Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks? giving

I went to Orlando for Thanksgiving. It was nice to see family. It was nice to be in the sun. It was nice to score a couple sweet deals--3 new jackets for the price of one. A formal winter jacket, a casual winter jacket, and a rain jacket. The food was nice. The people were nice. Nice, nice, nice... What was not nice were the voices of criticism, shame, and hopelessness.

Threw my jeans in the dryer before I left for my trip. Big mistake. They shrunk and felt two times tighter than I could wear comfortably, but I wore them anyway because they were the only jeans that I currently fit. I don't even fit into last year's "fat pants" that literally used to fall off of me and expose my rear end to the entire world. By the time we hopped off the plane and stepped onto ground once again, a series of sharp pains in my stomach ensued and they did not stop there. In fact, I spent my entire Thanksgiving doubled over in pain.

The following day, most of the pain had faded, but I embarrassingly had to roam the entire Millenia Mall with the top button of my jeans undone because I didn't want a repeat of the previous day. I tried to find jeans that fit but no luck there. As my mini-vacation continued on, the voices inside my head didn't get any nicer. I was consumed by thoughts of failure in my healthy eating/exercise plan, feelings of overall unhappiness with my figure and outright rage towards my jeans--the source of how this whole problem began. At one point I even thought maybe I was pregnant and seriously considered buying a pregnancy test! Surely that would explain my bulging belly and unexpected weight gain.

I didn't understand it. I'd been working so hard--exercising more and eating better than I had in an extremely long time. It all felt like it had been for nothing and rather than lose weight I had gained weight. This time, I couldn't blame the scale for "lying" to me. This time it was my clothes telling me straight up--"you no longer fit into us. Time to get a size up." Even my dad, who is normally the one feeding me negative thoughts, took the opposite route and told me "it takes time to lose weight." Fine, I get that. But seriously to think I gained weight after all my hard work? That's a slap in the face.

To make matters worse, when I returned home and uploaded new pix from the trip to my computer, my jaw nearly hit the desk. That is what I look like? A year ago, I was so tiny I felt like I was disappearing. Yes, I may have been very unhappy at the time, but if this is the cost of happiness then I seriously question if it's worth it. I've always had issues with self-esteem, but when I was at my heaviest, it was dangerous. The voice of "Ed," a catchy abbreviation which stands for eating disorder, was back. And today it finally happened, I fell back into my disease, one I had been mostly free from for more than two years. I choose not to see my relapse as a failure, but as a sign that not all is right. What worries me most is that I won't be able to turn around those negative voices so quickly.

So here I am at a fork in the road and I need to figure out which direction to take. Do I continue to focus my energies on weight loss, or am I like the recovered alcoholic who learns the hard way that "just one drink" will quickly turn into a chain of events that lands him right back into his disease once again? I ask myself the same question David Carr addresses towards the end of his book, The Night of the Gun, which focuses on his addiction and recovery from drugs and alcohol--"why [had] I flopped around for three years before admitting I was right the first time when I said I was powerless over alcohol"? Replace "food" with "alcohol" and you've got me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ashley Simpson Has A Baby Boy

Ashley Simpson just had her baby boy and you can bet she's following in the footsteps of the many other celebs in the baby naming trend that's hit Hollywood. You see, in an effort to make their children feel both unique and special, celebs have taken baby naming to the extreme. Names like Apple (Gweneth Paltro's daughter), Harlow (Nicole Richie's daugher), Cruz (David and Victoria Beckham's son) and Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson's son), are not just unique names, but altogether strange names that lest for a few exceptions sound befitting for slew of pimps and hoes.

Why is there such a obsession in Hollywood with odd-ball and attention-grabbing baby names? Don't celebrities already attract enough attention? It's pretty obvious that many celebs crave the limelight, but are they setting a path for their children as well? Only time can tell. As for me? I'm sticking with names that are rare but beautiful, classic and timeless. For a girl--Lily Carmen. For a boy--Porter. Well, for now anyway...

And Ashley Simpson's name of choice? Bronx Mowgli Wentz. Barf, barf, and triple barf!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bad Relationships

Today I feel like writing. But about what? What possible jewels of wisdom could I share with the world? I'm a 25 year old who currently lives in the same town I grew up in. I have a degree and a job that I don't quite love. Most of my adult life I've spent in a series of bad relationships and therapy. The scary part is, I don't know what's next. The exciting part is, I don't know what's next!

What I do know is, I see a lot of women in my same position. I think back to the classic argument of nature versus nurture, and I still cannot pinpoint what it is that makes women so different from men. For some reason, many of us find it impossible to walk away from a bad relationship. We want to fix these men and pray that through our own love, understanding, and guidance we can help guide that transformation along. Wrong. 100% dead wrong.

The problem is not them, it's us. There's something hardwired in our brains that tells us we deserve this. Maybe we came from a family where our mothers were treated similarly, or maybe we felt abandoned, abused, and neglected. When you're used to that, you don't know the difference between a good relationship and a bad one--all you know is familiarity.

Dr. Drew constantly reminds me, through the calls he receives on his radio show, that women like myself are attracted to men who remind them of the things they once found terrifying in childhood. Trauma, he calls it. I call it bad luck. Bad luck that for every 10 guys you are attracted to, 9 of the ones who seem like nice guys will only end up leaving you stranded in the Taco Bell parking lot, half an hour away from home (yes--that almost happened to me). Or worse yet, that they will spoil you with attention for 3 weeks, confess their undying love for you, and then leave you at the drop of a pin when their ex-girlfriend that they complained about for god-knows-how-long, proposes to have a threesome. That's love right there, folks.

You see, that's where it gets tricky because in the beginning these so-called nice guys always put their best foot forward. But within a few short weeks their true personalities start to show through--farts and everything. There's nothing you can do but be aware of your unhealthy attraction to jerks and go for guys that seem slightly less appealing--the real nice guys. If that sounds like settling, it may seem to be at first. Nice guys aren't going to have the sexy long hair, pick you up on their greasy motorcycles, or make you play cat-and-mouse games that drive you up the wall but leave you feeling oh-so-satisfied at the end. Nope, those things simply won't be there. But nice guys will take the time to listen when you want to talk things out, make you soup when your not feeling so well, and opt to stay in with you rather than go out for a night with the guys just because. Besides, aren't those the things that really count?

So, what I've learned is that instead of putting myself through more painful scenarios, I need to sit back and try to focus on the things I want out of life. Marriage, children, a house--a loving family. Time is of the essence, they say. At the ripe old age of 25 I may have years ahead of me, but what I lack is patience. However, one must learn to be patient because while I recognize that I don't want to spend my better years like the stereotypical old cat lady (except that I have a dog and I crochet instead of knit), I also recognize that I don't want to waste my time being in an unfulfilling relationship that's headed down a road to No-wheres-ville either.

I guess that's the difference between the women who find themselves in good relationships and those who find themselves in bad ones. I always thought that other women were just lucky, but the truth is they made a choice. They put a price on their own self-worth and chose not to accept any less than what they deserve.

While it may seem hopeless at times, at some point you have to decide for yourself--what am I worth? What will or won't I put up with in a relationship? What things do I have to have? For many, being alone is a frightening idea, but it also gives you a chance to reflect on yourself, get to know yourself, and build yourself up to the best version of you that you can be. If you treat yourself right then others will follow by example.

Sometimes our biggest strength comes from the times when we feel our weakest, but it's always there waiting in the reserves for the moments in life that will test us. Maybe that moment's now, or maybe it's further down the road. The only real advice that I can offer is that whenever that moment comes, you will get through it. Life always has a way of working things out.

So ladies, do yourselves a favor and ditch the loser, turn towards your family & friends for support, and remember that life goes on. And who knows, Mr. Right could be waiting around the corner, and if you delay, you just might miss him.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

How can someone with no emotions
Connect to a music so deep
How can you live a life on the surface
When your always hiding under the sheets

You have a talent for
Creating music that has truth and meaning
Without actually meaning to

Music's what brought us together
But what sets us apart
Is that the emotions I feel are more real
Than the hours you spend laying down new tracks
I have more realness in my pinky toe
Than you have in your entire body and soul

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Post Halloween Update

Exciting things are happening. The next couple months will be a busy time for me as the holidays approach. For Thanksgiving I'm going to Orlando to spend the holiday with my dad's side of the family. Then December will be filled with holiday parties. My work throws a beautiful get together at the owner's home complete with appetizers, dinner, desert and a fully stocked bar. Then on the 6th of December, Darcy and I will be planning a holiday party at her & Randy's place. I think we're going to make it a cocktail party. I'm not thrilled about dressing up, but I love putting together holiday themed menus. I already have an idea for one appetizer (fig & jam goat cheese crostini). It may sound gross to some, but the flavors of fig & goat cheese fit right in with the holidays.

On top of all that, two of my best friends from my high school days will be arriving back in town around the middle of December. Emma's flying in from Germany, and Jackie is coming back from Japan. We're all going to get together and probably head to our favorite townie bar--the Vid. It'll be like a big high school reunion. We did that last year and it was so much fun. I love being able to catch up on old times. Jackie also mentioned the idea of going to Chicago for New Year's Eve. I am so excited at the prospect of spending New Year's somewhere new! Although come to think of it, I've spent a few New Year's in interesting places other than Bloomington--one in Peru, one in Pasadena (Cali), and one in French Lick at the casino.

Apart from having a hectic social schedule, I have been really trying to make time for myself. It's strange to think by the middle of this month, I will have been single for 8 months. That is seriously the longest I've been single since I was 18, and at 25 years old, that's saying a lot. It's strange to know myself outside of the confines of a relationship. Not that I find a relationship confining at all--at least not a healthy one. I guess that is the purpose of my singlehood. For a long time I was in an unhealthy relationship (1 1/2 years) and that wasn't even the first. I think the more that I begin to trust myself and listen to my instincts, the better I will be at evaluating future relationships.

My desire for intimacy and closeness is strong, much stronger than my need to be independent. But I no longer consider that due to the fact that I am scared of being alone. I've been on my own awhile now and I've become pretty accustomed to it. In the end, I realize I much more prefer the company of myself to the company of the someone who is not a good fit for me. And while it may sound strange to others, my ultimate life goal is to raise a family of my own and to be both a wife and mother. It's not that other things don't interest me--I have lots of interests. I guess I just like the idea of family. More than anything, I want to be a positive role model to my kids. I want to give them the things I didn't have as a child and I'm not talking material possessions here. Also, I have a strong maternal instinct. I like being a caretaker and a nurturer. Those roles come very naturally to me.

But for now, I'm working on myself. I'm developing a relationship with myself for the first time ever, and asking myself what it is that I want. Today I just wanted to come home and relax, read my book, and write. In the long term, I'm considering what kind of career I'd like to pursue and looking into graduate schools. I'm considering whether I want to stay in Indiana, or even in Bloomington. I'm trying to work on my self-esteem by working out, eating healthier, and turning negative self-talk into positive. I'm spending time with the people I love and care about--my friends, my family, and my dog. Right now, my life feels complete once again, and I am happy with that.