Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Academy Award for Most Dramatic Performance on the Scale Goes to..

I picture myself wearing a long, black ball gown. The bottom would flare out and be dramatic. Maybe something like this:

But again, I would wear black - because its a slimming color. (By the way, Jennifer Hudson looks unbelievable! I really need her diet and personal trainer! STAT!)

I would be in the audience. At the Oscars, anticipating an award that I don't really want to receive.

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock announce together, "And the Academy Award for the Most Dramatic Performance on the Scale goes to..." They would pause - smile at each other - and the camera would pan across my face.

"Ashley Sieb!" they would scream into the microphone. People would clap and others would let out a sigh of relief - Thankful its not them receiving this awful award.


Last week in Miami, I weighed myself and the scale said 219. I was so insanely happy; I felt good. My body truly felt happy and healthy. With a number like that, I was down 13 lbs since Janurary. All I could think when I jumped into the air was, FINALLY!!!! Finally I am seeing results!!


That emotion was short lived. I weighed myself this morning. I've honestly been in a rut the past few days.


I truly can't put my finger on it.

Maybe I need a day off.

Maybe I need to stop making so many plans and running all around the place. I can't think of the last weekend I spent in my own apartment with my hubby and fur son.

Maybe I need to change my workout patterns.

Maybe I need new food for fuel.

Maybe I need to read a new book.

Maybe I need to catch up with old friends.

Maybe I need to tell a few people how I truly feel about them and our drifting friendships.

I'm not sure what I need to do, but I know the last thing I should have done was weighed myself this morning.

Back up to 228.

A gain of nearly 10 lbs.

In one week.

It breaks my heart. I feel like I give it my all. I know I could give more, but my time feels so limited each and every day. No excuses, you simply make time when you don't have it. Perhaps I'll be one of those people that starts working out at 5:30 a.m. But I have no self-control to pull myself out of bed that early....

I've even battled with this lactose allergy, which has dramatically changed my diet.

For someone who preaches about not caring about a number, I let it bring me down today. I'm human. I make mistakes. I have emotions. I get carried away at times...and today, I've gotten carried away. My mind has drifted so far away from reality and I am having a hard time focusing on what really matters.

I really don't have anything inspiring to conclude with, which is shocking - but, honest at the same time. I guess I am relying on you ... to help pick me back up. To help motivate me. To help inspire me. To help bring myself back to a positive place.

Much love,

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Heart of the Child

Every single child I meet at tutoring changes my life. I remember every child's name I meet. I even bought a pair of earrings from a jewelry catalog because they were named "Kelsey" - a young girl I was blessed to work with for many weeks. I often put in my ears and smile, closing my eyes and picturing where she is at that moment. Hoping she is in a better place and praying she will remember me for the rest of her life.

Last night, I saw a dad walking in the hallway with a group of children. Only two of the children were school-aged, though.

That is when I saw him. He was so adorable and he gave me a small smile. He looked away and then quickly looked back at me to make sure I was still smiling at him.

I was.

I waved at him and he waved back, and then gave me his beautiful smile again.

He walked straight into the room and sat down right next to me. He didn't introduce himself, but he pulled out his homework and book. He looked up at me and smiled.

"Hi," I said. "My name is Ashley. What is your name?"

"Anthony*," he said back quietly.

From there, we started talking about his day. I learned that he was in first grade. He loves school. When Anthony grows up, he is going to protect the city: he will be a police officer. I don't doubt it. With his big heart and brilliant mind, I believe he can do absolutely anything he sets his mind to accomplishing. I told him that too.

Of course, he had math homework. I felt a confident because it was first grade math. He had story problems and one of the questions read, "Justin had four shells."

We were reading the sentence together and he stopped instantly when we read, "Justin!"

"That is my brother's name!" he said very excited.

"That's awesome," I said back. "My husband's name is Justin."

"Justin Bieber?" he asked. "Did you marry Justin Bieber?"

I couldn't help but laugh. Every single child asks me if I am married to Justin Bieber when I tell them my husband's name. Oh, popular culture.

"No," I said back smiling. "I didn't get marry Justin Bieber....but my Justin is awesome!"

"Well - we call my brother The Black Justin Bieber," he said. "Because he is black and sings."

"Well, hey - that makes sense...." I said and couldn't stop smiling.

He then went on to tell me that his dad hunts rabbits, dinosaurs, and lions. In that order....I simply love a child's imagination. They are dreamers. They have big hearts.

These children are living in a homeless shelter - something many of us have never experienced. I remember thinking sharing a room with my sister was so miserable; but really it was a blessing. Especially when I think about these young children...who don't even have a bed to call their own, let alone a room to share at their own house.

If you have even one hour - one night a week to spare - I would urge you to volunteer at Indy School on Wheels or another organization that helps children and families in need. Not only do these young, imaginative and driven children need positive role models in their life; they will inspire you to become a better person. They teach you to look at the world differently with a much larger heart; to cherish everything that you have and stop worrying about everything you want. Be thankful for everyone in your life. More importantly, they teach you to hold onto your childhood heart:

"To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood."
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Much love,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self: All Caterpillars Turn Into Butterflies

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a letter to my teenage self; perhaps, the things I will share with my future daughter about what I learned growing up. So here we go, a letter to the 17-year-old Ashley Bedwell.

Let’s spend a little more time talking about how caterpillars turn into butterflies. You won’t know you’re beautiful until you believe you are beautiful. No one will truly love you, until you love you; accepting your imperfections balances out your frustrations and fears. Once this happens, you will spread your beautiful wings and fly away to accomplish your limitless dreams.

Don’t spend so much time trying to please other people. You’ll realize quickly (and after a motivating talk from you dad) that you can’t control other people. You can, however, control your reaction to other people. Never let someone get in the way of your dreams. Never work so hard to be someone’s friend when they give you nothing in return. You’ll be spending too much time trying to please them when you could be with the people who really love you. Seriously, you must learn this or you will live a miserable life. The people who matter in life will be there; they will let you know how much they love you. You will never question their existence in your life.

Remember all those boys who broke your heart? Stop crying. Listen to your close family and friends when they tell you that you will fall in love with an amazing man one day. Someone who will completely understand you and take you as you are! And remember those imperfections I was talking about, he will love you for all of them. He will challenge you and make you a better person. He will laugh with you until you cry and make you laugh when all you want to do is cry. He will inspire you to do amazing things and support you every step of the way. While you are a very independent person, remember to let him in and help you. Remember to tell him that you love him and thank him daily. Trust him, until he gives you a reason not to trust him. Trust and communication are key to a happy relationship. Not to spoil your happy ending too much, but he will be a pretty good lucking guy too. ;) Always remember to kiss him goodbye – even if he is just going to the grocery store, which he will often do as you will not excel in the kitchen. But he will love you for putting eggs in peanut butter fudge one day. (Note: Eggs do NOT go in everything).

Keep writing; it’s your passion.

Did I tell you that caterpillars turn into butterflies yet? Stop worrying about what other people think of your looks, and prepare yourself to spread your own wings. Take control of your destiny. If you are unhappy with your appearance or weight, do something about it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s a waste of time.

Stay positive. Always.

Work hard. Study even harder. Your determine and drive will make you a strong person. As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Smile often. Smile at everyone. Don’t forget how much a smile can change a day.

Time is the best present you can give anyone. Don’t forget that this gift has no guarantee and it can be taken from you quickly, so remember to always make time for your family and friends.

Love with all your heart and dream with all your imagination.

The only person standing in your way is yourself.

Much love,
Your Future Self

What would you write to yourself? What would you say to your daughter about your lessons growing up? What is stopping you from doing either?