Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Changing my perceptions

Isn’t it funny how sometimes one person’s opinion can make you take a second look at your own perceptions? And sometimes after reevaluating those perceptions you start to think that maybe you were mistaken, or at least that your perceptions have become outdated?

I have this crazy aunt. She hasn’t had an easy life, and she carries a lot of bitterness. A LOT. Lots of anger and rage. And sometimes, as you can imagine, she’s hard to be around. She is a master at saying things that make you go, “Wha . . . ??” As an example, she was mad when her sister came to stay with my grandparents and brought her dog (please bear in mind that Crazy Aunt doesn’t live with my grandparents). Not because the dog was a nuisance, or in the house, or any of those things (he’s old, doesn’t bark, doesn’t jump, and is an outside dog). No, she was mad because we had to close the driveway gate so the dog wouldn’t get out. Which meant we had to get out of the car to open and close the gate when we drove in and out. It was INCONVENIENT, she snarked. Didn’t I agree? I finally said that I figured that the dog wasn’t smart enough not to wander off, so I (as the smarter of the two) had the responsibility to watch out for it. I further observed that if I was running so late that I couldn’t spare 2 minutes, well, I was already too late and should have left 15 minutes earlier. That wasn’t the dog’s problem. But my aunt was still annoyed. She’s like that, bless her heart.

(Tangent: I LOVE the saying, “Bless her/his heart.” My Southern grandma used to say it, and it basically means you can call someone every horrible name you can think of, but if you bless their hearts at the end, you’re golden. No hard feelings and all that. LOL)

Anyway, this aunt had a big blowup with one of my grandparents’ in-home nurses, and a couple of other sisters came up to referee, hollered at Crazy Aunt and generally tried to smooth things over with the nurse.

Subsequently, my aunt was at some family gathering, talking to my mom, and the subject came up. Crazy Aunt said to my mom, “You know, I know I have anger issues, and I’m really trying to rein in my temper and learn more constructive ways of dealing with people. I’ve always had trouble communicating with others, and I’m really working on it. And in that situation, I really didn’t feel like I had been unreasonable; I even left the room because I was getting really mad and didn’t want to start yelling. But I was really hurt that my sisters came up and didn’t even ask me what happened; they just talked to the nurse and then yelled at me. I understand why they did it, why they assumed I was automatically at fault, but it still hurt.”

When my mom relayed that story back to me, it sort of took hold in my consciousness. It made me see Crazy Aunt with slightly more objectivity than before. And you know, she isn’t nearly as crazy as she used to be. I was so wrapped up in my old perceptions that I hadn’t seen what was really happening right in front of me. Don’t get me wrong, now: she’s still a nut, she still thinks she shouldn’t have to close the gate when she and her sister happen to be visiting at the same time, she still thinks bartenders are contributing to alcoholism and should all burn in Hell (it went over really well when I worked as a bartender for a while!).

But . . . when my other aunt needs a babysitter for her hellaciously ill-behaved child, Not-So-Crazy Aunt volunteers – and is incredibly patient. She called me today just to wish me Happy Birthday. When she gets frustrated she leaves the room until she can calm down. She knows that her frustration isn’t usually the other person’s fault – that’s a huge thing, right there! She’s calmer, she’s . . . . I don’t want to say “happy,” but certainly less UNhappy.

I wouldn’t have noticed any of this but for the conversation I had with my mom. I feel a little bad, and like I got a good reminder about clinging to old perceptions. I needed to remember that. So thanks to my Not-So-Crazy Aunt.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Adventures of Spydra

The All-New, Totally True Adventures of Spydra, the Spider-Catching Queen of the Amazon!!

It’s 4AM. Yes, Virginia, there’s an AM. My alarm goes off, and I hit snooze, wondering what in the hell possessed me to think that getting up at 4 would be a good idea. I hit snooze a few more times, and finally drag my ass out of bed at 4:45. I stagger into the bathroom still bleary-eyed and sit with my head in my hands, wondering AGAIN why I thought this would be a good idea. As I reach for the toilet paper, for some reason I glance over at the roll. I don’t usually look at it – it’s not like it’s going to be in a different place from before, and I use the restroom often enough to know where the paper is without double-checking the location – but this morning I look. And thank God, because my hand freezes about 3 inches away from A GIANT FUCKING BLACK SPIDER half-hidden under the first sheet of paper on the roll. I half-successfully stifle a scream (I’m staying with my grandparents and I don’t want to wake them at 4:45 in the morning), and immediately lean as far away from the roll as I can without actually getting up from the toilet. I remain in this remarkably uncomfortable position for a minute or two, contemplating my options, none of which are terribly appealing. FINALLY I remember that I had stashed an extra roll behind the toilet the other day for God knows what reason, so I lean around, grab the roll and get the hell away from that spider as fast as I can.

Now I am standing in my bathroom, buck naked, contemplating the GIANT FUCKING BLACK SPIDER that has taken up residence on my toilet paper roll. Squashing is not an alternative: I hate the sound, I hate the mess and as a general rule I really do try not to kill things. I consider letting it live in the bathroom, but I wouldn’t want to step on it barefoot by accident, and frankly, it looks (in the admittedly poor light) like it might possibly be a black widow, which are relatively abundant in sunny SoCal. And there is NO WAY IN HELL I’m sharing space with a black widow. If push comes to shove I will have to kill it, just in case it IS a black widow, but I’d really rather not. I back slowly out of the bathroom, praying it’s not a jumping spider (which are harmless, except for the heart attack they give you when they JUMP AT YOU), and go looking for a “Spider-Catching Kit.”

(A Spider-Catching Kit is a Tupperware, a piece of paper and a thin hard piece of something else; a clipboard for instance, or the back of a notepad. You put the Tupperware over the spider, slide the paper underneath, then the hard piece of whatever, hold it all together really tightly, carry it outside, set it on the ground and remove the hard piece and the paper. When you can see the spider on the ground, you lift the Tupperware off of it and (this part is very important) RUN LIKE HELL.)

I find a wide-mouthed water bottle, and immediately discard it because I am too damn chicken to give myself that little “mess-up space” in case the damn thing runs. I find a slightly larger container, but I’m not sure it will fit on the roll without leaving a gaping space for the GIANT FUCKING BLACK SPIDER to run through – probably toward me. I test it out on the other roll of paper, and sure enough, there’s a good 2 inch gap for that thing to laugh at me right before it eats me. I head back into the bathroom to reconnoiter. Spider’s still there. Hasn’t moved. I really don’t want to kill it, but I really can’t tell if it’s harmless or not. ::::sigh:::: I throw on a pair of pants and a shirt and go looking for the Raid. If I can spray NEAR it, it might run, and then I could catch it. This is NOT what I want to be doing at 5AM.

Of course, it takes me ten minutes to find the Raid, and when I get back, guess what? That’s right. No spider. Fuckety-fuck-fuck. I check the floor, the walls and the ceiling (always my personal terror, that last one), but nothing. This is very bad. I can’t afford to let it live in the bathroom, and I’m now getting later and later for work. I consider the possibility that it is BEHIND the roll, but there doesn’t really seem to be that much space. The thing is, my grandparents live in an old house. It was built in ’29, so it has all kinds of features that you don’t see on houses out here anymore. One of these features is that all the toilet paper rolls are built into the wall. There’s a half-circle-shaped depression in the wall, and the paper is set into that, so that only about half the roll sticks out from the wall. It’s very cool. It’s also a great spider-hiding place. Fuck.

There is no way in hell I’m reaching over to spin the roll and risk having that thing launched through the air at me. I don’t think I could stifle that scream. Suddenly, I remember that my Grandma has 3 or 4 canes in the hall closet, because of her bad knee. I could use one of those to spin the roll! So I trot out to the closet and select the longest one I can find. I sneak back into the bathroom, contemplating the fact that my morning has been reduced to sneaking around a spider, stand as far from the roll as I can, reach waaaaaaaaay out with the cane, and spin the roll. It’s a pathetic attempt, but it’s enough to scare the spider, which runs out from the top of the roll, and down underneath it, back into the bottom half of the hole before I can grab the Raid. Dammit.

I look at the clock. An entire half-hour has elapsed since I got up. Jesus.

But now I know it’s in the roll-hole, and at least that’s something. I use the cane to lift the hand towel off the bar, because it’s RIGHT NEXT to the hole, and I don’t want the spider to run out and onto the towel. Then I spin the roll again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. These are much less pathetic attempts, and now I’m worried that it really ran somewhere else, and I missed it. Spin. Nothing. Spin. JACKPOT!!! Thereitgoesacrossthewall,getit,getit,getit!!!!!! FUCK!!!! I lost it!! I check under the sink, and behind the OTHER towel. Nothing! DAMN! As I stand up, THERE IT IS!!! ON THE WALL! IN A PERFECT PLACE TO CATCH WITH MY TUPPERWARE! WHERE DID I PUT THAT FUCKING TUPPERWARE?!?!?!!?! OO, OO! RIGHT THERE!!! ON THE SINK!!! I grab the Tupperware, and slam it down over the spider, which thankfully is neither a jumping spider nor a very fast runner (as spiders go). Under the Tupperware goes the back of the notepad, and I peel the whole shebang away from the wall. I can see the spider better now, and I’m almost disappointed that it is not, in fact, a black widow. It’s some brown and black thingy, although I don’t think it’s a recluse. I’m not in a desert-y enough area for those.

I carry it outside and let it go, all the while sternly admonishing it for scaring me and warning it just how close it came to a Raid-induced death. I'm sure I made quite an impression and it was probably very sorry. :P Then I race back upstairs to get dressed before I’m really late for work, since it's now almost 5:30, which is when I need to leave.

I did wait till I got to work to use the bathroom again, though. Just in case.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

This "Ranting Post" is sponsored by PMS

When I joined WW I told them I didn’t want them to say anything to me about what the number on the scale was, not even if it was up or down. Not because I didn’t know; I have a scale at home, so I pretty much know what my weight is (the scale sits on carpet, so I figure it’s probably one or two pounds off, but it’s in the general vicinity), but because I know how my body works. Here’s the thing: when I start working out, my body puts on muscle really fast. Not bulky muscle or anything like that, but I get really strong. Now as we all learned in science, muscle weighs a LOT more than fat. So usually, in the first couple of weeks on something like WW, I GAIN weight – generally between 3 and 7 pounds, which is a pretty significant amount. During that time, my measurements drop, so I know I’m doing ok, but I go to those meetings and the well-meaning weigh-in people say things like, “Don’t worry, you’ll do better next week.” It makes me NUTS!!! I want to scream, “SHUT UP! YOU’RE NOT HELPING, HERE!!! I’M LOSING FAT, DAMMIT – STOP PATRONIZING ME!!!!” Ahem. So if they can’t say anything to me about it, they don’t patronize me. I know they know. And I know that I know (although they don’t know I know – still with me?). But this way I can deal with things on my own terms.

I know better than to get on the scale more than once a week, though. If I get on once a week, I’m pretty ok with life. Twice a week is ok, too, but much more than that and it gets ugly really fast. But the scale is like a little siren on the bathroom floor, calling out: “Heeeeeere I am . . . . maybe you’ve lost weight since yesterday (or even since breakfast . . . or lunch . . . . or ten minutes ago . . .) . . . . Wouldn’t that be a loooooooooovely way to start the daaaaaaayyyyyyy??????????” Of course, I read the stories about sirens. I know that that scale is just waiting to dash me on the rocks of my self-esteem and laugh while I drown, but do I remember that from the LAST time I got on the scale (which may only have been an hour or two ago)? Noooooooooooo. So I get on the scale, and *GASP, CHOKE* I’m the SAME! Or worse yet, POINT 2 POUNDS HEAVIER!! Oh, the shame of it all . . . :P Jesus Christ.

And the more I weigh myself, the more I WANT to weigh myself. I rapidly spiral down from once a week to twice a week to every day to twice a day to (sometimes) three or four times a day. I think it’s some sort of bizarre irrational mixture of hope and self-flagellation. All I know is that as of Monday, I had lost 5.4 pounds, and as of today, I regained 2.8 of those pounds. I know that’s not really possible, and here’s the kicker: I’m PMSing like a mother-fucker. I was watching TV the other night and there was a cat-litter commercial with a kitten in it, and I was sitting there CRYING, for God’s sake! I didn’t even cry when Bambi’s MOTHER died, so if I’m crying because “That little pooping kitten is so cuuuuuuuuute (sob, sob),” I know I’m deep in PMS-town. Either that or I’m sick, because when I have the flu I cry at everything.

But does the knowledge that I’m about to start my period make ANY difference to the irrational part of my brain? Of course not. Rationally I know that I’m retaining water, and so the scale is higher, plus I’ve started a martial arts class, which has a lot of strength training, which equals weight gain (for me), and of course the scale is on carpet, which means Monday’s weight might have been higher (really) and today’s weight might have been lower (really). Does any of that matter to my self-esteem right now?? HELL, NO!

I fucking hate PMS.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Staying on the path

I had an audition on Sunday for a theatrical production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I went, but didn’t end up auditioning, which was really hard.

First, in order for this to make sense, you have to know that I am Queen of the World when it comes to sabotaging myself. I will pick a goal, start down the path, and immediately get sidetracked. (“Hm, this other path looks interesting. I wonder what’s down here? I wonder if it leads to the same place as the one I started on? Let’s find out. I can always come back to this spot if the other path doesn’t take me where I want to go.” Of course, six months later I’m back at the initial place I started, I take 3 more steps and oh, look! Another interesting side path! Wonder what’s down there . . . I’m like a damn 5-year-old! LOL) On the other hand, the times I have really focused and stayed on track, the force of my will became something fierce to be reckoned with.

So I made some goals from that list I had. The first two, which I put a fairly quick time frame on, were to get an agent(s) (commercial and theatrical), and my SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) card. Here’s the thing: a lot of people have trouble getting their SAG card. Not everyone, certainly, but there are more than a few people who struggle for a year or two before they get it. And agents aren’t generally terribly enthused about seeing people who have no card, because it’s MUCH harder to book jobs that pay well if you don’t have it. So those two goals are big ones, mostly because of the time frame I put on them.

So here’s what I have to change in order to accomplish those two things:
I need to take a commercial class – badly. I’m really good at dramatic readings, but I really, REALLY suck at commercials. And agents generally sign you for commercials first, to see if you’re marketable and committed.
I also need to do a mass headshot mailing to various agencies. That means that in the next couple of weeks, I need to get my headshots and resumes printed in large quantity (100-200 of each), staple them all together, buy manila envelopes and postage, print a hundred (or so) labels, revise my cover letters (different versions so that when you mail to more than one agent in an office, it doesn’t look so much like a form letter), stuff the envelopes, label them and get them in the mail. It’s not hard; just time-consuming and expensive.

So those are the two major steps I need to be taking. I already started on the headshots, and the commercial class I’m going to take starts the first Saturday in June. I’m a busy kid. :)

Now. The audition. I submitted online, but there was no rehearsal schedule posted. Most of these things seem to rehearse in the evenings though and I knew I would be tired if I did that, but figured I could manage. When I got there, the rehearsals were most of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Right in the middle of my commercial class, which I really need to take if I want to get an agent. There were also a couple of other things that gave me pause and I just had the overwhelming feeling that this was NOT where I was supposed to be. Here’s the thing, though: I’d been so excited for this audition, because ALL my training is theatrical, and I finally felt like I had an audition that I KNEW I could knock out of the park. I wasn’t nervous but I WAS excited. And now I felt like it was the wrong thing, and I didn’t know WHY I felt that way!

It suddenly flashed into my mind that doing theatre was not anywhere on that list of goals I had set. Getting an agent and going SAG were on the list (which this show would interfere with), but doing a theatrical production wasn’t. Especially since I have CRAZY theatre credits on my resume already; it’s not like I need any more of those. All of a sudden I had this visual in my head of standing at the top of that path saying, “Maybe this other path will get me to my destination, too!” So I went over to the coordinator, introduced myself and thanked him and his partner for calling me in. I explained that I had some major schedule conflicts, so rather than take up their time, I was going to excuse myself, but that I really appreciated their invitation to audition.

And I left. It was the hardest thing I’ve done in a while, but I know it was the right thing to do. I felt like I’d achieved some huge turning point or passed some test. But you know what? I HATE getting tested by the powers that be!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Random story (to go with Random Bitching, below)

(Story ahead!) When I was 19 I ruptured a disc in my back, and the idiot doctor (at Kaiser’s, where I usually had good experiences) DIDN’T DIAGNOSE IT CORRECTLY. She told me I’d probably pulled a muscle and to go home and rest. Now, I was dancing 30 hours a week – I knew damn well what a pulled muscle felt like, and it did NOT feel like this. I hadn’t even been able to get off the floor the night before (where I’d been watching TV), and it had taken me an hour just to get to the doctor’s office, which was 10 minutes from my house. The other 50 minutes were spent easing myself into and out of the car, into the doctor’s office, into the exam room, etc. Pulled muscle, my ass. Grrr. I finally told her I was not leaving without at least getting some painkillers, seeing as how I COULDN’T WALK. She got very huffy with me and said, “Well, if you’re asking for painkillers, I’ll have to put a note in your chart about that.” It was a good thing for her I was in too much pain to leap across the exam room and rip out her eyeballs with one of those wooden tongue depressors on the counter. Instead, I smiled what my sister calls my “serial killer” smile, and said tightly, “Fine. Put a note in the damn chart. Hell, give ME the chart, and I’ll SIGN it! But if you want me out of this room and you don’t intend to do anything about my back, you better write me a prescription or call security, because I AM NOT LEAVING without something to help this pain!!! And I swear to God I will sit here all fucking day if I have to!!!!” She wrote the prescription. :P

So for two years my back hurt. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but pretty much all the time. When I was 21, I finally went in (for the fourth or fifth time) and they told me (for the fourth or fifth time) that before I could see a specialist, I had to go through “physical therapy” (for the fourth or fifth time). I don’t know if you’ve ever been to physical therapy, but let me tell you, it’s pretty much a crock. They make you watch boneheaded videos where you “learn” things like, “lift with your legs, not your back,” and “hold heavy objects close to your body, not away from it,” and my personal favorite, “don’t stand in one hip – distribute your weight evenly between your two feet.” No shit, Sherlock. They told me my hamstrings were probably too tight, because that causes many cases of back pain. “I’m pretty sure that’s not it,” I answered. “No, no,” they said, “That’s almost always the problem. You lay on this table, and we’re going to check your flexibility.” At this point I was definitely laughing on the inside, because I knew what was coming and I was about to enjoy this immensely. I lay down on my back, and they took one leg and started lifting it. Remember, I was still dancing, so that leg went up, up, up all the way over my body and toward my torso. When it hit the vertical point, the therapist started repeating, “Let me know when you feel a stretch!” “I will,” I answered. My leg passed vertical, descending toward my face. “Let me know,” she said, sounding worried. “Don’t worry, I will.” Here comes my leg, right toward my face, and alllllllllll the way down. Now my foot is on the table and my knee is next to my head. “I still don’t really feel a stretch,” I offer helpfully. “Do you want me to move over so you can push my leg past my torso on the table?” “Um, no, no that won’t be necessary,” says the therapist, wide-eyed. “I don’t think the problem is with your hamstrings.” “I know,” I comment (always helpful, that’s me).

After that session, I walked back to the front desk and announced, “I know I’m supposed to have another 6 visits with the therapist before I can see a specialist, but this is dumb. I know all the stuff they’re telling me, since I’ve already gone through these classes, I know it’s not my hamstrings, it’s not my muscles, it’s not general soreness, dammit! I’m LYING ON THE FLOOR in classes at school (thank God I was an arts major, where no one cared if I laid on the floor!), and I WANT TO SEE A SPECIALIST NOW!!!! My insurance will expire in 4 months when I graduate, and I don’t have time for this therapy bullshit, so I’m not leaving until I get an appointment – with a SPECIALIST!!!”

For some reason, when I have tantrums, I get results. Maybe that’s true of everyone, I don’t know, but it works for me. The receptionist stammered for a minute, pushed some buttons on the computer, and voila! A specialist appointment!

So I trotted my placated little self back into the office 4 weeks later, and saw an orthopedic surgeon who listened to what hurt, where it hurt and for how long it had been hurting and promptly sent me for an MRI, where they discovered – guess what? A ruptured disc. The specialist was livid. Not at me, but at the fact that other doctors had misdiagnosed it for 2 years. Apparently, it was fairly obvious on the MRI (he even showed me, and I could see it). It wasn’t a “normal” rupture, which was how I was walking at all: it hadn’t exploded completely, but had basically sprung a leak. So I had a hole in a disc that was leaking spinal fluid about as fast as my body could replace it. That meant that although there was never a point at which I had NO disc cushion between my vertebrae, there was also never a point at which I had ENOUGH cushion, either. Hence, I was able to walk around, but not without varying degrees of pain.

Now this doctor was very cool, and kind of funny. He told me, “Well, I’m really supposed to suggest surgery, but you’re awfully young, and back surgery is far from a sure thing; half the time it works, a quarter of the time nothing changes, and a quarter of the time, it’s worse. Sometimes much worse.” Well, I’m not a fan of cutting my body open anyway, so I’m looking at him expectantly. “Um, well . . . “ he hedged. Finally he spit it out. “How do you feel about alternative medicine?” I could have hugged that man. He was Asian and as it turned out he was first-generation American, and had grown up in a family that put as much credence in Eastern forms of medicine as Western. Woo-hoo! So he told me to go get a bunch of different minerals and take them in various doses several times a day.

I also got a couple of exercises to do and a new way to crack my hips that wouldn’t put my back out of alignment. (My back was so bad that my hip joints would lock and I couldn’t walk unless I cracked them. Unfortunately, I had apparently inflamed a bunch of tendons and nerves and ligaments by cracking my hips the way I was doing it, and that was making my back WORSE, which of course made my hips lock, so I had to crack them, which made my back worse . . . you get the idea. :P)

Anyway, his theory was that since the rupture was really more of a leak and I was young, that if my body was given the tools to repair itself, it would. So I took the supplements and did the exercises (mostly because the looming specter of back surgery terrified me), and lo and behold, it worked!!!

He also had told me in no uncertain terms, “I never told you this. As a doctor here, I’m supposed to just tell you that you need surgery, and the supplement course, although researched, is NOT an approved method in this health care system. So if you tell someone I said this, I will lose my job.” Poor guy. But I was so glad he gave me the option of not having surgery. He was awesome. Sometimes I drive by the freeway exit where his office was (is?), and I always wave out my car window and say, “Thanks, Dr. ______!” My sister thinks I’m nuts. :D

But now, my back hardly ever hurts. Here’s the weird thing, though: if I’m worried about my finances, or if I’m hating myself for being fat, my back will hurt. A LOT.

My mom does a lot of energy medicine, and the lower back aligns with the 2nd (pelvic) and 3rd (stomach) chakras, which represent (among other things) your financial support and your self-image, respectively. I learned that AFTER I’d made the connection about when my back hurt, so I was pretty amazed. Our bodies know more than we think they do. Interestingly, it’s usually my self-image (3rd chakra) problems that throw my back into a tizzy. And apparently, my rupture was higher by 2 or 3 vertebrae than is normal. The doctor checked the MRI twice, and kept commenting how weird it was that I had such a high rupture. Aaaaaand, it was during the worst of my eating disorders and self-hatred that it ruptured. Craziness.

Random bitching

Long time, no post. Sorry ‘bout that. :P The last few days have been CRAZY-busy!

I went to the Tae Kwon Do class Thursday night, only to find that it had been cancelled till tonight! Geez. So I’ll be there tonight with bells on! Well, maybe not with bells. That would just be silly. :) So I went home and did my yoga DVD, which I love anyway, so it was all good.

I ran errands with my mom on Saturday and we had lunch, which was nice. And I started PMS-ing BADLY, but I didn’t order a burger and fries and chips with salsa and a margarita at lunch, all of which I wanted! LOL I had one of those BBQ chicken salads, although I did ask for extra dressing . . . mmmmmm, SALT! I figured as far as WW points were concerned, it was probably just as bad as the burger and fries, but nutritionally it was at least a LITTLE better, right? I mean there was lettuce and tomatoes and various other vegetables . . .

I’m going to have to really watch it the rest of the week, though; when I’m in the middle of PMS, I crave salt like nobody’s business! Sometimes I feel like I could just salt a stick of butter and eat it! (I’ve never done that, but the thought has crossed my mind.) So for this week I purposely made food that is good for me, but way too high in salt for general consumption. But (much like the BBQ salad rationale) I figure that salty marinated chicken and Asian veggies is better than the McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich with a French fry chaser and a dessert . . . um, chaser-chaser? We’ll see how this goes. ::::wry grin:::: And yes, I know that McDonald’s food is gross, but I remember eating when I was little, so it’s comfort food. Especially those Fish thingies, which I LOVED when I was little . . . It was always such a huge decision: a fish sandwich or a Happy Meal? The fish sandwich didn’t come in the Happy Meal, you know, but the TOY didn’t come with the fish sandwich. Serious consideration had to go into that decision. Life was tough when I was 6 or 7 years old. ;)

And my back has been hurting. The short version is that several years ago I had a ruptured disc in my back, but it was an unusual kind of rupture that was treatable with holistic medicine instead of surgery. So now it’s all better. Except. For some reason, if I am worried about either my finances or if my self-esteem about my body-image is low, my back will hurt like a mother-fucker. Recently, although I’m not necessarily feeling WORRIED, I’ve been working on changing my attitudes about those two areas of my life, and it’s bringing all kinds of emotional crap to the surface, which in turn is causing my back to hurt. I don’t have the financial wherewithal to leave my desk job, but after the first hour or so, I’m in a pretty fair amount of pain. And I have a high pain tolerance, so for me to be having problems, it’s pretty bad. ::::sigh:::: I’m not going to STOP changing my attitudes about my weight and my money, so that’s not a solution. But there has to be a better solution than just gutting it out. I wonder if my mom has any homeopathy meds for this . . . :P

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I get to dance AND hit things!

I decided to go to the gym the other night, but I split the difference; when I came home, I showered and then ate some sardines and crackers (everybody who’s never lived in the Midwest or the South, now is your moment to gag – LOL). So I got some food in my system, even if it wasn’t a “real” dinner and I got some exercise, too.

Can I just say that I had forgotten how much fun that class is? I love dancing. And I’ve been doing all this work on my self-esteem and everything else, so I didn’t get in front of the mirror and spend the whole class thinking about how fat I was. I just had fun. And there was another girl there that I remembered from when I was going before, and she’d been gone for a while, too. So I felt like slightly less of a slacker and a “BAD PERSON.” :P And nobody pointed at me and laughed because I’d gained 15 pounds since I’d been to class (which is a ridiculous scenario, I realize, but it was my secret fear). So I jumped around and tried to dance hip-hop, which is always funny, because despite all my dance training, I am the whitest white girl who ever lived! LOL But I’ll get better.

Aaaaaaaaand . . . . I’d been wishing I could afford to start taking my Tae Kwon Do lessons again, because I LOVE it, but I really don’t have an extra $150 a month to throw around right now. (Some places are a little less, but I also don’t have an extra $80 – especially since the $80 place doesn’t offer classes that work with my schedule! :P) But guess what they’re thinking about offering at my gym????

That’s right!


I’m a little excited. :D And not the aerobic / kickboxing / fake martial arts kind (although those can be fun too); the REAL kind with uniforms and belts and everything! Eventually there will be an extra charge for those classes, but right now they’re free because the gym is trying to see if anyone is interested. ::::jumps in air, waves hand frantically:::: Oo! Oo! Me! Me! I’m interested! Me! Me!

So tonight there’s a class at 8, and I’m going! Yay!! I’m not crazy about the time, but I’ll take whatever I can get – especially if I can get it for free! Ha! I’ll just take a nap before I go, and hey, I love naps too, so it’s the best of all worlds, as far as I can tell! ::::beams and hums happily::::

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Decisions, decisions . . .

Dammit. I thought that Weight Watchers meeting started last night at 5:30, but when I got there, I found out it started at 5. Grrr. I am NOT missing another week, though; I’m not going to start sabotaging myself now. :P So I looked up the meetings for tonight, and there’s one – get this – at 5:30. So I’m going tonight. The only thing that sucks is that I kind of want to go to a dance class at my local gym, and it starts at 7:15, which is PLENTY of time to go home, change and get to class, but doesn’t really allow any time to cook dinner and EAT. Minor details. :P And I won’t eat after class, because it makes me sick to eat right after I exercise. ::::sigh::::

So . . . dinner or exercise? Why do I feel like no matter what I choose, this isn’t the healthiest choice to make? Crap.

Monday, May 15, 2006

One more thing

Because one of the things the woman at the finanacial workshop talked about was that you should write down everything you might possibly EVER want to do . . . This is my list, which I will update from time to time (if I can find it in the archives).

Things to do in life:

Start a non-profit for foster children to put them through college and help them become successful, productive, HAPPY adults.
Become an Oscar-winning, famous, wealthy actress (hey, I might as well dream big).
Get an agent
Pay my bills with nothing but acting: commercials, films, television, etc.
Become a SAG member.
Take only roles that I enjoy because they are fun or challenging.
Book a major film role.
Book a leading film role.
Book a leading film role that pays at least $1million: $1,000,000.
Book a leading film role that pays at least $5million: $5,000,000.
Book a leading film role that pays at least $10million: $10,000,000.
Book a leading film role that pays at least $20million: $20,000,000.
Have a 26-28” waist; whatever is smallest and still healthy.
Learn to ride a motorcycle.
Fall in love and live with that person forever.
Go rock climbing.
Have limitless energy.
Stop drinking more than once a week (‘cause it’s just not healthy, dammit).
Exercise regularly.
Get enough sleep.
Meditate every day.
Write each family member (Mom, Dad, Middle Sis, Baby Sis) a check for $1million.
Pay Middle Sis’s bills for a full year, or till her book gets published.
Pay for Baby Sis to travel the world.
Pay for Mom to have whatever she wants.
Pay Dad’s bills for a full year, or till his poetry makes money.
Adopt a preteen (or several).
Donate $10million to Smile Train.
Become a public figure to advocate for foster children.
Get out of debt, permanently.
Pay off all my debt in the next year.
Get my pilot’s license and fly my own plane.
Become a good swimmer and swim in the ocean.
Learn to surf.
Become a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Learn to shoot a gun expertly.

FYI: That was kind of fun. Just to make the list. I highly recommend it. :)

Weight, money and self-punishment

So yesterday I went to this financial workshop, and let me tell you, it was GREAT! I’ve been to other ones, but a lot of times the people leading them seem so aggressive, so in-your-face, that it puts me off a little. I don’t WANT to be one of those obnoxious people. But this one yesterday was something I went to on a whim; it was free, which is to say they took donations (they called them “love offerings”), but no one stood at the door and took $100 of my money to tell me bone-headed things that any fool already knows.

Tangent: my mom went to a workshop where they were preaching the gospel of, “cut up your credit cards, and pay them off with every spare cent you have,” and my mom asked, “So, if I’m not supposed to put anything in savings or anything else till those cards are paid off, what do I do when my car breaks down? I won’t have money in the savings account to pay cash for it, and I need a car, so my only option is to put it on a credit card. Now THAT seems dumb, if I’m trying to pay OFF my cards!!” The guy didn’t have an answer. Ha! So my mom split her extra cash between a savings account and paying off her cards; took her longer to pay them off, but she didn’t have to put emergency expenses back on the card! I love my mom . . . :D

Anyway, back to this workshop. The woman who ran it was so cool – she was up front and practical without being mean, and I just really liked her. She also had some interesting ideas (which I’ve heard elsewhere, and think are valid) about why people go into debt. She believes it’s a (socially acceptable) form of self-punishment, and that if you are in debt, you haven’t forgiven yourself or someone else for something. So she starts with forgiveness.

I thought that was really interesting, because the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling like I was making really good progress with the compulsive eating (another form of self-punishment), but suddenly my spending is out of control. Seriously. Not anything major, but those little things add up. For instance, I have very full lips. Not Angelina Jolie-full, but close. So there’s no reason on God’s green earth that I need a “lip plumper” for $30 from the makeup counter. But guess what I bought the other day? Mm-hmm. Ridiculous. And that stuff adds up really fast. Suddenly I’ve spent a hundred or two that I don’t really have on crap like makeup and new shoes. I DON’T NEED THIS STUFF!!! Geez. And I’m trying to pay OFF some credit cards, so putting more stuff ON them doesn’t make a lot of sense. :P But for some reason, I just buy it compulsively.

But . . . if it’s a form of self-punishment, then it makes sense that if I’m not punishing myself with food, I have to find another way to punish myself. Apparently my inner brat thinks trinkets are a good way to do that. Grrr.

Anyway, all that to say that this is some interesting work I’m doing here. Who knew that wanting to have more energy (and hopefully lose some weight in the process) would really entail all this emotional spelunking? Ok, well, I knew, but I was hoping I was wrong. :P Oh, well.

WARNING: Shameless product plug ahead! :)
If you want to check this lady out, go to her website: or you can find her book at any bookstore: “The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity.” I think that’s the right title, but her name is Edwene Gaines, and I KNOW that’s right. So if you’re interested, you should be able to find it under her name, even if I jacked up the title just now.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Warning: long post ahead!! :)

Not that I know how to write a post other than a long one . . . Im trying to learn, I swear. :P

::::hums happily::::: So, I had a really good week overall, and a really good couple of days, in particular.

I got to see my mom today. I LOVE my mom. The family joke is that if you’ve met one of us, you’ve already met the other one, because we’re so alike. Good thing I like her, otherwise I’d be offended by that comment! LOL We met at a mall that’s about an hour from each of us, which means it’s right in the middle of our respective homes. It’s a really pretty mall, although it’s a little creepy. It’s one of those “new urban” environments, where everything is brand-spankin’-new, but it’s been distressed to look like an old downtown. So out in the middle of suburbia, there’s this mall that looks like it’s been there forever. Except there’s no dirt. And there’s music piped in everywhere. Sort of like Main Street in Disneyland. Yeah, it’s a little creepy: a little “Stepford,” if you know what I mean.

So we spent the day alternating between walking around at the mall and driving around to find model homes to look at. No reason for the homes; we just like to look at the interior designs. :) ::::hums happily again:::: It was a good day.

On another note, I have GOT to go back to the gym. I joined this gym last August (or September – somewhere right around there), and for a while I was pretty good about going. Of course, when I came home from the gym and ate a whole bag of chips, that pretty much made the time I’d just spent at the gym moot. :P But at least I was going, and I figured that was better than nothing, right?

Here’s my problem with gyms: they are depressing. Really. I always walk in the door, and I feel like I’ve been hit with this wave of grim determination that everyone’s giving off. Sort of like they’re running on the treadmill with clenched teeth, thinking, “I . . . WILL . . . look . . . good . . . naked . . . “ (Ellipses because they’re out of breath. Yes, in their heads, too!) Plus, it’s a meat market. I always feel like screaming at the guy checking me out, “STOP LOOKING AT ME!! I’M HOT AND SWEATY AND UGLY AND TRYING TO CONCENTRATE ON MY WORKOUT AND YOU’RE MAKING ME SELF-CONSCIOUS!!!” Now, he might be staring because I’m so stunningly beautiful (Ha!), but in my head, he’s thinking that he can’t believe this fat cow can even get up off the couch, and should definitely not be uglifying his gym with her presence. You can see why I hate the gym, right?

But one day in the paper, there was this whole section about different gyms in the area, and what they each offered that was cool or unusual. And this one offered these great classes, including DANCE classes!!! I love dance classes. They’re way less boring than aerobics classes (“Only 349 more leg lifts, everyone! Come on, you can do it!” Yuck). But the guy who teaches these classes has danced in a bunch of music videos, and they have Pilates (which I also love; I own one of those machines, even!), and kickboxing and all kinds of cool stuff. So I went down to pick up a free one-week pass, and there was NO GRIM DETERMINATION in the air!!! This was promising! Everybody seemed happy to be there, and people knew each other’s names (insert “Cheers” theme here). So I ended up getting a membership. It was on the pricey side, but I figured actually GOING to the gym for 60 bucks a month was smarter than JOINING a gym for 20 bucks and never going.

And then I stopped going. You know all the reasons: it was the holidays, I was really busy, I was spending time with family, blah, blah, blah. And after the holidays (this is the kicker, folks), I didn’t want to go because I had gained weight and I was embarrassed. How fucked up is that???? It’s a GYM, for chrissakes. Where people go when they’ve, oh I don’t know, GAINED WEIGHT!!!! Geez . . . So I’ve thrown a set of workout clothes and a class schedule in my car (well, I haven’t yet, but it’s on my list for tomorrow, I swear), and now I will have no excuse not to take those fun dance classes (they have hip-hop and African!) again. Maybe I’ll even renew my membership. Maybe.

Friday, May 12, 2006

To sleep, perchance to dream

Ha! See my Shakespeare quote up there? I'm really tickled by it. I know it's lame, but it made me laugh.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway . . . .

Here I am at work. Not working. At 7:30 in the morning, which feels like a totally god-forsaken hour of the day. Actually, the funny thing is that this is when I normally come to work. But the last couple of days I’ve been freakin’ EXHAUSTED. There doesn’t really seem to be a reason for it, either. I’ve been going to bed early (well, earliER, anyway), I haven’t been eating or drinking crap right before bed the last couple of nights (which I’m reasonably proud of), so I’ve been sleeping well. Beats me.

In truth, I think it might be the fact that the last couple of nights I haven’t been eating and drinking loads of junk. Stopping a couple nights ago directly correlates with how tired I’ve been the last couple of days. I don’t think the junk food helps me sleep better in and of itself; I just think it sedates whatever is going on in my psyche. I say this because the last couple of nights, I’ve gotten more sleep than usual, I’m MORE tired than before and I’m pretty sure it’s because I’ve been dreaming. I NEVER dream, at least not that I can ever remember in the morning. But the last couple of nights, I know I’ve been dreaming. I still can’t remember them when I wake up (which makes the suggestion, “Write them down” a little hard to execute), but I have this feeling like I’ve been busy all night. Not physically active, just mentally active. So I staggered out of bed at 6:15 the last couple of mornings, when usually I’m up and perfectly fine around 5:30 or so.

::::sigh:::: I guess this is a positive. It means that whatever it is that I’m trying to hide from by eating and drinking myself into a damn stupor is finally surfacing. I just wish I could not be tired while it surfaces. :P

I may post again later today; I’ve got to start going back to the gym and I feel the need to rant. But I also feel the need to go to work, since, oh, I don’t know, THEY’RE PAYING ME TO WORK, NOT BLOG. Just a thought. I can rationalize spending 10 minutes on the computer; much more than that gets a little tough. :P

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Fuckety-fuck-fuck. Last night was not good. ::::sigh:::: No, I take that back – I’m trying really hard not to think in terms of “good” or “bad,” just “different.” But I’m not feeling so great today. I did ok yesterday; I even had allotted points so I could have some popcorn and a glass of wine. As it turned out, I had enough points for two glasses of wine. I was actually really glad because I had opened a fairly nice bottle the other night, and wanted to be able to drink it rather than throw out the remainder. Problem is, 2 glasses is just enough alcohol to make me think that another drink would be a GREAT idea! So normally, if I want a glass of wine, I have one. ONE. But last night I had two. And then the margaritas and chips were calling my name: “Maaaaaaaaaaarsteeeeeeeee . . . . we’re over heeeeeeeeeere. And we’re so taaaaaaastyyyyyyyy . . . ." You get the idea. So I had another drink (just one, but that made 3, which was 2 more than I should have had, and 3 more than I needed), and most of a bag of chips. They were baked, but still. Craptastic.

And the thing is, I had a moment before I started on the margarita and the chips, where I actually thought, “This is why you always hate yourself in the morning. You should just go to sleep and call it a day.” But I didn’t want to go to sleep because I was reading a good book. And then I got all “You are not the boss of me!” and ate and drank myself silly. Can anyone say, “cutting off your nose to spite your face?” Jesus.

So today I am dehydrated, I feel like shit (not quite hungover; just general white-flour/alcohol induced shittiness), I am alternately beating myself up and trying NOT to beat myself up, and just generally feeling low.

And somewhere in the last week I started playing the “weight loss” game, instead of the “more energy” game. There are different rules, you know. The “weight loss” game says, “Hey! I have extra points left over! I could have chips and margaritas! And if I exercise, I’ll even get some EXTRA points to spend!” The “energy game,” on the other hand, says, “Hm. I know I have extra points left, but I’m not really hungry. But I do have some time before bed, so maybe I’ll take a bath or do some yoga, go read for an hour and then go to bed early. That way I’ll feel great tomorrow.” Now let me see . . . which one of those games is healthier? ::::makes thinking faces::::: Oh, could it be . . . I think it’s . . . oh, no wait! Wait . . . Maybe . . . . is it . . . I think it’s . . . oh God this is so hard to decide . . . I think . . . YES! Definitely game number 2, Bob. Definitely.

For fuck’s sake. Why do I do this to myself? I KNOW what the outcome will be. (Definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results!) And now I’m feeling all pouty and “poor me” and I HATE that! Aarrgghh!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Missed the meeting :P

Well, I missed that WW meeting tonight. I’m kind of bummed, because I actually like the meetings with this leader. In the past I’ve gone to meetings and wondered why the hell I was wasting my 12 dollars to hear stuff I already knew. I might not have been doing it, but that didn’t mean I didn’t know it. What I wanted to know was how to get myself to do it. But I kind of like this leader. She’s a little nuts, but in a good, entertaining way. :) But . . . I’ve only been to this meeting once, and I remembered it as being on ONE street, when it was actually on ANOTHER street, and I was already late starting out, so by the time I realized I was on the wrong street the meeting would have been ½ over by the time I got to it. And it’s not like they’re long meetings, anyway: 12 bucks for a half-hour, which at that point would have been 12 bucks for 15 minutes. I don’t think so. So screw it. I came home. :P But I did pretty well on the points thing this week, all things considered and I have one of those little books, so I can just keep doing it.

Actually, I kind of felt like a fool yesterday. I only started the meetings in the first place (this time) so that I could get the sliders and the books, which I had thrown away in a fit of pique last year. But yesterday, I was cleaning out some stuff, and guess what I found? Well, not the books, so I’m glad I have those, but I did find both the food slider and the activity slider. ::::sigh:::: At least I don’t have to go for 3 weeks just to get the activity slider again. But I do have 2 food sliders now, so if anyone reads this and wants one, I’ll give it to you. I posted that on the WW board, too, so hopefully someone will need one. I really don’t need 2. And I REALLY don’t WANT 2 of them staring me in the face.

Nothing much else going on at the moment. I had a mini-binge last night, but I planned it, so I’m not sure if it really counts. I think it might have put me over 1 or 2 points for the week. Ask me if I care. Actually, the nice thing is that I really don’t care, at least not in the, “Oh my God, I’m such a horrible person who has no self-control and no willpower and will probably be overweight forever because I’m a worthless piece of shit who can’t even ignore baked Doritos and crappy bottled margaritas!!!” sense. I care that it wasn’t the BEST choice I could have made, but you know what? It’s not the end of the world, and my eating habits were better this week than they were last week, so I’m doing ok. I won’t weigh 125 by the end of the month, but who am I kidding? I’m not going to weigh 125 EVER, so I might as well be glad for the small victories. Like 2 mini-binges in a week instead of 5 major ones. It’s progress.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fun with "Points"

I knew this would happen. I prepared for it and everything. Now I’m really glad I did the Weight Watchers program last year, because I knew going in this time how my brain would respond. So I decided 2 things up front: first, that I would not get angry with myself if and when I binged. I would decide that I’m a grown-up, and eating a bag of chips (or 10) is a choice that I am allowed to make. The second thing was that I would, come hell or high water, eat a certain number of points per day. I’m damned if I’m going to be starving myself for days on end because I binged at the beginning of the week, and now I’m trying to “make weight” for the next meeting.

Before I start, though, let me give you the Points info so you know what the hell I’m talking about. Here’s the quickie rundown on those things: You get a certain amount of points based on your weight. (I get 22 points per day.) You figure out how many points something has by either consulting the WW book to find the product, or you can figure it out with a tool they give you by counting calories, fiber and fat. In addition to your daily points, you also get 35 “Flex points” (FPs) which basically allows you to eat junk food in limited quantities, so you don’t “fall of the wagon,” as it were. On top of THOSE points, you can earn additional “Activity points” (APs). The general idea for those is that you get a point for every 100 calories you burn. Still with me? There is great debate among WW groupies whether you should eat your APs, your FPs, all of them, some of them, none of them, etc. How will you lose weight faster? What rules can you bend, break or get around? What if you eat ALL your FPs but NONE of your APs? Or vice versa? You can see how all this counting can make you a little obsessive. You can probably also see where I’m going with this. :P

I went to a meeting Monday night, so I officially started counting points Tuesday morning. Tuesday night my inner brat kicked in, screaming “You are not the boss of me!” and I binged on half a bag of potato chips. (Kettle Chips, salt and pepper. They are my FAVORITE chips, and the only ones I can’t ignore.) Wednesday night, same thing, even worse. I forget now what it was (and I’m too damn lazy to go find that journal right now), but there was too much wine and dark chocolate involved. Mmmmmm . . . Anyway, I was still within my weekly amount, but now I had no points left for margaritas and pizza with my girlfriends. Bummer. (Not that it will prevent me from HAVING margaritas and pizza, just that it would be nice to figure out how to do both: have the fun and stay inside my points.)

Thursday was good; I was under my points, meaning that I only ate 20 of my regular points, and none of my FPs. Now here’s where it got a little sticky. WW does not recommend eating less than your daily points, which means the fact that I was under by 2 points isn’t so great. I rationalized Thursday by figuring that I had “earned back” some of the points I’d lost in my binge the night before. (Yeah, I know that’s not how it works. Shut up.) Additionally, I should mention here that technically, I should be eating 24 points, not 22, but I’m only 5 pounds away from 22 points, and I don’t want to have to recount everything in 2 or 3 or 4 weeks when (theoretically) I will have lost the 5 pounds. Basically, I’m lazy and don’t want to be bothered. But NOW, it’s kind of a problem that I’m really 4 points under for the day. “Oh, well,” I think flippantly. “At least if I do this for a couple of days, I can have my pizza and margaritas and still be within my points for the week! Yay me!” :P

Did I mention that I love logic games (this is not a random subject change, I swear)? Really. I go to the bookstore and spend money on those damn Mensa game books, because even when I have to look up the answers, I think they’re loads of fun. (Yeah, I’m a nerd. Laugh at me, I don’t care – actually, that is probably the one thing I really DON’T care about getting laughed at for!!)

Now I ask you: what are those fun little points if not a logic game? How much food can you eat for as few points as possible? Hmmmm . . . . So yesterday, by the time it was 6 o’clock, I had eaten 11 points for the WHOLE DAY. I’d guess I was somewhere around 700 calories, maybe 800. And don’t think I wasn’t hungry, but now I was trying to WIN THE GAME. I like winning things. A lot. And I wasn’t unbearably hungry, so I could deal with it. (Actually, I kind of like being a little hungry; it makes me feel calm. Luckily, I have the good sense to know that’s fucked up, so I usually just eat anyway.) Plus that buzzing little eating disorder voice was already kicking in with the constant calculations, figuring out how far under I would be for the week if I ate 11 points a day. I could have pizza and margaritas and STILL “make weight!” This was great!!!!!

ANYWAY . . . Somewhere around 7:30 or 8, I realized that I had promised myself to eat 25 points per day. All of my regular points, plus 3 FPs, just to make sure it got through to my psyche that I am not going to starve myself to lose weight. “But!” cries the little buzzing voice in my head, “We are so close! We could WIN! Everyone will admire us when we lose 7 pounds the first week! Screw pizza and margaritas! We could be THE BEST!!!!!” Those who have heard this voice know exactly what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t, think it’s insane – and they’re right. But it’s also seductive. So . . . I “cowboyed the fuck up” and ate. I had some fat-free popcorn, which was gross, so I added olive oil and salt and fresh pepper to it. That helped a lot, and added a few points. I had 2 glasses of wine and some eggs (figuring that I probably shouldn’t round out my points with ALL junk food). When it was all said and done, I ate 26 points yesterday. And when I went to bed, the little buzzing voice was quiet. Thank God.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Backstory

Ok, so I started this blog as sort of a journal for myself. But I guess I should mention something about how I got here, so when people stumble across this, it has some continuity! :)

I have been worried about my weight ever since I can remember. I see pictures of myself when I was 7 or 8, and I’m always surprised that I was NOT a fat kid, because I even then I felt like I was. I guess it could have been caused by any number of things, but I think most of it probably had to do with wanting so much to be a ballerina. God I wanted to dance, but I really didn’t have the body for it. I wasn’t fat, but I sure as hell wasn’t a teeny-tiny little thing. Even at 12, I was more Salma Hayek than Charlize Theron. And lemme tell ya, Salma Hayek is beautiful, but she’s never gonna be a ballerina. :P

Basically, I was a really smart, really angry kid. I read before I was 2, finished high school (through homeschooling) when I was 12, started college at 14. As an adult, that’s impressive, but when you’re a kid, everyone else hates you for it. So all my friends were dance and theatre friends, mostly because they either didn’t know about where I was at in school, or because my admittedly mediocre (at best) dancing ability canceled out the “stuck-up intellect” thing!

By the time I was 17 or 18, I knew I wasn’t ever going to dance professionally. I’d had too many injuries by that time to be a good investment for any company, and I wasn’t very gifted. I worked hard, but it wasn’t enough to make up the difference. So I switched to acting, and frankly it was the best thing ever. I liked it better, I was better at it – it just worked out all the way around. Sometime in there though, I stopped dancing because I loved it, and started dancing because it was a way for me to control my body. I could make my body do things the human body was never meant to do, and that level of control was really gratifying.

When I transferred to an art school for acting they made me quit dancing, and that was the beginning of my major weight obsession. A friend of mine once said that eating disorders are almost always about either punishment or control, and in my case, they were always about control. I had been able to eat just about anything when I was dancing, although even then I was pretty obsessive and weird about it. I lived one summer on nothing but carrots and pasta salad, then went back to school and resumed my diet of nothing but Diet Coke and chocolate malt balls. It’s amazing what you can eat when you’re working out 40 hours a week! Ha!

When I left dancing, though, those malt balls caught up with me pretty fast!!! I put on the freshman fall-semester 20 (screw 15; why do anything half-assed?), and then the spring-semester 15 in addition to the 20! That summer was the first summer that I started to get really out of control with food. I would eat 4 pieces of pizza, then nothing for 4 days (1 day for every piece), then an entire half-gallon of ice-cream, then nothing for several more days. I finally managed to knock that off, but when I went back to school that year, I settled in to a steady diet of chicken and broccoli, all steamed, all the time. Better than pizza and ice cream, but still not exactly a balanced diet. I didn’t care. I was LOSING WEIGHT. I alternated the chicken-broccoli diet with a “cleansing” diet that I heard about: 3 yogurts a day for a week, 3 apples with cheese a day for a week, 3 bananas a day for a week, nothing at all for a week, then back the other way: bananas/week, apples and cheese/week, yogurt/week. I liked that one because it lasted a long time. :P (I have to say here that I now realize the lunacy of listening to your anorexic friends tout something as a “cleansing” diet!! ::::cough::::: stupid ::::cough, cough:::::)

So I continued starving, obsessing, bingeing, etc. though most of college. My last year, I blew out my knee and was totally unable to exercise for about a month. Needless to say, I gained a significant amount of weight, and after that, the pendulum swung the other way. I figured, screw it, I’m never going to lose this weight, I’ve always been fat, fuck the world, I don’t give a shit anymore. Except of course, I did.

So: from uncontrollable deprivation to uncontrollable bingeing. I gained a fairly significant amount of weight over the next 3 or 4 years. (No, I’m not going to tell you how much. I’m not that enlightened yet.) My real low point, my “bottom” if you will, came when I was living on my own. I’d gone to the grocery store that day and done my weekly shopping. That night, I was sitting on the couch watching TV, eating chocolate swirl ice cream from the container. I became obsessed with eating the WHOLE swirl, which of course meant I had to eat the ice cream around it in order to get to the swirl. The next thing I knew, I was standing in the kitchen, several hours had passed, and the kitchen was EMPTY. Seriously. Somewhere in the intervening hours I had consumed everything in my kitchen, including (but not limited to): a dozen eggs, a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, a pound of butter, a pound of pasta and sauce, 2 bags of chips, 4 apples, 6 bananas, a box of Kraft mac’n’cheese, 2 cans of biscuits, a pound of bacon . . . the list doesn’t end there, but you get the idea. God, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it again. There were dirty pots and pans everywhere; I had obviously been cooking, and I COULDN’T REMEMBER DOING IT. I still don’t. I staggered upstairs in tears and into the bathroom, where I realized why I didn’t feel full: I had obviously been sick more than once. Whether it was self-induced purging, or my body rebelling, I have no idea. I spent the rest of that night on the floor in the bathroom, curled up in a ball, crying.

At that point, I finally realized that I was totally out of control. I tried OA, but it wasn’t for me (I’ll save the “why” for another day). I was at least well-read enough to know that it wasn’t food that was the problem; it was that I was using it to anesthetize myself against the rest of my life. So began the long road back. I started seeing a therapist, I started journaling, I started doing whatever I could think of to purge my emotional self of whatever demons I was carrying.

Now it’s 4 (?) years later. I’m a lot better, but still not finished. I haven’t binged like that night since then, but God knows I’ve had whole-bag-of-chips days, and not that long ago. (I had a half-bag-of-chips day the other night. Better than a whole bag, I guess. :P) I started this in the hope that I might keep it a little more reliably than I keep a journal, but that it would accomplish the same thing. We’ll see.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ridiculousness and Gratitude

The last couple of days I’ve noticed that my biggest tendency to binge is between 3 and 5, and again between 7 and 9 (or so). I can knock out the first one: just come home, wash my lunch dishes, change and work out. By the time I finish working out and shower, it’s already close to 7. Then I can eat dinner, wash up and (knowing me) head upstairs to read until I go to bed. Except that somewhere in there I have to remember to check my e-mail for auditions and stuff. And it’s this damn computer that kills me. I get settled in, and suddenly nothing will do but that I have something to eat while I sit there. I finally got out of the habit of eating in front of the TV by learning to knit; it kept my hands busy, so I wasn’t munching constantly. But on the computer I need to type! It’s a little hard to knit and type at the same time. Strangely though, it’s not at all hard to eat and type at the same time. I still haven’t figured that one out. :P

I should probably just set myself a limit. I get sucked into this computer and my internal monologue goes like this: Oh, I’ll just check my e-mail for auditions. Oh, I should also update my blog. Hey look, someone e-mailed me on that dating site (even though it says that I’m really busy right now and am just hanging out to talk to friends that I know), so I should check that. While I’m on it, I wonder if my friends have posted in the forums at all. Oh, I have to check My Space; it’s a pretty good networking tool for actors. I wonder if anyone responded to my question in the Weight Watchers boards? I’ll check that, too. Hmmm . . . now that it’s so late, I might as well play a couple of games of solitaire. It’s so relaxing (ha!). And then I look up and realize that I’ve spent 2 hours on the goddamn computer!!! A friend of mine once referred to her TV as “that great pirate of my time,” and that’s how I feel about this computer. (Well, not THIS one. I update this blog on my breaks at work, so it doesn’t count.) And 2 hours of sitting on my ass usually means that I think I have to eat at the same time. For fuck’s sake . . .

So I’ll be working on that the next few days . . . In other news . . .

On the way in to work today, there was an accident. Now, I live in Los Angeles. And every time I pass an accident, I try really hard not to look. I figure it’s none of my business and besides, if I were bleeding out my eyeballs in the middle of the road, the last thing I’d want would be people leaning out of their cars, staring at me. Get a life, for God’s sake. HOWEVER . . . this accident was on the other side of the freeway, with all 3 right lanes closed. There is a freeway onramp right there, and at the top, on the surface street, the onramp was totally blocked by the back of a semi trailer. I say “back” because the front of the truck was HANGING OVER THE SIDE OF THE ONRAMP – DANGLING OVER THE FREEWAY. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. It couldn’t really dangle, because half the front had come OFF and was spread across the 3 right lanes of the freeway itself. The other half of the front was still attached to the truck, although it looked ready to break free and fall any minute. The ambulance had already come and gone and the police and firepeople were standing around, trying to direct traffic and contemplating the mess above/beside/around them.

I have to say, I looked. (Hello, Pot? My name is Kettle.) Actually, I let out an involuntary, “Jesus Christ!” and STARED. And I have to say, I prayed for the driver of that truck. I don’t pray often, but I prayed for that person. And I’ll be praying tonight.

In that light, worrying about what I might or might not eat tonight seems more than a little ridiculous. Seems like maybe I ought to just be grateful that I get to go home alive and in one piece. So I’m grateful. And still praying.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back to square one

So here I am, back on Weight Watchers. I tried this last year, but quit for a number of reasons. I think that this time I’m just going to go to the meetings for long enough to pick up all the supplies, and then I’m going to switch over to the on-line version. Mostly because the weigh-ins make me crazy, and I’m finally at a place where I’m trying REALLY hard to focus more on doing things that give me more energy, as opposed to doing things that will make me thinner. :P (Of course, I’m also secretly hoping that as I get more energy, I’ll also get thinner! LOL)

Part of the reason I quit last year though, was b/c of those damn weigh-ins. I had a mild eating disorder in college (a “mild” one! Is that like being “a little” pregnant?! LOL), and I pretty much had the behavior under control by the time I got to the meetings last year, but those weigh-ins felt SO humiliating that suddenly I found myself bingeing and starving and bingeing and purging and bingeing . . . ::::sigh:::: If I lost weight, I should have lost more; if I’d gained weight, then fuck it, I was obviously bad and defective, and why bother trying?

So when I went to the meeting this week, I just told the lady, “I don’t EVER want to know what I weigh. I’m not doing this for my weight, and I used to have an eating disorder, so knowing will make me nuts.” She was very nice about it, actually. My mom pointed out that this is Los Angeles after all, and it’s probably not the first time they’ve encountered this! So she didn’t even give me the little book (the one where they write your weight in it every week, and theoretically you take it home and happily chart your progress!); she stuck it in the file and said, “When you come in, don’t even get it out; just let your weigh-in person know, and have them go get it for you.” I LOVE that lady!!

So now I’m counting points and trying to stay within them. The hard part is that as soon as I feel like I “have” to do something, I will immediately do the opposite. So I keep reminding myself that this is just a choice, like anything else, and anytime I want to I can choose not to do it. If I eat an entire bag of chips, it does not make me a bad person; it’s just a different choice that I made. Not good, not bad, just different, with different consequences. (I actually thwarted a binge yesterday by thinking that over and over as I ate. I still ate too many chips, but it was twice as many as I should have eaten instead of 10 times as many! LOL Baby steps and all that . . . )

So now I’m starting this blog back up with the idea that (sort of like those WW weigh-ins), I can chart my progress. Except now I’m charting mental and emotional progress. My body will respond to whatever state my mind and emotions are in and obviously working from the “outside in” hasn’t gotten me very far. So now let’s try working from the “inside out.”