Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I'm sure a lot of people have already seen this, as timely things do, it's made it's way across my Facebook and Twitter feeds a few times since it went online.  But I need to post it here, mostly as a reminder to myself - the ending - YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU THINK.

A few weeks ago I had dinner with my friends Rachel and Haley.  Librarians.  Dear friends, warm hearts, hilarious and crazy and both beautiful.  Like heads turn beautiful.  In fact, with both of them, when I met them my first impression was that we would never be friends, because they were so beautiful.  A reverse mean girl.  They were too pretty to deign to even look my way.  That night, we had a long and drawn out meal, celebrating an upcoming wedding, a weekend away together, with an incredibly attentive waiter.  I complained to Matt about this at one point, casually throwing off that "waiters are always annoyingly flirty when we're out because they're both so beautiful."

So many things wrong with that statement.  Some people are just extroverts.  Certainly those who go into the service industry.  Nice doesn't always mean flirting.  But what stopped me in my tracks was when my dear husband quietly said to me, "I'm sad that you don't think you're beautiful too."

I don't.  True fact.  It's burned in my brain the day in college my then boyfriend told me that I was the "cutest" girl in the sorority.  (Thanks Ross, you jackass.)  I'm the funny one.  Sometimes I'm the smart one.  I don't remember anyone ever telling me I was beautiful.  This is not me trolling for compliments.  It's just a fact.  If I look back to  that night, if you ask me if the waiter was flirting with me as well, I'd tell you "no, he was laughing with me."  Because I'm the fat funny one. 

So this video has brought me to tears.  Why do we as women do this to ourselves?  You, right now - what is your best feature?  Yes you.  Because I know for a fact that if you emailed me, I could tell you.  Your porcelain skin. Your expressive eyes. The way your mouth is shaped when you're determined.  Your amazing curly hair.  Dude, your boobs.  All parts of you, my friends, that I envy. 

But me?  I'm good at making people laugh. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making my own miracle

It's been not quite six months since I've even touched writing here, and I'll be honest - it's been because I've been depressed.  Not just depressed.  There have been a few bouts, say, most of February, where I'd say I've been at my worst since college.  When I went into therapy, took anti-depressants, and slept away semesters.  Losing weight and being healthy wasn't at the forefront of my brain, because mostly I was struggling to even get out of bed.  To put one foot in front of the other.

Having a few people express being worried about me, enough so that I knew it was time to do something, well, prompted me to do something.  I'm working on it.  With someone.  Not therapy per se, but more introspection than I've done in years.  Two of the biggest things I'm working on are the depression, obviously, but how it manifests.  One is of course in my issues with food.  And the other is just out and out self loathing.  It's a rare day that I like myself.

One of the books I've been working through is Regina Brett's Be The Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible.  It is a quick read - Brett is a journalist who demonstrates life lessons through short vignettes, stories of people she's met, experiences she's had.  She is a cancer survivor as well as a Christian.  I didn't truly identify with all 50 of her lessons, as I don't identify with a traditional religion, but one could easily extrapolate her admonishments to "mean the prayers" to "mean the meditation" or some other analogy.   I'm going to list out my notes from the book, mostly as an exercise for myself, but also to have something to readily reference back to during my next low point.  Plus, I love lists. 

1) Every person is important, no matter how menial they're perceived, including yourself.  Treat everyone you come across as a human of value. 
2)  Take the time to do something well.  Be curious and solve the puzzles.  Don't just do the job to get it done, to cross it off of your list.  Do it the best that you can.
3)  Do it with a smile.  Make everyone you cross paths with feel like you are happy to see them and that they are valued. 
4)  Take control of your emotions.  You can't stop how outside influences happen, but you can stop how they make you feel.
5)  Put yourself first once a week, even if it's just for an hour.  Pamper, be selfish.  Indulge.
6)  Listen to what people want, not what you think they need. 
7)  Every day is a new day, and a conscious choice for happiness.  Wipe the slate clean.
8)  Find the joy in every day.
9)  Put your disadvantages in relative context.  So many have it worse.  Count your blessings.
10)  Confirmation:  Being late shows you don't value others' time.  It makes people worry (at least in my family).  Stay early!
11)  Listen to your body.  What does it tell you that you need?  What does your body say yes to and what does it say no to?
12)  Be present in the moment.  The now.  Don't dwell on the past or worry for the future.
13)  As you climb a ladder, don't do it alone.  Bring along those who support you on the climb, for your good and theirs.
14)  Write your own job description (in life) and grow into it every day.  You're more than a job title.
15)  People will shake the snow globe of your world.  Let the chaos swirl, knowing that it will calm and settle around you.
16)  Your place in life doesn't belong to anyone else.  Quit coveting theirs, find yours.
17)  Don't wait for a tragedy jump start you into living.  New Year's isn't the only time for resolutions or clean slates.  It can be, and should be, tomorrow.
18)  Every time you think badly of yourself, think "would I be friends with a person who thought that about me?"
19)  After something bad, don't just aim for normal again, aim for better.
20)  Assuming the worst of people at the first impression is a way to protect yourself.  But you also build a wall against good people who might change your world.
21)  Live your life as the legacy you want to leave  Don't be embarrassed by a boring obituary.  What will you be remembered for?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One of those days...

Today was a day that might have been better spent in bed.  Despite gaining an hour to sleep, I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  A cat who can't tell time woke me for good.  After getting her claw stuck in my pinky.

The place we normally go to for breakfast was packed.  A line to even get into the parking lot.  I really really had my heart set on their french toast.  We went somewhere else, and the little old woman in front of me at the buffet took every single strawberry muffin (the only reason, IMO, to go to Eat & Park for breakfast anymore). 

Our plan for the day was to drive down to WV to do some holiday shopping.  We went to an "outdoors" store, partially to equip Matt for hunting season, partially to see if I could find anything for my dad or brother.  I ended up hiding near the aquarium, after overhearing a man say that he was "stocking up in case the election goes the wrong way next week."  Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb.

We decided to try the outlet mall after that, attempting to salvage our shopping afternoon.  I found a nice jacket for my brother at Columbia.  A really great deal even.  Stopped by my parents' house and find out that my mom bought my brother the identical jacket last year.  Went back, returned it. 

Stupid stuff.  The bathroom at the restaurant we stopped at was completely out of toilet paper.  I had wanted pizza with my parents' but couldn't contend with the Steelers game and my mom feeling a bit off.  It just seemed like the world was conspiring against me, a sign I should have stayed in bed. 

But I talked to my dad for a bit, while helping him with a computer issue.  And you know what?  Today was a bad day for me.  But compared to so many people, it was nothing.  We have power, we have gas.  Our streets, our basement, not flooded.  Despite the ailments of my grandmothers, most of my family has their health.  My biggest issues were that I couldn't have the french toast I wanted, and that I had to find something else to buy my brother for Christmas. 

I'm blessed.  I need to remember that.  I'm so so very very blessed. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tricks and Treats

This was our worst Trick or Treat turnout in the history of living in this house.  It breaks my heart, truly. 

Four kids.  Two of whom probably shouldn't count, because they're friends' kids, and we'd see them in costume anyway. 

Our street just isn't cut out for Trick or Treat.  A quasi dead-end with houses on just one side.  No one else gives out candy.  There just isn't good ROI for the kids.  The two we did have come live at the bottom of the hill and were on their way to better streets.  I just happened to be on the porch when they went past.  (For reference, when we lived in our apartment, two blocks away, we had hundreds of kids and ran out of candy.)

Every year I think "this is the candy for the teenagers who aren't in costume, this is the candy for the adorable little kids."  We didn't even get teenagers this year.  Every year I get my hopes up, buy really good candy or make goody bags, and every year I'm disappointed.   

So what this means this year is that we have twenty bags of Butterfinger coated pretzel twists, and sixteen full size candy bars, that will haunt me.  They'll call my name from the other room until one by one, Matt eats them.  I'll have one or two, I'll admit that to myself now, but I'm not going to eat them out of self pity.  Or to make myself feel better after a bad day. 

I need to figure out the fine line between tricking myself, and treating myself.  And that the answer to my happiness isn't coated in Butterfingers. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baby You Can Drive My Car

From the moment my dad taught me to drive, I've always loved it.  The freedom, the control, it's a perfect blend.  Even in my crappiest of cars, it's something I took to immediately. 

Last Friday I had a bit of an accident.  My current commute involves a lot of construction, and a significant portion of it is through "state minimum width" roads.  As in the roads cannot be any narrower, legally. 

I'm no fan of driving in the dark.  The lights of other cars blind me, but surprisingly that's getting better.  My astigmatism, according to my doctor, is actually improving.  She predicts in the next year or so it will be gone, and that will only improve my night driving.  Weird.  But a few too many years in the future to help me now. 

So a large truck, speeding across the bridge, was over the line into my lane.  The choice was to be sideswiped, or to veer into the construction cones.  I smacked a cone with my passenger mirror.  The mirror, thank god, folded into the window.  But the decorative cap flew off and smacked the window.  It startled me so badly that I screamed.  And am stunned the window didn't crack.  The cap, knowing my luck, either shattered or bounced off into the river.  Either way, not a great way to start the morning. 

I spent a lot of time on Friday working through the problem, calling the service, then parts, then body shop, of our dealership.  All great guys.  All of whom made it clear, one way or another, that they'd have rather talked to my husband. 

My mistake, mine to fix.  My father raised me to take care of myself, to drive, to parallel park, to not need to be taken care of.  (That I'm incredibly well taken care of is truly just a fluke.  I think many people are surprised that I didn't end up a crazy, single, cat lady.)  So some frustration.  At one point I actually said "I'm confident that the only part missing is the cap, but if it makes you feel better, I'll pretend to take this fax home to my husband, and I'll call you back in the morning." 

Other things happened on Friday.  Stressful work things, a trust betrayal, a computer fluke, enough that I could feel the anxiety, physically, coursing through my veins. 

One of my tells, when I'm truly drunk, is that the sugar in alcohol makes my cheeks hurt and my teeth numb.  Which explains the text I sent Yvette that night. "I can't feel my teeth."  My coping skills are crap. 

I left work early and went to the body shop this afternoon.  Stomped in on my highest heels, offered my hand to the manager, and introduced myself.  They put on the cap, I paid my bill, it's a done deal.  I don't need penis in order to take care of my car. 

No point to any of this really.  I just get frustrated.  I truly, truly love to drive.  There are two parts of my commute, that perhaps once a month there's a perfect confluence of events that I can open up my car and make her do what she's meant to.  It's beautiful.  Those moments are too few and far between.  I need to find more of those moments.  On and off the road. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have to admit to myself, and well, I guess to the ten of you who know about this blog, that October was a mess for me.  It is usually my favorite month, the month of my birthday and Halloween, the month I look forward to the most every year.  Instead it was my month of crashing not just off the wagon, but careening solidly into some self loathing behaviors.  The month of stress and depression and illness.  So, with a sudden spur of the moment decision I've decided to try to blog every day this month, and see if I can write my way back to sanity.  HA.  Considering I was thinking about doing NaNoWrMo, this has to be a less crazy option.  Right?   

Some things I've been pondering lately on my car rides to and from work -
* What is the difference between looking at people of the opposite sex, and checking them out? Serious question, I'm genuinely not sure that I can tell the difference. 
* Why is it that after so long, I've discovered high heels again and love the way I walk in them?  It's a solid stompy stride, and I almost feel like I've found a part of me that's been missing since we lived in New York.  Why didn't I do this sooner?
* When will I remember that no candy or sugar actually will ever taste as good as the fantasy craving of it does? 
* Am I emotionally going to be able to go back to the gym? Or will my horrible self esteem and my struggle with my attitudes, fears, and assumptions about other women sabotage me? 
* Why is it that no matter how often I tell myself that I'm blessed, that so many other people are struggling with much, much worse things than I am, do the little voices in my head tell me otherwise?
* Why the hell am I so attracted to Marcus Mumford? 
* Don't I really have a lot of other better things to do than watching the back catalogue of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on Netflix? 
* When am I going to quit letting my husband's family tie me up in knots? 
* What the hell am I going to get my Mom/Brother/Father/Matt for Christmas? 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Resolutely Fall

This morning I got up, on a Saturday morning no less, and did something I never thought I'd do in my life.  I joined a gym. 

I've built in accountability - not just the financial investment - but I dragged along a friend, and it is also a gym owned by another friend. 

I find the whole thing sort of hilarious.  I found out at the conference in Chicago that one of my librarian friends was opening her own gym.  Well, basically becoming the new owner of her current gym.  Kim is a self professed "spin addict," and has taught for awhile.  Kim is also the best kind of crazy, and I adore her.  (That she's a kick butt librarian as well is just gravy.) 

So the other night at a baseball game, I turned to one of my dearest friends and said "so there's this gym we should join."  God love her for putting up with my proclamations. 

I didn't even mention it to Matt.  I don't know why.  Fear he'd talk me out of it?  Fear I'd see doubt in his eyes?  I told him Thursday night "I'm meeting Vette on Saturday morning at ten to go join Kim's gym."  He is exceedingly on board.  Looked over the class list, made suggestions.  He is very much pro-spinning (thinking that it will be a good stepping stone to regular bike riding) and I am very much pro-kick boxing (a soon to be offered class).  I want to see what Pilates is about.  I am willing to make an ass of myself at Zumba. 

And I'm completely and totally terrified.  I have a treadmill in my basement.  Other than our stint at yoga, I haven't exercised in front of anyone other than a cat, in forever.  (Given my frequent ability to fall asleep in corpse pose, I can't really call our yoga classes anything beyond flexibility & strength training.) 

Tuesday night is our meeting with the personal trainer, she's going to explain all of the equipment to us, and show us proper form.  (Today Kim gave us a tour.  Demonstrated the elliptical in her high heeled flip flops.  I suspect the trainer means business.)  I'm going to go early and try out the elliptical.  I already know that a treadmill isn't enough to keep me entertained, after burning out 4 weeks into Cto5K.  Maybe the stair climber.  And then plot out my class choices for the week. 

It's September First.  I'm back in the game.  Bring it on. 

Ironically, one of the health bloggers I read posted this today:  Hey Fat Girl.  I've seen it before, bouncing around in the past.  But I needed to see it today.  I needed to re-read that a lot of the people in the gym, on the track, where ever, have been where I am today.  And that they're not all looking at me and thinking "she can't do it." 

It's a women's only gym.  And when I emailed with Kim about it in the past, psyching myself up to this, she mentioned more than once that it's a community.  That they "know each other's business and support each other."  They opened today, under new ownership, and 8 am, and had people at the door.  I thought, sure, sure.  It's a community for you.  These are already your people, the skinny pretty fit people.  But I was so happy to see a variety of ages and sizes among the women there.  And some random stranger came up to us and told us that she knew we were going to love it and make plenty of new friends.  (Thank god Yvette was with me to thank her, I was gobsmacked and speechless.) Everyone was welcoming and kind and a little bit kooky.  Basically, just what I needed to get me through the terror. 

I can do this.  I can do this.  I just need to keep telling myself that.  I can do this. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I've started and deleted a new post here multiple times since my last one.  I'm still too scattered to put anything down concrete, so instead, bullet points.

* I find it hilarious that the most frequent referral to this blog is from a Russian p0rn site.  Apparently a lot of foot fetishes floating around over there. 

* I have become a boot buying maniac.  Well, shoes.  Well, accessories.  In the past month I've bought a new bag for work, a cross-body bag for lighter traveling, ordered two pairs of boots online, another pair from Target, and two pairs of shoes from DSW.  And I'm not even going to go into my addiction to Charming Charlies. 

* I also ordered enough new pairs of panties that I can completely throw out every old pair I own.  Which I apologize for the TMI there, but I truly can't remember the last time I bought new underwear.  My bras are still in horrible shape, but I'm having a hard time replacing them. 

* I guess what I'm doing is slowly rebuilding a wardrobe.  One that closer matches my age and personality.  But I'm still incredibly frustrated by a lack of clothing options out there.  Finding new jeans that fit will be the death of me.  The other day Matt offered to pay for a custom pair of Levi's just to shut me up. 

* I'm working on the depression.  Kind of.  Sort of.  I've told myself that I have until this weekend to shape up my act.  That once fall begins (in my head, Labor Day is the end of summer) I have to be back on this.  Dedicated.  Optimistic.  Working for the best. 

* I sat down yesterday and plotted out weekends for the fall.  I need to force myself to get out, to do things, to be social.  To see people.  To stop wallowing.  

*  I'm looking into joining a gym.  I can't believe I just typed that.  But it's true. 

*  I'm also trying to clean some other things up.  Broader things.  Slimmed down the people I follow on Twitter, finally did a bunch of filters and weeding on Facebook.  Cleaned a lot of the house last weekend, deep cleaned.  A bit more to do there, but I've made a promise to myself, and to my ever patient husband, that September will bring good things. It has to. 

Friday, August 17, 2012


I had planned on writing something tonight about clothes and shopping, seeing as I wore an "old lady sweater" to work today.  I'll explain that later.  But something else is bothering me more.  

Earlier in the week, I came across the quote below.  (I'm going to paste it in here, in case the image disappears: "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do." - Eleanor Roosevelt.) 

This is something I need to repeat to myself regularly, until it sinks into my brain.  Because right now, at the peak of depression (can depression have peaks?) I'm perceiving slights and offenses and taking them more personally than perhaps I should.  Or perhaps not.  I don't know.

See, there are a few (oh two specific) people who I'm fairly certain I should consider frienemies.  People who I'm connected to on various social medias, and that they maintain those connections purely for the outward image it portrays to our mutual friends.  In one case, yes, we have some issues to work out if we were to ever truly be friends again.  But in the other, I have no idea what I've done to make her not like me.  We may live very different lives, but I often lend kind words and support.  I tell myself again and again to stop it, since it's very clearly not appreciated, not welcomed, but there was a time in my life that this person was truly supportive, and I valued that.  There's a part of me that wants to think, "it's them, not me."  That where they are in their life, and the changes they've undergone, are the issues.  Not that I'm such a horrible and repellant person that they'd be visiting my town, no, my neighborhood, and not bother to say anything.  But I suspect that's not the case.  That right now, it IS me.  That they don't really want to be friends. 

So the quote.  I'm trying to take it to heart.  It's ok that these people don't like me.  Truly.  I'm an adult, I know you can't be friends with everyone.  I should just hide them on Facebook and quit following their blogs so that I'm not tempted to reach out.  And that even if it IS me, that it bothers me a lot more than it bothers either of them.  And I don't want them to have that power over me.  I've already invested more time into this, just by this blog post alone, than either of them have probably ever spent thinking about me.  Eleanor is wise.  It's time to clean house, for my own well being. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Observations from a husband

This weekend, while we were out of town for a wedding, we had a lot of time to kill Sunday morning while waiting for our brunch plans to materialize.  We spent the morning walking near our hotel, through a shopping district, mostly people watching while we waited for the stores to open.

Matt made two comments about my personality that I want to record.  The first was him thanking me, for my tone of voice.  That I "know how to talk so that the only people who hear me are the ones I'm actually talking to."  Both that Sunday morning, and the Friday before at the baseball game, we were surrounded by people who talked incredibly loudly, obnoxiously, perhaps not intentionally.  They clearly thought they were so fascinating that everyone wanted to hear about what kind of beer they liked, how their future children would wear their hair, where they were when Bin Laden was shot, that they didn't know where peanuts came from.  People like that tend to force me to revert into a deeper shell, to the point that at the baseball game I had to leave our seats for awhile to avoid an anxiety attack.  (That one of the jerks was tossing peanut shells down my back certainly helped with that though.) 

So it's true.  I don't really have a loud voice on a regular basis.  My throat hurts after we've been to a restaurant with loud music.  It's part of the reason I am loathe to hang out at bars.  Part of it is that I'm really a snarky bitch, and a lot of what I mumble under my breath would probably get me punched, but part of it is that my regular daily conversation is meant for those I'm with.  Those I trust.  Those I care about.  I'm not a public person.  I've told a total of 10 people about this blog - the people I care about the most, that will help me the most on this journey, that inspire me.  I only recently unlocked my Twitter account, and I'll probably lock it again at some point.  I get hives every time I have to speak, even at work, even though I've known and taught those people for over a decade.  So yeah, some of it is snark.  But some of it is that I just don't believe that I have anything to say that anyone would be interested in hearing.  Tied to that, is that I really don't want to draw attention to myself.  I don't go to bars, because I take up too much space.  Same thing goes for things like concerts, or ballgames.  Why didn't I tell the jerk behind me to shove his peanut shells down his big mouth?  Because I didn't want to be called a fat bitch.  Again.  (And I didn't want Matt to kill someone.  He had no idea about this, and when I confessed it on the way home, well, I'm glad I didn't tell him then.) 

Am I ever going to be comfortable in the public eye?  Probably not.  It's just not in my nature.  It's genetic.  But I need to start to value my own words. 

As a counterpoint, the other thing Matt pointed out to me was that I always give people more information than they might need.  I think some of this comes from being a librarian, someone who values information, someone who fills a service role.  Some of it comes from having worked retail.  I make a concerted effort to treat everyone in a retail or service role as a human being, not someone to serve me, but as an equal with a job to be respected.  Eye contact.  A kind word.  A smile.  It's really the least I can do. 

So yesterday we poked our heads into a Trader Joe's in Ohio, looked around the booze section, and walked back out.  It was too early to legally buy anything, but we were curious.  On our way out, the manager approached us and wanted to know if we had found everything we were looking for, since we were clearly leaving empty handed.  Matt just kept walking with a brisk nod.  But I babbled "Oh no, we're from Pennsylvania, so we were just looking at all of the alcohol.  We'll be back later when we can purchase something."  That's when Matt pointed it out to me.  I'm not quite the queen of TMI, but I do tell people more than they probably expect.  I don't want that manager to think that there's something wrong with his store.  I've been there.  If I can offer a compliment, or an explanation, I generally will. 

A lot of that was how I was raised.  Our family communicates.  Ad nauseam.  We're talkers, but we also touch base regularly, even now, as a habit from when Dad was deployed.  So if a few words can ease the way for someone else, I'll do it.  A text message to Mom that we're safe in Ohio, and home again.  Things like that. 

So I've got a different post brewing in my brain over being Type A or not, and I really think that what it comes to is that I see it as being nurturing.  Not motherly, since lord knows I'm not interested in going there, but I want to help people, care for them, and have them care back.  And I think truly that a lot of my stress over the past few months has been not as much a lack of control, as a lack of communication.  If I can do something to ease a strain, lessen a stress, offer some compassion, I will.  But I've got to know that you (royal you, none of you who are reading this) need that.  I'm not asking for people to share like I do, because man, I obviously know how to over-share.  But I think I'm asking for simple courtesies.  Like if I'm expecting to see someone somewhere, it would be nice to know that they weren't coming.  Or if I invite someone somewhere, it's fine, truly, that they don't want to go.  Just tell me.  Don't not answer an email or a text because you think it will hurt my feelings.  Being ignored hurts more. 

That ties into the self esteem thing again.  If you're late for something, and don't tell me you're late, it feels like you don't value my time as much as your own.  I'm going to automatically go to the worst case scenario.  Not that you've got a lot going on in your own life, because I really don't know that, especially if you don't tell me, but that it's me.  I really just naturally assume that people would rather not spend time with me, and as I dip further into the depression, it's easier and easier to believe.  

I really don't know what to do about that though.  I think truly, that until I feel like I'm in a better place emotionally, that I'll just need to barrier myself from people who hurt me.  Because that's easier, in my head, than telling them "hey, the fact that you do X really is a pain in the ass."  Perhaps not in the long run, and it's not fair for me to not share information with them (perhaps not over-sharing for once?), but for now, I need to do what I need to do to preserve my own sense of self.  Because this struggle is too painful on it's own to add in other people in the mix.