Revamp Monday! Acceptance

Acceptance. It’s what we crave.

If you’re a writer you may be familiar with that feeling you get in the pit of our stomach as the blinking cursor arrow hovers momentarily over the “submit” button just before you send off a manuscript or query. It’s called fear of rejection. Even emailing a draft of something we’ve written to a friend is like sending a piece of ourselves into the world to be judged, we may as well be offering our head to the guillotine!

Our “selves” may take many forms. Whether we’re writers or professionals, parents or students, we’re all striving for success–and how do we define success? By the extent to which others accept our performance or appearance–or both. It’s easy to become consumed with our efforts to achieve success–and acceptance–but, how many of us are chasing after something that’s already ours?

How different would our striving be if we recognized that regardless of what’s out there, what’s in here is already great. “But, where’s ‘here’?” You may ask? Look around. The answer might be right under your nose! Thanks, Tanzy!

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I was just few months into my fitness journey. You know, the honeymoon phase. The phase when you feel like you can conquer the world. The phase when you consider taking up a modeling career after you lose all the weight and become irresistibly sexy. That phase where you can look all your food vices straight in the eye with the confidence of a Spartan army, knowing you are stronger than your cravings!  I was “feeling myself,” as they say and I was patting  myself on the back for a job well done. I was in the gym daily for 3 months straight. I was drinking 80 oz of water regularly and I had even gone down 2 dress sizes!  I was on cloud nine! Shopping had become my new favorite activity–I loathed it before my transformation. 

Looking through some pics I decided to assemble a before and after picture so that I could bask in my amazing transformation. At this time I was homeschooling my kids and spent endless hours surrounded by little humans under the age of 5, but I was desperate to share this visual display of my success with someone who could celebrate with me. No grown ups to be found, I turned to the next oldest in the room–my 5 year-old-daughter. I pulled up the picture collage on the computer and, beaming with pride, plopped it in front of my kid asking a very baited question: “What do you think of mommy’s picture? Do you notice anything different?”

Her little face beamed at the challenge. She leaned in toward the picture and studied it like a “Where’s Waldo game.” After some time she was finally ready to give her answer: 

“In this picture you have a red shirt. In that picture you have a blue shirt. In this picture you have ponytail. In that picture you have straight hair. In this picture you’re smiling and in that picture you’re not. In this picture you have grey shoes and in that picture you have black!”

“Wait what?! That’s it?! You don’t see my slimming waist line, my sleeker arms, my shrunken belly or my thinner thighs?” I thought. 

Next enters my 1-year-old staggering towards us, dying to see what we are  studying. He let’s out one word as he looked at the screen. “MAMA!” 

The reality is that the people that love us most never see our flaws. My kids never knew I was overweight. They never saw my stretch marks, or my cellulite. They never saw me as a number on a scale. They only saw me as their nurturer, their caregiver, their protector and their friend. No matter what pic I showed them, they only saw one person, “MAMA.”

Tanzy Chandler
Physical Therapist
Group Fitness Instructor
Founder of
REVAMP FITNESS
“Become a Better You”
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Kids are awesome at putting things in perspective. Remember this family moment? Be sure to check back every first Monday for more Revamp Monday inspiration with Tanzy!
Happy Monday!

 

 

At Martha’s Vineyard it was the Lighthouses that Beckoned Us!

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We kicked off our summer vacation with our very first visit to the New England coast and the lovely island of Martha’s Vineyard. We managed to time our visit right at the beginning of the summer season which officially begins around mid June although the tourist scene begins to awaken from its winter slumber during the week following the Memorial weekend holiday. Thus, we were greeted with curiosity by the local shop owners and restauranteurs who wondered why we were here so early. “Yeah, we just opened,” they kept telling us, apologizing for not quite being fully operational.

But, limited store hours and minimal island offerings notwithstanding, we eeked out a Vineyard vacation just the same! The weather was even working against us this week. The forecast had promised sun and 60s which we got a peek of here and there, but the clouds and rain persisted as did the cool–okay, cold–but we would not be deterred!  This place is lovely, rain or shine! The cottage-style homes, the quaint bed & breakfasts, the cozy holes just welcome you.

Our accomodations were perfect, on location in Edgartown, near little shops and boutiques and facing the ocean (although next time I’ll get a room one floor up so I don’t have to stand on my tiptoes to see the “oceanview” we were promised!). We also found some GREAT eating places–Sharky’s for fattening Tex-Mex, Biscuits for yummy breakfast (two words: French toast, I’m through!) and the Copper Wok for the best sesame tofu and fried rice you’ve ever tasted, bar none!

But, I must say, my favorite thing was the lighthouses! I think they are so beautiful and inspiring. Each one has a history and a story.  The lighthouses also gave us a perfect reason to tour the island. Since the weather didn’t permit bike riding or beach time, we instead crisscrossed several towns–TisburyOak BluffsAcquinna and Vinyard Haven in search of the historic lighthouse sites and stumbled upon a few other interesting places along the way (which I will talk about in future blogs).

The Gayhead

The Martha’s Vineyard online magazine calls the lighthouses “working monuments” of history, an appropriate moniker, I think, considering their sole purpose is to provide a beacon for travelers who either lose their way or are unaware of lurking dangers. Such was the case with The Gayhead lighthouse erected in November 1799. So many lives were lost because of an “underwater ledge running from cliffs westward” that mariners referred to it as the “Devil’s Bridge,” but Gayhead’s bright beams outshined that menace and has spared many over the years.

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East Chop

Meanwhile, the East Chop lighthouse was the lighthouse the government didn’t want! They thought the West Chop lighthouse was enough! But, the relentless Captain Dagget raised the funds himself to build it in 1869. Through valiant effort he proved it’s worth and it’s still praiseworthy today!

 

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We only made it to 3 of the 5 lighthouses this trip, but the Edgartown lighthouse was just walking distance from our hotel, so on May 31st we trudged through the rain and settled for this shot of the stately edifice in the hazy distance:

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Then we awoke on June 1st to a bright sun beaming through our windows! What is it about the month of June in Martha’s Vineyard? So, of course, we trekked back and got a better and brighter pic, woohoo!

What a difference a day makes!

According to island lore, this lighthouse was built on a manmade island in 1828 and the path that leads to it was dubbed “The Bridge of Sighs as couples drew out their goodbyes on the walk to the lighthouse before being separated for weeks, months, or forever by whaling voyages.” Such a sad story to be associated with such a pretty place! And it is an absolutely gorgeous spot, surrounded by sand with a port and sailing boats on one side and a beach and the open ocean on the other.

Despite the beauty of the place the lighthouses are reminders that life is fragile and fleeting. They stand as beacons that beckon weary travelers to safety. For those, like us, who arrive they are symbolic of a safe haven while also a memorial for those who never return.

During our visit to Martha’s these bright structures beckoned us. They invited us to stay awhile, to listen to their stories and understand their purpose–how they came to be and what they’ve come to mean to the people who have relied on them for their very lives.

While here we have also made memories and established our own history! On the last day, as we zipped into town to catch our ferry, we managed to squeeze in a quick bike ride! In our final moments on the island, we pedaled along the quiet north side, behind tree-lined neighborhoods, past well-kept lawns admiring, again, the beauty…

By the time we pushed off from the dock and watched the coastline fade into the distance,  we were nostalgic, but also determined that we must return, because there is still more to see and do. After all, our stories and discoveries have really only begun!

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Why Writing Matters

It’s 3 am and I’m wide awake. I don’t know why, but I just can’t sleep. So I opened my laptap and stumbled upon a digital journal entry from January, 2014:

So, it’s late. I must get some sleep—that’s my New Year’s resolution, to go to bed earlier, but I had this thought the other night and I wanted to write it down, but didn’t, so now that I’m here, I must do it.

This week I will bury my little “Grand”. Whenever I say that I feel a heaviness and I’m a little bit surprised that I’m saying it…and that it’s true. It’s a truth I always dreaded, but knew would come. It’s a reality that makes me so very sad that I really want to cry. Yes she was 100 and her health was failing, but I want to cry for all the moments that  will never be repeated. I want to cry for all the phone calls I didn’t make, all the visits I passed on, all the times I should have sat still long enough to listen to her and talk to her…I’m sad for all the times I did stop to listen and talk. For all the phone calls and visits I did makes because they are just memories now. The last visit was just a month or so ago. I held her hand and kissed her cheek and I knew it would probably be the last time…

What I’ve been wanting to write down was something she wrote down. On the back of a deposit slip in her checkbook she wrote: “Marge died today” and the date. It’s not profound, but it is. Why did she write that? Because she knew her memory was slipping away, but she wanted to remember…remember her daughter, Marge. Remember her daughter’s death as well as her life. She wanted to memorialize her, but what could she do? Her own health and memory were slipping. So she found the nearest pen and slip of paper and she put it in black and white. There it will stay. At least for longer than any of us will stay, Marge, Grand, and the rest of us who are following close behind. “Marge died today” she wrote.  So matter of fact. So devoid of emotion, and yet I think she may have written it with a tear or at least a sadness and heaviness of heart. 

On January 1st (2014) I got the news and the tug on my heart was so strong that the flood of tears could not be contained. I knew it was coming but I had hoped I was wrong. The day slipped away before I could find a slip of paper, or a computer screen on which to write: “Alice died today,” but I thought about it. I wanted to memorialize her in this way, put it in black and white. For me. To remember. She’s gone and my heart is heavy. I will miss her in so many ways on so many days. She died but she lives forever in me and, now, in these words that I have written.

Writing matters because words last longer than memories. We must write to record our histories, to preserve our memories, to protect those moments of genius that fade away if we choose to sleep rather than roll out of bed and grab a pen and the nearest slip of paper.

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