They say there is no better time than the present. Usually, I am the one who thinks "well, but I could take a nap and do it later"... But I've decided that it's too long overdue to start embracing that sentiment. Today starts the first day of a new Mandy. I know I've said this countless times before. And sometimes I am new for awhile before I morph back into the same old, same old. But things have to change. And I have to be the one to change them, and I have to change them for myself most of all.

I have been chubby/fat/overweight/obese/chunky/husky/fluffy (take your pick!) my entire life. Well, I think there were a few years in the beginning where I kept myself on track... But still - for as long as I can remember, that has been an adjective that I could confidently apply to myself. I shopped in women's sizes in late elementary on, was constantly afraid of fitting into things and places, and carried around a layer of physical and emotional padding everywhere I went. I've managed to hold my head up high most of the time, and keep a smile on my face and a laugh in my voice because, for the most part, that was exactly how I felt. I have learned through the years that even though I'm carrying this weight around, and this is who I am on the outside, it's really easy to just shut it out most of the time. I'm surrounded by so many people who are a new layer of padding, who keep me safe, and support me no matter what, and for that I am so grateful. I have never lacked support in my life, no matter what stage I was at, and for that I am the most spoiled person in the world. :) But still, there are lots of times that get me down, and there is no way to not confront the painfully obvious: I am incredibly overweight, and something needs to be done about that. 

But today marks Day 1 of becoming a new me. Today I start Weight Watchers again, a program that I was very successful on before. And today I commit to the fact that I'm going to be a new me. My reality is changing day in and day out, and will continue to improve with the effort and care I put into it. I guess you can say I'm putting on my plus-sized big girl pants, and really buckling down. Something feels different this time around, and I'm choosing to embrace that and harnessing it for good. Because there are so many things that I want in my life right now... I wanted things before, but not badly enough to really stick with it. And the things that I want are so much bigger than they were before. They are things that will impact my life for the rest of the time that I am given here on earth (and stretching that time out is on the list!). And bettering myself physically is going to open up a whole new world for me, and will allow me to accomplish these things, however small or big they are. Things like being able to have children safely, to be able to move and interact with them more freely, to be able to fly comfortably or fit into a theater seat better, to lessen the amount of medication that I take, to being able to buy cheaper clothing because it's sold in regular stores... Some of my reasons are petty (liking myself in a photo), and some are huge (wanting to be a mom sooooo badly but knowing the risks that I bring to the table the way that I am right now). But all of them are mine. They are personal, and real, and valid. And today is the day that I kickstart myself, and start running - with these, and all of my family and friends and supporters, cheering me on. Reminding me not only that I can do it, but that I need to do it, want to do it, and will do it. 

So wish me luck, my friends, and feel free to follow my journey and keep me accountable. Because I know that I'm going to need it every step of the way! 


I get so emotional, baby...

As a female, I tend to be emotional. Shocker, isn't it? I've always been a sensitive person. I read into things, take things WAY too personally, and over-analyze. It's just in my nature (and by nature I mean my DNA, and just the ingredients of me.) and try as I might to put the kibosh on it, it doesn't work. Although I have to say, there are pros and cons to this "talent" of mine. I choose to call it a talent, because it's not a downfall, it's not a pitfall, it's not something to be ashamed of. It's exactly who I am, and exactly who I was meant to be. And so therefore, in light of a day where my emotions are out on my sleeve's sleeve, I present to you the following:

The Pros and Cons of Blatant Emotionalitynessism (if you say it's not a word, you'll make me cry.)

- by Mandy Denise Harter


1.) PRO - You know what's up.

I have been told by people before that I'm an easy read. I actually really appreciate that. People don't look at me and think "hmm, is she happy right now?" "Is she grumpy?" I can be fairly good at concealing my emotions when they are negative and it's not appropriate. I am a pro at knowing when the time and place is. But more often than not, you will be able to get it to some extent. And I like that. People tell me that they can hear the smile in my voice over the phone, too, and I dig that. Like I said, I'm good at masking when I need to. My old coworkers used to laugh really hard because I would grumbling to myself about a client or about my computer, and then would answer the phone in the most chipper voice ever! Uhthankyou.

2.)  CON - You know what's up

Yes, right off the bat I've thrown a trick pro AND con in there. Sometimes I just don't want people to know if I'm upset or angry. Sometimes I just want to fly under the radar. And even though I can mask, I sometimes let the emotions get the best of me and show when I don't want them to. That usually leads to teary conversations, or bubbling over chatting with excitement. But there are times when a person is annoying me, and I've tried so hard to hold it in but am unable to, and I snap or grump, and then later regret it. I'd so much rather be always seen as level-headed and kind, than to be the grumpy, snappy one. Fortunately, it doesn't happen too much though. 

3.) PROFreedom.

It's so amazingly freeing to just go with your emotions sometimes. It's helped me in my whole life. It's helped me in my friendships, improv, work, etc. It's freeing to be unashamed when I laugh so hard that I snort. It's a beautiful thing to not be scared to admit that I had a nice, long, shower cry. The freedom of being totally unabashed at embracing my emotions is one of the best freedoms that I think we have as humans. And I must admit, it's so much easier sometimes to be a woman and it be more acceptable. If I were a man, and I had to squash those down because of gender stereotypes, I don't think I'd make it. Although if we're entertaining stereotypes, I could spend my time fixing cars and building things with my bare hands - I wouldn't need emotional outlets, right? 

4.) CON - Snowball effect. 

It's like they say - it only takes a spark to start a fire. For me, it's a word, a song, a dorky joke, the sweet way that David kisses my forehead when he tucks me into bed. That can set me off for a good while sometimes. And the hard thing is that I don't always know what it will be. Which I guess is totally normal, but it's still a tiny bit frustrating. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by an emotion -- and then that adds to the effect. Pretty soon I've built them all up like a little lego house. And we all know how hard it can be to undo legos if you don't want to stomp all over them. It's not a bad thing to go big or go home with your emotions. But sometimes I would just like a way to stop myself when I feel it getting to be out of control. 

5.) PRO - Nailed it. 

With an onslaught of emotionalitynessism, comes an onslaught of ways to describe it. I never want for ways to tell you how I'm feeling. Sure, I can give you the standard "fine, ok, well".... but should you truly want an honest description of my feelings, just ask. I don't have to ruminate before I can come up with "slightly annoyed, a bit dejected, and ready for a glass of wine." In fact, the more time you give me, the more creatively I'd be able to describe my feelings. Some people choose not to express their emotions as blatantly, and therefore have a harder time articulating themselves. Not I, said the fly. (in this instance, I am the fly.) I will explain it to you in enough detail (if you so choose), that you won't be unsure at all - and will more than likely stop asking me at all. It's just so healthy and brings so much ease to be able to answer "what's bothering you?" or "how are you really feeling?" or "is something going on?" in a way that isn't superficial. In a way that I sometimes wish that other people would share with me. Enough of this "ok, fine, good" bullhonky. We're all friends here. Let's be honest. 

6.) CONControl.

This encompasses a lot. a) I hate being out of control, and sometimes (like stated above), the emotions control me. Again, I know a lot of this is universal, but this is all as it applies to me. And I don't like not being the one at the wheel, so I struggle for control in the middle of a meltdown or a jubilating frenzy. 

I also say control because I have been told sometimes that my emotions are the barometer of situations. Meaning that if I'm grumpy, other people get grumpy... luckily it can go the other way, but I try to be aware of this. I don't want to be in control of anyone else's emotions, but sometimes apparently it happens unbeknownst to me. And that's a bummer. See? I say it's a bummer, and you feel bummed out now, don't you? Sigh. I'll never win. :P

So now you know what it's like to be me. Which is great, because then I can take a day off once in awhile and have a few people to call in as stunt doubles. :) All kidding aside - I love having deep emotions and being able to express them. All pros and cons considered, I think I will stick with them for awhile. At least until I have kids, maybe... then I'm sure it's going to get a lot crazier... I don't know if the world is ready for that.