Of doing the right thing and getting moving

They say the integrity is what you do when no one is looking.

I was at the parents’ house yesterday. There was nothing in the house for breakfast. There’s a Waffle House at the end of our neighborhood. It’s maybe a mile and a half away round trip from the house. I thought I could drive there and back with no one ever being the wiser. Then that little tiny voice in the back of my head said “Don’t do it. You’ll end up talking to a cop”. As I may have mentioned, I never got my license replaced after it was stolen in September. My driving restrictions have expired and I could be fully reinstated, I knew if I got my license back, I’d be tempted to drive. I got my DUI in a less than 2 mile trip. I don’t have a reasonable excuse for why I don’t have my license on me. If they looked up my license, they’d see a note that my driving privileges are still restricted. I checked on the DMV website a few days ago on what to do to get my license reinstated and there’s a giant red note saying I’m a restricted driver. So I walked. It was a little chilly, but no big deal. I threw on a sweatshirt, fuzzy boots, and hoofed my way down for a carb and fat laden breakfast. I felt very proud of myself for doing the right thing when no one was watching. And there’s nothing a waffle, some coffee, and scrambled eggs with cheese can’t fix.

It felt good to get out and walk around after a day of mindless eating on Thanksgiving. I made myself get up and do something during commercial breaks like using the foam roller to loosen up my legs, holding splits, and working on balancing my developpe in second (standing on one leg, holding my heel, my leg coming straight out to the side, turned out trying to get it as close to my ear as possible). Yesterday I walked a mile and a half, then went to 2 dance classes. My friend and her husband drove me around and took me to class and lunch. Her husband also brought his new puppy. I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but I can’t resist a cute little fuzzy face. He sat happily in my lap gnawing at my scarf.

At that point, I was seriously craving a vegetable. It amuses me that too much crap food got to me over the course of a few days. There was a time when that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. Today is a trip to the grocery store to get something fresh to get me through the rest of the weekend. I also haven’t had my usual love/hate relationship with food. None of my usual unhealthy coping mechanisms have popped up while Boy has been out of town. No shopping, no bingeing and restricting, and no drinking (not that I have a choice on that one, but we’re counting it). Boy is back tomorrow and the normal routine will be restored.

I’m sore as all get out today. Taking the day off to relax, rot my brain on football & cooking competition shows and generally give myself a break. I noticed signs of depression kicking in earlier in the week, so I pulled myself out of the hole. I made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored in 2 weeks. Having my hair looking good is really important to me. It’s been a long time since I got it done. I’m in the process of growing it out and it’s starting to be fairly obvious that it’s growing out strangely. It’s at that awkward stage where it’s hard to put up in a ponytail  without a ton of bobby pins keeping it out of my face. Looking forward to going back to my Snow White dark hair and a more even cut.

Time for more tea, tv, and relaxing before my grocery store trip.


Of family and taking them for granted

My grandfather was clinically dead for 5-10 minutes on Friday night. The final determination was his heart slowly stopped beating. Once they got him on the floor, he came to. Then refused to go to the hospital until my dad (almost literally) slapped some sense into him. My mom called while Boy & I were out at dinner as they were in transit to the hospital. I’ve heard about my grandparents’ issues after the fact, never while they’re unfolding. She sounded really upset. In turn, that upset me. Originally, I wasn’t planning on going with them to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving. I was going to hang around the house, read, knit, and watch football. After that incident, I decided to go with them. I know I’d feel like an ass if he dropped dead and hadn’t seen me in 4 years. He’s a misogynistic, racist, homophobic pain the ass. Most of that is probably just being a product of his generation. He was born in 1929 when all that stuff was standard beliefs. He’s rarely has a kind word to say to my sister or me, especially me. The tattoos have always been a bone of contention. I know it means a lot to my mom that I at least make an appearance. She was originally trying to talk me into going for the family Christmas party the weekend before Christmas. My sister lives in Minnesota and has sworn she’ll never come back for a holiday. My cousin, the only other grandchild on that side of the family, lives in Florida and has 3 small children. That leaves me as the sole representative for my generation. Just like my mom is the sole representative of hers. She has a sister, but last I heard she was living in a trailer in Kansas with a meth problem the size of a small country. Needless to say, I’m not thrilled with the idea of going. In the long run, it’s easier to suck it up for 48 hours than come up with excuses to not go. I’ll probably spend those 2 days holed up in one of the bedrooms with Hulu, a book, and my knitting, emerging only to eat and bathe.

The incident on Friday did make me consider the mortality of my grandparents. I’m pushing 30 and still have all 4 of them. Most of my friends have one, maybe 2 at the most still alive. They’re all in their 80s with problems of various degrees. Both grandfathers have had open heart surgery. My paternal grandmother has a brain tumor and has already beaten lung cancer once. My maternal grandmother is mostly bionic at this point. Whichever of my mom’s parents goes first, we’ll get stuck with the other one. They may all live another decade. One of them may drop dead tomorrow. Either way, when the inevitable happens, I’ll be upset because my parents are upset, not because I’m close to any of the grandparents. It makes me sound like a horrible person, but it’s true. The whole point of this blog is be authentic, good, bad, or indifferent.

On a less serious note, a little over 18 working hours until 4 days off. Is it Wednesday yet?


Of pretty little boxes and your lovely author

The game on Facebook about random facts has inspired me. Some are obvious, some are less obvious. Some are funny, some are just strange. Since I love lists, a bunch of random facts about yours truly.

*I have visible tattoos and dress like a vintage pin up or Audrey Hepburn which confuses the hell out of people.

*I drink green smoothies in the morning and finish off my day with brie and baguette.

*I’m just as comfortable at a shooting range as I am at a cocktail party.

*Sparkles are mandatory but mascara is negotiable. I’ll wear sparkly bunny ears with jeans and cowboy boots.

*I work in financial services but never had any interest in math or economics.

*I’ll use pet names, even if I’m not your biggest fan. Though I think that’s more Southern than anything. Ten seconds later, I’ll be swearing up a blue streak.

*I’m open minded about social issues, but have irrational dislikes for things like other states. If I have a say, I’ll never set foot in Ohio.

*If I’m listening to music with any regularity, I’m not reading as much. If I’m reading high brow non-fiction or fiction, I’m listening to trashy pop music. If I’m reading mindless beach books, I’m listening to esoteric indie bands I found off Butch Walker’s Twitter feed. It’s a closed system.

*If I like you, I’ll fall all over you with hugs and kisses. If I don’t like you, you try to touch me and you’ll draw back a bloody stump.

*I like the theory of travel, but the actual act is less fun. I hate long flights and car trips. If I could teleport, I’d be all over going to New Zealand. Taking 24 hours to get there in reality? No thanks.

*I love comic book movies, but I could count the number of comics I’ve actually read on one hand.

*I love college football and went to a school that didn’t have a football team (or men, for that matter).

*I can take or leave yoga and circus classes, but don’t take away my ballet classes.

*My wild phase never involved illegal drugs. I’ve never even tried marijuana.

*I’m afraid of heights, but only indoors.

*I have about 3 unfinished novels saved on my laptop.

Nobody fits into a pretty little box. Run with it.


Of sending off 2013 and guest posts

I realized today that in 6 weeks, 2013 will be over. It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve fallen down, gotten back up, learned a lot, lather, rinse, repeat. Even the two worst things that happened to me, in the grand scheme of things, taught me a lot in a very short period of time.

Given my drinking history, it wasn’t a matter of if but when I would get caught. Of all the places I could’ve gotten arrested for DUI, I happened to be in one of the best. The fines are some of the lowest in the state, checking in and paying them takes all of 5 minutes, the woman working the desk is very pleasant, and it’s about as painless as it can be given what it is. I learned I can navigate a really crappy situation like an adult. I learned who I could count on and who I could leave behind. I learned to let go of the last bastion of my unhealthy coping mechanisms. I haven’t had a drink since March 24. I haven’t even wanted one. That was well before I was told if I wanted to remain seizure free, I should stay away from it. I also learned I’m not cut out for prison. A useful thing to know. In a way, it prepared me for the next situation that would hit me.

On some level, I knew the seizures weren’t panic attacks. When I’d tried everything to minimize them and nothing changed, I knew something was up. I fought going to the doctor and getting a diagnosis. I didn’t want the stigma that came with having a chronic condition. Then I got the diagnosis. It was like being punched in the stomach. By a 300 pound boxer. In the end, my quality of life has gone up. I don’t live in fear of having multiple seizures in a day. I sleep better because I’m not having them in my sleep. As long as I take my meds, stick to getting enough sleep, and regular exercise, they won’t really intrude on my life. It could always be worse. At least this time, it wasn’t self inflicted.

With all that, I have 3 things to shoot for on a daily basis for the next 6 weeks.

1. Get a better emotional grasp on the fact I don’t control the universe. All I can do is react in a way I can stand behind. Of course, I’ll fuck it up from time to time. I’ll say something I can’t take back. My knee jerk reaction will kick in. The ideal is to take a second, think, then react. That cuts down significantly on the number of times I’ll have to apologize later.

2. Be kinder to myself when I falter. Translate this into those around me. This month is the third anniversary of when I started trauma therapy. I spent many, many years bottling up anger, frustration, tears, and tantrums. There are plenty of times I still punish myself for having feelings. I’m human. I have a vast array of emotions. They won’t all be fun or easy, but I’m not stuck with them. In the meantime, I can be easy on myself. Don’t be so quick to jump on someone when they make a mistake or show emotion. I recently brought up an incident from someone else’s past when I was ranting. Boy was careful to point out she made this decision almost 10 years ago. I know how I would feel if someone brought up a choice I made when I was 19 and waved it in my face. It’s not fair to do the same to someone else. I may get frustrated or angry with them, but in the end, I have no idea what burdens they’re carrying around.

3. Say “thank you” and “I love you” more often. Don’t assume that the people around me already know that. Even if they do, it never hurts to repeat it. I know I appreciate hearing expressions of gratitude or love. In turn, see other people’s expressions of thanks and love for what they are. Sometimes they do a total flyby. Sometimes they’re clunky and awkward. The heart of the message is the same. My mom and I express our love in very different ways, for example. I’m more like a puppy. I’ll tackle you and pronounce my undying love. My mom is more like a cat. She’ll sit on you for a bit, then move on. Love and gratitude are universal.

In other news, I’m going to start hosting guest posts once a month. These are from other rape and abuse survivors. The stories will vary as will identifying details (whatever the author is comfortable with telling). I thought it might be beneficial to have voices other than my own in here once in a while. The first one should go up sometime in December. Until then…


Of not being afraid of the inevitable fuck up and dislocated toes

I got to spend 2 hours in dance last night with my favorite teacher last night. The first hour was ballet and the second hour was lyrical (if ballet and modern had a baby, it would be lyrical). The second half of ballet class is across the floor work, jumps, turns, leaps, etc. You’ll be taught the combination, then go across the floor on both sides (dancers are all about being even). No one ever wants to go first thinking that everyone waiting to go will be watching them. It’s exactly the opposite. Everyone behind you is focused on the combination. We were just taught the combination 3 minutes ago. No one is going to be perfect. I’m going to screw up and possibly look like a giraffe on roller skates, but I don’t care. The only way to get better is practice. I know I suck at turns. I can’t spot to save my life. I’ve got petite and grand allegro down (thank you long legs). I can hop and leap all day. I jumped first in line for the turns. Why not? I already know I’m not going to be perfect, so I might as well get it out of the way.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s go for it. If I’m going to fuck up, it’s going to be with gusto. One of the many lessons I learned from my dad is embrace it. He loves to dance, but he’s not afraid to admit he looks like he’s been shot in the leg. He doesn’t let that slow him down. At my cousin’s wedding, he was out on the dance floor the entire time with a feather boa dancing like there was no tomorrow. He was dancing with my 9 year old cousin and spinning the older ones around. One of my cousins looked at me, horribly confused, and asked how much he’d had to drink. I laughed and said clearly he didn’t know my dad very well. My dad’s three younger sisters aren’t exactly known for cutting loose and embracing their crazy. I probably looked like a flailing mass of limbs going across the floor, but I’m okay with that. I enjoyed it.

Lyrical, like modern, is typically done without shoes. I had a hardcore modern teacher in high school who would never let us wear shoes in class. As an adult, the rules are a little more fast and loose. I have to be careful dancing without shoes, especially turning, because I’ve dislocated the pinky toe on my left foot more times than I can count. It’ll stick to the floor and the rest of me will keep moving. I was doing really well until the last time running the combination. I turned. The toe didn’t. On the up side, I’ve done it so many times and have so much scar tissue in there, it doesn’t take much to pop it back into place with minimal pain. Having a desk job allows me to stay off it for hours at a time. Next time we’ll wear shoes.


Of cooking, food, and other things that make me smile

I was reading one of my regular blogs earlier and the post set off a lightbulb in my head.

I love to cook. I learned how to bake when I was 11 or 12 starting with boxed mixes. Then I expanded to making desserts and pastries from scratch (frosting is stupidly easy). Then I expanded into cooking when I lived on my own. Since I’m currently splitting my time between my parents’ house and Boy’s apartment, cooking and eating have become a bit of a hot mess on toast. Lunch is either a frozen meal or bought from the cafeteria at work. I totally forget there are microwaves by the cafeteria and end up eating my lunch at my desk in a rush because I don’t want to look like I’m slacking off. Not the goal. My mother, God love her, is very territorial with her kitchen. The only opportunity I have to use it is when she’s either out of town or asleep. Otherwise, you enter her domain to be served or microwave something if you don’t like what’s on the menu for dinner. She shows her love by cooking for my dad and me every night. Rarely do we get take out or delivery. I appreciate that, but a lot of times I want to do my own thing. Which usually means microwaving something or picking up food. At the other end of the spectrum, Boy lets me have free rein in the kitchen. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and he doesn’t care. I find that I tend to fall back into my old habits even when I’m with him. Something quick and easy, typically that can be microwaved or picking something up on our way back home.

In an effort to save money, we decided to only eat one meal out or get takeout between Friday night and Sunday night. That’s only been moderately successful. Frequently, we find ourselves at the grocery store as an afterthought. We went to Target for something else and rummaged through the grocery section. Trader Joe’s was on the way from Point A to Point B. It’s almost never a case of going to the grocery store with a list and the intention to get all the ingredients for several meals or one recipe that would provide enough for several meals. That’s the first step. The next step is actually taking the time to prepare things. I have several recipe apps on my phone and food blogs I enjoy reading. Trader Joe’s website even offers recipes for all kinds of meals with everything available to get in the store. Boy is a carnivore, I could live happily as a vegetarian. He likes sweet stuff, I can take it or leave it. However, he’s got a very short list of things he won’t eat and I’m the picky one. As the main cook, I have way more control over what’s on the menu. Cooking or otherwise preparing food with intention is the real crux. Lastly, sit our butts at the table, turn off the TV, ignore the smartphones, and have an actual meal with each other. Studies have shown that without those kinds of distractions, you eat more slowly and your body has time to register satiety with your brain. That can take up to 20 minutes. If you’re scarfing down a burrito in front of the TV, before you know it, you’ve overeaten and feel disgusting (totally scientific).

Most of my eating habits have become just that. Habits. I eat a lot in the morning, mostly just because I’m bored. I’ll have breakfast anywhere between 7a-830a on a work day because I’m actually hungry. I’ll have a snack around 10a out of habit. Then I’ll eat lunch around 1130a out of habit.  I’ll have a cookie with lunch out of habit. And I’ll go all afternoon without a snack. Some days, it’ll be 8 or 9p before I eat dinner. I ignore my body’s cues and eat even if I’m not hungry or to the point of feeling bloated and overly full (like right now). I know that’s crappy for my metabolism and general health. If I know I’m going to be doing some kind of physical activity after work, I’ll try to have a snack in enough time to digest before getting the heart rate up. Most of the time, I totally forget that. Then I’m starving after class and way overeat again. Thus the cycle continues. Like any other habit, it will take time to break them. When I’m at work, eat lunch in the cafeteria. Sit at a table while I eat breakfast. If my breakfast is a latte on the way to work, take my time drinking it. Set an alert on my computer to have a snack before I go to class, even a handful of trail mix. If I think I’m hungry, drink 16oz of water, wait 20 minutes, then determine if I’m actually hungry or just doing it out of habit. Time to embark on breaking those habits, experiments in cooking, and not relying so heavily on foods that can be cooked in a microwave or form a grease puddle in a bag.

In light of the news of my coworker’s cancer yesterday, I compiled a list of the things in my life I so often take for granted and should celebrate more often:

I live in a first world country with access to clean water, electricity, food, computers, and smartphones * My family and friends are healthy * Aside from the epilepsy, I’m healthy. All my vitals and bloodwork are excellent. * I have a crazy, weird, mismatched group of friends who I wouldn’t trade for the world * I have the ability to walk, jump, run, dance, and contort myself in unnatural directions * I make people laugh * I have a job with benefits and I boss I love * I can finance my expensive hobbies * My parents let me live with them without the expectation of rent * I have people who are willing and able to drive me around for 6 months so I can still work * My form of epilepsy is easily managed with medication and common sense about taking care of myself * I’m in a happy, loving, and mind blowingly awesome relationship with someone I would do anything for * I have people who are happy to help me and guide me when I find myself in situations I’m not sure how to handle * Kitten cuddles * Getting to watch my (surrogate) nieces and nephews grow up from day 1 * Lush body products * Paid holidays * Waking up next to Boy even at 630a * Ballet classes * Cosmically speaking, having the world by the tailfeathers