Minimalism and Liposuction

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“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and Iā€”
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost from The Road Not Taken

Have you ever tried to lose weight? I have. You set your goals, you visualize a thinner, more muscular you. You work hard. You count calories or cut sugar or carbs or whatever. At first, it’s so easy because it’s so fun. Every minute spent working out feels like you are getting closer. Soon, your favorite clothes will fit again, your skin will glow, and everyone will ooh and ahh over the new, fabulous you. You’ve got your eye on the prize there’s no stopping you. But then maybe months weeks down the road did you start thinking oh eff this! I’m getting liposuction!?

Everything turns to rubbish. Your once-beloved salad combo makes you want to gag. Your favorite exercise guru has grown horns and uses her/his pitchfork to remind you of how you just need to work harder. Maybe you’ve lost a little bit but you still can’t zip your old jeans. And then you really must decide if it’s worth it. I call it the liposuction crossroad.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose the one with all-you-can-eat chocolate cake and potato chips.

No I didn’t (though I do love chocolate cake and potato chips). It took me a year to lose twenty pounds. Not four weeks or even four months. A year. This post is not about why I wanted to lose twenty pounds. It’s about minimalism. Really. It’s about my decision to not take the easy way out.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose the one with fewer processed foods and trails for running.

When I was about ten years old, I had a teacher tell me that I always take the easy way out. Ten. Years. Old. It was like a curse in a cheesy movie. Only she failed to tell me how it could be lifted. I had to find the “cure” on my own. I took her words and lived them and fought against them. I still do. My antidote for the curse is a constant dose of gratitude and forgiveness when I think of her. (And I think of her every time I hit those cruxes in my life.) I have to ask myself if I’m choosing the easy way out.

Here on my simplicity quest, I am at my liposuction crossroads. I just want it to be over sometimes. Throw it all overboard and get on with it. I want instant clear spaces and hours and hours to write and dance and run and think. I’m tempted to take a few boxes back up to the attic. The Minimalists, and Leo, and Courtney have become like my old Daisy Fuentes workout video. Irksome reminders of how far I have to go. I’m one phone call away from telling Clean Sweep to come and make it all better. Or go on a shopping spree.

Then I’m ten years old again. I see my teacher’s face. I hear her words. And I have to ask myself if I’m going to let this curse affect my simplicity quest and my desire to fully embrace minimalism. Will I take the easy way out by quitting?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose to take the wide open path marked by rows and rows of incinerators and shopping malls.

Not really.

I take a deep breath. I go for a run. I watch the clouds roll by overhead. I remember how much I’ve sorted through already. How good it feels to see the empty space where a box of stuff used to be. Stuff I don’t need and stuff I’ve thought about and sorted and pushed out of my life. I think about how having less of that stuff means having more time for the important things.

I remember that there are others who have chosen the more difficult path to simplicity. I find strength in their stories. I am not alone…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I took my ten-year-old self by the hand, gave the finger to the curse, and grabbed another box from the attic.

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19 comments

  1. Gorgeous writing, thought provoking post! It’s amazing the impact someone can have on your life. I still hold a grudge on one of my elementary teachers for saying things to me.

    I really like your honesty in this post. I sometimes feel that people are just looking for a quick fix and not the lifestyle change. And even once you get to that end goal, it isn’t smooth sailing after that.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you so much, Vanessa! I totally agree on how people want a quick fix – because I want one too. šŸ™‚ Not an option on the important stuff though. Bummer.

      I also agree that just because you reach your goal, it’s not smooth sailing after that. In the year that I lost twenty pounds, I learned habits to help me maintain once I reached my goal. Life is just so beautifully organic that I can apply the lessons I learned in weight loss – daily mindfulness mostly – to other areas like simplifying my life. I guess I’m learning about how to manage and maintain fewer things this time.

      I’m sincerely grateful that you read my blog. I treasure your comments and feel so lucky to know that you like my work. It keeps me going and your blog inspires me to keep moving. Thank you a thousand times…

  2. Bravo, G! [or is that Brava, since you are a girl?] Love, love, love this post, and especially the imagery you created through your iterations of the Frost poem. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

    Question – would it be considered taking the easy way out if I did a tummy tuck (excess skin) AFTER I’ve done the hard work of losing the weight through grueling daily sweats??? What about a boob lift??? These puppies are shrinking.

    1. Nancy, I love the way you do not hold anything back. I hope you will be as effusive when I’ve posted something you don’t like. šŸ™‚ I guess part of this blog thing for me is learning how to accept compliments. It certainly stretches me.

      I’m not touching that question. It’s your body. You rock on however you like!!!

      You rock my life. Truly.

  3. Good for you. You definitely need to give that ‘teacher’ the fingers too if you ever cross paths, what a ridiculous things to say to anyone, nevermind a ten year old!

    1. Thanks! I actually saw her many years later and though I still felt the sting of her words, I saw her through older eyes and felt compassion. I chose to not say anything to her.

      We can be so careless with our words sometimes… She may have had a bad day and I was an easy target. The older I get, the easier it gets for me to forgive her (and others) – mostly because l have much to be forgiven for. Strange how that works, isn’t it? I’m in constant awe of stuff like that.

      Thank you for leaving a comment. It is a big deal for me that you follow my blog. I mean it. A very big deal. Cheers!

  4. Hey Ginny….good for you for staying the course! Of course a “little” backsliding now and then is understandable šŸ™‚ And what your teacher told you when you were but a babe seems a little harsh–but look at how it’s motivated you all these years later?

    But when you think about it, I think we all walk that line between where we want to be and where we are–and wondering whether it is enough or too much? Maybe because I am a gemini by birth and nature, or because I love the Tao, but I continue to walk the line between strict plan and execution on one side—and the wu-wei way on the other. All I do know for sure is that if I’m not experiencing joy in the experience then something needs adjusting….

    And as a former “teacher” of mine named Ernest Holmes said, “If you need an aspirin, take an aspirin.” And so I consider liposuction…. šŸ™‚ ~Kathy

    1. I agree, it has motivated me. I am genuinely grateful for her. Perhaps she did see a bit of slacker in me. There might have been nicer ways to tell me or to teach me but I can’t change that. I am sometimes a bit of a slacker and I remember her words to avoid that path when I need to.

      Wise words, thank you. It is the yin yang of life. Balance. I’m learning. S l o w l y. But I’m learning. Baby steps in joy are better than stagnant self pity. šŸ™‚

      Thank you, as always for stopping by SMART lady! Your words help me grow.

  5. That’s right…keep pushing on, girl! Don’t let anything stop you! Your weight loss story reminds me that few things come easily…the ones really worth their weight anyway. And it reminds me of the need for patience in nearly everything we undertake. Things don’t often change overnight, though we want them to. Change takes time. We have to be committed to the process. And it sounds like you are. Keep up the good work! šŸ™‚

  6. How did I miss this post in my reader?? I came here via Nancy’s link (thanks Nancy!). Isn’t it strange how something someone says in passing can stay with you for so many years?

    But for me, the bit that really got me was in your comments:

    “The older I get, the easier it gets for me to forgive her (and others) ā€“ mostly because l have much to be forgiven for”.

    I had a total emotional meltdown this morning (I’m thinking about blogging about my mental instability, ha ha, we shall see…) and forgiveness is something I know I need to get to… Dammit it’s the hardest thing in the world šŸ˜¦

    I love reading your words – you seem so very wise and grateful and I really, desperately want to reach that sense of inner peace that eludes me every single day.

    Thank you for sharing. Keep writing!!!

    Oh. And:

    “Iā€™m one phone call away from telling Clean Sweep to come and make it all better.”

    Ha ha hah!!! Yes – I know that feeling VERY well šŸ˜‰

    1. So sorry I never responded to this, Rose!!! (better late than never, I guess…)
      Thank you for your kind words regarding this article. It was one that really just came straight from my heart.

      “you seem so very wise and grateful” Wow. Thank you. I don’t feel this at all. I’m so clumsy at life, it’s unreal. I have major meltdowns too. Major. Meltdowns. I promise.

      I totally understand your desire for that “sense of inner peace” and how difficult it feels to forgive. Finding balance (meaning: not bitching at everyone in my life) is a constant, daily practice for me. Some days are easier than others. But the main thing is to not give up.

      On the not so easy days, my inner warrior princess says “Fuck liposuction (aka the easy way out). I’m gonna make this life my bitch and I’m gonna be a kind, loving person who spreads sunshine wherever I go, dammit!” (She doesn’t always say that. But I love it when she does.)

      Went off there, didn’t I? (I’m pretty sure this was more a a self pep talk than a response to you.) Thanks again for leaving a comment about the topic and my writing. I really needed it at the time and to read it again today was perfect.

      By the way, I think you are doing a great job of being you. I see so much growth in your writing. It makes my heart so happy. šŸ™‚

      Cheers, Rose Who Rocks!!!!!

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