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 very nice guys and please stop screaming

This entry is incredibly difficult for me to write. It’s not very triggering (at least I don’t think so), but I won’t be offended if you need to stop.

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I was going to have to tell a potential romantic interest what happened to me and how it might have an impact things going forward. I just didn’t think it would be this “sooner”.

I don’t remember exactly how much detail, or not, I’ve put in here. So here’s the crash course. I went on a date 2 weeks ago with Very Nice Guy. We’d been chatting for a few weeks online & over text and decided to finally meet. The tattoos came up in conversation, as they do. Instead of dodging the question, I asked him if he wanted to really know what they meant or the bullshit answer I usually give to people. He asked for the truth. I made sure he was ready to hear something unpleasant, then told him they were my self injury scars. I gave him a two sentence explanation about where they came from. This was all of an hour after we met face to face. We ended the date with a hug because it was more than a handshake, but less than a kiss. It was also 3 in the morning. That’s another story for another time.

This past weekend was Date #2. He’d been feeling sick, but felt up to going out anyway. As with last time, we ended with a hug. I told him (half joking) that if he’d been sick I didn’t want to kiss him. Awkward, party of 2. I told him later that I felt like I’d really flubbed it. He agreed that it was awkward, but I hadn’t totally screwed it up. He told me that he wanted to make a move, but he wasn’t sure what to do given what I’d told him. After thinking about it, I told him that I’d need him to be patient with me and err on the side of explicit communication (“You put your left foot in, you take your left foot out…”). He said that was fine and left it at that. While there is no official Date #3, it would appear that’s where this is going.

With all that in mind, Hailey started SCREAMING.

“What do you think you’re doing?! You can’t let him touch you! He’s lying! He’ll go too far and you won’t stop him! You can’t stop him! You’re such a slut, you’ll just let him do whatever he wants!”

No, I won’t. I know how wildly unhealthy it would be for me to revert back to judging myself based on who will sleep with me. I could easily undo months of progress. I don’t want that. While sometimes it can be hard to remember something like that in the heat of the moment, I know if I say “stop”, that will be respected. No, not all men. I am worth, and deserve, more than just who will sleep with me.

It kind of felt like having a giant scab ripped off my chest. It’s not a theory any more. I said it out loud. That made it real. I really told someone what happened and he really listened. It was absolutely terrifying. I think I would have been less anxious trying to jump out of a plane. Even if he drops off the face of the earth tomorrow and I never speak to him again, I survived the first time. I did it. In spite of Hailey’s incessant screaming, it’s done. The next time will be a tiny bit easier. I would like to think there won’t be too many more “next times”, but that’s another blog post in and of itself.

Now I’ve put it out there for you, faithful readers. Now it’s real for you, too. I promise I’ll put a funny / uplifting / ridiculous post up here soon. Pinky promise.

XOXO!

Of late nights and early morning yoga classes

I apologize for my hiatus dear readers. Things have been busy. I’ve been staying late at work to catch up & only finally felt like I had my feet under me again on Friday. Though listening to one of the other managers (who is younger than I am) talk about how tired he is and how much effort he puts in, part of me laughed and said “Sucker!”. To think I was jealous when he got the job a year ago. Funny how those things turn out, eh? I did offer some advice on how to take breaks, but who knows if he’ll take it or not.

There was a fair bit of confusion on my part of what the expectations were when it came to staying late. My boss said the head of the department asked if I was staying late or coming in on weekends to get things current. I said no & interpreted that to mean I *should* be staying late. After staying late 3 days in a row, I mentioned it to my boss. He said there was no reason I had to stay late, but having an extra hour or so with no one bothering me can be useful. Oh.

I also took a management class taught by the head of HR. She explained that managers are paid for the job they do, not the hours they’re there. Some weeks we may work 30 hours, others we may work 60. That was Day 3 of staying late. By that point, the vicious mental cycle had begun.

I would come in swearing no matter what time I left, I would make it to a dance class. Then by mid-afternoon, I would start to feel too tired to go. By the time I was walking out of the building, all I wanted to do was go home, put on my house shorts, eat Ramen, & pretend I had no responsibilities other than getting up to pee. Hailey, of course, had a field day.

“You’re such a flake. Why can’t you show up to class?”

“Look at you wasting money. You paid for these classes after all,”

Boy asked if they offered classes in the morning so I could go before I got to work. They don’t, but a yoga studio not too far from here offers 6a classes. Then we’re off to the races again.

“You can’t do that. You’ll be late to work. You were already asked if you could be here by 7 instead of 730. You’re already in trouble,”

Yes, my boss did ask if I could be at work by 7. He’s at work by 7 along with my employees. That said, one of them has another job & two of them have kids. They have to work around those time constraints. It’s also not my business what time my boss comes in. Going to a 6a class would put me at my desk around 745 or 8. My official start time is 730. As I said, those times are flexible. My pay isn’t docked for missing a partial day or working varied hours. It’s not like I can’t trust my employees to not goof off until I get there. If anything, one of them is going out of her way to be conscientious & make a good impression. Does Hailey care? That would be “no” with a side of “nope”.

I remember when I was doing CrossFit in the mornings before I would go to work. I felt great. I didn’t need coffee or anything artificial to get me going. My office had a gym &, by extension, showers. I could clean myself up then head up to my desk. I can’t see why the same thing wouldn’t happen with another type of exercise like yoga. It’s a hot yoga studio, so I could get more of my sweat on. Full disclosure, I don’t feel like I’m getting a good workout unless I’m practically bleeding sweat. I’m not a fan of standard yoga simply because I don’t get that kind of sweating. Ironic for someone who doesn’t enjoy being sweaty. Also, CrossFit can be quite pricey unless you sign a contract. See above for issues regarding contracts. Apparently we have showers in the building as well, but I’m not sure where they are / how often they’re used. Though a hot yoga studio should have showers. 😛

All I’m left with is feeling crappy & stuck. Nine times out of ten, I end up listening to Hailey. I choose to do nothing. Which, in turn, makes me kick myself for not stepping outside my box. I’d like to believe sooner or later, I’ll get completely fed up & start to break the cycle. I just need to stop getting myself so worked up over it first. Take the babyiest of baby steps. As my bracelet says “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.

XOXO!

Of internal monologues & the stories you don’t want to hear

Y’all, I’d be lying if I said things haven’t been really dark lately.

It’s not so much the “I can’t make myself get out of bed” kind of dark. It’s more the “Well, well, well, look who’s failing again” version.

You’re flaky. You’re unprofessional. You can’t be trusted to make the right choices. You’re not worthy. You can’t be trusted to make any choices, actually. Look at you, why aren’t you trying harder to lose those love handles? You spent money on what? Seriously? You want new, nice underwear because yours is falling apart? You know anything nice is just asking for it. No, really, you have *got* to do something about those hips. He’s just waiting until someone else better comes along. You’re disposable.

That’s been my internal monologue for the past week or so. I’m still perfectly capable of getting out of bed, putting on pants, and physically showing up. Mentally? I’m about a million miles away. Fortunately, my medication has kept stress related auras at bay. Hailey manifests herself in the form of being more defensive. Yesterday, my boss pointed out two specific instances where I’d been unusually defensive. I blamed it on the fact that one of my employees was out on medical leave this past week. It wasn’t entirely a lie. My other employee works far too slowly to be of much help. I was a one woman show doing the work of 4 people. I stayed late at work three of the four days I worked this week. I signed up for a class geared toward new(ish) managers. If nothing else, I can’t say I’m not making the effort.

I look in the mirror and I see her. I have to push to actually see myself. I’ve had confirmation that when your brain is struggling, so does your body. In my dance classes, I couldn’t perform basic moves that I know I can do. I felt like a giraffe on roller skates. I was in a class of three people one night, so I couldn’t just fade into the crowd. Not that I ever really fade into a crowd, but that’s not the point. Under normal circumstances, getting a correction is a good thing. It means the teacher is paying enough attention to stop and help with your technique. Instead of taking the correction as it was intended, I just withdrew into myself. The teacher is really nice & wants to make everyone a better dancer. Hailey didn’t see it that way. She put it as another tick mark on the running negative tally. It’s exhausting.

All that said, I am seeing my therapist this afternoon. I’m not going to do anything rash or hurt myself. I just wanted to put all of that out into the world. As hard as it is, yanking back the covers & letting in the light is the best thing to do. She could use some Vitamin D anyway.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Labels

Hello all!

I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise. I was out of town over the weekend for my niece’s 2nd birthday. There were cupcakes, laughs, and gel manicures to be had. My goal is to get my ass back up there before her 3rd birthday next summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen the unintentionally hysterical selfie of her mom and myself. We’ve been friends our entire lives despite living in different states for more than half of our friendship. When we were very young, we labeled ourselves best friends.

We all remember the labels from school. Cheerleader. Nerd. Stoner. Overachiever. They were rarely self imposed. Other kids would make those judgments. My social group were the artsy kids. Band, dance, visual art, and the like were where our strengths laid. As I got older, I noticed a shift in labeling. People began applying the labels themselves, usually holdovers from what they were in school. 

The current label on my packaging? Flaky. And not in the fluffy biscuit way.

My negative voice has gone from criticizing my weight to criticizing my follow through. For example, I ended my membership at the dance studio because I wasn’t able to justify the cost. I wasn’t going to class as regularly as I thought I would be. I would tell myself “Okay, I’m going to class tonight for sure!” then not go. Before I knew it, it was the end of the month and I’d taken 2 or 3 classes out of the 10 I had available. Part of the beauty of the studio is the fact all classes are drop in classes. I can go to class once a month or three times a week as my schedule permits. I’m not tied to a series or a specific schedule. Instead of tracking my attendance habits, I committed to something that wasn’t sustainable. When I chose not to go to class or missed it for some reason, that nasty little voice kicked in. I was totally flaky. I couldn’t be trusted to show up for anything. If I can’t show up for something I claim to love, then what would I do in a situation when I didn’t want to be there? And I’ll be damned if that sucker hasn’t been loud as all hell in the past few weeks.

Part of what I love about my hobbies is I *can* walk away from them. I’ll go through phases where I’m doing something regularly and then completely drop it. It could be months, it could only be a week. It’s why I can’t do something I enjoy as a hobby for a job. I would burn myself out on it and end up hating it. Yet I’d still have to show up every day because it’s what’s paying my bills. That’s why I’m so good at what I do for a living. I’m not emotionally attached to my work. I show up, I do my work, and I get paid for it. It pays for my hobbies which I can take or leave. I’m not flaky because I ebb and flow with my hobby du jour.

If I didn’t show up regularly to my job with no solid reason, I’d be a flake. If I made plans with people then flat out didn’t show up, I’d be a flake. If I don’t show up to a drop in class, I’m not a flake. I had no obligation, financial or emotional, to be there. If I feel like, I’ll go. If I don’t, then I won’t. No animals were harmed during the making of this film. I have to keep reminding myself of that to keep the nasty little voice in check. Just like in school, labels can be damaging if you start to believe them. It’s even more potent if it’s coming from inside your own head.

Like any other negative self talk, keep using logic. Look at a situation objectively. Does that negative label really, truly apply? If it doesn’t, keep reminding yourself of why it doesn’t fit. If it does apply and you want to change, what’s a tiny way to work toward that goal? If I truly weren’t showing up when I was expected to show up with no good (or a completely fabricated) reason, then I’d need to do something about it. Instead of accepting an invitation I’m not really interested in, say no. Someone might get their feelings hurt up front, but it’s a much softer blow for both parties. Above all, tell people what you’re trying to change. Odds are they already know what needs to change. If they’re aware of your intentions, they can help. Brains are insanely powerful organs and will justify away pretty much anything. Another person won’t be so quick to let it slide. Pick someone who you know will call you out on your bullshit. Ideally, it’s someone who knows you well enough to know whether you need a good slap upside the head or a more gentle approach. Better yet, pick several people who are willing to help. I’m not a huge fan of teams, but in cases like these, they’re appropriate. In some of my worst and most painful moments, I’ve had more than one person behind me. That, fair readers, made all the difference.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Check your label.

XOXO!

Of (not) freaking out and recognizing one’s bad habits

…And somebody hit the panic button.

This meeting Wednesday morning is really starting to freak me out. For those just joining us, it’s the first meeting involving my new position. I’m the facilitator / conduit / middle man of the whole process between the operations side and the programmers we outsource for a particular field facing product. My boss’ boss will be there and her boss will be there. There will be several marketing people (this area really should be theirs but there’s currently no one over the product) and the people from the company who supply us the raw data and programming. First it was just a wardrobe crisis. The office dress code is officially business casual. I’ve seen the CEO walking around in a polo shirt. If I wear my version of a suit, I’ll look like I’m trying too hard. If I wear what I’ve been wearing to work lately, more on the boho side of things with glittery eyeliner, I’ll look sloppy and like I don’t take things seriously. I know I want to wear heels, but that’s about it. I’ve been staring at my closet and coming up with nothing. Ugh.

Today things started to snowball. I noticed I was eating more than I normally do and not just because it’s a day off. I tried to take a nap and had nightmares the entire hour I was trying to sleep. Specifically nightmares about driving and getting caught in a flood. We made it to where we were going, but not without a lot of stress along the way. I’ve given myself a headache from clenching my jaw. I put on Top Chef to distract myself and that’s only working moderately well. My brain keeps going over this scenario again and again in my head. “You don’t belong there”. “You have no idea what you’re doing”. “You’re going to make a fool of yourself in front of important people”. 

I’ll concede your point, brain. I don’t know much about the product in question. I went to a training on it when the product was first rolled out, so it’s not like I’ve never even heard of it before. The interface is probably different, but the raw data is the same. I don’t have to make it look pretty. I just have to make sure that everyone on the operations side knows what everyone else on the programming side is doing. My boss’ boss has made it very clear to everyone else that’s my purpose. I don’t have to be an expert on the topic. I just have to be able to answer simple questions like “Where’s so and so on this issue?”. 

Secondly, no one said I had to talk. No one is expecting me to be an expert up front. If the last meeting is any indication, I sit there with my mouth shut taking notes. My boss’ boss will do all the talking for me. I speak when spoken to and that’s the extent of it. Look presentable, be polite, and show that I’m interested in doing well. That will never hurt in the long run. Smile and fake it until I make it. I’m smart. I pick up things very, very quickly. I retain them well. Even if I haven’t worked with a system in a while, I usually remember most of it after a little poking. My boss’ boss would never set me up to fail. That just makes her look bad. If nothing else, I can walk into that room knowing she’s setting me up for success. I just have to keep my ears open and notes detailed.

I earned this position, brain. No one handed it to me because I’m someone’s daughter or sister or cousin. I worked hard, proved myself, and was rewarded. I’m ambitious and that ambition paid off. It put me over the top to a higher rating on my review. I’m better at not letting people get under my skin. I do belong there because I was hired to be there and she has full confidence in me. She wouldn’t have picked me if that were a question.

Eating a pint of ice cream out of the container and buying things I don’t need won’t fix the anxiety. It’s an intimidating situation. Really the only thing that will solve it is getting through it. I know my vices well enough to know when to stop them in their tracks. Yes, I could buy nail polish, eyeliner, or shoes online. No, that won’t change the outcome. Yes, I could keep eating, feel guilty, and restrict the next 3 days. No, that won’t change the outcome. Not one bit. Chill the hell out, brain. In 48 hours, it’ll all be over.

With that…

XOXO!

Of walking down the wrong path and doing a U-turn for the right one

My body image has gone to all hell in the past few days. I’ve been having a problem with auras (pre-seizures) for about the past week or so. I emailed the NP who works with my doctor and she increased my meds again. I immediately assumed it wouldn’t work, I’d have a seizure, and have to start the clock all over again. Then out popped my negative self talk about my body. I stood in front of the mirror in my underwear picking myself apart. “Your stomach is too flabby”. “Your hair is frizzy and ugly”. “Your skin is all red and blotchy. Can’t you see that giant zit?”. “You ate too much junk today. No food for you tomorrow!”. I know it’s a bunch of bullshit. I know it’s just something I do when I feel scared or out of control. I start to control what I can which is what I put in my body and how much. I’ve gotten to the point where I stop weighing myself. It was becoming obsessive and ridiculous. If I gained a pound, I would start to restrict. I’m much more aware of it than I was. I know when I’m getting too far into my own head. So I quite literally got out.

Boy & I went to the Christmas concert for the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus last night. My boss is a member and I told him I would come watch. We even accidentally got better seats. The show was great. The people watching was better. I was walking next to a drag queen (she was convincing, too). I saw all these adorable gay couples holding hands and putting their arms around each other as they watched the show. It still blows my mind how people can hate them. It’s a fabulous, if you will, expression of love. Who cares if they’re both men? Or both women? One of the songs they did was a not so backhanded jab at family who didn’t accept them for who they are. One of the lyrics was along the lines of “All the men with their wives and girlfriends. How am I different because I love a man?”. Well played, boys. Well played. As we were walking out, the chorus members were milling around thanking people. My boss was right at the door when we walked out. He hugged me, called me pumpkin, and said I cleaned up good. The highest compliment. He also got to meet Boy. It was a great way to wrap up an evening after an afternoon of tearing myself apart.

This morning I got up and decided to make today better. I went to dance because I wanted to, not to burn off the calories I consumed yesterday (because it totally works that way). I sweat my ass off, laughing at my own ballerina doing hip hop-ness, and had a great time. The musical theater class had a sub, so I skipped out on that one. Next week, perhaps. I’m enjoying the cloudy, drizzly day and pretending I’m in London. I’ve done dishes and laundry, not out of obligation to Boy, but because I wanted to get things cleaned up a bit. I may put on some football later for mindless amusement. I don’t have to listen to all the bullshit in my head. I can walk away. And that increases my confidence more than a 10 pound weight loss and going down a pants size could ever do.

XOXO!