Kintsukuroi in the Annus Mirabilis

Do it in pieces.

Today is the one day of the year I can step on the scale and honestly not care because I know that I’m doing something about it, something today, something proactive and it’s okay.  I don’t feel any swell of nerves about it at all.  It is what it is and I’m saying I am working hard on it.

Went to the grocery store.  Well, I went to 9 grocery stores (opted out of one) to be exact.   Got actually good food.  Felt the expected pangs of withdrawal.

But I told myself something I kinda, sorta actually believe.  I can choose not to do this.  No one is making me do this.  And I can give up, day one, or say tomorrow is better.  That’s fine.  Insofar as deferring one’s dreams into perpetuity is fine.  But if I want to do this, I can choose to observe the pinch and the feelings of deprivation mindfully, with an understanding of how much excess and

I had pizza last night.  And caramel corn.  And I ate it with ferocity, but entirely without pleasure.  I HAD to have it, I told myself, because I didn’t want to start today with any feeling of having missed out.  But when you start, you realize that there’s no amount of having eaten that will counter the next day’s need to eat.  There’s no way to couple the feeling of being special and loved to high carb, high fat, cracky-sorta foods and the next day feel the same way about broccoli.  That’s not going to happen.  But the transition always just sucks.  And you can’t get to the other side without doing it.   So I am surviving the rest of the caramel corn being eaten, not by me, and I am surviving the stress and worry of work right now by focusing on the positive things that I have going and the areas I can make change.  This is the difference between a person who is moving forward and a person who is stagnant, depressed, anxious and paralyzed.  Because as much as I feel like that about work, I DON’T feel like that about the idea of weight loss.

I made a good dinner! Chicken and yellow squash cooked in garlic and soy sauce.  This is low carb.  I feel less insane already.  Maybe that’s not coming across in the writing, but having eaten actual protein, I am not hungry and skulking about thinking about the next meal.  I know what I’m having for breakfast and lunch and it makes me glad and calm.  We just have to put away the messes we both made yesterday (I can speak to you because I know you’ll read this sooner rather than later.) and focus.

My goal is just to stay steady and strong on this until the weekend and then use that time to see my mom and not let her nitpick or try and re-design the program, just have her help me do some cooking and do some walking around the pond.

Day 1: 169

Metal and Steel

I had a good night’s sleep.  I had a good day.    No boss, no coworker, so. Tomorrow, I have some more crushing impossible, time slipping bullshit situations that are inducing freak-outs that I am pushing away from for the very simple reason.

I did actually do another load of laundry and put it away.  I didn’t get myself overly het up about doing more since I know it’ll happen if I just keep doing one a day and building the habit.

I did actually only spend .95 cents today.  I used my gift card and got an eh sandwich and an eh gluten-free muffin I tossed most of and that was 10.95.  Kind of amazing when you think about it how much you spend willy-nilly when you’re not watching your money.  How excessive that is.  I, however, should have bought something else to drink, because we ended up not having any bottled water at work and I tried to drink out of the water fountain but it tasted nasty as fuck.  Whatever that is.  It just tastes like…no.  So I sipped my coffee and considered drinking some Diet Doctor Pepper and it was really only a matter of being thirsty that it even occurred to me as a possible choice.  I gave up soda over a year ago (soda pop? pop?) after what I felt then was going to be some impossible losing battle with the beast that is Diet Dr. Pepper.  I’d written solemn paeans about the overwhelming power that brown fluid holds.  I was pretty sure I was going to die surrounded by cans and bottles.   But all of a sudden, one day, I read some tweets by Alton Brown about how bad it was and it stopped being something I could justify in my head.  And now I’ve definitely cut down on my lemonade drinking which had become my alternative of choice just because I can’t take the sweetness.   So.  That’s good.

I did print out my materials and will be putting together my organizational notebook.  I’m not going to let it overwhelm me so it’s just a few things at a time.

Right now, I’m just doing my best to put away what I’m taking out and not leaving it set behind me.   I’m doing my best to sort of shift my desire for distraction into cleaning and organizing or writing and daydreaming and away from food and self-destructive activities.  Like…binge-ing on whole bags of caramel microwave popcorn because that activity sort of takes up your whole psyche.  I was over at my mom’s.  Everyone had gone to bed and it was so quiet that all my anxieties and fears and frustrations had space to surface and I had to stop them.  When she woke up the next day, she just seemed so sad I’d done that.  She just said, Oh…you really shouldn’t do that.   Cue a really unfortunate guilty feeling and a cycle continued.

So I’m trying to deal with it.   Will try and remember that for the therapist next week.

Bless you all for reading any of this.  I hope you understand it helps.

Hasty Cakes

So, I kind of think I’m gearing up for a good start to 2013.

How do I know this? I did a load of laundry tonight and I put it all away.
I have a new business purse.  Tote bag.  It’s not a briefcase.  It is, however, more professional than my Mumford and Sons bag that I don’t want to hold by the cloth handles for fear they’ll rip.

I didn’t die today.  I should have, at multiple junctures, but I didn’t.  I was, instead, treated much more kindly than I deserve both by friends, co-workers, and strangers.  I attempted to be kind in return, though I don’t know if I’ve quite covered it.  I am still, you know, panicky and stressed, and it may well grow back up exponentially, but the sick little mass that seems to grow (metaphorically, hyperbolically) every single day, seems to be back to a manageable size at the moment.

I am drinking water right now.  There was Atkins talk (unspecific and I agreed to nothing because I need, nay, demand this to be on my terms) and my mother is making me omelets-cupcakes for breakfasts.    I had some impulse to get on the bike which was cut-off at the knees by doing the laundry.

I also ordered with the etsy gift card my sister got me some printable planning stuff I’m going to put together tomorrow once I can print it and which I’ll share with her since…who knows, maybe it’ll be helpful for us both.  It has all sorts of different areas to track and it cost about as much as my planner did last year so we’ll see if I can bring it to work or maybe just keep it at home and make better use of my time.  Since so often I get home at 5:30 and turn around like I’m doing right now and observe the clock and it’s 11:16pm and I wonder how I can ever be expected to do anything.  Well, a lot of that time was falling to a create channel haze of cooking show delirium.   Seriously, I was watching America’s Test Kitchen bloopers last night.  And listening to their podcast and I want to cook the chicken cordon bleu recipe they were making tonight.  It makes me feel sort of grounded and domestic and proto-wifely.  A feeling which will pass, but what the hell.

I have some clothes picked out for tomorrow.  I’ve got a gift card to pay for my lunch at the coffee shop so I can save a little money there.   I will, in future, be doing my level best to save a little bit to help with these expenses.  I know my sister’s doing absolutely all she can with handling her two differently obnoxious jobs, but I hope that somehow she can find something that pays a little better and doesn’t involve so much rigamarole. Hell, I hope that for myself.

I feel rather determined.   Sometimes it’s awesome to know that you have things to do and you get to do them.

 

Eve

If we weren’t to post this post tonight, it would leave our total at a fine 1,100.  1,100 daily posts all containing at least five hundred words.  That is, of course, without subtracting the 13 posts that were haphazard and encouraging at the beginning of all these things going on three years ago…or is it four?  I’m feeling a little Radagast the Brown at the moment.

All of it means to say, thank you, those brave amongst you who have helped me carry on this mission, quest…thing without ever much hope and never an end in sight.    And merry Christmas!  I hope you are warm and well and with those you love.

It’s a funny thing, Christmas.  All this build up for what is, in our family, essentially a quiet day and this year, without the instigator and firebrand that is my little sister hollering and shouting regarding the internal etiquette she holds for all occasions, it was quieter.  Comparative, not superlative, though because like nature, our family abhors a vacuum and so some shouting had to be done.  But it was tempered by a quiet morning and the chill of the winter air that seems to make this drafty house always feel colder than it might.  Mostly because my mother, who went to work at one of your major retail outfits at four in the morning, was driving to have our whole Christmas Eve extravaganza done and cleaned up by 6:30pm and by golly, she did it.   The food was cooked and laid out, a lot of things she didn’t want to make so she didn’t, we watched Scrooged, Cowboys and Aliens, and Mulan, drank a less vodka than I might have liked (but I started feeling groggy) and everything got washed, dishes put back and it was decided we’d leave presents for the morning.

So now, it’s 8:00pm and I’m left posting to you and feeling strange.

I wrote yesterday that I was fine not being the arbiter of tradition.  And I am.  It’s just, I think, so brief, so different this year that I do reserve the right to be a little bit jarred by it.

One of the suitors/correspondents has made me grateful, though, for what I do have and how as much as I struggle to release myself from these mental bonds that have no purpose but to keep me from joy and moving boldly into my future, I also have a warm place to lay my head tonight and I have a belly full of food and I have much to be grateful for.

Last night, on twitter, one of my favorite writers and thinkers Alain de Botton (in whose How Proust Can Change Your Life, I found extraordinary fodder for self-discovery) was writing secular prayers.  I found them so beautiful and pertinent, I’ll post them at the bottom here once I’ve completed my word count so they don’t count towards it.  They are thoughts I’d like to think I would have – and thoughts I now have – during this time of year.  They’re not addressed to anyone, but yet, they exist and on this holiday, I find them fitting.

@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those who need more than anything to find perspective; a look at themselves from a distant star. 

@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those who long for a true friend, someone with whom it’s possible to be totally weak – and still be loved. 
@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those unknowingly incubating the mortal diseases that will make 2013 their last. 
@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those who started marriage with the best intentions but can’t be the person they should to make it work.
@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those who were badly treated and humiliated and who, despite constant effort, can’t forget and recover.

@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those desperate to make an authentic contribution to society but who agonisingly don’t know how. 
@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those who adore their children but despair of coping with their demands and uncontrollable ways. 

@alaindebotton : Secular prayer for those terrified of financial humiliation and of losing the love and respect of those they want to protect.
@alaindebotton : Secular prayer: for those who desperately need sleep, rest and calm but have forgotten how to find it.

The Key to Good Digestion

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

TODAY IS A DAY THAT LOWER CASE FAILS TO ENCAPSULATE.

But, for care of your readership, gentle Reader, I will submit to this less wild.

……..

Okay, let’s start with a list of things I need to do and see if it sparks anything for me.

-Rest.  Last night was just not cool.  I kind of had a bit of a snow-precipitated meltdown.  Please excuse all of those terrible puns.   I never like snow driving and the dear few of you who have read and followed these posts for the ages upon ages they have appeared know that this is not a new development.   Last night, the snow had gone down, but it was cold and slick looking and all I could feel was this fear and the fear kept converting into some kind of rage.   This anguish.  My boss who often gives me rides has been going through all sorts of terrible situations that made me feel like there was no way in hell that I could call for a ride.   I mean, I had stayed home from work due to the snow yesterday.  I had a vacation day and apparently all kinds of odd shit (unrelated to me) happened while I was gone, and it was fine and possibly good that I didn’t have to face down the crazy dude we had to call the cops on and get arrested who was kissing people he should not have been kissing.  Anyway, it began getting built up.  It began becoming the mountain instead of the mole hill and I began being very sure that if I left the house this morning and didn’t have a ride, I would die.  And on top of all of this, I was panicked as hell about all this end of year stuff I have not done and cannot do and cannot fake and cannot handle and am ignoring and la lal la-ing and starting to whip myself into a psychic frenzy.  On this kind of tenterhooks, I kept side-glancing the out of doors until I forced myself to call my mother.  Call my father who told me to call my mother.  When I got a hold of my mother, I could hear the whine and wheedle in my voice when I asked for a ride in the morning, I could hear my infancy, I fucking hate the sound of my voice but I felt that doing this was so much better than killing someone with my car.  I felt they should see this.  My mother did not agree.  She told me it was her damn day off and UGH.  And I collapsed like a flan in a cupboard (again) and told her it was fine and hung up.

She called back, not pleased about being hung up on, but she told me that she would be my backup.

I had a terrible night’s sleep, but morning came around and I got myself out on the main drags and realized the roads were dry and I could do it.

Later,  after I spent a day working and not accomplishing the critical things I had to do even though I didn’t fuck around and I spent the whole day going as hard as I could, I got an email from my dad saying it was good I went.  Made me stronger.

And there were a whole slew of reasons that made me weepy.

I’m just glad I’m here now, with you, and that it’s time to go write the Quiet Suitors, bring them back to life.

 

A Think

I am the definition of torpor.

I have to start early on this post because it seems it will take a thousand times longer than usual today to pump out five hundred words of any consequence.  My whole body feels like a mixture of flour and water, a lump sunken in water and left to rot in a sink somewhere.

I cannot seem to make anything occur on purpose today whatsoever.  I keep laying there and falling back to sleep.  I couldn’t even get out of my pajamas until after noon.  And I have been slipping in and out of naps all day, between eating random leftovers and feeling deeply hungry even now.   Sitting on the couch at 7:00pm, yawning like the mouth of hell.   My clothes feel awkward on my body.  I can’t get comfortable at all.

This is another piece of the puzzle.  I was thinking last night, fleetingly about body security.  Well, first I was thinking that I wanted to make a list of reasons to undertake a large-scale exercise and diet routine (along with these other big ideas about becoming less beholden to the vagaries of mood and impulses of character) and that’s where it came up.

What I mean about body security is simply this…I want to know that I’m doing the best I can to keep myself healthy and well for the rest of my life.  I can’t control whether or not cancer will strike or some other disease, but I can know that I’m not actively and negligently contributing to an unhappy future where I can’t trust that I can go out or go for a walk and simply live a regular life and my body won’t betray me.  Right now, it feels like wearing a heavy costume.   It’s not even about body image at the moment.  If I need to run, the way humans sometimes, terrifyingly need to do, I don’t have that sense that I can do it without some worrying palpitation.   I want to have accessible energy and not feel myself drop off a cliff on the weekends.  I really want that.  A steadiness of body to help bring forth steadiness of mind.

This is another piece.  Another gem in the diadem.  Another feather on the ton of feathers.

And of course, intermingled with all of this is the likely reason for the exhaustion.  Or one of the two.  We saw the Hobbit which deserves its own review, suffice to say that I hadn’t marinated myself in fandom in advance so I wasn’t overly spoiled for the treatment and hadn’t forced myself to remember the storyline, so it was a great joy.  And a great distraction after the horror story that played out yesterday.

So it’s lead to me watching Lord of the Rings with commentary all day and reliving the passion and delight of watching these films for the first time ten years ago now.  I don’t know what else will happen today, but if it’s nothing, at least I’ve had a think.

The Butterfly

My sister is sleeping and when she wakes up we are going to the Hobbit.  I don’t know if an escape from reality is fair when so many do not find that possible tonight and their realities are so painful.

Obviously, I don’t mean to be coy.  You know about the shooting.  How could you not?  In the impossible case of me being the first person to tell you today, I am sure there are news sources to fill you in on any details you need beyond this.  In Connecticut, there are 20 children dead, 6 teachers dead.  Another killed related to the shooter in some fashion.  All killed by a man whose reasons  or madness cannot persuade me to lose focus on those who matter, those who endured and those who did not.

Such a difference from yesterday’s goofy gallop through PBS cooking shows, I know and yet, I am still quite without ability to say anything important at all.

I woke up this morning, this day of vacation that I had scheduled months ago, feeling as though I was aching and miserable.  I was as gray as the sky out the window, a mass of nerves from not being at work and fearing the worst, at about 7:30am.  About when it was happening in Connecticut, coincidentally.  I flicked through my email on my phone, I flicked through the emails of the ten profligate and mundane suitors and steeled myself to answer a few as sincerely as I might.  But I didn’t see anything then about anything and after stretching my neck and lowering my shoulders out of my ears, convinced myself that the best way to beat the stress was to turn the ring volume off on my phone and go back to sleep.

I woke up at 10:30am, little better than three hours earlier, and took a weird, midday bath, feeling out of it but thinking it was just a matter of my schedule being off, but it was only once I texted my sister about the day’s plans that I realized I had better turn on the news.  I gasped, because what I saw was gasp-worthy, even in this day and age.   And the rest of the day has been spent both being pulled towards and running away from this news story.

I just wish those suffering solace.

Not as a result of today’s news, but simply as a reminder to myself that I need to slowly move towards the beginning of the year’s plans and goals.  The end of December seems to always have this tone.  This sense of a threshhold on the horizon.

Who knows if seeing Bilbo tonight will bring about any sort of intensity toward the march.  I do know there’s all these small pieces of the puzzle that I’m noting.  The trouble at work is one.  The small legion of suitors, soon to be dropping like flies.  The way frozen pizza tastes.  The vision board.    These are all things that I’m aware of.  They’re here and I hope to start pulling it together by New Year’s.