Rants, Ramblings and General Diary of Juliana Wathen

Archive for the ‘mid life’ Category

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Diving in Naked

It was early morning on Padre Island and I had already decided to get on the road and make the 6 hour drive home to Houston after ringing in the New Year with one of my oldest and dearest friends on South Padre Island. The weather had not been our best friend this trip, high winds, cold temperatures and rainy skies had kept us from venturing out too much. The low hanging clouds had engulfed the island in a blanket of gray with only brief moments of sun light streaking through every now and again. In retrospect, it was a blanket I needed. It comforted me in familiarity with my kindred soul, a sister from another mister as they say. A sister of choice who I shared my mother with. We went to church on Sunday at Chapel by the Sea. Kim sang out all the hymns I didn’t know as I remained quietly standing beside her. I translated the preachers words almost instantaneously in my mind as my perceptions and understandings of the scriptures he read and stories he told didn’t quite mirror my own beliefs but at the core still resonated.

Afterwards we brunched with ladies of the isle 30 and even 40 years our seniors and I was amazed at their combined history and journeys as they sipped mimosas and devoured sugar dusted donut balls. Over the next few days we shopped, napped, read books, solved the worlds woes and fed each others spirit with gentle nudges of truth and observations. I was in a safe harbor to laugh, cry, explore or to do nothing more than be if that was what I needed.

Several years back we had spread my mother’s ashes on the north end of the National Seashore. We hadn’t gone out there this trip and it seemed odd to not go and pay some sort of homage but it just never happened with the rain and cold. I was just resigned to it I think.

And then my friend asked me as we sat perched high over the gulf of Mexico from our “Ivory Tower” , watching the gray waves wash in and spotting a few bundled up beach combers searching the sand for treasures, “Are you sure you don’t want to go see Wanda?”. It was like one of those brief breaks in the clouds where the sun comes shining thru, if only for a moment, like a spotlight on center stage. I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to do. Not for Wanda, but for me. I had spoken about it briefly a few days before. The need for a cleansing, a chance to wash off the previous year and start anew. A clean slate for the new year ahead.

I grabbed a few beach towels and still in my Vera Wang PJ’s we headed to the north shore. The wind was howling and you could feel the gusts push the jeep from side to side every now and again as we traveled down the main highway. We reached the beach entrance, sand dunes piled high on either side. The sand was wet and deep but no real challenge for a jeep. I rolled down my window and breathed in heavy doses of chilled salt air. We passed a few fishermen who where stubborn enough to brave the cold and rough surf in the hope of catching a few silvery pompano. Two heron stood watch as if they had a vested interest in the fisherman’s success and it made me smile.

We drove further up the beach until we saw the spot we loving call “Wanda’s Beach”. The tide was coming in and there we were. There was a frothy foam on the top of the water from the constant battering of waves. I laughed to myself and said a silent thank you to Wanda for the soap! A prayer of protection and a silent meditation and then I stepped from the jeep and began to disrobe. The sand was cold on my feet, the wind bit at every bump and bulge and yet I continued to undress. Here I was, rapidly approaching my 56th birthday, 225 lbs of insecurity and a slight fear of water, marching into the waves. I didn’t run or plunge but with a steadfast purpose walked into the ocean. Letting it take me one step at a time, one wave at a time to a new year. Not a new me but a truer me. Not as scared, not as insecure, not as mournful for the loss of my mother who was my best friend in the world. The waves were rolling in. One minute waste deep the next up to my neck and floating, my feet swept up off the sandy floor but still capable of moving forward.

That’s the choice….to move forward. A wave lapped over my head and I knew, forward can be many things. I embraced the waves and now it was time to embrace the chilling air. I turned and made my way back to shore just as slowly and deliberately as I had walked in. And there, on the shore, was my soul sister to welcome me, wrap me in her blanket and arms and share the moment. My heart was beating through my chest and I gasped for air as I clung to her. I never felt warmer or more alive.

This was why I was here. To acknowledge that feeling of vulnerability and insecurity you are left with when orphaned on earth with the lose of a parent. To finally take all the things they had taught you and instilled in you and use them on a daily basis without their prodding.

I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I am brave. I am kind. I am that I am. And so my sweet, are you.

I love each and every one of you.

Juliana

Copyright Juliana Wathen 2019

Living life 8 seconds at a time…..

thVOHSAJ9TThis week RODEO HOUSTON gets underway and you will find me every fourth night volunteering in the Main Corral Club at NRG Center. To get in the mood I have dropped more than my share of semi-expendable cash at Cavender’s Western Wear, had my boots polished and have spent the evening being a slug watching The American Rodeo on RFD-TV. Giddy up and go cowgirl!!!

On this dreary Sunday I have lain up in the middle of my pretty-pretty princess bed surrounded by a large assortment of pillows and a sleeping fur ball and watched four-legged and two-legged athletes alike put it all on the line for a buckle and a paycheck. The toughest of the bunch stake their entire existence on just 8 seconds.  8 seconds.

I started to think just how long 8 seconds must feel like when there is a pissed off 1000lb bull with his nut sack cinched up to Jesus and back, trying like hell to make this is your last day on earth. How many decisions does that cowboy have to make in 8 seconds do you think? His entire life can flash before his eyes, he has time to second guess the bull’s next move and prepare for it and he even has time to think about what the future will hold and how he will spend his money if he makes to buzzer. All in 8 Seconds.

I feel the pressure some days of all the choices I have and need to make in living this life. Some days I feel like I’ve spent more time tossed to the dirt than riding high. So I sat and pondered, what if I only gave myself 8 seconds to make a choice. What if I only allowed myself 8 seconds when I wake up in the morning to get out of bed? I’d be UP AND MOVING. What if I had to make decisions in 8 seconds on food choices and exercise as if my life depended on it.  Ohhhh wait…it DOES!

Bells and whistles go off in my head…..I spend too much time having casual conversations with myself day in and day out, rationalizing bad choices. I talk myself out of getting up, getting out and living life. I wait on others to be motivated and use more excuses than a politician seeking re-election. The time has come to COWGIRL UP Ladies!!! Time to take the bull by the horns and make some better choices. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

I love each and every one of you.

Juliana Wathen

Copyright 2015

PLACES MS. WATHEN…..

DRAG SHOW
No matter how old I get, I hope I never hesitate to take that NEXT step cause you just never know where it might lead you. I pulled together all my pennies, nickels and even a Visa gift card to get my ass to the BIG D (that’s Dallas to all non-Texans out there) to attend an Actors Boot Camp this past weekend.
People came from New Orleans,Tulsa and the Great Piney Woods of Texas to polish up their skills on Auditioning for the Camera, Continuity and Scene Work with the ever so gifted Del Shores. If you don’t know him…shame on you – look him up. In-credible writer and director. And it don’t hurt he’s home-grown from the great state of Texas!
The experience reminded me …that yes

#1: I can and WILL pee my pants when my little Mazda Zoom-Zoom goes skating and sliding over an icy overpass just north of Ennis….even when I’m NOT the one driving!

#2: You just can’t beat a good Drag Show at The Rose Room on a Friday Night.

#3: I don’t love acting because I get to “BE” someone else for a few hours and be everything I never was or thought I could be. I love acting because I get to “BE” everything that I AM and proudly put it out there for everyone to see just like Show and Tell in Mrs. Bennett’s first grade class at Runyan Elementary in 1969!

#4: When you stop learning… you stop living. When an actor stops “training” then check the mirror for fog. Chances are they aren’t breathing.

#5: Life is like a show! It has a First Act, an Intermission, a Second Act and an End. I’ve had my First Act and intermission and I am called to “Places” for the second act. Curtain up baby! I’m flying without a net and NO UNDERSTUDY!

I love each and every one of you
Juliana

Copyright 2014 Juliana Wathen

I shaved my legs for this?…..

big-changes It’s hard to believe that there is an unflattering side to losing weight. But there is! And NOBODY, I mean NOOOOOBODY warns you about it. Now, before you go getting your granny panties in a twist, I’m not talking that 10 lbs of “Water Weight” you think you are retaining. I am talking about losing big pounds…75…100…125! Sure, you’re gonna be able to wear smaller clothes, pull your car seat up a few inches or perhaps even come a tad bit closer to fitting into the NORMAL airline seat in coach. But what they DON’T tell you is what can kill ya!

I’ve been shaving my legs for years…a lot of years! But this weekend, I damn near had to dial 911 for a paramedic. I knew the “landscape” had changed a smidge as I have lost 113 lbs. But it has been pretty gradual so I didn’t honestly give it too much thought. Besides, why the hell would someone need to TEACH me how to shave my legs? For Christ sake. I’m 50 years old. I think I got this!
And I was gliding along just fine with my hot pink Venus triple blade razor with it’s handy dandy moisturizing strip (which just looks like another piece of plastic to me) till this thing…this…unknown obstacle got in my way. This thing above my foot and below my calf, protruding grotesquely out of the side of my…..OH MY HOLY JESUS!!! I have an ankle!!!! And not just one….I checked the other leg….I HAVE TWO! TWO ANKLES!!!!! And one just happened to be gushing blood like a newly drilled backyard oil well. And I am pretty sure that because of my hot pink Venus triple blade razor with it’s handy dandy moisturizing strip that I was missing not just one, or two but THREE layers of skin to boot!

Physicians, family and friends, and let’s not forget complete strangers, all whisper about the “Shar Pei” effects on skin after drastic weight lose. But can we just focus on the bigger picture right now. The fact that I FINALLY have ankles and one is drastically SCARED for the rest of my life and I didn’t even have it for more than a month. I hung my head, deflated as I bandaged my new ankle. 😦

For those who just can’t relate because you have always HAD ankles….let me put it in terms you can understand…You have a BRAND NEW CAR….It’s the one you always wanted – the right color, the best features and you haven’t even had it a month before some asshole in the Wal-mart parking lot pulls his Ford F350 pickup truck into the VERY small parking spot beside you and dings your NEW CAR DOOR getting out of his giant POS! THAT…is how it felt. It’s not like I’m gonna go to the BODY SHOP for a repair. I’m just gonna learn to live with it.

So me and my battle scared ankle will warn the masses! Who’d have thunk it?

I still love each and every one of you
Juliana

Copyright 2013 Juliana Wathen

Hiding in plain sight….

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Much like a hermit crab I have spent my life living in a shell and as time rolled by I would exchange it for larger and larger shells. It was my home, it was my comfort and protection. And with it I was able, for the most part, to hide in plain sight.

You see, the majority of my life I have been morbidly obese. You would think the larger you are the more people see you but the opposite is true. The larger you are the LESS people see you….let me rephrase that…..the less people WANT to see you. They turn away in stores and elevators as if they are embarrassed for you and rarely speak. It’s a silence you just become accustomed to over time. It’s normal, not being noticed or being glanced over and passed. The silence itself becomes a layer of comfort.

In December 2012 I shattered my silence by undergoing full gastric by-pass. The weight began to fall away at a steady pass. But let’s face it, when you weigh 320lbs it takes a while for people to notice. So I was able to hide in my shell for a good while longer. It wasn’t until I had lost nearly 80lbs that the change began and my silence was broken.

I was alone on a hotel elevator having been at a business meeting or something. I honestly can’t remember because it was what happened next that is so solidly burned into my memory. The elevator “dinged”, the doors slid open and several business professional got on. I looked up at them and their gaze met mine and suddenly I realized they were addressing me. “Hi, How are you today?” a gentleman asked…….I stammered, “just fine” , as I backed my ass waaaaaaay into the back corner of the elevator. All the while the voice inside my head screamed, “Holy shit! They can see me!”. Panic set in immediately. No I mean REAL PANIC….as in a PANIC ATTACK.

I bolted out of the elevator when it reached the lobby and headed to the valet. I passed off my ticket to the young man who ran for my car and I stood there…out in the open…..waiting for my car. I might as well have been standing there butt-ass-naked with a spot light shining down on me because THAT is how exposed I felt in that moment.

I had to have a good, long discussion with myself when I got home that night. I could choose to hide at home and hold down my couch or I could push myself out the door and join the party. I felt like the hermit crab, soft and vulnerable inside. But the choice wasn’t to shed one shell for another like Hermie the Crab. It was time to accept the fact that I had a life changing surgery for a reason….to live. And the only reason to live is to be SEEN and HEARD.

So cheers, to “LIVING OUT LOUD”.

I love each and every one of you
Juliana

Copyright 2013 Juliana Wathen

Who you calling short?…..

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So when you drop a ton of weight, one of the drawbacks is on your pocket-book. You gotta buy new clothes some time!
On Tuesday evening I made my pilgrimage to my local favorite fat store.
I scoured through the racks of brightly colored summer offerings searching for what had quickly become an elusive and rare pair of black dress slacks. After sifting through jeans, shorts and capris galore I finally I found the golden bar holding the ONLY slacks in the store.I’m a gambler by nature and I hate to try on clothes and mostly, never do, but after 82lbs down the drain it is a necessity for a decent fit.I had one shot and had to get it right.
I grabbed a few sizes and headed for the dressing room. The first pair was too large, the second I couldn’t pull over my pancake ass but the third was juuuuuuust right. I wouldn’t even have to hem them!!!!
I wasn’t crazy about the price but it was, after all, a necessity.
I wrangled a chatty sales associate with a lively “I’m ready to check out , please!” and braced my self to scan my debit card.
He rang up the slacks and suddenly the price changed on the read out and $20.00 dollars was posted as a discount! “They’re on SALE?” I exclaimed in a girly high-pitched voice reminiscent of a tacky tween.
YES MA’AM! ALL OUR CAPRIS ARE ON SALE!!!
😦 My first reaction? I was pissed! I was worried about hemming capris??? Damn it!
Then I decided the Universe was cutting me a break and I should smile, say thank you and exit the store immediately with my $20.00 discount. I don’t care what you say! I’m not THAT damn short!

Just saying!

I love each and every one of you
Juliana
Copyright 2013 Juliana Wathen

I Got You Babe!…..

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Without you …..I would not experience Faith

Without you …..I wouldn’t be challenged to Trust

Without you…..I would not strive to make the World a Better Place

Without you…..I would not push myself to get to the Other Side

Without you…..I would not experience Unconditional Love

I would not be who I am today without all the experiences, conditions and people that have touched my day to day life.
It truly is YOU AND ME BABE!

I love each and every one of you
Juliana

Copy Right 2013 Juliana Wathen

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