Susie Ekberg Risher
I love being at the lake. All that open space, the birds singing in the early morning, the bats circling at sunset. I got dressed in my workout gear and started my day, moving chairs around, raking the weeds, weeding the flower beds and generally staying in constant motion. When I got out of the shower that afternoon I noticed a red patch on my upper stomach but assumed it was heat rash. The next day I noticed it was still red, but we had a cabin full of family and no time to think about it. By the time I got back home I decided to try my trusted homemade dandelion salve on it.
"I need to quit the health club," I told Amy. "I just don't get there. I ripped every muscle in my left shoulder last October, and just haven't been back." "Susie," Amy said softly, "you're not 20 anymore. You need to stretch. You need to do different exercises than when you were younger. I'm going to set you up with Pat. She's really good with people like you." OK, I made up that last phrase, "people like you," but that's how it felt.
I stand in front of the mirror, trying to achieve the right "skinny" pose. My eyes are drawn down to my thighs. I stare. I squint a little. Have they gotten a little chunkier? Should I be walking more? Am I gaining weight? C'mon, thighs, don't do this to me. You've always been a problem. I'm not very happy with you right now. Why can't you just be different, better, slimmer? I feel a little quivery in my chest as I walk into the kitchen and open the refrigerator door. Hmmm. That Costco Coconut Chicken Curry looks promising. Wait. I just ate breakfast. But it's healthy food.
Girls' weekend at the lake. Three friends are sitting at the table talking and laughing, when my favorite song comes on. I get up and (duh) start dancing. C. gets out her camera and starts videotaping, and I start twirling, shaking my head, bobbing up and down. I try to get the others to join in, but they won't. That's fine. I'll dance alone. It was epic (especially from the guitar solo till the end). You'll just have to trust me. "I got most of it," C. says cheerfully. I take a deep breath then feel the beginnings of a panic attack. "What if my kids see this? I should always be mature.
I look out the window. I can't tell what time it is because everything is gray. It could be 7 a.m. or it could be noon. Sigh. This is the third day of clouds and rain and wind. I feel a heaviness in my chest and a slowness in my step. I really don't see the point in getting out of my pajamas today. Or yesterday. Hmm, or the day before, now that I think about it. I think Mercury has just gone into reverse retrograde. Prograde? Forwardgrade? I don't know the specifics, but I know I have a long list of "shoulds" piling up. I should sweep the floor and do some laundry.
It's been 498 days, but who's counting? The first 365 were kind of easy, because I had goals and plans, numbers to watch and chocolate not to eat. But what happens after those 365 days when you're set loose in the world to navigate the tricky waters of scales and calories and exercise with the sole purpose of maintaining your weight? To easily visualize what my journey's been like this past 133 days, I'm presenting ... Susie's Top 10 Suggestions for Living (and Maintaining) the Rock Star Life 10.
"Hey lovely—will you be home around 9:30 or so? Wondering if I may stop by for just a minute." I saw Kelly's text come in and I was surprised. I hadn't seen her in over two months, but had sent her two (unreplied to) texts.
Times were tough for him so we'd given him a sizable loan to get back on his feet. Two years later and he still hadn't made any payments. When I asked him about it he said, "You have money. You don't need it. I'm not paying you back." Initially shocked because he was family, I learned something valuable that day. Money can change things, and people can have opinions about you based solely on money. I want to be very upfront about something: I have been blessed in this lifetime in many ways. We have a roof over our heads, food on our table and clothes on our backs.
‘Is this from the Dark Side? Are you a Christian?” A client had let her sister listen to her intuitive reading, and now the sister had some questions. I was a little taken aback. I hadn’t heard any of those questions for a long time, so I had to stop and think about it. Had my views changed? Was she coming from a place of genuine curiosity, or was she on the attack? Along with helping women find beautiful clothes, and along with being a writer, I’m also a practicing intuitive. In the early ’90s I was very public about my work, and I was attacked, judged and censored.
I put the groceries in the back and slammed the trunk shut. My hand slid down the door and I felt a dent. Great. My beautiful new car. “What kind of mean person backs into me? Then doesn’t even stop or tell me? They could’ve written a note. Why is it that every time I get a nice thing, it gets ruined right away? Why can’t I just have perfect, nice things for a while?” I could feel my big meanies starting to rise, and I was unable to stop them. They felt especially mean today. I try to stay kind, but there was no other way to see this.