Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Before I became fat again ..

     Right now, I haven’t been this large since the birth of my youngest son almost twenty-four years ago.  I was twenty-nine then and with the exception of the snickers of new co-workers, I didn’t really care about my weight.  I was trying to prove myself on a new job. 
     However, my feelings were hurt when I heard the rude comments of how fat I was. 
     That is when I decided to take action.
     After studying health magazines such as Prevention, Shape, and Women’s Health, I’d learned to incorporate better eating habits along with exercise.  (Walking, weight lifting, yoga, and aerobics.) I’d lost 40 pound in nine months. 
     A few years later, I joined a Tae Kwon Do studio and trained in martial arts.  This brought more into my fitness routine as well as a positive sense of self.
     Flash to today.  Although I have resumed my MA training after a four-year hiatus, I still need to up my ante in my fitness routine.   Family deaths in three years halted my interest in myself care as I became sad and depressed with my losses.  With the meds I now take, I have ballooned to over 190 pounds.  I have a family history of diabetes, depression, mental illness, and hypertension. 
     Do I want to go out like that?  Absolutely not.
     It’s time to get back to the basics.  It was December 1990 when I began my regime.  How fitting it is to begin on again in the same month.

Free Spirit

According to, the definition of a ‘free spirit’ is a person with a highly individual or unique attitude, lifestyle, or imagination; nonconformist.
     That’s me.
     Sometimes I can be introverted and thoughtful.  I am one of those who dance at the beat of my own songs.  I am a Church of Christ member; however I have more than 10 tattoos I’d acquired since I was 33 years old.  I am an affectionate woman.  I hug people I know well and, in some instances, those I don’t know too well. I love colorful, flowing clothing.  I am a martial artist.  I am a nurturer.  I am very emotional, yet can be as stubborn as weeds in a garden. 
      To say I am not conservative is an understatement.  Don’t misunderstand, though.  I am a romantic and perhaps 15% traditional.
      Recently,a friend I’ve known for over thirty years questioned me about a recent Facebook picture I have up as my profile.
     “Why that color?” he asked.  The color he was referring to was the weaved-in blonde.    
     “Because my roots were blond and the braider matched the yarn with the roots.”  (Sometimes, I find I have to justify who I am, but this is not the case of late.)
     “I was just wondering” he replied thoughtfully.  “It’s not bad.”  (The world bad’ dragged out a little too long.)
      Not everyone knows how to deal with me.  I am different and it’s who I am.  I’d always teased my parents I am ‘their wild side.’
      I was a proud member of the Armed Forces in my late teens.  As it helped me mature and become more responsible, there was a section of me growing into fruition: the desire to write.
      I’d always loved to write, having done so since the second grade.  I had a flair for self-expression; this is when the tats exploded, the various hair styles, and the romantic, eccentric clothing. 
     Writing is my world.  Words are aphrodisiacs.  Taking ideas and creating stories are more fun than I can express.    
     I’m an odd flow.  I abhor violence, but I love watching forensic and mysteries shows.  I enjoy musicals and sentimental movies (“It’s a Wonderful Life” makes me cry every time I see it) I allow a person many tries, but I am hard on myself.  I trust almost completely, but I hurt easily and once a person exhausts my patience, I have nothing more to do with them. 
     I am hungry for growth, but I am not politically inclined.  I am spiritual, but refuse to argue about religion.  I respect a person for who she/he is, but I resent being told what to do.
    All in all, I am a feel good person. 
    This is why I am ready to transform my outside to match my inside.
    It’s been over 18 months.  I am currently 192 lbs. 
    It's been far too long.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life with Nick: The Beginning

   My younger son Nick was born in 1990.  On that day I had my water broken.  With each contraction, his heart rate dropped.  The doctors informed me with each one, he was in distress.  Hours later, he was delivered by Caesarean section.  When I viewed my baby son, his eyes were tightly closed and he wore his disdain with a pout on his lips.
  By all accounts, I believed him to be a normal baby.  He suffered a high hernia and was prone to debilitating colic.   When I tried singing to him, he cried worse.  (Talk about a hit to my ego!)  He wouldn’t allow me to read to him.  Initially he wasn’t a cuddly baby.  He would squirm from my embrace.  I simply ignored it.  I’d nuzzle him to my heart’s content.
  It wasn’t long before he began displaying peculiar behavior. He was two years old when we noticed.  Nick would twirl around and around in like a top without getting dizzy.  He played with pots and pans like other toddlers would regular toys.   He loved Hot Wheels cars, but he’d made them walk and talk, stroking them across his cheek.  It was hard to potty train him; he decided to finally go just before he turned three years old.   Direct eye contact was scarce.  He would babble incoherently and flap his arms like a chicken.   Loud noises caused him to cover his ears.  He seemed to close into himself.  When he became older, he was obsessed with deceased family members.
   Although I noticed, I chose to ignore it.  Every child is not supposed to be the same.   However, my in-laws broached the subject about getting him checked out by a doctor.  I was overprotective, holding firm he would eventually outgrow the abnormalities he displayed.  Soon, the Husband pressed the issue and irritated, I made an appointment with our family doctor, if only to prove a point nothing was wrong with him.
    But there was.
    Nick had Autism Spectrum Disorder, a serious developmental social disability which affects approximately 1% of children in the U. S.  Autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age, making it the fastest growing disorder in the U.S.  In all, autism now affects 1 in 88 children. During Nick’s diagnosis, the percentile was smaller.  ASD can be associated with intellectual frailty, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. 
    I must confess I was crushed.  Did my sins fall upon my son?  Was my body faulty?  Did I carry too much stress?  As a mother, I felt I failed him somehow.  Once I got over feeling sorry for myself, I had come to realize this occurrence was one of life’s happenstances.
   His dad and I were determined to do the best for him.  The Husband never handled Nick with kid gloves.  He taught our son to tolerate loud noises such as thunder.  I was his advocate within the Guilford County School System, never allowing his records to replicate him as “retarded” when he clearly wasn’t.  I would take him to therapists, be available anytime his instructors needed me.  I took him with me wherever I went.  I exposed him to activities like the zoo, musicals, and plays.
     The road to now hadn’t been easy.  It had taken a lot of work and a lot of prayer.  We were fortunate Nick was not as severely impaired as some of his counterparts.   There’s what’s called ‘steps’ – 21 in all – which make up the total spectrum.  The more steps a child has in his genetic make-up, the more severely challenged he or she may be.
  We refused to treat him like an invalid.
   To our delight, he is very smart and outgoing.  Sometimes new things challenge him, but he adapts to various situations.  Nick is an autistic person who maneuvers life independently.   He has Asperger’s autism, one in which is high functioning.   He is a stickler for orderly living.  Everything in his room has a place and it stays put – unless his brother moves things just to get to him!  He keeps his own banking account.  He attends community college.  He holds down a job.  He drives his own car.  He is extremely friendly, a proper social butterfly.
   It takes a village to raise an autistic family member.   Our extended family as well as our church family loves him without fail.  Nick’s idiosyncrasies may be strange, but they are endearing and they are a part of Nick’s character.   I stand in awe of his resilience and self-reliance.  He won’t allow me to baby him.    His gentle demeanor commands respect.
  Having a challenged son has its rewards.  Life through his eyes is more simplistic.  His smile is my smile.  His accomplishments have me shouting so much with joy he’ll hiss “Mom!  People can hear you!”
  On occasion I wonder what he would be like if he were “normal”, you know ..with a girlfriend, his own place, children of his own, etc.  God has control over that as He had the whole time.
  The clearness of it all is Nick is his kind of normal.  I wouldn’t change a thing about him.  He is indeed my angel on Earth.

Monday, November 25, 2013


You're in the clouds.  No more pain.
You're in God's lap.  I keep calling your name.
You're the mid child, wild child, all-the-way-live child,
That 'girl is on fire' child.

The first time, glazed eyes and charcoal promises
Flowed like a babbling brook. 
I'll get better.  Wait and see.
You meant it then.

The second time, you grabbed my hand
After the bucket I fetched
Just before you wretched.
You meant it then.

The third time you splashed
Daddy's pills down with Seagram's.
The good stuff.  There were so many
Empty bottles.
You meant it then.

He never knew when he flew
Away a few weeks after you;
How shocked he probably was
When he saw you!
How we wept over you!

I got your stuff,
Went through your stuff,
Gave away your stuff
To Goodwill.

How I wish your ass would've
Came and asked me why I
Messing with your stuff.

You'd tell me I was I was
Crazy talking to myself,
But you didn't. 

You never came.
There's no one to blame
Because you were gone
Just the same

 Cia say your butt
Had not business doing that.
She's mad.  I am, too;
But I can't judge you.
That's Supreme Court stuff.

I didn't see,
Couldn't see,
Didnt' want to see.
Tried to believe.
But what better place
For you than Paradise?
It must be nice
Than you ain't hurting
No  more.


Copyright November 24, 2013 by Elle Chrystopher
All rights reserved.



*Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

About Libras

Chubby? Try FAT!

     OK.  I admit it.  I am now fat!  It took a long time to get this way, but believe me .. I don't like it one bit. 
     I know how rude folks are to those of us who are.  It doesn't matter the reason how one gets here.  Those of you that aren't have neither sympathy nor words of encouragement for me.  I have to dig deep again to move it and lose it.
     Twenty-four years ago you wouldn't have called me active.  I didn't know what the word meant!  I had given birth to my second child and, after beginning a new job and having to suffer snide comments about my post-baby silhouette, I took drastic measures and got rid of it in nine months. 
     Fast forward to 2013.  I had not only lost both my dad and sister within weeks of each other, I had developed PTSD.  I was -- still am -- on major psyche meds to get mentally in balance.  (If you'd ever been on this stuff, you'd know how much they both level you brain chemicals and simultaneously slow your energy down.  And did I say it also places major weigh on your ass?)  At 5'2 and 52 years of age, I weight 192 lbs.  The good news is my rings still fit, my nose haven't spread, and I'm still pretty! 
     My musculature is still evident, but Lord!  The belly, hips, and thighs are taking a beating!  Dang if I don't look like a middle aged woman!  Da-yum!
     I am still a free-spirit, still flirtatious, still a struggling, writing Libra.  However, how much more healthy I would be if I can get this health thing back in control.  I went to the nearby Urgent Care to take care of a pesky migraine when the nurse asked me if I had taken my blood pressure meds.
    "I don't take that" I replied stiffly.  I had always had disgustingly low pressure.
    "Oh" Nurse responded.  She didn't believe me.
     Da-yum!  Now I had to contend with high blood pressure! 
     I am pear-shaped.  I am not in danger of a stroke -- at least, not at the moment.  Both my parents had hypertension, but my mom had diabetes.  Fat's not helping a thing!
     So, I'm back, literally, to Square 1.  I do work out, but not consistently.  I am a martial artist.  However, I have to do more to look svelte in my gi.  My latest journey is getting back down to a manageable size.
     Lord have mercy!

Writing Assignment

      I am struggling with my last moments and I knew it. 
     The room -- my daughter's room -- in which had been my home for the last few months seem softly bright.  I at least imagined it was against the earth tones  she had it painted.  I cast furtive glances at the window, hoping to see the greenery beyond it.  But my vision was blurry and fuzzy, smearing across the once crisp view.  In one corner, my two daughters, magically coming in perfect view, stood within the door frame.  I took in to what I believe may have been the television set, its sound muted.  It's been my buddy for the most part, but even this had abandoned me. I hardly could hear the blasting gunfire of 'The Rifleman".   My buggy, a.k.a. the walker, stood sentry at the foot of the bed.  I hadn't used it for weeks.
     Thirsty.  So thirsty.  My youngest, Alexis, rushed to get a dropper to dampen my dry lips.  She murmured comforting words, but just like her sister behind her, her expression was troubled and anguished, though they both fought hard not to show it.  I couldn't comfort either of them.

     It took everything I had to breathe.   The pain was coming in waves, reverberating within my body like drum beats.  The liquid morphine shoves the excruciating pain deep within a distant corner of my mind.  I didn't want Alexis to see any more tears.  She's so strong.  I don't know what I'd of done without her nor Andrea.  I sigh raggedly.  Thank God for that medicine.
     A cool hand touches my arm. I couldn't tell what it was.  A nurse.  Her name is Heather.  I imagine she is a pretty young thing.  I smile.  I can just envision Andrea rolling her eyes.  She'd fuss about my flirting.  I would deny it.  She would promptly remind  me how much she was like me and she, with a theatrical sigh, would sass she wasn't in the least bit impressed.

     After my vitals were recorded, Heather soothed calmly "Everything will be just fine."  I think I smiled. 
     My body is like a million heavy bricks, yet it moved fretfully.   I wore a t-shirt and a light cotton sheet covered my waist.  The faintest of Old Spice wafted across my nostrils.

    Instantly, each daughter held a hand.  The three of us knew time was short.  These two were the alpha and the omega of my five daughters.  I couldn't be more loved than I am now.
   My chest was heaving.  I couldn't say anything but I could hear what both girl-women were saying to me.  My baby was telling me Ma was waiting for me.  (I'd told them one day I would be on top of their mama.)  My first born, the emotional one of the group, whispered in my ear about what a righteous dad I was.  I focused on her, her watery smirk.  Andrea couldn't let go on my hand, so she placed her left hand on my chest, relaxing my taxing heart. 

    I heard Mable calling me.  In an instant, I saw her.  My beautiful wife.  It's been four years since I let her go.
   At once,  I was a kite being taken up in a gentle draft.  I hadn't been this fit, this agile since I was a young man.  I wanted to beat my chest vigorously when I suddenly realized I was viewing my daughters sobbing.  My head drooped to the one side.  A single, glistening tear stained the pillow. 
  My God.  I am free.

 After a final glance, I went in search of Mable. 

Copyright November 25, 2013 by Elle Chrystopher
All rights reserved.