Merry as a Grig

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I know I need to write on the novel.  I do, I do, I do, or at the very least start editing a few other things, having some word fun.  The Faithful Light (i.e. the very cleverest, most loyal part of my inner eye that watches all and guides towards higher ground) said today that it is only doing the work that will save you, not the dreaming of doing the work.

So I heard her, but I have applied it in a different arena today and have tracked food, eaten a little that felt like a lot (still have room for some ice cream, caffeinated ice cream which I don’t need), and have done a little in-home cardio for 30 minutes rather than the baseline 10.  Also, it appears that I have nearly (.8) lost the first pound of the however many I end up losing and leaving lost.  Almost wish it was frameable and could be stuck on the wall to remind me.

But it’s not even a whole dollar’s worth of a pound yet.  And who can say what my body will do as I collar it and yank it around the exercise pen.  There’s always push-back.  There’s always stress headaches and skipping food and long days rather than three day weekends and food cooked for you to fuck it up.  It will happen.  But today, today was grand for its clarity.  Also washed all the pots and pans and watched a bit of The Tribe, so I feel well sated for intentional living.

As shitty as yesterday was, we boomerang around to feeling alright.  Thinking about my birthday coming up.  Happy about it, actually, because I’m both working on myself so I’m not Queen of the Slugs, and because I’m free to enjoy it.  Actually enjoy it and not have to consider how much I have to pinch and cut to make it “justified,” or insisting that I was going to throw caution to the wind and just gorge myself.  Now, it’s just going to be a nice day and I’ll read on it and write on it and dance on it and sing on it and possibly cry and mope on it and it won’t be catastrophe.

So long as I get my dutch oven.



+300 story words.


Punky Brewster

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Feelin’ kind of punky tonight.   I have lost 0 weight this first week.  In so doing, I have failed nothing.  I want to lose it as a concept a few percentage points more now, just organically, by keeping up these habits and knowing I have more effort left in store to give this.

Went to the Texas Roadhouse and did mostly as was intended, mostly.   That fucking bottomless bread that has some sort of hidden sweetness in it that I don’t even like.  It was really nice, though, that we were all able to talk like a human family together.  A bit irritable about something work-related (on a Saturday, too!) that is not immediately resolvable (is this a word?), and feeling just funny and punky and lonely and weird.   Writing things other than this really poorly, but enjoying the fact that I can do it even when the Crone and all her nodding retinue swears that I can’t.  That I’m blocked and locked up and don’t know my characters, when I do.  Bitches, I know them so terribly well they’ve been tattooed on me for aeons.

I am caught up on A Chef’s Life.  Tomorrow: soup.   I continue to read my third book of the year (happens to be Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – feel a bit like someone distilled my most optimistic, empathetic, romantic regards for writing and I’m not sure if I taste the saccharine in it or if I’m just being a punk.   Have had some positive self-thoughts today, tried to be sarcastic, but this time the disingenuity was wholly on the part of the jerkface parts of me.  I kept thinking nice things.  I should stop before I end up believing them.

Figuring out that as soon as I want something to happen and I stop with my bullshit and get after it, I can have it.  It is basically tantamount to just needing to turn my head to the left.  Not even figuring that out, I know that much, just realizing the whole fucking psychological ping pong game my life is. Yearning being slapped back by vulnerability being slapped back by over-defensiveness being slapped back by desire being backhanded by shame.  Can we just sit still a moment, please?  One person, under her own power, indivisible.

Tonight’s soundtrack:


+300 story words.

That’s Pretty Dang Good

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Strange how even making tiny life changes does sort of give you a bit of a hangover.  I didn’t drink at New Year’s this Year and today I feel like I blacked out – possibly for the past 10 days.  A head and neckache to beat the band. Strawberry red in the face for no apparent reason.  Precious.

Melodramatic? Yes.  True…eh, possibly?

Today has been a mentally manic sort of day. Reliving the halcyon days of watching Radio Free Roscoe live, thinking about how much I love Loreena McKennitt, continuing to play an excessive amount of Sims 3, needing to play Dragon Age and allowing lovely shippy, spoilery YouTube videos to suffice, put my can on the seat for 10 minutes on the bike that I am going to have to work hard to not allow to keep me up all night (last night, I must report, went really poorly as a result and I gotta be doing this earlier – I thought it was cool, but it wasn’t, omg, it wasn’t), laid down on the floor and did 10 situps despite reading some new report that suggests they are destroying your body, logging my embarrassing food choices on MyFitnessPal, getting a delightful shitton of information and recipes for my new food processor including stir-fried grated sweet potatoes, working hard and enjoying working hard on good ol’ Bookerie McBooken, finally turning the phone back on and hearing from the boss and not learning that the sky has fallen.  Maybe it has, but we don’t have to do that whole stressing so hard we practically bite our tongue off when we sleep thing anymore.  At least not tonight.  We have two more sleeps till Reality Bites and instead of hunkering down, I’m enjoying who I am right now, outside of all of that.

Things are happening, but it’s not all the things.  It doesn’t have to be ALL THE THINGS.  I can’t be.  I feel the desire to do more than I am doing which is such a nicer feeling than constantly being let down by not being able to all or nothing my life.  You are not a letdown when you’re imperfect, you’re dead-on human and you’re worth recognizing for turning up.

People laugh at that, but it’s one of those laughs where you respond because it touches truth.

+139 random story words from editing and futzing on the novel.

The Human Offering: Day Two Hundred Sixty-Five

199742_8678If I do this, my dears and darlings, if I can turn my brain on for just a minute or two.

Tomorrow: yes.   You’ll get my report of my survival and how many inches I’ve grown up on the scale of human experience.  I have my letter to print.  I honestly, honestly, even though I have page after page of 500 word entries documenting this time span between when my sister first informed me of the possibility of this job to my acceptance, can’t believe I’m doing this.  Eight years of nights (intermittently, every now and then) of sitting it the dark, thinking, help me, Jesus.  Or help me, me.  Or help me, whatever is up there and meting out my fate.  And now here we are, saying that the fate is changed.  Something has stolen that fate away and it wasn’t me.  Not that I’m trying to trumpet the Secret or the power of positive thinking, but it wasn’t anything beyond letting myself think that maybe, maybe, even if it’s not okay to go, I need to go and I’m leaving anyway.

Like maybe the path to okay is through this.

And it’s not like I’m worried about being let go on the spot or being ill-treated as a result of doing it.  It’s just that moment of discomfort I’d be causing before understanding, before the mask of corporate analysis and acceptance slides on my boss’ face.  It’s one of those situations that calls for 10-15 seconds of overwhelming courage and then you’re fine.

Other things, other current events…

This change is sort of kickstarting a bit of creativity.  I’m hoping to change a little bit myself.  Get a few outstanding tasks dealt with – mainly getting the washing machine fixed.  It will get me back on track with handling the Great Clothes Dunes that build every few months in my room and I have to believe they’re at their apex right now because otherwise, the Hoarders people will be rapping at the door.  No.  It’s not that bad, it’s just, if I don’t start giving a shit, foreseeable that it could go that way.  Mainly, I want the mental peace.

I have been thinking about January 2015.  The new job will mean that I will have some extra downtime during the holidays (oh, my goodness!) and I have been thinking about diet, of course, but also, I need to read more.  I am keenly aware that my linguistic ability has been eroded since I’ve left college (oh, eight years ago) and the only way to really help my writing is to read.  So I’m wondering if I can commit to reading a book every two weeks.  I’d like to suggest a book a week, but I think that’s just unlikely.  Though I thought a post a day was incredibly ambitious and it happened because I made it happen.  So.  That idea’s floating out there.

Also, today, saw my cousins, aunts, and other relatives.  All of them were supportive, and told me with rather objectivist, though kindly meant, tones, to take care of myself.

I mean to, in every which way I can.

The Scent of Almonds, Elba: Day Two Hundred Fifty-Six

749044_46713374Cold house. I think the thermostat is reading around 63, maybe 62.

There is a cat curled on my feet, though, so that helps.

I am eating in proportion to my stress which at this point means its hard for me to stop eating.  It is, right now, a tool for distraction, a crutch I’m leaning on in a blinding duststorm.  It’s amazing how this process is going right now.  It’s amazing how the complexity I spent my teen years and most of my twenties yearning for – a big life with hairpin curves and drama and six-inch heels and love affairs and pyrotechnics – is, in many respects, here.  And as much as I can tell you that it is not as advertised or as I imagined it to be, it’s also, to some degree ridiculously great.   As much as it has broken me down and stolen parts of myself I thought (and think) are integral and vital, life has also given me a platform to snatch them back.  Not without a cost, of course, but to win back a central tenet of my being which is “I will not be fucked with” is worth a bit of a battle.  A bit of a slog.  Some sleepless nights and some depressive episodes.

I feel, too, that the body is just over that hill.  Just somewhere wandering around in Rome, sitting in some trattoria where I will soon be sitting.

Boldness.  You.  The man that is the medium for the message now.  An emissary for greater truths wandering around in memory, in Italian villas that will soon be a part of that vast database, wearing a stained shirt, smirking to yourself about something that always happens offscreen, and laughing at me for being here.  I wish, I really wish I could tell you the things I get now that I didn’t get then.  I go into your place (because even though it used to be so many other things that had tangential relationships with me -even being a frustrating place of employment for my father) and I think of you.  I have to, it is because no matter the pastel wall paint, the smell of food that is slightly off, the new ownership that is incredibly nice (which would annoy you to no end), you’re in the air.

You’re one more reason I realize now that despite my fear, I have to go.  Because I can’t do what I need to do when everything is tainted by this Proustian sense of involuntary nostalgia.  It compounds.  It pressurizes.  It weaponizes and I feel the barrel against my temple every day.   They tell me to take care of myself.  To be sure I’m alright.   I am going to take the text at its face and not look for malevolences to rouse my temper.  I am going to take care of myself, to be alright, and I see now that means getting out of this town for a while.  It’s too easy and too hard here.

I am not waiting for you to come back.  I am not waiting for you to leave.  Stay, go, it makes no difference.

My bags are packed and my ticket is paid.  I am on my journey.   Me.

Felled by the Night: Day Two Hundred


1074733_80339915A year can just blow by.   I’ve been counting the days as a way to try and slow it down – I guess – or maybe as a way to remind myself how fast they go, but they seem to be just like those movie cliches where a wind gusts by and the calendar loses thirty sheets of days out the window.  Recorded, but after the fact, uncatchable, without meaning beyond their use as scratch paper.

I look up and July is halfway out the window.

I’ve been thinking about trying to allow for vulnerability and even though it doesn’t look like it from the outset, over these past two days, I’ve kind of eaten better.  Or my experience of eating has been better.  Less ravenous or less ravenous without possibility of satiety.  When I’m freaking out and eating to deal with that, whatever the underlying freak-out is, the food has to keep coming until I find myself uncomfortable and angry and distracted and halfway into something else.   Lately, it’s more, I’m super hungry, I’m going to eat what I want.  Then, I stop being hungry and I can literally pay attention to the moment where I think, okay, second ice cream cone, I don’t need that.  Rather than just feeling like there’s still ice cream in the freezer and I need to do something about that.  Or I gotta get up and go get Starbucks before they run out of frappuccinos.  Or I should probably get a large because, well, I’m here and I don’t want to eat this meal and still be able to feel my limbs afterwards.  Definitely been aware that I am at least able to see the surreal mania involved with the way I eat.  That and I have made my own lunch for the past couple of days which has involved fruit and some fiber, I’ve also had some shakes (which I actually prefer to the caramel frappuccinos that give me accidental x-ray vision and the mistaken belief I can walk through walls, Kool-Aid Guy-style) and that’s kept me a tiny bit underwraps.  No big conversion to salad-eating or anything.  But I take what I can get.

Yesterday, I generated a big list of wants.  Though I’m sure there are further avenues to go down as far as discussing my life’s desires, I think that’s probably enough to attend to for a little while.

So I’m striving to keep the kitchen clean, I’ve picked out my clothes for tomorrow and I have decided, firmly, that I won’t despair as to how they look on my body, but to remember that I love that shirt because it reminds me of happy times and I think the colors go with my colors and it will do the perfect job of covering up my aggressive sunburn that mimics the cover of the Florence and the Machine album Lungs’ cover almost perfectly.

My toenails are clipped, my toilet bowl’s been swished about, and I am going to bed early enough to take the next twenty-four hours as a gift, not a fist.

On Starting a Diet: Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight

856599_76957995Best practices for starting a diet (all the fuck over again)…

I am no expert. I am merely a repository of a great deal of experience in this matter.  This is tongue-in-cheek, and more for me than for you (despite the second person) but like everything here, if you can make use of it, do.

1.  Take/find/use a picture of yourself just as you are at this moment.   Stare at it even if it gives you the shivers.  Remember that, in all probability, you look fine.  In the grand scheme of things, you are probably okay with the fact that people see and interact with you at the size you are.  You’re able to go outside and shake hands and maybe, date, or flirt and you might even have great body acceptance and want to start dieting for reasons entirely other than the way you look.  But, there’s probably also a shred or a sliver of shame and sorrow and loss of control and dislike that you feel for yourself.  You shouldn’t have to have this embedded in your psyche, but today’s modern living…you probably do.  And for me, negative impulses have a lot more power to motivate me than positive ones.  At least when you need that good hard spur to your own ass to start watching what you eat, forcing yourself to exercising and drink water as opposed to not doing it.    So stare at that photo and think, hey, let’s get away from this visual.

2.  Prepare.  Cook a week’s worth of stuff.   Pack it and bring it and then eat it.  You have to make new neural pathways about this rather than, oh, hunger = go through the drive through and eat until either you’re overfull and you want to puke or you’re so filled with self-loathing about what you ate that you want to puke.

3. Recognize that right away people are going to comment, control, and sabotage.  Not even meaning anything by it.  They get excited (which is at the worst when you’re only hanging on by a piece of dental floss off the great cliff of bingery and wagon-falling-offing.)  They try and be helpful and start tsk-tsking when they see you with something off plan.  Even if you don’t announce it, if they see you eat one meal that shows intention, the next one you’re open season.  Then, of course, it turns out that three days in, you have to go to your favorite restaurant and more likely than not, NOT order your favorite, faux emotionally fulfilling meal and try and order a salad, knowing you have no control over how many calories or carbs are actually in it, even if you pick carefully and make notations like a freak.  You are going to have to feel like a freak for a while.   You are going to have to sit on the pedestal of person making life changes, you’re going to have to be the best taxidermied platypus in the “look at this asshole thinking *this* is the time it’s going to work” exhibit.  Because they’re never going to move you into the “Oh, shit, she actually did it” diorama until you’ve been on display, flop sweat and self-loathing and angry and self-important and all for a good long while.

4.  Get rid of the stuff in your house that you’re going to self-justify eating and pushing back your start time.  Try not to do this by eating it.  Or instituting a super long series of this is the last time I get to eat this for 9000 years so I’m going to just eat ALL of it right now.  Sometimes, you have to, though, because it seems like that will become an itch that will need to be scratched immediately when you start your self-imposed moratorium on “happy food” but, you have to stick with your start date and time and meal and once you’ve entered diet time, “new lifestyle time” or whatever the fuck you’re labeling it so that you can swallow it down with your broccoli spears, you’ve started.  It’s happening.  It counts.  Sneakery has not just physical consequences, but personal integrity consequences as well.

7. Track your shit.  Even if you have to generally guess at what’s in the things you ate…track your best guesses because when you stop tracking, you stop caring and craziness ensues and you go back to the start, not passing go or collecting 200 dolla.  MyFitnessPal is your pal.  It is not perfect for low-carb, but at least you aren’t going by gut instinct…which, when you’re in the first few weeks or months, is just not going to be accurate.  Track your water and try and drink more than 0 glasses of water a day.

8.  Find a website that helps you stay motivated – be it conversation, pictures (if you find pictures of skinny, sweaty people motivating, more power to you), recipes,  venting.   Bookmark it and look at it every day, it helps if you don’t find the people who post there on a different wavelength or philosophy than you.   No need to collect other people’s diet rage when you probably have your own in spades.

9.  Try and lower your expectations with regard to numbers and scales.  You need a scale, maybe, probably at least to start.  But you are not going to lose a pound a day, every day for the next month (or year) or whatever it would be until you’re at the goal weight you’re setting for yourself.  That’s not going to fucking happen, a. because it’s not healthy, b. your body doesn’t work like that and c. you can’t get a whole new wardrobe in a month and d. nothing in life has that exact perfect trajectory and you’re probably going to have some accidental tacos and suddenly gain back three pounds and want to stab yourself in the face.  You gotta keep going regardless of the day to day fluctuations, knowing that you’re building habits, you’re retraining your brain and your body and you’re PUSHING (persisting until something happens).

10.  Exercise from day 1.  Thinking that once you get the diet nailed down you’re going to exercise means you’re never going to exercise and then, your weight loss is slower and your energy is lower and your bad moods are like anvils falling down on your head and suddenly recidivism sounds like a damn fine plan.  You can do it for 10 minutes a day every day, that’s what’s scary.  You’re at least that powerful and when you feel like it’s mildly less stupid and awful, do a bit more.

Maybe I’ll have more ideas later.