Gina’s Reading: Broken for You

Broken for You by Stephanie KallosI picked up a copy of Kallos’ debut novel on the dual recommendation of Ev at the Bookloft in Great Barrington, MA and Sue Monk Kidd’s endorsement on the cover. This may seem insignificant, but without those two women promising I would be glad I’d read this, I wouldn’t have made it through the first half. Frankly, some of the situations and literary tactics were downright silly.

Starting with Part II, Kallos found her literary legs. I was finally interested in the characters–perhaps because she introduces a couple of folks who were believable–and the story started to make more sense. She also found her hook and finally gave you the piece of information that helped explain quite a bit that was out-of-place in the first half of her novel.

Where Kallos finally made it worth reading the 360 pages was in her weaving the global hurt of the Holocaust with the private hurts of her individual characters and giving a space for cathartic exploration of roads to healing. Not unlike the significance of the art created by her characters being more about the materials than the product–Kallos’ work gains its value, not from the creation of a well-executed novel, but from her exploration of themes that resonate with a searching reader.

Of course, it always helps to have a personal connection to the subject matter in a book. As luck(?) would have it, I’m sitting in my in-laws’ home in the Berkshires surrounded by my Jewish father-in-law’s gorgeous found-object collages. As I prepared to head out to the Bookloft this afternoon for a stack of new recommendations from Ev, this book called back to me.

I’ll leave the analogies for you to discover, but will be thinking lots about histories and family of origin and chosen family and finding a way to make something beautiful out of the tatters of another chapter.

Donald Solomon's Collages

Ned Andrew's father, Donald Solomon, made hundreds of these collages from every type of found object.


And So It Goes…

And goes, and goes! Another half of a pound vanished overnight to put the scale solidly on 159 this morning. So, yes, race fans, it is time to move the car!

As I get closer to my goal weight, I am working hard to ignore the failure voices that keep trying to pop into my head. They say things like, “The last 10 pounds are always the hardest.” They threaten me with, “You will never keep it off. No one does.” And then there is the always-encouraging, “Just because you have lost 30/40/50 pounds doesn’t mean you will ever be happy.” These thoughts are the real hurdles to my health. Sure, I keep track of every calorie, work out regularly, and continue to make progress, but the true MegaChallenge is improving my mental health. Unless I work toward being my genuine self, find my bliss, discover balance, or ________ (enter your mental health mantra here), no amount of weight loss is going to make me a happier person. My happiness should not ride on whether I am able to run 26.2 miles or fit into a size 10.

The MegaChallenge started with a rather flippant comment, but it highlighted a reality: that my dreams are achievable if I set goals and work toward them. I have wanted to be fit for years and just kept putting it off. When I was whining that my clothes woudln’t fit and that it would take 200 workouts to get into them I didn’t really expect to do those 200 workouts, and here I am with 61 of them behind me. Having someone take me seriously and say, “Do them!” is what finally got me off my ass.

Taking a hard look at the reality of what it will take to get me where I want to be and then setting out to get there is something I am getting better at doing. I returned to finish my degree in a similar fashion. Not finishing college had been hanging over my head for more than a decade, but I kept only half-planning to do something about it. I mentioned it a bunch but it wasn’t until I said it to someone who took me seriously that I was able to actually put a plan into action. I am scheduled to finish classes next June. I am 9 months away from completing something that I beat myself up over for 10 years!

I am certain that there are other dreams that I need to turn into goals. Thank goodness I am finally healthy enough to seek out positive, supportive people. They tend to be the same people who give me those nudges to seek my bliss. It may seem like a small thing, but it is a huge change from my history of seeking out folks who live to put me down. Like eating sleeves of Oreos, it was a “comfortable” way of living for years, but not a healthy one.

So, now I am faced with a deeper MegaChallenge and I have to wonder if there is anything I can do 200 times in order to achieve mental health. Nudges happily accepted.

Travel Success…

I made it the whole weekend without attacking the free desserts (I did have 75% of a chocolate chip cookie on Saturday, but I passed up the cheese cakes, pies, and ice cream) and snacks. I ate a bit more than I would at home – but left at least half of what I was served on my plate. It felt wasteful, but I overcame my “clean plate club” mentality and did the right thing for my health.

The scale was pretty kind this morning. It read 163. Considering it is my TOM and I tend to suffer from travel bloat (being away from home and sitting in meetings all day is hell on my system) anyway, I fully expect that pound to vanish without much fanfare.

One area that was completely neglected during the trip was exercise. I did walk some, but I never made it to the fitness center. Gotta get back in the groove now that I am home.

Oh, and Ginger is right about the 160 mark being when guys start noticing me, again. Not that I am trolling for men, but whether it is a boost in my own self-confidence or something else, I got lots of attention this week that I didn’t get in May when I did a very similar trip. It is so good to be back.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...