Reason #19 – So I can dress super cute and stylish
Recorded on May 15, 2013
I’d be happy to send you helpful tips and resources to guide you in your transformation – you are welcome to join my mailing list by clicking here!
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
– Karen Petersen/Smash Tank
First I’ll discuss the reason, and then we’ll get into the heavier things.
This reason…in all candor, when I wrote the list, I legitimately thought that being fitter would make me want to dress cuter. I wore a few dresses from time to time, but they never really felt like something I could tolerate for a while. It was a once in a while thing.
I really thought I’d want to dress cuter, and I think a huge part of that was because of how favorably I was being treated when I dressed more feminine, as opposed to how I was treated when I would wear a polo shirt and slacks. People would literally say to me the day after I wore a dress, “why aren’t you dressed cute today?”
Can’t I just be cute without the dress?! Come on!
Well, this was another reason I wrote while I was still seeking external validation. Again, the reasons were written when I was much heavier, and these were the ideas I had about what it would look and feel like once I had a fit physique.
This was recorded during a very difficult time, so I’m going to address that here.
When this was recorded, I was recovering from a broken ankle…and I was feeling pretty hostile.
A lot had happened in the gap of time between recording Reason #18 and Reason #19. I tend to go into cave bear mode when things get particularly difficult, and I sure did when things were NOT going my way during this period of time.
I had broken my ankle, and I was so, so upset about how it would affect my workouts. It was also having a HUGE impact on my work life (I was a recruiter at the time and would spend a great deal of time driving and traveling to work events, so that was NOT happening with a broken ankle, especially since I was driving a stick shift at the time). Since my job functions had been reformulated, I was adjusting as best as I could, but it was NOT fun.
It was hard enough to adapt with the limitations of having a broken ankle, but I was also super sensitive about the fact that I had limited mobility, especially after all I had accomplished in my fitness and nutrition journey.
However, I was sticking with the healthy eating and with the workouts. I limited my workouts to solely upper-body strengthening, and I was in the gym at least four days per week, lifting weights and fine-tuning my strength training regimen.
I had adapted to a pyramid superset-style lifting workout, and I would do two muscle groups per workout, and do two exercises per muscle group with the pyramid superset system that I adapted from Definition by Joyce Vedral. My lifting routine was:
12 repetitions at 10 pounds
10 repetitions at 15 pounds
8 repetitions at 20 pounds
10 repetitions at 15 pounds
12 repetitions at 10 pounds
Then I would rest for a minute, and work that same muscle group with a different exercise with the same model. So, since I was only working out during lunch breaks at my job, I only had about 25-30 minutes gym time with my broken ankle. My time was short because I needed a lift from the gym and our security guys would give me rides in their golf carts, then I’d have to change, work out, call and get a ride back to my building, change again, eat lunch, and then get back to work. At that time, I was the phone, e-mail, faxes and paperwork bitch of the office, since I was being severely limited in my job functions (unless, of course, when I was the only late person in the office, then conveniently I could resume some of my regular job functions, but only when I was the late person). While I was at lunch, the voicemails, emails and all the paperwork would add up, but I diligently thundered away at it, partially because of the work ethic instilled in me by my grandfather, and partly because I was absolutely livid with the work conditions and felt like I had something to prove.
While I was broken, people took free reign at calling me names, such a “gimp”, “cripple” and “hop-a-long”. I voiced how sensitive I was about this, and then was mocked. When I spoke up about it, I was told to “work on (my) attitude.” I said I would, and I put my focus into my work and into serving the people who I was assisting. Still, the bullshit continued.
At one point my boss actually expressed concerns about my weight loss.
It was laughably ludicrous.
I had lost over 60 pounds before breaking my ankle, and NOW there was a concern about me losing weight? I attribute it to the ignorance of people who don’t understand the science behind weight loss nor appreciate the hard work and habits that one puts into in order to change her life.
People automatically make bad judgments about the things they don’t understand, and not only did my boss have a SERIOUS misunderstanding my weight loss journey, but this is when it started becoming abundantly apparent that the problem was not, in fact, solely my fucking attitude.
It was the environment.
As far as I can recall, name-calling of any sort is bullying and intolerable, but when it comes to a physical disability, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. However, I wasn’t working for someone who had the balls to confront the offenders, it was much easier to just discipline me for my attitude.
Of course I had an attitude. I was the busiest person in the office, among the most valued and productive, and I was getting constant positive feedback from our phone center about how much easier their job was becoming because the work load was reduced immensely (I’m very efficient and by handling each call thoroughly, it reduced the number of repeat calls), and how much happier the callers were because they were getting exceptional service.
However, I wasn’t hearing about that. I was hearing concerns that I “wasn’t eating enough” and that I had “an attitude”.
Why help someone when it’s easier to just kick a woman who is down? What kind of people do that?
Cowards. Pushovers. Users. Bad fucking managers.
Writing this now, I’m appalled at myself for allowing this to go on, but I was feeling down and out, and I kept hearing “be grateful that you have a job”, meanwhile I was having issues conceiving that it was THEY who were indeed LUCKY to have ME.
So, for a little bit, I felt badly for myself, and I let it get to me. However, I finally realized that there are still PLENTY of things I could do, and instead of focus on what I cannot do, I focused my efforts and my attention on all that I COULD do.
“I’m doing great.”
I kinda cringe a bit when I see and hear this part of the video at the very beginning. When I said it, I knew I was full of shit, and when I see it now, I can STILL feel that same horseshit feeling. I was trying SO hard to convince myself that it’s okay, that I got this, that I really am okay. In all truth, yes I was doing okay, I still had a job, I was getting by. Though it was hard not driving and having to surrender some of my independence by asking a bunch of people for a lot of help, I had great people in my life who helped me a whole lot.
A huge blessing from this is I got to see who the angels were, and I got to experience first-hand what it’s like when the demon comes out in people. I know this truth because I’m witness to it – there are some people that are so insecure, so inadequate themselves, so unsettled in their spirit that they bully and harass someone who is suffering. It’s classic Ben Franklin Effect.
Not only was my job (which I LOVED the work but had SERIOUS issues with the environment) a challenge, so was my dynamic with my derby team. I was already having assimilation issues (I take responsibility for my part, but I certainly do NOT take responsibility for how I was bullied by several people who were, at that time, in positions of power and prestige within the league).
This injury was by far one of the biggest learning experiences I had in my fat reduction journey, as it gave me perspective of folks who have special abilities, limited abilities, and who are abuse victims. It helped me develop more compassion for people with mental issues.
My experience was temporary, but I realized that is not the case for many people. What was a challenge for me for several months could be someone’s LIFE experience.
It taught me not to be a dick to people.
Clearly I’m still experiencing anger about the situation, but a huge reason for that is because the problem exacerbated and ultimately, I’m no longer with that employer anymore.
However, I’d like to focus on what I did about it.
Success is the best way to get back at those that try to knock us down, and not only did I continue with my health and wellness journey, but I ultimately hit my goal and continued to thrive.
I did it. I healed from the break, I got my mobility back, and in the end, I crushed my weight loss goal. It took a while to do it – I only had about 25 more pounds to lose as of the time I recorded this and it took me twice as long to lose those last 25 pounds – but, I did it. I did it the right way – proper nutrition, moderation, and exercise.
Best of all, I did it while still working in that environment, and it got even worse after I was back on my feet. When they couldn’t pick on me anymore for my disability, they found another thing to pick me apart for.
Again, it’s not about what happened, it’s about how I reacted.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” – John 1:5
That is my favorite bible verse; I live and breathe that on the daily. We all have a choice – to fall into the darkness and let it consume us, or to find the light within and to rise from the darkness. Do I want to be a victim, or a victor?
I choose victory.
While this was initially about losing weight, it was inspired by taking care of myself, standing up for what’s right, and standing up for myself. It’s pretty amazing how much push-back we get from people when we make changes in our lives – they knock us down for being successful – and that’s because of how it makes THEM feel. People so often project their insecurities in an offensive way, instead of holding themselves accountable.
It’s so much easier to blame others than to take responsibility for our actions.
I used to blame. I used to project my anger onto others. I used to judge.
I still do some of these things sometimes, but I catch myself and own up to my blaming, my anger, and my judgement. After all, no one is responsible for those feelings but me. What do I want to do about them?
OWN them, do something about them, turn them around and create a positive outcome. Otherwise, it will consume me, and I will take it out on myself, or act like a complete dick. I don’t want to be a dick; I’ve got a good heart and I want to be a good person regularly.
This injury was a humbling learning experience for me, and though I still have some post-traumatic feelings that linger just like the scars and the hardware that’s now a permanent part of my body (come on, bionic parts are damn sexy), I am grateful for what I learned in the experience.
Now, I get to use this experience to encourage and uplift others.
It was supposed to be six months from the time I broke my ankle to the time I could start skating again.
I did it in four.
I did it in four months, even though my doctor was ready to release me in three. THREE months instead of six. Why? How is this possible.
I willed myself to be healthy, I willed my wellness.
I’d been doing that my whole life, rising above challenges and thriving on those little glimmers of light when it seemed the darkness would consume me.
It may seem so little, something as simple as a broken ankle. However, that broken ankle shifted my reality, and my perspective.
It really changed my life, and it galvanized me as a person, an athlete, a professional, and as a skater.
To this day I’m still affected by this injury, but it’s a part of my story, a part of my life, and will be a part of my legacy.
I resisted the injury almost as much as I resisted my sexuality, but eventually I adjusted. The week I went to my doctor to get out of the boot, I actually said that I had assimilated and frankly, it wouldn’t make a difference anymore if I was in the boot or out.
However, I was overjoyed when I finally got out of it.
It took a while and a lot of hard work and putting up with a lot of shit, but I did it.
My doctor called me a poster child of orthopedic recovery. I just thought I was doing my job as an injured athlete.
With a name like Smash Tank, there isn’t much that can keep me down for long 😉