Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If it seems like I've forgotten,

I haven't.  But I have forgotten how to spell. How does that even happen to a person who was so religious about spelling once?  I find that so strange.  I just forgot how to spell forgotten. (?)

We're still here in the arctic tundra in which I live (remind me to move someday, ok?).

I'm still jogging... in the arctic tundra.  (Which is interesting.)

There was one time, in 2010, I cut pretty much all my hair off.  It's finally growing back.  This is me:

Left- me, Christmas 2012.  Top right, me, Sept 2010, right before I chopped my hair off!  Bottom right, me, Sept 2010, after I chopped my hair off.

It's interesting how people grow and change all the time.  For example:  I used to have an extensive list of likes and dislikes.  And I thought, hey!  That's me!  Recently, though, I read this quote and it struck me near dead.

“You don’t know anyone at the party, so you don’t want to go. You don’t like cottage cheese, so you haven’t eaten it in years. This is your choice, of course, but don’t kid yourself: it’s also the flinch.  Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy. 

You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like. 

If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way.
Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference.

Your new self is not like that. Your new self is the Great Chicago Fire—overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything that isn’t necessary.” 

- Julien Smith

In October, I decided to be healthier.  I didn't feel very good about myself most of the time, and it was mostly because I chose to eat pretty recklessly and never exercised.  It was one of those things--those things where I thought, well, that's just me!  I ate whatever and felt terrible and complained privately about it all.  And I looked at myself in photos and I looked at other people and I'd wish maybe I'd look better, or that my clothes would fit better.  I kept thinking of clothes I could buy to hide this or that or a certain way to stand in photos to hide it.  I hated being that person; I never talked with other people about it besides maybe my sisters or mom and housband because I genuinely dislike when people speak badly of themselves.  The world's hard enough--we don't need to be so awful to ourselves.  I can recognize that, and yet, I still did it.

Here's the thing.  My housband and I talked about it one night after I expressed frustration to him about the way I looked and being so badly out of shape, and how I didn't want to start jogging only to have to stop because of the horrible winter weather.  He stopped me and said this:  these are just excuses.  You might be scared to actually do something different.  But if you want to accomplish something, you have to be motivated.  Nobody can make you do it, and you don't have to do it.  But if you complain about it and you want to do something about it, you have to do it.  The weather doesn't matter.  It's just a bigger cover-up for the fact that you're not truly motivated if things like the weather stop you.  (Or you know, something like that.)

That's when the synapses connected for me.  I needed to do this for myself.  Not for my husband, my babies, my mom, my sisters, my friends, the people at my church, my dogs, whoever.  It has to be for me.  And I have to be the one to keep myself going, because nobody else is ever going to light that fire for me if I can't do it myself.

Since October, I've lost almost 30 pounds.  I would post before and after photos, but truthfully, I don't really like the idea.  Mostly because I think before photos are a little mean-spirited, and I'm choosing to be kind to myself instead of being mean and shaming what I looked like.  There's too much shaming in the world, and there's too much of that in my head anyway.  I don't know if it's the photographer in me, but I'd really rather be behind my camera than in front of it, too.

I like myself in all shapes and forms, but there are some photos my housband took of me at Bear Lake this summer that were huge eye-openers for me, and I'll probably keep them forever if only as a reminder that I need to treat myself better.  I look back and realize the way I looked was perfectly ok, by the way--I just didn't feel good about myself, and I think it's ok to change things about yourself if it's in a healthy, productive way.  I was not healthy, I didn't feel good about myself, and I felt sick a lot of the time.  If I have days now where I don't eat that well, I can absolutely tell a difference.  I kind of like that.  

This is all to say:  I'm not done yet.  And my secret?  Eating better and exercise.  Hard work, basically.  And it feels really good.  I feel better in my clothes, and it gives me something to be proud of besides the beautiful babies I have.

So, yes.  I've grown up a lot.  I feel pretty good about it.


Whit said...

i love you ash! and, i love this post. i have totally felt the same way and am now just trying to turn things back around and get back into exercising and taking care of myself. maybe you have helped me find a little more motivation in myself. thanks! you're a great friend!
ps you look smokin hot! i'm very impressed with running in the crappy weather. i'm a fair-weather runner.

Heather J said...

So your post really resonated with me. I have felt/do feel the same way and my husband has pretty much said the same things to me. I love the quote you shared. Truth!

p.s. you just had TWINS!

Katie said...

Dude! You rock!

Adrienne Hansen said...

I'm really, really SO proud of you! You are working so hard and doing so good! Keep up the good work Kleine!!!

Maren T. said...


Maren T. said...


Lauren said...

ashley, i always really really love reading your blog. you are so insightful and so real and genuine and thought provoking. i LOVED the quote you shared- it really got me thinking. i think it is a hard thing to consider that we ARE capable of change. i am constantly thinking that i wish i were this or looked this or was better at this... and i really really appreciated this post because you have inspired me to be better. aa has been so good at encouraging me as well. he has told me: "you have come this far to be who you are, and i know that you are completely capable to become who you want to be!"

ASH!!! i haven't worked out since, um... i cannot remember! but you have inspired me and i will begin this/next week. thanks to your inspiring post.

and most importantly, i am so impressed and inspired by you and your progress. thank you for sharing! you ROCK!