Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rip Off the Band Aid!

At the first writing retreat I ever attended (back in May 2012) we were asked to write about the thing we were most scared to write about.  Out of that exercise came one of the greatest pieces I've ever written and was the start of the infamous book I keep mentioning that I'm writing.

Today, I am revisiting the idea of writing about fear thanks to Denise's (Darwin Shrugged) blog project suggestion: Slightly in honor of Halloween, I'd like us to write about facing a fear -- one we've faced, one we've yet to faced, etc.

This week has been a crap storm of shit.  The thing is that I knew it would be one.  Actually I planned it that way.  Let me explain... 

For a couple of months I've had "issues" piling up that I've just ignored mostly due to my intent to have a rockin' summer.  However, since the arrival of Fall these things have been weighing on my shoulders.  Since I knew I would be escaping my world for a bit I decided before I did I would finally "rip off the band aid" in regards to the issues I've been pushing aside this whole time.  So, after a fantastic weekend of fun and friends I started to peel away.

The first rip was a recent issue that came up.  Someone I know was arrested in July and recently their spouse texted me asking for a character reference.  I'd like to say I know exactly what the character reference was for, but I can't.  They didn't get that specific in the request.  Now, I like to think that I'm a nice person and would do what I could for most another, but this, in my humble opinion, is such a HUGE favor and there is a SUPER SHORT list of people I would this for.  It was for that reason, and a few others I won't get into, that I said I couldn't.  However, I didn't reply back to this text right away.  I delayed doing so as I felt bad about saying no.  Finally, Monday morning before my yoga class I ripped off the band aid on that matter and replied back with my answer.  Of course they wanted to know why, but I didn't feel a justification was needed. Sadly, this was the easiest of all the band aid ripping that would need to be done.

The next band aid to be ripped off was the hardest of top three band aids that needed ripping.  I needed to have a long overdue heart-to-heart with a friend of mine.  This one I feared the most as I don't like confrontation.  But, alas it needed to be done.  The person in question took what I had to say fairly well.  At least that I could tell. (They could have been putting on a good front.)  We have a bit more discussion, but I'm not looking forward with that either, however it needs to be done.. so I will face that fear in order to move forward.

Lastly was my car.  It needed some repairs I've been putting off.  Especially since one of them involved the dreaded "check engine" light.  (Seriously, I know no one who likes seeing that light go on as it could me a repair costing as little as just a bit over $100 up to thousands of dollars.)  If the repair was on the high-side of the spectrum I would have had to seriously consider getting a new car all together.  (Not a bad thing, but not something I want to do at this very moment.)  Also, I've had some other large expenses lately which doesn't help things.  Kind of the "when it rains it pours" type of thing.

Overall, I think I'm managing through my fear of ripping off these band aids pretty well.  I've had my moments, but not too many of them.  The two greatest lessons I've learned from doing this is: 

1) Though unpleasant to face, by not facing stressful/situations you are fearful of you end up carrying around a lot of stress.  This of course is not healthy.  

2)  It's not easy as it might look to be the one "ripping off the band aid."  Especially if it involves someone you truly care about.

It helps that my friends have been super supportive (especially in regards to the heart-to-heart situation as they know how difficult this one has been for me), and I appreciate it more than I could ever tell them.   

My crap storm week is almost over!  Thankfully, I was able to have "some" fun this week and I also have a fun weekend planned as a reward for dealing with the above mentioned stuff.  


Now that I've talked about facing some of my fears, please see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Now that I've talked my fear of ripping off band aids, please see what my fellow bloggers have to say on this topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Catholic School Girl at Heart

Before I write about the Thursday Blog Project topic, I wanted to welcome our newest member, Denise - a.k.a Darwin Shrugged.

This week's topic was inspired by a Shabbos dinner I went to this past Friday.

I asked the group to write about: Find an outfit in your closet that you've had for a long time and write about it.

Back in Fall 2008 I acquired a black and grey plaid jumper dress from Anthropolgie.  I loved this dress because it was fitted in all the right places, had flair without being over the top and was designed in a sassy-conservative way.  Since it was a jumper I had to put a top underneath it so I went with a black Ann Taylor Loft I had gotten a year or so earlier.  To complete the look I wore them with a grey pair of tights and my Steve Madden Mary Janes 

(Why do I feel like a bit of a label whore all the sudden???)

As I said, I like that the dress hugged my body in all the right ways, but it also made the flaws look good too.  I felt sexy and confident in the dress.  It was my version of doing the "Catholic School Girl" look minus the button up shirt and pleated skirt (which I believe has gotten quite short these days).  

At the time I got the dress I was dating this guy and for his Christmas gift I was going to make him a hat out a nice grey yarn I had picked up at a Lorna's Laces mill ends sale.  However, not too long after I got the yarn we stopped seeing each other.  Since I'm not one to let good yarn go to waste I made a thin cable scarf for me.  I affectionately call this scarf my "School Girl Scarf".  

Over the next year or so the outfit stayed the same... that is until it was time for me to part ways with the Mary Janes.  For awhile I wore my Jessica Simpson Ballet flats (Yes,  more label dropping); however, wearing flats is a bit tough.  Then, in early 2011 I got my Doc Marten Mary Janes. (I swear I don't need therapy for this label addiction I apparently have.)   The Docs were a great addition to this outfit (or so I thought) because I could wear them in winter and not fear (as much) slipping on ice.  

As the shoes to this outfit were changing the fabric of the dress and top were starting to wear, but that didn't stop me from sporting the look.  This did eventually became a problem in 2012 when I packed on some poundage.  I remember one particular Shabbos I wore the outfit to that I basically stuffed myself into the dress and broke a seam... or two.  Granted seam breakage would have probably happened had it not been so old, however I'm sure the fact that it was a few years old by this point didn't help.  By the time last winter rolled around I was going through a lot of change.  I was actively working on losing weight and growing my hair longer.  

The first time I put on this outfit this year it no longer gave me the sassy school girl feeling it once did.  Instead, there was a bit of room in the dress and the Docs looked clunky.  I felt silly.  I'm not sure what happened between my ultra chubby days in late 2012/early 2011 and now.  I didn't think losing weight would change how I viewed things.  I didn't realize slimming down would somehow mature me  and impact the types of clothes I wear.... but apparently it did.

Even though I wore it the other day, I don't know how much longer it's gonna be in my clothing rotation.  Though I'm still putting off purchasing clothes that fit my new body I know that is nearing an end and a lot of pieces, like this dress, will soon be given away to a thrift store or thrown away.  In a way that makes me sad.  It's like throwing away the past, but in other ways excited because we all must move forward at some point into new adventures... right?!

Now that I've talked an outfit of mine that is a bit outdated, please see what my fellow bloggers have to say on this topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Living Life Backwards

When Melissa first gave us this week's Thursday Blog Project topic of: How do you act your age? Are there ways you act older or younger than your age? I wasn't sure how I was going to attack those questions.

I don't feel my age ... or at least most of the time I don't feel my age.  There are moments where I tire more easily than I use to or I'll share a thought I'm having with someone at the very moment I have it because I know I'll forget to tell them if I don't and recognize that I no longer have the baby face I use to.  (I definitely look more mature.)  When I speak about various topics I do so in a thoughtful and mature way.  You can tell that I'm somewhat of a subject matter expert on various topics which has clearly developed over time.  On the flip side, there are ways that I act that I'm not proud of as they are immature and not the way someone "my age" should act.

Like many adults, I work because I have to support myself.  Since it's just me, how I spend my money is up to me.  There is no one else I need to get input from on whether or not getting a Kate Spade purse is or isn't a good idea.  Another reason I would argue that I "don't act my age" falls along similiar lines as I don't have a family to care for.  Okay, I have Elsie... so yes, I do have a "kid" in some regards; however, amongst other things I don't have to run Elsie to soccer practice and worry about her academic performance in school.

In someways I've feel like people have unjustly judged me for the fact that I don't have the responsibility of a family.  As if I don't want these responsibilities (which is SO NOT the case).  In recent years, I've admittedly been quite selfish and childish about the things I tend to focus on and put energy towards, but in someway feel justified in being so as I spent a lot of my childhood being an adult, which is something I didn't realize until this fact was pointed out to me this past summer.  Let me explain . . . .

In June I went to a writing retreat in Michigan.  At dinner on the first night of the retreat I was sitting next to a woman who is currently taking time off from working to care for her parents as they are not in good health.  In an effort to show her that I understood what she was experiencing I shared with her how from a very young age I knew my dad wouldn't be around my whole life and how I watched cancer take over his body when I was 13 years-old.  Then, I told her how I took care of my grandfather on my mom's side my first year/ year and a half of college when Alzheimer's began to severely impact him.  Now, I wasn't telling her all this as a way to be all "look at me" or trump her in anyway, but more to explain that I could relate to what she was experiencing.  Once I was through sharing she said to me, "My goodness!  You never got to be kid, did you?  You've been an adult most of your life."  To be honest, I never thought of it that way.  It just was what it was.  But she was right.  

When I think back at all the things I experienced in my childhood, for all intents and purposes my "childhood" ended very early in my life.  I guess in someways it's for this reason I don't feel the need to apologize when I act in a "childish" manner.  We all have our moments and sometimes I just feel the need for "my moment" of weakness to last  as a way to make-up for what I didn't have in the past.  Whether this is the right way to approach things is questionable, but it's how things roll with me sometimes. (I've gotten a lot better over the years!)

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer and end this post in on a negative note.  It's just things that this topic has made me think about.  Often I as though I'm living life backwards and not moving forwards; however, I think that is the farthest thing from the truth.  Though I still would like to think I will one day have the responsibility of caring for kids and a husband (which will make me seem like I'm "acting my age") I think the fact that I'm taking care of me and focusing on what makes me happy is one of the most mature things I can do and actually displays best how I "act my age".

Now that I've talked about how I'm "acting my age", please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about how they act their age:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Spanx Me

This past weekend I did a bit of clothes shopping that taught me that despite all the weight I've lost I'm nowhere close to being over my body issues.

It all started when I innocently decided to venture into the dress department at Nordstroms.  With the change of seasons once again came the realization that the clothes I own for the current season don't fit as they are too big.  Yes!  Thiss is a good reason to have to buy new clothes.  I won't dispute you on that point.  However, it still doesn't make me love the process of acquiring new clothes.

Truth be told, I hate clothes shopping.  Despite the fact that I've lost all this weight and all signs point to me not putting a majority of it back anytime soon, I still have this vision in my mind of the heavier me.  Regardless of the numerous times I see a slimmer reflection in the mirror there is a big part of me that is still convinced that it's not real and thus I see no need for new clothes.... that is until I put on the clothes I have and see them hanging (literally) from my body.

So there I was at Nordstrom's in the dress department.  (For some reason I decided if I was getting new clothes I would try getting some clothes that I don't normally wear to work - like dresses.)  On this particular trip I was with Rachel, whom I was happy to have along because I wanted a second opinion and I knew if I was going to be dress shopping I wanted to make sure I wasn't diluting myself.  If there is anyone in my life who will give me a  honest opinion, it's Rachel... I just wasn't expecting brutally honest!

After putting on this grey and light blue knit dress I pranced out of the dressing room as I was quite happy about the way it looked on me.  I modeled the dressed and asked Rachel what she thought.  Rachel loved it!  After discussing the important stuff, like what shoes to wear with the dress, as I was about to make my way back to my dressing room to try on the next dress I had picked out Rachel said, "Do you own a pair of Spanx?"

I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and shot Rachel a horrified look that screamed, "Did you seriously just ask me if I own a pair of Spanx in front of EVERYONE in this dressing room area?"

"You know... Spanx to 'smooth out and suck in' tummy and backend" Rachel continued as she waved her hands around her stomach and hips.

"Yes, I know even though I've lost a lot of weight I'm still fat!  No need to remind me.  And yes, I was planning on wearing control top hose with the dress," I said as I quickly made my way back to my room.

For the remainder of our time at Nordstroms I was distant.  There was no denying Rachel's question had upset me.  Not learning from the Nordstroms experience, Rachel and I made our way to Macy's to look at what dresses they had there.  (I was on a roll so I figured "Why Not?!" surely she had learned from our Nordstrom's incident.)  While trying to decide between two sizes on a dress at Macy's, Rachel says to me, "Remember, if you get that size you can't gain any weight."

"Gain weight? I wasn't planning on it," I said.

Once again, I quickly made my way back to my dressing room so I could change my clothes and get the hell out of there.  We would make one more stop to look at winter coats before we parted ways... and that was an experience all in of itself.

So, why bring up any of this on this blog?

The main reason I bring this up has to do with the fact that ever since this happen, last Sunday, it has bothered me to no end.  Since then, every time I go to eat I hear Rachel telling me "I can't gain weight".  And I'm not talking about eating crap food.  I'm talking about even when I'm eating foods that are clearly healthy.  This particular shopping trip has reinforced the fear that has stopped me from obtaining clothes that fit the thinner me.... the fear of gaining back all the weight.

Furthermore, the fact that I can't stop thinking about Rachel's comments bother me as well.  The other night I was watching the movie Pretty Women.  I can't quote the line Julia Roberts said that stuck out to me exactly, but it was something to the effect of, "The bad stuff is easier to believe."  Ain't it the truth!!!  Have you ever noticed that it's easier to believe the bad thing people say about you than it is the good things?  Also, why is it that people are so quick to point out our flaws - too fat or skinny, not intelligent, bitchy, too nice, etc. - than to say good things about others?  Ever since my shopping trip with Rachel I've been down on myself.  For some reason all I can think about are Rachel's criticisms.  Then I have to shake that thought out of my head... at least until the next time I go to eat something.  Isn't it crazy how much others impressions of us can have on our self esteem?

Currently, I'm at the point in my book where I'm starting to write about why I made a conscious effort to lose weight and the journey I took (and still take) with that process.  When you're in the process of looking back on things like this it often brings-up a lot of strong emotions that once existed in your day-to-day life.  My writing buddy Dee Dee takes what she call the "Ernest Hemingway approach" to managing these emotions and drinks Whiskey when she write.  I on the other hand choose not to drink and just feel those feeling all over again. I don't believe this to be a bad approach, but there is a price to pay for taking such an approach and when incidences, like what happened Sunday, rear their ugly head it just exacerbate the emotions I'm already feeling.

Lastly, I'd like to impress upon those reading this post to filter themselves.  Having a verbal filters is a good thing to have!!!  Rachel's comments were not expected from her... that's just the way she is and I have learned to react accordingly with that knowledge in mind; however, I feel she could have expressed her "helpful reminders" at a different time.  A department store fitting room were there were obviously people around wasn't the time or place. 

A lot of those who have heard me rant about this shopping trip have understood where I am coming from.  They feel similar woos.  I appreciate their sympathetic ear and kind words as they've attempted to help me feel better. 

I will snap out of the body image trap I am currently in; it's just a matter of time.  As for acquiring a pair of Spanx... I'm not sure, but I have to admit I am intrigued to know what all the fuss is about and may have to invest in a pair ... for "research purposes," of course!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Downward Facing Dog

Before I start discusing today's Thursday Blog Project topic, I wanted to take a moment to say that our group is going through some more changes. At the moment, it is just Melissa, Sara and I who are participating in this blogging project.  There may be a fourth joining us soon, but for right now it's just the three of us.

A little less than a month ago I walked into a new location of lululemon that had just opened up in one of the malls I frequented as a kid.  To be honest, when I first discovered lululemon i was shocked that this mall didn't have one given it's geographic location, so when I saw one was opening up my first thought was, "It's about time!"

choose your happy(!)
One of the things I checked on this particular visit were the gym bags.  For all intents and purposes it would seem I don't need a gym back since I have a locker at my "home" gym location I still looked.  (Surely I could find a purpose for such a bag... right?!)  When I looked inside the bag I found a tag that read, "choose your happy".  

I immediately smiled!!!

The first thing that came to mind was the coincidence that happiness is something I was talking and reading a lot about since it the theme at Chick Lit Central at the time just happened to be "Happiness" and I had just written an introduction to our September Go-To-Gay column where I talked about one of the things that brought me happiness - running.  It was this fact that made it seem almost "besherte" that I had found this tag in a store like lululemon.  However, what made it more appropriate is that when I think of this store I mainly think of it for items to support another hobby of mine that makes me happy - the practice of yoga.

I've been practicing yoga now for about 8 months.  I can't say that I LOVE every single class I've ever taken, but I can say I'm not the same when I go a week or two without attending a class.  As "granola" as it may sound, I can definitely can tell a difference in the way my body functions when I haven't been to a class at all during the week.  Truth be told, if I could I would take a class everyday. 

Yoga has gotten me through some tough times.  When I was in the thick of pre-move crap I sought out yoga classes close to my home.  On the days I took off to pack and coordinate all the my move stuff, I specifically carved time out my day to attend  yoga class at a local studio. 

Yoga has given me clarity.  I've had sometimes when I couldn't clear my head during my practice, but it did give me the clarity I needed at the time to tackle the matters that were bothering me. 

Yoga has enabled me to be strong.  And I'm not just speaking of physical strength, but also it has taught given me strength in character.

I can't preach the benefits of yoga enough and beginning to practice yoga is one of the best decisions I made this year.


Now that I've talked about one of the ways I "choose my happy," please take a moment to find out how my fellow bloggers choose their happy:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)