Hitting BOTTOM: Relationship Issues With My “Saddlebags”

I’ll be 48 years old in four weeks, I wear a women’s size 12, my dress shoe size is 7 and I weigh between 149-151 pounds every morning I check the scales.

In other words, I’m middle-aged, wear a middle-sized clothes, mid-range footwear and am in the middle of the 100 and 200 pound mark on the scales.  And, I’ve run out of excuses.  Here are the excuses, reasons or “logical thoughts” I’ve used for the past year to avoid a healthier lifestyle:

  1. I’m busy.
  2. I have a hard time prioritizing between my academic life and my personal life.
  3. The time with my husband and children are more important than exercising.
  4. I’m smaller than some of my friends.
  5. I’m smaller than my husband.
  6. I’m smaller than some of my family members.
  7. If I were really okay with my own self-image then it wouldn’t matter.
  8. I’ll start when I’m done with my Ph.D.
  9. I’ll start tomorrow.
  10. I’ll start on Monday.
  11. If my faith were stronger I wouldn’t be struggling so much.
  12. If I balance out the fat and sugar I’m consuming with all this good home-cooked food, then at least I’m getting the vitamins I need.
  13. My husband, children and family still love me regardless of my physical fitness.
  14. It’s my job’s fault.  It’s my fault.  It’s my genetics’ fault…

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve become a fan of The Pioneer Woman blog.  I’m checking in on Ree and her adventures about two or three times per week now, and she’s no longer coming between me and my husband.  One day she was writing about food and wrote parenthetically, “Lord, help my saddlebags.”

I'm walking around with two of these strapped permanently on my thighs. Click photo to buy one for your horse.

I started thinking about the saddlebag metaphor, referencing her hips as a body part with which she struggles.  That’s how I feel right now.  I feel weighted down from being my normal, energetic self.  I feel like I’m carrying around a load that I can’t unhitch.  So, I did just a few minutes of research and found this link explaining to the trail rider about Horse Saddle Bags: Packing For Success.

The information on their page is crystal clear.  Saddle bags are for packing a work load, but should be removed once the job is done.  They’re not to be worn 24 hours a day.  They also had some extremely deep information I related to myself when considering a saddle-bag purchase:

  1. Horse’s (Kelly’s) size
  2. Horse’s (Kelly’s…you get the picture) conditioning
  3. Horse’s build (conformation)
  4. Horse’s attitude
  5. Horse’s age
  6. Saddle size, fit and weight
  7. Saddle’s ability to distribute weight
  8. Rider’s weight and experience
  9. Saddlebag design and fit
  10. Distance of ride and type of terrain
  11. Weather (esp. heat and humidity)

In other words, you only buy the gear and load up the animal with what they can take, what type of horse it is, and what kind of ride you’re going to make.

I sat there with my permanent, oversized, weighted down saddle bags reading that article and thought: “This is it.”  In my relationship with myself, I have to help myself.  I can’t blame anyone, anything, any time…it’s up to me.

The only time I want to wear saddlebags is when I’m hiking a trail, or when I’m using real ones on a real horse for a real-life trail ride.

This past summer I began a running program and was successful at keeping it up in Oxford until I came back to Oklahoma.  But I can’t blame Oklahoma.  All I can do is realize that the only person who can help this situation is me.

What am I going to do?  One of two things.  I have a former student who now owns a fitness company.  I’m going to call him and explore that option.  I work at a University that emphasizes health all the time.  I’m going to explore that option.  Then I’m going to decide, face my fears, perhaps get rid of a scheduling obligation or two, and get started.  I’m scared, I don’t WANT to do this, but I really want to feel like myself again.

I’ll let you know how it goes ~ Red Dirt Kelly

Also…this is the photo of what’s sitting right in front of me on my desk.  Which do you think I need to find a new home for?

Water? Kisses? Which one needs to find a new home?

Check out the next entry in my “Saddlebags Saga”…that is, if you have the stomach for it!



11 thoughts on “Hitting BOTTOM: Relationship Issues With My “Saddlebags””

  1. Congrats on your decision! What wonderful insight about saddle bags and their purpose and use. You’ve given me a lot to think about. 🙂

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