Friday, July 17

She Diets and She Speaks

Many of you who follow me on FaceBook know that I have been preparing for my conference called “SheSpeaks.” You may even recall that I wrote a blog entry to try and get a scholarship for this conference (Post entitled Scholarships, Walls, and Tampons- A Very Charlie Message). I didn’t win the scholarship, but was still able to squeak out the registration fee and am leaving for the conference which is being held in North Carolina in a mere 13 days.

SheSpeaks offers me a chance to do what I love doing- hone my writing and speaking skills so I can be more effective when I have the opportunity to reach out to other women. It has been a whirlwind of preparation these past couple of days, and the preparations are far from over, but I wanted to take a few minutes and talk to you about some of the issues I have been grappling with as I get ready to put myself out there in front of speaker evaluators, publishers, and literary agents. This is big stuff, folks, and it is a huge deal for me. Anything that is a huge deal to me means that you get to be a part of it. I am committed to taking you with me on my journey, wherever it leads. And for those of you who just read for diet ideas and help, stick with me. I am going to talk about my faith in this one, but trust me, it is all connected.

So we shall look at this whole thing and see if we can’t work out some of the insecurities that I am facing. Don’t you feel privileged to be in my inner circle? Here we go. Brace yourself for a whole lot of ugly, folks.

I am NOT like other women. This may come as quite a shock to you all, but I am extremely unconventional. (I feel shocked!) I also fall into the category of wacky, unconformist, and well, just plain Charlie. I would like to say that I don’t care what others think about me, but in reality- I do. I have suffered from very low self esteem in the past, and continue to struggle with that even now. To a much lesser degree of course, but even so- I am not the sweet darling little Christian girl who talks about love and rainbows and happy stories about angels. I am the woman who has been saved from hell and herself by the skin of her teeth, who is honest and real about her catastrophic life and decisions. I continue to make God call me His “Little Wild Child.”

For those of you out there who maybe don’t know Christ, or know Him because of the healing blood He poured out, this lack of “religiocity” may be quite comforting. You aren’t going to get lectures from me about the need for Christ in your life. What you will get is a darn good story about the radical changes that Christ can do in your life from a firsthand perspective. And I’ll probably say “crap” at least once during the talk. It’s not going to be a churchy message, but I promise it will be a message you will remember forever, and in your darkest hour, you may recall that I was once in the pit where you are and told you how I got out. That is my prayer.

Now, not every good Christian girl can or will embrace my method of preaching. And that is a huge concern for me. In the past, I would have become the chameleon, the person who morphs her message to appease the church crowd. Tweeked her message to fit in. I would have dressed up the JC Penny collection to look more like I belong to Rodeo Drive.

This is where you all come in.

One of the greatest gifts I have received from our bloggy relationship is that I have learned the power of gut wrenching honesty. The hardest thing I have done lately was to start giving you real numbers about what I weigh, and as you may recall, the number wasn’t under 199. Friends, family, and even old friends from high school read this blog, and it was one of the scariest moves I made. But the reception I received far outweighed what I weigh. I found that you all became closer to me, you related, and you accepted. In fact, after my bold move of being real and transparent, my numbers of readers actually went up. (BTW, here’s a shout of love to my readers in Lexington KY! You all know who you are!!!)

My goal at this conference is not to become who I am not, but to embrace who I am. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is fine with me. That doesn’t mean that I should change anything about me or my message. God didn’t give me another person’s story to tell. He gave me the message of how I was an obstinate girl who ran away while He stayed hot on my trail chasing me down. (What an awesome love story!) I intend to stay true to that story. Maybe it’s a good thing I am NOT like other women. How fun would that be, anyway?

Now, another thing I am stressing over is the fact that I didn’t hit my goal for July yet. I am 183.6 today. I am 3.4 pounds and 14 days away from the end of July, when I wanted to be in the land of the 170s. After reading the last blog, I know my tendency is to drop 9 in 2 weeks and then get stuck. But I have been slacking a little on the exercising lately. I’ve still been walking 5 miles a week, but I have not been going the “extra mile” like I should be. I really need to push myself, but I have been justifying it because I’m so gosh darn busy right now. I need to balance getting ready for this conference and making sure I stay true to the weight loss, which is not a selfish thing at all. Losing weight was something God asked me to do at the beginning of the year.

Many of you have heard this story already, but God asked me to lose the weight because He said “It can’t go where I want to take you. No one will believe that I am King of your life when it looks like you only serve Ben and Jerry’s.” No, God didn’t SPEAK those words out loud, but it was the whisper of my heart. I think this is what’s different about dieting now and why I am finding success. This is about more than fitting into a size 8 for me. It’s about trusting God to work in my life on something I could NEVER EVER do on my own. Learning to let go of what I considered normal (fast food, donuts, cookies) and letting a new normal come over me (fruit, veggies, whole grains) and embracing the adventure of change.

Something I am going to be very careful of is what I eat at the conference, and finding time to exercise. I am taking the staple (Fat Girl Yoga DVD for the mornings) and will see if any of the other girls want to walk at night. (Maybe I can start some satellite OSCBB walking groups and send them out across the country. Coming soon to a city near you!) One of the hilarious parts of this whole trip is that we had the option of putting our blog name under our own for the nametags. Of course, that made me giggle and snort, because having the words Operation Shrink Charlie’s Big Butt below my own is hilarious. And helpful. I’m counting on girls to watch me as I fill my plate at meal time, and question me on my choices. Accountability abounds!

And finally, as you all remember, my goal at 175 is to quit smoking. That has been the plan for 7 months now, and I am almost there. But not yet. Instead of pushing myself to hurry the process along, and quit before I go so I am thoroughly a wreck, I have opted to go as I am, Camel Menthol Lites and all, and enjoy the conference instead of going through nicotine detox while trying to be professional. I will take a patch to cut down on the day time breaks, but at night, this is still who I am. I am praying that these wonderful girls will understand, and support the fact I am working on food first, smokes second. If they don’t, I’m sure they will let me know. But I am open about it, am not going to hide it, and am secretly hoping I will find one other closet smoker in the group. (Horrible, I know, but still…everyone needs a buddy.) (If you are going to the conference and are a secret smoker, email me ;) God isn’t coming down on me about it right now, and I am on tenterhooks that my conference mates won’t either. One major change at a time is more than enough to handle. And when I go back next year, I won’t be smoking. Or fat. Cause I’ll be at goal. And that is way under 175. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

SO that’s the stuff on my mind at the moment. A lot to try and chew on, but what else is new? I feel better when I get all my insecurities out in the open, because then I’m not hiding anything. If you are a person who prays, I would like to ask that you pray for me about these things: That I stay true to the person God made me to be and don’t give in to peer pressure of conformity, that I make healthy choices about food and exercise while I am there, that I won’t worry about the smoking for now, and I will be accepted for who I am at the moment and not have to feel like a leper.

On a positive note, I was really freaking about the clothes I would wear to the conference, but not for the reason you might think. We are supposed to dress “business casual” which poses a HUGE problem for me. Uh, all my business clothes are a size 24 or 26. I am much smaller than that now, and am not exaggerating when I say I had NOTHING to wear. And I can’t go in the buff and have all my tattoos showing, now can I? So I looked on a few clearance racks at the mall where a group of us OSCBB Danville girls walk, and would you believe I got 3 outfits for $40! Enough to last me the whole weekend! AND (wait for it) they were all in the Junior sections, and are either a junior XL or a size 14. Everything fits! And they are cute! The whole wardrobe was found in 20 minutes, so don’t think I was obsessing about what I should wear. I just needed something! But the options I found scream “Charlie” and I couldn’t be happier about it! Tonight I’ll have Matt take a current picture of me and let you see one of them. But I was totally excited that it all fell in my lap. What a great God thing to happen to a rock and roll girl like me.

I hope that you have enjoyed delving into another segment of “Charlie’s neurosis.” See, I am just like you! (Well, maybe different in some ways, but remember- all of us, even the skinnys, have issues.) What do you guys struggle with? I’m curious, and frankly, I don’t like feeling alone. Post something you struggle with on the comments. I bet that you aren’t alone either!

Still shrinking and stressing-
Your ole’ pal Charlie


Julia said...

You look Mahvelous, Dahling! Simply Mahvelous! And your post was right on!

Anonymous said...


Your raw honesty is so refreshing. I agree that we all have insecurities and "issues" that we all are working on, and choosing to share yours with so many is giving others strength. You make me smile!

Kathy S. in Mpls

Rejoicing said...

GIRLFRIEND! I absolutely CANNOT wait to meet you in person @ She Speaks, you are beautiful not only in your pics but in your expression! I will walk/workout w/ you. That will help me continue my goals... My confession for today, my struggle just this morning was that I ate an egg & cheese bicuit from McDonalds & it was yummy BUT as soon as I was finished I felt badly about it... why do we do those things to ourselves, I mean I went to McDonalds to get the FREE Mocha & ended up w/ the biscuit & I WASN'T HUNGRY! Darn devil! Oh well, let the honesty flow... oh yeah, if you let your tatoos hang out @ She Speaks I will too :-)

Talk soon! Awesome post!

Melanie said...

I prayed for you that you will stay on your goal this weekend, that you will be blessed and that you will be a blessing.
I went last year for the first time but won't be there this time.
I look forward to reading all about it from She Speaks bloggers.

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

Hi Charlie!
I just popped over from Jen's blog this morning and #1) I LURVE those shoes and #2) I LURVE your blog. I think we are all feeling that insecurity mixed with the nudging from God that we HAVE to be at this conference. I can't wait to meet you this weekend.
This was my favorite part of your post: "God didn’t give me another person’s story to tell." This is so true and just what I needed to hear this morning!
I love it! Thanks for the awesome reminder. And I think you are great and can't wait to hang out.
I'm planning on the gym in the mornings if you want to go there for your yoga!
Talk soon,

Susie Q said...

Going to be a new follower. You are the inspiration I need. I didn't even LOOK at the scale the last time I was at the dr. I got on backwards. Enough going on that I don't need the pressure of knowing what that blasted thing says. Besides, I went and tried on jeans and bras. That'll show you what's wrong in a heartbeat.
And LOVE the shoes ;D

becca said...

PLEASE give me more real. I am not one of those sweet syrupy Christian gals either, but saved by grace all the same. Congrats on the weight loss. My husband has lost 40 pounds since April and he's still going. Me, I'm going the other way but I'm also growing a person :)

Anonymous said...

you are telling my story....weight loss, surrending to what He wants of me, instead of food. I started walking last July...and changed what I ate. I think I've lost about 50-60 lbs. I don't weigh myself...crazy, I know.

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