Your Body Has Always Been Fine

musings

I think about my weight and my size and my fat and my thigh gap and my chicken wings and my double chin. Every day. I think about these things.

I think about the fact that when I was a teenaged I worried about the same things. At a smaller size. At a lower weight. At a thinner face and chin.

I think about how every single day as a women or a teenager and even a preteen has been a self-conscious rage inside myself. A narration of insecurity and hatred field at my body. A constant tune of how I was never good enough.

I also know, that every women feels the same way or has felt the same way. I also know that we rarely discuss the constant mental battering we do. To ourselves, sometimes to others,

Our culture has beaten an ideal into our mind that is impossible. Impossible because it changes all the time. Impossible because it’s manufactured. Impossible because the system is rigged in its favor.

Every day. Think about that. Every day we pick at our lives. Pulling at stitches and scans, sometimes to bleed, sometimes a reminder. We go under the knife more and more for thinner and slimmer and better. We dad and crash diet. We tell our friends to join the cult of Keto or vitamins or CrossFit or no carbs. We buy waist trainers and folds of fabric to hide.

None of this is “new” per se. Humanity has a long history of fashion with its own bindings and stitched to alter our looks. What is new is that we are constantly stewing in a brew of unrealistic ideals. What was once just movies and magazines is a constant pull for our attention. What was once books and parties is 24/7 advertising. We are born and raised in “everything about us is wrong – to be better we must…”

The body I hated at 16 changed at 26 and will continue to. Why couldn’t I love it at either stage? Why must I pick at it now?

I treat myself, and I know others do the same, with so much hatred at every stretch mark and bump. I fuss over numbers that only have meaning because we give meaning to them. We are unreasonably cruel to our existence and experiences.

The truth is that at size 0 or size 24 your body is fine. Your body is this amazing thing that keeps you alive and takes you places. Your body has free thoughts. It can create life. It is a beautiful thing. Yet we are so cruel and so hateful to it

This is joy to say be unhealthy, it is to say, be happy with yourself. Don’t sit in the mirror and hate. Exist and love and be in every moment. All of it is fleeting. When you’re 90 years old and covered in wrinkles, smile that you had experience that gave you the smile lines.

I remember my grandma looking in the mirror and bemoaning her aged skin, her crooked bones, her gray hairs. But I also remember always thinking she was so beautiful with her makeup and perfume and scarves, and most importantly her kindness and love that filled my childhood home.

The choice is yours. See your beauty for what you have, or live a life hating yourself. I’m personally choosing the former.

Memento Mori

Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom

I have a habit of seeking out odd things. By odd I mean things like mummified cats (not the Ancient Egyptian kind), Surgeon’s museums, and Operating theaters.

I like searching out the oddities in the world, the weird places that get missed by the tourist trail. Some of it’s a love for seeking out gems that no one else knows, and then it’s the dark little goth girl from high school.

Since I began exploring the world on my own I have made an effort to see the odd spots that delight my heart.

No doubt just about every castle has its own horror stories. It’s easy to forget that castles were often involved in wars, jailings, beheadings, affairs, murders… you get the idea. Needless to say, the fairytales and kid’s history lessons play down these facts.

Yet, beyond the subtly macabre I have visited some outright dark museums.

Edinburgh Surgeons’ Hall Museum

I visited the halls and spaces of this museum in 2010. I missed it in 2015 due to its renovation but from all accounts it’s still as glorious as ever and reopening this year. For more information, click here.

The museum is attached to the historic and vital University of Edinburgh’s Medical School. Not only does it celebrate almost three centuries of work and education, but also medical marvels and a collection of items for educational purposes.

My personal favorite pieces were the vast selection of body parts in formaldehyde and wax preserved pieces with vein and other details.

(C) Surgeons’ Hall Museum

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

This fantastic museum is hidden in the attic of St Thomas’ Church in Southwark. The location is home to years of medical institutes and knowledge such as the original site of St Thomas Hospital, which was found around 1100.

In the 19th century the attic was made into the Herd Garrett and Theatre that has been preserved until today. The theatre was in fact used for students to learn from. All of those that were operated on were women and no form of anesthesia was used due to the lack of its invention.

While the history is dark, and no doubt people suffered, it was this work and the study of medicine, that helped us get to a much better today. For that alone, it’s worth a visit. For the fact it’s one of only a few operating theatres left in the world, entices further.

The Garrett itself is a magnificent display of what prescriptions, lotions, and potions looked like in centuries past. Some of the gems I most particularly love were are their collection of “tools of the trade” and old prints on how they were used.

What are your favorite macabre locations?

Make Sure You’ve Got the Docs

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So many times I hear this classic “I didn’t know I needed a Visa”.

Here is the truth, you ALWAYS need a Visa.

“What?” You ask. Because in London they stamped your book and you were free to go as a US citizen. This is totally true, but that stamp, at customs and border, was your visa. No pre-registration and paperwork needed. Just the stamp.

Here is the thing though, sometimes the stamp doesn’t happen. And a big reason is that your passport may not have at least 6 months left on it for you to enter a specific country. Or more depending on where you are headed. In fact, many airlines won’t even let you board the plane if your passport is low on time. Meaning that week in Paris may be thrown away if you’re not prepared. This happens a lot.

Now for countries where you need advance permission, it’s vital to learn who needs what and what is needed. Meaning: countries like China may take longer and need you to buy plane tickets before you travel. Vietnam only takes a few days to process. Some countries only need a form when you land and a $50 fee. Just make sure you find out and find out at least a month or more in advance so you have time to plan.

Where do you find these details? Embassy websites and through the US state department’s website on travel: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html

Don’t forget to also check warnings on places you are traveling to. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

Even consider registering with the state department in case you go missing. https://step.state.gov/step/

Other needs? Check with a travel agent or specialist that can at least point you in the right direction. Read a travel guide on your preferred country and ask around to others that have been to such locations.

Most of all, plan ahead, and have fun!

Happy Travels!

Recharge Your Batteries

musings

There are times when I think I might be solar powered. Which instead of solar, let’s try rain and clouds.

I say this because there are times where I really need a break. A break from technology. A break from scrolling on Facebook. A break from news. A break from drama. A break from friends. A break from my family.

I have always considered myself an extrovert, but the older I get, the more I realize that I need time to myself and that I in fact really enjoy it. While I love parties, meeting people, traveling, seeing new things. There are days when I just need to be a couch potato. Or I need to nap half the day. Or I need to clean when no one is around and in my way. Some of it is just quirks about myself and my needs. But REALLY I NEED time to myself. Time to be in my own head. Time to create something, clean something, paint something, write…. time.

For years I thought I needed others to fill my voids, to fill the needs I had. But the truth was a deeper need to have conversations with myself. My introvert husband helped with this transition and I have never looked back.

The thing is, when I was a child I lived in a house of seven people. The house was about 1,500 square feet, not particularly small, but with seven people, it got cozy. In that seven were my parents, my grandparent’s on my dad’s size, myself and my two younger sisters. I shared a room with my sisters. In fact, my two sister’s shared a double bed for many years. Some of this was poverty and cohabitation, and not being able to afford our own place (my nuclear family). As the years progressed my grandparent’s began having serious health issues that meant someone needed to be there as much as possible.

While we were the main people that lived in the house, my dad’s family often came to visit. Meaning at any particular holiday 14+ people could be staying in the house. This meant more people in my room, sometimes sleeping in my parents room. Sometimes it meant sleeping in a tent in the backyard.

Needless to say, I was never alone much. As a child such things don’t seem abnormal, as it is all you know. As an adult, you start to really pick at the scars certain things left behind. Being crammed in one house meant that I never truly learned to thrive on my own, and it also meant I never had space to feel truly free. (This is not to pick on my upbringing, but rather an observation.)

In college I moved into my own studio apartment, and my first year of college was a lonely one. While I was dating Ryan (my now husband) we were doing long distance (60 miles apart approximately). Then on top of that I had a year of losses of friends and family that left me facing a lot of demons.

When I moved in with Ryan I grasped at time together as hoping to fill the voids left where my pain had been. We fought a lot, because he needed alone time, I needed attention.

At some point I realized that I also should try alone time, and I realized it was what I needed. At times it has been meditation. At times it has been reading. At times it has simply been laying in bed playing a game on my phone. Other times I walk eight miles, to feel more alive. And GOD does it feel good. I love my alone time now. I love not having to talk to someone. I love not needing to put energy into something. I love the rest that I can create.

At times this means I am not always keeping up with my art and blog. For that I cringe, but for my all around health, I embrace is.

Happy Travels….or rest days ❤

 

Travel Freedom with Fitness

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When I started college in 2011 I did not fully ascertain that it would mean as many sedentary hours as it did. My Bachelor’s is in Journalism and a second degree in History, as you can imagine this means being sedentary, reading, typing, editing. Sedentary. Add a Master’s which was another year of sitting on my butt and I began to realize I could not be as active as I wanted to be.

What I mean by that is that by not consistently being active I was stuck in a loop of not being able to endure the hikes, tours, and active adventures that I wanted to do a whim. Why I thought it would be different is a bit of a muddled mess.

My parents grew up with midwestern parents that moved from being farming/ranching families into sedentary white-collar types. Add some poor genetics prone to diabetes, hip dysplasia, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers and you have a family that doesn’t look too good. Of course this is exacerbated by inactivity, a carb and fat rich diet, and sedentary jobs and you get me at a much less fit, higher weight than I ever wanted to be.

SO I made the decision over the last few years, post grad school, and with some stumbles, to keep moving. Keep moving in being active, working out, eating better, being healthy. I avoid the fad diets, and extreme weight loss and instead I focus on eating what I feel my body needs for nutrition. I avoid sugar and too many carbs, I eat more veggies, and I go for lean proteins. I try to get fat that is good for me, and not overly processed. I am simply making gains to be healthier.

I want to be healthier so that I can get out and enjoy the world without limitations and with the strength and confidence to do so comfortably. Each step I take on a weekly workout gets me closer to that.

Maybe the most visible sign is that I feel better all around, while the scale hasn’t moved much, my clothes are looser. While I have more muscle and a leaner face, the best part is being able to hike for 8 miles and not feel a complete disaster afterwards.

I have some issues to still overcome, such as being more consistently active (three or more times a week) and being strict with portion control. I have a hip issue that I am trying to find a game plan to treat which prevents bike riding and classes like kickboxing (it’s fun but my hip disagrees). With these goals I am hoping to be able to do more and more active trips, tours, and adventures.

In 2020 I am hoping to hike the Inca Trail. By 2026 I am hoping to add Mt. Kilimanjaro to my list. In between there I am planning on knocking off a few Colorado Fourteeners in between.

I hope that all of you feel inspired to keep active so that those things you love are in reach. If you have any tips, share below.

travelfreedom.jpg

Quinoa is great, but complicated.

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Many of you gluten free eaters probably love and rely on quinoa as a new staple grain to your diet. Whether in pasta, salads, cereals or crackers the grain has taken off in popularity over the last decade or so as gluten free eating has taken off to new popularity. It’s high in protein and tasty, easy to make, and relatively affordable. Here is a break down by Purdue on the grain. Now the grain traditionally grows in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile due to their fertile land and high elevation. Which also means that in recent years there has been production in South Colorado due to its similar climate.

However, as a result of global demand and popularity it is harder for farmers to produce enough of the crop that was once a staple to the diets of poor South Americans. Farmers have increased their standard of living but can’t produce enough of the crop and with 90 percent of world demand coming from South America, and only 10 percent in the US there is a bit of a problem. The Washington Post claims it should be “taking over the world” but isn’t because it can’t reach deamands. And the Huffington Post reported that this demand is ruining fragile ecosystems and making it hard for poorer bolivians to eat well as their stable crop prices soar sky high and alternatives are sought out, such as rice. Also, quionoa is replacing other crops where once potatoes and other foods grew for consumption by locals. With a country of high malnutrition rates the concerns are not unfound.

Thoughts? Concerns? Kudos?

Happy Eating

~Rebecca Robinson