Whelp, I've worked to take care of my body and get fit since I made a promise to my dying Grandpa in 2008. I’ve come a long way with this body of mine. I’ve used her and pushed her to do things I didn’t know she could do and have built muscle and endurance and made her well. But, just like the remnants of my former life as a drug addict still haunt me sometimes, there are remnants in my body of my poor health and wellness decision that I cannot shake. Some body damage from excessive weight gain can't be undone without help. I’ve asked trainers to fix me and they confirm that the “leftover” skin won’t go away on it’s own, or even with the most dedicated workout and nutrition regime.
A tummy tuck is the only solution for me. I've been cleared by my primary care practitioner for one but my insurance won’t cover the reconstructive surgery because my skin doesn’t hang low enough. They say it’s not medically necessary. Maybe not, but for me it is, if not medically necessary, at least psychologically necessary. I hate looking at my pouch, I hate that I can’t do anything about it. I hate having my panties fall down below my fat flap. I hate running and having my fat flap jiggle out of my workout pants. I feel like I’ve honestly done everything I can do to get rid of it and it just won’t go away… so… I am resigned. It is a tummy tuck.
Maybe it’s cheating but it’s the only way I’m going to get the flat stomach my work ethic dictates I should have. What I’ve got now is a false representation of the work I’ve done. I’ve spoken to may people and heard that this is a most painful procedure, but I was undeterred. I’ve looked for a doctor who was both highly recommended and affordable and found Dr. Jonov. I did the consult and I got my flat tummy price: $8,200!! Ouch! It’s pretty much an insurmountable expense... but not entirely impossible. Last year I decided to work extra part-time jobs to make my dream come true. I've given up time & activity with friends long before covid’s isolation rules kicked in to save money. I've dropped frivolous expenses to "save up" for this surgery for a long time. It's been scheduled and re-scheduled due to family health concerns and covid, but this week it happened and I can show these pictures now without shame because this pocket of fat I've referred to as "my best friend flab" for the last dozen years is finally GONE!!!! From what I understand, about three pounds of skin and fat were cut out, my abs were tied back together, my skin was stretched and I will have a flat stomach from here on out.
I’m not exactly sure what I’ll look like after all the recovery, swelling, and healing is done, but my fat fanny pack gone!! And I have absolutely NO debt to show for this frivolous surgery! I do have a significant amount of pain that has made me question my decision to do this a number of times over the last few days. I do have a big HUGE thank you to my super awesome hubs for all the support to do this!! His help has been amazing… turns out Chicken Farmers can be great nurses too!! I’m grateful for all of my friends who have checked in and even prayed for me. I can't wait for the healing and swelling reduction and to get see what my new, flat belly actually looks like! I honestly feel like I earned this as much by paying for it as I did in the last 12 years working out for it (and, no, I won't quit exercising now that I got what I wanted).
My word to the young... get fit before permanent damage is done!! And a word to the well-seasoned like me... Just do it!! Even with this discomfort I’m having now, I feel like it'll be so worth it to have a body that actually represents the work I've done to fix some of the mistakes of my youth!
On May 14th 1804 a Corps of Discoverers set out on an overwhelming expedition to chart and map the newly acquired western United States of America and see if there was a singular water route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. We know this band of merry men primarily by the two main voyagers, Lewis & Clark.
These men, well, actually President Thomas Jefferson and explorer Meriwether Lewis, had their plan in place and assembled a crew of able bodied men to join and assist them. Along the way Lewis and Clark got up close and personal with, the flora, fauna, geography and the Natives of the land, they talked to foreigners who had found their way to hunt and live in the land. They used a volley of interpreters to communicate with the Natives and were diligent in mapping and identifying the land they explored. My exploration of sex and Jesus will intentionally parallel their epic journey. A mapping, a searching, an asking and discovering of what’s out there. I’ll observe and immerse myself into the lay of the land. I’ll take celestial calculations, I’ll collect specimens, I’ll measure the peaks and valleys, the length of the rivers and heights of the mountains and all the miles from here, my St. Louis, to there, the Pacific Ocean. Just as many spaces and places within the territory they traveled through are still largely unpeopled, undeveloped and unexplored, my trek will, of course not be exhaustive. I have no idea what lies before me, I imagine I’ll marvel and wonder and discover things that take my breath away. I’m sure I’ll brave dangerous rapids and shiver through snow and rain and probably have to unload my boats and maybe trudge because the way was quite unexpectedly impassable. And at the end of the journey, if I don’t have any answers, at least I’ll have a better map of how sexuality relates to Christian spirituality.
The journey, as all good journeys do, will start at the beginning. Lewis and Clark’s journey started years before the 1804 embarking. Jefferson and Lewis dreamed of the exploration for years as I have dreamed of and prepared for this one. Lewis invited Clark along well after the dreaming and planning was afoot. There was training and teaching and prepping and building and packing. I have planned and prepared for this journey. I’ve used the The One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation, published by Tyndale as my jumping off point. I admit this is not my favorite translation of the Bible but I had a lofty idea of having the whole thing read through again in a year and its daily sections were a great motivator. This biblical translation has been generously supplemented with clarifying readings from my favorite translations; the old NIV, ESV and NKJ. I’ve sprinkled in translation clarification from studylight.org, and looked at the good King James version of the Bible itself because it has my respect even if its English is outdated. From this beginning point (the Bible in chronological order) I’ve done my best to document and note each sexual, sexualized, or intimate interaction so that they can be classified, explored and weighed against God’s biblical commands, the church’s historical and popular teachings and modern society. Like Lewis and Clark were focused on finding a water route from the Missouri to the Pacific, I’m fixed on sex and sexuality, but understand that gender, feminism, misogyny, birth and birth control and similar strands of exploration will likely surface along the way. I’m ok with that, I’m just going to see where the river and the exploration takes me.
Each chapter will be separated into three sections; His, mine, and ours. MINE, of course, will be my own unique take on the sexual subject at hand, shaped and formed from the early, untreated sexual abuse I experienced, my teen and young adult sexual explorations and the culture shock I stepped into when I got “saved,” and my current notions and ideas, largely influenced by my study on the subject. I will admit up front, this section may just be a cathartic exploration, good only for me, and possibly most of the books metaphorical analogies but hey… this is a journey of discovery, so it works for me, and if anyone doesn’t want my own opinions, it’ll be easy to identify and skip over.
Ours will be what “we” think, where “we” includes a presentation of thoughts, ideas and opinions of the Corps of discovers. This is where YOU come in, if you so choose! I will present topics and questions and will gladly welcome your feedback. I will also be consulting with the others I mentioned before: Natives, foreigners and fellow sojourners, or in real life: the experts in the field, those from different cultures and others who have written or spoken on the subject at hand, sex and sexuality. I will explore what “we” say and have said about sex. What is, if there is such a thing, as normal or acceptable sex. What is deviant and what is cultural? Are there common beliefs “we” all agree on? How do we react to the topics at hand.
The final say on each subject will be HIS. God gets the final say. This section will be my best effort at scouring the Bible, taking the measurements, mapping the territory and doing my best to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel and know God’s heart on any sexual matter. I am no fool, I know it’s impossible, but I will do my best to honor God and the Word and present the God’s honest truth about sex and sexuality with as much fear, respect, integrity and honor as I can. I will also endeavor to provide global church perspectives on the sexual topic addressed in each chapter and present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the God’s honest truth according to the Bible and generally agreed upon sexual rules within the historical and modern “church” where the church is described as the body of believers who claim to be followers of Christ and subscribe to the Apostle’s Creed, irrespective of denomination or nationality.
The plan is to research, record, explore and dissect the Bible, to find out what questions arise from my personal Biblical study and to ask others what they want to know, or have always wondered about in order to to assemble a list of questions to investigate.
This is the journey I’m embarking on, a great expanse of known and unknown territory filled with story, legend, folklore and preconceived notions. I am excited to begin. I have built my boat, I have packed my bags, I have assembled my crew and venture on into a great adventure! Come with me if you will!
From this setting off point I'll be honest. I have NO idea what I'm doing. I've never written non-fiction like this and it's proving to be a challenge. I have so many cares, concerns and responsibilities in life that always seem to jump, push or sneak in line ahead of my writing. I ask for your patience with me as I trek along, but definitely welcome you to keep me accountable!