The Charming Charmer Charmed (5/365)

I owe a lot of words.  A fair wheelbarrow full of words.  Days upon days of not telling you the cut of my jib.

I apologize and am going to start making up for it.  I came home straight away from work and took a shower, just to get my own deep and yet ever-incipient blehness off.  Or at least the top layer of it.  Really, I thought, in my way, in my way that eight years or more years of writing has yet to cure me of, I can just get by with a handful of hours of sleep. I can take the shower in the morning.  A little more time to game. A little more time in the world of make-believe.  Someone else’s make-believe, mind.

The morning, this Priestess of the Holy Dawn discovers, only entails rapture for those who drag themselves up to meet it.  And I was in no fit state to drag myself anywhere.  Just a tragic gamer mess desperate for one more hour when there wasn’t one more to be had at 6:40 in the a.m.  The girlness was incidental.  But I felt sure that as bad as the hair was, as unctuous and displeasing as it appeared, I could at least mitigate the situation with my makeup bag.   The one I regularly leave in my car for just such a purpose.

Well, clever me, clever girl, unfit but dragged down to the parking lot, the Priestess makes a second discovery: no makeup bag.   Then she and I have to make a quick decision, right on the spot.  Go back up and spend 2 minutes looking for it and possibly be a few minutes later and have to do it at my desk which is not either of our favorites…or just go and assume nobody in this vast Vampire Factory will ever turn their head in my direction.

Have you any doubt as to which the Priestess and I selected as our professional behavior for the day?  I swear, I must have looked like death scraped up and served on toast.  Just frightful.  And this is the day that so many new things and new people had to be met.

So I came home as quickly as I could and am determined to get some sort of color on my zombie face tomorrow.  The lesson to all of this is that if I don’t pull myself away to handle my shit, it catches up with me.   And embarrasses me even when I swear I don’t care and it doesn’t matter.  And the game will still be there.  Everything will still be there, I lose nothing to take care of what I need to take care of.

More in an upcoming post as to how the diet is going (not not well, huzzah!), just suffice to say that I’ve been dumb about thinking the world will suddenly bend for me.  Maybe for as long as you have ever known of me.  Maybe longer yet.  And I’m not about to wise up. But I can stop being so damned stupid.

Devil’s Resting Bitchface

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Okay.

I woke up fine.  Wrestled with the scale.  Is it the same or did I lose .8 lbs?   I got both answers and only one is really acceptable right now (no, it’s fine, I have a year, I have a lifetime, but you know, fuck) so I went back to bed so I didn’t have to think about anything and ended up sliding in and out of weird climbing dreams where I was clearly thinking way too hard.   A climbing pit inside a mall that was shutting down and I accidentally ended up getting left behind there and having to climb these odd manufactured mountains with these grips that just looked like regular drawer handles and it was, in some ways, easier than I feared.

Still, I woke up mad.  It might have been the email from my sister about needing to pay my part of the bills and being pretty sure that if I gave her any money I couldn’t pay my student loan payment and suddenly, last night’s exercise – a bit more intense than usual – had a delayed impact.

This is PMS.  Full throttle, son of a bitch, give me a drink and stay away from me or I will light you on goddamned motherfucking fire PMS plus, as it turned out, an odd explosion of anxiety and panic.  Even though got the go-ahead from the boss so I technically got paid, or will be on Monday and so did the sister, I think even the relief threw on the other side of Whack.  Wherein I decided, like a crazy person, that I couldn’t feel my cheek properly and then silently wugged over that.  And then basically proceeded to attempt the grocery story and doing the welfare check on the animals while my parents were away and eating and exercising over there and just…finding myself thinking bizarre and unhelpful things.

Nevertheless – I did buy food.  90% of it healthy, plus a miniature pizza aggressively encrusted with sodium.   Everything I ate I tracked and we’re under given that I did exercise…doing the 3 mile walk in the aggressively silent parents house with my music playing on my phone like some sort of funeral march.

I know this will pass, but grah, and shit, and ugh, and it isn’t stopping me.  It isn’t debilitating me.  It is just unnerving me and wasting my time.  Like, my dad texted us this picture of himself by a giant ceramic shark hung upside down on some pier somewhere in Florida where they are vacationing and, to my great relief, having a great time, clearly.  He makes a dad joke about having caught it after going sponge diving.  And I had a thought too morbid to post here and it’s like, great, thanks, that’s incredibly unhelpful brain.

And right now my brain is just cackling at me.  It feels as though it can see how desperately I’m working on myself, how I am really making an effort to exercise and how I am digging in, and it wants to upset the apple cart.  It wants to upset me into being afraid that my positive change is the trigger for the panic…and maybe it is, but only in the sense that this is a protective barrier around the security of the status quo.  It’s a test I have to pass this time.

 

Happy Galentine’s Day

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Google search: Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester

Head-on collision with .4 pounds of imperfection.

You say you’re totally cool if the scale goes up.  You say that.  You say, you got this whole year to do this.  You feel, the night before, that you’re open to anything.  But then the scale goes up and the realities of now, the stress you’re under, the two nights of pizza in a row, the fact that you’re crossing the Red Sea are all forgotten.

God, I wanted in that moment to say what in the ever loving fuck is happening?   I have a plan.  The plan’s a pound a week and we can’t go backwards.  If I start to spin my wheels, I’ll give up! I always give up!

Which is true.  At the first instance of adversity, I feel as though stars aligned against me and that I may as well turn back.  Or that I’m rattling a safe and comfortable status quo (which I am) and that means I might feel something risky and new.  It’s 30 seconds on this platform and already I question the whole concept of tracking.  Suddenly, everything becomes unknowable.  Everything I’m doing feels loosey-goosey, without authority, as you like it.  Not this confirmable, one to one match with a plan outlined by God, put only this much in your mouth and run until you gasp and then, and only then will I, the god of belly fat, withdraw, mathematically, your pudgy stomach.

I want the failure to be clear as day.  (If it is a failure, it IS clear. It’s the two pizzas and the Blood Moon, and a couple apathetic exercise days.  I just don’t want those things to add up to failure, maybe?) And they don’t.  Maybe I built some muscles? But the “failure” also includes the success of having tracked those pizzas, having gotten on the bike and moved my body to the point of dancing yesterday, of having done twice as many situps, eating a 1000 times less than I would have at the Galentine’s Day party today because I was aware of what was going into my gob.

I am building those kind of habits.  That’s pretty great.

I wasn’t planning to stop.  I am not planning to stop.  But of course, I never PLAN to stop.  I never hit these moments of adversity and say, OH NO, I CANNOT! and throw a white flag.  It’s tiny, tiny slides.  It’s saying, I will start fresh tomorrow rather than I start fresh now.   It’s saying, I’ll just have this calorie-laden thing because it’s too much to handle right now. It’s saying, I’ll just guesstimate on MFP, because it’s too embarrassing to put down what I know I actually put in my mouth.

So I don’t know, precisement, how many calories are in the mimosa I drank or what the single cream cheese spinach wrapped thing contained, but I know enough to guess at it.  I can get pretty close.  I can do something more than nothing.  I can exercise through these cramps.

The party was nice.  Very nice to talk to a couple old friends and see them in a context free of the entanglements it used to have with work. Already there are pictures up on Facebook and I find myself having to settle myself down and say it’s okay to post this on your timeline.  No need to act like you weren’t there in the body you have.
Talking to my mentor, equally, but differently nice.  Feeling someone’s interest in my life without having to explain anything.

My feet feel about 50% better, too.  My driving panic  was held at bay, even going so far to try and reclaim a road this morning.  It helps with the time of the year, this deep dark shadow that wants me to lay down, very still, and wait for the last morning.  Valentine’s Day and the long rope it can go piss up.

I just feel real talkative about it all.  It’s early enough, the money is going to work out for Tuesday, I got done what needed to be got done and there’s some real time to relax.  So.  Yes. Yes.  Yes.

Come on, belly, let’s have another day of dancing.

The Dance: Exercise 1

fire-dance-1189315-1280x1920So after some conversations with friends last night, and feeling good for some reason about today, I thought I might share this with them if they see this and anyone else who might find power in it.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by low or absent self-worth, perhaps use this.

The voice, the idea, the feeling of negativity has a body.  It has a look.  It has a language it uses that is familiar and tailored to be its most effective for each of us.  Mine is not yours and yours is not mine.  This negativity, this fear masquerading as wisdom, steals opportunity, it puts you on pause, it turns you away from what might be because of assumptions you make about your ability to proceed not to an acceptable result, but to the perfect landing pad that has the power to fix not just the issue at hand, but EVERYTHING.

I have such a negativity in my head.  And I’m just now starting to deal with her.  If she thinks she’s got an evolutionary purpose to fulfill, then I have decided she’s got to start paying rent.

When I imagine or experience this negative voice now, I have a visualization…thing I do.

I try and visualize the two of us in what looks like an interrogation room.  I’m seated at the chair, looking confident, as she, the so-called detective, grills me about my intentions – it could be about anything. In her eyes, I am constantly fucking up.  “You really think you’re actually losing weight?  You really think so.  Well, I know you ate ice cream.   And it was probably more than one serving.  You are doomed to a life of diabetes and disease.  I just need you to acknowledge that for me.”

And first of all, if it is this petty, and sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, I am lucky when I am able to laugh and say, “holy shit, I’ve been arrested by the fucking Ice Cream PD?”  Occasionally, she’ll simper and sort of mentally evaporate just at the clarity of how useless she is. Other times she’ll dig in with more cruelty than I’ll be able to approximate here.  “Well, maybe if we caught you sooner, you could get a fucking date.”  And on weak days, or days when I’ve had this sort of mental interaction countless times already, that will be enough to shut me down.  And probably eat more ice cream while she folds her arms in front of her and sneers, throwing all the invectives and belittling comments we both can invent at me, accusing me and shaming me for everything I’ve ever failed at since the beginning of time until the power of the sugar takes over and I don’t think anything whatsoever until the cycle begins anew.

But on REALLY good days, days when I’ve been taking care of myself and accomplishing tasks and balancing ego and id, there’s a second sequence.  It helps if you have good music for this.

She leans back, thinking her potshot has landed, that’s she’s really got me.  She’s put me down and in my place. I close my eyes for a moment until we both hear a laugh. As the interrogation light rises up, the dark room spreads out until we are in an enormous, Mines of Moria-sized gallery ringed with darkness.  The negative force and I turn and see who is laughing.

It’s a warrior woman.  I don’t know her, but I recognize her as personal, mine, a part of me as inextricable as the Negative Detective.  Her eyes are dark but gleam in the single beam of light spilling into the room as though the moon was centered over the opening in the ceiling of the Pantheon. She is painted, a circlet of metal holds back her hair, she is the definition of fierce.  There’s a knife in her hand so sharp that it makes a Ginsu look like a rolling pin.  She scares me in just the right way.

The negativity might respond, might shudder, might try and grow, to fill the room, to throttle me, to in some way insinuate her power.

And then, another, different laugh from another dark corner of this space.  We turn and it’s some romantic hero or interest that matters to me, brooding and comely, maybe smoking a cigarette because there’s no lung disease in imaginary cigarettes.  “Leave her alone, you pointless bitch.”   Maybe at this point he pulls a gun out, just to underline the point that he’s willing to go that far for me, that he’s just that over her bullshit.  I will admit to being a little bit thrilled by this.

We stand up from our seats, the table is gone.  It becomes obvious that we are not a few souls in a giant room, we are surrounded by hundreds if not thousands.  There are warriors, there are friends, there are moments of joy embodied by people I admire, video game characters, heroines of books, Anne Shirley’s there, Mumford, it doesn’t matter.  They are people I find beautiful and powerful.  It is the beauty of my mind, mentally personified. They are all at their most beautiful, most ferocious, most epic and cinematic.   They’ve all got weapons, serious and hilarious, but all of them clearly deadly and drawn.

Everything emanates a single emotion.  A single thought drives them: This girl is ours, she has made us and given us life and force, she has drawn us here and we will defend her against anything.  She had poured her heart into us and we will destroy any threat to her peaceful, joyful existence.

The negativity tries to get meta on me. “They’re just imaginary.  I’m real, I see you, I have been here since the beginning watching you slob and wretch your way through life.”

I can literally hear more laughter.  Voices call out things I typically don’t let myself believe are important – “We have preceded you.  We have seen her in her greatest glories. This is the girl who flew herself to Italy.  This is the girl who gets up every day and strives for the light. This is the girl who is so clever she’s thought to bring us here.  She can do what she needs to do.  We adore her.  We want nothing other than to be near her.  We believe in her.  You are in the house of our spirit and we cannot be destroyed.”

Then, because of who they are and who I am, and if the music’s going…they dance.  This big tribal, happy, stomping dance as they close in on us.  They shriek and holler and spin one another around.

The negativity doesn’t like any of this, but there’s nothing she can do, really.  The power of the beat, of this army of lovers I deserve because I deserve them, because I am strong enough to create them, starts to explode her little pea brain.  Then they whack her with pots and pans and sometimes stab her with knives.  It can get gory like Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – at the end when his head cartoonifies and acidulates into goop.

But what always happens if we get this far is I feel their strength become mine and I will grab somebody’s weapon, maybe Hotness McLately’s gun and say, with every fiber of myself, all, Gandalf to Wormtongue-infested Theoden, “You have no power here!”   I use the weapon if I have to, joyfully emboldened to wipe her the hell out. I feel the absence of the negativity in my whole body.  It’s been driven back. It doesn’t matter if she returns, we will dance again.

And then, I go about my day.

Give it a go sometime.

When Bertha Mason Loved a Man

pexels-photo-38990I am well and truly in the grips of Saturday’s fugue state. It is snowing, sincerely, which is Colorado for you as I was traipsing around regretting my coat this afternoon. In the out of doors, in fact. Yes. We took a brisk walk with the dog who is always eager to join us and it was possibly seventy degrees. We went over hill and dale, or at least 2 miles out and back in the little suburban development that newly adjoins my parents’ now old growth suburban development, and my legs are noting the difference between stomping around to exercise videos and treading pavement. It was good. It’s one of those things where you feel really excited about having done it despite while you’re doing it, contemplating every few moments about stopping and laying down in the street.

I also left my phone charger in the car and I’ll have to figure out how much I want to have that tomorrow – is it worth braving the snow? It always has to be something idiotic. Just to keep my feet on the ground. Just so I don’t get ahead of myself.

After a questionable session with the scale this morning, I’ve deduced that I have lost 3 pounds. PROBABLY. I can feel those 3 pounds, but the feeling that this isn’t enough is certainly present. If I were doing low-carb it might be double that. But all I can do is be gracious to it, and say three is better than zero if I can sustain it. If it doesn’t rely on me having a specific shake, or making this specific OCD ritual of a two-week behavior that is unrelated to my actual life, maybe I can see it as actual change.

If I don’t feel deprived or relegated to specific layers of the food pyramid, maybe I can handle telling myself no when I want everything and everything now. Stopping myself in eating situations has been a bit easier, I’ve noticed. Like I could eat a certain amount of ice cream that I’ve budgeted for and I can, put the container back in the freezer fairly close to that point. Not perfect, but I can lay down my weapons of choice and bli I want to see what a year of doing this means to my body. Is it going to just be 3 pounds. I don’t don’t know, but I doubt it. This was also a month with birthday cake, pizza, restaurant food, unexpected calorific meals and me just seeing if this was even possible.

I think it is.

I’ve been good on the food. My chicken thigh ably fed me this evening with this little garlic butter sauce over rice with green beans and carrots. I think I’ve kept within the margins as best I can. I am earnestly trying.

Now I am doing what I can to relax into the few hours before some hairy, scary work days and the hairy, scary place my brain can sometimes choose to be. It’s okay. We’re talking on Twitter about negative self-image and it’s sort of amazing to be walking what feels like the most isolated path and it turns out we’re all headed somewhere together. We just have to decide where that’s going to be.

I’d like to suggest, scary and hairy though it is, that we aim for up.

The Old Saying: Day Ninety-Three

 

I think it is okay on April the Second to be mildly bemused at one’s self.

Time to focus tonight.  No running off without numbering the day at the posts’ title.  No getting lost in the noise of the rain splattering against the roof.

I was told today or it was told about me as I grumbled at the table that I was bad at taking compliments.  I know I am, when it comes to me, and this body.  It’s hard to listen to how thin your face looks and not feel at once completely detached from the way one’s face happens to look on any given day, and unnerved that you’ve been alerted that someone has an opinion about how your face, the portal through which you view the world, is appearing to them.  Especially when you know – or I knew – that I’d been ripping through packages of cookies in a day.  That I’d been recently drinking pop again.  When I felt fat and unwanted, because, you know what the hell evidence has there ever fucking been to the contrary, like ever, (hyperbole: venting: don’t tell me what I feel when I just need to say the negative part of things because holy shit does that make me defensive and make me cling to this shit shit).  Even though I was at my aunt’s magical house, my blood sugar was off (because of the trip to Starbucks that did get me out of the house and into the car which is the only way I’m ever going to get back to where I need and deserve to be driving-wise), and I had this little plan get foiled.  And the house was silent and in that silence all my worst thoughts were battering around in my head, a bird in a room full of windows, and I am thinking about life and death and loneliness and poetry and how I can change things and the BUT YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING, YOU ARE A PAWN OF FATE AND YOUR FATE IS A PARTICULARLY SUCKY ONE.  But I was being silent about all of this.  Half sleeping, half thinking about this thwarted plan I had to watch Amelie with my aunt who is going to Paris and has never seen the movie and how I was explaining to her how deeply I connected with it and that would really be a nice time to spend with her rather than this thoughtful silence.  That she would find joy in it in the same way I did.  And out of the blue, I’m told by my aunt, oh, you’re looking so nice.

And the gears don’t shift that fast.   So I don’t make the right face and I’m told I should get over it.  They mean my mood.  When to me, getting over it is about getting over 30 years of self-doubt and the fact that I should be working my ass off getting ready to be thin in Italy because that would be really life-changing, but I can’t be thin in Italy because what if my life changes and it’s not what I want and I lose control.  And of course my life won’t change in Italy because I can never lose control and nobody is waiting to change my life in Italy.   And instead of doing something that would make things better for me, I’m spending my life eating cookies and thinking about cookies and sugar and panic and the same old fucking shit that I can’t trust is going to be the same in the morning, like my ability to drive to work, or lamenting the fact that we’re eating vegetables for dinner and not pie.

I just…when do I get to just not be like this?  When do I get someone who distracts me from all of this and convinces me there’s more to life than solipsism?  When do I figure out how not to lose whole half-centuries to useless, frustrating bullshit like this? When do I get however smart you have to be to stop riding your thoughts straight into the wall you’re throwing them at?

 

Grah: Day Fifty-Nine

Grah.

I left my box of work at the office.  After all this discussion about being able to work from home, all the effort made and I’m still considering driving in early (hopefully before anyone else gets there to get this dumb box).  If this was before, I could almost sorta justify that by saying I’d get myself Starbucks or something, but, things, for the time being have changed and my goal had been to just stay in and plow through everything I could.  To just work without the huge distractions of the co-worker needing to know what our email address is.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  But writing group was tonight and even though I got this jolt of inspiration beforehand, the group was almost completely new people and instead of taking a step back and laying low with my marginal submission, I had to be extra extroverted.  The group was weird, too.  I felt squicky for a couple stories and probably ended up being overly supportive of things I would, in most other contexts, find lame or disturbing.   But I don’t want my group to feel restricted at all, so if someone wants to cuss and describe the physical features of women in aggressive tones (albeit in a way that is in keeping with his story and actually made for a great reveal in the end, if you can forgive the pun.), that’s okay.  I wrapped everything up quickly and then, got my leftovers from the fridge and forgot the damned box.   Drove halfway home before I realized it and hoped if I didn’t glance in the backseat it would magically be there.  But, no.  So after this very busy, fine day, I end up feeling a bit pissy.

Underfed, too.  Tried to pull together a full and decent lunch, but I was hardly hungry at that exact moment.   But I’m happy that I’ve kept on course.  I know that the desire not to have to take the picture of my board, not to have to take that last little tiny step is a sign that I absolutely have to.  I have to pay attention and focus because when I start becoming laissez-faire, along with being frustrated and hungry, I just say what the hell and start roaming backwards.

I mean, I was happy today.  Like I went in the bathroom and looked at my made-up face and stood there and preened for a minute.  I thought this is a likeable person.  This is a person someone could see somewhere and, I don’t know, produce a feeling for.  My other issues notwithstanding, I looked positively human.  Pretty even.  I told myself I looked genuinely pretty.  I also rode the bike and felt awake and alive for a while there.   A guy maybe flirted with me.  He was, at the very least, nice to me and I didn’t judge him for that so that’s a step in the right direction, I have to think.

So I don’t want to be pissy and down.  Tomorrow’s Friday, I got Mumford playing, I gotta get myself okay and moving.

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