Accountability

{Remember to enter to win a copy of Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God Accountability by leaving a comment after this post. Contest closes tonight 8 p.m. EST.}

I’ve obviously fallen off the blogging bandwagon. This dearth of posting has mostly been a fruitful experience. I was flipping through a magazine the other day that revealed survey results showing just how much time the women surveyed spent dabbling in social media each day. The results seemed shocking to me because I could not remember the last time I’d popped in on Facebook. I recently did post a few shots of my little man because who could resist sharing this bookish look with friends?

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(Since a few people asked, those are just doll glasses my dad slipped on him. He loved wearing them though.)

I also caught up with a few friends and their growing and changing babies. I spent about 30 minutes perusing photos and status updates before logging off. It showed me the good that can be found in social media: how we can quickly spread prayer requests or disseminate photos of our children to loved ones near and far.

Yet, I also know that not so long ago I was spending too much time online – whether I was blogging, on Twitter, or engaged in some other social media outlet. When I talk about my need to cut back, I do not intend to make others feel guilty. We all have different sleep needs, temperaments, working arrangements, husbands, and children. All of this comes in to play when we’re discerning how much is too much. I have my own personal litmus test when it comes to gauging whether or not I should be logging in more or less time online. When I find myself getting twitchy or anxious or when I realized that I was, however innocuously, gently or absentmindedly, shooing a child away while I wrote something to encourage other moms to savor motherhood and their little ones (irony!), I knew it was time to take a step back. I’d also been experiencing some severe symptoms of burnout. I still am in many ways and sometimes wonder how I had ever time to write as much as I used to since I’m an effective time manager and still have trouble keeping up with laundry, controlling clutter, and homeschooling. I’m still trying to figure out what has to give or what I need to do to get through each day (more prayer, more peace, less stress!). Finally, as I continue to discern our homeschooling future, I knew I never would want to stop homeschooling so I could write or blog more. First things first.

But last night I realized I’d overlooked a benefit that blogging in particular offered me. I was enjoying my monthly book club soiree where there’s more wine-swilling and girl-talking than erudite book talk. This month’s selection, The Light Between Oceans, was beautifully-written and a definite tear-jerker. Read it, weep, and drown your sorrows and contemplations in that glass of vino.

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I was yammering on about some of my latest insecurities, which, sadly, includes the size of my bum. (Curse my vain wretchedness now, o faithful remnant!) I’ve been back to running for months now and have been frequently logging in 20-plus miles a week while also keeping up with my strength training routine; yet, the scale has not budged. My weight has not fluctuated at all; it goes neither up or down. I have literally weighed the same amount with a .2 pounds attached to it for over a month now. I only weigh myself once a week, and I probably should ditch the scale altogether as I did in my eating disorder recovery days. However, I’ve been reluctant because I really am trying to focus on health. But that’s the thing. I am healthy. So what if my body is holding onto those last seven pounds? I counsel people over and over to stop thinking that losing those last [insert your own magical number] of pounds will somehow make you happier, better, or more in control. It’s a blasted mirage! I know this, so why am I having trouble getting over it? Why are these relics from my eating disordered past haunting me?

I feel great running again. My mood has definitely experienced a boost, although I still have my anxious, insecure moments that make me feel like a teenager again. Lately it’s been a battle against my bum and me. I had a fleeting moment of derrière security when one of husband’s female colleague complimented me. I shared this with my wonderful girlfriends, who don’t judge me, and immediately regretted sharing it and then joked, “Don’t tell my secret. I’ll never make peace with my body or anything.”

I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious girls that is blessed beyond measure who always has something to lament about or has to tell “glowing” stories to make her look better (or thinner or whatever). Nor do I want to be mired in hypocrisy. I feel called to help women reclaim the beauty of creation and to help moms ditch the attempts to be the perfect mom and just enjoy their children and motherhood. I need to try to live that way most of the time, then.

Although my “making peace” reference was meant to be funny and we laughed, later that night I considered that the image I portray online, while mostly authentic (no one is going to air all their dirty laundry, not even self-deprecating me), also holds me accountable. When I write about what I’m trying to do, it gives me the incentive to keep trying to do just that. My blog covers myriad topics but at its heart it’s about finding God in the trenches of motherhood as well as working through your spiritual doubts, being a “good enough” mom, seeking a perfect union with Him rather than trying to be perfect in everything you do, keeping a sense of humor, and, yes, making peace with my body and all of those parts of me I wish I could change or have not respected or accepted as I should.

We all need personal accountability. My blog “personality” offers me this. In a similar way, I recently felt sheepish after honking at someone who cut me off since he very well could have seen my “Choose Life” license plate before he whipped in front of me since he had been closely tailgating me. I should have turned the other cheek. That “Choose Life” license plate isn’t just about my pro-life views. It’s about the woman I am called to be.

The same is true about this blog. I’ve always wanted to be honest here – to admit I have tough, downright disastrous days. Yet, I’ve also always tried to use my words (and the lessons learned from my own stumbles and struggles) to encourage and edify. I’ve been dumping on friends a lot more lately. I’m so grateful to have finally found some real, treasured, genuine good friends here. But I need not overwhelm them with my impassioned speeches or melancholic leanings. Lately, I tell the same stories over and over. I expose myself and make myself vulnerable by sharing my own insecurities. This is sometimes a good thing, but they don’t need to be the depository for every whim and emotion I experience.

Writing is strong catharsis for me. It’s cheaper than therapy. It keeps things in perspective. And it holds me accountable, especially when it’s shared in the public forum rather than in the innermost pages of my journal. It reminds me I have to live up to this Catholic woman image who believes in the dignity of herself and everyone she meets. It means I ought not to incessantly complain or vent about my real or perceived imperfections. Likewise, it demands I don’t share unnecessary anecdotes or stories about myself or my children just to make it seem like I’m doing a “good enough” job. The words I weave together, the conversations that flow from my mouth cannot just be about me. First, I need to reciprocate, especially with those in-the-flesh conversations. Talk less, listen more. Don’t be afraid of silence. Don’t fill the air in an attempt to come off as the girl who knows it all. Second, I must strive to share about the life I’m called to live as well as live it. And if writing in this space about the person I want to be when I grow up helps keep me on track, then it’s worth carving out a bit more time for it.

Enter the Conversation...

17 Responses to “Accountability”
  1. Bonnie says:

    Hi Kate! I love it when you blog and I’m always glad when your busy life allows for it.

    And now, what you said about your butt – I can relate. I hate mine. It’s flat and wide and just not pretty. Even when I ran it looked bad. Even when I was walking the hills of San Francisco every day for 4 months it looked bad. I just have a flat, wide butt. But my husband loves it, I guess because it’s mine and he loves me and the affection he shows me (it?) has been enough to make me think, “hmmm. Maybe it’s not that bad.”
    Bonnie recently posted..7 quick takes

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. My husband loves my behind, too, and, in fact, was amused when his female colleague complimented my physique and I was so happy. Why can’t we be happy when the only ones who matter – our loving husbands – think we are perfectly lovely? Let’s embrace our bums – whether flat, droopy, wide, petite, perky, or whatever.

  2. Oh Kate – I’d LOVE to enter your contest!!! Am I posting in the right place? Thanks so much!!! I’m so stuck in my “journey to health, where maybe I’ll find my bum again, but still not doing the right things to get there…” rut that this book could be perfect!

    As for your quote below:

    “I’m so grateful to have finally found some real, treasured, genuine good friends here. But I need not overwhelm them with my impassioned speeches or melancholic leanings. Lately, I tell the same stories over and over. I expose myself and make myself vulnerable by sharing my own insecurities. This is sometimes a good thing, but they don’t need to be the depository for every whim and emotion I experience.”

    I know that feeling. I so know that feeling. I have a friendship that I think has tanked a bit because I did just that. Granted, it has helped me learn the friendships that can shoulder my “speeches and leanings” but I mourn the one I feel I brought down. I thought in being real, that was me being good and transparent and not fake…but I should have balanced that better with not being a constant depository this past year. Sigh.

    Thank God my blog can be my depository! While I don’t blog like I used too either (depressed me about my time there, but I felt better when I blogged there more. I just feel it’s not a “rosey” place these days….but a processing back to rosey place when I do post) I am letting some real issues out there, and it does help. Do whatever helps you, and God has led you too. You are so valued and loved!

    Praying for everything in your life…homeschooling, parenting, writing. You are so rich in what matters!!!

    THANK YOU for this post!
    ViolinMama@Rosey Outlook recently posted..Biased…but….

  3. Misty says:

    My favorite thing about your blog is your honesty Kate. We can all relate and it is so comforting to know we are not alone in our insecurities!
    Misty recently posted..Snowy Day Update

  4. Terri says:

    So how does one find a good drinking, er, I mean, book club? Is that a feminine alternative to a cigar club? :0) I never know what fiction is worth reading. There’s so much junk out there.

    I’ve really been trying to ask God to show me what He sees every time I look in the mirror. I’m significantly overweight (but losing with Weight Watchers online) and even when I was thin I was incessantly critical of my body. Every time I saw myself in the mirror I was doing an assessment of what needed improvement and/or what I considered “hopeless”.

    As for my bum, I learned from my lovely daughter that a graceful, beautiful and totally effective way to deal with bum anxiety is to cover it with a pretty skirt or dress. She’s so smart!

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Terri, when I was an overweight little girl who got teased, I would get anxious about my body. When I was too thin, I was anxious, too. Most days now that I am working really hard to just make health come first I feel fairly comfortable. But as the bum anxiety illustrates, I have my moments. One day I hope to be completely free with God’s patience and grace. We shall see. God bless you and your wise daughter.

  5. Pank24 says:

    The “little man” is just too cute and edible! Maybe he should get glasses! Beautifully written blog…

    Your number one fan!

  6. Wow this has to be the most honest and straight from the heart blogs i’ve ever read. Im not much of a Facebook user myself. Its too many people getting into online battles over nonsense. I have been contemplating writing blogs for the past couple of years and now you just gave me the inspiration I need to start. I am going to use blogs to express the internal battles that take place inside me. People appreciate honesty and that’s what I want to bring. It’s too much negative energy floating around online. You are doing your part now it’s time time do mine. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Melanie B says:

    Always glad to see you pop up here and to read whatever you’re in the mood for writing, Kate.

    Being able to discern when you’re spending too much time online is definitely a blessing. And so is being able to step back. I tend to recognize I’ve gone overboard but have a hard time finding the sweet spot of just enough but not too much. A happy medium is a very hard thing to find.

    I’m always rather fascinated when people say their weight is constant within less than a pound. Mine seems to fluctuate even as much as pound or two from day to day. Do I have wonky scales or am I just odd?
    Melanie B recently posted..CONSUBSTANTIAL WITH THE FATHER: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Melanie, thank you and congrats on that new, sweet light in your life.

      As for weight fluctuations, that used to be normal for me. That’s what has been strange. I’ve really increased my exercise without increasing my caloric intake, and my weight doesn’t go up or down at all. When I used to weigh myself (too frequently), the number on the scale would go up and down several days. My husband weighs himself weekly as I now do, and his weight goes up and down a few pounds. Yet, mine literally has not changed for 6 weeks. It’s weird and maybe my inner control freak is just panicking slightly because weight used to be something I seemed to have more power over. Yet, my cycle has just returned, and it used to be long and now it’s 28 days (at least the two I’ve had have been that way) and I’ve felt great. So I am going to stop weighing myself for awhile. My body is telling me I am healthy. This is something to celebrate instead of questioning why my weight won’t budge.

      Happy mediums have always been hard for me, but I feel like I’ve found it online. I’ve found it, too, with my health and weight before. I just need to work harder at it right now for whatever reason. Maybe because I’m not pregnant again and usually am close to this time and have always let the pregnancy and health of my baby overshadow any of my past demons related to body image, etc. God is patient with me. So is my husband and my friends are, too. It’s time I be a little more patient with myself and be grateful for my health and the fact that I am a weirdo who actually loves to exercise and run!

      God bless you.

      • Elizabeth says:

        A little late weighing in here:) but I wanted to mention that my weight usually tends to plateau until amenorrhea ends. Then I can make it to my comfortable weight. So maybe your cycle is just what you need!

  8. Kris says:

    Right there with you on the weight. I’ve been running also, and eating healthy, but those 4 or 5 pounds will NOT come off. So I may just hang it up. I think it’s a combo of age, multiple pregnancies, etc. Sigh.

  9. Melanie B says:

    Thanks, Kate. I’ve been enjoying my babymoon immensely.

    I’m so glad you’re finding peace with the weight and with the online time. I often wish I were more of a weirdo who likes to run. Or do exercise of any kind. I’m so bad at making time for it. Though in the past three weeks I think I’ve realized exactly how much I am on my feet in a typical day. maybe I’m not as sedentary as I thought!

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