Professor J's Place

14 February, 2009

Reach out and touch faith

I know this seems an odd video for Valentine's day, but hear me out.

I was driving along the other day and listening to this song on my ipod. And I was thinking about my friends--the women who are on the other side of a phone or an email--the women who make it possible for me to reach out and touch faith. I'm really lucky, I think, although most of my dearest friends live a long distance from me. And so, today, I am going to introduce my blog friends to my BFF's.

I think the BFF I've known the longest (and someone who is familiar to many of you) is

Michelle (aka Sojourner).
Michelle and I have known each other since 1982, I think. 1981? While she lives in frigid Omaha, and it's been more than ten years since I've seen her, she and I still talk and instant message fairly frequently. This friend has the distinct honor of being the only friend I have who is actually shorter than me.

The next BFF disappeared from my life for a couple of years, but she recently emailed me and we've reconnected. This is an old picture of my friend Tanith at Big Bend National Park. We took a vacation there one very cold December (well, it was cold at night). When we spoke last week, I said, "I thought I'd lost you." "You can never lose me," she replied. It's a good thing.

BFF #3 (this is chronological, by the way, not in any order of importance--how can you rank the people you love?) is Gini.(pictured here with my dog Alice).
Gini lives in Joliet IL now, and I am horrible about keeping in touch with her, but I do love this woman. She has been a great friend and saved my life and my sanity more than a few times when I was taking care of Mom.

Of course, most of you know BFF#4


As with all the women above, Heidi has loved me through the best and the worst that life can bring. I cannot imagine life without my many best friends. I simply don't know that I could survive the slings and arrows without them.

Speaking of arrows, I would be remiss if I did not mention the BFF who was brought to me with cupid's arrow.
Susan and I have been together now for three years (with time off for bad behavior). She has been generous and loving to me and has been a "forgiver," as the song says. Life with her is often richer than I could possibly imagine. And when it's not? It's still rich. And we're never bored!

I have been blessed with many friends who make my life sweet. Many of you are reading this post. But these five women. . . well, these five women are my valentines.

With all of my heart, dears.

04 February, 2009

Inside These Walls

Biggest Loser is one of my not so guilty pleasures. When it first came out, I couldn't imagine why fat people would allow themselves to be humiliated on television for a few measly bucks. And then I started watching. Seriously. It has nothing to do with the money. These people are transforming their lives! Indeed, as I was telling Susan last night, I wish I could watch this show every night because it inspires me so.

But that's not what I want to write about. The beautiful woman pictured above is named Joelle. She had a lot of trouble on the show. She wasn't always sure she wanted to be there. She didn't really connect with any of the other participants; she rarely--if ever--gave it her all. At first it was a little irritating. After all, she had a wonderful opportunity and she was blowing it!

But then I started to watch her face and her body as other people were chastising her. I saw her when her weight loss was low. I saw her when she swore she was pushing herself, even though it was clear she was not. And I realized that she was afraid. I realized that there was some kind of big fear behind that wall of hers, and she was not about to let it out. She was not about to become vulnerable with those people.

I realized that in many ways I am Joelle.

In an earlier post I wrote about making some changes and stopping self destructive behavior. I have stopped over medicating myself with alcohol, I have been seeing a therapist, I have been exercising more, I've been working on my diet.

And life is better. I am down a clothing size, my weight loss is starting to show, my stomach and colon are in much better condition, and I'm doing better at work and in my relationship.

So what do I do? I have had several days this week when I just couldn't stop eating. I caught myself planning to drink the other night. I found myself wanting to hide away--skip work and stay at home (with food and alcohol, perhaps?). I forgot an important appointment with Susan. I mixed up the days for my therapist and missed that appointment. I am, in short, sabotaging myself.

Why? Am I afraid to be successful? attractive? happy? Yes, I think I am. I am also afraid that I will try my hardest and fail anyway.

I'm going to medicate myself with some Joy Harjo:

I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won't take you in my hands.
You can't live in my eye, my ears, my voice,
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart
But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.

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a place holder

Soon I will be posting a thoughtful post about self sabotage. At least that's what I'm thinking about today. . .

But in the meantime, please enjoy this lovely video: