Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the beverly hillbillies

i had a really fun weekend. my aunt and uncle and her three boys came out for a quick visit. fortunately for me, my auntie and crew stayed with their friends, giving me respite in the evenings.

we decided to go out to dinner on saturday night. my other aunt and her husband came up from the o.c. to join us. we were a boisterous party of nine with healthy appetites. no sooner had i walked in the door, ready for pre-dinner merry making, did i turn right back around, rushed out the door with everyone else to make our reservation. my aunt directed me towards their rental car, a huge white mini-van, and said that i would be carpooling with them. i climbed over a week's worth of 11 yr old boy road trip remnants and packed into the furthest row back with my two cousins. we were laughing and horsing around until one of the boys unearthed an empty drink cup. "EWWWWWW!!!" one of them shreiked while the other taunted him with this seemingly harmless empty cup. "what are you screaming about? it's an empty cup!" i asked the little hellion with the lungs. "jack PEEEED in that cup on way down here!!" he cried. good christ. "OK, JACK! put the cup down and stop freaking your brother out," i said. what was really going through my head though was, "please, baby jesus. please make that spawn of your archnemesis put that muthafucking piss cup down before any remaining, stray drops strike me in the face, neck, shoulders, legs, arms or torso." lets just say i was feeling every inch of the piercing shriek that my other cuz was emitting just moments ago.

jack finally turned his attention to taunting my aunt while she strapped the littlest one into the car seat, saving us all from a golden sprinkle. after securing the baby, my auntie started commandeering seating arrangements for everyone and to my horror, that included ALL NINE OF US in this mini-van. now, i'm not a real fussy gal, but i gotta say my idea of a good time does not include packing into someone else's dirty, stinky, road trippy car funk like a bunch of hatian refugees.

where is the common sense here? of the six adults among us has no one but me thought of just taking two cars?? my thought was interrupted by a painful blow to the shoulder. one of my relatives from the middle row was violently trying to find a suitable grasp while they precariously perched from half a butt cheek. finally we were off with the promise of a very brief ride to the restaurant.

no sooner did we get on to the main road before the two hellcats beside me started giggling again. almost instantaneously i was overwhelmed by the noxious fumes of 11 year old flatulence. normally i find farts to be... well... rather funny. but this putrid stink... this was from a gateway of hell that i have not known before... this was the stuff that melts faces and burns the ass out of underpants. this was literally making me gag. the toxic green cloud crept its way to the front seats amid revolted cries for mercy and the boys' peels of laughter. the windows finally went down, providing much needed relief to our shriveling alveoli and soon we arrived at the restaurant.

dinner was delightful and the boys were wonderfully wild 11 and 13 year old boys. when we got back to the house i hung with everyone for another hour or so. finally i bid adieu and made it back to the warmth and cleanliness of my own home.

friday and sunday held more of the same, boisterous, big-family good times. although its nice to have these jubilant breaks from the earnestness headiness of my thoughts, i'm grateful to get back to the grind, to sprawl out in my big comfy bed, in the quiet of my own home, with my own furry babies. i'll take a wet-nose nuzzle over singed lungs and flying pee cups any day!

week 3 goal check in

week 1 goal: record all food intake. good all work week; not so great on the weekend.
week 2 goal: stay within daily points allotment. almost.
week 3 goal: make a dentist appt and an optometrist appt. no dentist appt. optometrist appt made.
1 pound lost.

seemed yo do really good at staying on track during the week, but this weekend kind of got derailed with non-stop plans that included a bunch of funloving out-of-town family.

week 4 goal: DENTIST APPT. and research a good half marathon to aim for by year end. eek! did i really just put that down as my goal?? if i was REALLY brave, i would just commit to the dang thing... maybe i'll save that for week 5.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

you've come a long way, baby

one year ago my guy and i and our furry brood rolled in to los angeles to start anew. we sold our comfortable home in chicago, left all our friends, our families, our jobs, our familiar streets - all in favor of my guy's job and the lure of 70 degrees in the middle of february.

after three days trapped in the confines of a small car with two drugged-out, unhappy cats and a nervous dog, we were beyond relieved to pull up to our new digs around 10:30pm. happy to be finally be free, the dog
sniffed around and the kitties cautiously explored each darkened, bare room while my guy and i quietly snooped the building for the circuit breakers. moments after we got the electricity on, a neighbor came down and banged on the front door. a gruff middle-aged play-boy type barked at my guy, "are you going to use your ceiling fans?" my guy, completely perplexed by not only the brusque demeanor of our new neighbor, but also by the bizarro question, answered, "hi, you must be one of our neighbors? this is belly and i'm her guy. nice to meet you." i guess the ceiling fans rattle when on full speed - and the folks who rented our place before us were engaged in a full fledged pissing contest with this mannerless l.a. type and his clan. the welcoming committee muttered a few more demands regarding our use of our ceiling fans, then turned on his heel, leaving a cloying cloud of testosterone in his wake. i can only assume his brash welcome was an attempt to piss all over us, like a tomcat marking his territory. nice. welcome to fucking l.a. please, god, don't let the stereotypes out here be true!

we were anxious after the run in with the new neighbor. we were also dirty, tired and road weary and ready for the day to be over. i lugged the air mattress out of the car while my guy got the rest of the bags. i began to inflate it but was so nervous about the buzz-saw sound coming from the air mattress inflater that i didn't quite fill it to capacity for fear that someone else would come banging on the door.

all i wanted in the world was to get clean and pass out. i padded into the bare bedroom, fresh from the shower and ready for snuggling. my guy was already passing out on his side of the half-inflated, makeshift bed. forgetting the laws of physics, i jumped onto my side of the air mattress and, much to my horror, sent my guy soaring out of bed. the uneven dispersal of weight served as a springboard, and projected my unsuspecting guy in a perfect arch right out
of the safety and comfort of the bed and smack dab onto the hardwood floor. "WHAT THE FUCK?!" my guy shrieked. i started laughing. i was horrified. my big, fat butt just catapulted my man out of his bed. i was laughing too hard to be embarrassed... and thankfully, soon my guy was in hysterics, too. a perfect end to that day.

the next morning we peeled ourselves off of each other (the half-filled mattress was steadily losing air during the evening, sending us both towards the lowest point of gravity - the middle of the mattress), shook off the soreness of sleeping on a crap bed and went out to the car, ready for a day full of errands. we were greeted with a terse note on our windshield from a peeved neighbor (a different one) who let us know that it was NOT ok for us to be parked in his spot... funny thing was that when we pulled in the nite before, we parked in the only space open. each unit in our building is assigned one designated spot. since someone was parked in ours, we assumed that the management company gave us the wrong info and figured that the only open one must be ours. (i later discovered that it was the note-leaver's roommate who was parked in our spot that nite - which pissed me off even more that he left a note knowing someone from his household was in our parking place. again - welcome to fucking l.a.)

later that afternoon we went on a wild goose chase to get duplicate keys made. we thought our run of shit luck had taken a turn for the better when we found a prime parking spot outside of the third place we were referred to. i waited in the car, chatting on the phone, when lo and behold, L.A.P.D. comes right up behind me and starts writing a ticket... WHILE I WAS SITTING IN THE CAR. "what's up, officer?" i asked. "you're in a no parking zone from 4pm to 7pm." i looked at the clock on the dash: 4:01pm. "but i'm from out of town! i didn't know! it's only 4 right now. can't i move it?" i pleaded. he just kept writing the ticket. the fucker didn't even have the decency to reply - he just finished writing the ticket, put it on the windshield and walked away. that stupid little hard-to-find mailbox key ended up costing us $75. welcome to fucking l.a.

at the end of another sucky day, we took solace in the fact that we were able to at least properly fill the air mattress, preventing any more unexpected human launches and providing a sound sleep. except one of the kitties punctured the friggin' mattress that evening. in the middle of the night, i woke up nearly suffocating in thick plastic polymer - the mattress lost so much air that my ass was on the floor while my limbs and neck were awkwardly propped up by the last bit of air. i maneuvered myself out of my plastic quicksand tomb and started making a bungalow at the foot of the bed. i managed a sad little nest, built from almost-dry towels, my winter coat and some clean socks and underwear. the movers were still two days away and i was doomed to this abysmal sleeping accommodation for another evening. all i could do was cry myself to sleep.

i felt so defeated, so lonely and upset. i had no one but my guy to fall back on - no group of girlfriends to commiserate with over drinks, no family to cry to over a home-cooked meal. no familiarity. los angeles was shaping up to be a great big fuck you and i was not prepared for it. when we left our home, i was full of hope, excitement, and the spirit of adventure. it took exactly two days in l.a. to crush all of the good feelings i brought with me. for two whole days, i wallowed in self pity and lonliness in an empty apartment without a car. even the idea of a simple walk around the neighborhood terrified me. i don't even really remember what i did most of those two days before the movers arrived - i just remember fear. too scared to check out the many nearby shops, boutiques, or grocery store. too scared to do walk up to rodeo drive and window shop. too scared to even take my dog for a potty walk!! i was consumed with the terror of people judging me, terror of getting lost. in my paralyzed state, my fear created this imposing image of what was acceptable, what i had to look like, the show of wealth i would have to display, the style i would have to sport just to be able to go outside in my own neighborhood. it wasn't enough that we got a raw deal upon our arrival to california, but now i was living in a self-imposed prison of fear.

i think it took me a good four months to come out of my shell. slowly i became more familiar with the lay of the land. i introduced myself to my neighbors. i made peace with the false image that my fear created and i was able to just feel good about being me again. i've come a long way in one year. if i take inventory of the events of this past year, the list is significant: i went on a month-long road trip across the western half of the united states, i landed a great gig, i started truly investing in my health, i've committed to being in relationship with my body, i organized a trip to meet friends in vegas, i flew back to chicago a few times, i deepened my relationship with close girlfriends despite the distance, i hiked all over the malibu mountains, i went on my first wine-tasting trip, i started blogging. and the coolest part is that i did this on my own. no friends nearby. no family. no therapist. no familiar city. just me. of course my guy was there every step of the way, lending his strength and love and encouragement, but i'm taking all the credit on this one. i came full circle this past year...all because of me.

it took me a year to do it, but i've finally made peace with this old whore of a town. i've learned to work with the city rather than against it. i've learned to appreciate her jagged visage and hard ways. i don't know if i'll ever feel like i truly belong to this city or it to me, but for now i've found peace with los angeles. i've found peace within me. and that's hot.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

20 lbs in a week just ain't right

i just found out that my guy and i are headed back to our home town at the end of april for a grand celebration. my guy has numerous tracks included his buddy's indie movie. when we went to the premier out here in l.a., we were overcome with excitement. we watched the final edit in a real movie theater with 250 of the producer's friends and colleagues. we delighted with recognition every time one of my guy's songs faded in. we squirmed with glee when we watched the credits roll and my guy's name scrolled across the big screen. it was a surreal experience. it was a wonderful event. i was so proud and honored to be sitting next to this creative genius who received verbal accolades from the producer in front of the 248 strangers in the theater with us.

so after my guy told me the good news and we decided to go back home for the event, it started. this happens to me every.single.time i am confronted with an impending date of reuniting with old friends, going on a trip, any momentous occasion that will require me to be presentable. 'it' is the soundtrack from my youth, the voice that repeats over and over and over, the sickness that asks "how much weight can i lose before this event? if i starve and exercise every day could i lose 20 lbs in a week?" this tape used to drown out all rational thought - it was the soundtrack that beat with my pulse, that consumed my thoughts... this is the same voice that nearly caused me to miss the memorable experience of attending the premier of my guy's movie.

it was a wonderful woman, full of wisdom-by-the-hour, who helped me see how damaging and distorted this idea really was. the shrink is gone. the voice is back. granted, it's not as ridiculous and demanding as it once was. no, i am now able to understand just how fucked that way of thinking is. but the voice is back... only... different. as soon as i heard about a second movie screening in our home town, somewhere deep inside of me i sensed an old, familiar part press 'play'... this time, though, the voice is disguised as a seemingly rational thought:

"belly, you have two and a half months until the event. wouldn't it be wonderful to look great for it? two and a half months - if you really got with the program, you could lose at least 15 lbs in that time."

blech. when i logged my weight yesterday on the weight watchers site, i noticed that it has taken me two and a half months to lose 5.5 lbs. why do i think - wait - why would i want to sabotage myself by trying to adopt anything faster than my current pace? and FOR SOMEONE ELSE?? what about me? how did i happen to lose myself inside of a sentence??

what about me?

here i am. here i am reclaiming my new found relationship with my body. here i am denouncing the idea that i want to lose weight for anyone but myself. here i am picking myself back up off the chuckwagon from the past weekend, dusting off my knees and the cheez-it crumbs, and getting back on the path. here i am reminding myself that my body is sacred and beautiful exactly the way it is RIGHT NOW.

it's times like these, when i can hear the old, sick tapes playing, that i have to give pause to my life and reclaim it. i have to restate my purpose here. i need to remind myself that those old voices don't guide me. i will make peace with them. i forget to look for the beauty in these falling down places... for it is in these moments of weakness where my truth lies. it is in these moments of weakness that i am truly aware of my strength. i don't wallow in my broken places because i am strong enough to pull out. pull up. get back to center.

so here i am. here i am struggling to be tender with the old voices. struggling to let them know that it's ok now. i've got this one. i'll take it from here and i'm strong enough to do it. in the past two and a half months that i have been with weight watchers, i have been more successful in getting to know my body and adopting healthy habits for weight loss than ever before in my life. i like this pace i'm keeping. i like discovering my self. i am falling in love with my body.

in the coming months i will build success for myself through weekly goals. i will continue to post with regular frequency. i will be aware of my body and my food decisions. i will go back to my home town in a couple of months and i will revel in the celebration of my guy's creativity. i will cherish the time laughing and talking with friends and family. i will meet new people with open arms and a warm heart. and it won't matter a lick what i weigh.

week 2 goal check in

week 1 goal: document all food intake. goal met
week 2 goal: stay within weekly alloted points. goal almost met.

didn't quite meet my week 2 goal, but i did lose a pound and a half at my weigh in yesterday. i was really beating myself up, too - this past weekend i had the most god awfully good thick wedge fries and some of that disgusting bright orange melty yummy cheese. so good. but i felt so bad having them. this is one of those times where i'm grateful that i'm as large as i am because i get 31 glorious points a day on the weight watchers menu. i know, backwards thinking... but those fries were a little more than half of my daily allotment. so good though. it's amazing how riddled with guilt i felt in anticipation of the weigh-in and the goal check-in. the goal is to lose weight, right? so why the freaky freak-out? seems to me that it all just comes down to math. and yet i imbue that simple daily equation with enough emotional turmoil to make the freshman year at an all girls academy look sane. curiously enough i had quite a few triumphs this week - gutted the office/second bedroom and brought organization and cleanliness to an otherwise storage wasteland; logged more pedometer steps in one day than ever before; lost weight. yet all of these huge achievements seem to get swallowed by my own neurosis.

week 3 goal: make a dentist appointment and an eye doctor appointment

in addition to the week 3 goal, i'm going to try to focus on staying sane when curveballs come my way. i have to remind myself that this is a process. there are ups and downs. but the big picture has me moving forward, my weight trending down and my relationship with my body finding balance. i truly believe that regular blogging is key to helping me stay the course. i find that when i blog on a daily basis, i am more accountable to myself. i am more aware of my mind/body relationship. i am less likely to fall off the wagon into a box of big-cheez-its-because-it's-weigh-in-day-and-i-have-a-full-week-to-work-these-off-my-ass. i will quit beating myself up over the stupid shit, too. guilt DOES NOT BURN CALORIES. exercise does.

here's to another week of cumulative goal-building and getting back in the saddle. oh yeah, and to being nice to myself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

time out

today i am quiet. i am full of recent revelations and now i am mentally digesting.

The Healing Time
by Pesha Gertler

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

sanity check

i got home from work a short while ago. i was staaaaaarvvvving (not literally, but quite dramatically). i felt that psycho must-eat-something-NOW-tornado start to spin inside me as soon as i walked in the door. i hurried through the right-when-you-get-home routine of feeding and walking pets but as soon as i returned from the potty walk, i nose-dived into the kitchen. awareness was shot and the cloud of numbness was surging in. the fastest thing to prepare was an english muffin and while it was cooking, i spied pringles (even faster). when i saw the pringles, i had a physical, pavlovian reaction - i felt my eyes get bigger at the recognition of the unopened tube of potato crisps and i started salivating. this story has a happy ending, though...

"whoa. hold up there, little mama. i've only got 13 points left for the day," i thought with the last shred of sanity. so i took 10 pringles out (mind you, i have NEVER counted out pringles before - this is huge for me), put the canister back and waited patiently for the muffin to finish toasting. i grabbed a bottle of water and my muffin and retreated to the office to check in with the blogs and try to calm the category 5 winds that started a churnin' in me just moments earlier.

this moment, as i type, the crazy need to feed feeling has abated and i am calm enough and sane enough to go back to the kitchen and make a healthy dinner. i didn't die from starvation. and i didn't succumb to "the nothing."

could it be? is this... success?!

Monday, February 11, 2008

kickin' ass and taking inventory

great week. successful week. but before i get into the thick of it, a quick goal recap:

week 1 goal: document all of my food intake. goal met.

week 2 goal: stay within my weight watchers point range for the week

yikes! did i really just give myself that much hangin' rope for week 2's goal? i have to admit that as a weight watchers online subscriber for two and a half months, i have not had one week where i've come in under my weekly points. until now, i have lived in terror of this goal. mostly because a very large part of me isn't sure that i can do it, but there is also an equally fearful part that i will do it. for days i mulled over a good second week goal for myself - it has to be something tangible, within my grasp, but not too scary and hard that i'll land face first into a giant vat of chocolate chip cookie dough. staying within my point range seems like a natural progression from accurately journaling my food intake - but still, this idea strikes a really fearful chord in me.

in the past, i could sense the fear creeping in, gnawing at the periphery of my consciousness until i was so consumed with holding it at bay, whatever it really is, that i would lose control of my true voice... seemed like no one was running the show because my true self was lost in a cacophony of confusion and denial. i don't want to head in to my next goal with this much fearful chatter whispering in my ear.

"that's too hard. you'll never be able to stick with that plan."
"this plan doesn't afford you enough food or wine."

"you haven't managed this accomplishment in two and a half months, what makes you think you can do it now?"

"what if you get hungry? you can't tolerate hunger."

but my fear is sneaky - it's done a good job of creating chaos and confusion, all of which exists to mask a deeper knowing: i am not loveable and i don't deserve success.

every time i eat something that doesn't directly provide nourishment, every time i drink one more glass of wine, every time i decide to watch some stupid reality show in favor of going for a walk, every time i make a conscious decision to deny myself those things that are good for me, i prove that deep, pained part of myself right: i don't deserve success. i don't deserve a healthy body. i don't deserve to love myself.

recently, i've written a lot about accepting the small frustrations and discouragements of the day into my life. i've talked about making room for them, letting them have space, be heard. i've made room in my heart and acknowledged these daily worries and in doing so, i have given them the freedom to dissipate. "your job is done now, little worry, thanks for bringing it to my attention but i've got it covered - run along."
this new revelation, though - this is a biggun'. and yet, as i write about this big, hairy, ugly underlying fear, i can feel it losing power, withdrawing, releasing it's grip on me. i am well enough to face it head on. i am strong enough to look it in the eyes and know it. if i can accept this part of me, this dark, painful part, then i can accept all of myself. i'm willing to do that. i want to be successful. i want to know the triumph that comes with hard work and dedication. if success feels anything at all like the relief and release that i'm tasting now in finding self acceptance, then i want more of it - a lot more of it!

slow and steady changes habits. i have to remember my intention for starting off with slow and easy goals: too much too soon is a known recipe for failure. but this new goal doesn't seem all that bad. when i stop and let the fear in, when i let it have a voice and acknowledge it, i realize that it is not the voice of my true self. the fearful voice is not the truest voice. it doesn't control me. i actually feel whole letting that fearful part up to the surface. i feel like i'm not denying, avoiding or ignoring me. i feel like i'm taking inventory of my inner workings and am getting to know exactly what's going on inside me. this is different. this feels like healing. this also feels a little like... success.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

feelin' groovy

there are days when i feel so low and days when i feel so high... every now and again, there are those truly delightful days that just feel right, when the sun shines on my every step, a wry little smile plays at the corners of my lips and i'm filled with a sense that everything is right. today was one of those just right days.

i awoke to playful banter and soft morning laughs with my guy. later, my guy and i enjoyed a leisurely stroll, following adventure to new parts of our neighborhood, basking in the beautiful weather. we delighted in the happy waggle of our dog's tail, the back-and-forth swish swish swish indicating she, too, was feeling the good vibrations. the day agreed with all of us.

we invited new energy into our home by moving old boxes out of the entryway. we bopped around town, taking care of small errands, giggling with nostalgia at an unexpected good shuffle from the ipod. i woke from a nap to melodic stums drifting in from the living room where my guy worked out a new song on the guitar.

it was while we were driving that i glanced over at the man i love and who loves me, windows wide and lee majors crooning about being the unknown stuntman, that it occured to me: i am ok. things are good. life is full of beauty and bounty. i am ok. i could feel that feeling that comes with crying, that tightness in my chest, the lump forming in my throat, i could feel it surging into me, heading up through my lungs, shoulders, neck, working it's way to my tear ducts. and yet, no tears came. i am ok. i was so overwhelmed by the goodness of this day that i wanted to cry. instead, i just held fast to the feeling of serenity, of deeply calming peacefulness that this day had graced me with.

today i am full of light. i am full of joy. i am full of hope and awareness.

i am full.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

crumb-y day

sometimes i really wonder what my co-workers must think of me… i am one tragic catastrophe after another.

around two-thirty today, i happened to look down at my shirt and noticed it was covered in crumbs. i was horrified to find… snacks…that i had unwittingly saved for later…in the folds of my cowl neck shirt. and by snacks i mean small to medium-largish crumbs of the wretched little kashi granola bar i had for breakfast. i’m not bothered so much by the fact that no one told me i had the bottom of a monkey cage stuck to my upper torso and neck. no, i’m bothered more by the fact that for the six hours or so that i walked around my place of business donning my crumb-y getup, i was basically reinforcing every negative image of fat people that exist… you know what i’m talking about – the stereotype of that dirty, stinky, fat office leper who plods around covered in food stains, crumbs stuck to their 2nd, 4th and 5th chin-necks, with a gait resembling that of jabba the hut (which is really less of a stride and more of an oooooozing along), leaving a trail of empty super size doritos bags and econo-sized twinky boxes in their wake. today, friends, that fat slob was me. as soon as i noticed those velcro crumbs clinging to my shirt, i brushed them away with the ferocity of a meth addict swiping at invisible bugs… "get 'em off! get em' OFF!!"

trying to regain composure, i was reminded of another moment, not so long ago, where i was once again left melting in the wake of humiliation, by yet a different stereotype: a snot-nose, scabby-kneed 11 year old boy. oddly, i found solace in the embarrassment of a few crumbs on my shirt (all day long) because that was nothing compared to what happened to me while i was temping…

i got a temp gig shortly after i moved to l.a. (and not long after i became completely demoralized by a fruitless three-month job search). my temp cubicle was strategically placed to accommodate the every whim of five or six office dwellers. my duty was primarily to answer the phone. it was not uncommon for me to bring a snacks and drinks to work because i was shackled to the phone for seven hours a day.

one day, i decided to sate my mid-morning hunger with a pear. it was a delicious pear, perfectly ripe and super juicy. while enjoying my snack, one of the office dwellers ambled by and stopped to exchange morning niceties. i noticed that this corporate slug kept diverting his eyes from mine, his glance darting about my face. was he looking at my cheek? my nose? why the hell did his gaze keep falling to the same two spots on my face? no sooner did he disappear into the dark recesses of his office than i whipped out a mirror to view my visage. what i saw caused me to drop the mirror in horror, grab the sides of my head and shriek bloody murder...on the inside...because i'm professional. instead, i frantically jabbed at my face with a kleenex, feeling the immediate burn of a deep, embarrassed blush begin to blossom on my cheeks and neck. i had not one, but two small booger-sized pear remnants sticking to my ruddy cheek and nose. holy mary mother of god. the pieces of pear looked EXACTLY like boogies. IT LOOKED LIKE I HAD TWO BOOGERS ON MY FACE!! boogers on peoples' faces… (i’m going to have to develop a steely constitution just to type out the next few sentences because nothing, and i do mean NOTHING, is more vile than a random boogie on someone’s face… even babies with the mass of yellowy goo smeared across their top lips is enough to send me into seizing fits of dry heaving.) it is just.so.gross. frankly, i'm not quite sure how i survived the day. i think i blacked out from the trauma of the incident because my recollection of the succeeding events of that day are hazy. needless to say that guy never really talked to me again... and frankly, i couldn't have blamed him. if the shoe had been on the other foot, i would have very likely cut the conversation short to go vomit in the privacy of my office. so gross.

so, yeah. i guess the crummy crumb incident today wasn't all that bad. when i compare it to some of the other recent embarrassing moments that i've lived down, not too bad at all...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

i have a hunch ...back

today was an awesome, awesome day:
  • three pounds down after the massacre-at-chicken-wing-tray sunday nite
  • awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed because i got to sleep at 11 last nite
  • stayed within my points range yesterday
  • got some exercise in yesterday
  • voted!!
  • wrote down everything i ate yesterday (cue european soccer announcer: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL, you know, because it's my weekly goal...)
  • preparing a healthy, low cal, point friendly dinner
  • very possibly will stay within my points for today
  • have documented all my food thus far today (again: GOOOOOAAAAAALL)
but best of all, i was best of buds with my body today. all my mind/body chatter from yesterday really paid off...

i've been suffering mild, yet constant headaches for the past couple of weeks. i'm not prone to headaches at all, so this was a disturbing new trend which i immediately chalked up to shitty eating habits and too much of the vino. but today, i realized that the headaches are more likely from the awkward position of my neck and shoulders lately. my neck has been disappearing unnaturally into my shoulders - like i'm hunching over. i have literally been holding my body like i'm bracing for someone to hit me or something. i found myself in this hunkered position countless times today and each time, i would sit up straight, take a deep breath and roll my shoulders back. my headache is gone this evening!

could it be that my body has been trying to speak to me for the past few weeks? "hey pal! pay attention! i'm here, too!" i choose to believe that my recent headaches were exactly that - my body demanding that i take notice of it. every single time i caught myself hunched over today, i momentarily had to stop everything i was doing and dedicate 100% awareness to my back, my shoulders, my neck. calmness came into my belly with a deep breath, confidence into my physique with a straightening of the spine and rolling the shoulders back.

i repeated this exercise maybe 20 or 30 times today - which was another lesson my body taught me: it's going to take repeated reminding and effort to get to a healthy relationship with myself. regardless of how many times i have to stop what i'm doing and pay attention to what's going on in my body, in the moment, i always feel much better after making the correction.

the whole bracing myself bit - that's a pretty serious and disturbing stance i've adopted as of late... definitely something to ponder in more detail later...

but for now, i give thanks to my body for speaking to me... even though it took me long enough to hear.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mind, meet Body. Body, meet Mind.

...because after a FOUR pound weight gain this morning, i realize that somethin' ain't quite right here.

seriously. what the hell? four pounds, really? four?? FOUR???!!

i know what the hell... it was eating half a tray of chicken wings and a downing a couple of beers at 11pm last night. i knew that kind of splurging at that hour of the night could only mean doom and gloom on the scale this morning, yet i did it anyway! the four pound gain was disturbing but not unexpected... what was unexpected was the horrible stomach ache i woke up with, the all day bloat factor, and my jeans fitting SUUUUPER tight when i got home. the backlash from such a gluttonous evening was unbelievable.

and yet, i'm actually pleased that i didn't freak out this morning, enacting some crazy godzilla scene where my scale gets shattered under a crushing deathblow-stomp and the peaceful morning is pierced with my shrieking roars.

disappointed? yes - absolutely. but freaky? no.

i have a sneaking suspicion that i know exactly what's going on here. for weeks i've been working on the internal piece of my weight loss journey. i've been mired in my own thoughts, coming to terms with what's going on in my head and in my heart. but when it comes to my body? that's an entirely different story... and therein lies the problem. it's high time i quit frakking around with the weight watcher's plan and start following it the way it's supposed to be followed. it's time for me to get serious about consistent exercise. it's time for my body and mind to work together for the greater good.

i have a plan for myself: i'm going to pick one goal i aim for per week, something i can do for myself every day for one whole week. if i can succeed (or even if i can't) i'll select a new goal for myself the following week and just keep building on my previous weeks' successes. i realize that i work well within the architecture of routine so i will build structure for myself, a sturdy foundation built on weekly accomplishments, a system in which i can thrive. i will be careful not to overwhelm myself with grandiose, complicated goals, too, because i don't want to sabotage my plan. i know myself well enough to know that i'm not good with change, so i'll take this slow - not as slow as i have been taking it, but slow enough to allow change into my life in a steady, accumulating way.

the goal for this week: get back to writing down EVERY SINGLE THING I EAT. and if i can stay within my daily points, that would be great, too... but for this week, the primary goal is going to be maintaining my food journal. by doing this, i envision myself planning meals again, grocery shopping for healthy choices in anticipation of being hungry during the day or at night, making time for exercise and making exercise a priority. if these things manifest as a result of me maintaining my food log, great! wonderful! but if not, that's ok, too.

i gotta admit, i'm scared. i'm scared of creating a plan because that means i am accountable to something. i'm scared i'll succumb to failure. but equally intimidating is the prospect of success...

so where does this kind of fear leave me? right where i am: nowhere. and this is not the right place for me. so i'm going to trust my mind to lead my body and my body to support my mind... strong heart. strong mind. strong body.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

in praise of clear-cutting, one ratty bra at a time

what a wonderful weekend it's been. yesterday was full of small errands done at an easy-going pace, errands that need to be done with some consistency if my home is to retain it's comfortable, home-like appeal. i had plenty of time to frolic in the lazy hours of a free saturday. today is a perfect sunday. i awoke from beneath a plush, down duvet after hearing soft rain drops playing at the window. i have had the luxury of spending quiet time perusing blogs and thinking big thoughts while my guy peacefully snoozes in the other room.

all is right with the world.

i attribute this moment of serenity to the slow, steady clear-cutting project i've undertaken in my own life. recently, i read an interesting bit about the direct relationship between depression and clutter. the idea that those who have order and cleanliness in their homes are more likely to be content and happy individuals resonated with me. and so, for the past few weeks, i've taken this idea to heart, and have been taking inventory of all the unnecessary 'stuff' that clutters my home. i've been throwing away and getting rid of clothes, furniture, knick-knacky-tacky pieces of decor that have been collecting dust and taking up space in my home. it feels good to bring order in. i allow calmness in as i winnow my underwear drawer
down to only those unmentionables that fit, bras that are not suffering injurious calamity to the elastic, tights and nylons that aren't pock-marked with runs and futile nail polish remedy. i like that i don't have to jimmy my bureau drawers closed because they are stuffed to the brim. i imbue my closet with a sense of freedom when i rid it of items that haven't seen the light of day in years. yes, it is hard for me to part with these things. but the sense of freedom that comes in releasing these unneeded items far outweighs any feeling of loss.

in taking inventory and cleaning out, i am making space for newness. i am inviting 'other' in where previously there was no room in my home. in the same respect, i am working towards opening up myself to a healthy relationship with food. i am striving towards awareness, awareness about what i put in my mouth, awareness of how i feel (or the absence of feeling) when i eat, awareness of how much i eat. i firmly believe that it is only after i let my food issues in, hold them firmly to my breast, know them and love them as a mother loves a child, only then can i release those issues.

for now i will celebrate my journey to health and where it has taken me thus far. i honor the peacefulness that i have found this morning, and i open myself up to what lies ahead.

The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Friday, February 1, 2008


i was tickled to be invited for a coworker's birthday lunch yesterday. i work with two of the three women in our little lunch party and was excited that they decided to include me, even though my interactions with them has been limited. we went to a nearby mexican restaurant and had a nice enough meal. i was feeling pretty good for making good food choices: i ordered a relatively healthy meal and was careful to eat only half of what i was served. then the bill came.

i am familiar with the birthday lunch etiquette at my place of business because shortly after i came on, i was treated to my own birthday lunch. a very sweet gesture which is bestowed upon everyone in our group throughout the year. but when the lunch bill came yesterday, the two non-birthday ladies immediately reached for the check and started divvying up the bill. when i noticed the birthday girl going for her wallet, i said, "absolutely not! no one pays for their own birthday lunch." when the other two gals handed the bill to me with their contribution, i was horrified to find that not only had they not chipped in ANYTHING to cover the birthday girl's meal, but they included nothing for the tax or tip. i ended up putting in $30 on a $50 lunch. i was pissed that i was invited out to someone's birthday lunch, someone i don't even know all that well, and was left to pay for her lunch. WTF?

so what's the big deal? i can afford it. hell, i spend $30 on stupid shit a few times a week! of course, i could have spoken up but that would have felt REALLY awkward. i mean, i'm still the newbie and according to my 'rules to keep the peace' it is not the newbie's role to pull a dick move and demand birthday lunch money from the rest of the stingy beeyotches at the table.

i was stewing about this injustice for the rest of the afternoon. when my guy got home, i was telling him about my day and how i felt completely slighted and shitty because i didn't speak up about it... my guy asked me who these gals were, what they did at the company, how i knew them. i gave him a brief bio on each of the ladies, then he said, "well, honey, you're right. that was pretty shitty of them to stick you with the bill, but you know... you were the senior employee in the group. they probably expected you to pay for the birthday girl."

i was stunned. of course! i was the 'ranking officer' of the group. when i thought back to the few other birthday lunches that i have attended in my short tenure at the company, i did recall the senior person paying for lunch, or for most of the group's lunch.

my guy gave me perspective that i was not able to see on my own. his insight allowed me to perceive the situation in a completely different light:
  • i consistently devalue myself, do not take credit for my full worth - this is an age old theme for me. it didn't even occur to me that i outranked the other women i was lunching with. it was probably expected that i cover most of the bill, if not all of it.
  • i am a 'pleaser'. growing up with a crazy, bulemic mommy did a number on my head. as a child, i adopted the role of 'pleaser' to ensure safety in my own home... this sick pattern is prevalent in my life today and is a role that i still struggle to break. the little girl in me is scared of anyone being mad at me. if i asked the other gals at lunch to throw in a few extra bucks, they might have been mad at me. and to my inner, scared little girl, this was a terrifying prospect.
so now i'm feeling kind of foolish. i feel silly that i worked myself up into a full blown tizzy over the course of the afternoon. i feel kind of lame that i didn't recognize the silent social rules and just offer to pay for the whole lunch. what's done is done.

what i can do is take away an important lesson from the experience: pull up! pulling my head out of my own ass will likely give me the perspective i need to see a situation from other angles... and even if i don't have the ability to find a different perspective in the moment, i don't really mind the taste of crow.