Why I hate this picture



I hate this picture of me.

I *should* love it. It’s me teaching my first yoga class – which was the culmination of a summer’s worth of really hard work. I can sort of see that I’m smiling in the picture – I was having fun! I’m clearly talking with my hands – which tells me I was in my expressive state of peace. I remember what a high it was to be guiding that class.

And yet I hate this picture.

I can’t look at this picture and deny anymore that I’m carrying around an extra 25 pounds. I just can’t. I can keep on lying to myself and believe I’m achy and tired all the time because I’m anemic, or not getting enough rest, or not sleeping well, or, or, or….

OR…I can accept the fact that my skeleton is used to carrying about 130lbs, and for the last year I’ve asked it just about every week to carry just a little bit more for me. No wonder my body hurts. No wonder I’m tired.

***sigh*** It’s time to get serious about taking care of myself.

My incredibly energetic and wonderful neighbors across the street are fitness professionals (seriously – they’re like Stepford nice and beautiful). They’re going to help me on this journey to reclaim my body. The journey began yesterday with my first day of sugar-free, junk-free, responsible eating and exercise.

The journey gets pretty effing real today when I push “publish” on this post and commit to sharing the journey 🙂

Lots of people share their journeys with before and after pictures. I’m going to share this journey with gratitude  – not pictures.

Today I’m grateful for courage. Today I’m a braveheart. Today I push publish and put it all out there – the whole messy, crying, doughy, over-eating, sugar-binging, comfort-seeking, self-deprecating, scared, lonely, insecure, hot mess of a 51-year-old curvy girl’s journey to reclaim her healthy body.

Wish me luck.



Giggle breaks and resilience



I’m working most weekends this summer on completing the 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) training. My classmates are a group of fascinating and impressive women. Its quite a journey; exhausting, invigorating, enlightening, humbling and soul stirring. 

Sitting in a guided meditation Saturday morning I was asked to take my thoughts to a place where I had been uncomfortable. I immediately pictured myself just half an hour earlier – floundering around on my yoga mat sweating, confused, off-balance and unable to make sense of anything. The instructor’s voice fell on me like she was speaking a foreign language. I was overtired and overwhelmed.  I was struggling and nothing was making sense. I did the only thing I could do.

I collapsed onto my mat laughing.

Laughing at myself, laughing at the situation, laughing because I knew I was gonna hop back up – I just had to take a giggle break. And then I got back up. And that’s SO what I do. I get back up.

The problem is I don’t always control when I take a break in the rest of my life off of my mat.

That place of floundering around on my yoga mat sweating, confused, off-balance and unable to make sense of anything is not that far from what life feels like sometimes. When work is piling up and there aren’t enough hours in the day and my house is a mess and my homework isn’t done and the laundry is piling up and my boyfriend is looking for my attention and I haven’t taken the dogs on a hike in weeks and I can’t remember for sure the last time I saw Alex and my mom is asking me for something and my friends are saying they haven’t seen me enough and and and…..

That’s the time I need to take a giggle break.

But I don’t. I wait until..no…actually its not waiting because waiting is an active choice and there’s nothing about this that’s active. It’s entirely reactive. When my whole life is on overload, then I burst into tears. I cry and cry and cry it out. Then I get back up and keep trying.

Why do I do that? Why do I wait until life has become completely overwhelming and then cry as a reaction rather than making the active choice to take a giggle break way before that point?

I knew I could take a giggle break in the middle of yoga class then get back up and try again because I trust my teacher. I know she accepts me as I am for who I am (as she does everyone) .  I trust that I’m safe. Because of that trust, I can take a giggle break and catch back up with the class. I know that even if I screw up its all part of the learning curve.

So why don’t I feel safe enough off of my mat to just bust out with a giggle break and cut myself some slack on the whole learning curve of life?

Why do I think I’ve always got to be strong?

How does it serve me to think I’ve got to be strong all the time? Does it let me be a little bit of a martyr? Probably. Does it let me hide behind a Mac Cosmetic varnished game face? For sure.

How would my life be different if I thought of myself as resilient instead?

My whole adult life is a treasure trove of both blessings and opportunities to prove I’m resilient; leukemia, single parenting, divorce, brain surgery, grief and then a 3 year peiod of darkness.

Yeah, I’m resilient.

So why do I not live out of that place and take more giggle breaks?

Maybe resilience is about heart, not about will. Maybe resilience is facing the world every day with shoulders back not in strength, but in accommodation for the way my heart has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger with every opportunity for resilience.

This means I’ll have to give up my security blanket of strength and my mask of “I’m fine”. I’ll have to put down some of the resentments I carry around with me as a matter of habit. I’ll have to actually live out of resilience.  Ahhhh….I think I like this….

…and I’m pretty sure resilient women take more giggle breaks.

I am not in danger



“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.” – Will Smith in After Earth

“Screw you guys, I’m going home.” – Eric Cartman in Southpark

I’m working with fear right now. And by “working with” I mean trying to forget it, tame it, get through it…trying to kick it’s ass.


I’m a brave heart. I look at a challenge and say “let’s do this!”  I’m Being Rena. I’m confident, funny, smart, strong and happy. I’m the one you want with you in the foxhole.

So why am I so f’ing afraid right now? Why does the ding of a text message make me feel a little sick? Why am I so damn jumpy?  What’s with all of this new insecurity? Where the f*%k is this coming from?

Why am I suddenly living in a world of…flashbacks?


That’s it. It’s flashback. It’s flashback to years of a roller coaster ride I couldn’t stop. Moments of love and joy  would keep me fed through the weeks of manipulation and verbal attacks sinisterly framed as “open and honest communication”. F*%k that. F*%k him (and  if he happens to be reading this, f*%k you, you sick coward).

Somewhere in my brain, the wires are crossed and I’ve come to expect that moments of joy and connection will be followed by verbal and emotional attacks. I thought I was passed this. I thought I was healed.

Ah, but I’m in new territory now. I’m in that place where the rubber hits the road – where I’ve got to use my skills in a new way. I’m spending time with a wonderful man. He’s smart, funny, playful, thoughtful and he’s quite the hunk (lucky me!). He thinks I’m the bees knees and tells me so all the time. Why am I waiting for the other shoe to drop? Am I doomed to feel like this forever?

OMG – f*%k that. Just f*%k that altogether. I’m not going to continue to wait around for some other shoe to drop. And I’m not running. I’m not. I won’t. That f*%king coward does not get to take anything else from me.

Blinding flash of accountability….I will not give any more of myself to my past.

I choose not to submit to my fear. I am not in danger. I am not in danger. I am not in danger. I will whisper that mantra to myself for as long as it takes.