I’m Worn Out, But…

The last few weeks have felt incredibly busy and productive and slow moving all at the same time.  I made a big decision that I’m at peace with now, but I stressed over what was right for a few weeks first.  I also just took my last Summer exam, which means that I have two weeks to decompress from school before it starts again.  I don’t always whine about needing a break from school, but right now, I’m happy to have one.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but I’m tired.  Last night I could sleep.  I usually snooze only a moment or two after my head hits the pillow, but I knew that I needed to be up at 4:45  am.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard to sleep when I know that I am starting my day early, but my mind just wouldn’t slow down last night.  At least I can say that as a result, I know that I aced my final exam.  I scored a 99% on my midterm for the same class, and I’m guessing that my final exam will be similarly scored.

I haven’t spent much time online, which seems to be a theme in my life these days.  I mean, I still post occasional photos of my iced, nonfat caramel macchiatos from Starbucks on Instagram from time to time, but I seem to consistently lack a need to connect here in the way that I used to. (I’ve been saying that a lot lately…at least when I’m here. Ha)

I’m weighing in at Mom’s house once a week, and it’s so refreshing to see the numbers on the scale inching down.  I’m not in the mood to be judged by the numbers here, but they’re moving in the right direction for the first time in quite some time.  I started tracking my food intake when I left Fitbloggin after visiting with friends who understand my weight issues, and I’m trying to make good choices one day at a time.

It’s funny.  Even at my lowest weight, which was 284 pounds, I was still obese.  I was just less obese than now, and it felt so much better (physically) than this.  I was more confident – not so much due to my size – but rather because I was in control.  I want the feelings of self-control to become second  nature again so I’m working on it.

The last few weeks have been tough, but I feel like I can finally relax again.  I’m worn out, but I’m happy.  I’m also keenly aware and thankful for everything that makes my life awesome.

 

Just Checking In

It’s finally Friday!  My week has been extraordinarly busy, and I got a lot more accomplished.  That said, the week has been dragging, and I’m so happy that the weekend is almost here.  I’m also thankful for the time that I got to spend with some awesome ladies last night.

Starbucks.jpg

After considering whether or not I wanted to purse a teaching certificate, I realized that it’s nor necessary for me.  I’d really prefer to teach at the collegiate level, which means that I can get a Master’s in Communications and work a second job as an adjunct professor.  At that point, I can decide whether or not to pursue a Ph. D.  (How cool would it be to call me Dr. Kenlie? Ha.)

I took another giant life step forward this week.  I’m not ready to discuss it online, but I’m feeling confident about my future, secure in my faith in God and ready to see what else He has planned for me.

As I continue to evolve, I find myself changing the way that I do things online.  There are certain things that I just don’t plan to seek approval for anymore, which means that I don’t have much to say today.

Throughout the last week, I’ve continued to be more mindful about what I eat, but I still need to find my way back into a healthy cardio groove.

Finals are coming up this week, and I’m ready for class to be over.  I love school, but I do not love every class.  I’m learning, but I’m worn and looking forward to the two week break after my last final exam on Wednesday.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am for the work that God is doing in my life right now?  I don’t wish to elaborate, at least for now, but I’m in a very good place and grateful for it.

Does anyone else feel like this week was long and busy?

 

When I Grow Up

I’m officially 34 years old now, and as I look back at the last year, I feel pretty awesome about what lies ahead.

I talk about school a lot, but I rarely get specific. I’m studying public relations and marketing, but I’ve also inadvertently used my electives to study health sciences.

I guess it’s weird to be a student at my age, but I like it. In fact, I love being in the classroom, and recently I joked that if I could get paid to go to school, I’d do it forever. Then a light bulb went off in my mind. I could be a teacher.

I’ve always joked that I like money too much to teach, but under the right circumstances, it could be awesome! It would give me the opportunity to help others learn, and it would also create a level of stability in my career that I haven’t experienced up to this point. It would also allow me to spend time traveling, which is something that I enjoy. (I’m writing this post from a plane too.)

Living in New Orleans has been a better experience than I ever imagined, but I can see myself moving on at some point. Why not get a teaching certificate first?

I love learning, and there’s something so awesome about seeing a child who didn’t think he could do it realize that he could. (I experienced that earlier this year, and I’d like to again.)

I realize that it takes a certain kind of person to teach, but I think it’s something that I’d be good at. My mom was a teacher, and my sister is a teacher now. Maybe it runs in my blood?

If I go into teaching, I’ll still be involved in other things, but I think that’s okay. I realize that it’s an important decision to make before I commit to getting certified, but I have a few months to think about it. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot recently, and it seems like a great idea.

Are there any teachers reading this? If so, what made you decide to become an educator? What do you love about it? What do you wish you could change?

The More I Learn, The More I Realize That There’s So Much That I Don’t Know

There’s no question when it comes to whether or not I am as perfect as I can be already. I’m not. I have so much to learn, but often times, what holds me back is in inability to admit that I still have so much to learn.

I know that I need to eat less, move more, etc. What I struggle to understand is why I want to eat so much so often. Delving into the associated feelings to find an answer threatens to put me in a place in which I have to feel some uncomfortable things.

Why do I feel such a strong urge to go out of my way to make a stop at Krispy Kreme on my way home from a certain man’s house? Am I sabotaging myself since he doesn’t love me quite enough? Am I trying to fill a void? Am I depressed because I’m not getting what I want when I want it?

I could answer yes to all of these questions, but in thinking about these things, I find myself trying to put on a face of bravery or indifference to spare myself from feeling those unhappy feelings.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, and I am. I have so much. I
struggle to admit that I still want more (in relationships, in weight-loss, in everything…) because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for everything that I do have.

Gaining control of my life is obviously a multi-faceted process, and I’m not succeeding in all of the areas yet. Overall, I’m happy more often than I’m sad. I’m thankful more often than I’m envious. I’m at peace more often than I’m stressed.

I’m in a good place, but I’d like to get to an even better place. Can I do that without trudging through some uncomfortable emotions to get there? Probably definitely not.

It’s not always easy to love myself just because (not because I lost some weight or because I’m doing well in school or because I’ve accomplished x, y or z) just because, but it’s getting easier.

I’m learning that my existence (my purpose) is to learn and change and grow. I want to impact others with my positive attitude and with my willingness to try and fail and try again.

Success isn’t about getting from point A to point B without making mistakes. It’s about continuing to fight through obstacles and starting over when necessary. It’s about understanding who you are and what your purpose is, and then turning those thoughts into action.

The Handsome Guy at the Coffee Shop

Dating isn’t easy in my body, but the truth is, it’s complicated for most people. I just have the added frustration fun of waiting for someone to see past my size and gorgeous friends.  (Seriously, I have some incredibly pretty friends, but I wouldn’t trade them.)

I spend a lot of time at Starbucks because of the free iced coffee and tea refills and Wi-Fi.  I’m there several times a week for meetings, coffee with friends and to work or study before of after class, and lately, I’ve noticed that I’m not the only habitual tea drinker at that particular location.

There’s a guy.  He’s tall, dark and incredibly handsome, and he’s been in my line of sight during my last several trips to Starbucks.  He tends to show up around the time that I do or a few minutes later, and while I wouldn’t dream of talking to him, I wish I had enough confidence to consider it.

I don’t know the guy.  Maybe he’s a jerk, but he seems like the handsome, slightly nerdy type who would know that Eric Cantor was defeated in the Virginia primary earlier this week.  (Nerdy, politically aware girls can dream too.)

Since there’s no way that I’d talk to him first, I suppose I’ll just have to drink my coffee in silence, while wondering what his name is or if he likes cupcakes.  (If I had to guess, I’d say that he’s not crazy about them, but I could look past that…maybe.)

Have you ever seen someone and felt like you just had to know them?  If so, did you act on it?

 

Tieks and Tory Burch and Why Target Won

Last week I wrote a post about Tieks and Tory Burch because I desperately needed new flats.  I love Tory Burch, but when I was searching for a replacement for my latest, doomed pair, I didn’t see anything as cute or versatile my last pair.

While I was at Target with my friend, Ariel, we decided to take a look at the shoes.  I don’t often buy shoes from Target, but I have been happy with the ones that I’ve had in the past so I looked too.

Good grief!  I found a few pairs of amazing flats!  The gold ones below are adorable and comfy, and they were only $16.99!  Seriously?  They’re cuter than the expensive pairs I saw over the weekend, and they’re versatile too!

Mossimo Flats from Target

I was pretty excited to find a cute pair of flats for under $20, but I also found two additional pairs that were on clearance for $5.08.  Obviously, they found their way into my shopping cart too!

Flats from Target

When Clint met up with Ariel and me, he suggested that I find a pair of black and white flats to match an outfit that I plan to wear on my birthday.  (What? Doesn’t everyone plan their birthday outfit at least a month in advance??)

I disagreed with him, thinking that it would be smarter to invest in black ballet flats until I saw the striped shoes at Target!  I liked the sassy red stripe on the back, and for $5, I was able to complete the outfit.

 

Black and White Flats

By shopping for flats at Target, I was able to pick up three pairs for less than $30.00.  They’re cute and comfy, and while they might not be as durable as my favorite designer flats, they’ll be worth it even if they only last throughout the summer.

I also found a pair of Born wedges at Dillard’s over the weekend.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of wearing shoes with a heel, but these wedges feel sturdy and comfortable.  I also like how they look on my feet.

Born Wedges from Dillards

I found four pairs of shoes over the weekend, and I spent less than half of what I would have spent on a pair of Tieks or Tory Burch flats.  Sure, I’d still like to try the Tieks.  I’d really like a pair of these in black too, but I feels good about the shoes that I found.  I also feel good about their budget-friendly price tags.

Am I the only one who gets excited over awesome shoe finds?

 

 

Things Change

Clint is moving to Chicago in a few weeks, and when he called to tell me about the job offer, he asked if I thought he should go.  My opinion matters a lot to that guy, and I don’t like it lightly.  I asked him if he wanted to go, and he answered the way I thought he would.  He said, ‘yes.’

As hard as it is to think of living in downtown New Orleans without him, it’s easy to be happy for him as he moves into his next phase of life.  He graduated from Tulane recently, and he got a promotion that allows him to move into a bigger market (which will be a solid career move for him.)

I tend to get mushy when I talk about “The Suit” because I could never say thank you enough for the friendship that he’s given me.  So many of the incredibly positive changes that have occurred in my life since 2012, happened as a result of his willingness to say “Hey…who you are is okay.  You’re great the way you are, and if people disagree, they’re not worth your time.”

One of the defining moments of my life happened in an empty hallway at Tulane on day before our first final exam together in 2012.  I had just been on ABC News Nightline, and I was taking heat from online bullies who hate fat people.  One particular message that I received, in which the person threatened to find me, rape me and kill me hit me hard….really hard.

I was in tears, not realizing that anyone else was around, and Clint showed up right in front of me.  He read the repugnant words on the screen of my cell phone, and he gently put his hands on my cheeks.  He said, “Kenlie, look at me.  You’re safe.  This a-hole isn’t here; these words aren’t reality.  This is your reality, and he grinned.”

It was in that moment that I realized that my reality was safe and happy.  In reality, I was walking into class, surrounded by people who respected me, and I was finally creating the life that I wanted to have for myself.  I’m not sure what I had been so afraid of before, but that day, the fear began to subside.

Clint was instrumental in what would become a series of radical life changes for me that included accepting myself, finding a church home, remembering who I am in Christ and discovering that my circumstances could and would change.

I never knew what it was like to have a friend like him, and now I never want to know what it’s like without him. It looks like it’s time to add Chicago to my favorite destinations…There could be worse places to visit.

Kenlie and Clint at George Strait and Reba

 

 

 

Does Anyone Wear Tieks Ballet Flats?

I’m about to enter into my little travel season, which reminds me that I desperately need a new pair of classic, comfortable and cute ballet flats.

I’ve sworn by Tory Burch for years, and I can’t imagine any pair of shoes being as comfortable and lasting as long as my favorite Tory Burch flats.  (Please excuse the sweatpants…It’s late, but I needed a pic.)

Tory Burch Reva Flats

I’ve had my favorite pair since 2009, and they’ve been all over the US with me.  I’ve walked miles and miles and miles in them, and I have consistently received compliments on them since the day I bought them!  I wish I could keep them for five more years, but they’ve finally met their doom.  (The holes happened on a long walk during Mardi Gras.)

Tory Burch Stingray Flats

Over the years I’ve tried Prada, Michael Kors, Coach, Cole Haan and other brands, which were all good, but none of them compared to the comfort of my TB ballet flats.  I figured I’d just replace them with these, but lately I’ve seen lots of chatter about Tieks online.

I have to admit that I’m intrigued by Tieks because they’re adorable, but the price point is comparable to Tory Burch so I need them to be long-lasting and comfortable too.  Can’t the birthday fairy just send me this pair in a size 10 as an early birthday gift?

I like trying new things, but sometimes (you know, when shoes cost a couple Benjamin’s a pair) it’s good to stick with what you know works.

Does anyone wear them?  If so, would you recommend them to someone who plans to wear them a lot?

Facing the Past and Asking for Forgiveness

“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

I’ve always been pretty good at extending grace to people who have hurt me, and the biggest reason for that is because I’ve been given so much mercy in times in which I totally didn’t deserve it.

It is no secret that I’ve made mistakes that I wish I could take back.  I’ve written several posts over the last few years that highlight my regrets, but I’ve never really shared specifics.  I’m not sure that there’s any merit in listing all of the things that I wish I hadn’t done.  I also realize that I don’t owe the world an explanation for things that are none of their business, but I do realize that there are times when I should have said “I’m sorry” to people that I did hurt.

It’s hard to look back and think about the times that embarrass me now – times when I lied about my background (educational, financial, etc.)  It’s hard to remember how much I hated myself and how I desperately wished to be someone else.  It’s hard to face the embarrassment that exists in my past because I simply couldn’t imagine changing my circumstances.

I was conditioned to be full of crap from a very young age.  There were times, far too many of them, in which I had to pretend that I was okay when I wasn’t.  I became very comfortable in not telling the truth, and I let that seep into my adulthood.  I didn’t know who I was, but I knew that I didn’t like myself.  I also had no idea that I had the power to change what I didn’t like.

There was a time, more than a few years ago, in which I ‘dated’ someone whom I thought could understand and empathize, but the truth is that I never gave him a chance to do that. Instead, I never let him know the real me.  Hell, I didn’t even know the real me at that time.  I lied to him to try to keep him close because I desperately wanted someone to love me.

I haven’t given much thought to that man in many years, but last week I saw a link to his blog on my Facebook feed.  I clicked on it to see how he was doing on his amazing weight-loss journey, and my name came up in the comments.  Seriously…Nearly four years later, people are still asking questions about me.  Whoa!

Our short relationship ended when he recognized my dishonesty, and in an attempt to hang on, I told more lies.  It was the only way that I knew to deal with my feelings at the time, and I was wrong.  It’s easy to see that we weren’t right for each other anyway, but hindsight has a way of making everything clear.  I wish that I hadn’t lied.  I wish that I hadn’t hated myself enough to justify being dishonest, but I did.

I’m sorry that I lied to you.  I’m sorry that I didn’t have the guts to tell you the truth, and I’m sorry that I didn’t own up to it sooner.  You were far from perfect, but you didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated you.  And for what it’s worth, I thought you were great.  I just didn’t realize that I could be great too.  While we’ll likely never lay eyes on each other again, I hope that someday you’ll accept my sincere apology.  I’m sorry.  

And while I’m at it, I owe an apology to someone else as well.  My blog was the first place in which I ever poured out my feelings.  It was the first place that I learned that I could be myself and have friends who liked me just for me.  I’ve made some amazing, encouraging and uplifting friends through this blog, but I lost one because I was still struggling to be myself offline.

I felt pretty good about our friendship.  I knew that I could tell her anything, and I did.  I just didn’t tell her enough.  I wasn’t honest enough.  (Have I  mentioned how hard it is to look back and realize that I was dead wrong?)  I know that I owe her an apology, but I haven’t reached out to say “I’m sorry” because I don’t think she wants to hear it.  She’s tough, but she also has a good heart.

Maybe it’s too late to make it right, but I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything.  Believe it or not, I told you more than most at the time, but you deserved to hear everything.  You were the best friend I ever had up to that point because you were the first one to show me that I was cool just as me.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything, but for what it’s worth, I was trying.  I was working through my issues, many of which you knew and understood, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t a better friend.  I’m just sorry. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever experience grace and forgiveness from these specific people that I hurt, but I have experienced a lot of it.  I feel at peace, and I do know that I am loved.  I know that I’m worthy of love.  I know that God has forgiven me, and I forgive myself.

I know that I can’t fix what I did wrong, but I also know that I can’t change it.  I’m not perfect, but I no longer tell lies in the hopes that people will like me.  There are people in my life (several, in fact,) who know the sordid details of my dramatic, self-loathing past.  I recently read somewhere that we’re only as sick as our secrets, and I can’t even begin to express that freedom that comes in knowing that there are people who truly know all about me – my past included – and accept me anyway.

I can’t express the freedom that comes in being who I am and working toward being the person that God designed me to be.

The past will always exist, but I’m done hiding from it.  I know who I am, what I believe and why I believe it.  I’m keenly aware of the areas in my life that need improvement, and I am equally aware of the areas in which I am exponentially better.  I’m just so thankful for the grace that I’ve received up to this point, and though I don’t deserve it, I’m thankful for my life as it is today.  And I hope that someday, “I’m sorry” is enough to begin the healing process for people that I hurt…

 

 

Ten Things That You Probably Don’t Know About Me

1. I want to see Mount Everest in person someday.  I have vacationed in the Colorado Rockies and the Swiss Alps, and I’d love to see the Himalayas. When I saw Pike’s Peak again on my last trip, I was blown away by the realization that Mount Everest in more than twice as tall.  I cannot imagine it, but I’d like to see it.

2. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I am currently obsessed with The West Wing.  I look forward to getting home most nights and watching and episode or three. ;)  I plan to watch Nashville from the beginning soon too.

3. One time, when I was in Paris, I got to catch a few minutes of the Tour de France.  I had no idea how cool it was at the time, but looking back that was pretty amazing.

4. I’ve never been on a cruise, and I’d really like to go on one soon.

5. I’m extremely sensitive to noise. I just don’t like it. I don’t mind traffic jams, but incessant noise bothers me the way most people are bothered by traffic.

6. I’m really passionate about helping people apply and enroll for college. I’ve helped 19 people with the process since last fall, and I get a major thrill out of watching them succeed. (I also like having my friends in class with me, and sometimes that happens.)

7. Sometimes I have dreams about searching DC or NY for my favorite cupcake from Crumbs Bake Shop. It’s called “The Good Guy,” and it’s amazing.  I’m looking forward to having one in a few weeks.

8. I have Invisaligns, but I stopped wearing them for ages. Now when I put them in, they hurt like hell. I know I need to if I want to achieve an amazing smile, but I’m unmotivated at my current weight. Silly reason…I know.

9. I have friends from the internet that I’ve never met in person, yet they matter to me as much as the friends I see everyday.

10. I’ve taken so many health (science) classes for fun, that it now looks like I’ll have a degree in that area in addition to Marketing/Public Relations.