Monday, June 21, 2010
I think the first time I became aware of what my body could and can do, I was probably about three or so. I was in a high chair. I had finished all of the cereal but not the milk so my mother poured the milk into a plastic cup. There were, naturally, little pieces of cereal floating around in there. This sufficiently bothered me that I threw the cup across the kitchen.
And so began my twin love affairs, with food issues and body issues.
Then there were my school years. I was not a heavy child but I was also not particularly coordinated, either. I came from a family where you didn't play sports because that's what the tradespeople's children did and we (my brother and I) were going to college so we were told that we didn't need such things.
As a result, and despite playing with friends when I was a child, I had a basic grasp of the rules of baseball and I knew that for basketball you were supposed to get the ball into the hoop and that about covered it. I recall going to a Flyers game with my family when I was 9 (we lived just outside of Philly then) and it was way, way, way up in the old Spectrum and when it was my turn with the binoculars I didn't follow the puck around and instead I just tried to pick out cute guys, either on the ice or in the stands.
As a result -- and our moving to Long Island right before I started 6th grade didn't help one iota -- I was always, and I mean ALWAYS chosen last for sports. This was the 60s and 70s, it was the era of "make the best athletes AKA gym teachers' pets the captains and let them choose the teams so that they can inevitably select all their friends first and then look the rest of us over like pieces of meat". See: Janis Ian.
There was but one exception to this pattern. I was friends with a girl named Crystal who was kind of a tough girl. I'm not so sure why we were pals; we did not go to each others' homes, but we were friendly in a nodding, hey, how ya' doin' kind of way. I was a Drama Club and International Club girl, on the Honor Society. This was an era where girls were only just beginning to be able to take shop. Crystal was, like I said, kind of tough.
We had a girls' gym class together, and it was divided into quarters. It was the Spring quarter of our Senior Year. I had been accepted to more than one college and had made my choice. Crystal, I think, was headed for a community college and probably out to work. But it was Spring quarter, and I digress. The unit was basketball, and we all knew the Janis Ian song, "At Seventeen". Well, I was sixteen but hey, close enough. The gym teacher decided on a round robin tournament. We'd have a half a dozen teams and no subs. We'd just play each other; team 1 would play team 6, then they'd play team 5 or whatever.
For some reason, Crystal the tough girl was chosen to be a captain. I suppose the gym teacher ran out of pets. Girls were being picked. I was, as per usual, waiting with the leavings. Fourth round out of five. Crystal scanned the remainders and found me. And, she picked me!
I could scarcely believe it. I was not the last one chosen.
Now, we did not win a single game, I'll have you know. When it came down to the final week of the unit, even if we had won every single game, we'd've still been dead last. But we didn't care. We had fun. We joked around easily. We enjoyed each others' company. Yes, we played. We did get a workout in and we did try to win. But getting good at it was not in our plans. We were not there to do anything spectacular on the court.
I wish I could tell you that I had kept up with Crystal, but I didn't. We went our separate ways although we have reconnected on Facebook. I don't think she remembers quite what she did for me and I have not reminded her. I don't want to remind her -- I'm not quite sure why. *I* know what she did. And that's all that matters, I feel. It all happened, by the way, over 30 years ago.
While you are going along in your struggles, and it seems like things are so hard, and the deck is stacked against you, look around at the remainders, and look beyond the trappings and the facades. Help others like they have helped you, because underneath the scratched exterior, I know that you will find a beautiful crystal.
Monday, June 14, 2010
The past week has been interesting and different. This one promises to be a bit more normal. Er, the new normal.
Last Friday, we hosted our first event. We didn't even send out invites and the like until, ewps, Wednesday. Maybe it was Tuesday. We got two guests. This is not bad for absolutely no notice whatsoever. Hence I'm going to create a company protocol for events. This will help to just have something to refer to any time we want to do this again, e. g. which calendars we can get on, etc. But we did get a good 77 clicks (I don't know how many unique users this translates into) on our event link. So there is interest -- more notice will convert that into more attendees. Of that I am sure.
And we are thinking about something for early September. Stay tuned.
But back to the event. After the two guests departed, we went to a coffee shop. This was the Pres, me, the Head of Dev and his girlfriend. We talked for hours! It was just such a delight. I am feeling like I am knowing the guys better. And I like what I see. One of the things the girlfriend said, I feel it was totally unprompted -- "I've been dating K___ for five years now and I don't know anyone with a stronger work ethic. He doesn't understand something, he learns it. He keeps at it." And what more could you ask for from your coworkers?
Then yesterday we had another Sunday work meeting. Working on the weekends is, well, I just have to do it. It's okay. I get rest and exercise during the week so I can just sort of shift my schedule to accommodate this. This was out in Worcester, where K___, A___ and G___ all live (this is where the four of them -- B___ is the boss, but he's moved to this area -- went to college). I got to see the Lab.
The Lab is a confusion of parts and wires and soldering guns. A few empty Diet Coke bottles, too.
Then we met. We're in discussions about funding (I cannot say any more at this time -- I'm under a Nondisclosure Agreement). We are talking about an office in Cambridge. We are talking with suppliers. It is all very heady.
They liked what I've been doing, and understood when I explained what I'm looking for from them. We work well as a team. Everyone is recognized, everyone contributes.
Oh yeah, my husband met B__. And his reaction was the same as, well, everyone's -- B__ is sooooo young. But, I reminded Mr. Jespah, B___ is the same age he was when we first met. Ready to get down to brass tacks. Not flighty young -- energetic young.
Diet is interesting these days. I was off yesterday as I knew I wouldn't have dinner, due to colonoscopy prep. So I had -- gasp! -- fries and a pickle at lunch. My God. They were ... okay. I can't honestly say that they were oh my God oh so delectable I have missed them for years or anything even remotely like that. It was more like, meh, so? For this I got outta bed?
Without even counting the electrolyte prep drink, my sodium level was off the charts yesterday (I also had chicken broth and jello for dinner, with the same for breakfast this morning -- Gawd). Hence I'm up again. It'll all even out soon enough. I am not thrilled with the idea of a colonoscopy, but the prep wasn't too awful. Since I'm used to drinking a lot of water, and I was on alli for over a year, that helped a lot. Just draw on those experiences.
Today, of course, is the actual procedure. And, no, I will not be blogging about THAT.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Last week was significant, not because I gained almost 4 lbs. (oops, too many restaurant meals, not enough working out) but because of signing the employment contract.
So ... I am working.
And it is a freakin' blast.
What happened was, I went to my usual networking-type rounds during the week but talked up not so much myself as the company. I didn't even have company business cards so I was writing the company name on my own.
Then on Thursday my boss and I got together for dinner and biz. We were supposed to be going to a barbecue place but I got there first and it was locked.
Back up a sec. I had decided to kinda go all out, as we were going to an event afterwards. It was fairly warm out so I put on a black skirt. Nope, didn't like that one, went with the black pencil skirt. Okay, now I have no pockets. Didn't want to wear a sweater. Okay, the black blazer. Now wearing sandals looks bad. Put on hose and black ballet slippers. Grabbed black heels and threw them in the car, just in case.
When I got to the originally planned restaurant, I left the blazer in the car. So I was wearing, um, a green top, black skirt, hose and the aforementioned ballet slippers. Nice but not super-formal. Then my boss came over from where he was parked. He works as a software engineer by day (I am still collecting Unemployment -- this is the life of being in a startup -- you make other $$ until the real funding comes in; hopefully very soon) and the dress is casual. He is wearing a tee shirt with a button down shirt over that, shorts and sandals.
Since the dude is over 2 decades younger than me, we really stand out as the odd couple. We end up going to a Mexican place. We're eating, chatting, talking biz and whatnot and I start writing down my food. I can't recall if he asked or if I volunteered it but I said, I've been writing down my food for over two years now.
Because I lost a lot of weight.
You don't need to lose weight, he says.
You haven't been looking at my website, have you? I say.
Uh, no. Sheepish grin.
We pull it up on his phone, and I direct him to the page about the weight loss. There's my before picture, front and center. His jaw drops.
What? Is that really YOU?
Yes, it is. I was 346 pounds.
Oh my God. It's ... I would never have guessed ... you look like you've always been thin.
Nope, I wasn't. But, thank you.
We finish dinner (neither of us finished our meals; I think diet talk has that effect on everyone) and go back to my car for me to drop off my briefcase and all. I grab the blazer, I change into heels. He looks me up and down.
Is it that formal there?
No, I say. I just felt like doing this.
We go in, we see a bunch of people I know, and a lot I don't. We have new business cards. We have a nonworking prototype with us. It's a little thing, smaller than the palm of my hand. I've put it into a little change purse I got from CVS. The change purse is zebra-striped. It is a tad silly, to be sure, but it stands out.
We have one of those evenings where you break apart, circle back, break apart again, etc. as you go along. We are joking with people. We are making impressions. People are smiling. A good blog is written up later, and it mentions us very favorably.
We just ... it was fantastic. It was that kind of give and take you want with, well, with everyone. And I was able to get out there and do it, shake my not-so-big-anymore hips in a skirt and show off my calves with higher heels than I've worn in a decade. So much of this business is sheer flirting (who'd've known that would be a good job skill for a legal job?). I never, ever thought I would be in sales and marketing.
I never had the confidence before.
When we went back to my car, I grabbed my boss's hand for a second and just said, "Thank you for believing in me."
Thanks to all of YOU, too.
And now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go back to stoking the star maker machinery.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Every song on the planet should start with the line that this one starts with:
'You Don't Have to Take this Crap."
And you don't have to.
Nope. Not YOU.
Now, you may be saying to yourself: what the heck is jes on about NOW? Gosh, she's not making any sense.
No. Wait. Hear (read) me out.
Almost everybody here got here because they settled.
They went along to get along.
They ate what was put in front of them.
They lazed when others did.
They finished the stuff off their children's plates so as not to waste it.
They took what was given or foisted upon them. Even if they didn't want it. Even if they were already full, they ate it. They settled, they compromised, they laid back and took it. They SWALLOWED it, both literally and figuratively.
But it does not have to be that way.
You can be the one who says no.
You can be the one who zigs where the others zag. Hell, where the others are standing still and doing absolutely nothing.
You do not have to wait for them. You do not have to live your life tailored to theirs. You do not have to live up to their expectations and be their good little girl or their darling boy.
You are you. You are an adult. They are not responsible for your happiness and your health. And you are not responsible for theirs, either.
Sure, it's nice to help them out. And it's great if you're not being undermined and sabotaged at every turn by all or some of them.
But, ultimately, it is on you.
And you can throw off the yoke of oppression and break free of the chains. You can be you. The beautiful, powerful, sexy, dynamic, focused world-beating YOU. The one who climbs the mountain. The one who gets the girl. The one who gets the promotion. The one who aces the test. The one who they line up for. The one with the happy ending.
I am not, specifically, talking about being thin. Sure, it is a great and grand thing. But the way things can be DOES NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THAT.
It is independent of that.
YOU. You take control. You bring the power, and don't give it away to others. You forge the steel. You blaze the trail. And you are thin, or not, and it doesn't matter insofar as this kind of power and attitude are concerned.
But, you say, I am all alone. I am scared. I am in my home in Oshkosh or Dubai or Beijing or Moose Jaw and I am only one of a thousand, a million, a billion and it is so very, very hard to stand alone and keep back the tide.
I know. I really do. Oh God, do I know that feeling. You tremble inside, and you feel lost, and the world is black and bleak and your little candle is flickering and the wick is drowning in a pool of wax and about to sputter out.
I totally get that, because I have been there and I have held that dying candle, that dim and seemingly insignificant spark.
Here's some lighter fluid for it.
Unity and togetherness.
Teams. Gathering together. Making friends. Being as one. Because your little candle in Hicksville and mine in Boston and that other one in Siena and the one in Kiev and the one in Rio and and and they all add up and together, if we are together they are synergistic and they make more together than they ever could apart. 1 + 1 does not equal 2 here; it equals 20 and more and more and more.
"You don't have to take this crap
You don't have to sit back and relax
You can actually try changing it
I know we've always been taught to rely
Upon those in authority -
But you never know until you try
How things just might be -
If we came together so strongly
Are you gonna try to make this work
Or spend your days down in the dirt
You see things can change -
YES an' walls can come tumbling down!"
"And like Jericho - You see walls can come tumbling down!"
Let our unity be like Jericho. Let us break down the barriers between us and become the people we have always -- and I mean ALWAYS -- been meant to be.
Goodbye, walls. Hello, new, excellent you.
Damn, you're beautiful.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Oh, my. I've had quite a week.
I started it with meeting with a recruiter. Nothing for me, not too exciting, more of the same and more of the same of stuff that I don't really wish to do any more.
Then on Tuesday I went to a meeting of a nonprofit tech group. Lovely people, but I met no one knew and got no cards. They are ... not exactly the right pond. I need to fish elsewhere. The more I do this, the less tolerance I have for lovely people who cannot really help me. It's not a mercenary thing (at least, I don't think it is). Rather it's just that life is so full that I need to make choices. Contacts or comfort? I've had a lot of comfort lately. So contacts it is. Oh and I went to the gym that day, too.
Wednesday I went to a coffee that I love. That is almost pure comfort so I'm not totally bagging that aspect of things. But I do have to curtail it, allow one and not others.
Thursday I had no meetings and instead worked on robotics stuff all the livelong day. And I realized: I'm having a good time. Then the principal (B___) contacted me: we are looking to have a meeting on Sunday. Wanna come? Sure. Plus I went to the gym again, and this time talked to some folks. These are, well, they are probably neighbors. :)
Friday I had another networking meeting. This one is much more the correct pond, despite it being a lot of comfort. Perhaps I'm less eager to dump the comfort than I'd thought.
And then, after Saturday (Mr. J and I went out and played frisbee; it was fun) came, of course, Sunday.
I had cut up fruit and some rather junky store-bought cookies. Ready to go, I boarded the bus to Cambridge. Took me a while to find my way (the principal lives in Somerville, a vortex that I swear swallows people and cars), but I got there all right.
We got down to business once the other three arrived (they were driving in from the West). Talking, laughing, reading off a computer screen. I had prepared a report. They LOVED it. Just some graphs (I like graphs) showing how things are going. It's early and there is little to report, but I wanted to set a standard.
We talked about how much it would cost to manufacture a buncha units (they make robotics modules -- guts, not the outside). We discussed how to handle an upcoming meeting with a venture capitalist firm (I wouldn't be going to that). We talked social media marketing. We talked sales. We talked papers and patents.
Then the B___'s girlfriend walked in. How long you been meeting?
Uh, two hours.
No one had noticed the passage of time. We were all just so bound up in it all.
They are taking a chance on me, I know, we all know. I am new to this and eager to please, trying to get in a plan and a strategy and have it all make sense. And I am taking a chance on them, as there are no guarantees, there is no money yet, and my main source of income will continue to be Unemployment until funding kicks in, if ever. Risks abound. Rewards are uncertain.
Yet I am having more work fun than I have since I taught, which was almost 20 years ago. It is comfortable. Easy. Intelligent. Respectful yet playful. It feels like we're doing something important. Something that might really help people.
The dynamic is, admittedly, a tad odd. They remind me a tiny bit of these guys:
So I suppose that means this is me:
I am jazzed. I am pumped. I am so happy.
All I gotta do is work on the ears.
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