On Sunday, after church and before lunch with my in-laws, we sat down and started a discussion. We talked about my writing and my weight loss and all of the other changes currently happening in our lives.
My husband has always been supportive of my writing. He wants the best for me. He wants to see my succeed as a writer. And he wants to see me view myself as a writer instead of just talking about how I want to be a writer.
I'm not sure how the conversation started. But, like many things, it doesn't necessarily matter how it started. What really matters is how it ended. And it ended with the unending and unwavering support he has always provided me - even during those moments when I made it almost impossible to be supportive.
The life of a writer is a lonely one. So is the life of an individual trying to lose 100 pounds (80 pounds now). But the life of the significant other of a writer and of an individual trying lose such a large amount of weight? That is a lonely one also.
It's lonely because dedication has to be given to writing and to losing weight. There are nights when I need to choose the gym over sitting on the couch and catching up. Nights when I am too tired from my one or two work-outs a day to do much of anything. Nights when I crawl into bed before he does - which is saying something given he has to be at work by 5am and works at least nine hours a day.
And it's lonely because all of this - the writing and the weight loss - is mine to do. He can be supportive. He can lift me up. But he can't do the work for me.
On Sunday, I asked him if he was worried about all of these changes. I wondered if, somewhere inside of him, he thought I might change from the person I was when we met to someone he didn't know any longer. We've been through so many changes in our almost three years of marriage and almost four years of knowing each other. And the thought of adding more change is daunting.
But with love and grace, he told me the same thing he has always said. That all he really wants is for me to be okay. That he would much rather lose everything in the world as long as I was not anxious and as long as I felt safe.
Then he told me he was excited. Excited for me to become the first I am supposed to be. Excited for me to feel comfortable in my own skin. Excited to stand beside me as I see all of the potential I have and then claim it as my own. The sky is the limit, he told me.
I've heard it before. I've repeated those words to others before - to my own husband even. Telling him about his potential and how he never gives himself credit, and then turning around and telling myself I just couldn't do it.
I would look for the tricks. What can I do that is easy that will get me from point a (needing to lose weight; talking about writing) to point b (healthy and fit; finished manuscript and cover letter)? And the answer was always nothing.
I took it as not being my time. But in truth, it was always my time. I had just never decided to do the hard work.
And there are times when I still don't want to do the hard work. When I am too tired and devoid of inspiration to sit on the couch and hammer out a blog post. Moments when my bed is too comfortable and I can't fathom rolling out of it and driving to the gym.
But it's not really about wanting to do the hard work. It's about just doing it.
And so, after our conversation on Sunday, I started to do the hard work. Thinking about blog posts. Considered the manuscript I finished three years ago and then restarted eighteen months ago. Remembered how I feel after each and every work out.
And I recommitted to myself. To my husband. To God. That this time is the time.
I started yesterday. One workout at lunch. And a second workout after an eight hour day of work. I continued today - leaving for the gym at 5am, working out for over an hour, and then completing a second workout at lunch. I filled my plate with salad at dinner and only a small amount of spaghetti. I didn't go back for more ice cream even though I had leftover calories to "spend."
Friends can mention the choices I make with what I eat. My husband can raise his eyebrows when I go back for a second (sometimes third) Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. And it might affect me. I might have a twinge of guilt and wonder if maybe they are right. But I still make the decision I want to make.
It's the same with writing. At the end of the day, it is my decision to sit down and write a blog post sharing my journey. It is also my decision to ignore my hope to write a novel - to just talk about writing a novel instead of actually finishing it.
Are these the same thoughts I've struggled with recently? They're the same thoughts I've struggled with for years, really. It is a constant battle between what I know I should do, what I want to do, and then what I actually do.
I am okay with fighting the same battles because I know that eventually I will win.
And I have won this week. Both through my work outs already completed and through my decision to sit down and write. And through my making better choices at dinner. And I will continue to win by finishing scheduled work outs and not giving up.
The life of a writer and of a woman trying to lose weight is a lonely one. It's a solo journey. Every choice is left up to me. I accept that.
But the cheerleaders I have in my life? My husband. My friends. My family. Those people I live in community with. My roommate and workout partner. The ladies I see every day at water aerobics. They all remind me that I am not alone. And when I want to give up, when I feel like nothing is enough, they remind me that success is always, and will always, be an option. (And saving motivating pictures and quotes on pinterest helps too.)
(title from "bend and not break" by dashboard confessional)