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Gratitude

I am fine and everyone I know is fine after the tragedy on Metro yesterday.  Thanks for your concerns and thoughts.  Yesterday was a jarring reminder that life is short and random, but it is good to remember we are loved and who we love in return.

I hope to return here full time in about a week.  See you soon, refreshed and with some fresh, wacky tales.

Lex

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Is…

I found out this weekend that my biological father, C, is dying. He was never a healthy man. He smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and is consistently inconsistent about taking the meds that control his MS. He is a workaholic, barely sleeps, and eats food that is only suitable for a trash compactor. He is 51 and has had more health maladies than an 80 year old man. He is not long for this world.

I found out this weekend he is dying, that he is on a heart transplant list and if he doesn’t shape up the next, soon approaching heart attack will most assuredly be his last.

I found out he was dying from my brother. We–a father and a daughter–haven’t talked in eleven years. He missed college, milestones, my first love. He walked away, called me a fucking cunt, cut me out of photos. He pushed me out of the family, told everyone I was to be avoided. I was a child, a strong willed, independent child, who was brave enough to stand up to a man who mentally and emotionally abused us for years. This was my punishment.

My father is dying and what I struggle with the most is how little I care. I have mourned him. I have grieved what could not be, confronted the demons that haunted me for years. To be sure my fractured relationship with him has shaped me. I am sure that without him weight would not have been such a battle, a period of promiscuity could have been avoided, and my penchant for unavailable men nipped in the bud…but it is done. No one forced my hand in to the cookie jar or down the pants of undeserving men. Years of therapy, maturity, and a wonderful, caring stepfather (who I consider to be the only real father I have ever known) have made it easier to understand him, me, and my reaction to this relationship…or lack there of.

My father is dying and I am relieved, I am ready. My head hurts but not my heart. I worry about logistics, about whether to attend the funeral of a man who never deserved the family he created. I worry about my brother. I run through scenarios in my head, how I can tactfully say “No, really, it is ok” when condolences are inevitably expressed. I wonder if, ten years from now, I will regret not speaking to him before his death. A good friend said to me yesterday “you cannot expect ill health to transform assholes”. And, my friends, my father is a lost soul. This is a man on his death bed and I have not heard a word from him. I don’t blame myself anymore; you can’t chose your parents and parental love is not one of life’s guarantees.

My father is dying and I sit here and call him an asshole…not out of anger or revenge, merely as a statement of fact. The facts, though? Sometimes they aren’t pretty.

My father is dying and he reminds me who I am…that I am strong, that I am resilient, that I have come so far. I didn’t think this would push me out of hiding. In fact, the warm cozy hole I have been hiding in beckons for me, but writing this feels right. Writing this reminds me I cannot be silenced by him, even in his life’s twilight.

My father is dying and I thank him for making me me. Despite everything, the tears, the pain, the struggles, thank you Dad. Without you there is no me.

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Short Break

I am taking the rest of the week off.

Please take a few minutes to tell the people in your life how much you love them today.

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Coming Out of the Closet

So, I have been stressing.  When I chose my online moniker, Lemmonex, I didn’t think too much about it.  It was a name…a name that happens to be very close to my actual name.

Well, I should have been more careful.  My real name has slipped out all over the internet.  I don’t blame anyone; it was a poor choice in a pseudonym. Every time it happens I freak the fuck out, emailing and calling and sending out flares in an attempt to maintain my anonymity.

I have gone back and forth on coming out, telling y’all.  I have been writing a ton, having some exciting things happening.  I really wish I could attach my actual name to this stuff.  Soon, my actual name will be on a few things.

The pros? No more hiding and much less stress.  Let’s be honest; some crazies have already found me.  I don’t know how much knowing my name will increase the problem.

The cons, it seems, are simple; I will be even more connected to this blog.  There are two main concerns: work (and potential employers), and as I-66 pointed out to me this morning, guys I am dating could find this blog.  I am not above locking some entries so employers cannot find them as I search for a job.  Also, I never write about my work. And guys?  Well…I guess they should know what they are getting in to.  I think I am kind of funny, anyway.  While some of this isn’t pretty–and often times it is probably too honest–I am at a point in my life where I am ok with who I am.  I am going to let it rip.

Hi, I am Lexa. Nice to meet you.

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About 50 people ask:

“How did you lose weight?”/”How do you eat the way you do and not get fat?”/”What’s your secret?”/”Do you have weight loss tips?”/”I bet you are still fat…lemme see a picture.”

The “how did you lose weight” questions comes up a lot and I have been getting an influx of questions on the heels of the holidays. I hope this can help.

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November 2005

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January 2006

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September 2005

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March 2006 -- 15 lbs down

On January 21, 2006, I joined Weight Watchers. I weighed over 200 pounds. I had no idea how much I weighed until my first meeting. I had no inkling of the magnitude of the problem I had on my hands. Oh denial, you are a constant and faithful companion.

The answer for me was Weight Watchers. It is nothing revolutionary, there are no secret tricks, just lots of hard work and tracking everything that passed my lips. I found the plan reasonable, healthy and simple to follow. I needed a plan; I was in way over my head and with the support of an amazing friend who joined with me and a phenomenal leader, I did it. There were bad days and nights I went to sleep crying, but I pushed through. On December 19, 2006 I had reached my goal weight. I had lost 65 pounds.

Maintaining has been a daily challenge. I am constantly up and down about 7 pounds and I do not see that changing in the foreseeable future. You all see on a regular basis my deep and unabashed love for burgers, beer and other naughty foods. What you don’t see is I balance those meals with salads, chicken breasts and hard boiled eggs. I work out every single day, whether it be the treadmill, a walk, or weight lifting. Every. Single. Day. If I have evening plans, I am at the gym at 5.30 am. Sadly, I hate working out. I have never really warmed up to it, but it is a necessary evil. I also have, without shame, gone crawling back to WW several times in the past few years to keep myself on track. I know it works if I work at it.

This post seems fairly clinical and that’s not my intent. I don’t want to give the impression that I think this is easy or that I am stronger than most. I have paralyzing moments of weakness. Every single damn day I struggle. I binge. I get drunk as an excuse to stuff my face without self-consciousness. I go through phases where I will workout twice in one day. I have blissful months where I seem to have it under control, where I convince myself that this is a beast I have conquered. Right when I think I have permanently killed this monster, he awakens from a slumber, mocking me and reminding me I am always within his sights. I think, like most women, I exist on a continuum of disordered eating. This may not be what anyone wants to hear and it certainly isn’t the most flattering picture of me, but it is the truth.

I am not thin, but I am no longer fat. I have clothes in my closet that, depending on cut, quality, and presence of vanity sizing, range from size 4 to 8, small to medium. I am blissfully normal, in possession of an ample ass and a healthy appetite. Mentally, I am still fat. It is the fear, those pictures, that keeps me in line. I have worked too hard to backslide. I think eventually I will get to a place where I am comfortable in my skin, but right now? That isn’t my reality. I am just a girl on a treadmill doing my best to remain on track. At the end of the day, that’s the answer. Work. Physical and mental…just lots of work and acceptance that sometimes, despite all your work, you fail. Having the work ethic in place to dust myself off is what keeps me moving.

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A few weeks back I got incredibly pissy with a coworker who told me to smile. I asked him if I was his doll. He didn’t know how to react, but I hope he felt embarrassed.

It chafes me when I feel like people are telling me how to feel or the manner in which they feel I should act. I think when someone says “Smile” or “cheer up” is always more about them. People don’t want to be confronted with difficult or hard feelings, but I don’t really feel like it is my job to be a ray of sunshine day in and day out just because someone wants a pretty face to look at.

Every year I am told I should be a better sport about the holidays, that it is a beautiful and wonderful time of year. Every year, I resent this just a tiny bit, because it is a day I don’t think I will ever love and why should I pretend just to make someone happy? Largely, I think I feel this way because I am just not wired to love this most magical time of the year…I am a cynic and an avowed atheist with a bitchy streak. Christmas isn’t made for people like me.

Yet of course there is another piece of the puzzle I know I cannot ignore. I haven’t talked to my biological father nor the paternal side of my family for 12 years. I wouldn’t say it is a secret, but merely something I don’t discuss with much frequency. It is nothing and everything, a thing of the past yet highly present in the present.

A large event that sent the walls tumbling took place on Christmas Eve many years ago. The details are boring and relatively inconsequential. Bitching about them makes me feel whiny and damaged; I know far worse things have happened to people, but this doesn’t change the fact that it is the constant boogeyman in the room every Christmas. I can go months without thinking about him, them, and all the pain, but this time of the year it is lurking around every corner.

I guess I am slipping this in now because I feel it is safe; no one is reading this week, so for those of you who are I am trusting you to be gentle. This is why I hate Christmas, why I have acted a little serious lately, and why I kind of suck this time of year in general. I am so incredibly grateful that my mom married a man that I consider to be the only real, loving and caring father I have ever known, but Christmas will never be a time of pure joy and wonderment for me. I can barely remember a Christmas that wasn’t made damp by a few tears.

I am a bit of a bear to be around this time of year because I will always feel like a little part of me is missing or perhaps even gone forever; if you are missing something, it is implied it can be found again. I don’t think I can ever get certain parts of me back, but I have somehow managed to fill those gaps over time. Yet, like a phantom chunk of my heart, those pieces still throb from time to time, reminding me of what I am missing.

However, this year I was able to have some good moments and squeeze out a few tears of happiness. My grandma handed down an apron she had sewn for my beloved great grandma and I was overcome when I saw it. The tears welled up immediately; it was unexpected and perfectly appropriate. I know I am going to wear it year round, it’s holiday theme mocking me every time I cook a meal. I really want to believe in the future the tears will be of joy. This year was a step in the right direction. Maybe next year those will be the only tears.

dscn09571

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A Letter to My Body

Dear Body:

I have so much I want to say to you.

My first compulsion is to apologize. It seems such a female thing to do, to repent and offer up a bucket full of sorries. We’ve been taught, us women, that there is always something to be sorry for. We are sorry for our emotions, sorry for our age, sorry for our opinions and sorry, of course, for our bodies.

I am sick of feeling sorry.

Body, I have done some awful things to you. I have not treated you the way you have deserved. I have let how you look affect my whole psyche. A lifetime of hatred towards you permeated my entire being. I lived in a strange space, where you were fully ignored and an all-consuming preoccupation.

I spent years stuffing you full of food. My gut would ache, yet the meals would never end. Food was an intoxicating drug I could not quit, no matter how large my stomach swelled. I have yards of faint stretch marks, a memorial to the abuse I have put you through.

I have compared you to countless other bodies. I have cursed you for having thicker thighs than the women I pass on the street, a fuller stomach than the girls at the bar and a wider ass than the lady sitting next to me at the coffee shop. You have been subjected to a lifetime of unrealistic expectations.

I have shared you with men undeserving and unkind. As a teenager, I would pick the skin on your face, hating the red, angry bumps that flecked every inch. You still have the scars. I would stand in front of the bathroom mirror, face inches away from your reflection and call you ugly. I would wish for fuller lips, bigger teeth and different colored eyes. I have smoked countless packs of cigarettes and bottomless pints of beer, subjecting you to achy, painful mornings. I spent a year of my life dedicated to shrinking you, assuming that if you were smaller, all my problems would be solved. Some problems did evaporate, but a whole new crop popped up, and of course I blamed you.

All these things have happened. It is done and they are in the past. I won’t apologize; I merely sit here hoping you have already forgiven me, knowing this was the journey I had to take.

I like to think we have entered in to a silent pact. You accept that I am doing my best, but sometimes, there are setbacks. I, in turn, aim every day to keep up my end of the bargain. I know I will still overeat, but I will do my best to get on the treadmill and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. I will continue to have moments where I criticize your stomach and thighs, but I promise to not linger in that place too long. I write a food blog, for the love of God; why must I insist on testing us so much? This seems a special type of torture. I think you know that is just my style; always striving, always wanting more, always hungry for everything life has to offer. I will push us and always bring us to the edge of our boundaries.

I am always doing my best, though. I promise.

Unapologetically,

Lemmonex

(Note: Though the deadline for “A Letter to my Body” has already passed for BlogHer, I set it as a personal goal for myself to finish my letter before the end of June.)

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