Of maxi dresses and intrinsic value

This may sound like another self deprecating post, but bear with me.

First, thank you to my friends who kindly listened to the tempter tantrum I threw on Friday. Like the kicking, screaming, crying temper tantrum that one would expect from a five year old. I got myself all worked up over how I’m literally the only one in my social group who isn’t married. All of my female friends are married and have been for at least 2 years. I I hear the same compliments and encouragement over and over again. I’m smart, funny, pretty, and someone you just generally want to be around. As my BFF put it, to know me is to love me. My knee jerk reaction? They’re just being nice. Clearly all of that, if it’s even true, isn’t enough. Normal boys aren’t interested in me, so I need to change something about myself to be more desirable.

After I calmed down, I asked myself the very simple question that I’m pretty sure I need to write in big letters on my mirror or on a sticky note on my computer or some place where I’ll be reminded of it regularly.

Why am I basing my value as a person on a boy?

I pride myself on keeping a group of friends who don’t bullshit me. I am of above average intelligence. I’m very good at making people laugh, provided they understand my sense of humor. Attractiveness is highly subjective, but for argument’s sake, I’m of average attractiveness. I pride myself most on my loyalty. I’m the kind of friend who if you call me at 2 in the morning, clearly it’s important. I might grumble a little as I wake up, but I’m not going to ignore the call. My friend needs me and I’m going to be there. They wouldn’t be telling me all of the above if they didn’t mean it.

I’m worth something as a person independent of those around me. Yes, I feel left out. Yes, it sucks to make the inevitable comparison to my friends, then wonder where I fell short. It’s human to compare yourself to others. As loathe as I am to admit it, I’m human. For all I know, they compare themselves to me and think “You know, she’s got a pretty good gig going on”. I don’t need to pretend to be someone I’m not just to say I’m in a relationship. Sooner or later, who I really am would come out anyway. I’m a pretty damn awesome chick and if boys can’t see that, their loss.

Tomorrow morning, I’m getting back to doing things for myself. Funnily enough, it fell on the first day of the month. I reactivated my ClassPass membership & I’m getting back into that. I think part of why I gave up the early morning workouts is because it was so fucking cold. Now that it’s a decent temperature in the morning, I think it’ll be a lot easier to get out of bed. Then I have my workout done by 7a & feel accomplished before I even get to work. I haven’t been getting enough exercise & I know it’s very important for my mental health. I’m setting a weekly goal of one thing to add in my diet & one thing to remove. This week is remove soda and add green smoothies. I can store my NutriBullet at work along with frozen fruit. They get a little pissy about filling up the fridges at work, but no one cares about the freezers. It was the totally obvious solution that didn’t occur to me until last week. I love it when that happens. My goal is to build on the dietary cleaning. For example, I remove soda this week, then I remove candy along with soda the following week. I’ll add green smoothies this week, then add more lean protein the week after that. I’ll cap out eventually as I run out of ideas. I’ve learned from past experience that removing too much at once leads to bingeing later on. I’m not a big sweet eater, but when the mood strikes, I’ll have higher quality sweets on hand. There’s a Trader Joe’s about 15 minutes from the house & they have tons of healthy snacking options. This isn’t about slimming down or toning up so I’m more attractive for a boy. It’s about taking care of my body because it’s the only one I’ve got. I’ve spent too long not respecting it by dumping crap in & then just sitting around.

So there you have it, beloved readers, my Sunday morning musings. I hope that everyone has a lovely rest of the weekend & I will report back with the success of my early morning exercise escapades.

XOXO!

P.S. I’m pretty sure my mood vastly improved when I rebuilt my basic summer wardrobe of maxi dresses, maxi skirts, and sandals. Who knew not having your crotch pinched improved your mood? 😉

Of identity crises and I’ll laugh about this someday

Last week, I finally made the decision to give up dance for good. I went to class last Monday and before class was even over, my knee was screaming at me. It’s not just the patellofemoral pain, it’s also the leg with the poorly healed groin injury, and the side with the formerly pinched sciatic nerve. In short, it’s a hot mess. I’ve been told multiple times that I need to find some other option for exercise. This time, I finally decided to listen. I did the movie cliche of getting in the shower and crying once I’d decided it was time. I felt like I’d lost who I am once and for all. I promised myself when I extracted myself from Will that I wouldn’t give it up again. I wouldn’t let someone take it away from me. It’s the last shred of who I was before. It’s the last shred of the girl who got lost that day.

I find myself, once again, with an identity crisis. I gave up dance for the betterment of my own health. It wasn’t taken from me. I know I’m doing the right thing. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. I’ve gone back to my cave analogy. I find myself sitting outside the cave, not sure how to get back down there. I’m not even sure what’s down there to see.

I had an honest conversation with my friend who has morphed into this odd mix of big brother, dad, & friend. I’ve kept him actively involved in my adventures in online dating both for his take on the situations and entertainment. I asked him what drew him to me in the first place. He told me that he remembered seeing a picture of me he thought was cool & decided to start talking to me. As he got to know me better, he appreciated my wit & (funnily enough) maturity that he didn’t see in people his own age. In the past 6 years, we’ve come and gone in the other one’s world, some times less fucked up than others. True friends, he said, always stick around. He loves me and doesn’t want to see me get hurt because I lost sight of the fact that I’m worth more than who will sleep with me. That, unfortunately, is a nasty side effect of not having a solid grip on who you are. Fortunately, I have his voice in my head (and his texts on my phone) to remind me.

“Dancer” is really just an adjective. It’s not the core of my personality. I was rather fond of that adjective. I’m sorry to see it become part of my past rather than still in my present. I like to think that this will leave space for something, or someone, to fill the gap.

I am not a victim of life. I’m an active participant. I’ll just keep repeating that until I believe it.

XOXO!

Of spelunking and old bad habits

Today is the final move out day. I ended up not having any help. It’s all on me. In the end, I think that will be good. I don’t have a lot of stuff really. I’m not taking any furniture. If I start crying, which I probably will, I can do it in peace. He agreed to not be there while I’m moving. That would make it about 50 million times harder. He’d insist on helping me and it would just feel weird overall. I’d rather him leave with my stuff there and come back with it gone. I’m not really much of a ninja, but this is about as close as I’m going to get. Though I suppose ninjas don’t warn you they’re coming so you have time to leave.

I didn’t end up chopping off all my hair, getting a new body modification, or changing my style this past week. I did get my hair recolored and got bangs. I haven’t had bangs since I was in middle school. I hated them because my mom made me get them because she has bangs & my hair mimicked hers (Dear God, don’t ever let me do that to my possible future daughters). These actually look cute. Now that my hair is long enough, I wear it in a ponytail pretty much every day. Bangs are more interesting than just “hello forehead!”. If you’re my friend on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the end result. My dad said I look like Anne Hathaway. I’ll take it.

What I did do this past week was catch myself trying to fall back into a bad habit. It was still in the formative stages, so it was easy to back out of it. Eventually there will have to be some hard and, likely pretty painful, truth telling. At least I’m capable of sharing it with someone else because I’ve already admitted it to myself. Because of this realization, I found myself trying to figure out what “focus on me” really means. I solicited many an opinion, if nothing else to find a place to start. The best I came up with was, as always, an image. I imagine myself staring down into a cave. I know there are really shiny, pretty crystals down there. They’re all kinds of colors and shapes. I’m just not sure where to stick my foot to take that first step down. My BFF preferred the hallway analogy with a bunch of doors. I chose to stick with my cave analogy because the word “spelunking” is just cooler than “walking”. I digress. My therapist suggested I look at things I want to work toward or things I’ve stopped doing because I was in a relationship.

*cricket cricket*

I have no idea. I tried to think of what I tell people when they ask me what my hobbies are. I still self identify as a dancer. Can’t remember the last time I went to a dance class. I like to write, which is accurate. I’ve been writing steadily every day for about a month now. I like to read. I think I’ve finished maybe 4 books in the past 6 months. There are a dozen others I’ve started, put down for some reason or another, and never picked up again. I know there’s no rush to figuring any of this out. I have nothing but time. I don’t need to take up alligator wrestling or platform diving to make myself more interesting at parties I never go to. I have spent a lot of time questioning what sort of path I’m on and if I’m really happy with it. When I went out with my friend last weekend, he asked something along the lines of ‘do you want to get married?’. I did that shake my head and smile thing when someone asks a question that you either think is stupid or you don’t want to answer. I fall into the latter category. I told him I’m not sure. He seemed a little surprised, then went back to making fun of our fellow patrons in the suburban Starbucks.

So I’m still staring down into the cave, trying to figure out where to put my foot. Maybe it’s like trying to find your keys. You give it the rage quit and all of a sudden realize they were in your purse the entire time. While I don’t think “rage quit” is an accurate term, it’s close enough. I’ll get tired of staring, wander off, then proverbially find the first step in my purse. I have the support I need. I have people who are willing to sit with me next to the entrance while I try and figure it out. They may even offer suggestions, but leave it up to me whether I go that way or not. That’s what friends are for.

XOXO!

Of watches ending and phoenixes rising

Might as well not beat around the bush:

Boy and I broke up on Friday (the 13th of all days).

The 2 weeks of being at my parents’ house was the beginning of the end. We decided to take a break, step back, and assess what was really going on. As of Friday, the decision was made to end it. We both knew it was coming. In all honesty, it should have happened sooner. I can’t speak for him, but I would get frustrated, work up the courage to do it, then talk myself out of it again. What makes it difficult is we don’t hate each other. It wasn’t a matter of slamming the door, yelling “Fuck you!” on the way down the stairs, and having someone else go pick up my stuff because I can’t stand the sight of him. I really do love him, he’s a great person, and once I’ve cooled off a little bit, I’ll help him where I can in the future.

My BFF put it the best. She, like I, believes everything happens for a reason. He came into my life at a time where I needed him. I was a blank slate for him. He was the one who asked the question that allowed me to put into words what Will did to me. That was Halloween night of 2010. He showed me that not all men take advantage of women for sport. He supported me through some truly horrible times. And now his watch has ended. I’m grateful for all he did for me and I’ll never forget any of it. There should be more men like him in the world.

All that being said, it allows me a certain amount of freedom. I haven’t been single and not looking (for anything be it a relationship or a quick fuck) since I was 19. That’s a long damn time. It’s a long time to put developing myself on the back burner. Any self improvement was done so with the undertone of “Will he like this more?”. It wasn’t done just because I wanted to fucking do it. Because that’s a completely healthy and rational way to approach life. No wonder my brain chemistry was so out of whack. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m not sure where I’m going right now. That’s okay. I can allow myself to not have all the answers. Of course, does anyone ever have all the answers? For the first time since I graduated college, I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of living with my parents. They have a big house. They don’t charge me rent. They like having another person around. Why should I move out only pay rent (therefore not saving anything) and live alone (which I absolutely hate)? I have proven to myself that I am capable of paying bills, buying groceries, and keeping a pet alive. I’m not going to be parading a different guy through here every night (or week, or month, or year…). My 30 year old self is seeing all the benefits that my 23 year old self missed. Of course, as we’ve established, she was sick and didn’t know it.

Laugh it up, but I see the whole thing as an omen. I genuinely started feeling better last Sunday when the time changed. Sure, the internal clocks were a bit wonky, but it signified the artificial change from one season to another. The relationship ended on Friday the 13th, a traditional day of bad luck. What’s to come is unknown, but there’s plenty to mark the beginning. If I want to chop off all my hair, I can. If I want to get another tattoo or piercing, I can. If I want to completely change up my whole style again, I can. I’m not going to do any of that, but I like having the option and not having to worry how a significant other would react. It’s time for me to be selfish. It’s not a negative thing. It’s me focusing on me for the sake of my own improvement. Though I’m still not sharing my Tagalongs. Get your own box, bitch.

Yet another shout out to all my friends who have listened to me cry in their ear or on their shirt, sent me funny videos or cat pictures, or just texted me back when I needed a few words of wisdom. I love you all and could not have gotten this far without you.

Watch what happens.

XOXO!

Of sobriety and the joy of not being my own boss

Happy (almost) end of the week fair readers. Today’s post is another aspect of my healing:

I’ve been sober for a little over 14 months now. I’ve lost weight and gained a hell of a lot of clarity. While I was drinking, I was a crappy worker. I would show up late, call out because of a hangover, and generally resent my 8 hour days. I dreamed of being my own boss doing something (writing, making jewelry, starting a hippie commune) that would allow me to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Read – drink and not worry about having to get up until I slept off the hangover. I actually hated drinking. It did nothing for me. It’s not like I stopped to savor the wine or cocktail in front of me. I downed that sucker as fast as I could and reached for the next one before the first one hit my stomach. It was a crutch. It was a loud and clear signal that something wasn’t right between my ears. I knew it. I had two unsuccessful stints in AA to show for it. I still hung on simply because it was how I coped while I was with him. Much like he was my first love, booze was my first “out”. It took a DUI, then an epilepsy diagnosis for me to let go.

I was given a very simple choice. Did I want to drink and risk having another seizure? Or did I want to stay sober and vastly reduce my chances of another seizure? Like hell I’m intentionally going to put myself in a situation that would increase my risk. Now I’m on time to work, give it my best, and call out only when I can’t even get out of bed. I function best in a structured environment. I don’t have to drag myself off the couch to write a blog post or the next chapter in my novel. I can go home, put on sweatpants, and plant myself on the couch for a marathon of True Blood.

I can’t put into words how grateful I am to all my friends who stood by me through the drunken tirades and poor life choices. They certainly didn’t have to. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they walked away. All in all, I only lost one friend over it. I said something intentionally hurtful and she stopped talking to me. I apologized, she chose not to accept it, and we moved on with our lives. I’ll periodically see things about her on Facebook. In my head, I wish her the best. It’s said you’re a combination of the five people you spend the most time with. If that’s true, then I’m way more awesome, forgiving, and patient than I give myself credit for. Whatever unhealthy coping mechanism is holding you back; be it drugs, alcohol, cutting, or an eating disorder, it doesn’t have to hold you back forever. Your healing won’t be the same process as mine. I certainly don’t recommend 7 hours in jail and a significant health issue.  You may be handed an easy decision which allows you to give it up easily. It may be a long, hard road before you wish it a fond farewell forever.

XOXO!