blogs,  health,  music

Blog every day in May x2: Days 24 and 25

Day 24 prompt: Describe and/or photograph what is in your fridge right now. Be honest! 

A huge jug of Gatorade (we mix it with water to fight dehydration, which seems to be worse when you work overnights). A big case of Monster for the husband and a container of coffee for me. Soy milk, soy cheese, some margarine. Tons of condiments! A tomato that will go into today’s pasta dinner. Some tuna and turkey for the husband’s work lunches. Some melon that probably needs to be thrown out. Eggs. Quinoa.

Day 25 prompt: What are your top 5 favorite albums and why?

I can only pick 5? No way!!!

  • The Joshua Tree, U2. This is probably my favorite U2 album and is the perfect album for a Western road trip.
  • Symphony No. 9, Beethoven. His best work of all, in my opinion.
  • El Camino, The Black Keys. Rock/blues that’s perfect for both rocking out and chilling out.
  • Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons. Their debut album continues to be one of my favorite albums to listen to on repeat at work.
  • Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, M83. This album is a weird mix of orchestral pieces, 80s rock and synth pop, in a really good way.

Day 24 prompt: Your top 3 worst traits

  1. I hold a grudge forever. FOR-EV-AH. As justification I will add that it takes quite a bit to get a person onto my grudge list. Someone told me that holding grudges is a side effect of being Italian, so I’m sticking with that!
  2. I have very little patience or tolerance for other people being stupid, rude, etc., which in this modern world basically translates to having very little tolerance for people, period! We’re all adults. Effin’ act like it!
  3. As my husband’s friend Roger delicately phrased it, “You have a very strong personality.” I’m very strong-willed and have a very clear idea of what is right and wrong and how to proceed with things, and it takes a lot to change my mind. Being married has taught me so much about compromise and consideration for other people’s viewpoints and feelings, because when you live with someone at some point you’ll have to give way on something!

Day 25 prompt: Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad) 

“You’re a big girl.” I was always a little thick growing up, I guess. Not “chubby”, but as I was told over and over, “big-boned”. It didn’t help that I hit my adult height in junior high. I guess this was how well-meaning adults thought they would make me feel at ease with my size, but it had the opposite effect; the tag of being “a big girl” clung to me like static electricity, wrapping around too tightly to emphasize that I lacked the skinny hips and flat chests of other girls my age.

At a certain age, an awareness set in that “big” is not desirable. I slouched and hid under baggy clothes. I was embarrassed to be tall, embarrassed that I couldn’t squeeze into hip hugger jeans and the tiny t-shirts that were super-popular back in the early 2000s. I realize the terms “big” or “big-boned” was probably supposed to head off any fears that I was “fat”, but they really only drew more of my attention to my body and to all the synonyms for the word “big”. When you’re a teenager, you tend to self-dramatize really quickly.

My parents were always really into fitness (hiking and biking) and “junk food” (soda, chips) was a luxury in our house, but at the same time nobody was nutty about health or anything like that, so you’ve got to give my parents a ton of credit for raising me with a balanced attitude toward eating and exercise. I think that’s a huge reason I didn’t end up with an eating disorder like some of the other girls I knew in high school, because I really didn’t get the chance and I had a lot of love at home. Still, I couldn’t really shake my warped mental image of a self who took up too much space.

After high school I got really skinny, mostly because I was super-busy and not eating. It wasn’t really a conscious thing, I just lost a ton of weight all at once. I reveled in people commenting on how thin I had gotten, especially boys. When I started dating my now-husband, I was squeezing into my tiniest jeans size yet and determined not to gain a pound. After all, I was finally thin and attractive to guys, and I wasn’t about to screw that up by becoming the “big girl” again! (Of course, my now-adult self realizes that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and when I think about how little I ate back then it’s insane. I wasn’t healthy! But at 18, you’re just kind of stupid like that.)

All things come to an end, and at some point I wound up gaining quite a few pounds back. And somewhere in the shuffle of sizes in and out my wardrobe I finally realized that the label of “big girl” did not have to define how I saw myself or what I put on my plate. My boyfriend loved me for a ton of things, but my jeans size was not one of them. I excelled at work for a lot of reasons, but my jeans size was not one of them. So many things could affect my happiness on a daily basis, and it’s true that my jeans size could be one of them–but so could the wistful thought of a dinner with friends, passed up because I was afraid of the calories. And so could feeling too tired for an activity because I had skipped my meals all day.

And at some point, once I stopped fretting about every bite and the labels in my clothes, I was finally able to look in the mirror without seeing a distorted reflection of someone with an inch to pinch here and there. I just saw me. I may not be able to squeeze my thighs into skinny jeans, but my muscular legs are the result of an active lifestyle and they mean I can walk for miles without getting tired! I’m proud of being strong! I’m happy to have curves, even if they mean I can’t shop the junior sizes, because I’m eating a healthy diet and not passing up the foods I love just to be smaller. 

So there’s my little speech on body acceptance! I wish I had gotten over myself a little sooner because I would have had much more fun in life, but better late than never!


  • Katrin

    Thanks for sharing this, Martha! The weight thing can really be a problem, especially as a teenager. I have always been “normal” as a teenager but there have been really skinny, tiny girls which made me look pretty big because I was normal and pretty tall. After my Mom died I lost a lot of weight too. I was stressed and depressed, I did not eat much. It was definitely not healthy. I am glad that I was able to leave that behind!

    • Martha Woods

      I’m glad you were able to leave that behind, too! Isn’t it terrible how much time we spend comparing and contrasting ourselves?! I think it’s true that we always want what someone else has, even if they probably want something else for themselves, too!

  • Pang Ly

    It’s sad how the media defines the standard for beauty as “thin”. It’s sad how most of us believe in that too. I never had an issue with my weight and appearance until after I gave birth to my kids. My body and my metabolism just went wack once they came into my life. Oh well, over the years I’ve learned to accept my body for what it is. I’ll never go back to my pre-prego body but what matters to me most is being healthy.

  • Yun, The Polish Hideout

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think everyone growing up worries about their body at some point – too big, too small, too tall, too short, too light, too dark, etc. I’m happy to be over that period in my life too. After all, I can’t change who I am, so why worry? <3

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