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Here I am again with nothing to say

I’ve been staring at the screen for five full minutes, zoning out to such an extent I may have actually fallen asleep. But my new goal is to write something once a week until it clicks and starts to come naturally again. Unfortunately, that’s not happening yet, so right now I just need to sit here and suffer through this exercise and take all ten of you poor readers with me.

My thoughts are random and jumping from one topic to another… should I write about the end of school year crazy, my revelation that no matter how much I pretend it won’t happen, I will probably be having a party for my son on his bar mitzvah, or the fact that my son’s kitten has now matured to a teen cat with a rebellious streak, and even though I bought the jumbo litter box and the expensive litter, enjoys nothing more than taking a good poop behind the printer in my office.  After successfully potty training three boys, I take this failing personally.

Maybe I should just shower. None of these topics seem remotely interesting and I am rank from the exercise class I powered through on zero energy this morning. I barely slept last night but forced myself to go because I was feeling pretty good about my body in the morning and made the mistake of getting on the scale. Immediately, I realized that I had no right to feel good about myself, which is amazing since if the number would have registered 3 pounds lower I would have been strutting around. I hate the freaking scale.

So there would be no riding on coattails today. Thankfully, the class was a good one and I occupied my brain by looking around at a room full of the women I see on a regular basis. They are varying sizes but all fit and committed. No matter what the scales say, or our brains say or how we slept (or didn’t sleep) the night before, we all keep on showing up. I am proud to be among them. Happier to be done and leave them, of course, but tomorrow we will sweat each other again. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Welcome to the hamster wheel. Come sit with me and fold some laundry.

Now food is on my mind. Why not, since nothing else seems to be. I’m trying to be good but that always works against me. Trying to be good almost automatically results in being bad. Evidence A – a cleaned out jar of peanut butter in the trash. Evidence B –  a ripped open bag of semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips. Don’t judge me. It will only send me straight to the freezer.

I might as well shower. This is clearly just rambling down to nowhere. Still, I sat here again and pretended to write something. Hopefully soon I’ll get into it. Creative productivity is just a click click click away! Until then I’ll just keep stinking up the page. And the room.

But I’ll check behind the printer just in case.

 

IMG_5897

Nope. It’s me.

All Bout That Bass…

At least half the days I wake up in the morning I feel as though I probably gained five pounds overnight. It could be because it was a Monday and I had just come off a weekend of baseball field snacking, movie munching and Saturday night dinner out, or it could just be a random Thursday feeling bloated, or maybe that my nightly sundae had gone off the deep end of the bowl.

Whatever the case, it genuinely amazes me when I do get on that scale and it informs me I am basically the same weight, which these days is a solid five pounds under my skinny weight.

Under!

It’s a weight I haven’t maintained for any period of time since my crazy mid-twenties when I ate zero fat and skipped happy hours and dinners with friends for gym class. Even then I could barely pull it off, which is why I’m so amazed that after some months on Weight Watchers and some months after, I am still living the skinny jean dream.

I really thought that losing this amount of weight would liberate me. “That’s great,” my friend said, “Now you’ve got a nice cushion.” I totally agreed, thinking I could loosen the restraints a bit. I was already imagining the enormous ice cream I could eat later.

But it’s a lie!

There is no relaxing when it comes to weight management. Now at my thinnest point in decades, I still feel the weight anxiety almost every day. Who am I kidding? It’s every day. Am I eating too much? Can I maintain this? The funny thing is that I was happy with my weight being five pounds heavier. I was actually still okay, 10 pounds heavier. But now that I’m low, I have a hard time seeing myself – or that number on the scale – going up. So while my pants size is down, my general anxiety over my weight has not decreased at all. I feel no cushion. And I’m still having fat days.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the craziness of it. She is trim and exceedingly fit, but still tells me, she can’t relax. She feels she must exercise every chance she gets and she’s got to work it hard. She knows her body needs days off; that it’s literally aching for them, but her brain won’t let her. ‘If you do, you’ll get fat,’ it says.  Trust me, she’s far from the only friend caught up in this cycle.

It’s ridiculous.

So when does this madness end? At 120 pounds? 110? What is the magic number?

The answer is… There is no magic number. It ends when we decide it ends.

I’m finally realizing that my body issues are not necessarily with my body but with my brain. Okay, stop laughing people who know me. Physically, I eat healthy and exercise regularly. It’s obviously the mental aspect that needs work because it’s become pretty apparent that self-image really is in your head.

So I’m making a point to appreciate what I’ve got; to lighten up a bit mentally and indulge a bit more.   I work hard to keep myself thin, so I’m also going to give myself the pleasure of enjoying my body.

And my ice cream.

photo (5)

Yeah, yeah. I know. The hat…

 

I Dream of Bikini  

I’m going to share an embarrassing superficial secret.

For years, decades really, I have wanted to wear a bikini. In my mind I saw the perfect one. It was always bubblegum pink with those 70’s strings hanging from the sides of the bottoms. I also imaged smooth, thin tanned legs that those sexy ties would be resting against, as well as the long lean torso showcased in the middle.

This would explain why besides the three times in my distant memory, I have never worn a bikini.  The fantasy is not the reality and for a long time I was the kind of girl who thought if you can’t do something right, don’t do it. I’m still sort of that kind of girl.

Thus, years of swim dresses and cover-ups ensued. I even successfully managed to go without wearing a bathing suit for an entire summer – twice.  Of course, all of this is unnecessary. I could certainly comfortably wear a swim suit, but that doesn’t mean that I am comfortable doing it. Also, since I dislike the water – both pool and ocean – turns out bathing suits are easier to avoid than you’d imagine.

I worked within these confines for basically my entire life, but the other day I was flipping through a bathing suit catalogue that somehow mistakenly wound up in my mailbox, and I came across a suit that almost fit my fantasy… as did the model wearing it. I lingered on the page; silently coveting and felt a shift within me.

I wanted that suit.

I couldn’t believe it. Now that I was over 40, had three children come out my pooched, overstretched stomach, I was going to cave? Was this some trick of middle age? I knew I couldn’t see distance well anymore, but could I no longer see myself clearly either? Did I really think I could get away with this?

Logically the answer was no, at least not in the way I’d like to, yet still I felt gripped by urgency. This was probably my last chance to wear something like this before middle age really set in around the middle.

I’m already done with having children. I’m done with going out late nights and dancing till dawn – okay, I don’t think I ever danced till dawn, but you know what I’m saying. I’ve got wrinkles and pains. I’m happy to be in bed by 10pm. I like hot water and lemon. I carry hard mints in a Ziplock bag. I’m – Aaaaccck – getting older.

I’ve noticed other emotional changes in myself as well, now that I’m further up the maturity chain. I’m a little more ready to take chances, a little less judgmental, more appreciative, less giving a shit. I’ve also gotten simultaneously more and less vain; which means, I notice many more things that bother me but I also don’t care as much.

Which brings me back to the bikini I’ve coveted but never owned much less worn; it was now or never. Without thinking any more, I added it to my cart and clicked purchase.

I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it, but lately I’m full of surprises.

bikini pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Enough! vs Good Enough?

When I’m in one of my gym classes, I can’t help but assess the assets in front of me. I size them up. Not to judge them in any way. It’s not about them at all. It’s about me. It’s about how I stack up.

Almost always I’m on the losing end of my self-assessment. No matter if I’m at my heaviest or at my most fit, I’m never good enough.

I’ve done this for as long I can remember. As a teen, I remember myself as the cute girl’s side kick; my best friend was really the one to want. I was always smart but never remarkably so, if you ask me.

20 years later and I haven’t changed. When I make cupcakes for my kids, I’ll always nod semi-approvingly and say, “They may not be so pretty, but they work.” When I put on a pair of favorite jeans, the best I can manage is, “They don’t look terrible.” When I size up those behinds in front me, I’m always shaking my head and accepting that while I could look worse, I don’t look all that good either.

Even with my latest manuscript, I have a very difficult time just admitting I think it’s good. If you ask me about it, I’ll first need to go through a bunch of hedging… “It’s not the same kind of writing as my essays… It’s just an easy beach read… It’s not going to win any awards or anything…”

Why do I undersell myself every chance I get? How can I expect anyone to take me seriously when I can’t even take myself seriously?

I’m always in awe of the people around me who possess the confidence to sell themselves. I remember at work watching guys march in and strut their stuff. Generally I never thought their ideas were any better than mine – often I didn’t think much of them at all; but they walked the walk, while I slouched and stumbled.  They believed in themselves, while I always felt a bit like a fake.

Yet, day in and day out, I sit here and type away my thoughts, my stories, my life. And almost every day, I’m at that gym working my tail off, although mostly it stays on. I must think it’s worth something; I must think I’m worth something to keep at it.

And I guess I do. I mean, I do.

But admitting that puts all sorts of expectations out there. If I told people my book was great would they agree or be disappointed? I couldn’t stand the disappointment.

I read posts on Facebook by bloggers who confidently say things like, “I’ve written this really important piece that we need to be talking about.” And I’m fascinated. How do they say that about their own work? How do they put themselves on such a high level? Not only is their work ‘important’, but we, as a general population, should be discussing it?

Sometimes it makes me roll my eyes, embarrassed by their self-serving assertions, and other times I’m beyond impressed. Go them, I think. Kind of like when I first watched Lena doing her naked all over TV thing.

Like my grandmother would say, “No one’s gonna toot your horn but you.”

I think I need to start trusting myself and my talents. I need to start thinking that I am really good and worthy and deserve success. I mean, I’m smart, I’m funny and gosh darn it, people like me.

It’s true.

Now I’ve just got to believe it.

toot toot

Toot

 

 

 

I’ve got a Fat Head. The Body is Debatable.

I see you across the produce and intentionally look away, busying myself with finding a perfectly ripe avocado. We’re friendly, but not great friends, and I haven’t see you in a while. Of course, you notice me and zoom on over.

“Hey there,” you say with a smile. “How are you? I haven’t seen you in forever.”

I can feel you eyeing me up and down. I see you zero in on the tightness of my jeans. I don’t blame you. It can’t be helped.

“So how are the boys?” You ask considerately, calling them each by name.

I hear you talking about how second grade is going, but I know you’re thinking, “Man, she’s put on weight.”

I know it’s only a few pounds, but it feels like the weight of the world on my thighs, and I know everyone knows it. Everywhere I go, they’re all smiling at me and chatting like it doesn’t matter, like they’re not thinking, “She really let herself go.”

Sometimes, I think it’s just me. That I’m crazy, and no one really notices anything different about me. I mean, it is a bit self-involved to think that everyone is noticing me, that they would even recognize a few extra pounds. No one cares what I look like. Everyone is just worried about themselves, right? But then I know I’m just fooling myself. Of course, they are looking. We are all looking at each other.

“I think the last time I saw you was at that sushi place.” You say.

Of course, bring that up. Where else would I be but a food place, right? Eating. Thanks for rubbing it in.

“How’s baseball going?” You ask.

I nod blankly, because I’m really not listening. I know you’re just making polite conversation to cover up the elephant in the room.

“Hello…?” You laugh.

I smile, caught. I apologize for blanking out. You let it go, and repeat the question. You’re really very nice. But come on, seriously, when is this public scrutiny going to end?!! Why can’t I just go get my Tropicana, eggs and some Honey Nut Cheerios in peace without the third degree! Why are you torturing me!!!?

I mean really, enough is enough. The show is over. Do I need to sing??

“Nice, seeing you again.” You say, and start to pull your cart away. “By the way, you look great.”

Huh.

Well I’m sure you didn’t mean it.

I wonder if Edy’s is on sale.

I don't even think I can fit a hat on that head.

I don’t think I can even fit a hat on that head!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/daily-prompt-mirror/

I Get My Ass Kicked. Again.

I Get My Ass Kicked. Again.

There’s an instructor at my gym who makes me feel like a fat rat running with a team of ferrets. Stacy. She is a hard ass, who works your ass off. She has worked her own down to a nub. Just thinking about her makes my muscles quiver.

It had been months since I took her class, but just like you forget labor after enough time passes, such is case with Stacy. Yet, the minute I walked into her 8:30 am Sculpt and Burn, I knew it was a mistake.

The girls were far too perfect. The risers on their steps too high. Their body weight too low. And the music RPM was on crack.

We began the warm-up. No simple marching here. No sir, we go right into jumping jacks with weights. Seriously? I peed my pants after the first one. I mean, come on, jumping jacks and weights? Did none of these girls have babies?

I semi-followed along, wishing I had chosen a spot closer to the door so that I could scoot out unnoticed. But no, I hid myself in the far corner and now I was stuck – stuck doing squat jumps with weights. I really am not coordinated enough to combine aerobics and weights and move to Oh Mickey. I think that for the future health of my body, nay, for the future health of the world, these things should never be mixed.

The only thing I could do was hopefully make it till the end of class without passing out or slipping on my own sweat. To distract myself, I concentrated on all the women in front of me, who looked like a bunch of fitness models. Oh look, one of them is taking off her long sleeved, hot pink over shirt. With the blasting music and the hair flip, she looks like a combination ad for Victoria Secret and Gatorade. Victorade? Hmm. Is my brain all shook up or is that a good idea??

I look at the clock. Only 20 minutes have gone by?! Ugh!

I’m panting and dripping, and I’m fascinated that everyone is just doing this class. How? Wait. There’s a girl behind me who is completely backward. We go left. She goes right. We go up. She goes down. Yay! I’m not alone. At least I’m going in the right direction. Ha ha.

We switch to some kind walking side lunge, with weights of course. Stacy doesn’t even alert us to the change. She just does. Apparently, if you can’t keep up, you don’t belong. Don’t say it.

I look at the clock again. It’s only been 4 minutes since the last time I looked?! Gaaa! When are these side lunges going to end?!

As if reading my mind, Stacy literally tosses her five pound weights across the floor, and without wasting a hyper second, she reaches for the eight pound ones and starts up the Jacks again.

Ugh! I didn’t mean it. I want the side lunges back! My boobs are about to make a guest appearance out of the top of my sports tank, as the elastic has long ago stretched beyond repair, kind of like my abs.  I do a behind me mirror check. Yup, uncoordinated girl is still…uncoordinated. Whew. My misery does love company. I’m a little embarrassed with myself.

Mid jump, a poster girl for Lululemon just stops to add a matching headband to her already pony tailed hair. A moment later, she pulls out the pony tail, shakes her long blonde locks and re-ties it. I don’t think she’s even sweating. I look in the mirror at my own pony tail. It is a messy, pineapple bun tilted sideways on top of my head, hanging on for dear life, just like its host.

No! Not burpees! My nemesis. Come on! Down, out, jump. Down again. At least, there are no weights. Okay, I think I can. I think I can! I’m doing it. Yes! I look at the mirror during my jump up, but there’s only one person jumping in sync with me. Yup, it’s uncoordinated girl. The shame.

We move on to climbing man interspersed with push-ups.

I’m puffing and huffing and praying to be put out of my misery. I suddenly remembered I used to call her SS Stacy, short for skinny, sadistic Stacy. I’m having flashes. I start dreaming about a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I know I look spastic or drunk, but I might be about to pass out. It must be almost over. I look at the clock.

OMG it’s only been 8 minutes since I last checked!

I’m going to die here…

ass kicked 2

Wake-up call

Stumbling from bed half awake, I literally hobble to the bathroom on feet that won’t walk straight, and a back bent over in a broken position. It’s 6:30am and although I’m up, it takes my body a few minutes to get with the program.

I look in the mirror, squint and look closer. Man I look bad. What the hey is going on around my eyes?! Okay, I need to stop squinting ASAP! At least my freckles are cute and sexy. Wait, I inspect more closely. OMG those aren’t FRECKLES, they’re AGE SPOTS?!  I stare at the brown spots that were once freckles. I see how each little dot has literally consumed the one next to it and grown twice its size.

As I’m staring, I notice something else. Hairs – long, dark ones by the corner of my mouth. Ew. They’re so dark, I think the hair by my lip has sucked all the pigmentation from my head and that’s why I now also need an appointment with a colorist! What is happening?! I try to pull out the offending hair, but, yeah, it’s in-grown so I wind up having to dig into my skin, and I just know I’m squinting as I attack my face with the tweezers. Now there’s a puffy red mound next to my lip and half the offending hair is still deep in there. I’m getting prettier by the minute. Why did I get out of bed? Oh, right. It is a bathroom for a reason.

Business done, I’m about to head out when my eye is attracted to the flat metal square on the floor. I’m obviously a sadist this morning. NO! My brain is screaming. Do not do it. Don’t! But of course I will. There’s no stopping me it seems. I step on, exhale all my breath and look down. What are those??

Some scraggly, old witch is missing her feet! I want to turn away but I can’t help but stare at the scaly skin, funky nails and the deformed looking appendage that looks as if a 6th toe about to be born. I walk on those things? I am so distracted by the feet I used to fancy as foot model material that I almost missed the nail in the coffin.  I’ve gained two pounds.

I want to kick the scale. I want to break the mirror! I want to…go back to bed! This is a very bad dream! Traumatized, I snuggle back under my protective covers. Someone obviously needs a whole lot of beauty sleep. I look at the clock. It is 6:34am.

I have 11 minutes to make it happen.