Wednesday, February 05, 2014
OK. So the title is a little misleading, but I am a failure - a foster failure. After the first two kittens of the four I was fostering got adopted, I got busy with all of my other activities and work so I was unable to take them to adoption events. As time went on, the little monsters (as I like to call them) started settling in and acting like they owned the place. Phil and I had a conversation and as much as we loved them, we weren't about to add two more cats. We then made a decision - not to keep the boys, but for the betterment of the animals we had at home.
Side story: A couple of years ago one of our cats attacked the other one and it resulted in an abcess that needed to be surgically removed. Ever since then she's been terrified of him and we've had to keep her and another cat completely separate. They got attention, but they just weren't getting the quality of life they deserved. In December, Phil's parents had mentioned that they were interested in adopting again (their two cats had died in 2012). We jumped on the opportunity and rehomed the one who had been attacked, but hoped we could reintegrate the other. She has not been adjusting well despite our efforts. About a week or two ago his parents said they'd take the other cat so the girls could be together again. Now we just have to get her down to SoCal.
Return to the first story: The decision was made to rehome the two girls. We then had another conversation about the kittens since we were both becoming quite attached to them. Phil had said that if we kept them I wouldn't be able to foster again. I told him that I wasn't going to allow animals to die because I wanted to be selfish. I said it broke my heart to adopt them out but that's what we signed up for and if those were the conditions, I wasn't OK with it. So, I did what I was supposed to do. I updated their profiles, took them to the rescue's professional photographer and got their photos taken and made them available through adoption events. We had an interested party who came over for a meet and greet. He fell in love with one of the pair, but I wanted them to go together since they seem pretty attached to each other. He sent photos and video to his girlfriend and said he would get back to us. He then asked to meet one of the other rescue cats, but told me he was still interested in the boys and would have a decision after meeting the other cat.
When I told Phil, he FINALLY admitted that he didn't want to give them up. I said I wasn't going to forgo fostering and that if they were going to stay I was going to have my cake and eat it too. A couple of days went by and he caved. So, we proceeded with the adoption. The boys are officially ours.
This has nothing to do with weight loss and working out (I'll be posting another blog about that tomorrow or later today, I'm sure), but sometimes it's just nice to share a story that isn't me complaining about how I'm not doing so well at reaching my goals.
So here they are - the newest members of our family, Jimmy (black) and Johnny (black and white)
Monday, January 13, 2014
that I've been completely ashamed of my weight. I know I'm fat. I know I've been fat for awhile, but there are only a handful of times where how I look has made me feel like less of a person. Saturday was one of those days.
Let's backtrack. The first time I can recall feeling embarrassed about how I look was in high school. It was when I played volleyball and had trouble with some of the conditioning exercises. At that time I was 5'5, 135, and not fat. The team had an entire meeting to discuss me. Meanwhile other girls, girls whose parents were boosters and who were lazier than I could ever dream of being, left that meeting unscathed. I felt awful that I couldn't keep up and like there was something wrong with me. I quit playing after that season ended.
The second time I recall feeling this way was also in high school. My then boyfriend tried to deter me from following my dream of being a broadcast journalist by saying, "people on TV are perfect, and you're not." I was 5'5 and 155. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but saying that wasn't appropriate. I changed my major and career goals.
The next time was when I was on the Depo-Provera shot. I went to my doctor's to get my injection and someone in the waiting room asked me when I was due. I later had someone tell me that it may have been because it was an ObGyn and it was assumed everyone was pregnant. I was 5'5 and 180. Again, I could have lost a few, but I didn't look pregnant. I did nothing and tried to discredit it, even though it still hurts to think about.
The next time was when I went out with a few friends. I had just gone through a traumatic breakup and they told me I wasn't hot or attractive in a roundabout way. I was so upset that I walked the four miles home - fending off would-be abductors the whole time (including someone who exposed himself to me). I was 5'5 and 118. Definitely not fat. In fact, I had many people telling me I was too skinny. I ended up eating - eating a lot. I ate so much I gained 100 pounds. I went from being too skinny to too fat because I couldn't handle the criticism (being not hot enough and told I was too thin all at the same time). I stopped caring.
Things cooled off after that. I didn't have many problems with people making comments that made me feel ashamed of how I looked. Then I moved to the Bay Area.
The time before Saturday I was covering an event for work (I may have blogged about this). It was at the Senior Center and so, so many of the women were pissed that I was even there, chatting up anyone, let alone "their" men. One particularly ruthless lady, again, asked me when I was due. I left, went home, and cried. I was 5'5 and about 200 pounds. I had just come off a couple of years where my life was turned upside down and didn't know how to cope. I was devastated by what she said. It's always affected me, but things continued to get crazier and my schedule never slowed down enough to really get completely on track. I'd get on track, then off-track. I'd go months being able to exercise and control everything and then go months not having the time (or energy) to workout and eating on-the-go (basically fast food, then mall food - I didn't plan anything very well).
This last time, however, may have been the worst. I didn't cry because I was so in shock by it and I'm still processing it. As I've mentioned, I was forced to take a second, low-paying retail job to supplement my already low-paying full-time job in order to pay my bills. The mall is an unforgiving place. I was at the store and a lady came in. I was helping her, being extremely kind and attentive, and she was talking about camis. I found her size in the two she wanted and then we were talking about shapewear. The store has a variety of shapewear and just recently got in "slimming camis." I personally love them. They can be worn as a regular cami, don't look like shapewear, and are very comfortable. We were talking about sizes. I've never been afraid of saying what size I wear in clothing or bras at the store. I'm there to help, and saying my size will give someone a reference point to determine what size they might be. This woman was smaller than me, but by no means small. I told her I wore a large. She looked at me, completely in shock, and said "Yoooou? You wear a large? I can't believe that." I was mortified, but maintained my composure, and just said, "that's why I mentioned it. I wanted to give you a reference point." Then, possibly realizing her error she came up with, "I'm sorry, but they must run big if you wear a large." I told her to get a medium, checked her out, and went on with my day. I'm not over it. The funny thing is that the sizes don't run big. I wear a large (rarely an xl) in nearly every top I own. I have a large chest and need to lose about 50-60 pounds before I'm able to fit into a medium, and that's in select brands. Typically a medium won't fit my chest right. Even now, at my size, I'm not squeezing into a large (although, depending on the brand, it can be a little snug). What bothers me the most is that I know I need to lose weight and I'm trying. I can't workout very often because my schedule is insane, but I do it when I can and try to eat well (today notwithstanding). I don't think things will magically change on their own and I know it takes work, effort and energy - this isn't my first time trying to lose weight. I've never felt so bad about how I look. That lady's comment, and follow up comment, hurt. She did everything but break out in an uncontrollable laughter. I put in my notice that day.
While I'm going to miss the much-needed extra income, I have a few freelance opportunities lined up so I'm hoping those will supplement my income enough. I still need to figure out how to get on track - permanently. I also am now becoming increasingly paranoid about how people see me and what they think of me when they do see me. I have always ordered food and wondered if the waiter or guy behind the counter thinks, "oh, of course, the fat girl is ordering the salad only so she can go home and pig out," or "oh, figures the fat girl would get the fries. Stop eating fries, fat ass." At the store, I never really thought about other people. I mean I would be uncomfortable because I don't like dressing up and we had to, but I tried not to think about how people were viewing my weight. Now I know and all this situation does is reaffirm my beliefs about myself and my desire to not leave the house.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
For once, I'm not going to whine, although whining is something I do quite well.
Simply, the office is still a train wreck, the job prospects are slim, the NPO work is exhausting and retail sucks.
re-writing/re-designing a tri-fold brochure
social media/12-month calendar
A constant flow of articles (have to transcribe a bunch of interviews and then write the stories)
Surprisingly retail has been extremely slow so I've had more time off from that job than I expected (hardly anyone is getting hours these days). However, next week the mall is open until 11 so I have a feeling my week isn't going to be that great -- we will see though. I guess that means I should probably get my Christmas shopping done (Hello, Amazon!)
New Projects on the Horizon:
GEENT - freelance work, for pay, to promote events. We are working out an amount of hours that can be dedicated to working for the group and tasks that will be done as well as payment. This should be squared away within the next week and projects will start flowing in.
SB - more freelance work. Event bookings, artist bookings, book signings. People think I'm WAY more connected than I actually am - fake it 'til you make it. This is in the works and might take awhile to get off the ground, but there is some potential here. There will be some volunteer PR done as well (I need it for my port).
CW - volunteer press, similar to the press I did awhile ago. This will help build a PR portfolio, which is desperately needed since it appears as if writing in AP style for a living isn't enough to get PR people to look at you.
Last week I was able to work out twice. That's a huge victory for me. This week I haven't been able to do that. Tonight is looking pretty good though. Tomorrow might be an option as well. Friday is completely out. Saturday will depend on if I get asked to do the stories that currently don't have a writer. One or two days is better than none so I'm happy for any time I can get in. Sunday is questionable because I don't know if I'm working or when.
Wish I could slow down, focus, and concentrate on the important things, but my schedule doesn't seem to permit that and I'm always getting asked to do new projects. Since I can't say no, my workload is heavy. Anything to start building my savings account and paying off my medial bills.
Monday, October 07, 2013
As soon as my schedule starts to clear, more things get piled on.
I tried to take a couple of weeks to come down from the big event I planned, but I continued to get slammed. The president's father-in-law passed away the morning after the event so she was immediately off to New York for a month, meaning I had to run the foundation in her absence. Considering half the time I have no idea what I'm doing (half the time I think she doesn't have a clue either), I felt like I completely failed. There were bills to get paid, but I couldn't reach the treasurer. Why? His adult daughter is having some major health problems and he was fighting with doctors to get her the care she needed. Outside of the foundation, my workload was piled on with all of the president's work (she's also the associate editor at my job, and she sits through marathon school board meetings - something that I was forced to do while she was gone). On top of school board, I had to do all of the editing at my work alone. Additionally, one of our writers was in Michigan until the end of September so I was picking up extra stories. I was just hoping to get through it all so I could fully recommit once everyone was back. Of course, it didn't happen.
A couple of weeks ago my apartment complex put a notice on my door. Our lease is up in November and we were hoping (rather foolishly) that our rent wouldn't be increased. The first year it went up $350, last year it only went up $50. We were crossing our fingers that it would be an increase that we could find a way to swing. We've already eliminated every non-vital item from our lives. Unfortunately, the increase is $150, something we can't make happen. Even worse, it's considered "under market value." Our combined salaries are not 2.5 times any of the rates in this area and we make just over what would qualify us for low income housing. I figured I would try to combat the increase by writing more since most of the writing I do is outside of my 40/hr/week job, but the editor then hit me with a bombshell. My overtime can't be over $500/month unless there's a valid reason for the increase. $500 each month is literally the minimum we needed to survive prior to the rent increase.
As soon as the associate editor returned, I knew I couldn't get myself back on track. I needed to focus on finding a new job. Each day I've been scouring the Internet, sending out my resume to just about everything I'm somewhat qualified for. To date, I've received one response (and I've rewritten my resume and cover letter a thousand times). I had my interview last week, but was told by a friend (and one of my references who works at a company that works closely with this one) that they will most likely go with an internal candidate and not to get my hopes up. So I didn't/haven't. They will be making a decision on Friday and I'm not holding my breath.
Not too many people know about the inner workings of my office. There is a lot of toxicity there and not everyone pulls their weight - some just float along, getting by and making life difficult for others. At one point two weeks ago, I thought a co-worker was going to get fired. There was a meeting between him, the editor and the publisher. I wasn't eavesdropping, but I could hear some yelling through the wall (I couldn't make out the words, but I wasn't trying either - it was none of my business). What ended up happening was that my co-worker got a month off -- paid. It wasn't an administrative leave. It was more of a forced vacation. I don't quite understand how that works, but no one is talking about it. I was just told that he would be out the month of October and back November 1. Guess what that means? All of his work is now rolled into my work. For the month of October I'm doing the job of two people. I've asked if he was coming back - I ask nearly every day. If he isn't, then I most definitely will push (again) for a raise. They swear he'll be back that Friday. I've absorbed almost all of his writing for the next four weeks. Most of my days this month are booked.
So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I went back into retail. Of course, I was quickly picked up by a store at the mall. I have great people skills, retail experience, and I communicate well. Them hiring me was a no-brainer, but the question becomes when? When will things start settling down and I can concentrate on me? The next two months are out - I'll be working my full-time job, the part-time job, and whatever overtime I can manage. My time off will be extremely limited and mostly used for writing and sleeping. After January the retail job should slow down some, but the probability of me getting into a routine is slim. I hate that it comes to this, but you have to do what you have to do to survive, right?
I also failed to mention that on top of my job, my overtime, the new job, and the foundation, I also work with four other non-profits. About three of the board members on one of them just quit to pursue other things, but luckily we're not in the midst of planning anything so there isn't much that I have to do right now. Another one requires minimal time. I literally just have to make a couple of Facebook posts a week and they're happy, but the other two...One of them just asked me to be a volunteer manager, and I feel so strongly about the cause that I couldn't say no. I was hoping this wouldn't go into effect until after the holiday season, but it doesn't appear that it will. My animal organization (who I'm currently foster kittens through - another time and money suck on its own) just asked me to help with grant-writing. How do you say no to something you are so unbelievably passionate about? I don't know where to pull the plug. I don't even think I know how to pull the plug on any of them. Quitting makes me feel like a failure and I hate letting people down.
At some point I'll figure this all out. As long as I can maintain some sort of healthy eating habits (I'll admit I've gone totally off the wagon the past couple of weeks), I'll be able to get through the holiday season relatively unscathed. I think that needs to be my focus. Working out is not going to work out. Food is the only thing I can try to control right now. I've been eating like a college kid of late (it's incredibly cheap). I'm definitely open to suggestions on strategies to eat well without spending my last cents at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I also don't have much time to cook or prepare food so just about everything needs to be simple and (unfortunately) packaged. I'll get through this. I always do. Hoping for a financial miracle though (it will have to come from Phil it seems).
Monday, August 26, 2013
Last night was the fundraising gala that has monopolized the last six weeks of my life. I didn't eat as horribly as I could have (I didn't eat well either) and I didn't work out once (I also hardly slept because of the massive amounts of work involved), but I got through it - barely.
Over the last six weeks I coordinated a newspaper as our program (in addition to my 50+ hr/wk job). I wrote 20 articles for the paper - one on each of the performing groups, one on each of the award winners, a general article on the foundation, 2 city-related articles, one article on a group that didn't get to perform, and two bios. I designed 16 ads - one for each of the performers and one for each of the sponsors that didn't have graphics ability. I also laid everything out and got it to press. It was a huge undertaking and an even larger undertaking to do by myself. Additionally, I coordinated the venue with the venue coordinator, put together all of the raffle prizes (got the baskets and arranged everything), served as backup entertainment coordinator (the person assigned to the project didn't keep us in the loop on what he was doing so I did half of the job because it needed to get done), wrote the media and press release for the event, and pretty much filled in and did things whenever possible.
Overall the event was pretty successful - of course it didn't happen without a major breakdown 2 hours before the event which resulted in me cutting my own hair (another story for another time), deciding I wasn't going to go because I couldn't take it, and not having anything that fit the way I wanted it to. I had actually thrown on yoga pants and decided I was going to drop off the raffle prizes and leave. I had gotten everyone to that point, and I needed to not be there.
The second I got to the venue I started getting pulled in various directions. No one had any idea what was going on or what to do. I started arranging silent auction items and then everything came down. The venue was telling me that guests were arriving and no one was there to check them in. The president of the organization hadn't arrived with the finalized guest list. The board members were clueless so all of a sudden (in yoga pants, a track jacket, and flip flops) I got a print out of the guest list (luckily I had finalized it and done the seating arrangement so it was in my email), jumped behind the registration table and started organizing and getting things done. Thank God for Phil. Seriously. We had gotten into a huge fight right before I left and all of a sudden - like a knight in shining armor - he showed up at the venue, knowing that I had been under an immense amount of stress and my actions earlier in the day were not personal. He started helping me when no one else would.
Minutes before the event he let me know that he grabbed the three dresses I was thinking of wearing and shoes because he was thinking ahead and they would be available in the event I wanted to stay. I didn't. When the president showed up minutes before 7 p.m. (the official event start time), she told Phil she had some surprise and I needed to be in there. So, with no time to spare and no chance to look in a mirror, I threw on a dress, the shoes he brought, and walked into the ballroom. (The surprise was just a rose for each of the board members)
At that point I was stuck and stayed for the event, which could have gone better, but could have gone worse. I got tons of praise for all of my effort and most people genuinely seemed to enjoy it. Until one of the performers ambushed me at the end of the night. Instead of standing up to her, I shut down. She then talked down to me again this morning through email and I snapped (rightfully so). I then broke down again. I got food that was super bad for me but "comfort," and took a nap. I slept for a good 3-4 hours this afternoon and felt the best I had sleep-wise in the last two months. I missed sleep.
Now that it's finally over, I can work on myself. Everything has suffered because of this event and I haven't had time for anything - my work, my home, myself have all taken huge hits due to the planning of this event. It's now time to get back on track - cut out the few things I've allowed myself during this time and start working out again. It would have probably helped my stress if I could have worked out, but as it was, I wasn't sleeping more than a couple hours a night and it was more important (for my mental stability) to get that shuteye than to lose an hour to sweat. I'm still debating on if that was a good decision or a bad one.
As always, back to the start line.
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