Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Real Courage

Every time I take the 66 bus I can’t help but ponder the meaning of courage. Or, more specifically, my lack of courage.

The 66 serves a route that is heavily populated by blind people. (Or visually impaired for the PC Nazis.) Nearly every stop from where I board on Broadway to the Littleton downtown light rail station involves a blind person getting on the bus. They all seem to know each other, and which stops they get on, because they greet each other and take seats in the front as they discuss their plans for the day, politics, tell jokes or even trade friendly insults with each other. When we arrive at the station, they all pile off the bus, thrust their white canes in front of them, and march across the busy street to get to the light rail. I used to be frightened for them, now I am just in awe of them.

And I can’t help but wonder if I would have the courage to wander out into the world without being able to see my surroundings. I’m pretty sure I would not. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong person. I can get stuff done and I can handle a lot of situations, but I really don’t think I would prosper if I ever lost my vision.

Today I boarded the 66 bus an hour later than usual, and the blind people had already been delivered to their destinations. I sat alone on the bus, wondering about their daily lives and a little sad I’d missed them. Then we pulled up to a stop on Littleton Boulevard, and I saw the tip of a white cane come through the front door of the bus. The woman who stepped up was one I’d seen before. She was pretty and usually laughing. She carefully tapped her cane along the seats before settling in the front.

Today, there was something different about her. It struck fear in my heart, while at the same time bringing a tear to my eye at the thought of her courage. She had her usual heavy backpack on, but strapped on her stomach was a baby of about 8 or 9 months old. The baby was facing toward me, and was adorable. I noticed the woman took a little more time settling in, mindful of the precious package she was carrying. The baby had a lot of dark curly hair, and large brown eyes that seemed to take in everything around her. She was seeing everything her mother could only hear.

I immediately had mixed feelings. How safe was it to take a baby out into the world when you couldn’t see? What if they got lost? What if she stepped out in traffic? How could she possibly keep that baby safe? What if?… Well, obviously my prejudice was showing, and I reasoned with myself pretty quickly that like any other mother she was capable of taking care of her child. Perhaps she was even more aware of the goings on around them, due to a heightened sense of hearing and smell. Perhaps she was even a superior parent because she could sense dangers long before we ever would. She nuzzled her nose in her baby’s hair, and the baby smiled and cooed. Obviously they loved each other. I wondered if the mother knew she and her daughter didn’t share the same color of skin.

When we exited the bus at the station, I was worried about them crossing the street. I hung back and followed them off the bus. This time, instead of the woman sticking her cane out into the street and heading boldly into traffic, I followed her as she walked down the sidewalk to the crosswalk. She stopped, unaware that I was stalking her. Where I would look both ways for cars, she did the same, only with her ears. She tilted her head slightly toward the left, then toward the right, listening for the sound of cars. I sensed her hesitancy, and jumped at my chance to help.

“Are you crossing here?” I asked. She seemed relieved.

“Yes. Funny how the cars never seem to stop.”

“Yeah, but we’re good to go now,” I said and she followed the sound of my voice into the street. “Your baby is adorable. She’s made my day,” I said.

“Thank you,” She said as we hit the other side of the street. She was beaming like any proud mother, and I was suddenly just a little bit jealous of the adventure they would be having for the day while I reported to the office for mundane labor.

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I TRIED A FAD DIET…AND I LIKED IT

I remember a time, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when I would scoff at emails promoting fad diets. Younger and smug about my weight, I confidently deleted every one that came through my inbox promising fast weight loss, belly fat secrets and the latest fat burning gimmick.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Now I find myself searching the internet looking for anything that will help me lose weight. Twenty years ago I was pretty fat, nearly 200 pounds. Then, by the ironic grace of diabetes, lost weight and enjoyed a pretty easy maintenance weight of about 120. Let’s just say I’m not as big as I once was, but the memory of being fat is still clear in my mind, and fuels my fear of getting there again.

Now there are several factors at play. Age, a slower metabolism, a medication change and, by my own doing, several months of overindulgence and under-exercising. Having cleared all medical reasons for an unbudging weight, and sticking to an exercise routine for nearly 30 days, I was absolutely desperate to see a change in the scale. I could feel the effects of weight-lifting sessions, and I was almost certainly getting toner, but as women, and I guess as humans, we rely heavily on the opinion of inanimate objects—aka the almighty scale. How a small, metal object came to have such control over our lives I will never know, and I had even tried to banish it into a secret place where I would never look at it again. But alas, I found myself drawn to it, like a moth to a flame, yearning for its daily praise, only to be shattered when I stood upon it and faced its judgment of my failure to succeed.

Eager to please the judgmental little demon, I searched the internet for diets that promised quick results, and after reading dozens of reviews decided to try the Military Diet. Like all fad diets, the concept of burning more calories than you take in made sense, as well as the thought that certain foods, when eaten together can speed up your metabolism and hasten fat burning. There were the usual extreme reviews ranging from it’s not about calories its about carbs, or vegan only, or juices only, or organic only. Each I believe held a little truth, and certainly some were perfect for some people, but I wanted to see result fast.

The only way to know was to try it, so I printed out the routine and brought it home to Robert. He indulges me often, and since we’ve been on a weight loss journey together, he agreed to try it with me. Details aren’t necessary, but the next three days involved grapefruit, lots of tuna, eggs and a bit of ice cream. Amazingly I wasn’t often hungry, had plenty of energy and kept exercising, and actually lost five pounds. I found myself motivated once again, and no longer obssessed about the most satisfying way to destroy the demonic scale. Why, or how the diet worked I’m sure could be ripped apart and ridiculed by some experts, but I don’t really care. I feel better, and I learned a couple of things that will help me in my journey.

First, I learned what it felt like to feel hungry again. Not starving hungry, but to not have a full belly. I don’t remember the last time my stomach wasn’t full, believing that a snack was necessary, or eating because I was bored. I had had a full belly for years, and it turns out maybe the occasional hunger pain is good for me. It made me feel a little more alive, and a little more aware of what I was actually putting in my body.

Secondly, I learned that 300 calories of food, in the form of apples, tuna, salmon or vegetables is actually a crap-load of food. Several times we struggled to complete the entire meal, and were uncomfortably full after finishing.

And lastly, it was good to love food again. I don’t usually care for salmon, but by the end of the second day, as I walked on the treadmill and thought of my upcoming dinner, I found myself actually craving the salmon. Granted, had I not been on the diet I probably would have felt the same way about a big plate of fettuccine alfredo, but at that moment, and later as I sat down at the dinner table, I loved that 4 ounces of salmon as much as my favorite pasta.

 

January 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment