Look ma! I can cook!

Last Friday, I got my very first Blue Apron shipment.  You can click the link to find out all about the service.  I opted for the two person plan and it sends three meals (after I filled out some dietary specifications) for about $60/week.  That breaks down to $10 a meal – which isn’t bad in my opinion.  My cool friends, Shonda and Jeff, use the service, and they sent me a link to try my first week free.  Awesome! The shipment arrived from a delivery guy (who coincidently was walking up as I was leaving the house, and he scared the shit out of me) at around 12:30 that afternoon.  It arrived in a box that had a freezer bag inside with all the ingredients on Nordic ice, and a nice little welcome letter with three recipe cards.

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I’m lazy so I just shoved the entire spacey looking freezer bag into the fridge and continued on my merry way.

 

Saturday, I decided was going to be Shrimp Po’Boy day at the house.  I grabbed the trusty ingredient card, and very easily pulled out the required ingredients from the space bag.  My roommate Jason helped me cut up ingredients.  It was pretty easy to mix the remoulade sauce. I finished up the salad, while Jason cooked the shrimp.  The finished product looked like this and tasted pretty good for only 575 calories a serving.

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I went a little too heavy on the remoulade during assembly.  This isn’t surprising since I am usually sauce-happy.  The only downside to this meal was the mess in my kitchen.  That has nothing to do with the service; I always make a mess when I cook.  While making the vinaigrette for the salad, I squirted lemon juice everywhere (no surprise there).  I also got water all over the floor when I was cleaning the produce.  The downside there was that my boot kept slipping while I was cooking.  All-in-all, meal one was a success! Colored me impressed Blue Apron.

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Tonight’s meal: Orange Beef Lo Mein.  I am not an adventurous cook and usually am intimidated by asian dishes.  This wasn’t too difficult.  I was on my own cooking tonight since my sous chef was stuck at work due to the weather.  I managed pretty well.  I did burn my finger, but that’s definitely not Blue Apron’s fault.  After surveying the mess I made while cooking, I’ve come to realize that I’m about as messy as if a parent turned their 5-year-old loose in the kitchen to cook a feast.  I slung cooked beef across the floor.  There were chopped green onions and garlic slung amuck.  I even misread the directions and used two tablespoons of oil to cook the beef instead of two teaspoons.  However, the food still turned out rather yummy.  The portions were very satisfying, and a full belly quickly erased the pain from my burned finger.  Another Blue Apron success! This dish was about 700 calories each serving.

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Who’s coming to do my dishes? Anyone?

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Last night, I made my last meal for the week.  It was Chicken & Sage Chicken Pot Pie with cremini mushrooms and purple top turnips.  Again, the dish was pretty straightforward.  I did have to ask Jason how to peel a turnip (DON’T JUDGE ME).  I learned that I don’t really like turnips.  However, the meal was still pretty delicious despite that.  I pulled out the handy ingredient sheet (soaking wet from God knows what) and started chopping up all the veggies while Jason poached the chicken.

 

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I shredded the chicken while Jason cooked all the veggies, and then it was time to make the sauce! I must admit that I am not a true southern lady.  In all my thirty-one years, I have never made a roux.  Oh my! I hope you are not clutching your pearls as you read this.  If you are, rest assured because I made a roux tonight.  I even have proof! IMG_2746

 

As I tended to the sauce in a loving and attentive manner, Jason mixed up the sage biscuits.  The finished product looked like this:

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I’m pretty smitten with Blue Apron at the moment.  I recommend giving it a try because it is just so damn convenient.  We got our new box for the week yesterday afternoon.  Next on the menu is lamb and beef shawarma, crispy chicken thighs, and three cheese cannelloni.  I am feeling like a gourmet chef these days, until I look down and see all the mess on my boot because I am a horribly clumsy cook.  Oops!

PS: While stirring the sauce tonight, I couldn’t help but think that it was really too bad that Mark Darcy from Bridget Jone’s Diary (aka Colin Firth) was not there to help me with any lumpy gravy emergencies! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Bridget Jone’s Diary.  But I have to go, sorry, lumpy gravy calls.

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Patience is a virtue

When I was a child, my Aunt Nell would always tell me, “patience is a virtue which you must possess.”  She said this to me a lot. Suffice it to say, I am not a very patient person (I think I come by this naturally. I think you would agree if you met my family). It is one of my faults and something I struggle with. I know that I must be patient about my slow progress because I lived a certain way and had a certain outlook on life and opinion of myself for so many years before now. I know that I can’t change seventeen years of behavior in eight weeks. Some days are a struggle not to revert back to the easy and lazy way of living. I’m working hard on 100% believing that I am worth that effort and daily struggle. And these days, struggle it is.

I am no saint. I get frustrated and angry that I have not been rewarded with quick weight loss or drastic changes in my appearance. I’ve done the quick and drastic way before (with the help of prescription drugs or extremely unhealthy eating patterns). It didn’t stick. I know this. So each day I forge on and remind myself that I am changing my life, day by day.

What is really dragging me down right now is my foot and this stupid stress fracture. Yes, stress fracture, I’m calling you stupid. I want you out of my life for good. I want to be able to go back to the gym and do what I want. I miss my Zisters. I’m tired of having to respect the pain and modify my workouts not to upset my finicky foot. I’m tired of having to Windex my boot after a night of cooking because there are unknown juices and stains on my boot.  Plus, the gym has become my happy place, and I miss it. I’ve been taking it easy this week because I’ve had some increased foot pain. The source of the pain is either the aggressive marching I did on Monday (I can’t believe I typed the words “aggressive marching”), sliding around on ice in this boot, or from stretching while lying in bed. I realize that admitting these three things as a source of pain kind of makes me pathetic. Foot pain from stretching while IN BED? Surely not.

However, it is hard not to feel ridiculous this week.  Let me paint you a picture: I’ve been playing a game we’ll call pee-pee chicken.  I lie on the couch and challenge myself on how long I can hold it before finally getting up to go to the bathroom.  I’ve been drinking a lot of water lately, and if I don’t get out of this habit soon, I’m afraid I’ll accidentally pee on the couch (don’t tell my roommate)! Last night I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I was lying on the bed with my legs straight up in the air, trying to take off my pants without putting any weight on my foot.  I’m really glad no one was around to witness that debacle.  Or witness me losing my balance and almost ending up ass-first in the trash can.  Or witness as I’m washing my face and lose my balance with my eyes closed, taking out my shelf in the bathroom because I don’t want to land on my foot without my boot. Ridiculousness abounds.

 

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Beep! Beep!

No, I haven’t turned into Roadrunner. Thank God because I would not be able to outrun Wylie Coyote at this point. The beep I’m referring to is the sound my cart made as I backed up. Last night my foot was hurting more than it ever has. The pain got so bad while I was out shopping that I had to get one of those motorized carts. I’m not proud of this fact.

Those things are tough to drive. I’m pretty sure I frightened other patrons because if I had to back up to get something, I would laugh hysterically as the cart beeped beeped beeped all the way home. The cart also didn’t have a tight turn radius, and I kept taking out displays or knocking into the shelf.  My concerned roommate laughed and snapped pictures from afar. He’d also jump out of my way as I tried to navigate the aisles.

If you see me around town in one of these things (or at the Grand Canyon as the hover round commercials show), it’s best to give me a wide berth. Hopefully, I’ll return to being fully mobile and cart-free very soon. For now, the captain of the SS Injury Wagon is signing off.

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Take that stereotypes!

Let’s talk about the stereotype that all fat people are unmotivated slobs who are too lazy to care about their health. Here’s what I say to that stereotype: In your face! I got my lab results in from my physical almost two weeks ago. All results were great. My doctor even wrote “Great!” on my results before mailing them to me. This is a step up from the “Good” I got last year. I’ve gotten a clean bill of health every year for the past 3 years (that’s when I started getting physicals). I am a healthy, 31-year-old woman who happens to be fat.  I am also aware that I currently have youth on my side.  It won’t be this way forever which is why I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle that involves losing some weight.  Diabetes, high-blood pressure, stroke, and cancer are in my family history.  I know this.  Armed with this knowledge, I am trying to set in motion habits now that will benefit me for years to come.

Even though I don’t always make the best food choices, I am a very active person. It still amazes me that people are so shocked to see that I’m in pretty decent shape and have pretty good stamina, you know for a fat person. When I joined my gym last year, I got a free personal training session and fitness assessment. We took my fat percentage and weight and calculated my BMI. The trainer viewed all those numbers and made a determination on my physical abilities based upon them. As we were working out, (well I was working out, he was telling me what to do), he kept making comments (with a very surprised tone) about how good I was at cardio. I even fell during one exercise, but I jumped right back up and kept going. He expressed his shock at my ability to do this because “most people” would quit from embarrassment. He was kind of an asshole. I should have predicted that. He was wearing dress shoes during our workout. I’m sorry, but my new philosophy is to never trust a personal trainer who is wearing dress shoes in the gym.

I was told once, by a “friend” that another “friend” expressed her concern that I had quit coming to a bootcamp class. Said “friend” was questioning if I had substituted other classes. She was worried because 1) I couldn’t stick to anything, and 2) I really needed the cardio. That was two years ago, and I am still at a loss as to how my exercise habits were any of her business. The last time I checked, she was not my doctor. How did she know whether or not I needed cardio?

 

I bring all this up because I was once the self-conscious, fat girl who was too embarrassed to go to the gym and workout because I thought everyone would judge me. At that time in my life, I thought that I was beyond help, and was too embarrassingly fat to do something about it.  I didn’t have confidence in my own power.  I didn’t yet know what a strong, kick-ass woman I would turn out to be.  Sometimes life is intimidating as hell.  Sometimes we are hanging on by a thread.  There may be someone out there who is trying to change themselves for the better, and your judgment of them, based upon a stereotype can do a lot of damage.  Don’t underestimate me and my health solely based upon how I look.

I say all this to myself as well.  For years, I underestimated myself because of how I looked.  I would be too scared to try something because I just knew that I was too fat to do it.  I tell you what, I’ve done a lot of things now that I never thought I would do – run 5ks, burpees, lift weights, lead Zumba songs, spinning classes, bootcamp classes, have fun at the gym, push-ups, planks, etc.   Talk to your doctor about what is best for you based upon your health.  Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing or what  unsolicited advice someone is giving you (unless it’s maybe, “hey you’re likely to snap your neck if you keep lifting that barbell like that, let me help”). So stop judging yourself! Stop underestimating yourself! Challenge yourself and know yourself. (Yes I know, this is the unsolicited advice that I just told you to ignore but maybe listen to that last part).  -K

 

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

 

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Jumping off a Cliff in Jamaica – I was the first in our group to take the leap.  I also was the first to jump from the middle of a waterfall that day. If you need an “f” word to call me, how about fearless?

 

 

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Let’s talk about sweat baby

I’ve had to cut back at the gym because of my stress fracture, but I have not completely fallen off the wagon.  Sunday, I went to the gym and did some boxing, worked in some wall-sits, and finished with a rowing cool down.  I was in the empty group exercise room, headphones in, and was wailing away on the bag with my back turned toward the door.  I hear muffled sound and turn around to some guy talking to me from the doorway.  I had to take my headphones out so that he could tell me that he was a personal trainer, he wanted to work out with me, he wanted to know my gym schedule, and wanted to take me to lunch, and oh yeah, he could fix my foot.  I (semi-politely) told him that I wasn’t interested in lunch, and I have a doctor for my foot so thanks but no thanks.  Apparently, back turned, headphones in, and aggressively punching something means you are interested in flirting with strangers at that very moment…. Not cool, gym dude.  Not cool.  I’m totally getting pay back for awkwardly talking to strangers.  I just know it.

Wednesday night, I did some cardio (bike and rowing machine) and mixed in some wall-sits and pilates/ ab work at the end.  I was going so hard on the rowing machine, an older gentlemen shouted at me through my headphones, “Good job, kid. I’m pretty sure you made it across the English Channel.”  I must always look at hot mess when I work out because people are constantly talking to me at the gym to share positive encouragement.  I have mixed emotions about this that I’m sure we’ll discuss in another post.

Last night, I met up with my trusty workout buddy, Watts.  We’ve been missing each other because I’ve had to cut out a lot of our high impact group activities (cue sad, lonely music).  BUT last night was awesome! I did some more rowing (and now have beautiful blisters on my hands) and then we went upstairs and did weights.  It felt so good to work my legs on those machines (totally allowed by my doctor, by the way).  Then we finished up with some bar-bell deadlifts and then free-weight upper body.  I definitely under-utilize our weight room at the gym.  I usually get so intimidated by those machines and not really knowing the right way to use them.  Plus it doesn’t help that I am surrounded by big, beefed up men who make God-awful noises and look like they are about to give themselves a hernia or hemorrhoids or both.  If this scene intimidates you, I really recommend getting a workout buddy! It helps a ton (at least for me).  I forgot about how much weight training makes me feel like a badass.  After we finished our workout last night, I felt invincible! The gym really is one of my happy places these days, and that is definitely a good feeling.

However, I have threatened to Watts that I am going to make some homemade gym etiquette signs and secretly place them on the walls of the gym.  PEOPLE wipe your disgusting sweat off of the machines!!! I do not want to carry your body fluids around with me – no matter how cute you are or how nice your butt looks in those workout shorts.  There was this cute guy running on the treadmill.  He was bearded, of course, and had calf muscles for days, but I digress.  I noticed him Wednesday night, and he was back again last night.  I was admiring him from afar while doing my cardio (I promise not in a creepy, overt way), when (to my horror) he finished up running and did not wipe down the treadmill! He instantly became less cute.  He looked very sweaty to me, and I’m pretty sure he sweated all over that thing.  Don’t worry, I paid him back because I was doing some tricep work (arms overhead) toward the end of my sweaty work out.  He stood next to me in the mirror to do his hammer curls, and I’m sure he smelled the funk. So there! Take that hot guy at the gym! Smell my body order! Yeah, I sure know the way to a man’s heart.

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This girl smells…

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Torches in the Dark

Here’s another post of mine from 2008. Back then I was in an online weight-loss community.  These days, I use a fitness app that is kind of like Instagram, but for fitness.  It also lets you customize workouts within the app.  Although I wrote the post below well before I ever got my hands on an iPhone or knew what “apps” were (unless we were talking about appetizers), this post really highlights how I feel about having a virtual fitness support system. Pumpup has been so great, and it has really helped connect me with others who are so supportive and motivating and inspiring.

I have been thinking tonight about the wonderfulness of human connection. Whether you get that connection from a loved one, family member, or close friend, there is this feeling of being tied to another human being. Whenever I am feeling lonely or sad and that I am sinking in life, I think about all the wonderful people who I have lifting me up in life. And then I think about all the people who I don’t know in the world who are reaching out and connecting with others.

That is what I think is so wonderful about this site. There is so much positive encouragement from people. I don’t even have to participate, but just to witness the positive connections being made and it makes my night a little brighter. All I need is one spark in the darkness to light my way, and most of the time I have more than enough sparks in my life to point me in the right direction.

I don’t need a huge explosion of light to figure out where I am going; I just need little light post along the way to keep me walking in the right direction on a dark night. It also doesn’t hurt to have a friend walking along beside me so that I can turn to them when I feel like I can’t walk any further into the darkness. Then they smile and tell me that they believe in me and I can do it. Suddenly, I don’t feel as weary, and I am ready to travel a little further.

I am thankful for my connection with other people on this journey. It really does give me purpose to make myself the best that I can be so that I can help fulfill my role in this world. I don’t want to dim my light when it can help light the path of a weary traveler on a dark night.

So go out and be a torch for someone stumbling in the darkness.

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PS: On an unrelated note, I was cooped up in the house all day because of snow and ice.  So I did what any sane person would do: pilates in my onsie! I’m trying really hard to not let this boot become an excuse for me falling off the fitness wagon.  Well today, the boot and the ice did not stop me from getting in a workout.  Here’s a pic as proof: IMG_2557

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Don’t be afraid to just start doing it…

Running that is (of course, after consulting with your doctor).  I’ve really been missing running with this stress fracture business (I just started ramping up my running game after that dreadful respiratory infection when the foot started hurting).  So as I’m sitting here, getting up the energy to lug this boot around at the races all day (run, ponies, run), I start thinking about my love affair with running.  How appropriate for Valentine’s Day!  I remember how much I would hate running in school – mostly because I was always dead last.  I remember one time, in the eighth grade, I told the teacher that my bra came unsnapped so I could get out of laps. Seriously.  So I’m not really sure when I decided to start my love affair with pounding the pavement. That is until I found this old blog post from June 17, 2008.  Apparently, I picked that day to start running, and I haven’t looked back. So don’t worry about your jiggle or your speed, just do it!  Here is my post from that day:

I have always wanted to be a runner, but sadly could barely even call myself a fast walker. I envied all the people I saw running past me on cool mornings or early evening. They always looked so peaceful. I wanted a part of that, but I just always watched from behind at my slow walking pace. I always felt that I had too much jiggle to run – that I needed a sports “bra” for my butt, boobs, and thighs before I could run. Yes, I have always wanted to be a runner, and tonight I was! Sorta [sic]…

I started the Couch to 5K program tonight. I got all excited last night and downloaded a podcast that told you when to run and when to walk and set it all to music. I was pumped to start my journey to runningtown. Boy, it was a lot harder than I had planned, but still I kept running. You start out with a brisk 5 minute walk, run for 60 seconds and have a 90 second walk recovery time. You repeat this multiple times and then cool down with a five minute walk. The warm-up walk was fine, but my neighborhood is pretty hilly and of course my first up hill battle coincided with my first 60 second run. Whoo, it was tough, but still I kept running. I clung to each 90 second recovery walk like a lifeline, but still I kept running every time the little voice on my ipod said go! As a person who doesn’t exercise outdoors often, I didn’t plan well. I thought because there was a semi-cool breeze that I would be fine, but no. The sun beat down on me as if I wer[sic] in a desert, and I had sweat dripping from every pore on my body, but still I kept running. My run/jog may have looked like someone else’s walk only with a lot of bounce, but still I kept running. Each time I ran, it got a little easier and the stitch in my side became less pronounced. Finally, the little voice on my ipod said, “you may now cool down for five minutes.” I was so happy to hear those words. I was even happier to realize that I made it through it.

My goal this year is to finally go from a 5k to a 10k.  I’ve run several 5ks over the past few years, but I have never attempted a 10k.  I’m giving myself time to heal and listening to my doctor (as hard as that may be).  Once I get the green light, it’s run time baby!

Even with all my jiggle, I still won a medal! - 3rd in my age group.

Even with all my jiggle, I still won a medal! – 3rd in my age group (2012)

Fleet Feet Firecracker 5k

Firecracker 5k 2014 – photo by Fleet Feet

Another Image from my Vision Board

Another Image from my Vision Board

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Rethinking the Rules of Weight Loss

I read an article today that really hit me.  It really encapsulated the changing mental focus that I am working on.  https://experiencelife.com/article/rethinking-the-rules-of-weight-loss/

“The deprivation diet — characterized by ‘just-until-I-lose-this-weight’ thinking — is another enemy of weight loss. It causes us to alternate between extremes of ‘on diet’ and ‘off diet’ behavior.”

Um, hello! I am so guilty of this.  I put so much faith in being thin.  Everything would work out, if I was thin.  My credit card debt would disappear, if I was thin.  I’d meet the love of my life, once I got thin.  I just had to eat this cardboard, until I got thin.  It was a VERY dangerous mental cycle for me.  No wonder it never worked.  When I had this mentality, I would constantly put up roadblocks to getting fit because I loathed my body and didn’t truly love who I am.  Once I forgave myself and stopped trying to find fault in who I was, I began to start the true journey of being my best self.

I’ve always had a decent support system around me.  For the most part, my friends and family are very encouraging and express the utmost faith in me.  What I’ve come to realize is that the most critical element was missing from my support system: self-support.  Looking back on all my past attempts at weight loss or getting healthy, I don’t think that I ever truly believed in myself.  How could I do anything but fail when I set myself up for failure every time.

Love for ourselves and others is so essential in this healthy journey.  I recently read a line that said “You can’t hate yourself healthy.” I took this to mean that you can’t bully yourself into getting healthy.  I was so guilty of saying, “Geez Kaycee, you are such a fat loser.  Why can’t you just stick to this diet?” I would never talk to someone else that way, so why would I speak to myself that way? It has become so important to nurture and cherish my body for the marvel that it is.  Because I love myself, I am going to do fun, physical activities to stay fit and feel young.  Because I love myself, I am going to nourish my body with clean, healthy foods (most of the time).  Being healthy is not just in the physical.  It is so important to work on mental health and having a positive self-image.  Me and my body are not enemies and the sooner I stop thinking that, the sooner we can work together to become one lean, mean healthy-awesome machine.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”  – Buddha

Think something positive about yourself today.  For me, life is just better when you love yourself.  We fight so many battles everyday, why make yourself one of those battles?

 

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Das Boot

So, I have a stress fracture.  I was pretty bummed because I was on such a hot work-out streak, but at least I don’t have to undergo surgery.  Plus, I get to wear this really sexy, giant boot.  Those who know me, know that I don’t deal with injury very well.  I was working out on my foot even though I knew better the week following up to my appointment today.  I worked my ass off in January, and I really don’t want to backslide.  So I grilled my doctor today about what exercises I could or could not do. I got specific: can I do calf-raises (no), can I do squats (try and see, but if pain no), can I do zumba (no), what about this, what about that? It went on. I even said, “well what do you mean by no high-impact exercise?” I’m sure he was ready to scoot me out the door with my big boot in tow. He was very patient and gave me the okay to wear my tennis shoes for activities like the stationary bike or light walking and lifting weights, but the boot should be worn for everything else.  Yeah, it’s been less than twelve hours, and I already hate this boot.  BUT, tonight I went to body pump.  I walked in proudly with das boot.  I was feeling good and actually did a lot of upper body tonight and made sure to ask the instructor for squats and lunges modifications.  Things were going well.  The one sore spot in my night (well beside my foot) was this rude lady who said to me as I’m walking to get weights, “What are you going to do with THAT thing?” as she points at das boot.  “I guess I better come stand next to you, because I could definitely keep up with you in that.”  Well my boot and I did not care for her tone! I kindly invited her to come stand right next to me and even pointed out there was plenty of room. She declined.  I did almost everything minus the squats and lunges.  Sorry lady, I kicked ass tonight, boot or not.

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We weren’t married and didn’t have kids, but my heart broke just the same.

I’ve mentioned several times that I was heartbroken, and that I would explain it later.  I guess it is later.  I am not going to go into all the details of my relationship with Mars.  That’s not really fair to the relationship or to either of us.  It was his story too – one that he doesn’t get to tell here.   This post might not be my most coherent and easily readable, but it is from my heart.  So here we go…

It happened just over a month ago (a month and 4 days, to be exact), but it feels like only yesterday.  There was a lot of back-and-forth and on-and-off in our relationship over the past three years.  We meant too much to each other not to be in each others life, but we just couldn’t be in each other’s lives in the right way.  In the end, no matter how much I loved Mars, I had to let him go.  Saying goodbye to him for good and actually meaning it this time is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I’m about to do something terrible.  I’m about to quote John Mayer.  But the words in his song “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” are so accurately descriptive of what happened between Mars and me at the beginning of January:  “It’s not a silly little moment, it’s not the storm before the calm.  This is the deep and dying breath of this love that we’ve been working on.”

No matter how much we tried to make it work, it just didn’t work.  I loved him a lot.  He loved me too.  But the grizzly truth that all those fairy tales leave out is that no matter how much two people love each other, sometimes it is just not meant to be.  How agonizing and miserable that is.

I’m 31 years old, and I do not give my heart to someone lightly.  I have fallen in love twice.  I don’t date a lot, and I am perfectly content being single and doing things on my own.  So it’s a rarity that I meet someone to whom I entrust my heart.  Never have I given my heart to someone more so than I did to Mars.  I know my friends got frustrated with me and couldn’t believe that I’d keep returning to the scene of the crime, but love was always there.  I was just under the impression that love conquers all.  Sometimes it does, but not this time, and I know that now.

It was like all the pieces were there, but they were mixed pieces from other puzzle boxes.  Either the pieces didn’t quite fit together or they did and the picture didn’t make sense.  To love someone who is so right for you, yet so wrong for you at the same time is heartbreaking.  I’m starting to echo the ramblings of a crazy person, aren’t I? Our love could make me feel crazy at times.

As much as I hate my heartbreak and sadness right now, I don’t regret the last three years.  I won’t apology for loving someone, even if it ended in heartbreak.  “Tell me now where was my fault, in loving you with my whole heart.” -Mumford and Sons.

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