My Mom was a colourful and effervescent person. She shined more brightly than anyone I have ever known and expressed unapologetic interest in things that propelled her down less travelled paths. She was in a coven, painted banners for the Steelers when they were in the super bowl, dressed in vintage clothes to go to the local pizza parlour, was a genius lawyer, a fierce feminist, and believed in astrology. When I was 11, she had my astrological charts done for the first time. I never met the astrologer. My mom met privately with her and recorded the session, then gave me the cassette to listen to. My charts concluded that I am a triple taurus, which is apparently not super common. There was a lot on the tape, but what I took away from it, what followed me throughout my childhood, was that I would always be prone to obesity, promiscuity and laziness. At 11 years old, a seed was planted that would grow into the belief that I was basically destined to be a fat, lazy, whore. I was ashamed of being a Taurus and associated myself with only the negative aspects of the sign, but a year after my astrological sentence, I was stricken by my first bout of depression, and discovered what would actually be the thing that caged me.
Whether an aspect of my taurus nature or a side effect of depression, I have always preferred sitting on the couch, watching t.v. and enjoying a glass of wine with a copious amount of salty snacks, to the more often than not unrealised other option, exercise. I have always struggled with my weight, always enjoyed eating more than exercising, always felt worthless because I wasn’t skinny enough. I was brought up in an environment that praised beauty and a slim appearance above all else, but I wasn’t built to measure up. I went through periods when I was thinner, when I was running or hiking, or going to the gym on a regular basis, but it never lasted. I figured the whole endorphins thing was either bullshit or something my sad fat body wasn’t capable of experiencing, or maybe I was just self fulfilling a prophecy of laziness.
In the 2 years before Joe and I moved to Ireland, we were going though some particularly difficult times; my depression, drinking and eating were all in overdrive, and I gained 40 pounds. I was turning to the things that comforted me, but they were also the things that were bringing on numerous and scary health problems. I weighed more than I ever had, was constantly sad, uncomfortable and exhausted, and even the thought of exercising felt like a nightmare. When we got to Ireland, we were in a 14 day quarantine because of Covid, and I remember, on the 15th day, we went out for a walk. We had gone only a couple of blocks and I was in pain, out of breath, and incredibly discouraged. I knew I needed help, but I would be slow to seek it.
Eventually I got back onto anti depressants and started eating a bit healthier, but I was still waking up in physical pain every day, still hating myself and feeling as if my body was betraying me, when actually I was betraying my body. Joe and I started walking by the river and I slowly began to feel more energetic, but it was still a struggle to get myself out of the house, so Joe suggested Apple Fitness. I won’t lie, I fought it, and it took time for me to get started with it, but when I did, my life changed. I discovered that I actually like strength training when I have the right trainer, and that I absolutely love to dance. I look forward to it every day, I smile when I am doing it, I invite the challenge of it when the steps are complicated. Most importantly, I have discovered that exercise is the best medicine for my depression. If I am having a bad day, feeling my energy levels dropping, my sadness coming on, I do a little dance and actually feel my mood change.
Like a true taurus, I still love to eat and watch t.v, and always will, but now I am proud of being a rare triple taurus, and when I am doing my dance workouts, moving more easily than I have in years and loving the whole physical experience, I remember my Mom, blasting Earth Wind and Fire songs, dancing exuberantly around the house, filling all of our lives with the kind of joy only she could bring.
July 30, 2022 at 8:58 am
I wish you the best always, Susan. Life isn’t really what we want it to be…but there’s always a chance that we haven’t discovered a side that was invisible to us before. An open mind and heart usually find their way. 🙂
July 30, 2022 at 10:39 am
You are remarkable, Terveen! Thank you!
July 31, 2022 at 5:46 am
Dancing really is the best form of exercise! I’m so sorry that astrologer’s thoughtless comments affected you that way. I had something similar happen when I was around 10, and it took me years to get over it too❤️
August 1, 2022 at 2:35 am
It’s so crazy how things can stay with you for so long, but good that we both got to the place of being able to understand it differently. I now see that my Mom was just trying to share something with me that she was interested in and that she heard very different things than I heard from that session with the astrologer.
I never thought I would write a blog post that had anything to do with astrology! Haha!
August 2, 2022 at 9:25 pm
In a scary way our depression doesnt want us moving, You should be so proud of yourself making these important and positive changes, I discounted exercise for so long but i’ts what keeps us feeling more uplifted and healthy. I have to dance every day. its moves my spirit. .
August 3, 2022 at 8:55 am
It is so hard getting there, but I think once we make the discovery, it becomes something we need, something positive and uplifting. I love that you dance!!!!
August 3, 2022 at 9:29 pm
I love that you moved to Ireland it must be so beautiful walking by that river.