That Cayenne though…

As a person with a rough family health history, I gave up most meat in February of this year – for the third time in my life. I still eat fish, shrimp, and shellfish, but that probably happens less than three times per month. And while I thought that by doing so my health would improve, I did forget one kind of important thing : protein is only one component. My biggest monster lately has been sugar.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been using food to rebel. I’ve been rebelling against a few entities who, more than once, made comments about my weight. I stopped trying to take care of myself because my efforts were going unnoticed. Omitting most meat was a noble attempt to getting this train back on the tracks, but to supplement the now missing section on my plate, I started adding more breads, more desserts, instead of the fruits,veggies, and legumes I should have been adding. That’s my fault.

I probably weigh more now than I have in three or four years – and though that isn’t nearly as much as I used to weigh, I do have to be aware of how my body feels and what I put into it. I feel heavy, my stomach hurts almost all the time, and I’m finding that I want to move less and less. I can’t keep going down this path.

My idea is to make eating simple, not complicated. Just fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, steel cut oats, and rice. Seems bland, I know, but I think there are ways to spice it up using herbs and spices. What moderate fats I use will be avocado, honey, olive oil, and coconut oil. It’s probably in line with the Mediterranean diet.

Today, or right now rather, I’m beginning again. But it’s less about what I weigh or what clothes I can wear, and more about how I feel in this body and the quality of foods I feed it. I am not only my body; I am so much more than my weight or my appearance. But my body is my home. I neither want it emaciated nor overfull; I do not want to suffer nor become unnecessarily sick. It took far too long for me to come to this realization.

Meow

Being thick is not an excuse to eat crap food.

 

I am a thick woman. I may very well always be. Even when I ran three miles a day and was a straight-up vegetarian for two years. I was still thick. It is what it is. However, being thick is not an excuse to eat crap food all the time.

I have been eating like terra-terra bad. Part of it is needing to transition well to working nights for a month. The rest of it is my legit fuckit attitude lately. So, maybe I need to stop doing that.

 

Time to up the veggie ante! I feel a soup/smoothie/juice cleanse coming on…if only to give my belly a break.

 

Huzzah!

 

Also… I’ve done well to ensure that I start taking a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D every day. My SAD symptoms have been abetting. Just sayin’.

 

Begin Again

When my marriage ended five years ago, one of the deciding factors was the knowledge that I did not know who I was or what I wanted. I did not know what my own interests were. I did not have any hobbies. I had ambition, but I did not know for what. For a while afterwards, I was aimless. I followed along or I did what I was used to – neither of which was smart. I didn’t really know where to start…so I went back to what I knew I liked the last time I knew myself.

As a teenager, I loved music and art and reading. I loved dancing and yoga. I loved inline skating, wrestling, superhero and zombie movies, and writing. I revisited some of those same things on my quest to know myself better. I’ve seen where I was less genuine, and why, and as an adult, one who enjoys learning and understanding, it takes effort to be more of who I really am instead of who I think I should be.

I’ve been struggling with accepting myself for the past couple years or so and when things didn’t work out, I momentarily wondered why. When I am honest with myself, when I stop trying so hard, when I stop worrying and trying to control – things tend to just fall out the way they’re supposed to.

A dear friend of mine is going through one of the hardest things a person can experience. Everything he has held dear for the last 14 years is in question and he feels lost. To him, I’ve said – “You’ve done all that you can do. You’ve given all of yourself to all of these things in your best effort to make it work. If you’ve done all you can do, rest. These things may not be for you, and I know it’s painful to hear that and it’s even more difficult to accept – but you must rest. You have nothing left to give.”

So little in life is actually up to us. You can want, and work, and beg, and plead and still nothing will come up you. When you can do nothing more, rest. Then begin again.

Presence

I went to a yoga class today for the first time in a couple months. The instructor and the fellow attendees were warm and inviting. It was an easy flow – though I wasn’t sure how I’d enjoy it, I reminded myself as it began that I am back to square one.

My hamstrings were tight and I wasn’t able to bend as far as I would’ve liked in seated staff, but I was aware of my body at that moment. I felt its limitations and its capabilities. I breathed easily, allowed my body to follow my breath and eased into the practice.

I felt at home.

It’s been bright and sunny today, too. I took my pup out for a leisurely stroll a few minutes ago. I’m trying to soak up as much sunlight as I can to ward off the winter blues. I’m currently nursing a headache and cup of coffee….I haven’t had any coffee today and I’m wondering if the lack isn’t part of the problem. I am listening to my body. I am present.

 

I am also kinda tired, hehe.

One of the few things I enjoy about fall is the excuse the weather gives me to make soup and chili. I made a delicious lentil soup last week that I’ve taken for lunch over the weekend. Chili will probably be next, but that’s a tomorrow task.

Not My favorite Time of the Year

The proceeding words are written by a person who becomes seasonally depressed. I’ve not yet been formally diagnosed. I only know my history, my patterns, and my experiences. I’ve been cautious to really go out on a limb and say that it is what affects me every fall and winter, but considering that this is my third fall in a row where I am indescribably sad for no good reason, it seems to be the only logical conclusion.

For the past three consecutive Septembers/Octobers, I’ve become dejected, moody, uninterested, and uncharacteristically sad. I thought that because I am in a new place with no one I know nearby that perhaps I was just dealing with a minor bout of the blues due to small twinges of isolation. But my friends and family are readily available by phone and I can communicate with them whenever need be. It is usually satisfying. After one such phone call today, I cried a bit, and then it struck me. It’s officially fall, the weather sucks, and it’s been a good seven days without any kind of sunlight. Hi, SAD. You’re a jerk. Go away.

 

Sometimes, naming the thing helps. Other tactics I will employ:

  • Vitamin D.
  • Omega- 3 (or maybe just eat more fishes)
  • Yoga (yeah, buddy)
  • Melatonin (for the sleeps)
  • Phototherapy (major lamp action)

I may be a bit of an Eeyore and that may suck, but I’m not going to just sit here and take it.

 

 

Truth: Being alone is hard.

I don’t do it well. I mindlessly spend money, distract myself from the tasks at hand. I wander aimlessly through my quiet, lonely apartment. I eat for consolation. Hell, I eat out of rebellion. I am not one that enjoys the solitude because the solitude brings thoughts that I can’t bear.

I think about writing. I think about what it would be like to have finally accomplished the book I’ve been working on. I console myself with knowing that some of the greatest works ever published took years. It’s just another thing to keep me from doing what I don’t want to do. I have to get inside myself and find a way to love this woman as she is, instead of how she might be or could be. I have to love myself, not my potential.

I have to come to terms with the fact that my children will grow up, that my lover will either one day die or leave, that my friends will move on with their lives, and I will still have myself to contend with. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to be in myself at this moment and love the person here. Am I worthy of my own love? Of my own dedication and commitment? Love me, so that I may love me? When will I be out of this cycle?

I’ve listed the many ways that I am worthy of love. I’ve detailed my supreme qualities. I’ve been equally doted on and dismissed, and yet all I can do is focus on the many ways that I’ve been dismissed. My, how we humans love to self-castigate. For what reason? Is the religious doctrine we’ve been pummeled with for centuries? If I hate myself enough, if I am good enough, perfect enough, sinless enough, God will love me, people will love me. I’ll never be alone then.

But it isn’t true. I’ve treated people with a surprising amount of tenderness, love, and consideration. I’ve placed the needs of other above my own, time and time again; only to have been left to fend for myself, by myself. Solipsistic, maybe. But it’s all I’ve ever known.

The D Word…

Let’s be really real about something for a minute.

Dating as a single mom sucks. Your life is already jam-packed with kid shenanigans – be it doctor appointments, birthday parties, school events – not to mention, the crap from your ex(es) you’ll have to deal with; plus finding the brain space to function in a work environment. Oh, and if you’re anything like me, go ahead and try to complete that Bachelor’s while you’re at it. You barely have time for your friends, even your mom-friends, let alone dating.

Dating can be one more thing that, while fun, can add a whole new layer of whatthefuck to your already stacked shitcake. More than likely, all the baggage you’ve got from your past relationship(s), of which you cannot really escape (kids aren’t baggage, just so we’re clear), stares you in the face and will do so until the kid is at least 18 years old. 25, if you’re counting college time.  Continue reading

grumblegrumblegrumble

Tired.

 

I am really, thoroughly exhausted and I don’t want to be. I’ve drank two cups of coffee. But you know what, it might be time to bring out the big guns (pre-workout).

My eldest kid told me yesterday that she wanted to start running to get her body ready for playing soccer and basketball next year. In my family, we are not terribly athletic. I practice yoga and sometimes run – and that’s about it. No one else in my family cares two toots about health – even with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease being major players in our collective health history. So, when my kid takes an interest in sports and health, I’m all about it.

She asked me to run with her. At 6am.

I remember being ten, feeling fat and unhealthy, and asking my mom to help me. She did what she could, but she didn’t really know much about what to eat or not eat or what to do or not do. Mom always had a slim frame, so weight wasn’t an issue for her. I’ve been interested in health since then and I’ve accumulated a lot of information. Now, I’m not in tip-top, perfect health, but I can, at least, go run with my kid in the morning.

So I did. I’m just really tired now.

 

So, some things I’m trying to accomplish today:

  • This paper I don’t want to write.
  • A powerpoint based on the paper I don’t want to write.
  • Three other random assignments that I hope won’t take longer than 20 minutes each.
  • Inspection for the vehicle.
  • Random errands.

 

 

Back to homework! Right?

Maybe.

 

Mojo locator.

Using this entry mostly as an exercise to prepare myself to tackle the eleven class assignments I’ve shrugged off for the past few weeks. This is my second attempt at getting my mind right. The first try I ran the numbers on how much money I’ve invested in school and how much educational benefits adds to my coiffer. Let’s just say I have a motivation issue.

If I had my own business and ran it like I do my life, or like I do most things, it would probably not last long. I procrastinate, get emotional, feel indignant, let my ego drive. I hate long-term projects and even now, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about work and how it doesn’t excite me. It is probably due to my “awesome” coworkers. It dawned on me yesterday afternoon that my work environment most closely resembles that of a junior high school culture. The clique is made up of bullies and if you’re not one of them, you’ll never be. I thought for a while it was me, but it’s not. It’s cool. I tend to hate most anyone after 12 consecutive hours together.

Different job prospects should be enough of a motivator, too. There is a lot I can do once this degree is finished. I wonder if my apathy is because of the seasonal change or the lack of exercise and sunlight. I could fix it. I need to. There’s always tomorrow.

 

It isn’t that I’m not serious about finishing school. It is that I’ve taken on the duties of three separate people and I’m wore out. I work full time. I parent full time. I go to school full time. I’m tapped into different people, different goals, different hobbies. My life is full. It’s a wonderful thing. But it’s also an exhausting thing. I’d love to do nothing today, but I did nothing for two days last week. So I really must find my mojo.

This summer was weird.

Most people  I know had a really weird, off-putting summer. Unexpected life events took some by surprise. Others were blindsided, sidelined, benched…

I made the big move. My kids and I no longer live in Nashville. I miss it occasionally. But Virginia is just as green, with hills that gently roll  and a climate that isn’t overwhelmingly humid. For as metropolitan as D.C. is, it’s still not as gray as Houston was. People are still surprisingly Southern here and I’m learning that isn’t just Southernese that people fluently speak. It’s a completely new dialect of Corporatese, which is familiar and disgustingly thick with subversiveness. I’m learning, too, that things concerning my career are not all that different from what I had previously. People still do peopley things. They still undercut one another – and others will go above and beyond to help out a stranger.

There is upward momentum here. There are options, choices, different career paths available, which is much more than Nashville could offer me. At the heart of it, I do think that being able to connect with people will be the deciding factor. I don’t believe it’s about being well-connected – I still think it’s about not being an asshole.

My kids had a fun summer with their grandmother and dad. They came home with bronzed skin, full bellies, and plenty of stories to share. We are rebuilding our lives right now; we’re learning how to make do with not very much and they’re excited about it. I love that we’ve learned how to be content with barren walls, a futon, a couple of air mattresses. One never needs much to be content.  It’s us against the world – always has been – but the world is probably not as scary as we’ve been led to believe. It has scary elements, a few broken people, but it’s a mostly good place.

Maybe I’m too much the optimist.

 

What the world does

She welcomes me with a smile and asks how many in my party. I raise a single finger, hoping friendliness is beaming from my face. The thin, Carmel-skinned hostess, clad in a butter yellow t-shirt and khaki pants, seats me in a single corner half booth, half table and I sit, facing toward the bustle of the midmorning rush. Directly beside me, not two feet from my table, is a lovely middle-aged white couple. She is blonde and attentive, reminding her Santa Claus husband that he need not eat all his meal. They leave soon after I order, and a bus girl is by shortly to clear their dishes.

My food arrives promptly; cinnamon spice pancakes with applesauce and whipped cream. Not my usual fare, but this is vacation and my last Tuesday in Nashville. The Pancake Pantry has been on my list for some time now and I am reminded, again, how food brings us all together.

I dig into my plate, keeping an eye on the time. I have an appointment this morning, but it’s not far from where I am. Three college-aged girls sit next to me, occupying the table that was momentarily empty. Their cadence is slow, slightly unsure, but drips of self-confidence. They are young!

Their chatter shouldn’t intrigue me but it does. One orders a half order of the chocolate chip pancakes, remarking how she couldn’t possibly finish a whole five pancakes. The two others order an omelette and talk about their water consumption. I notice they are thin and confident. I lose my appetite.

I sip my water, rummaging in my bag for a cash tip. I gather myself to leave and I awkwardly stand, inadvertently trespassing into their too-close bubble. I don’t look at them directly, I keep my eyes low, but I notice one girl grabs her bag reflexively.

Making my way to the register, I wonder if they are watching me walking away, noticing the jiggle of my thighs or how I seem to take up more space than they and their delicate appetites. The crowd around the door is growing thicker, people preparing to pay or waiting to be seated and my discomfort is growing. I pay and in a rush to get out the door, I nearly leave my wallet behind.

In the solitude of my car, I remind myself that these girls probably did not notice me, and my accidental too-far leaning into their space has likely already been forgotten. Such a silly thing biases do, alter an experience from pleasant to uncomfortable in the span of minutes. My insecurities are painting the scene in different shades and I’ve forgotten that this morning, in the shower, before I allowed the world to permeate my psyche, I bathed and caressed my body. I marvelled at its abilities, at its curves at my pillowy soft skin and the roundness that covers the angles. I forgot that I loved my body this morning.