Habitland: Day 36

Start early. Get the window rocking in its pane, just ever so slightly, so you can pop through it when you must.

I would like to write on what I would like to write on. Just mark it down under the long, long, interminable list of things that are out of my hands.

Lunch today was bacon-wrapped meatloaf and a salad which I definitely need to make some time next week for myself. That could make a good number of meals. Alexa, I would say, if my electronic overlord had access to me here, remember the meatloaf. I’d also have more control over the random wheat carbs that were in it because it’s institutional meatloaf and institutional mushroom gravy and everything needs a little sawdust to puff it up for another 100 mouths. It’s a good idea.
There’s something nice, settling, relaxing, protective about the realization that it doesn’t really matter in the end if I do low-carb, or low-cal, or keto, or some pickle soup diet. It is never about the exact restrictions or the exact ideology or scientific benefit. What matters is that I feel it working and I stoke that feeling and that belief and that discipline long enough to see a difference. Then, I’m standing with enough elevation to decide something. From down here, from the place of the same 5-20 lbs, nothing really changes or hooks. The habit is simply a habit. But you can’t get to the whole “lifestyle change” garbage/personal heaven without passing through habitland. You have to walk in the direction of your dream, regardless of how you’re thinking about it, so the muscle memory.
So I don’t want to frighten anyone, but my goal, I think is to change enough to frighten people. Not in terms of being unhealthy looking, not in terms of having so much control over this that I lose control and become mostly skin and bones.  A walking sack.  No, that’s not the vision at all.  The goal is to make people realize how much I can do when I settle in and dig down and put my mind to it.  To make the discipline that dances in and out of my life so permanent, so powerful, that I can’t be seen as I was before.  That I get all the power and praise that comes from effectuating that level of change.
That I get that moment where everyone understands an inside the same as an outside.
Fuck, it feels very trite, save for the fact that when you haven’t had a moment like this, ever…and you’ve lived through eons of cycles pretending you don’t mind, you don’t care, you can be ignored and forgotten and made to be secret and unnamed…maybe I need to accept what my trigger actually is. What actually motivates me rather than what is supposed to.  Good health, body security, ability to not get fluttery over hills.  Yes, to all of that.
But maybe part of good health is a good body image. And maybe a good body image can happen when you accept that you have a body – one you want to carry your skull around and show off your genius.  Maybe having someone tell you something good might interrupt the sonic shell of bad news.  Maybe it’s alright to feel like you could get a compliment and it wouldn’t be about anything more than that.
Maybe!

Bonsoir Lune

it-s-a-happy-world-1194421-639x852It is quite a thing for a girl in my position to overdose on the taffeta and organza orgiastic nightmare that is Say Yes to the Dress.  Its delusion and its wastefulness and its unbearable brides insisting that a 10,000 dress rather than a 1000 dress or a 100 dress is going to ultimately make a difference beyond the comfort level of an ego on a single day of a single life.

And perhaps, in this unknown world onto which I peer, the difference exists and is palpable.  From the screen, though, it is just Veruca after Veruca, even the modest ones are Verucas demanding spotlights for no other reason than to insist that the world kowtow to the fact that they have committed to a relationship.

Is that raw bitterness spewing onto the page tonight?  I feel like I have spent hour upon hour with women who can’t shop where I work until they lose twenty lbs and announce that fact when they leave as if to make sure we know that they know that we know. Women who can’t wear things their husbands don’t like.  Women who can’t walk around in a piece of fabric because they’re a certain age.  Women who hate the fuck out of themselves in a public, pleasant, social sort of way.

All the time at the shop, I walk around in an ill-fitting costume, tits akimbo, blobbo-arms bare to the shoulder, feeling alright about it.  Or mostly alright until I get two or three of slender, stylish ladies in a row who savage themselves and suddenly, I pass by one of our countless full-length mirrors (I don’t keep such a weapon of mass destruction in my house) and yeah, okay, I need to lose twenty pounds to work at this store.  To live my life.  To not die alone.  To breathe another breath.  But then I breathe another breath and I look at myself and I say, okay.  Maybe you need that, but you have to finish this shift.  And I finish the shift and come here thinking about how penny-ante and asinine my worries are with what’s going on with my mom, my country, my world.

But still.  In my country, the thought is not obliterated.  The endless ache of less than remains. And I do, tonight, in this hot, dark space, feel the absence of a thing I desire.  A hope I want to cling to.  What I have to cling to is letting me slide down into places I don’t care to be.

You have not replied, you have not restarted our…liaison. This is okay.  This is not okay.  This is what is.  This could be the thing that saves my bacon.  Saves me from refreshing a webpage every two minutes for the rest of my life.  Eventually.  It is fine.  I like the tenterhooks, except, of course, when I want to throw the whole laptop through a wall and let me go with it.

I have therapy in a few days, therapy that I can hardly afford anymore, but by law have to keep paying the insurance for (I love you, Obama and having this insurance will be important when they discover all the sicknesses I am surely riddled with) and I am already half-deciding not to mention all of this.  It’s not real and I know that.  That it’s already a giant leap over a chasm I may or may not be able to ford seems less important than the fact that I have no say or agency or actual embodied experience of you.

Really, what I want and need to say is that I am ready to do the work.  All of the work in all of the ways that it is.

Creative Non-Fiction

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I did not buy the shiny necklace.  Even though I get a special and impressive discount on jewelry.  Even though it shines at least five colors depending on what direction you tilt it.  Even though I could hardly pull my eyes away from it.

The thing I didn’t count on about working at a woman’s clothing boutique – even casually, even as I am attempting to work and not absorb anything –  is how fiercely and immediately it would force me to confront my own body issues.

It is, apparently, a staff activity to peruse the racks and try things on and model for the rest.   These are all supportive, experienced women who know how to provide gentle and helpful feedback and not just nod their heads and say great.  Or the  alternative…a hyper and upsetting “Take that off right now!”  They’re good at this and I want to play along.  I don’t want to be a tall poppy.  I thought I looked tolerable in what I was wearing, but I got five or six things and put them on and thought…oh, dear.  Like.  I am unhappy and if I think about this, I will get real unhappy and the whole goal of this is to get women in this satin curtained dressing room to feel relaxed and positive so they’ll buy $400 dollars worth of clothing, as one woman did today.

But already I can’t be spending as much as I make in a day to buy things right now.  The other women who work there are married.  Some with children my age.  They have discretionary funds to keep themselves in kit and keep up with trends.  They can giddily assess each shipment and take home treasures as soon as they’re put on sale. If things had progressed as I had intended, well, I’d be much more able to shop freely.  Though, if things had progressed as intended, I probably wouldn’t have thought about coming back to this town to shop.

Suddenly, inside that dressing room, nothing looked right.  My body, the body of defeat, in that full-length mirror seemed to justify every frustration, every piece of that of outsider identity I’ve ever clung to.  I’ve had minor meltdowns in dressing rooms before.  I’ve felt physical torture in them.  And I could certainly fit into the clothes I picked out.  I can only imagine if that wasn’t always possible.  Not that I think my complaints are unique or particularly worthy of explicating in long form, I just…felt like real gross, real hot shit.

Still.  I strolled out, finally, at their request in a couple skirts, feeling like this bloated, monstrous version of myself.  I went a mile a minute in my brain about how fraudulent this whole caper had become.  I…me…am supposed to advise stylish women on what to put on their body.  I who have never felt confident for a full day in my own skin?  They were, as expected, kind about it.  Unbothered.  They look at and now I, too, look at bodies all day long.  I started blabbing about foundational garments.  Silly, but I wanted to somehow reflect what I assumed they were thinking, to say, in some way, I know, I know…and I wouldn’t just walk around thinking I was okay.  Which, sheesh.  It’s an exhausting way to exist in the world.  Constantly self-abnegating before anyone can even have a negative breath in your direction.

But then, I tried some dresses and even me being me, I thought that they looked nice.  They were really comfortable.  I only wore one out.  I can’t buy them just yet, but maybe I will eventually. It just doesn’t…delight me to try on clothes.  I’ve owned barbie dolls, and dressing them up was a chore.  I don’t, though my earnest heart has tried to convince me otherwise, really give all that much of a shit what people choose to wear.

It’s only a single summer.  It’s just a stopgap measure.  I am writing.  I am starting again.  This is the story I tell.  This is the story that has to be true.

Never Fear

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Things to say in half an hour when your nails might still be wet.

So.  This sort of didn’t go as planned.  I sort of wigged out.  Sort of.  It wasn’t a fair wig-out.  But then, none of this was fair.  I tried to buy another dress and, did, eventually buy another dress, but it took a lot of walking down aisles and contemplating and thinking and then the idea of foundation garments came into the discussion and bras and I bought a dress thinking that it would work and now, having obviously not tried any of these things on,  I hate all of them.  Run-on sentence hilarity.

I was, in the midst of realizing I couldn’t make this decision, hating myself more profoundly and with greater fervor than has been the case in years.  Millenia.  Perhaps longer.  I couldn’t believe that with all of the dieting I’ve done in this time span, that my body looks like it does.  Even the rational parts of my mind were willing to join the chorus.  Everything looks awful, I felt like a makeup-less failure and all of this exists the day before this important date – meeting – coffee thing and there is nothing I can do except try to cover it up.  It just felt like this hamster wheel of anger and upset and worry started spinning full bore until finally, as I wondered whether or not to buy a forty dollar purse I thought was ugly but would match this dress I just barely tolerate, and I said, stop it.  There is nothing you can do.  You can go to this date and be nice.  Do your makeup, your hair, do the best you can and be okay.

So I gathered up this dress, this bra, this high-waisted pair of underwear, frazzled and irritated that it was already nearly nine and I had to find a way to get settled and ready for sleep and I could think of a thousand missions to be done for self-improvement.  Next to the register I spotted a book for children on display called “Do You See a Whale?”  which I thought, Jesus, okay, brain, leave me alone.  What was far worse, infinitely worse, was that the cashier knew my older sister, but didn’t know me and mistook me for her mother.

I.

When I’m already feeling like a freak and a failure and a lunatic and an exhausted, frightened thing, that was the best fucking cap to the evening.

But here I am, in bed, nails painted, hair washed, a dress picked out that I like even if I am still in convulsions over the fact that my body will be noted, inescapably noted tomorrow and I am embarrassed and regretful and yet, I suppose I should be grateful that such a body will make any ambivalence I have about the date an entirely moot point.

Still, he wrote me.  I am now in possession of his phone number.  He is really excited about the catastrophe which is to befall him in the morning.  I spoke with my aunt and she said kind things I can’t believe.

All I am doing is staying on the road, all I am doing is understanding that the car can’t stop right here, I just have to keep going.

A Creature I Know: Day One Hundred Fifty-Four

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I’m a little bit cooked by the sun after my volunteer work slinging beer today.

I’m working on my outline and trying to grasp what exactly everyone else will read into these wild plot points.

Mainlining Law and Order: CI.  All Goren episodes, which is fine, just not my bread and butter.  Mmm, bread.  Damnit.  I should be completely indifferent to the power of bread at this point and I feel like I’d eat cardboard at the moment if you put some sugar on it.

I’m not, I just feel like it!

It’s been a good day, though I don’t know if today’s dicking around the gray frame of this white page is going to reflect that.  I’m hungry and I’m sure it’s because of something I ate and I’m worrying about the diet and my body and my face.  Worry isn’t the right word, I’m just walking the well-trod path of self-criticism.   I washed my hair this morning, no big thing.  Put on some makeup, not noteworthy, really.  Drove myself to work – that does happen on a regular basis.  But what was sort of remarkable was going into the bathroom and taking a look in the mirror and thinking I looked alright.  I thought I looked cute.  Likeable with my hair in a side ponytail and my eyes lively and I felt like smiling, though with teeth it was a bit garish, so just a smile and I pulled out the phone and took a picture.  I didn’t go back and review it, just carried on with my weaksauce weekend working.  Eventually, I ran around a bit frayed as I hurried to get keto-riffic cobb salad from Snarf’s and ate it in my car (as much as I could before my volunteer shift started).  It was so delicious.  I have to tell you, I just could salivate over it right now.   Then, on with three hours of sitting in the hot sun, under an umbrella that apparently was angled so I didn’t get any coverage at all based on the fact that I now look and feel like a lobster.  But there was music (including multiple appearances of a banjo, which me and my pants responded quite well to, and it was an easy job I could do without thought.  So I put on my sunglasses and thought I surely was still looking good.

I look at those photos now and I see age, a big blemish, a still present double chin.  I can’t share that picture, make it my new profile picture on various social media situations, I thought.  They will focus on the imperfect and they’ll figure out what I am…unacceptable, and worse yet, for being earnest, for trying.   To think that anything about myself is worthy of photographing.

And then, in the end, fuck it.  I would really like to opt out of it.  Like the panic, I’d love to just do what I can do in maybe ten times out of a hundred and just think myself out of it. I mean, that’s a lot of bullshit to think about yourself.  So then, I said, I have to post it.

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Beauty Bar: Day One Hundred Twenty-Nine

749045_97677585So here’s an enormous topic to tackle tonight.  Body image.  Or, I guess, the absence of one.

At last night’s event, new boss took a ton of pictures, including one of me sitting at the ticket desk and sent them over this morning where I dutifully updated our facebook page with an album of them.  I hesitated over posting mine with the rest, eventually deciding that nobody would even look at these photos, and added mine to album.  This, I did not realize, as the last photo posted, meant that my mug would be on our company’s main page as the photo header.  I’m sure there’s something to be done about that, if only via uploading another photo of anything, but I have to be alerted to the fact that I feel pretty intense about getting it off of there.

But life is busy, busy to the point of insanity, y’know, and I didn’t and haven’t gotten back to doing anything about it.

Now everyone is telling me it’s such a nice picture of me and liking it (not everyone, not like it’s gone viral or anything), but people are walking into my office and telling me it’s a nice picture, people who don’t even follow our page and I look at it and I feel…so….I feel like it’s NOT a nice picture and it shouldn’t even…register on anyone’s eyeballs.  I look at it and I see flaws, I see, this lumpy placidness that overtakes me at any work function and I want to disown.  I see the reason I’ve always been passed over.   To me, when someone tells me it’s a nice picture, or beautiful, my immediate reaction, without filter, is that they’re lying.

And I reblog and laud and cheer all of these pro-beauty is whatever it is campaigns.

Somehow, I am the exception to the rule.

I can do something about it, I guess.  I mean, I know I can, it’s just am I willing?  I’ve been exercising for a week doing 30 minutes a day.  I know it would matter more if I wasn’t also eating cream puffs and hamburgers.  I have been thinking if I could just do it between now and Italy in October, take whatever results from that and decide if low-carb/dieting is worth it or if I should just fucking give up the ghost.  That’s more drastic than I mean, I just feel very…but at the same time, it’s always going to be my marginal face.  I don’t even want to get into the inert space that is where I keep my feelings for how I present myself in the world lately.  I don’t think I could get out of that vacuum if I let myself get sucked up.

Here’s what’s what: There was this outlandishly strong hailstorm that seemed like it was going to shatter our skylights, then I dropped my phone and my 9pm coffee all over my lap,  I drank my mother’s idea of a margarita which is a glass of limey tasting tequila, I missed out on the funeral of one of our dear volunteers because we didn’t have anyone to watch the shop, and tomorrow, and I thought about what might have been so hard I opened my eyes and was confused he wasn’t there.

 

 

At the Mulberry Inn

I come to you a strange creature, having exercised a bit, creative thoughts a’whirring, good news on the horizon, a bit of autonomy available to me, and my reproductive organs absorbing the dangerous death-rays that only wifi can provide.

(I was literally told today to stay out of the park, where the Public wifi is strong because I am young and of childbearing age.)

I think Mr. Ted Dwane had it completely right…if your mood is off, go out and get some exercise and fresh air before putting it down to anything else.  For me, also get some food in you.

CitO asks me this:

On a scale of 0 to 10, 0 meaning that absolutely no part of you believes you can or ever will have love in your life, and 10 meaning that you absolutely know for sure in your heart that you will, where are you?

I was thinking about this yesterday, a day that was fine, and good just as today was and I thought that I sit at about a 2.  An honest 2.  Maybe I might strain to 2.5 if something obscure and unforeseeable occurred.

I think today is a three and my reasons for upticking the rating are not incredibly profound, but they feel worthy.

I’ve lost a certain amount of weight, no, not yet of note to post here, not yet cemented in the have lost and it won’t find me when I turn the corner category, but the scale took another pound away this morning.  I was talking to my older sister about this, griping a bit about my mother and her experiences with weight loss versus our own and how she didn’t get it and it wasn’t about numbers.  I confess a measured delight when I saw the new number.  I kept my head, of course, and can only attribute that to the actual exercise we got yesterday while talking…but progress.  Progress is kinda sexy, you know?  Moving forward instead of being stuck in the same old sucky morass, being at the very least capable of falling off a log.

And then I put on a dress and did my makeup and hair.  The dress that I think looks kind of retro and pretty and the half-committed victory rolls, and murky cats-eye eyeliner that looks looked like it was drawn on by an epileptic child so that I felt kind of Mad Men, askew.

I got a compliment today.  Compliments, in fact.

A peer commented on my hair.  Then, the guy upstairs, the kind, funny, bit odd-looking in a handsome way, though quite married, and excessively tall (marks against his character of equal complaint) wanted to know why I was all dressed up.   I said, without thought, Laundry Day.  He said, my laundry days I end up looking worse, but you look good.  Really nice, he said.  Before bounding out the door as is his general gait.

That took me a bit off-guard, made me smile, that I was seen.  Not for me, not for things that matter in the long run, but I could make a dent in someone’s daily haze.

So it felt like, yeah, maybe a boy could, not that he would, not that I’d allow it or he’d feel motivated past looking, but maybe a boy could look at me and feel…I don’t know, something?

And if he could feel something, I don’t know, I could get drunk and be bored and curious and forget my limbs and affectations, and maybe feel something back.

And maybe, stars aligning, heavens opening up, Jesus, one of us would be brave enough to tell the other.

Through an oily, gauzy film, I view this and I allow that this may happen in my lifetime, but I’m certainly not playing the odds on it.