Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday! Trying To Live My Own Lessons

Mom before me, in January of '72.

Boy, did I ever get smacked in the face with my own theories this week. My mom, who I've been worried about since she got laid off right after my uncle died in spring 2009, finally got a job on Wednesday. She starts work tonight.

And? I'm jealous.

I know! I just talked about this on Tuesday. PT did not get my job. Her getting a job does not mean that there is one less job for me. I have some good stuff going on. I woke up at 4:44 this morning because I couldn't breathe (that's not the good thing; anyway, I think I have a sinus infection) and ended up applying for two jobs online and filling out two applications that had been sitting around for a week.

So, I need to let you know that PT getting herself a job really does make me happy and less worried. But I happen to also be completely envious. She's applied for exactly two jobs in her three years of unemployment and she nailed the second one. I've put my name in the race for, what must be, a couple of hundred jobs and aside from two short temp gigs...Nothing.

PT will be leaving for work soon, I have to call and wish her luck, so here are some internet wanderings for your enjoyment this weekend.

1)If you're interested in continuing your education, Mashable has a list of ways to do it online.

2) Brain Pickings has had some interesting articles on sleep and why it's good for every aspect of our lives.

3) Margaret Atwood has 10 honest rules for writing fiction. This list is great for all the writers out there (in here).

4) Lifehacker has the scoop on a web app that'll let you license your Instagram pics.

5) And for a little comedy, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney is not impressed and Expendables 2 stars before they were famous.

Enjoy the weekend, lovelies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will I Ever Be OK With This?

My left hip is bothering me. It doesn't hurt or anything. It's just really fucking fat.

It's true. My left hip is fatter than my right hip. I know most of us live in bodies without complete symmetry, and I've dealt with this in other ways, but I still find this utterly annoying.

For some reason, this hip thing bugs me more than having one foot (I can never remember which) bigger than the other and a right boob that's heavier than the left. And I don't know why. It's almost like it's a symbol; a sign of something bigger and nastier in my brain.

This discontent isn't just about me losing 20 pounds, gaining back five and having it all, apparently, go to my left hip. No, I don't think so. It's about how I let myself go and kept myself there; way on the other side of the weight I want to be. How I started to back away, slipped and have stayed, cowering, on a rocky cliff. I'm hanging on for dear life to something I don't want. Again.

I've never been crazy about my body. That's not true. I probably didn't think much about it when I was five or six. But, that was before. Before I noticed that girls were supposed to be thin so they could be pretty. Pretty so they could liked. Liked so they could be popular and happy and successful. You know, before.

Before I saw Tamara in the second grade and how all the boys looked at her and talked about her all the time. And before I saw how the other girls asked about her hair and clothes and talked about her all the time. No one talked about me. I was chubby and kinda tall for my age, so if anyone talked about me it was because they wanted help with their math homework.

I don't blame Tamara for any of this. She was just being her thin, popular, really pretty self. The issues weren't immediate, anyway. There was just a realization that stayed with me. A realization that was there two years later when I got glasses, and two years after that when I started to get acne and...

BOOM! There's the problem.

I started exercising, but it wasn't like before, This wasn't roller skating in the park, swimming at the community pool or playing racquetball. Those were for fun. This exercise was work. I exercised to lose weight. I wanted to lose weight so people would pay attention and finally, fuck finally, like me.

They call it "working out" for a reason; if you don't like it, it's torture. And since it felt like torture, it didn't help. I didn't lose weight, I got bigger. I spent high school trying to be alright with being big, shy, acne-ridden and four-eyed. I wore long tops and stretch pants. I rocked short skirts with tights to try hiding my fat knees. Meanwhile I had to order a men's letter jacket and have my marching band uniform specially fit for me, all while yelling at my gym teacher, I'm just not athletic!

College was different. I lost weight; I wasn't thin, but after losing 60 pounds, I was finally not fat. I worked out every day. Sometimes twice a day or at 3 a.m. so I could always fit it in. I also cut way back on what I ate; and binged around the corners of my restrictive diet and crazy workout schedule. I never got any more popular, but I kept that weight off for years. Then, suddenly it seems, I was 35 and heavier than I'd ever been. And now I'm 37, a little bit lighter again, but with one super-fat hip.

One super-fat hip that shows me what a failure I've been my whole life every time my arm accidentally brushes against it. My left hip? That's my inadequacy in what feels like every area of life.

What I wonder now is if I will ever be OK. Not just with my supremely imperfect body, but with my imperfect life. Will I ever reach that pinnacle of human awareness where I can fully enjoy where I am while striving for something better?

Or will I always want more so bad that it hurts too hard to even try actually working for more?

Will something more or better always seem like it's for someone else and not me?

I don't know anything right now. Since I'm rounding the corner to 40, I'm not sure if that's freeing or terrifying.

Have any of you reached a point where you're fine with your imperfect bodies? How did you get there?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Face Abundance That Isn't Yours

When I'm having a hard time, it's difficult for me to watch strangers be happy. I'm not proud of that, but there it is. I don't want other people to be miserable, but if I'm down I don't want to be a witness to their good fortune, either.

And, really? I don't think I'm alone in this. We all get jealous from time to time. Sometimes, when you're struggling with what you don't have, it's impossible to see anything else but what others do have. And it always seems like so much more than what you've got. There are a few things you can do to keep from losing your mind whenever you see someone with more (success, free time, money, fame, talent, joy, luck, classic cars...)of what you want.

How To Face Abundance That Isn't Yours

1) Focus: What's leading to the feelings of inadequacy? Facebook? Twitter? Monthly meetups with high school classmates? Give it a rest for a bit and concentrate on your life and whatever is working. Even if it's tiny. You finally finished that book of crossword puzzles! Your cat's gotten over her cold! The old man who stares at you while licking his lips wasn't on the bus today! Technically, I suppose this is what's commonly referred to as "gratitude", but I've decided I don't like that word. It sounds too lofty; like whatever you chose to spotlight had better be a major life-changer. Big stuff is fine, but since most of us only get little victories on a regular basis, those are the ones to focus on.

2) They don't have your stuff: For some reason this one's especially hard to remember. Here's the truth: just because you want to become a well-known and widely respected singer/songwriter doesn't mean that Taylor Swift got your mojo. Neither did John Mayer or Kanye West or anyone else who's doing what you want to be doing at a high level. While it's true that some people have more opportunities than others, everybody has their own juice. No one else has your money or your fame or your talent. They've made the most of what they were given and you have to do the same.

3) We never see the whole story: Another thing I'm not proud of is one of my jealousy coping mechanisms. Whenever I see someone my age or younger in a fabulous car, say a Bentley convertible, I invent bad stuff for their life. He lives in his car. His toddler son is a terror. He stole all the money he used to buy the car and will soon be caught and imprisoned...You get the picture. My point, though somewhat mean, is surprisingly valid. When you look at someone's Facebook page, do you know what they're sharing?


No one is telling you about the toe they broke finishing that 25 mile marathon. They don't mention all the food they wasted trying to create the dish that won $10,000 in a recipe contest. Everyone's life is difficult in some way; they just don't make a habit of splashing those tribulations all over the internet. Remember that next time you're filled with envy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Music Monday: Just Me?

Is it my imagination, or is time passing by faster? I woke up today with a firm plan to accomplish amazing things, was quickly derailed by a mental paralysis unique to those of us dealing with strained financial issues, and saw my day fly by completely without my noticing. Now I'm in a rush to get anything at all done before nightfall catches me by surprise.

Oh, well. We all have our crosses...


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