Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Babies, rainbows, butterflies, and body image

So, my trip to Colorado. It was an amazing and new experience for me, spending that much concentrated time with my nephews, and I feel like we really bonded. When they lived nearby, the most time I ever spent with them was a couple of days, and then not the ENTIRE couple of days. Sometimes just for a couple of hours. But this past week was Total. Nephew. Saturation. And it was Truly Awesome. Yes, it was noisy and sometimes chaotic. Yes, I suffered some mild anxiety at being surrounded by people 24/7 for days at a time – including my parents. Yes, I collapsed into bed every night thinking how crazy my sister is to have, on purpose, three boys under the age of 6, but also acknowledging how very blessed she is, and how very blessed we are to have them in our lives. I was talking to BT about my trip last night, and I found myself getting teary-eyed talking about them, especially the baby, the Coopinator. Somehow I began talking about how I thought by now I would be the one with a family, with kids, and how that may not be in the cards for me after all. To which he gently pointed out, but you have your nephews. Yes, yes I do. And I love them like they’re my own, now more than ever.

But it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Last week I often found myself weirdly uncomfortable. I was very conscious of what and how much I ate. I drank mostly water. I realized at some point that I always kept my arms covered, and even caught myself sucking in my stomach. WTF??? Well, it finally hit me, days later. After being with BT, actually, because I was feeling a bit body conscious, read into that what you will. I realized I was ashamed of my body last week, ashamed in front of my father. I’m sure it would horrify him to know that I picked up on this, because I know he would never intentionally hurt me, but I felt like I was picking up distinct disapproving vibes from him about my weight. In my mind, I could hear him whispering to my mom, “She’d be so pretty if she’d just lose weight…”, or “Why doesn’t she DO something?”, or “I just wish she’d take better care of herself.” I heard all these things in my mind, not because I’m neurotic or paranoid, but because I have heard my father say these very words about other overweight people that have passed through our lives. My whole life, I have heard him speak these words, I have cringed at them, felt anger towards them, protected friends from them, rejected them, and now, felt their unspoken, cosmic force being directed at me. I hesitated to write about this, but it just keeps nagging at me. I realize my dad might read this, but I’m speaking my truth. I felt the disapproval, and it hurt. But what I also realized is that my harshest critic is myself, and it always has been. I could say my body has gained weight over the years rebelling against a certain ex-husband, ex-boyfriends, the status quo, whatever. I have even considered that it happened as a subconscious rebellion against my father, like I’m trying to prove to him that people who are overweight are worthy of love, he MUST love me, no matter what I weigh, so there. But that’s not really the heart of the matter. The truth is, if I was truly comfortable with myself like I pretend to be, if I had truly accepted that fuck it, I’m going to eat what I want, life is too short, blahblahblah, well then I would not sense or even care about such disapproval. He is merely channeling the disgust I feel for myself. I am more disappointed in myself than anyone else could ever be for me. I have let my own body down, I have let it go, I have rebelled in a self-defeating circle resulting in self-loathing. Ok, not “self” loathing, but “body” loathing. I am not my body, I just live inside it. But I am gravely uncomfortable in this body. This is not the way I am supposed to be, and the truth is I will never learn to accept this shape as mine. And by acknowledging this, I am acknowledging that I must do something about it or I will never be totally happy.

But. And this is the important point. But I must do it for me, and only me. Not for the sake of my dad; not for the sake of all the hot guys out there who will want to date me if I’m skinny again – in fact I will just hiss at them if that happens. I must transform my body so that I feel comfortable in my own skin again, so that my outer appearance matches my inner one. And I can only do this when I am good damn and ready, as an old friend used to say. I am getting there, Internet. I can see the healthy me inside there whenever I so much as glance in a mirror, that’s why I can never reconcile what I see with how I feel. I don’t picture myself like this, I picture myself the way I was my whole life until my body started harboring pain and letting it build up and internalizing others’ opinions of me. I need to let go of all that shit and just do what needs to be done, for me.

And for my nephews. I’d like to chase them around in the park someday without feeling like I’m trapped inside someone else’s body.

I’m sure this ‘epiphany’ has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the whole week revolved around FOOD, noooooooo.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back and better than evah

Top 10 observations from my Thanksgiving in Denver:

1. While I wasn’t too fond of my Refreshing Vanilla Mint toothpaste before the trip, after sharing that baking-soda yak with my parents all week, mine tastes like heaven in a tube.
2. One can have too many baths.
3. Nothing melts the heart like an 18-month-old learning to say your name (“Sa-sa”) AND your favorite trick (SUPAHSTAH).
4. Nothing makes you feel like a SUPAHSTAH quite like your moodiest nephew curling up next to you to watch cartoons.
5. You know you’ve made a breakthrough when you have your two youngest nephews sniffing each and every LUSH item and saying “mmmmmmmmm” with their eyes blissfully closed.
6. My BIL is a better cook than the *BAM* guy.
7. Wrangling babies makes you skinny. And patient. Of which I am neither. (note to self: babysit more)
8. Even my family gets tired of rum by the 9th day.
9. If I lived anywhere near a Nordstrom Rack, I’d be destitute.
and finally…
10. Thanksgiving only comes once a year because if it came more than that, we’d all be obese and grumpy.

more soon...

Monday, November 21, 2005

over and out

I am writing this as I put off packing for my trip. My plane leaves tomorrow morning at 11:20 am -- I suppose that's why I'm not panicking right now. Well, that and the meds. Heh. Anyway, I wanted to post once more before I am possibly Internet-less until next weekend. I'm very excited about my trip!

Today was a good day for me -- leisurely, with a long work lunch and a fun assignment to finish up my afternoon. The perfect day-before-vacation. A day that punctuated my fabulous weekend with my friend Steph, who was visiting from Houston. I got to hang out with her and a lot of my other good friends as well -- it was the perfect weekend-before-Thanksgiving, to really appreciate and be thankful for my dear friends. I am truly blessed.

So tonight I still need to um, pack. And leave the usual elaborate note for the petsitter. I have every confidence that something weird will happen with my cats while I'm gone, just like last time -- they seem to be easy and low-maintenance when I'm here, then freak the hell out and fall apart when I'm not. I'm sure it's some sort of cruel punishment for leaving. But I bought them lots of canned catfood, so they won't be THAT angry.

I had hoped to see BT before the holidays, and he did call me tonight, but his car was in the shop and he wanted me to go to his house, and I haven't, um, packed... oh well, something to look forward to upon my return, to counter the crushing depression I'll suffer at leaving my precious nephews behind again.

I truly have no rhyme or reason to this post, and I really am procrastinating. So with that, I guess I'll wrap it up and get to work so I can actually sleep tonight. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I'll be thinking of warm Texas as I bundle up into a burrito in front of a fire at my sister's house. Au Revoir!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Somebody stop me.

My shopping button was evidently pressed about three weeks ago, beginning with a day trip to the outlet mall, and somehow it got stuck on "GO". I can't stop shopping. I'm obsessed. Maybe it's because I'm gearing up for "Christmas Mode"? But if that was true, wouldn't I be madly buying gifts?? Noooo, I'm buying clothes, and shoes, and makeup... for memememememe. It's insane. AND I'm going to Denver in a few days where we will undoubtedly continue the shopping debauchery. SIGH. Oh well. That's what freelancing is for, right??

Truth be told, until recently I haven't done much shopping since my cruise in August. I am going to admit something here. Something horrible, something physically painful to admit. Y'all, I had a spa treatment on the boat, and that's fine b/c I had planned for that. But what I didn't plan for was being suckered into buying the pricey boat spa PRODUCTS the woman pushed on me while I was still under massage sedation. I refuse to talk actual dollar amounts, because seeing it in writing might kill me. But... I spent more at the spa that day than I did on the entire rest of the trip. Ugh, there it is, the stomach cramps. People, I can't let go of this. I usually don't suffer from shopper's remorse, but this, this has been bothering me for months. So much so that I haven't even USED said products, and am seriously considering selling the damn things on eBay. Then I think, but what idiot would pay $$$ for these stupid boat products??? Detoxify, my ass! I feel toxic just THINKING about them.

Um, yeah. So there's that. Which all came up because I'm sitting here, after 5:00 on a Thursday, pondering whether I want to hit the mall on the way home tonight or just go straight home and crash on my couch. It's a tough call.

I may or may not let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Shopping without my cell phone

I had no idea how lost I would feel in the dressing room at the mall when I realized I didn't have my cell phone with me. I'd left it charging in my kitchen that morning. And hadn't noticed until now because I'd been at work, near a land-line. But as I stood exposed under the cruel fluorescent lights, in front of the unforgiving 3-way mirror, in the too-tight black pants and gorgeous overpriced sweater, I realized how alone I really was. I felt so desperate and forlorn, not able to call one of my trusty girlfriends to lament about the ill-fitting pants or justify the sweater purchase, that I did the ultimate shopping no-no -- I relied on the saleslady. I know, it's awful. And I came away from the experience with TWO overpriced sweaters, but not the tight pants. I suppose it could've been worse, she wanted to start bringing me jeans -- but that's when I came to my senses and fled. Jeans would have to wait for another day when I was not so... vulnerable.

After the clothing disaster, I decided to brave the bath and body store -- I wanted to smell the new Christmas scents and I had a couple of coupons to use. I figured I'd be okay by myself in there. Oh, I was so, so wrong. I immediately got stuck in front of the new "foody"-smelling lotion display -- helplessly sniffing, aching, wanting, but unable to get a reality check from my trusty phone. I needed practical Hope to remind me I had 32 unused lotions already sitting on my bedside, or Babs to suggest that Christmas was coming up and perhaps I should think in terms of gifts... just as I was about to succumb to the seductive call of the tiramisu-scented body wash, I heard my name. Thank GOD, it was A. from work -- laughing at me because we'd just that afternoon discussed the best kind of face lotion to use for oily skin and I'd directed her to that very store. I was busted. Luckily, our facial-care chat distracted me from the damage I was close to inflicting upon my bank account, and I managed to escape with only the free lipgloss I got w/my coupon -- well, and a modest tube of tiramisu body wash. Ahem. But not the body souffle! Or the matching candle! Or the body scrub! Or, or, or -- knowing I was in a hazardous shopping spot as long as I was phone-less, I cut my financial losses and went home.

The drive was long and lonely without the sound of my sister's voice on the other end of the phone, or a quick chat with Sarah, freshly back from her trip to Japan. I was forced to drive in silence. Well, silence and my iPod. I decided to go with the moment. I opened my moonroof and let in the full-moonlight, felt the rush of the warm, balmy air of Texas in November, and enjoyed the silence. (cue Depeche Mode song here)

This morning, I remembered to grab my phone on my way out the door. WHEW, because I might need to stop for some groceries on the way home tonight...and God forbid I can't call Kelly to complain about how much I hate the grocery store...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Shiny holidays and winter gloom

Wow, where did last week go?? And next week is Thanksgiving -- you have got to be kidding me. And that means, Christmas is... omg, I can't think about this yet. We just had Christmas, didn't we??

Ok, enough of my little "time is flying" rant. My goal this year is to do all my holiday shopping online. This may not be possible, realistically, but I'm sure gonna try -- and I'd better try soon, because when I turn my head and sneeze it will be a month from now and I'll be freaking out. About this time of year is when my college-test stress dreams turn to Christmas-Eve-and-no-gifts stress dreams.

Next Tuesday I'm flying to Denver to visit les bebes for Thanksgiving. My parents will be there too. My mom is all a-twitter with plans to do "all the Christmas shopping" while we're there so she doesn't have to ship anything. Um, not possible. I will tag along on these outings, including a fabulous visit to the Boulder LUSH (Thank You Sistah:) ), but I have no illusions that I'll get much "real" Christmas shopping done.

So it's going to be a landmark for my family: the first holiday spent out of state (besides when we all lived out of state), and not all together -- my brother and his wife won't be making it this year. And Christmas is going to be even harder, b/c as of right now, none of us have plans to travel to Denver -- although there's a part of me that still thinks I might go at the last minute. Who knows. I like to have options. In any event, THAT will be a HUGE landmark for my sis, as they'll have their first Christmas Evah w/out all of us. And that makes me sad. And I know Christmas won't feel the same here, without them. The boys add back that kid-magic that had been missing for years from our holiday gatherings - there's nothing quite like watching a little boy joyfully tear into a package, then seeing his saucer eyes and hearing his "WOW!!!". Makes it fun again. So yeah, we'll miss them this year. [SOB]

I'm feeling again like time is careening out of control. If I think back to last Christmas, and what's different now in my life -- um, not much. Which makes me feel panicky, but I don't know what I'd rather be doing right now, y'know? Well, besides traveling abroad and staying in a slew of 5-star hotels with my rich, fabulous, hottie Italian boyfriend, that is. You know.

Unfortunately, this time of year also brings on those unwanted feelings of loneliness, feelings I honestly don't have the rest of the year. But dammit, it's something about crisp weather and bleak skies that makes me long for... more. I have fantasies of being "trapped" in my house for a day or so, iced in, with nothing but hot chocolate, a warm boyfriend, a fireplace, and of course los gatos magnificos. Because, I have to say it's kind of boring to be iced in by oneself. BUT -- it is MUCH better being iced in by oneself than with someone whose very presence makes you twitch. Ah, those were the days... So if given a choice, I would rather be alone with my cats than alone with my husband.

What would be optimal is if I could go to Europe for two weeks this Christmas -- something I haven't done since 1998. The bleak winter skies just aren't bleak from that side of the ocean, for some reason...

This mood is related to the COLD FRONT supposedly blowing in tomorrow, plunging our balmy Texas weather into WINTER temperatures, finally. Crossing my fingers.....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Peace, joy, bubble bath, and guns.

Last night, the conversation went kinda like this:

“Hello?”

“Lisa, it’s your father.”

“Hi.”

“Sorry to interrupt the game…”

“What game?”

[sigh] “It’s Monday night FOOTBALL.”

“[sigh] Give UP! You know I have no interest in sports, never have.”

[disappointed sigh]
“I have a question to ask you about your Christmas present.”
[pause]
“Would you accept a gun as a gift from me, for self protection?”

“Um, no. No thank you.”

[quickly]
“It would be very safe, very small, you’d just need to load it and leave it in a drawer ---“

“Dad, no thank you. I know you’re being sweet in your own way, and you're concerned about my safety, but I don’t want a gun.”

“Are you SURE?”

“Yes Dad, I’m sure. But thank you. No.”

“Where’s that softball bat I gave you?”

“Under my bed.”

[gruffly] “Ok. Here’s your mother.”

And so goes the phone conversation I had with my Dad last night during Medium. It is important to note that my Dad rarely calls me, he usually just pipes in when I’m talking to my mom ☺. So I know he had given this a lot of thought. And as disturbed as I was at the thought of getting a GUN for Christmas (Peace, Love, Joy?), I really really appreciate him checking with me first. He knew what I would say, but he had to give it a try. I really don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d opened a gift and found a gun. It would have freaked me out, for sure. And there would have been drama. This way was much better.

My feelings about guns are complicated. I grew up in a house full of guns; my father was in the Army and also a hunter. I used to watch in fascination as he carefully cleaned his guns every weekend. From an early age I was taught to respect a gun and not to EVER touch one, with the understanding that “when I got old enough” he would take me to the shooting range and teach me how to shoot one. I knew he and my mother both had loaded pistols in their bedside tables, and I knew not to ever go in there. Well, by the time I was “old enough” to learn how to shoot, I had no interest, then I went off to college, then married another type of man who loved guns.

He loved hunting as my dad did, but mostly, he loved killing. Sure, he’d eat the meat, but his joy was in the kill. And I grew to hate it, hate hunting, hate guns, hate everything associated with the cruelty I associated with him. I grew to hate him for having that mean streak. My dad hunted for sport, and always either ate the meat or gave it away. He followed hunting seasons, got proper permits, etc, and was never purposefully cruel to an animal. My ex, on the other hand, shot anything that got in his path, just to see it die. I once watched him shoot a squirrel with a(n) (illegal) crossbow from his mother’s balcony. When the squirrel fell, still alive, to the porch below, I watched in numb horror from her kitchen as he took a hammer outside and beat it to death with a grin on his face from ear to ear. I saw the evil glint in his eye, and that smile, and for the first time, felt I had glimpsed his soul – and it was a scary, dark, awful place. While he beat the squirrel, I stood frozen in the kitchen, nauseous and horrified. I remember how sick I felt, and then I remember feeling the shiny engagement ring on my finger. I then remember consciously pushing that feeling away, with all my might, tucking it carefully beneath the numbness. I turned away and put it out of my mind. I did not even recall this event until years later, when I was in counseling after my divorce. I now think of it as the pivotal moment I saw my ex for who he really was, and the moment I made a choice, for whatever na├»ve reason, to marry him anyway. It took me a long time to reconcile what I had seen that day with the choice I had made. But that’s neither here nor there, now, is it?

Today I am just pondering why I have absolutely no interest in ever having a gun in my possession, under my roof. Just thinking about it brings back that sick feeling and all the sadness and disappointment I felt as I squashed down my feelings of horror that day. If this all sounds rather melodramatic to you, keep in mind that’s how I feel about it. I told it that way on purpose. Also keep in mind how serious I am when I tell you that if someday, I were to find out that my ex had committed some crime against a person? I would not be surprised. I would be sad, and numb, and nauseated. But not surprised.

So I have very personal reasons for why I’d rather have bubble bath than a gun for Christmas. But thanks for checking…

Sunday, November 06, 2005

envy

As I sit in bed on the eve of another Monday, laptop on lap, I find myself wildly procrastinating on doing some work I wanted to get done this weekend. This means I am scanning all my favorite blogs and catching up on people's lives that always somehow sound more interesting than mine. There seems to be a trend of people adding ads to their personal blogs. Lately, both dooce and finslippy have written long, apologetic blog entries explaining why they've "sold out" and decided to try and make money doing something they thoroughly enjoy, something that entertains people. They are living my DREAM. This notion of ad = bad, I don't get it. Blogging is FUN, and most people who have blogs, I assume, enjoy writing. So in my mind, more power to the people who can do what they love and earn a living. I am seriously having some blog-envy, people.

So I was sitting here feeling all unsatisfied; like, there's this yearning inside of me for so many things. Things I want to accomplish, places I want to go, experiences I want to have. I have been very fortunate to have spent my career as a writer, always writing something, whether personally stimulating or not. This blog is my outlet, as well as my personal experiment to see if I can build discipline into my life, discipline about writing. Which I love to do, but often feel so drained after a long day at the office that I can't bring myself to pour any more of myself out onto the Internet. I am addicted to all these other blogs, but I find it hard to dedicate energy lately to blogging myself. I'm going to try and change that. I may be writing short or insipid (or both) entries for a while, but I need to get back in the habit of spilling my thoughts on virtual paper, for me, if for no one else.

The point is, despite my current Sunday-night melancholy, I felt a glimmer of hope thinking about the future of blogging, in general. It really is a phenomenon, that people who want so desperately to be heard now have a voice. People who yearn to be published no longer have to depend on someone else's subjective opinion to get their work out there. So taking that a step further, and being able to actually make money blogging, well that fills my imagination with all sorts of fodder. And no, I'm not leading up to a big announcement that I'm going to put ads on here --- puh-leeze, I shan't flatter myself at this point. At this point. But who knows what the future holds? Who knows?? When I have 40K+ daily hits, we'll revisit this topic... heh.

In other, less philosophical, news (and in an attempt to put off working just a tad longer), I actually had a rather eventful weekend. Ok, close your gaping jaws, you're making me feel like a loser. But really. Yesterday I had a girly day and spent it shopping for hours and hours with a friend - and those are two of my favorite things to do. Friends and shopping. I even managed to get a little (tiny) bit of holiday shopping done, but I am not going to pretend that I was not mostly shopping for me, me, me! I had some luck in the clothing department, which is a relief more than anything. Do you ever gaze into your closet in the morning, still foggy and crusty from sleep, and realize that you have Nothing. To. Wear. Do you? I have three closets full of clothes and I hate all of them. BUT not anymore, I found a few items that I don't hate, and that makes it a productive weekend. That and the fact that I did laundry today, cleaned up around the place a bit, AND did the dishes.

oh stop it, you're embarrassing me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

crooked thoughts

On days like today, I find my mind wandering to the "what ifs" of my life.

["days like today" being days when I'm sick, tired, and somewhat melancholy.]

This might be a day for the record books, because for once I am thinking of some of the nice memories I have of my ex-husband. There was a time when I couldn't come up with any even if I scoured my brain.

So as odd as it feels, I'm going to roll with it. Here are some of the silly reasons I liked him in the first place.

- the day we were picking up our checks at Foley's and he was dressed in ratty jeans, a muddy t-shirt, and a do-rag, singing "Ice Ice Baby" – totally shattering my image of him as a preppy, Ralph Lauren guy. He WAS indeed that, but this was my first glimpse of his "other" side, the side that liked to rough it and hunt and dig holes in the mud and such. I was intrigued.
- before we were quite dating, the time I showed up at a bar where his band was playing and he walked up to me with his best friend and put his hand on the curve of my waist and said, "I am a lucky man" – even though he was hammered, it was sweet.
- Wow. I can't think of any more – the really annoying ones are taking over again...

But it's a start, right?? Yes, I acknowledge those are lame reasons to like someone, but please keep in mind I was only 20 when we met… and also that we're divorced now. Cut me some slack, 'k?

It makes me feel a little weird that I have more palpable fond memories and a definite soft spot for Chris, my H.S. sweetheart, than any memories that don't suck of my ex-husband. Hm.

On that note…

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Shameless product plug

Afrin®.

That's all I'm gonna say.

Well, that and

[hear me breathe deeply out of my nose ... revel in the sound... feel my joy.....]

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween postmortem

Actual conversation from earlier this morning:

D: So, did you have lots of trick-or-treaters?
Me: I don't know, I didn't answer my door.
D; [**shocked**} Why not???
Me: I don't get into Halloween. I just hid in the back of my house w/the lights off and watched tv.
D: [in wonder] Why don't you like Halloween??
Me: I dunno.
D: Well, you should just get into it; you should try to scare them, yeah, be scary and mean...
Me: I thought that's what I was conveying by turning out all my lights and not answering the door.

Good times.