Sunday, October 12, 2008
I saw my friend again yesterday, and again we talked about how our jobs are, as we say, less than optimal. He certainly doesn't want to be cutting up swordfish for the rest of his days. Frankly, I don't want to be data loading but at least it's somewhat related to what I like, and you can't beat the hours.
So we -- and so many other people -- want something better. That term, "better", may be a tad ill-defined, but it's there. It's a kind of a brass ring, I suppose, but the carousel is spinning in a fog so you can't always see it.
For me, the "something better, something different" is to write. I have been doing so little of it lately. There are just so many hours in any given day. And all I do half the time is strap some more obligations to my back and then wonder why I can't do the things I want to do. Truth is, I suppose, I put off writing and moving plots along and coming to conclusions. Sometimes it's avoidance. Sometimes, like now, it's that I can't think of what should happen next.
I can't say that life has been wholly without distractions. That is definitely a part of not writing. The neighbors next door are from, I think, Brazil. They seem pleasant enough but they speak very little English and so we might nod but not say good morning to one another. They have parties, though. Lots and lots of parties. This week has been great weather, and the weekend was spectacular. Me, I'm sitting on my front steps, reading the paper and then hoping to get in some writing. Them, they are having a party.
A loud party.
It's all very odd music, too. It's Portuguese singing, or at least I think it is (it sounds somewhat like Spanish but does not seem to be exactly Spanish), but today's batch had a decidedly Cajun flavor. Which was really strange, when you consider that Cajun culture is actually derived from Acadian (e. g. Canada) and that particular nugget of Canadian culture comes from, yes, France.
Hence these are Brazilian-Portuguese folk listening to something in Portuguese but with a definite French flavor. Oui. I mean, Olé.
The more I sat and listened to the music (which was not half bad; usually the music is very weepy and sounds like the incidental music for a telenovela), the more it disturbed what I was doing. At the point when my characters started to seem Portuguese and/or Cajun, I called it quits for the day. A pity, as that's a favorite thing to do, to sit on the front porch steps and write, in good weather. There will be fewer good days as Winter looms, although this week is supposed to be good. Perhaps I'll have other, better chances later this week.
And that's the main point, is to keep making chances for yourself. There are all sorts of other factors that conspire to keep us from our goals, and to prevent our dreams from being realized. The weather. The neighbors. The economy. The embarrassment. The difficulty. The pain. The agita. The expense. The whatever.
What is keeping you, today, from doing your thing? The weather will change. The pain can diminish. The embarrassment can fade. The economy, well, it may stink right now but it will, eventually recover. And not doing what you want to do is not going to improve or worsen any of those things. Dare I say it? Not doing what you want to do or being who you want to be will have no effect whatsoever on such things.
What keeps you from exercising? What keeps you from eating right? What keeps you from being who you want to be, and getting where you want to go? What stops you? What holds you back?
You may be miles away from your goal. But all you need to do is step towards it. Turn in that direction, and get started. And, soon enough, you'll be miles away from where you are right now. Despite all the distractions. Despite all of the obstacles. You can get yourself there. As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Even if right now you feel a bit like a lemming packed into a shiny metal box.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Well, I'm not THAT confused. Not about this journey, at least not today.
Yesterday I weighed in and I was up .8 lbs. Now, that's, like, not much at all. One thing I've learned is that if you have a pretty large weight loss one week, you stay the same or don't lose much or even gain the following week and it's no big deal. In fact, it can happen in reverse, for anyone thinking, oh God, I've gained, what do I do? Well, keep on the program and maybe step it up a tad, e. g. walk a little more or lift something heavier or make better choices at the dinner table and suddenly the following week you're losing again. Last week I had lost 4 lbs. so this little gain is no biggie.
And, it's got another reason, because, heh, it's that time o' the month yet again. It's funny, the euphemisms we come up with, for something that is perfectly natural, albeit a bit messy. I recall a college roommate referred to it as her friend coming to visit. Me, I was so clueless, I kept asking her who was visiting (after all, we shared a room). She couldn't even add the adjective "monthly", as in "my monthly friend is coming to visit". At least that would have been a lot more enlightening a lot more quickly. I grew up referring to every bodily function by either a clinical term or some sort of adjective that most people in polite company don't like to use. Eh, such things don't bother me, to say or talk about. But I know they bug other folks so I won't dwell on it. Suffice it to say the .8 lbs. is not just attributable to regular old fluctuations but also due to the standard hormonal boogie-woogie that goes on every 28 or so days.
But -- I hear you asking -- what the heck does ANY of this have to do with today's theme song?
Okay, I don't REALLY hear you. I'm not, like, delusional or anything. ;)
But I'll tell you anyway.
It's not my age (heh, it hasn't been my age for a good 28 years!) No no no.
It's my size.
I swear it's true. I was rummaging through my closet as I am getting together more stuff to mail out and I came across a blazer I had purchased. It's grey and short (not over the hips, which is key, because my hips can often be one size while the rest of me is another). And the last time I tried it on I could not button it.
I can button it. And it has room in it.
So I went on a trying on spree. Last week we went to City Sports and bought tee shirts. I bought two that would fit and two that I didn't think would fit. The smaller ones happen to both be green -- one is a Celtics shirt and the other is a Red Sox shirt. The Red Sox shirt is still too small although I can get it on.
But the Celtics shirt fits. Snugly, but it fits. It's a women's large. So I dared just a little bit more. I had the clean laundry in the basket. And my husband -- who had also bought stuff at City Sports -- had a long sleeved waffle weave jersey in there. Keep in mind that it is obviously a man's size of some sort. Without looking at the tag, I put it on.
It fit. It was comfy. Heck, I will borrow it, I am sure. I took it off in order to put it away.
I looked at the tag.
I about fell over.
It's a ....
... drum roll ...
... wait for it ...
it's a Medium.
A FREAKIN' MEDIUM!
Not a large.
Not an extra large.
Not a number with an X at the end of it or in front of it.
It's a Medium.
As in, what some people are smaller than, but a lot more people are larger than.
Trembling, I put it back.
I put the green Celtics tee shirt back on (I am wearing it right now). It's kelly green. It has the clover logo on it. It's snug enough to make me look REALLY busty.
But it's a large. And my blazer is an eighteen.
And I am pulling away from the land of the big and over the top and larger than life and into the mainstream.
Go Celtics. Go jes. Go all of us.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
It's been a great day. The morning was spent kind of hanging around and then lunch out. I'm becoming less and less of a fan of Pizzeria Uno but at least they publish their nutritional information so I can account for what I eat. But, frankly, their food is WAY too salty. And I digress.
After lunch it was off to the Post Office to mail out a package of clothes to my Spark buddy Emma Smart. :)
Then of course (it's the weekend) food shopping. And, I saw my friend again. They were setting up some sort of extra seafood spot, probably to try to sell more of it. He looked a little put upon. I can understand that; the extra seafood spot was being set up near checkout so it was kind of this mess of ice and fish and whatnot. I saw the dude, he saw me and I just kind of mouthed, "I'll be back." That got a smile, which is always welcome.
After we were done food shopping and the food was put away, Mr. J and I went out and played frisbee. We played for a good half hour, longer than we have so far! I am getting better at aiming and also am more interested in running for the disc. Now I'm tired. It's a full enough day, plus I'm still kind of recovering from the week.
Tonight: baseball and tuna steaks. And dreams of flying discs. A good Saturday.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Actually, I can see lots and lots of reasons.
This post is inspired by a fairly recent (late September) blog post from WolfKitty. In it, she talks about craving a pre-diet food and then, when she gets it thinking, "it's not all that".
I've been thinking about my old life, and being that I am nearly halfway through the weight loss portion of our program I think it's natural to look back and think about such things.
So, what was the old jes like? She had trouble with seat belts. Standard sized seating for things like stadiums and trains was too narrow. She couldn't get up the big hill at Plum Island without some major exertion and then shin pain for a subsequent few days.
She also ate papadum chips by the bag, great big handfuls of them. She ate poptarts for breakfast and deluded herself into thinking that that was all right because most of the rest of the day was healthy. She plunked down in front of a computer or TV every morning and night, and the rest of the day at work was spent with PCs and not people. She did go outside, but usually just to sit and read or write. Certainly not to exercise. She rarely helped with snow shoveling, lawn cutting, laundry or grocery carrying (although she did cook and washed dishes).
Her taste in food did cover spice but also a lot of fat, sugar and salt (she was never much of a fast food person). She hated every picture of herself. She saw her clothes getting more and more expensive and less and less like anything she ever wanted to wear. She selected clothes from catalogs based on size first and not on style, color or function. She had a lot of colds and general malaise. She was probably hurtling toward a life of sleep apnea. She also napped a lot, sometimes more than once in a day.
While that is the portrait of an overweight person, to be sure, it's also the portrait of another kind of person. A depressed person. Perhaps not clinical. But definitely someone on the low end of feelings, when it came to happiness, to energy and to self-esteem.
I suspect that major weight gain, such as I had and such as I am still shedding, is bound up tightly with depression no matter what else is happening. How, exactly, can such things happen? Sure a 10 lb. gain can happen. Or a 20 or a 50 lb. one. And these things take a while. But 200 lbs. overweight? And the last 40 or so -- I kid you not -- all happened within Calendar Year 2007, after a year ('06) when I had dropped 10 lbs.
Depression. Not a pretty word. But, I am sure, an accurate one. What does depression make you do, other than eat? Well, it makes you sleep. It depresses your immune system. It kills your self-esteem. It also, I believe, makes you crave certain foods. Sugar. Salt. Fat.
When the fog lifts, and the sun begins to shine again, a miracle takes place. Exercise gets interesting again. Fun creeps back into life. Self-esteem starts to rise. Naps become less appealing because they are not needed AND because you're too busy to waste your time that way. You treat yourself better. You have a spring in your step. You care more about your appearance. And food tastes differently.
Fat and salt and sugar still exist, but they have their places and those places are not front and center. You rediscover flavor. Jalapenos. Apples. Tuna steaks. Peanut butter. Snow peas. Dill. Sourdough bread. Yogurt. Olive Oil. Mint. Rice. Mangoes. Carrots. Cheeses.
And food is eaten differently, too. It stops being great handfuls that you need to cram in as quickly as possible. It stops being something that you'd better get out of the way, keep your fingers away from her teeth, folks, don't feed the animal, the animal is dangerous. It stops being that and returns to knives and forks and spoons. It returns to napkins and carefully arranged plates and bowls. It returns to conversations and thoughtful menu planning and shopping. It returns to ... civilization.
If anyone asks me, will I cheat, the answer is, why would I want to do that? It's not so much about the weight, not really, as it is about the feelings. Why should I make myself feel that old way, ever again? To what end does it enhance? What purpose does it serve?
If anyone asks me, when I am finished and on maintenance, will I return to my old ways, the answer is, what, are you insane? Sure, I may try some of those old foods every now and then, although I bet that for me, like it was for WolfKitty, they will be far less alluring, and my memories of them may be rosier than they ever really were. After all, no food is forbidden; you just have to watch portions. And yes, I may nap every now and then. There's nothing wrong with naps, so long as they don't dominate your days. There may be -- gasp! -- days I don't work out.
But to return to the old ways completely, and chuck all of this, it makes no sense. Life is meant to be lived, not to be endured. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not tossed behind your teeth as fast as possible to squash the screaming stomach beast. Beautiful days are meant for walks or runs or frisbee or maybe just hanging around but enjoying them rather than sleeping through them and making them slide past as quickly as possible.
I am no longer swimming in a circle. I am swimming forward. I am walking forward. I am jogging forward. I am running forward. I am flying forward.
I'm going to break the light-speed barrier. And if I do, I'll tell you yesterday. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Warning: this video is very, very weird.
The song is because yesterday I saw my friend. It was for less than a minute as he was busy talking to some coworker but he did say hi and I did, too. It had been a while as I haven't been food shopping when he's been working. A small thing, but, hey, I'll take all the smiles I can get. In the interests of weird karma, while I did see him in a totally random and unexpected way, I was also a total mess, as in uncombed hair, no makeup and an old shirt thrown over jeans. I need better flirting outfits! :)
Aside from my buddy being otherwise engaged -- e. g. no time to chat -- I, too, was on a mission. I was walking through the grocery in order to get to City Sports. Why there? Because I need tee shirts!
My current crop are HUGE on me. I bought a few (my husband went with me and he got a few for himself, too), including some that will fit now and others that will fit later. Today I did some tossing, and I'll do some more when the new stuff comes out of the wash. Today, actually, I decided, well, tomorrow it'll be October. There's just no way that it'll be tank top weather again until maybe May. Hence I took out the tanks from my work wardrobe, traded them for bigger or rattier tank tops in my tee shirt drawer and sent the rejects off to Goodwill. I also did this with short sleeved tops although I had fewer smaller versions of those. What I bought was all short sleeved stuff so I'll do the replacement trick with a few there, too.
I'm just tired of swimming in my old clothes. I'm no clothes horse by any means but this stuff is OLD. And it's falling apart, which is a good reason to replace it even if I wasn't losing weight like gangbusters. I'll probably just sleep in these tee shirts but it's still better if they aren't tents.
My smaller pants are getting long on me. These are 22s, pants that were impossible dreams not that long ago. Soon enough, they'll be fodder for Goodwill as I zoom past, on my way to double digit sizes that don't start with a 2. I am anticipating the day when I can call the large women's catalogs I get (Woman Within, Jessica London, that sort of thing) and ask them to take me off their mailing list as I won't be needing their stuff any more.
So long, ensign …
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