In March of 2014, I had weight loss surgery. I had a procedure done known as a VSG – Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. Going through my decision to have that surgery, the prep and the aftermath is a whole other post. One I may or may not make, I don’t know (although feel free to email and/or comment with questions if you’re curious – I’m happy to share my experience for those who may be considering the same surgery).
Since my pre-op, I’ve lost about 70 lbs and I’m at a stable weight now – one I can maintain with my current diet and exercise, provided there aren’t too many trips to Palm Springs with Key Lime Martinis!
But, as the weight started coming off me physically, I really tried to focus on where I could also lose weight emotionally and mentally. I have a lot of STUFF. I keep a lot of STUFF. I’ve come to realize that in some ways, I think these material things help my memory, in that, if I didn’t have them, I would forget things from my past. I also have this notion that these things validate my experiences, validate ME – If I get rid of them, somehow the memories and experiences that are attached to these things are no longer valid.
My first big ‘break’ came when my mom sold her house after my dad died. I had this fear that I could never go home again, and that somehow my memories of my father would fade without the concrete and tactile presence of that house. Of course, you can’t go home again. Our experiences are what they are when we are there, in the moment, and despite the fact that traveling forward in time is no different than back in time from a physics point of view, you cannot go back. If you were to go back, you are who you are now, and the experience wouldn’t be the same. If you were not who you were now, then you would be who you were then and you wouldn’t be able to grasp the reason why you wanted to travel back in time to begin with.
This was a hard thing for me to come to grips with and something I still work on. But, as it relates to my parents’ house, I think I got there. However, I’m still trying to incorporate the global scale of that idea into my entire paradigm. Translation – I keep a lot of shit. A LOT.
After I lost weight, I had to get rid of a lot of clothes because they didn’t fit, but I also was coming across things I’d not worn in YEARS and wondering “do I wear this now? It fits again?” – and these were tough decisions! After reading a book on the subject, I knew I had to ‘lose some weight’ in my life, but I wasn’t prepared to do the BIG DUMP the author mentioned. But, I found that holding each piece of clothing I was reluctant to part with in my hand and thanking garment for the memories and reiterating that I was donating the garment, not throwing away the memories or feelings associated with said garment helped.
I’m still slowly working my way through things. Tonight was a BIG moment for me. I finally got rid of my class notes from my last year of university. How long ago was that? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA-cough-cough-cries-a-little-sniffle. A while. I always had this notion that maybe I would go get my masters and I would need those notes. But this week, the thoughts I ‘SAT WITH’ were this: I like writing. I want to keep writing. With my day job, writing takes up all my spare time. If I were to get my masters, I’d have to give up writing. And, at this point, it’s been MANY A YEAR since my classes – I’d have to retake a SLEW of those courses to refresh my brain so I could keep up.
So, that was one reason I was keeping those notes. What were the others? Well, that last year or so was a tough but proud one for me. I’d had to take a year off school for illness and going back was a struggle. I’d changed faculties so many times that I’d been in university for 5 years and still had no degree. I’d finally managed to pick a major and I had a plan to complete it. It meant I’d have to do Fall Semester, Winter Semester, Sprint Semester, Summer Semester, Fall semester and Winter Semester. and my final semester would be 5 400-level math classes. It wasn’t going to be easy. But I DID it. and I GRADUATED and HOLY SHIT, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??
I felt like a lot of my soul and being were infused into those notebooks – this had been a major milestone/event in my life and if I got rid of those things, was I throwing all that away?
Obviously, no. I still have that degree [FINALLY FRAMED AND ON MY WALL, YO. I got it framed JUST THIS YEAR, lol!]
So tonight, I fortified myself with two glasses of wine and then some puppy snuggles and went through those notebooks, taking the time to hold each one, feel gratitude and validate my experience with them and then, say goodbye. I know to some people that sounds hokey or like woo-woo, but it was definitely a necessary step for me and one that made the entire process viable.
Deep breath. Time to keep losing weight. I need to make room for all the good things yet to come.
Your books have pace, style and charm. You are insightful and have imagination. Maybe that is why the few mistakes you make are so jarring: David does not give something to Nancy and I, he gives it to Nancy and me. Would you say that someone did something to someone and ‘we??’ Of course not. But this egregious error has crept into the writing of less well grammatically trained writers. An Updike would NEVER make such a basic error. I’d rather read Gakis, but do review your grammar and for heaven’s sake, get someone to check the unacceptable number of typos in your books.
thank you for the feedback! I am looking at investing in a professional editor for my next books. Unfortunately, it’s been out of my price range previously, but I realize that to grow and learn as a writer, I need that kind of professional service. I’m hoping that working with a professional editor will take me to the next level.