Happy Galentine’s Day

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Google search: Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester

Head-on collision with .4 pounds of imperfection.

You say you’re totally cool if the scale goes up.  You say that.  You say, you got this whole year to do this.  You feel, the night before, that you’re open to anything.  But then the scale goes up and the realities of now, the stress you’re under, the two nights of pizza in a row, the fact that you’re crossing the Red Sea are all forgotten.

God, I wanted in that moment to say what in the ever loving fuck is happening?   I have a plan.  The plan’s a pound a week and we can’t go backwards.  If I start to spin my wheels, I’ll give up! I always give up!

Which is true.  At the first instance of adversity, I feel as though stars aligned against me and that I may as well turn back.  Or that I’m rattling a safe and comfortable status quo (which I am) and that means I might feel something risky and new.  It’s 30 seconds on this platform and already I question the whole concept of tracking.  Suddenly, everything becomes unknowable.  Everything I’m doing feels loosey-goosey, without authority, as you like it.  Not this confirmable, one to one match with a plan outlined by God, put only this much in your mouth and run until you gasp and then, and only then will I, the god of belly fat, withdraw, mathematically, your pudgy stomach.

I want the failure to be clear as day.  (If it is a failure, it IS clear. It’s the two pizzas and the Blood Moon, and a couple apathetic exercise days.  I just don’t want those things to add up to failure, maybe?) And they don’t.  Maybe I built some muscles? But the “failure” also includes the success of having tracked those pizzas, having gotten on the bike and moved my body to the point of dancing yesterday, of having done twice as many situps, eating a 1000 times less than I would have at the Galentine’s Day party today because I was aware of what was going into my gob.

I am building those kind of habits.  That’s pretty great.

I wasn’t planning to stop.  I am not planning to stop.  But of course, I never PLAN to stop.  I never hit these moments of adversity and say, OH NO, I CANNOT! and throw a white flag.  It’s tiny, tiny slides.  It’s saying, I will start fresh tomorrow rather than I start fresh now.   It’s saying, I’ll just have this calorie-laden thing because it’s too much to handle right now. It’s saying, I’ll just guesstimate on MFP, because it’s too embarrassing to put down what I know I actually put in my mouth.

So I don’t know, precisement, how many calories are in the mimosa I drank or what the single cream cheese spinach wrapped thing contained, but I know enough to guess at it.  I can get pretty close.  I can do something more than nothing.  I can exercise through these cramps.

The party was nice.  Very nice to talk to a couple old friends and see them in a context free of the entanglements it used to have with work. Already there are pictures up on Facebook and I find myself having to settle myself down and say it’s okay to post this on your timeline.  No need to act like you weren’t there in the body you have.
Talking to my mentor, equally, but differently nice.  Feeling someone’s interest in my life without having to explain anything.

My feet feel about 50% better, too.  My driving panic  was held at bay, even going so far to try and reclaim a road this morning.  It helps with the time of the year, this deep dark shadow that wants me to lay down, very still, and wait for the last morning.  Valentine’s Day and the long rope it can go piss up.

I just feel real talkative about it all.  It’s early enough, the money is going to work out for Tuesday, I got done what needed to be got done and there’s some real time to relax.  So.  Yes. Yes.  Yes.

Come on, belly, let’s have another day of dancing.

The Dance: Exercise 1

fire-dance-1189315-1280x1920So after some conversations with friends last night, and feeling good for some reason about today, I thought I might share this with them if they see this and anyone else who might find power in it.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by low or absent self-worth, perhaps use this.

The voice, the idea, the feeling of negativity has a body.  It has a look.  It has a language it uses that is familiar and tailored to be its most effective for each of us.  Mine is not yours and yours is not mine.  This negativity, this fear masquerading as wisdom, steals opportunity, it puts you on pause, it turns you away from what might be because of assumptions you make about your ability to proceed not to an acceptable result, but to the perfect landing pad that has the power to fix not just the issue at hand, but EVERYTHING.

I have such a negativity in my head.  And I’m just now starting to deal with her.  If she thinks she’s got an evolutionary purpose to fulfill, then I have decided she’s got to start paying rent.

When I imagine or experience this negative voice now, I have a visualization…thing I do.

I try and visualize the two of us in what looks like an interrogation room.  I’m seated at the chair, looking confident, as she, the so-called detective, grills me about my intentions – it could be about anything. In her eyes, I am constantly fucking up.  “You really think you’re actually losing weight?  You really think so.  Well, I know you ate ice cream.   And it was probably more than one serving.  You are doomed to a life of diabetes and disease.  I just need you to acknowledge that for me.”

And first of all, if it is this petty, and sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, I am lucky when I am able to laugh and say, “holy shit, I’ve been arrested by the fucking Ice Cream PD?”  Occasionally, she’ll simper and sort of mentally evaporate just at the clarity of how useless she is. Other times she’ll dig in with more cruelty than I’ll be able to approximate here.  “Well, maybe if we caught you sooner, you could get a fucking date.”  And on weak days, or days when I’ve had this sort of mental interaction countless times already, that will be enough to shut me down.  And probably eat more ice cream while she folds her arms in front of her and sneers, throwing all the invectives and belittling comments we both can invent at me, accusing me and shaming me for everything I’ve ever failed at since the beginning of time until the power of the sugar takes over and I don’t think anything whatsoever until the cycle begins anew.

But on REALLY good days, days when I’ve been taking care of myself and accomplishing tasks and balancing ego and id, there’s a second sequence.  It helps if you have good music for this.

She leans back, thinking her potshot has landed, that’s she’s really got me.  She’s put me down and in my place. I close my eyes for a moment until we both hear a laugh. As the interrogation light rises up, the dark room spreads out until we are in an enormous, Mines of Moria-sized gallery ringed with darkness.  The negative force and I turn and see who is laughing.

It’s a warrior woman.  I don’t know her, but I recognize her as personal, mine, a part of me as inextricable as the Negative Detective.  Her eyes are dark but gleam in the single beam of light spilling into the room as though the moon was centered over the opening in the ceiling of the Pantheon. She is painted, a circlet of metal holds back her hair, she is the definition of fierce.  There’s a knife in her hand so sharp that it makes a Ginsu look like a rolling pin.  She scares me in just the right way.

The negativity might respond, might shudder, might try and grow, to fill the room, to throttle me, to in some way insinuate her power.

And then, another, different laugh from another dark corner of this space.  We turn and it’s some romantic hero or interest that matters to me, brooding and comely, maybe smoking a cigarette because there’s no lung disease in imaginary cigarettes.  “Leave her alone, you pointless bitch.”   Maybe at this point he pulls a gun out, just to underline the point that he’s willing to go that far for me, that he’s just that over her bullshit.  I will admit to being a little bit thrilled by this.

We stand up from our seats, the table is gone.  It becomes obvious that we are not a few souls in a giant room, we are surrounded by hundreds if not thousands.  There are warriors, there are friends, there are moments of joy embodied by people I admire, video game characters, heroines of books, Anne Shirley’s there, Mumford, it doesn’t matter.  They are people I find beautiful and powerful.  It is the beauty of my mind, mentally personified. They are all at their most beautiful, most ferocious, most epic and cinematic.   They’ve all got weapons, serious and hilarious, but all of them clearly deadly and drawn.

Everything emanates a single emotion.  A single thought drives them: This girl is ours, she has made us and given us life and force, she has drawn us here and we will defend her against anything.  She had poured her heart into us and we will destroy any threat to her peaceful, joyful existence.

The negativity tries to get meta on me. “They’re just imaginary.  I’m real, I see you, I have been here since the beginning watching you slob and wretch your way through life.”

I can literally hear more laughter.  Voices call out things I typically don’t let myself believe are important – “We have preceded you.  We have seen her in her greatest glories. This is the girl who flew herself to Italy.  This is the girl who gets up every day and strives for the light. This is the girl who is so clever she’s thought to bring us here.  She can do what she needs to do.  We adore her.  We want nothing other than to be near her.  We believe in her.  You are in the house of our spirit and we cannot be destroyed.”

Then, because of who they are and who I am, and if the music’s going…they dance.  This big tribal, happy, stomping dance as they close in on us.  They shriek and holler and spin one another around.

The negativity doesn’t like any of this, but there’s nothing she can do, really.  The power of the beat, of this army of lovers I deserve because I deserve them, because I am strong enough to create them, starts to explode her little pea brain.  Then they whack her with pots and pans and sometimes stab her with knives.  It can get gory like Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – at the end when his head cartoonifies and acidulates into goop.

But what always happens if we get this far is I feel their strength become mine and I will grab somebody’s weapon, maybe Hotness McLately’s gun and say, with every fiber of myself, all, Gandalf to Wormtongue-infested Theoden, “You have no power here!”   I use the weapon if I have to, joyfully emboldened to wipe her the hell out. I feel the absence of the negativity in my whole body.  It’s been driven back. It doesn’t matter if she returns, we will dance again.

And then, I go about my day.

Give it a go sometime.

With a Taste for the Melodramatic

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Dear Sugar didn’t really take me where I wanted to go this week.   Maybe.  Still spiky.  Still full of a headache.  Feeling really okay with being 7 calories over.  Not subtly adjusting things where maybe I over-estimated to make it “perfect.”  Today was just a seven calories over sort of day, but I feel full and not deranged.

….

A sort of written tapping.  I used to do this a lot with my first therapist and it helped me quite a bit.  I tend to stop doing things that work.

I just want to feel good right now.  In this time.  Without any glancing forward or backward, just now.  As I am.  In this body.  With this brain, these hands, this touch.I am going to take a breath and release some of these past few days’ negative emotions.   Some of it has a basis in reality, some of it is just self-punishment for imperfection.
I am going to stop dragging myself through the worst possible scenarios.  They almost never come to pass and even if they did, I can survive it.  I have survived things that have knotted me up for months.  I have been brave in so many ways so many times.
Nobody benefits from me hurting.  Nobody thinks more of me or more about me for taking on all the pain I can reach.  It doesn’t take it from anyone else, it doesn’t ease anyone else, it just hurts me.
I’m doing good things with my food and this means that I am not being run by it.  I’m learning and trying it out and I’m not afraid of getting to play around and fine tune and go over calories
I get to make art with my writing.  It doesn’t have to come to anything, to anyone’s attention, because it is real and of my heart and it’s going to happen anyway.  Regardless.  I think so many things are glorious and beautiful and worthy of elevation.   The way the sky looks in late January now that we’ve turned towards spring, seeing a new road and all the ticky-tacky houses all in a row, imagining what it is to live life as they must at that angle, what it would be to know that right turn on Meade St. would be the right turn towards home.
I have a small case of who knows what might happen.   Out of the shadows of insistence, someone flew a little flag that says you can’t count me out yet.  I might like you.  I don’t know you, but I might.
I like the stories I’m working on.  I like the characters I’m learning about.  I like getting chance to create everything they need.
I have a several larger mysteries I can soften into, that I don’t have to resolve, just explore.
I really love incidental music for self-help videos and public access tv shows.   I love birthday wishes from kind souls who couldn’t ever know what they mean to me.  I have chocolate oranges.
I have a future that I’m interested in seeing play out.  I have Tribe episodes to live tweet.

It is okay.

 

 

Wintergreen and Meadowsweet

 

Christmas is coming and my fingers are going to have to warm up much more if this isn’t going to be an exercise in torture.

For the first time in an uncountable number of days I feel full and safe and like the anxiety is leaving me.  A whole night full of relaxing and game playing and being as I wish to be.  It feels almost decadent.

The cold draft is just pickling the air with the scent of fireplace smoke as the whole condo complex cuddles up.  The holiday part of Christmas is coming up fast.

Okay.  So I think I’m getting the signal that I don’t have the ability to write much of anything tonight.

So:  Things I love:

Having a really pleasant day with my younger sister.   Wrapping up presents and being almost very nearly done with shopping.   Watching the snow fall out of the window and having no sense of panic about it at all.  There’s no place to go, nothing that is immediately looming tomorrow, no reason to venture and test and push myself.  Being hugged and told I’m loved.  Law and Order, Criminal Intent and ion television’s daily marathons of procedural crime dramas.  Eventually finding some limits.  Christmas cooking shows on Create.  Getting ready for Christmas Eve.  New, retro looking dresses.

Things I’m grateful for:

A heater that works. A desire for self-improvement.  Being invited to New Year’s Eve parties.  Having money and freedom (even if I do my best to part with both).   The safety and security of those I care about seeming pretty much taken care of right now.  My father being on the mend from the flu.  My grandparents sending a really nice picture of them that showcases how very unchanging they are, at least from our perspective.  An opportunity to think about how my life is going and how I want it to go – whether or not I take it.   All the parades are over, all the holiday work events are done and now there’s just 4 hours or so of work between me and Christmas!

Wouldn’t it be nice if:

I got a shitton of cleaning done tomorrow and got some work planning and preparation taken care of.  If I didn’t puke in the next twenty minutes or so.  If I could figure out how to straighten my hair and keep it the same way it looks after coming home from the salon.  If I could feel as pretty as I did this morning all the time even despite the fact…without despites.  If Christmas was as lovely and easy going as today was.  If there was another game out there to engross me and help me bridge this time of great unknowing.   If I got a massage or found some way to deal with the dull burn and ache in my shoulders and upper back.  If I could enjoy the positive things going on right now without panicking about the level of positivity or freaking out about hypotheticals that don’t matter.