a negative outlook, a fear of doing anything memorable, and a memory of “that girl who always stayed back while others went forward.” I can leave behind darkness, selfishness, and chronic misery.

Or I can leave behind honesty, integrity, and love. I can leave behind, like my great grandmother will someday, a legacy of always standing up for what is right and standing up to defend and love my neighbor no matter who that neighbor might be. I can leave behind an attitude of forgiveness and strength through that forgiveness. I can leave behind joy!

I can leave behind love or I can leave behind hate; I choose love.

Because, in the end, that’s really what it all will come down to. Did I love myself, my neighbor, and even the people who hurt me?

Or did I spend my life hating myself and everyone who ever offended me or hurt me? Did I spend my life focusing only on me and not bothering to pay attention to the lives of those around me?

Isn’t that, ultimately, what determines my worth?

I believe so.

In the end, I believe that love is the only thing that matters. Whether it’s love that I show to myself and others or love that I refuse to give to anyone (including myself) is up to me.

——

Progress Pictures

I’ve held off on posting any true progress pictures, but today I decided to go ahead and post some. Mostly because I can FINALLY fit into designer clothes, and I am very excited to have purchased my first designer outfits ever.

I maaaay have announced to the entire Lucky Brand store that I could finally fit into their pants. haha. I don’t care – I’m not ashamed – I’m proud! 🙂

Here is my progress from my highest weight (college) to now. It’s been a long road, and I’m not done yet.

Just took that June picture today. Those are 1 pair of my new Lucky Brand jeans (size 14/32) and a Lucky Brand top (size Large!! Not an XL!!)

In November 2008, I wore a very very very tight size 18 and was wearing XXL-XL tops.

In August 2011, I wore a size 16 and was still wearing XL tops.

Yesterday, I even got to buy this size 12 dress (from Kasper):

I haven’t seen a size 12 in about 10 years!

30 more pounds to go!!!

 

 

The Last Time I’ll Ever Eat This…

Has anyone ever told you “slow down! (or stop over thinking about this)… This isn’t the last time you’ll ever eat [insert food here]” or have you maybe told this to yourself? I know I’ve heard that phrase many times before and I’ve even used it on myself before.

A funny thought came to me the other day:

There are so many foods that I will never eat again.

Not because I’m not allowed to, but because the people associated with those foods are no longer in my life…or because those foods come from a time in my life that is over.

And there will be more foods that will leave my life; there will be times when I will eat things for the very last time. ever.

And that scares me…

What if he leaves me and we never go get froyo again and sit outside talking for an hour? Or go on a dinner date? Or cook for one another?  This could be the last time I ever eat a crumble that we made together…

It’s been years since any of us has had our Nana’s applesauce; she no longer knows how to make it.

What happens if my grandma doesn’t pass along my Nana’s recipes…they’ll be lost…

What if my brother becomes estranged and this is the last birthday cake I ever make him…what if I lose him…

What if something tears us all apart and some people are no longer in my life…

What if something stops my mom from cooking, and I never eat her burnt beef stew again…

🙂 Just trying to lighten the mood (love you mommy!)

It’s happened before; it will happen again. Sometimes, it really is the very last time that you might ever eat something.

About a year ago, I found a recipe that closely resembled my ex stepmother’s Moroccan Stew: a dish that I grew up loving and asking for on special occasions. It’s one of many dishes that I associate with her, and one of many dishes that I will never eat again.

I was so excited to try it; I altered it based on how I remembered her making the dish.

It was almost perfect. And I felt a huge sense of relief at being able to create the dish; it was like being able to hold onto a part of the past that I thought I could never have again. I even cried.

Food can be re-created…

and sometimes relationships cannot.

That’s why it is so very important to me now to spend the rest of my life focusing on the people around me instead of the food in front of me.

I want to spend my time and effort loving my nana, my grandma, my mom, my family, my friends…not sneaking food from the kitchen and stashing it away because I have a strange desire to hoard food as if I’ll never have it again.

If ever I have to say goodbye, then I will know that I spent my time wisely…and maybe I will try to re-create the dishes I remember them making. And I will think of it as a small “hello” from someone who loved me.

Mine!

Do you ever mind sharing your food? If someone asks to taste your meal at a restaurant, how does it make you feel? Do you even think twice about it?

Even since I was a kid, sharing my food has caused me grief. The mere request to taste my food would set my emotions to panic, anger, and grief all at once. I still vividly remember one occasion with my family on a trip to Jamestown as a kid. Us kids got ice cream cones, and my dad asked to taste mine. Reluctantly, I handed it over; he literally bit off the entire swirl of ice cream that was on top of the cone in one bite (and got a nasty brainfreeze – totally deserved). I cried; I probably wouldstill cry if someone did that to my ice cream!

Silly as that event was meant to be, it obviously stuck with me. That’s because people eating my food causes me to panic. I don’t know if it’s fear that there won’t be enough or what. I absolutely never shared my food with anyone until very recently (in the last 2 years), and I never tasted their food either.

In the past couple of years, I’ve actually found myself content with sharing my food. I’ll offer tastes to my boyfriend or family members; I’ll gladly sample theirs as well. Last night, however, I found myself confronting old emotions. I was at a rather expensive restaurant with some friends. I ordered a fairly expensive (for me at least) plate of food, and I wasn’t really impressed with the quality. On top of that, I had just had a very emotional conversation with someone and was in a bad place mentally.

I had eaten all that I wanted of my meal and was planning to bring the rest back with me. Before I could ask for a box, my friend asked for some of my food.

Immediately, I panicked. I was pissed that she’d asked, had no idea how to say no, and then immediately grieved the loss of my food; “my” being the key word in that thought.

I reluctantly let her have the bit of food she’d asked for and then, in a huff, immediately forced myself to finish everything left on my plate despite the fact that I was full.

What was that about? Where did that come from? I feel silly for my actions now and honestly think that food shouldn’t be such a big deal to me — but it is. I thought I’d moved past this food possessiveness thing, but like many other food issues, it appears to go deeper than I once thought.

I’m not really alarmed that the issue has resurfaced; it just provides me with something else about myself to consider. My relationship with food is clearly still imperfect, and that’s okay; we’ll get there someday.