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The Universe According to Thin Erin

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 20th was the anniversary of the car accident that had killed my older brother, and I had blogged a bit about that event a few times earlier this week. The ensuing aftermath of the accident ultimately shaped who I am today, for better or worse. I had post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and I saw a therapist from the time I was 5, immediately after the accident, until I was 17. I didn't really grasp why I was in therapy at first, but it turned out that I indicated that I thought I had killed my brother Brian. He had removed his seat belt to lean over the front seat to give me a hug, and that is when the truck went through the red light and hit us. The fact that his last act was showing me love haunted me, and I thought I should have been able to hold onto him. If I had, he would not have gone through the windshield, and he would be a 35-year-old man now. I punished myself intensely throughout most of my life over something of which I had no control at all. My punishment was to never stop eating, to never get to feel satisfied.

My best friend and my worst enemy was food. I got up in the middle of the night to sneak into the kitchen and eat cereal or anything else that could be snatched quickly. I shoplifted candy from various drug and convenience stores. I begged my mother for more food and stole change from her to buy snacks. I never, ever felt satiated. When I wasn't eating, I was thinking about food. I ate myself through the grief and pain. My inward struggle was not private--everyone knew I had a problem because they could see it in my fat.

It took me many years to learn that I wasn't rewarding myself with the food. I joined WeightWatchers in 2006, when I felt I was really ready to address my relationship with food. I did manage to take control over my relationship with food and lost 95 pounds. As many have experienced, we picture our problems simply melting away with the body fat. I obsessed over how wonderful my life would be if I could just lose the weight. The Thin Erin I had pictured since childhood was always smiling, was always happy, and was super popular. The interesting thing is, I am an introvert, and I probably still would have been an introvert had I never been overweight because most people in my family are introverts. Since "normal" people are friendly and outgoing, so was Thin Erin. She was as normal as they come.

For some reason, I was always so happy as Thin Erin in my head, but I could not to this day tell you why that would have been. Brian was still not there, my younger brother still struggled intensely because of his head injury from the accident, my mother was still grieving, my relationship with my father was shaky at best, and the bullies followed me everywhere. Thin Erin didn't have any of those people in her world; I don't think she had any actual family or friends. She was surrounded by beautiful and smiling people, and none of them had any names. Perhaps it was simply that Thin Erin had not been in the car accident, had a normal and happy childhood, and was an extrovert. Guilt didn't exist in her universe, because Thin Erin did not have a brother that she felt she should have been able to save. Thin Erin existed in an alternate universe where problems simply did not exist. There were no bullies, no bad grades, no drunk drivers, no angry fathers, no dead brothers, no sad mothers...she was simply thin and happy. She seemed to have a very empty life and shallow existence, but that seemed to be enough.

As I said yesterday, I don't regret being fat. As a matter of fact, I don't really regret regaining the weight that I had lost on WeightWatchers; regaining 95 pounds has taught me so much. I almost got to my goal weight, but my crappy job, my house payment, and the same toxic people were still there. I thought I would create Thin Erin's idyllic world simply by losing the weight. I was shocked to find out that I had not really changed at all. I started to build up my protective layer of fat again, and it has stayed on until Thin Erin was able to learn how to emerge as a real person, and not a dissembled shell of a human being.

Thin Erin will probably not always have a smile on her face, will stomp her feet and cry out in frustration sometimes, and will laugh until she pees her pants on occasion. This time, Thin Erin is going to exist in the real world, with all the happiness, sadness, frustrations, successes, good days, and bad days that ensue.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 6/30/2011 7:20PM

  Sooo true! I had all those same feelings about getting thin. And none of it came true when I got to my goal, I was SHOCKED to find out that I was the same person with the same life, I was just smaller.

I do try to celebrate the things that I can do now that I couldn't: I can sit in the middle seat on an airplane and be comfortable, I can shop in 'normal' stores, I don't avoid all social situations because I feel so bad about how I look.

But honestly, all those things came from inside me, no one else really cared that much or paid that much attention.

Learning to be authentic and being ok with being an introvert is a journey. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this as we both figure it out!

Just so you know, you can always be the REAL ERIN with me, I like her the best! XOXO

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GEMINIAN1 6/25/2011 11:00PM

    I really appreciate you sharing all of this.
It is not your fault.
It's time to love yourself; Brian would want you to, I just know it.

I've been obese, thin, all the in-between.
The only thing that really changed was "societies" (strangers) perception of me; but, they can go suck it.
You are emoticon
BTW: I totally love that quote; I want to memorize it.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDREA409 6/25/2011 3:41PM

    Wow, Erin, what a story. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Incredibly powerful and moving.

You are a fighter, that's for sure. You rule.

- Andrea

emoticon emoticon

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JESSBRAUN 6/25/2011 9:49AM

    That was so moving! It seems that you've really had a breakthrough on a deep level and that you can now appreciate it even more because it's been such a long time coming.

God Bless - emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/25/2011 9:50:27 AM

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LIOCORO 6/25/2011 6:11AM

    Thank you for sharing this, it was a wonderful read. I think there should be no Thin Erin nor a Fat Erin, it's just Erin and Erin is awesome just how she is. Introvert or extrovert doesn't matter that much, you are a beautiful person inside and outside.

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ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/25/2011 1:50AM

    What a beautiful, emotional post, Erin. It was a really good caution for me. I find myself thinking how wonderful it's going to be for me socially when I'm thin, but really, I'm still going to be same ol' quiet, introverted, self-conscious me. I'm glad you figured it out. And thank you for sharing it with us.

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MSDHARMA 6/24/2011 4:40PM

    Good luck your journey, fellow Erin. I am sorry for your loss.

I have often thought that I would be a different person once certain events in my life happened, but it's never the case. I like the quote- "Where ever you go, there you are." It helps me remember that no matter what I change, I am still me and unless I am comfortable with that I will never be happy.

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GABENSEBSMOM 6/24/2011 4:39PM

    Another amazing blog. I can relate so much to what you're saying. If you live in an overweight body, you assume everything changes once you become thin. Thin people just seem to have it so much better, but problems still exist. Thin does not always equal happy. Hell, my soon-to-be-ex cheated on me with a woman who easily outweighs me by 150 pounds. Thin won't keep bad things from happening. It's the person inside who chooses to triumph over those bad things. You, my dear, are strong from the inside out. You are a survivor.

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HIKINGSD 6/24/2011 4:27PM

    Thank you for sharing such deep emotions with us. emoticon

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MY9STONEJOURNEY 6/24/2011 4:12PM

    You are freaking awesome!!! I absoultely love your blogs... But this one was like reading my mind.... I often think of how awesome the thin Stephaine would be.... But if you dont truly change your habits, thinkings and etc you will be right back were you started from.... THANK YOU..... That is truly food for thought...
And dealing with the loss of a loved one is so hard.... TRUST ME i know... I once told my friend I wished there was a handbook on how to grieve, BUT its not and everyone grieves differently....

Just keep rocking girl... emoticon emoticon and more emoticon!!!!

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I don't regret being fat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"When we lose twenty pounds, we may be losing the best twenty pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty."
- Woody Allen

Weight loss journeys seem to be riddled with so much pain and regret. The focus tends to be on how much time we've "wasted" with being fat. The truth is, being overweight doesn't actually waste any time; we have the same amount of time whether we are fat and thin. It's a perceived barrier or, dare I say, an excuse to deny ourselves our dreams. I do wish I had learned this basic principle 6 years ago when I lost 95 pounds on WeightWatchers, but my brain wasn't ready, and I didn't have the tools to help me get to that realization. WeightWatchers is a great program, but I really needed tools to change how I think about myself in a very fundamental way, and not just change my relationship with food. The weight crept back on because, despite being thin, I still hated myself. I did not learn basic love and respect for my body. This time, on SparkPeople, I know my weight loss will be permanent. I will (and have had) ups and downs, but I don't get derailed by slip-ups, and I approach the scale with a neutral attitude. Essentially, I have taken the emotions out of the weight loss and improved my relationship with my body.

I'm not totally at peace with my body, with an incident a few weeks ago serving as an example. I was supposed to do the bike leg of a sprint triathlon with my old running and triathlon training buddies, and because of the torn meniscus in my knee, I wasn't able to do it. I went with my friends anyways, to cheer them on. As we were driving there, one of my friends asked me why I haven't been to swimming practice. I grimaced and said I didn't want to be seen in a swimsuit since I've gained weight. She looked sideways at me for a moment, and then said, "That's stupid. I mean, I don't mean to insult you, but that's just f******g stupid." Well, she's right, what a dumb excuse to miss out on doing something that I love. At least I have honest friends who will call me out on my thinking mistakes. Sure enough, I will be joining my old training buddies to swim again (and I've somehow been talked into doing the swim leg of a triathlon next summer).

Me (on left) and a couple of triathlon training buddies

Despite the occasional slip in self-confidence, I don't regret being fat. I'm ready to be healthier, but my happiness is no longer based on how much I weigh. My thoughts no longer begin with, "I can't wait to be at my goal weight so I can...;" I just do those things now. I have certainly wasted a lot of time thinking that being fat was stopping me from pursuing things I wanted to do. Well, I am done punishing myself. So I'm fat. So what? Is that really a reason to deny myself playing the saxophone, learning to play new musical instruments, singing, belly dancing, boxing, swimming, and seeing friends?

When I started being active on SparkPeople in August, 2010, my main goal was to get ready to lose, and more importantly, to be able to maintain weight loss. I wanted to stop hating myself over something as superficial as my body weight. I did even better than that: I found that being overweight has actually had a positive influence in my life. Being fat has shaped who I am today, and I mean that in a good way. I sincerely do not believe that I would have the compassion and kindness that I have today had I never been overweight. I have a strong desire to help others, and now I have the experiences to help them work through problems. I can face and overcome any adversity, all while asking friends and family for support when I need it. I think people of all shapes and sizes are truly beautiful (which is one of the reasons I get sad when I see SparkFriends speaking negatively about the way they look). I have dealt with a lot of toxic people because they have bullied me about my weight, and now I can tell who is a true friend and who is not. Instead of wishing I had been thin my entire life, I am grateful for these experiences for making me an awesome person.

The only thing I've wasted is a lot of energy and hatred. That is my only regret. The time was there, but I chose to wallow and blame my body weight for my unhappiness. But now, here I am, 270 pounds, and I'm the happiest I've ever been. My attitude is no longer, "Oh the things I will do once I'm thin..."; now I say, "Oh the things I will do today!"

"If nature had intended for our skeletons to be visible it would have put them on the outside of our bodies."
- Elmer Rice

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHEEKY1000 7/6/2011 10:41PM

    What a truly wonderful post. I have not yet reached this level of enlightenment...but I'm working on it. You are emoticon!! Thank you so much for sharing and when I start to say "no" to a friend who wants to do something, I'll reconsider. Not saying I'll start saying yes all the time, but I won't dismiss it so quickly just because I'm overweight.

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PAMELA6289 6/30/2011 7:24PM

  So true! You are SPECIAL because you're YOU!

Weight has no bearing on the wonderful woman you are and that you share with us.

Kindness, support, spunk, love, name it, none of those things have a space limitation, ya know?

You are GREAT right this minute and I"m glad that you see it.

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GEMINIAN1 6/25/2011 9:04PM

    You're Blog has me all choked up.
Wonderfully said. "I Liked This Blog'ed" you.
(I don't regret being fat either.)

I am so happy you're going to swim. *So* happy.
Not so hard on the knee either ;-)

I'm sorry to hear about the bullies.
It's their problem; hold your head up.

You're beautiful.
Cheers ... To The Things You Will Do Today ... emoticon

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SMILINGTREE 6/24/2011 2:15PM

    I read your post a couple of days ago, and just keep thinking about it. I had a sort of similar revelation, or realization, a few years ago.

My mom died in a car accident when I was 16 years old, and in lots of ways, her death shaped my life. Not all of those ways were positive. I got with a guy who treated me poorly, then got pregnant at 19. The usual struggles ensued.

My dad also experienced significant change and started hanging out with some folks I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have if my mom had lived...and through those people I met my husband.

Years later, it occurred to me that, if my mom had been around when I graduated from high school, my life would probably have taken a very different path. And that path might not have included my gorgeous, wonderful daughter, or the husband that seems to have been created as just the right match for me. Then, there wouldn't have been our funny, adorable second daughter...

I do regret the fact I didn't have more time with my mom, but I do NOT regret the shape of my life right now.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your post was touching, and made me think pretty hard for a couple of days :)

Comment edited on: 6/24/2011 2:16:03 PM

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LIOCORO 6/24/2011 3:25AM

    Awesome blog :) You are so right, this was a read I needed this morning. Thank you :)

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MILLISMA 6/23/2011 9:13PM

    What an inspirational blog.....awesome. When you go for the swim, I'll be cheering you on! Don't change your attitude.

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EMRANA 6/23/2011 8:16PM

  That is a truly MAGNIFICENT blog! Thanks so much for sharing it with us all!


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TERIANA 6/23/2011 4:46PM

    you have written one of the most inspirational blogs ever. wow.

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HIKINGSD 6/23/2011 4:28PM

    Excellent blog! thank you!

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GABENSEBSMOM 6/23/2011 3:57PM

    I love this! It is so true. The sad thing is, I also used to tell myself, "I'll do this when I'm thin." It's amazing how much you miss out on. Kudos to you for being so courageous and so inspiring!

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MAMADWARF 6/23/2011 2:52PM

    I love your attitude. They say that God never wastes a hurt. I love that saying becuase anything painful we have been through sets us up to help someone else through the same thing. I am also grateful for those opprtunities. Good job!

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IDLETYME 6/23/2011 2:49PM

    I'm so proud of you! And I'm proud of your triathlon friends (who REALLY are friends) for helping you figure out what's really important in your life. Keep your wonderful outlook!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REBECCAMA 6/23/2011 2:45PM

  Awesome post! I feel self-conscious in a bathing suit myself, but I go to the beach because it's good for my kid. I tell myself that even if I look ridiculous at least I'm there for my kid and that's where I need to be.

I do go to a beach where it's not all skinny women at least. If you look around you will see that you aren't the only overweight woman out there and if they can do it so can you.

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KERRY1106 6/23/2011 2:37PM

    AWESOME post. I know where youre coming from because Ive been there. Many days, Im still there. Your words of wisdom are encouraging! Thank You!!

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    I FEEL THE SAME WAY! To think of all the times I DIDN'T do because I thought I was too fat! I skipped pool parties as a child, refusing to wear a bathing suit until I deemed myself "thin enough". GAH! I didn't date anyone for years for fear that they would reject me based on my size. I was rejecting myself by not going out! I could slap myself...I regret not living my life..I don't regret being fat either. I can't believe the things I've missed out on for being "too fat." This blog is so inspiring! I want to share it as well!

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/23/2011 1:33PM

    Fantastic blog ! I love your outlook ! It's hard to let go of the past, since we tie so many of our emotions to the past. but doing it can be so liberating.


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SKYWATCHERRS 6/23/2011 1:26PM

    Flipping awesome post. I totally relate with you and I love the way you have expressed these feelings. Sounds like your triathlon buddies are extremely good friends - you are all lucky to have one another.

Bravo for you, friend. I am so proud of you and I hope you don't mind if I share your blog with others.


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LEONALIONESS 6/23/2011 1:17PM

    Excellent post! Reading things like this is useful for me as I continue to stop being so weird and self loathing. A month without tracking food, just eating well (most of the time!) and staying active and my size hasn't really changed. I am done with the scale since I can't come at it without emotions. Just avoiding is better for my brain. ;)

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FREECANDY 6/23/2011 1:09PM

    This is great. It's true, you don't have to be at goal weight to do the things that you really want to do. We hold ourselves back from being the best we can be.

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ZUGASAURUS 6/23/2011 1:02PM

    Great attitude! I've been thinking about the same kind of thing lately; I've actually been writing stuff like "No regrets" on my hand with a Sharpie to remind myself.

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SYZYGY922 6/23/2011 12:58PM

    It was so difficult for me to start swimming again, and there are so many things I haven't done or enjoyed because I'm fat. And yeah, it's stupid. I struggle with those thoughts daily. It's something to work on.

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DUCKLOVE1024 6/23/2011 12:39PM

  This is a great post. I think it's really important to remember that no matter what our weight, it is our attitude that determines how we live. I'm glad you've chosen to give up regret!

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Tea Time in the Garden

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green tea with fresh rose-aromatherapy heaven!

One of my favorite places is right in my back--and front--yard. Every year people flock to far away places to "get away from it all." Last summer I took a week of of work to enjoy my garden. Not to escape to some exotic location, but to be able to sit in the beauty that I helped create. I had completely redone my yard last year, and my yard is 100% garden. I labored to re-arrange, plant, clean up, and get ready to plant vegetables. I created little paths inside the gated part of the garden and put in benches, tables, and bird feeders. One could not ask for a better spot to spend a day.

I did not used to be interested in gardening. But as I watched the same plants come back year after year despite the neglect, I knew I should make it better for these plants. Spectacular climbing roses have come back every year with no work put into them. Bright orange Oriental poppies explode every spring. It seemed that many plants could simply be put in the ground and would take care of themselves.

Needless to say, I didn't really know what I was doing. Luckily, my mother is a Master gardener, and it was great to have such a resource when I had questions. I had also absorbed a lot of what she had talk me as I was growing up, even though I was only listening passively. She was a tremendous help in deciding what to do with my yard. It seems she knows the answer to every question about every plant.

Last year my focus was on planting perennial flowers and to create space to plan vegetables this year. My vegetables are still alive, so thus far I would call it a success. The only plant that has produces anything as of yet are my strawberries. I don't think I will ever forget the first fresh-picked strawberry I picked from my patch. It was the perfect balance of juicy and firm, of sweet and tart. It was like biting into sunshine.

My vegetable garden, strawberry patch, and blueberry plants

I have planted various lettuces, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, and herbs in containers, and broccoli, carrots, peas, summer squash, and beans in the ground. I may be successful with vegetables this year, I may not. I know vegetable gardening can have a steep learning curve, so I'm not expecting too much this year. The lettuces have done great, and I have been able to harvest a fresh salad almost every day; they're the best greens ever. I plan on creating more space for vegetables for next year, and will hopefully have learned more by then.

I have a week off in August, once again, to spend at home. I look forward to having my hands dirty the whole time. I plan to drink tea in the garden for hours, with the company of the resident chickadee. I will count butterflies and bees, and thank them for their help.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMEDEN 6/25/2011 10:11AM

    What a beautiful garden!! Well done.

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DAWNMARIES 6/23/2011 8:56PM

    Keep us up on your success. Next spring would be great for inspiration. Thanks!

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EMRANA 6/23/2011 8:09PM

  Wow, it looks and sounds wonderful ~ especially those strawberries!

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HIKINGSD 6/23/2011 4:33PM

    Your garden looks amazing!!

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GEMINIAN1 6/23/2011 10:19AM

    I was drooling on my computer over that tea emoticon
Your garden looks fantastic.
Sounds like you were able to create some memories with your Mom out there ... bonus.
I'm can majorly relate to you, in regards to everybody trying to get away; but, wanting to stay home.
I don't really "get it" ... everything I love is right here.
Thanks for sharing; have an emoticonday.

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W5VEOTX 6/23/2011 8:03AM


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JENNSWIMS 6/23/2011 12:08AM

    What a beautiful garden, mine looks darn shabby! The tea looks amazing!

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KAYE454 6/22/2011 11:59PM

  Tea is great and your gardens are beautiful good job

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Breathing Life Into the Notes: Picking Up the Sax Again

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My trusty saxophone

I played the alto saxophone from the time I was 8 years old until I was 20 years old, when I decided I didn't have time for frivolous activities any more. From watching my mother half-smile, half-wince as I blasted a rendition of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to seeing her in the audience at a major concert hall performing with a semi-professional level group, playing the saxophone had been my life. I went from squeaking out my best "Jingle Bells" to being first or second chair in my high school ensemble. Although I had talent, I was unable to acknowledge it. I was never good enough, so I gave up.

My saxophone had sat in various closets ever since I put it down. I had written off that I would ever pick it up again: "I probably don't even remember how anymore," "I don't have time," "I'm not any good." I looked at the case, never opening it, and thought about selling it while I was having financial problems. But I couldn't do it. My saxophone sat there, unused, for over 10 years, knowing I would pick it up again someday. I could almost hear the whisper, "Don't worry, I'll'll need me again someday."

Several months ago, I moved my saxophone from the back of the closet to a prominent location in my living room. I found my music stand. I could not, however, find my old sheet music. I looked in every box I could think of to look, and it was nowhere. I decided I would by some new books when I had more money, and once again wrote off playing.

I went to my mother's Irish singing recital last week at the Center for Irish Music in Saint Paul. I always love hearing her sing and have been a little jealous for years that she has music as an outlet. I realized how much I have missed having music in my life. I decided I would have to go out and by some sheet music so I could start practicing. I couldn't actually imagine that I would remember how to play. Then, 2 days ago, my basement started flooding from all of the rain. I was moving boxes so they wouldn't get soaked, and at the bottom of one of the boxes, I saw the word "Saxophone." There they were, all of my books, and all of my old sheet music.

Yesterday, I opened the saxophone case, and it was if light radiated throughout the room. I put my saxophone together, looked it over, and with some trepidation, put the mouthpiece to my lips. I had picked a relatively easy piece to play to see if I even remember how to play. Breathing into the mouthpiece and hearing notes spreading through the air was like breathing life into myself again. And I remember how to play; I remember almost everything. After all of these years, my brain and my muscles remember. The saxophone is ingrained in my head, and was meant to be picked up again.

I plan of joining a group of some sort and taking lessons again to review how some things, and to improve. I'm not going to regret all these years that I denied myself the pleasure of playing; I will simply pick up where I left off.

Now, the question remains, is my dog's howling while I play a compliment or a critique?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KVARNLOV 6/23/2011 9:37PM

    I still have my clarinet, and hope to play that again sometime. We will maybe have to find some sax/clarinet duets. (: Either way, I am loving the guitar. I wish that I started when I originally wanted to play it, like when I was 5 or so. (: Still, I am glad that I have finally had someone support me and force me to get into it. Now I don't want to stop. One thing about getting back into music, is finding how you want to do it. For me, the concert bands was just not where I wanted to be playing, so I just found it difficult to stick to it, and I was never interested in solo clarinet playing. Find that and you will stick with it.

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MNNICE 6/22/2011 9:57PM

    I sold my sax right after high school and didn't play again until my son joined band in 4th grade and chose alto sax! I was able to get involved with a local jazz/swing band made up of all ages from high school to over 60s. Am now trying to get together a trio or quartet of saxes in our church. (We've practiced but not yet played for a service.) I really love playing sax.

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PHEBESS 6/22/2011 1:23PM

    Yay for starting up with the sax again!

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SAXYSAI 6/22/2011 12:11PM

    Good for you. I'm a saxophonist of 18 years and even have my masters degree in saxophone performance. Now, I teach band and choir and I'm perfectly happy with that. I got burned out on practicing. Now, I take my horn out once or twice a week and just play for fun. Enjoy playing again. Happy practicing!

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MILLISMA 6/22/2011 8:48AM

    I use to play the tenor sax but donated it to the soldiers over in Iraq together with my daughter's keyboard.

Glad you started playing again!

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LHLADY517 6/21/2011 9:46PM

    After letting family members borrow my saxophone I got it back about 10 years ago and have been playing it fairly regularly (read weekly) at church. I was also asked to play at a funeral. I didn't start as young as you did, but from 5th grade until I was in my 30's I played, and then again in my late 40's to now.

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SYZYGY922 6/21/2011 6:49PM

    Congrats! I just picked up my guitar again for the first time in years! I played sax in high school band, but I quit because I was so self-conscious. I'm pretty mad at myself about it.

Hooray for creative outlets!

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ISLANDBETH 6/21/2011 5:20PM

    I am so proud of you!! My alto has been gathering dust for years... I think you have just inspired me to pick it up and try it again! Thank you, thank you and good for you!!!

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ANDREA409 6/21/2011 4:49PM

    What beautiful writing. And a beautiful story. I had a grin on my face the whole time I was reading it. I can practically see you lighting up the room with your playing. I'm SO GLAD you have rediscovered your passion for music. It must feel incredible.

Your sax is one pretty instrument. It must be happy to be in use once again, instead of locking all that prettiness away in a closet. emoticon

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What Kind of Man Would My Brother Have Been?...A Letter to My Brother Brian

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today is the 27th anniversary of the car accident that killed my older brother Brian. He was 8 years old, and I was 5 years old. I have spent a lot of my life remembering his death and the aftermath of the accident, but today I want to remember his life. I had written a couple of letters to Brian when I was a child, but I have never done it as an adult. Part of me felt that because I don't believe in an afterlife that it was a waste of time. But I know the letter is really for me, and so I am going to free-associate writing a letter to Brian.

Dear Brian,

I was looking at a picture of you and I together; you were probably 6 and I was 3. You were very gangly in the picture. I try to picture what you would look like now, and I think you would have been a tall and skinny runner. Maybe you, John, and I would have done some running events together; John and I have had a lot of fun doing them. I know you may not have still been climbing trees at the age of 33, but I imagine you would have still enjoyed hikes and being active.

I wonder what you would have done for a living. Would you have been drawn to math and physics, like Dad, or would you have wanted to save people, like Mom? Would you have followed your passion for animals and made a living caring for them? Anything you would have done, I know you would have brought creativity and brightness.

I know you're gone, but you are remembered. Every time I see a rainbow, I think of you. I can't seem to help it because you loved them so much. A few weeks ago, I saw a rainbow outside my office building. It was enormous and bright. And I saw the end of the rainbow--it is apparently at the parking garage across the street from work. Family members still have the numerous pictures you have drawn, mostly of rainbows, and they will be forever treasured.

And of course, you are carried on the back of every turtle I see. I have no doubt you would have still loved turtles today. Your love for animals overall sparked something in me; I care for animals for a living, and I'm sure you would have appreciated that. Every time I worked with a turtle, I felt a little bit like you were there (except maybe when the giant snapping turtles were trying to bite my hands off--but I can't blame them for that!).

I have no doubt that you would have still been a sci-fi nerd, and thanks a lot for turning me into one! I just finished watching Star Trek: The Next Generation from beginning to end. It took months, but I did it. You are one of the few people who would consider that to be a life accomplishment. I love how almost every picture of you has some sort of Star Wars reference in it, whether it's your t-shirt, pajamas, or bedroom. I still have the Star Wars pillow case from your bedroom to this day.

I still miss you, and I still wonder what kind of man you would have been. You were such a sweet kid, I have no doubt you would have been a very kind man. I know you would understand why I have put the sadness from this day behind me; every time I picture you, you are smiling, and I know you would want your family to be happy. I want you to know I am a happy woman, with awesome friends, a good job, and a fulfilled life. The biggest thing I have to do to let go of the day of the accident is to let go of all this weight on my body. Eating has been the way I've punished myself for letting you slip out of my hands, and I'm ready to stop punishing myself now.

I love you, brother.

Love, your little sister,

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 6/21/2011 2:00AM

    I need to drink 9 glasses of water today with all the tears coming out.
This is very thoughtful.
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HIKINGSD 6/21/2011 12:47AM


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