The only one I have

I was reading a post the other day on We are the Real Deal (great body image blog if you haven’t found it yet – go read!) asking what do you love about your body. I stopped to think and for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything at that time. Everything I came up with was followed by a negative almost immediately.

I love my small waist but I’ve gained weight and now it’s not so small.

I love my strong arms but they’re still flabby and I hate the bingo arms.

My legs are really strong but I hate the cellulite I have and they’re short and stubby legs and I have cankles.

You get the drift.

And it made me sad. I do love my body. I’ve fought the battles of body-snarking and loathing. I’ve built muscles and strength and health. Other than my hip (or really lower glutes) hurting and getting tight, right now me and my body are getting along. We’re working together so things should be all unicorns, butterflies and rainbows.

And yet it’s not. I’m sabotaging myself. I’m eating crap, justifying everything, feeling like crap because of the crap food and self-medicating with more crap food. Sounds like a fun cycle doesn’t it? I look in the mirror and, depending on the time of day, I either grudgingly accept my body or I find a million flaws.

I feel fat and bloated. My thighs rub together. I notice the flab on my arms. I’ve gained 5 pounds. I’m a slob. I no longer fit into my smaller jeans and sometimes I feel that I don’t fit into my normal jeans either. I see myself in the gym mirror and I can’t believe how wide my hips are. I have days where I look at my belly in the mirror and I’m surprised nobody’s asked me if I’m pregnant.

And yet, when I go shopping, I constantly have to get the assistant to get me smaller sizes because I instinctively pick up the bigger size. I had to get a dress taken recently because it was too big in the back and they had no smaller sizes. It was an extra small. I was too big for an extra small.

I’ll let you sit with that for a minute.

How is it that my body and my mind are so far apart? How do I feel so awful but my body doesn’t reflect that? How do I get back to normal?

I want to get back to the me I used to be, where I loved my body for the strength, where I could revel in the weights I was lifting and the shape I had cultivated. I want to admire my muscles, my health, my vitality, myself. I want to nurture myself and stop pretending that popcorn and junk is nurturing.

I want to get back to me again.


Here, take my hand

I like to think I’m a strong person. I like to think I know what I need and how to get it. I like to think that after everything I’ve been through, I know how to ask for help and how it’s not weak to admit that you need help.

I like to think all these things but in reality, I’m not as smart as I’d like to be. Instead of admitting that I’m not perfect and strong and unaffected by life and events, I hide behind the whole “if I don’t talk about it, it’s not there” façade sometimes.

This is not to say I don’t get affected by life and events and stuff – hell no, I am an emotional person. I cry from sadness, I cry from anger, I cry from frustration. I cry without realizing that I’m emotional and then I have to stop and think “why the heck am I crying?”, which is a little disconcerting when it happens in front of a friend.

When I started telling people I was moving at the end of September, so many people told me how stressful it would be and how I’d need help and I laughed it off. I listened but didn’t really listen to them. I was all “I’ve done this before, I was fine, and I’ll be fine this time too” and look where that got me.

Last week I was convinced that my anxiety and restlessness was because of my sinus medication. While I have no doubt that it contributed, I was wrong. Had I been right, the anxiety would have gone away And what do you know, it didn’t. In fact, the anxiety was joined by a lack of motivation, anti-social behavior and constant exhaustion.

What’s that you say? It sounds like depression? Well, you’d be right. It took me a littlebitlot longer to get there. You, my friend, are smart. Me, not so much all the time.

I had a mini meltdown on Monday (hey, lookit that alliteration!) and had a few tearful conversations with my folks and then with the Boy the next morning. I really clicked on Monday that I was falling into the hole and it scared me. It scared me enough to write a post about it and then, at the last minute, make it private because making it public would make it real and I still wasn’t ready for that.

I’ve done the medication thing before and I had a love-hate relationship with it. Loved the fact that it stopped the tears and overwhelming sadness and lethargy. Hated how difficult it was to get off it and how it made everything so much the same. I needed it at the time but I really don’t want to go back there unless I absolutely have to. But I realized on Monday that I needed something to calm me, something to help me focus and not get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and cannot be done and omg I’m such a failure – you know, that stuff.

On Tuesday we had a power outage which saw us all being sent home at 2:30, so I took the opportunity to suck it up and go to my local healthfood store and ask about something natural. I didn’t want something with side effects or something that would take forever to kick in. I wanted something simple to calm me down a bit, that I could take easily and not worry about. Enter Holy Basil. No, I’d never heard of it before either. But apparently it’s really good for calming you down, with a great side job as an anti-inflammatory and asthma reliever.

I took 1 tablet on Tuesday night and am sticking to 2 a day (as recommended) for the moment. I’m feeling a ton better – more relaxed and focused and definitely not as anxious. And as a FANTASTIC side effect, my asthma feels better too. I know a lot of the natural remedies can be a mixture of psychosomatic and real physical improvements, much like a combination placebo effect, but whatever it is, I am feeling better physically and emotionally and for that, I’m grateful.

Now, if I could only find a pill to make my assistant smarter and actually willing to make my life easier, then life would be perfect. Anyone?

A pox on mosquitoes

To the mosquito or other insect that attacked my foot yesterday:

I loathe you with every fibre of my being right now. What made you decide that the fleshy bottom of my left foot, left exposed by my flip flops while having a lovely picnic for lunch, was a suitable target for your own lunch?

Did you not think “hmmm, how will she scratch this foot once it is encased in shoes? How will she walk?”

No, you did not. Instead, you grabbed an opportunity to feast and by doing so, you ruined a perfectly good night’s sleep. Instead of sleeping peacefully, I had to contend with a foot that itched impossibly the entire night, despite applications of the magic Itch Stick (which I may actually be allergic to weirdly). I ended up sleeping with my foot on an ice-pack to numb the itch.

Sadly the ice-pack got warm, which meant I was up at 4am getting more ice.

All this meant I did not sleep and I currently have a bag of ice (now ice-water) on my desk to numb my foot into submission.

So, to sum up, dear mosquito, should you and I come into contact ever again, I will not hesitate to squish the life out of you.



Things people tell you and you never believe

About moving

  1. You have more stuff than you think. No, really, you do. No, stop shaking your head. I don’t care how many times a year you’ve gone through your closet and cleared it out, or how often you clean, or how you pride yourself on being a minimalist. You have more stuff than you think and you will find it all when you pack.
  2. It’s tough on your mental health when you do it alone. I know I’m not alone alone – I have plenty of support but it’s not physical being HERE support and it’s tough when you’re making lists of what needs to be done and you’re adding and adding but not crossing off as quickly. The lists grow and your emotional health shrinks.
  3. Nobody else feels nearly as much of a sense of urgency as you do. Quotes take forever to get done (well, 2 days, which seems like forever), people don’t respond, or they say “oh, you have plenty of time” at which point you can feel the steam coming out of your ears and they start to back away.
  4. Everyone will have an opinion on how to pack, how to sell your stuff, how to ship your stuff, everything. No matter how different their situation is or was, they will know how to do it better. Today, I ran into a colleague who saw I was measuring a box to get shipping rates and proceeded to tell me that I needed to know someone in the military because they can ship things for me. Really helpful that.

Anything to add?

Friendships: mental sanity or insanity?

We all have those friendships. You know, the ones where we’re not sure whether we’re in the friendship because it’s good or because we’ve been friends for so long that it’s a given now. The friendships nobody else can really understand and sometimes, you’re at a loss too.

But they’re friendships that you keep. Not because they always make sense but because, well, they’re your friends. It’s difficult to explain.

I have a number of these friendships where the balance sometimes seems off and it’s difficult to explain them. The friends in question can be selfish, narcissistic and judgmental. They can be a challenge and a frustration at times. This is when people around you start contemplating an intervention because, to them, it’s obvious you’re in a toxic friendship.

But they’re also the friends who you love to sit down with a bottle of wine and a cheesy movie and chill out, laughing because you’re not really watching the movie but gossiping about what the characters are wearing and which friends they fit in real life. You’re laughing over how you SO had the same situation last week but sadly, your boss is no Hugh Dancy and did not appreciate you thinking so outside the box that you were in another galaxy.

They’re the friends who, despite all your foibles and theirs, you have history with. And trust me, when you move countries and cities a bit, you learn to appreciate the history when the only history you have otherwise goes back 2 weeks. You appreciate the people who know you because they’ve been around you for so long that they know how you react or behave and what’s normal and what’s not.

Sometimes the history of the friendship is not enough to save it from being toxic, it’s true. But sometimes, 6 years of history is what binds the friendship through ups and downs and different experiences. And trying to explain the friendship is impossible. Which makes people even more confused as to why you’re actually friends. How do you explain that you’ve hiked up Heartattack Hill in brutal desert heat and survived; that you’ve laughed and cried through new romances and broken hearts; that you’ve goaded each other into buying the PERFECT dress even when you were out to buy pants? How do you explain that while you whinge about their foibles when you’re fighting, the good stuff will always outweigh the bad; that you may be frustrated at times but that all gets forgotten in times of need?

It’s tough and it’s fine line. Friendships are good for your mental health – they’re about feeding your soul. They need nurturing to ensure that the good DOES outweigh the bad.

Feeling the pressure

At the beginning of this month, I set myself the goal of posting a new blog post every day of the month. I thought it would be easy.

FYI, it’s not.

It’s actually a very quick way to make yourself resent your blog.

Or, I could just be tired today from seeing my cousins and being trapped out there by the rain, thereby spending the entire day there instead of leaving at 3pm.

Either way, this is a short post. I promise to be more chatty tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

A lesson in gym etiquette

Dear fellow gym-goers,

I realise that gym time means different things to different people. You may not see it as an escape from the everyday stresses and life out there. You may indeed see it as an extension of your home and the weekend clubs. But in the interests of not pissing me off, please note the following:

  1. Please leave your cell phones (this includes blackberries) in your locker while working out. Answering calls LOUDLY while on the treadmill and bike and conducting business is really not conducive to allowing me to chill out and focus on my exercise. If I can hear your gossip or work conversation over my music, shut up already.
  2. If you are not actually at the gym to work out, please stop hogging the stepper and elliptical machines by pretending to exercise while preening for the cute guy/girl nearby. I realise you out a lot of effort into your outfit and you’d hate to mar it with sweat but I would like to actually get my heartrate up through exercise and not frustration so move over and preen in front of the mirror.
  3. But, if you DO move over to the mirror, please be aware of other gym-goers who may be using that mirror and try not to position yourself directly in front of them, blocking their view and making it a challenge to check their form. You know, their form while they’re actually working out and not playing with their hair and flirting?
  4. Also, please note which gym-goers are there to work out and which to flirt. I don’t appreciate the big lunkhead in the muscle tee coming over to offer me help when it’s obvious he’s got no clue what he’s doing AND he’s been blocking my mirror while trying to impress me with his steroid-assisted muscles. Not cool dude. Yes, I WILL shut you down in 2 seconds.
  5. Once you’re done pretending to lift weights or stretch while showing off to the nearest hunka-burning-love, please put your weights and mat away. Unless of course you have no strength to lift those weights onto the racks. In that case, get yourself a trainer and learn. Oh, some of the trainers are quite cute so you may be able to get strong AND flirt. Bonus!

That’s my PSA for the moment. Please take a moment to read it and absorb it. This way, I will not feel obliged to hit you with a dumbell the next time we meet.