Today I was singing a song from Into the Woods which begins, “He’s a very smart prince.” But instead, I sang, “He’s a very smart shrimp.” My middleaged brain has been mangling words right and left lately.
Also, I snore. My husband has complained about it off and on for years and I alternate between feeling contrite (“Jeez, I’m so sorry I’m keeping you up, honey. I’ll sleep in the guest bed so you can catch up on your sleep”) and feeling put-upon and irritated (“For God’s sake, shut up about it! How bad can it really be?”).
Well, this weekend, I learned how bad it can really be. I was going away with my 13-year-old son, and we would be sharing a room. My husband warned my son about my snoring, but he said, “Don’t worry, Mom. It’ll be like white noise. It won’t bother me.” Well, the kid woke me up at least a dozen times through the night, shouting from the other bed: “Mom. Mom! You’re snoring again!” And ten minutes later: “Mom! I’m sorry but please! PLEASE!” He woke me up so often that I began to actually hear my own snoring in the moments in between his shouts. I sounded like someone making fun of someone who snores. I sounded like someone maliciously making fun of someone who snores. I sounded…very, very loud. Paul lives with that? I feel horrible!
The thing is, as you know if you’ve been with me on this journey for awhile, last year was a Challenging Year, and I gained a lot of weight. And it just so happens that, when I’m above a certain weight, I snore. So the malicious drill seargent in my head begins to tell me, “Paul can’t sleep and it’s your fault because you’re fat.” Who needs voices like that in their head, I ask you?
Before the whole snoring thing reared its snoring head, I had been determined not to berate myself for my weight gain, and for the most part, I was succeeding. This sort of this yoga-teacher Jen has appeared in my head, saying, “Wow, that was a really Challenging Year. Of course you didn’t have the energy to nurture yourself, Sweetie. Take your time and you’ll get back to where you want to be. Start slowly. Drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. And make sure to have some fun! Also, wear your seatbelt.” Isn’t that a nice voice to have in your head? I hadn’t heard or paid attention to the Yoga-Jen voice before, and she was a joy to meet. (Hey, people! Lightbulb! I kept hoping my Higher Power had sent me the Challenging Year for a reason. Maybe that reason was to give birth to Yoga-Jen!)As usual, I digress… Anyway, with Yoga-Jen’s encouragement, I’ve been slowly getting back to the gym, going snowboarding again, making healthier food choices (sometimes). Now, though, the snoring-guilt has convinced Drill Sergeant Jen to come out of hiding, as in: “Drop and give me ten! In fact, give me 20! Wait, in fact do push-ups from now until bedtime. Then get up in two hours and run 36 miles before work. Then eat a thin slice of salmon, a leaf of kale and a single blueberry, and follow that with burpees until Labor Day. And don’t forget to think bad thoughts about yourself as often as possible!”
It’s shaping up to be an epic battle: Yoga-Jen vs. Drill Seargent Jen. I really want Yoga-Jen to win, but I have to admit that there’s something appealing about the inner drill seargent, as well. I mean, I’ve always liked a challenge. I don’t like to be yelled at, but I do like to give myself difficult-to-achieve goals. So maybe they’ll join forces: Drill Yoga-Jen. Or Yoga-Seargent Jen. I’ll let you know how it’s going.
(Whoops, I just reread this whole thing. Remember the first paragraph, where I talked about mangling my words and singing “he’s a very smart shrimp” instead of “he’s a very smart prince?” Well, I’m not sure what that first paragraph has to do with anything else in this article. Is it that the constant emotional weight – no pun intended – of my snoring dilemma takes too much room in my brain, leaving nothing left for the conscious formation of words? Or is it that… Nope, sorry, there’s absolutely no connection. I think it’s just being middleaged that makes me talk screwy sometimes. Anyway, I apologize to my high school English teachers who insisted that the first paragraph of an article should offer a thesis, followed by supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph that sums everything up. Tough shit, Mrs. Whitson: I’m rebelling.)
In the meantime, I know that many women can relate to the whole weight struggle. So despite the fact that I can’t take my own advice, I urge you to try not to shame or guilt yourself about your weight, body, exercise habits or appearance. Because shame never works – in fact, it makes things worse. Don’t let your inner drill-seargent make you crazy, because you do not need that kind of brain damage.
Anyway, I’m off – to either exercise or eat a cookie. Just kidding. I’m actually waiting for my husband to come home from work so we can catch up on The Walking Dead. As always at this time, I look forward to hanging out with him. He’s late, but I know that “Someday, my Shrimp will come.” (It’s always a good day when I can throw a Disney pun into the mix.)
Til next time,