Finding ‘Happy’

The further and further away I get from the person I used to be, the more I find myself questioning everything around me. I embarked on this journey of self-discovery and acceptance last year, one that has certainly stopped and started again, but it’s kind of never-ending in that I’m always changing. What made me happy a year ago wouldn’t necessarily tickle my jimmies now; what threw me in a downward spiral might only slow me down, or perhaps wouldn’t affect me at all.

For a person as attached to routine as I am, trying out new things has been a pleasantly surprising bonus in my life today. I cling to things harder the more unsure I am of them, turning me into a neurotic control freak sometimes even at the best of times. So letting go of all of that and letting myself just be who I am has been, well, fucking hard.

A year ago, I went through a pretty rough time. A lot of it was documented here, but a lot more of it was documented in long-winded Facebook messages and passive aggressive memes now popping up on my Timehop. I’m embarrassed for myself a year ago, but I also feel a lot of love for that me. That pain has had lasting damages – say hello to the woman completely incapable of finding a man “good enough”, the woman with regular re-occurrences of acid reflux every time she has to tell someone she loves them – but my god am I so much further away from that broken, sad person today. I can admit that I’m scared, lonely, angry, or sad to someone, even if that someone is myself.

It’s really funny how sometimes you don’t realize how little love you have for yourself until you are forced to find it on your own. I have a lot of anger, but also a lot of love for the person who (accidentally) caused this explosion inside of me. Without him, I don’t think I could’ve ended up being who I am today or feeling the way I do about myself.

Oh, there’s that acid reflux again. You’d think it’d get easier to tell people you love and appreciate them, especially when it’s encouraged, but holy shit is it not. Love is scary!

Funnily enough, I didn’t mean to write much about love, but I feel like it and happiness go hand in hand. When I fill my life with love, all kinds of love, I’m infinitely happier. Sometimes I think it’s easier to cut myself off and work on myself (without you or anyone else’s help, damnit!), but nothing can grow in such a stark, lonely environment. I’ve both started and stopped, then started again, then stopped again, then started again my journey to “try new things” for 2015. Ironically, when I started seeing someone again was when all those fun new things started to quickly fall off my radar. Sitting here now, I realize that it’s due (mostly) to a horrible inability to master finding balance in my life.
But so far this year I’ve tried countless new workouts, fallen in love with spin classes, tried my hand at meal planning (with some success), traveled to a city alone for pleasure and spent the day there (helloooo Arlington), lost like eight pounds, opened up to strangers, stood up for myself, and walked alone into a crowded room more times than I can count. And I hate hate hate doing that.

I never realized how far from happy you can put yourself trying to make others happy. I’ve also come to accept that I can’t force others to see their own unhappiness, whether real or perceived by me. All I can do is worry about my own. And I mean, jeez, I get one life, why would I want to be anything but?

– a.

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Insanity: Max 30 Week One – Complete!

So I read the term “doesn’t hoist my particular sails” as a way of saying, “I’m just not that into him/her/it,” and I think it’s my new favorite saying. That being said, hot damn ladies and gentlemen it is Friday. I love Friday. Does anyone not love Friday? I mean, even when I worked weekend mornings, Friday nights were always nice and quiet nights in that I looked forward to. Now that I have a job with regular hours, I like it even more. When I get off of work today, this never fails, I get two full days off to do whatever I want. Can we just take a minute to remember this? I mean, in all reality, I can do whatever I want when I get off at 5pm during the week but I usually save that time for obligations and commitments (I’m looking at you, laundry). That way, I get to spend Saturday and Sunday being either the laziest or most social person ever. This weekend I have both days at least relatively planned out:

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

Saturday – Hot Yoga, coffee, travelling to PA to visit friends and get Neato Burrito, then Wegmans. I can’t describe to you how much I love Neato Burrito and I haven’t had it since last May. I shunned it for a long while after a break up but like, the craving is so real.

Sunday – My first ever Spinning class (!), then some meal prep and coffee with a friend. And then Walking Dead. I am still in denial after the mid-season finale so I’m not even going to talk about it or I will throw my keyboard.

I think that’s a pretty nice looking weekend set up there. I kind of want to applaud myself. Anyway, I’ve set up my list of things (I’m still looking for ideas for food, though I’ve added a few) and it’s looking pretty nice. I even added giving blood to my list because I never have and I probably should. I don’t want to. I would rather run screaming through the streets in my underwear (I wish I could say I’ve never done this before) than have a long needle shoved in my arm but it does something valuable and I probably should do it at least once. Not this weekend though!

spinning classMy friend Taylor (who will likely be dragged to a lot of these new ‘first time’ events) and I are going to our first spinning class, as I mentioned. I wanted to go somewhere that was specifically for cycling, rather than a gym that has cycling classes. We’re checking out a place in Gaithersburg. I will have more information for you on Sunday! I fully intend on bringing a barf bag and will probably use it and I’ve pretty much accepted that. I never pictured getting excited for a class that included “free weights” as a part of the already intense spinning class. But, more on this later.

Today ended my first week of Insanity: Max 30. Now, my only past history of Insanity or any other Beachbody workout (i.e. P90X,  T25, other letter and number combinations) is one futile attempt at the original Insanity and one P90X workout that I couldn’t do properly because I didn’t have a pull up bar latched over my college apartment door. The former was the recovery workout and my little sister and her then boyfriend watched from the couch and laughed at me absolutely dying (not my prime). The latter was a genuine workout but I couldn’t do it properly because I was a.) probably closing in on 170 pounds on a 5’2″ frame that’s really not supposed to be that much and b.) I had no idea how to properly do any hardcore workout like that. I did try a Jillian Michaels video once but I distinctly remember absolutely hating it because of running man. Cheerleading, swimming, other sports that have some sort of overseer to keep me from murdering myself, etc. are the things I usually lean toward. It’s also one of the reasons I love my yoga classes so much. Little chance to majorly fuck up. But after seeing the freaking fabulous results my friend Taylor is getting from Insanity (if you’re reading this: you go girl), I kind of had to try it. If only to build up my tolerance to HIIT before going back to Soldierfit regularly so I don’t promptly puke and die. Which, knowing me, is pretty possible.

So, readers, I’m not sure how much you know or care about Insanity, but it’s two different sets of workouts for the first and second month. Each day is different, and the following month each day has the same basic idea (Monday is cardio for both months, Friday is the most brutal, etc.), but the second month is way more intense. I think I’m going to do a weekly review to check in on how I’m feeling.

The Workouts:

Monday – The cardio for some reason brutalized me. I found myself following the modifier a lot because that much jumping will straight result in me giving myself a black eye. And if you don’t know how that’s possible, you aren’t a well-endowed woman. Also reminded me to quit smokininsanity shitg for good.

Tuesday – I accidentally switched my Tabata classes. Tuesday I should’ve done Tabata Power but I did Tabata Strength, which was the harder of the two (in my opinion). The 10 second rest that tabata usually had wasn’t a rest, but a jog. Or, in floor exercises, child’s pose (so, that was sort of a rest). Brutal. Felt pretty darn sore the next day.

Wednesday – “Sweat Intervals” is the name and it didn’t lie. At all. It told the total truth. Ouch. Brutal.

Thursday – Tabata Power (what I’m supposed to do on Tuesday) was probably my favorite workout. Really challenging, a lot of push ups and tricep dips. Great ab work. I really liked this one.

Friday – “Friday Fight Night Round 1”. Holy god. Combines aspects from all of the other classes. Want to die. Had to actually pause the video once to both let my dog out and dramatically drape my body across the ottoman. Such a hard class. Great ending to the week. A lot, if not all, of these have plyometrics in them, which I kind of hate but only because I suck at it.

Overall thoughts: 

I really like it. I love that it’s a half hour long, the workouts are a nice way to burn a decent amount of calories (I’ve read it can range from 300-500 calories for someone of my general weight, depending on how hard I push) and I can fit it in before work, which
handstandmotherfuckaI appreciate. I’m really not a fan of after work exercise unless it’s running or yoga because I use those to de-stress. It’s definitely hard but I look forward to the challenge. I also bought the E&E (Energy and Endurance) pre-workout at the suggestion of my friend Taylor. I told her that I needed something to wake me up in the morning because getting up at 6 a.m. is still difficult. She raved about how well it worked and I tried it and while it tastes like lemony butthole, it definitely wakes me up. Once I’ve used it up, I’ll probably try another, but I like it a lot effect-wise. I love Shaun T though, I have no idea why. He’s just so fun. I often respond to him when he asks the camera a question (not crazy), but it’s usually full of expletives. This morning there was a “Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker why do you hate me-” rant.

I have an ab video I can do tomorrow, so I’m going to try that before I go to hot yoga. Because why not prequel a really hard workout with a really hard workout? And if you don’t think hot yoga is a hard workout, please come to Sol Yoga and have Luke as your instructor in a 90 degree room then feel free to eat your words, I’ll wait. This week also included almost two hours of aerial yoga, but I don’t want to write too much about that until next week. There will be photos and I will look like a magician.

That all being said, hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Get ready for burrito and spinning pictures. Not at the same time. Dear god not at the same time.

– a.

Ready, set…

For a really long time, I’ve been a wanderer. I meander in and out of places with no real set destination or even an idea in mind as to what I’m doing there. I’ll say that I’m committing to something only to lose interest within a month or so. This goes into every aspect of my life. Think deciding to go to bed at a decent hour every night. That didn’t last very long. Doing my hair and/or makeup every day for work? I think I lasted four days before going back to bare face. Soldierfit? I lasted two months before finding excuses. Granted, what kept me from going was a stupid fear of judgment (I last minute was unable to volunteer for an event they were holding and felt super guilty about it), but that fear turned into complacency. I go to yoga, i love yoga, but I only go sporadically. I re-commit to my blog only to let other things get in the way a few days or weeks in. Individually, none of those things are all that big of a deal, but they add up to a lifestyle I don’t enjoy for myself. I try to be accountable in other areas of my life, so why not the ones that really mean something to me? Sleep, exercise, and writing are extremely important things. Sleep is very important. Sleep is something i covet.

sleeptimeI love sleeping.

So, after I was unceremoniously dumped by the guy I was seeing for almost five months (literally just fell off the face of the earth completely out of the blue, I still don’t really get it), instead of getting mopey or sad because a boy I liked didn’t like me, I started getting this idea. It was a quite good idea. And considering the fact that I’ve already finished both Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I should be able to find some spare time. I’ve also finished The 100, Once Upon a Time, and Cosmos (again). Netflix is the devil.

Anyway, I got this idea. I’ve spent most of my adult life pretty wrapped up in guys and dating, love and the recoil of a failed relationship (though I’m usually most productive during that time). I wanted to emotionallyspend the rest of my 25th year getting to know myself and trying new things. Thus far, I’m breaking them into separate categories: Physical, Edible, Beauty, and Mental. Physical includes things like trying a spinning class, Zumba, pole dancing, acroyoga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and so forth. Edible is actually my shortest list still because I’m not sure where to look for new or out there experiences with food. I want to try an entirely raw meal (like at one of those granola restaurants), try that super poisonous if it’s not cut right blowfish, and different ethnic restaurants like That Cuban Place (that’s the real name, I swear) in downtown near my house. Beauty is an amalgamation of things like acupuncture, a full out mani/pedi (had separately but surprisingly never together), athletic massage, bikini wax (I’m not ready for this but I figure I should try it), and so on. Ziplining and skiing are also on the lists in there. I’m creating an Excel spreadsheet, I shit you not.

The point being, I want to spend the rest of my quarter life crisis exploring myself a la Eat, Pray, Love (sans trip across the woeatpraylovemindyrld because, um, I have student loans). The book, not the movie. This whole experiment started, I guess technically, yesterday. I started Insanity: Max 30. I’ve never done these sort of tapes before, at least not all the way through, so this is the beginning. And sixty days from now when I complete it my reward is that aforementioned fancy mani pedi. Or maybe a massage, eesh. It’s brutal, but I’ll get more into it at the end of my first week. This weekend, I’m going to my first spinning class. Next week holds a barre class.

Following the instruction of a blogger I love, Gretchen In-Between, I checked out Yelp’s Fit Club and will be (hopefully!) trying out a few things with that.

Have any ideas for fun, weird, or unique things I could try? Let me know! I’m pretty open-minded, and I plan on writing about all of this.

– a.

That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!

Cue Rocky Theme

So, it’s been over six months since my last post. I have no excuses, I just had preoccupations. I thought so regularly about wanting to post, even planned posts, but when it came down to actually sitting down and typing…I found myself not finding the time. Not making the time, really. A lot of things have happened for me since August 2013. I quit smoking (again) in September and have not had a cigarette for almost six months. I really committed to it this time and found a voice I had stuffed away in regards to friends smoking around me. And I quit cold turkey.

Holy crap, you guys. That wasn’t fun. Four days of bargaining, irritation, mood swings, cravings, headaches…awful. But afterward I was pleasantly surprised by how little I ever found myself craving one. And how rarely I even think about it now. It’s great.

I messed up some part of my hip/lower back (still not sure) pretty badly in August. I went to the doctor and he diagnosed it as the ever-feared “tweak of the back” that you’re always terrified of hearing. If you can’t hear my sarcasm, let me show you:

hangovergif Shortly after ‘diagnosing’ me, he made a grotesquely creepy comment about how flexible I am. Needless to say, I am never going back there ever again. Unfortunately, I still deal with almost daily pain and what could possibly be reoccurring hip dislocation…or something. I guess I’ll never know. Then, overcompensating, I pulled a muscle behind my left knee.

Basically, I haven’t been running. Or hiking. But on the plus side, I picked up hooping (yes, hula hooping) and have slowly been making progress with that. I’m still doing yoga, though admittedly, I’ve really fallen off with it recently. I used to hoop outside when the weather was nice or do yoga inside in an empty group room on my breaks at work.

Speaking of work, I no longer work at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center (!). While I wish I could have left on different terms with a few people, I have never received so much love and well wishes after leaving a job. I’ll miss my co-workers all deeply. The job itself? Not so much. Working so closely for so long in an often times thankless job is extremely draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s funny, I’d searched for a new job for six months while working there, but after I left (without a job set up), it only took me 15 days to have not one, but two job offers. I ended up taking an administrative job at a financial advising firm. Perhaps some things are just supposed to happen.

myjob

My reaction the first time sushi was presented to me for free.

I’m working much closer to home, 8:30-5 M-F, don’t have to worry about my dress clothes getting torn in a restraint, and have yet to have someone yell at me or call me a bitch…so all around positive transition. I’ve been there for almost two months now and I really like it. My co-workers are wonderful, friendly, and competent and hey…they buy me sushi. Big fan. I’m excited to see how this job progresses from here.

I’ve gotten really into meditation, some weeks more than others. But I have to tell you, it really does work wonders. I have one of those minds that runs on overdrive all of the time. As in constantly. I worry and nit pick and over-analyze. I’m super sensitive sometimes. Okay, all the time. But I’m aware of it and taking time to quiet my mind and just focus on being on a regular basis really helps to ground me. If that sounds like you, definitely try it.

Lastly, my love life. For a long time after Manthing, I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t want to, I knew it wouldn’t be healthy for me to try and get involved emotionally…or even physically. Which, if you know me, is a pretty big deal. So I worked on myself, built myself back up, swallowed the bitter pill of rejection (and then pettiness) and moved on with life. I haven’t gone back and read my last few posts yet because I don’t really need to delve back into the mind state I was in/getting through. In November, I (technically) re-met a guy from years before, who I’d known in slightly unconventional way. A while later, we started talking and it became romantic. I don’t think either of us expected it, I know I didn’t, but one day we both just dropped our walls and there the other person stood. He isn’t a Manthing, or Manfriend, or Friend-Who-I-Sleep-With-But-Don’t-Have-Set-Guidelines-With-Regarding-Our-Relationship or any other term from today’s hook up culture. He’s my, as childish as it sounds, boyfriend. Bfriend. My man. Like, whoa boy there’s a commitment there, boyfriend.

It’s not always super easy. He’s going through a lot of transitions in his life (divorce being one…never fun, always sad) and while he has a wonderful support network of friends and (most) of his family, he’s had a lot of bumps in the road. But I see this spark in his eye, this constant unwillingness to give up, and this strength of character that I have rarely seen in someone young. By young, I mean 27. He makes me laugh so hard, tests my patience (necessary), cleans up after me and let’s me clean up after him…like actual cleaning with vacuums, tells me the sweetest things all of the time (not just after we argue), and kisses me like it’s the first time every time. I’m constantly amazed by how steadfast he is, how imperfect (in a good way), how honest. I know that I am a very lucky recipient of him, all of him. And I’m very thankful. And the best part?

I didn’t lose myself. Have you ever fallen for someone (like I have before) and it’s not…really right? But you want it to be so you do everything in your power to make it right? You agree with things you disagree with, you never compromise only give in, you don’t say what’s really on your mind. You just hope that eventually, it’ll be right and you won’t have that nagging feeling that it’s not. I have felt that many times. And I stop doing everything that I love so as to make room for what ‘he’ would want me to love (aka how I feel I should change to be more worthy of someone’s love…not healthy btw!). I never once have felt that way with him.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

When I feel like I need to say something, I say it. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes he apologizes, sometimes I do, mostly we both do. I still have the solitude I need, time with my friends, hobbies I can do all on my own. And ditto right back to him. The best part? While the future, of course, looks very bright, I don’t feel like I have to focus on it. I can focus on now, today. It’s a wonderful thing.

But one of the main reasons that I found myself writing today, other than purely missing writing, sharing with others, and being a part of the blogging community, is because I fell off of the wagon. So hard. And by wagon, I mean that I’ve gained some weight. I don’t know how much, probably just enough for it to be considered new relationship weight, but I’m not okay with it. It’s not even the weight number itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I feel out of shape. I miss the way I felt when I was running and using my muscles regularly. I don’t want to be teeny tiny…at all. I want my quads back. So, back on the wagon of healthy food intake, regular exercise output, lots of picking things up and putting them down, and super dee duper accountability I go. This blog’s format won’t change much; I still like talking about things and stuff more so than online calorie counting, but a big part is going to be this transition. Which involves me admitting that I have slacked so very hard. Ice cream all the time. Chips chips chips. Everything must go…into my tummy. Immediately. While I don’t drink alcohol much anymore (byproduct of dating someone who doesn’t drink), which I’m actually a pretty big fan of, I have been consuming astonishing amounts of dairy products. Mostly cheese. And my stomach has been yelling at me so hard.

So tomorrow, I’m weighing myself. And posting it here. And going to the gym that I have been unknowingly paying $30 a month for these last three months when I thought my membership had ended and they just snuck themselves right on into my wallet. So, hello again! I’m excited to be back. Woohoo!

-a.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Why California Pizza Kitchen is a tricksy hobbitses.

Well good afternoon! You’re all looking smashing. Is that a new haircut? You look like you’ve gained some muscle tone all up in your – you know.

Great, now that we have all of the pleasantries taken care of…I have two orders of business. One relates to the title, the other relates more to the ongoings of my exciting life.

But first, California Pizza Kitchen…your frozen pizzas are TRICKSY. They are a delicious tricksy little sneaky hobbitses. At first, I pull you out of the freezer and I’m all like:

gollum

And then I plop you in the oven and bounce back and forth on my heels for 11-13 minutes. By the way, when it actually takes 13 minutes instead of 11, I feel sort of like I did when I got a B+ on a project for doing TOO MUCH of the work and not giving enough to my partner. And then you come out and you’re so hot and delicious and really hard to cut into eight pieces. And then put three pieces on a plate and fall into this sort of happy, fat, world-could-be-ending-but-I-give-no-shits trance. And then my plate’s empty and I’m not sure what’s going on because my stomach is still pretty empty. So I go back and end up eating THREE QUARTERS OF THE PIZZA. SIX PIECES OF PIZZA. So I feel guilty and I wrap up the one sad last piece (giving the other to my complaining younger brother) and put it in the fridge and walk away, justifying that they were thin pieces of pizza and it took that much to get me full and – HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST I AM FULL. Your little devil pizza when all “rice in water” on my ass and blew up in my stomach so that I am rolling all over the floor feeling like the world is actually ending and how if Brad Pitt burst in now I wouldn’t mind the zombies behind him so much. Damn you, California Pizza Kitchen. Your thin little wafer slices tricked me.

So that happened about 20 minutes ago. And is, sadly enough, the precipitating event for me writing this post. But I did want to actually say what had been going on in my life because it does involve relationships. And normally I wouldn’t share specific details, especially because they aren’t positive aspects of my life (things I like to share), on here but…sometimes I feel like one of the only single bloggers out there. Most blogs I follow are of women either married, engaged, or in healthy (mostly) happy relationships. I’d just like to say to you single folk: you aren’t the only ones. And if you are struggling with being single or being in a rocky relationships or pseud0-relationship or WHATEVER that was, you aren’t alone. What you’re feeling is often times normal. And it’ll get better. But life in general was hard for me for a while, I mentioned it last time I wrote. Luckily, I’m doing better enough now to feel comfortable reflecting on it. I will also be using references from Bridesmaids to illustrate my points.

sssshit

There was a large combination of factors and a lot of people noticed that I was struggling (including my boss and my boss’s boss and patients and my parents and all of my friends…apparently I wear my emotions on my sleeve I CAN’T TELL). I wish I could tell you that I had a stiff upper lip and dealt with things in any sort of quick or mature manner but who are we kidding here? I got ‘dumped’ (if a Manthing can actually officially dump you, anyway) in a very much so disrespectful way. Said Manthing then moved on to another girl, who I have a feeling he will be doing the same thing over with.

I’d again like to say that I was a total adult about my feelings and handled everything in a smart, healthy way but that didn’t happen. I cried every day for two weeks, probably because this was the first time I had ever had someone dump me as an adult. Wow, that sounds stupid conceited and I don’t mean it that way. I just haven’t really been in more three serious relationship or relationship-y situations as an adult. fuckingkiddingme

So, when it came down to it, I could have continued crying all the time, wondering what I did wrong, hating him, hating her, hating EVERYTHING, wanting to throw things, and giving myself what is probably a stress fracture from running so much…or I could just accept it and try to move on. After a month or so, being sad, angry, spiteful, jealous, and confused were just too heavy. I could be a heinous bitch to him and his Womanthing every time I saw them, but what good would that do? Who would that help? And, this is a big one, why should I want to be with a guy who doesn’t respect me? Did having to avoid watching them make out the entirety of the Fourth of July become tiresome and irritating? Sure it did, I am an emotional person and there’s still (dare I say it) love for him there that feels hurt by the change. But was I going to huff and puff and bitch and make snarky comments and noises every time one of them walked by? No! What’s the point?

bridesmaidsA part of me still hurts but I am no longer hurting. Over the past month, I started actually feeling like myself again. I think I mentioned before but it wasn’t just the ‘break up’ that had me out of sorts. I’d been feeling not like myself for a while, struggling and confused with my own life path. I’m not sure, honestly, what I did to truly get back on track. I guess a lot of the coaching I do at work rubbed off. I know all of the coping skills one can use to help with depression, anxiety, or anger. Yeah, I totally did scream “GODDAMNIT IT” in my car once, and it felt super duper good. I’ve read about 40 books in the past two months, no exaggeration, and made a few grumpy statuses on Facebook waxing poetic about love (or whatever). Granted, I was also hit on by a scary number of guys right afterward. It’s like men smell vulnerability. But I’m not interested. I’m haven’t actively pursued any relationship, sexual or otherwise, since then (TMI? maybeee). I know rebound potential when I see it and I’m not putting myself or another, well meaning person through that.

Long story short? Break ups are hard. People can be dicks. None of it is worth losing your self-love, dignity, or world view over. Sure it’s fun to shit talk sometimes, sometimes it’s straight up healthy to vent. Being that I’d avoided getting close with men since I ended my last long-term relationship a few years ago, having this happen when I was relatively happy really sucked. It sucked a whole bunch. It still kind of sucks. I’m not used to it. But I’ll get over it. Funnily enough, from those first days when I was unable to stop crying even as I was walking to my car to go to work (also, I cry a lot), I always knew I’d get over it and move past it. And I am. Even when I’m feeling lonely, denial was pointless, sadness is exhausting, anger is boring, bargaining is useless, holding on is endless, so I might as well accept it. Are there still a million and one things I’d like to say to him? Of course there are. Will I ever? No. And that’s okay.

– a.

Cheers, world.

Cheers, world.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I may have borrowed the title from a WordPress daily prompt. That may be the point. This prompt was actually from a few days ago, but I read it and wanted to comment upon it. A while ago, I had said that I was going to talk about how I quit smoking back in May after almost seven years of smoking. I never got around to it, but today I am.

In an effort to be as cool as possible, I began smoking in 11th grade when I was sixteen. I could ponder on the “why” questions forever but I think it was a combination of curiosity and my ex-boyfriend smoked so I’d be around it and became used to it. Now, I grew up in a non-smoking family, for which I’m thankful. If I hadn’t, I probably would never have been able to quit. The first few times I smoked a cigarette, I did it all sorts of wrong. I didn’t get the point, just that the smell reminded me of my ex and boy did I feel cool (honestly). Then a friend showed me the proper way to smoke and off I went. In high school, it was a few a day. I remember smoking in my car after swim practice. Now, I could shake that person and hit her with a carton of cigarettes. Smoking is probably half the reason I quit the track team my senior year. Now, I had never been on it before, but I joined thinking that I could lose the few last pounds I glared at in high school, but quit after a few weeks. The other 50% of my reasoning was that I was so not a runner. Irony of ironies, that’s my favorite form of exercise now.

In college, I switched to menthol cigarettes and smoking half a pack a day. It became more difficult to only smoke once in a blue moon when I was surrounded by it on campus, at parties, even in front of my dorm. As someone with a history of seriously low self esteem and occasional bouts of overbearing social anxiety, I felt that smokers welcomed me. I had almost a ‘club’. Believe me, I know how this sounds now. But it’s the only way I can describe it.

smoking

Found this on my myspace – don’t ask me how long it took me to find my myspace. Sixteen, so cool

It’s not that I’m damning smoking, at all. Most of my friends still smoke, at least on occasion. But when I was sixteen really learning what a nicotine buzz was (so thaaaat was the point!), I told myself that I would quit by the time I graduated from college. That always stuck with me. I didn’t want to be a lifetime smoker. Deep down, the D.A.R.E. stuff stuck with me; my parents warnings about cardiovascular health when I was eighteen stuck with me. I tried to quit freshman year and didn’t smoke for two months. Actually picked up running then too (on ice, almost died, it was fabulous). But come finals week, I was super stressed and fell back into it. I played it off two different ways for years afterward: 1. I love smoking, I’m not quitting until I don’t like doing it anymore and 2. Oh, I need to quit. It’s just getting around to it that I’m fighting. I never actually admitted that it would probably be hard. I knew that quitting was going to be rough, that I wasn’t sure how to handle being around a lot of my friends. So, I used that fear and fed upon it and just kept on smoking, wasting money. There was one time, my freshman year, that I was completely broke and craving a cigarette so badly I was losing my ability to function as a human being (i.e. yelling at everybody). My boyfriend at the time drove all the way up to Shippensburg to drop off two packs of cigarettes for me. I should have known then, I should have made the change then. But I didn’t.

My last year of college, I quit again for two months in November. But, I damned myself. I liked a guy that smoked and also happened to be a bit of a prick. We had a habit of meeting up after I got out of work and sitting in his car, listening to his iPod and joking around for hours. This guy would tempt me with cigarettes, waving them in my face and trying to convince me to smoke. I remember telling my co-worker Greg about it and he, a smoker himself, screwed his face up and said, “Wow, that’s a dick move. He’s an asshole.” And I denied it! I was so motivated to quit, I’d switched to the electronic cigarette and was only smoking that when I needed it. I was so pro quitting that I practically had balloons following me around with Surgeon General’s facts. But the one thing I didn’t give up was that time with the guy. I’ve said it before, I’ve been hopeless when I have feelings for a guy. Just, don’t even try to convince me that something other than sunshine and joy comes out of his butt.

Needless to say, I ended up smoking. At first, it was only one or two with him, then eventually I just started buying my own packs. Say farewell, lifestyle change! And on it went until graduation.

By graduation last May, I had a serious, begrudging, yet honest talk with myself. I didn’t like smoking anymore. I hadn’t for a very long time. It gave me a headache, I hated the smell, I felt gross when I smoked, it was a waste of money, who knows what I was doing to my body, and who did I have to prove anything to anymore? I remembered that promise that my sixteen-year-old self had made. So, after graduation, I began the process of quitting again. This time, my motivation wasn’t the through the roof, bouncing off the walls, “YAY FOR NOT SMOKING” banners and whistles I’d had before. It was a quiet realization: I had to quit. It was time. I needed to, if not wanted to.

So this is, getting to the crux of the matter, what I did: I cut down to two a day for a week if I wanted them. I bought a “last pack” that would keep me for the end of my smoking days. I blew through most of it during an alcohol-fueled Memorial Day campout at my friend and former roommate’s house. But that was okay, it was almost a last hurrah – which is not something I suggest, it just worked for me. I went to the beach the next morning with another friend that, while she smoked, promoted my quitting. She held on to my pack the night before and the trip. I smoked one cigarette on the six-hour trip down (impressive for me, a notorious car smoker), then only once a day the entire trip. Honestly, it was probably easier because I had things like the beach to distract me (though the alcohol did not!). After coming home, it was cold turkey time. I stopped, no electronic cigarette this time. I’d used that as a crutch, like an addict could use methadone. It didn’t actually help, just perpetuated the need and the habit.

I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. I stayed in a lot, asked friends if we could go to bars or other places that didn’t allow smoking inside – a lot of Shippensburg bars allow it – and let myself walk away when I wanted one. It stunk that I worked in a facility that I had to go out with patients for their smoke breaks, but secondhand smoke has always grossed me out so if anything, it helped me not want to smoke. So I didn’t smoke a single cigarette for over six months afterwards, beating my two month curse.

I’d like to say that I never smoked again, but I have when a few sheets past tipsy. It’s a combination of my lowered inhibitions and others offering me them. Not that I blame them, at all, but it doesn’t help my willpower. Luckily, that’s only happened a few times. I try not to beat myself up over it, remind myself that what’s most important is that next morning, I don’t do it again. And I don’t. The craving is gone. The urge is gone. Even drunk, I’m doing a lot better. It helps that the guy I ‘go out’ with, while he smokes, doesn’t like me smoking. You’d think that would be hypocritical, but I love it. I love when people promote it. My parents are happy, happier than I think they’ll tell me, my family for the most part is proud, my friends (especially the non-smokers!) are excited for me, and I’m proud. I’m proud of myself.

So what does this have to do with the writing prompt? The prompt itself asked how you deal with big changes. To be honest, I’m great at adapting. It’s how I ignore great pain, deal with break ups, and deal with life. I focus on it, look for a solution, and if I can’t find one, I let go of the worry. Don’t get me wrong, I worry a lot. But it’s about different things! Great reasoning, self. I found, that when it comes to me, a little preparation goes a very long way. And that’s how I deal with changes – I’m proactive.

 

 

Food/Exercise

I’m actually waiting for my phone to charge so that I can go running. I have to tell you though, I look fantastic – I’m all mismatched shades of neon yellow and pink. Adorable. I’m going to run at least a mile and a half. I need to start working it up to two miles again soon. I just wish it would get warm out!

Brefiss

This morning for breakfast I toasted a “Nature’s Own” sandwich round (100 calories for the whole shebang!) with a piece of provologne and topped it with scrambled eggs that were three parts egg white, 1 part yolk (seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, basil, and tobasco), arugula, and tomato. I put the other tomato slices on the side for fun. I also had a delicious orange and yogi tea. I’m not sure what I’m having for lunch, but dinner with likely be a lean cuisine. I’ve had this for breakfast a few times now, and I love it. So good, so filling.

I’m going to try my hand at overnight oats tonight. Wish me luck!

What is your favorite breakfast food?

How do you deal with big changes in your life?

 

Happy Thursday!

– a.