Thursday, January 24, 2008

Movin' on up

Come see me over at

It's still under construction: no blogroll or tags or anything like that - but it's up and running, more or less.

See you there!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not tonight dear, I have a headache

I have had almost no food today (thanks a lot, stress) and 3 glasses of wine (again, stress). I'm far too toasted to blog right now.

Tomorrow I will commence regular blogging. Which is to say, I have things to talk about other than the ex. (Although I might still talk about him, too.)

If you feel that you cannot live without me (::::snort::::), check out "The Adventures of Spydra" in the "Best of" section. It's funny as hell, even if I DO say so myself. ;)


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some days are harder than others

Hell, some MOMENTS are harder than others.

After having some time to think about it, I know that he’s right about breaking up. I know that somewhere along the line, instead of supporting and loving each other we started sniping at each other and hurting each other. The funny thing is that I think we both genuinely care for each other. I think that this might have been a classic rebound relationship, though. I didn’t worry too much about it because he said he’d dated someone between splitting with is wife and dating me, but now I’m wondering. So much of this was a bad concurrence of events: a rebound, combined with my own insecurity, combined with how fast we went into the relationship, combined with his stress about the divorce and his finances.

I alternate between being mad at him for loving me so much so fast, and being mad at myself for not paying attention to the red flags that I saw (like him loving me so much so fast). Professing your love in the first couple of months of a relationship is generally a VERY BAD SIGN. ::::sigh:::: But it was easier to go along with it than to stand my ground at the time. It was easier to believe that maybe it COULD happen that fast, that maybe we were lucky. It was easier to be willfully naïve.

I don’t really have much writing to do on other subjects these days. I might not for a little while.

I’m still proud of myself for functioning, when what I really want to do is sleep all friggin’ day. And I’m proud that 70% of the time, I can see the bigger picture: the energetics and the spiritual lessons. By the time it gets to evening though, it’s tougher to see.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The boyfriend and I broke up

I can't deal with even 15 minutes of journaling/blogging today, but here are the 3 things I'm proud of:
  1. We broke up this morning, and I still made it through the entire work day without breaking down or needing to come home.
  2. I stopped at the grocery store after work, which I desperately needed to do.
  3. I put gas in my car after the grocery store, which I also desperately needed to do.

Basically, I'm proud of myself for functioning at all, when my emotions are such a wreck. Now I'm going to go cry my eyeballs out.

That is all.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday Statistics

Ok, I know it’s not Saturday, but I’ve been weighing in on Saturday – I just haven’t posted it.

Weight: 173.6
Waist: 35”

For the record, that dramatic weight loss was due to the fact that a) I was in the middle of my . . . er . . . “cycle” ::::rolls eyes:::: and b) the fact that for the last 2 days I’ve been so stressed about the bf that I haven’t been able to eat much. But most of the week I’ve done well, nutritionally speaking.

3 things:
I went to 2 auditions yesterday. One was an easy one, but the second one was an improv one, and I HATE those. They just freak me out. Give me some copy and put me on a camera, I’m good to go, but make it up as I go along? Oh, HELL no. ::::sigh:::: But I went anyway, and it was good for me. It’s never quite as bad as I think it will be, so that’s important to remember.
Also, I’ve done pretty well on the habits so far. I’m still struggling with going to bed earlier, but I’m working on it.
Aaaaand today I went to a networking/support group at a friend’s house. They set goals and once a month they get together to discuss how they’re doing. I wanted to go, but at the same time I really didn’t want to, because it means facing myself and developing accountability, which is tough. But I went, so yay, me.

I feel like hell. I just feel sick to my stomach from the bf anxiety. I don’t know what’s going on, if we’re on, if we’re off, anything. And I’m trying to give him some space, so I can’t really call up and ask what the hell is going on. I already asked and he said he needed to think, so I have to STFU and let him sort out what he wants. (I already said what I want, so the ball’s in his court.) And this SUCKS.

But it’s interesting. I can’t help noticing that it’s my stomach that feels gross. Guess which chakra that is? Oooooohhhh, yeah, that 3rd one. And the 3rd one is what, kids? All together, now: SELF-ESTEEM. Yay! Aren’t we special. ::::gag:::: Sorry. I’m just feeling really cynical and bitter and sick.

Honestly though, I’m noticing that I feel like, “OMG I haven’t talked to him in FOREVER” – and it’s only been 3 or 4 days. ::::wince:::: Which means I’ve probablyl been even more of a pain in the ass than I realized - and I KNEW I was a pain in the ass, so if it's been worse than I thought - Jesus. I’ve also noticed that if I think about talking to him, my stomach feels better.

Now, I realize that part of that may be because it alleviates some anxiety. But the reason it alleviates the anxiety is because I'm basically tapping into his sense of his own self-esteem and using it as though it was mine. And by propping my self-esteem up with his energy and his attention, I’ve basically become an energetic vampire, stealing his energy to use as my own. I’ve been doing it unintentionally, unconsciously, but I’ve definitely been doing it. No wonder the poor guy feels harassed: he is. I've just been draining him. Fuck. I owe this guy SUCH an apology. I just hope I get a chance to make it.

And as far as the weight goes, I find it interesting that when I DO eat, the only thing that doesn’t immediately come back up (or at least feel like it’s going to) is toast (or variations on toast: biscuits, English muffins, cheese and crackers, etc.). And that’s not exactly food that’s good for me. In fact, that food will put weight on me faster than anything else, even sugar. So here’s my body, once again, trying to plug the hole in that 3rd chakra by gaining enough weight to stop the energy loss. Poor body. I’m trying, I really am.

Actually, even bread is more likely to make me sick than not at this point, but I figure that’s a good thing. At least I’m FEELING my emotions, instead of numbing them. ::::sigh::::

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it

After yesterday I got to thinking about why I didn’t think I deserved someone great, and when in my life I would have picked that belief up. That led me to the last time in my life when I was at this weight, and THAT led me to the emotional issues behind it, as well as the fact that I’ve gained 25 pounds since I started dating Great Guy.

Now before I start writing, I feel like I should say a few things up front:

First, I make no promises about the focus or coherence of this post. I’m writing to clear my emotions out, so I may wander all over hell’s half-acre and back again.

Second, I want to make it clear that although I’m talking about my experiences with my emotions and weight, I do not subscribe to the theory that anyone can lose weight by changing their emotions, dieting, exercising, whatever. Just as there are some people whose weight seems to be naturally teeny-tiny (I have a sister like that), there are some people whose weight is naturally NOT so teeny-tiny. When I speak of my emotional weight, I am speaking for myself. I know my weight is related to my emotions because I was not heavy throughout childhood or adolescence, and my weight changes always directly correlate with what’s going on in my emotional life.

Ok. I read somewhere that certain weights on our bodies correspond directly with certain emotional traumas in our lives. When you start to lose weight, you might be successful for a while, and then plateau abruptly. Oftentimes during those plateaus you’ll find that you’re an emotional wreck. The reason, according to this theory, is that you’re trying to process an emotional trauma that occurred the last time you were at this weight. When you process it, you break the plateau.

So I was thinking yesterday about why I didn’t think I deserved GG: about why I felt like I had to earn what was already freely given. I started thinking about past relationships and when I would have picked up that belief - or at least where I could first see it manifested - and I started thinking about a guy I fell for when I was just out of college. As I thought about it, I realized that at this moment I weigh exactly what I did then.

That guy was the “bad boy with a heart of gold” that every girl thinks she wants. The problem is that heart of gold so often is just a manipulation to get what he wants. In this guy’s case, I don’t think he was even conscious that he was doing it: it was just how he had learned to function within his own dysfunctional upbringing. I can look back now and see how foolish I was, but at the time I couldn’t see it. I tried to convince myself that I was ok with the sort of casual relationship we had, but the truth even then was that I wanted more than I knew he could give. In retrospect, I created that situation: he was very up front about what he could and couldn’t give me, and I decided that whatever he could give me was enough. And even as I decided that, I KNEW it wasn’t enough. I knew I wanted more from him. But I tried to convince myself that I could be what he wanted: casual, laid-back, uninvested emotionally.

And in doing so, I totally mind-fucked myself. At 21, already coming off the heels of an eating disorder, hating myself for untold numbers of reasons, I decided on some unconscious level that my relationship (or lack thereof) with the “bad boy” was indicative of the fact that I was inherently unlovable. It confirmed all my worst fears, which I then continued to live out in other relationships, with other men.

So when I started dating GG, I looked for who I “should” have been. I looked for the person I thought he wanted, and ignored the fact that he was already dating ME. He already loved me, the way I was. But because I couldn’t bring myself to believe that was possible, I set about reliving old patterns, trying to change myself to fit some perceived ideal. And that led to everything I posted about yesterday.

The funny thing is that I've gained weight over the last several months since I've been dating GG, right up to the weight I was when I "dated" BB. The more I've made up expectations and then tried to meet them, the more weight I've gained. Once again, my body is my reliable indicator of what's right or wrong inside my head and heart. One of these days I'll learn to recognize the signs before they get so dramatic.

Now, regardless of what happens with GG (because I can’t keep wondering if and when I’ll hear from him – all I can do is hope it works out), I have to work on myself. I have to DECIDE that I’m worth loving, that I don’t have to be what anyone else wants me to be. In fact, regardless of what happens with GG, I have to be grateful to him. Because what I can take from this is the knowledge that I HAVE BEEN LOVED FOR MYSELF. Even if I didn’t recognize it at the time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Me, me, me

Disclaimer: this has nothing at all to do with weight. But it's what's on my mind, and since I'm supposed to write for 15 minutes no matter what, this is what you get tonight.

Last year, I met a great guy. We jumped into a full-on serious relationship way too fast. Now we’re both having second thoughts, even though I think we both enjoy each other’s company, and really like spending time together.

That’s the short version. The longer version is this: he was so great that I worried I didn’t deserve him. I felt like I had to “earn” his love, which he was already giving freely. I also felt like I was a little idealized, and that I had to make sure and stay on the pedestal I seemed to be on (obviously, I have no idea if he really put me there or not; I just FELT like I was). So I gave. And I gave. And I gave and I gave and I gave. I restructured my life around his schedule: I can’t go out this weekend, because he might be free. I can’t go out next weekend, because we’re taking the kids to the park. I can’t do this or that, or sixty thousand other things. I can’t schedule my life until I know what he’s doing. I've never been that way in any relationship, but I became that way in this one out of raging insecurity.

Here’s the thing: none of that was anything he asked me for – in fact, I don’t think he would have wanted me to do that at all. But all the same, I conned myself into believing that I was doing it for HIM, and when he got stressed about some things (unrelated to our relationship), and needed some time to himself, I felt like it was a reflection on me. I thought it meant he was upset with me or that I wasn’t perfect, or that he’d finally seen through my great exterior and didn’t love me anymore. And then I got mad at him for not being there for me.

Me, me, me.

I’m not sure at what point exactly I heard myself becoming so demanding. I do know that at some point I started thinking, “Who IS this person using my mouth? I have never behaved this way before! What the hell is wrong with me?” But I couldn’t stop. All my insecurities were in full swing, and I wanted reassurance that I was still loved.

Me, me, me.

The really funny thing is that in some ways this is NOT AT ALL about me: his stresses, what he asked (or more accurately, DIDN’T ask) me for . . . I turned it around and made it about me, when it wasn’t at all. It’s hard to face yourself when you realize that you’ve behaved so badly, been so self-centered.

Me, me, me.

The irony here though, is that in other ways this is TOTALLY about me. Not anything he did or didn’t do/say/think, but about what I think I deserve or don’t, whether or not I think I’m worthy of being loved by someone genuinely good, my fear that if I don’t live up to (unspecified and more importantly, UNHELD) expectations that it will all be taken away.

We did jump into things too fast. That’s definitely true. And I do think we should slow down: date casually or even just be friends for a while, without any pressure or expectations (again acknowledging that I am the one with the warped expectations of expectations).

Everything is up in the air right now, though – and I find myself hoping that I didn’t damage this relationship beyond repair. Truth be told, I could handle losing a boyfriend; at this point, I’m really hoping that I don’t lose a FRIEND. Because he is one of my best friends.

I really don’t feel like trying to think of 3 things I’m glad for today, but today might be the kind of day when it’s most important. So here goes:
I’m proud that I’ve been submitting for roles, because today I got a call for an audition on Saturday night.
I’m proud (that’s not really the right word but I don’t have a better one) that I am facing parts of myself that I’m NOT proud of, and acknowledging when I’ve fucked up.
I’m proud that I wrote this today, even though I just want to go to bed with some ice cream and a bottle of wine and cry (no, I won’t be doing that when I’m done here – well, maybe the crying).

Huh. I guess there were 3 things after all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

When you just dont feel like it

Right about now I am fighting my inner saboteur on EVERYTHING. I didn’t want to throw a load of laundry in, I didn’t want to clean the bathroom, I didn’t want to blog, to submit for auditions, to plan my lunch for tomorrow.

I don’ wanna. ::::sulks::::

But I did all those things. Well, not the lunch, but I’ll do that after I finish this. And I know it’s sabotage and not exhaustion because I got loads of sleep last night. You know all those studies they do about how if you don’t get enough sleep you’re more likely to gain weight, blah, blah, blah? For me there’s something to that, and it goes beyond the idea that if I’m tired I crave simple carbs to keep running (although that’s true, too).

But I also have a theory that if we’re not getting enough sleep, then maybe our psyches aren’t processing all the things they need to process in order to keep us emotionally healthy. And if we’re emotionally unhealthy, then we retain weight in order to stop the chakra leakage (for lack of a less graphic term). All I know is that when I get enough sleep, my problems are WAY easier to handle. From rude phone calls to cleaning the bathroom, life is no big deal, whereas when I don’t have enough sleep everything is overwhelming. All I can do is lay on the couch and watch TV (and sometimes cry).

But that going to bed early, man: that’s TOUGH. There’s always something else to do, “just one more minute” of stuff. Yesterday was the first day I managed to get in bed anywhere NEAR 9:30, and that was 9:45. I was thinking that I would spend 2 weeks on each habit, and add time if I needed to, and I think I’ll be needing a month on the go-to-bed-early thing. Geez. The funny thing is, it seems like it should be the easiest thing to do. ::::sigh:::: But no. Oooooooooooook, then.

Today I am proud of the fact that I did all the stuff I was supposed to do, even though I didn’t feel like it. That’s pretty huge for me, actually.

And I got on the scale this morning, which is the first time since Saturday (those numbers in yesterday’s post were from Saturday), and that’s huge for me: I’m usually on the scale 4 or 5 times a day, so I’m getting better.

And I’m proud that even though I was tired and cranky most of the day (once that saboteur got started), I did NOT beat myself up about my weight. I managed to come through the day feeling ok about myself – not great, but ok.

Man. This enlightenment shit is TOUGH.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Facing Fear - no, make that Terror

I have to admit that I don’t really feel like blogging today, but since it’s one of the habits I’m supposed to be working on, it’s not really an option. Dammit. I HATE when I make myself face . . . erm . . . myself. ::::rolls eyes::::

Mostly I have been following the Zone diet, and mostly: no cravings. But Younger Sister 1 and I went to Disneyland yesterday, and SHE HAD NEVER HAD BEIGNETS!!! I know, I know. Pick yourself up off the floor and allow your breathing to return to normal. I’ll wait. (BTW, if you’ve never had them, hie thee to the nearest French bakery – or hey, Disneyland – and EAT SOME! They are of "teh godz." Truly. But since then (and since the fact that I got up at 4:30 in the morning yesterday), I’ve been seriously craving simple carbs. I think my body is basically saying, “Listen, bee-yotch, I need fuel to run on, here! That sugar worked!! So either get some sleep or eat more sugar that I can run on!!!!!” So I’ll be in bed early tonight. Ahem.

But back to the point of this post (betcha didn’t know there was one, did ya?). I spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking about whether or not to post my actual weight and measurements here. On the one hand, I’m supposed to be learning that I AM OK NO MATTER WHAT I WEIGH, right? So numbers are not the defining aspect of who I am. On the other hand, I feel slightly embarrassed and ashamed, because you know, cultural programming WORKS. So I was really toying with the idea of just saying how much I’d lost or gained, without putting a weight on it. But then I remembered that meant I would have to do math every day (“Hm, x pounds minus x more pounds is a total lost of . . . ). Screw that. I hate math. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a girly thing – I’m actually pretty good at math. I just hate it.

So, with that in mind, here we go:

Ok, now. I swear:

This is really fucking hard:

Weight: 180
Waist: 35.5”

::::pant, pant:::::

::::rolls eyes::::

You know what’s weird about those measurements and the fear and loathing they generate? I’ve been heavier (and bigger). I’ve been lighter (and smaller). But no matter WHAT size I’ve EVER been, I’ve ALWAYS been ashamed. I’ve ALWAYS thought I should be smaller. Even when I was in college and starving myself, I still thought I should be smaller. Always, always smaller.

FUCK THAT. That’s part of the reason I’m posting them. If I thought that in 10 pounds, I’d feel good and have no problem posting them, I’d probably wait and post them then. But I know from (bitter) experience that with that mentality, I’ll NEVER feel ok in my own body. So here’s hoping I just took a step closer to making peace with myself – at ANY weight, as long as I’m healthy.

::::sigh:::: I’m actually a little teary. That was really hard.

On a final note, here are the 3 things I’m proud of today:
  1. I just posted my weight on the goddam INTERNET. But I think it was the right thing to do - at least for me, right now.
  2. Today is the first day that I have fulfilled ALL my New Year's habits for January - assuming I go to bed by 9:30, but since I'm exhausted, I have no worries about that one. LOL
  3. I went back to my crazy, liberal church yesterday (hence the 4:30 wake-up time: early service starts at 6:30) - and I was reminded that I really AM already ok. That was nice. (If you saw and liked "The Secret" click on the link - my pastor is the African-American dude with the dreads in the movie. Hee. :D)

Aaaaaaand, that's all, folks. I've done more than 15 minutes, and I'm tired. See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Morals of Food

I’ve been reading a lot of Fat Acceptance blogs lately, and I’m struck by how our society thinks of food in terms of “good” and “bad.” Obviously, I haven’t been unaware of this before now, but for some reason, I’m in the midst of a cognitive shift about it: suddenly it doesn’t seem normal to me – in fact it seems downright insane. An apple is AMORAL: it’s not good or bad – it’s just a freakin’ apple, for God’s sake! Same with a burger and fries: they’re not good or bad – they just ARE. There is no inherent virtue or sin in food.


I think this comment (in response to a post over at Shapely Prose, which seems to be my jumping off point lately) was the first statement that got through to my disordered brain.

::::sigh:::: Oddly enough, after reading that for a little while, my WHOLE SELF just felt lighter. Not physically lighter, but as though I had just had truckloads of guilt lifted off of me. It’s just a burger, just an apple, just a piece of toast or broccoli or pie. It’s JUST not that important. I am so grateful to have heard that today, not just to have read it, but to really truly have HEARD it.

Aaaaanyway, here are today’s 3 things:
  1. I didn’t plan on getting up early this morning, so I didn’t get up early. Even though I hadn’t PLANNED on getting up, when I did, I heard the mental voices start: “I can’t believe you didn’t get up earlier! You are supposed to be getting up to exercise! Can’t you stick with something for more than a day?” The REASON I am proud of myself is that I recognized that voice as WRONG. I stood in the bathroom and yelled at that voice: “No! I was NOT supposed to get up this morning – I’m not working on that habit yet, and I am entitled to sleep in if I’m freakin’ tired!! I didn’t fail at anything, and in fact I’m doing pretty damn well at the habits I AM working on! Shut up!” So I’m proud of recognizing that voice for what it is: wrong and mean.
  2. I’m proud of myself for packing a healthy lunch and snacks for work today (and for eating them – ha!). Tasty soup and eggs and even shrimp cocktail for a snack! MMmmmmmm, shrimp. :D And I don’t have weird cravings tonight. Even better.
  3. Finally, I’m proud of beginning the cognitive shift mentioned above. If food isn’t moral, then I don’t have to feel like a “bad person” every time I eat something. And if I’m not “bad” for eating, then I don’t have to figure that I’m already a “miserable sinner” and might as well eat the whole tin of cookies. I can just have one cookie, because you know what? It’s JUST A COOKIE. Nice. :D (I did in fact have ONE cookie today, and no desire to have any more. It was tasty, it made me happy, and then I was done. I have NEVER felt that way before. It was incredibly liberating.)

So that’s tonight’s 15 minutes. Tomorrow I’m going to post some more traditional “goals,” but with the caveat that they are not as important as the new habits I’m building.

Feeling good tonight! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Goals vs. Habits, Part 2

So. I had been toying with the idea of using the Flylady system of habits (not goals) on myself for a while. Not just for weight, but for emotional issues and stuff like that, too. And then the other day I read something in one of the group emails she sent out:

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be better than it was.

For some reason, even though I’ve seen other variations on that statement, the first time it really penetrated my skull was when I read it there.

So with all that in mind (including Part 1, below), I decided that I would not set GOALS this New Year’s, but that I would think of 12 new HABITS I wanted to build in myself. Initially I figured one habit every month, but . . . ahem . . . there’s that whole instant gratification thing. And some of the new habits were pretty simple. So most of these are two weeks each, although some are a little longer, depending on how many times I’ve tried and failed at them. ::::sigh:::: I am hoping that these habits will cause me to drop weight by default, but I’m also trying to learn that even if I don’t lose any weight, that’s ok, too. (I do have a secret list of things I hope the habits result in – like a certain amount of weight loss – and I’ll probably post those tomorrow, but I’m trying really hard to not let them be the POINT.)

So, here are the first 4 new habits that I’m going to work on developing:

  1. Spend 15 minutes journaling / blogging every day, including 3 things I accomplished and/or am proud of. (Gotta build that 3rd chakra back up.)
  2. Spend 15 minutes submitting to LA Casting every evening. (Simple and accomplishable – more 3rd chakra work!)
  3. Plan and pack tomorrow’s lunch and snacks for work TONIGHT. (So I can stop eating crap at the commissary and save some money, too!)
  4. Go to bed, lights-out, by 9:30. (Ouch. This one’s hard, but eventually I want to get up and work out in the morning, and if I don’t get enough sleep, that’s never gonna happen.)

BTW, here’s what I’m proud of today:

  1. I got up early. Not a lot, but all I asked of myself was that I get up early; I didn’t specify a time.
  2. I made some New Year’s Resolutions that are totally attainable, and will benefit me in the long run, instead of becoming more things I failed at.
  3. I got the info to call LA Casting and update my headshots (which I will do tomorrow).

Goals vs. Habits, Part 1

So here’s the thing: when I really put my mind to it, I can accomplish any goal I damn well please. If I am determined enough, I am fucking ACE at reaching goals. And I’ll reach them faster and better than anyone else, because I don’t have the patience to wait around: I’m all about instant gratification and WINNING.

Go back and read those three sentences again. Now you know why I struggled with an eating disorder in college. Over the last 10 years or so, I would set a weight-loss goal, and about 3 weeks in I would suddenly realize that I was coming totally unglued. So I would stop acting like a crazy person. And then I would stop losing weight at the rate of 3 or 4 pounds a week. And THEN I would feel like a failure (even if I was still losing a little bit) and binge. I’d continue bingeing off and on for a couple of months, until I was heavier than I’d been when I started, at which point I would decide that THIS WAS IT. That weight was COMING OFF. And the cycle would repeat, and every time I’d end up a little bit heavier. After a while, I just felt like a failure all the time, because I couldn’t even lose weight anymore, and I’d been SO GOOD AT IT IN COLLEGE. I knew rationally that I was SICK in college, but emotionally I just didn’t get it: I just wanted to be thin again. Fortunately I didn’t want to be thin and SICK though, so I’ve just been heavy for a while now.

But every New Year rolls around and I hear the siren call of “we are not a diet” Weight Watchers (::::snort:::: yeah RIGHT – “not a diet” my ASS) and that perfectionist part of me pricks up its ears in the hope that THIS year I’ll get to be thin, and fuck being healthy. So I’m always pretty leery about making resolutions and setting goals.

A while back I found the Flylady site for housecleaning (this is not a tangent, I swear), and although she is way more politically conservative than I am, I figured, screw it, my house is always a wreck, maybe I should try something different (I just ignore the "we keep our houses clean for our husbands" angle). Her whole theory is that the reason our houses are chaotic is because we always feel like, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.” Or rather, wait until you have TIME to do it RIGHT. Ahem. Guilty as charged. But she’s big on the idea that you’re not “behind” in your work, and that your house didn’t get dirty overnight and it won’t get clean overnight, either. You have to build new HABITS. So I started doing that. And now when I get home from work, I throw a load of laundry in. Just one. A couple of mornings a week, before I race out the door, I swish out the bathroom: nothing major, just a quick sink wipe-down, and a quick toilet brushing. Takes 2 minutes – I timed it. Now when I look around my apartment, it’s NEVER dirty. It’s always peaceful. I like coming home. And I REALLY like not spending 3 hours every Saturday morning doing major cleaning – I’ve already done it in little bits all week. I might have to spend 10 minutes running the vacuum, but that's about it. Somewhere along the way, I became a clean person. Me, who always had piles and piles of laundry, and things growing in the bathroom because OMG I DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO CLEAN PROPERLY. Little changes, little habits. And they all added up.

Bet you know where I’m going with this, huh? ;) I’m going to break this into two posts here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Speaking of self-esteem and honoring the promises we make to ourselves . . .

Last night I decided that this morning I would get up early and go running. That is a promise I have made to myself many times in the past, but THIS time, I was sure it would be different. After all, I had an EPIPHANY last night, right? Riiiiiiiight. ::::sigh:::: Last night I tossed and turned all night, and when my alarm went off at the earlier time, I had cramps like I could not believe. AND I’d slept on my shoulder funny, so now my upper back hurts like hell.

I did not get up and go running or walking – I didn’t even get up. And as I lay there, I heard the old tapes start up in my head: “You do this to yourself EVERY time. What is WRONG with you? Why can’t you just fucking get up and do what you say you’ll do for once? God, you’re so weak!” And on and on and on. Because I felt so bad about myself, I didn’t eat well today; in fact I ate a lot of simple carbs and I was tired for most of the day.

Now, for the most part I was able to remember that those tapes are not RIGHT, both in the sense that they are inaccurate and in the sense that they are just fucking mean. But I still felt vaguely disappointed in myself. And that, for me, is the worst feeling. I’d rather be angry with myself or frustrated or even spiteful. But that feeling of disappointment just makes me feel beaten.


Here’s my new lesson: when I have a goal that I’ve set and failed to meet multiple times, I need to remember that unconsciously I have a LOT of certainty that I will fail again. All the good intentions in the world are not enough to overturn years of failure. In that case (and this seems like a huge DUH in retrospect, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?) it might be a better idea to start with a SMALLER freakin’ goal. Something that I haven’t failed at 50 times already.

So with that in mind, here’s the mental progression I went through:
I’m going to get up every morning and walk or run. (I’ve failed at that one too many times to count.)
I’m going to get up early 3 days a week and walk or run. (I’ve failed at that one an awful lot, too.)
I’m going to get up early and do yoga. (Better – I’ve followed through on that one, but I’ve also failed at it, and since right now I’m leaning toward failure, I need to keep looking.)
I’m just going to get up early. (Better, but get up early and do WHAT? Because I know from experience that if I’m just getting up early for no reason, I won’t really get up.)
I’m going to get up early and write or read and have a cup of coffee and some time to myself. (Better still, but not quite right; coffee and quiet time won’t seem that important at 5:00am.)
(What is the central problem I have with getting up early? I’m always tired. How do I fix that? Ummmmm . . . .go to bed earlier?)

How about this: I’m going to go to bed early enough that getting up early starts to seem possible. I’ll revisit ACTUALLY getting up in a week or so.

The funny thing is, I look at that idea and think, “Yeah, right. But you’re not really DOING anything!!!! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” And I’d be inclined to listen to that voice, except that THAT is the voice that always causes me to fall on my ass. So I’m thinking that if/when I find something that that voice thinks is stupid, maybe that’s exactly the thing I should be doing. The logic is a little backwards there, but fuck it. Obviously the way I’ve been doing it (listening to that voice) hasn’t worked worth a damn, so this can’t work any WORSE, right?

I’m trying to remember that if I really want to change my life, I have, have, HAVE to do it incrementally. I have to do it in steps so small that they just become habits over time. And it might take longer than I want it to. Maybe it won’t take me a week to get into the habit of going to bed early; maybe it will take a month. And then it will take more time to get into the habit of getting up early – every day, even on weekends, because it’s just a HABIT. And then I can start thinking about using that time to exercise. That doesn’t mean I can’t walk or run or get some exercise in the meantime; it just means I’m not going to beat myself up for not GETTING UP AT 5AM 6 DAYS A WEEK AND RUNNING 3 MILES EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY.

Because THAT voice is fucking INSANE.

But doing this in teeny, tiny steps also means that I get to celebrate each individual step as a victory: as a promise kept. And you know what that builds, right? Self-esteem. And self-esteem repairs the 3rd chakra. And I’m hoping that THAT will cause me to drop some weight. We’ll see. (Hell, even if I don’t drop weight, I’ll be happier. That should be even BETTER than losing weight, right? That’s what I hear, anyway. LOL)

I have some more thinking to do about this. Maybe I’ll actually make some resolutions this New Year’s. (S.M.A.R.T. ones: Specific, Measurable, Attainable . . . I don’t remember what the R and the T stand for. I’ll have to look it up.) They’ll just be a little belated. ;)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Third Chakra, Self-Esteem and Feminism

Ok, I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now. I was reading the other day about self-esteem and the third chakra: about how we strengthen our 3rd chakra by honoring our promises to ourselves, and in honoring those promises we build our self-esteem. Basically, it boils down to this: if you make yourself a promise or set a goal, and you follow through with it, your self-esteem increases. “Hey, I accomplished something! I am strong enough to see things through! I can do this! Yay, me!” And of course, every time you think that, you become more likely to follow through on your next promise or goal. It’s like a snowball: every time it turns over, it picks up a little more snow.

It also works the other way, though. If you say to yourself, “Tomorrow I will DEFINITELY do some sort of exercise for half an hour, even if I just walk around the block 4 or 5 times,” and then you don’t follow through, your self-esteem decreases. And again, that snowball picks up a little more snow every time it rolls over, until “Damn, I forgot to exercise” becomes, “Why even bother? I never stick to my goals anyway, because I have no fucking self-discipline at all. Where’s the ice cream?”

On a personal level, I find that as my self-esteem drops, I gain weight. I used to think it was because I hated myself so much for being fat (or what I perceive as fat) that I punished myself by STAYING fat. (Which of course, made me hate myself more, so I punished myself more, so I hated myself more . . . ad infinitum.) Now I know that as I lose self-esteem, I’m actually losing energy through my 3rd chakra. It’s like a hole in the bottom of a bottle: the energy comes in through the top of my head, down through my body, but when it hits that 3rd chakra, it just starts pouring out. There’s a little left to drop into my 2nd and 1st chakras, but not much, which in turn means that those 2 chakras are hurting, as well.

I’ve come to think that the weight I carry (which is mostly around my 3rd chakra) is really my spirit trying to stop up that hole. My spirit can see that I’m not doing the energetic work to heal the leak from the inside, so my body gains weight as a last-ditch attempt to keep that energy from leaking out. In other words, the only way to get rid of the fat that makes me hate myself so much is to start feeling better about myself (thus stopping the energy drain), REGARDLESS of what weight I’m carrying. How ironic. :P

Since arriving at that conclusion, I’ve been reading (and sometimes re-reading) a lot of fat-acceptance and feminist blogs as well as books on self-esteem, and the other day, I had another “connect-the-dots” moment. Bear with me here, because I haven’t articulated it fully (even to myself) until now.

I find it interesting that we (as women) live in a society where the standard of beauty that we expect to and/or are expected to adhere to is generally impossible. Since we are constantly trying to be something that most of us will never be, we are by default constantly failing. We set unrealistically low weight goals, we set unrealistically high nutrition and exercise goals, and when we don’t accomplish or stick to those goals, we feel like failures. And energetically, we are. Here’s the really horrific thing about that cycle: our energetic system, our spiritual anatomy, if you will, doesn’t recognize the difference between realistic, unrealistic, and “oh-my-god-have-you-lost-your-mind-that’s-IMPOSSIBLY unrealistic.” Our energy anatomy* (EA) recognizes two things: the goal you set/ promise you made, and whether or not you accomplished/kept it. That’s it. No more, no less. If you set a goal to weigh 92 pounds, your EA only recognizes that you didn’t get there. It doesn’t recognize (in the third chakra) that it would have been BAD to get there, and that not getting there is a good thing. It just registers that you broke your promise to yourself.

And again, I come back to the idea that most of us can’t look like celebrities. But whom do we want to emulate? Celebrities. We are operating, from the time we are little girls, all through puberty and adolescence, into adulthood, with a constant drain on our self-esteem, because we can’t accomplish the goals we are setting for ourselves. And guess what happens? Our bodies try to stop the leaks, which of course, makes us hate ourselves even more. We are living in a society whose expectations create a DEFAULT setting in women of low self-esteem. That is our DEFAULT emotional and energetic state. It’s not an aberration, it’s not a fluke, it’s not the case in a few, isolated women. It is the (say it with me, here) DEFAULT. We are leaking energy in a veritable flood.

It’s an interesting thing to think about. Horrifying, but interesting.

On a final note, if working on your self-esteem for your own sake seems like too big a task, then think about this: do you have a daughter? Do you hope to someday? Is there any little girl on the planet that you sort of kind of like? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” (as it is for me), then what are we modeling for these little girls? When I think of it in those terms, I have to admit that I find reserves of strength and determination in myself that amaze me. I don’t want the little girl I’m thinking of to grow up in a state of constant energetic loss, but unless I can heal myself, I can’t help her.

::::sigh:::: I’ve tried to end this 5 different times, but my brain is so busy now that I don’t know how to finish it. So this is the (rather abrupt) end. ;)

*The term “energy anatomy” comes from Carolyn Myss. Credit where it’s due, and all that. :)