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!

To Have Done

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Happy Day, beginner of things.   Happy Day, continuer of things. Happy Day, ender of things.  We are all sparks and conduits and keepers and quashers.

It is frightening to have a mission.  To know what you are meant for, to know what you love in the world, to know that you bear gifts that exist in no other combination, in no other form and they will not exist again once you pass through this existence.  If you don’t acknowledge this, there is no one else who possibly can.   You have but one entrance and one exit.

It is also deeply comforting.  If you let go of others’ plans for you, if you can embrace what it is you’ve been given, you can get enough answers to tide you over.  To work with.

I know I am a writer.  I know it with Elizabeth Gilbert-style assurance. In blood and bone and when I wake and when I sleep. I know it as Robert Louis Stevenson knows his little shadow and it has gone in and out with me every day of my life since I made the first discovery of language.

I also know I’m a cute thing.   Maybe more like a stuffed animal cute, but cute, kawaii, Bee-ish.  I’m endearing and good-hearted and supportive of others.  I am empathic and attentive to the heartaches and discomforts of others.  I am clever, sharp-witted, bent towards the light, but with that shadow stitched to my ankles.  I am not so very different than any person who spends their time looking about.

I can also be the absolute opposite of all of those things and when I’m in stress, fear, anxiety, frustration, yearning, shame…I am rarely any of them.

It can feel embarrassing to nakedly say you’re lonely, you want help, you’re trying to get better, you’re afraid that you won’t, you’re struggling with money and weight and absence of love.  But I think over time, not letting yourself look and see the wound of that is far more dangerous than any collective laughter or rejection or pity you might receive by allowing your mess to be lived on paper.  To have it be spoken and plotted on charts and recited back at you.

Oh, there’s the girl who’s trying to lose weight.  Okay.  There she is.  There’s the girl who is trying to get over her driving fears.  Alright.  I see her, blinking at us with her girl-like eyeballs.  That’s the girl who wouldn’t like to be a one-girl show the rest of her life.

Deep breath.

Yes.  That’s her.

….

It feels rather nice to be wearing the waders, to have exercised and to be getting ready to sort out my assigned chapter, to know that my body feels different because I’ve driven it to be that way.  That if I keep going, it will come with me. I’ve taken steps.  The momentum is on my side.

No real pithy end line is coming to mind.  No big tears today, I know I’m working on this for me.

Time to write!

Manifestations

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We are looking ahead.  We are liking our new fonts.  We are building mysteries and unpeeling others.  We are going to go.

Step One.

Convince yourself that even if you are a Lovecraftian horror, you’re not the single worst Lovecraftian horror on the block. You don’t need to name names, but there’s somebody out there, face-wise, who you would not trade places with. Recognize that no matter how long you stare into the mirror and gingerly, physically alter your own self-perception, tomorrow morning you’re two steps backwards. Different body chemistry, different demand on your brain, a weird-ass dream when you’re pregnant and decapitating villains from a rope invisibility affixed to the sky is in your mind. You wake up and feel fucking awful. This is okay. You are building a muscle. It’s going to be weak for a good long while and it will shake when you use it unexpectedly for a more than a few moments. It will shake when it shouldn’t and you’ll think it will fail, and sometimes it will, because that sense of yourself in a positive light will fail. You’ve got all these terrible habits that tell it to be quiet, still, to not scare you with the failure that feels such a part of it, such a part of you.  

 But once you start to stretch it and work it, it wants to stretch and work. It activates and suddenly, self-esteem isn’t this joke you tell yourself about beauty queens and models, it’s this being that involves his or herself in how you experience the world. The time spent worrying about the negative impression you might be making on others – the self-esteem leans in and reminds you, gently, sometimes with a soupcon of snark, that you’re never going to see that jerk in the grocery store again. Or, you might, and if they have an opinion on your mismatched socks and want to share that with you, you can survive the encounter. You hear that and you straighten your spine and you let your shoulders fall free and you just got fifteen minutes back that you didn’t have to spend skulking and simpering and calculating a stranger’s untold disdain for you.

It’s sort of like having an administrative assistant for your inner bullshit. And so often, I think, when you have someone other than yourself involved in a problem, you take better care of it.  It keeps falling to front of mind. You force yourself to step up. You want to avoid disappointing them so you fight back.  If you can separate threads of personality inside, you can listen to some of these voices and take up some of their causes when you pretend they’re not my own. Maybe that’s not the best impetus for internal change.  Maybe you should be able to enact change because you deserve it.  

Ideally, yeah, you can synthesize the self-esteem AA and the motivation coach and the creative muse and the squishy stuffed animal of friendship and the Crone Who Knows and the WASP Who Won’t and all the parts and pieces of your psyche into a single, consolidated you. But first, I think, you need to know who is up there rattling in your attic and invite them for some imaginary tea. Or imaginary coffee or even just an imaginary census-taking. Try it.

 

Electric Bread: Day Twenty-Three

I was reading a past post – The Mayor of Jerktown – where I talked about being proud of myself for not saying fuck it.  For, to borrow that horrible phrase made horrible by a maleficent ex-president, staying the course.  So far as I could see that course going.  Eventually, that track hit a snag and down I went again.  And I am as glad now as I was then, though today has not been entirely easy.

Photos from last night arrived on my desk first thing.  I smiled and took a couple pictures last night, I remember thinking, oh, maybe these will reflect all of this weight loss and hard work.  So I glanced sideways, half-looking and still felt the usual disappointment.  I can maybe see the slightest of differences.  My body just doesn’t…the flash…a wonky eye, the uselessness of one’s foundational garments.  For the most part, I thought that as I was crowing about my successes, my body was just rearing back for a mind-body 1-2 punch.  My hair was nice, though.

Work went speedily and I tried to get ahead where I could and send out the correspondence and ignore the obnoxious features this time of year brings out in those around me.  I ate my low-carb tortillas.  Drank some water.  Stared at the work computer screen until it was time to go to the dentist where they pronounced me not well, but better.  And in four months, I will get to pay exorbitantly for the privilege of having any qualified professional get to swing by and put their fingers in my mouth to verify that my teeth are not falling out of my head.  I have not have any pain in my gums since I was treated, but they are occasionally sensitive or puffy or the tiniest bit of blood will drip into the sink.   There, unlike with the diet, I do see a marked difference.  Which is good, because I need my mouth regardless of the fat and carb content of the food that gets put in it.  Gumming my meals is also probably not a super compelling turn-on for most men.

This, however, meant I got to go home early and given that my oral care was dealt with, this was about all I needed to be happy.  Next week is a four day week, and then it’s the four-day Thanksgiving week.  Thanksgiving is a planned deviation where I’m not going to eat on plan at all just on that one day.  Even though the next day is my little sister’s birthday, I have to forgo the cake.  Also, once I am done with Assassin’s Creed, I’m going to use some of the time I’m spending here on making sure I get some exercise in of some kind.  I can eat more if I do that (provided my appetite returns) and my metabolism will start dealing with some of this weight that is going to hang on no matter what I eat.  I want to have a picture that I don’t feel like I want to destroy.

 

Independence Day (On the Nose)

Woke up in Minneapolis in the sweaty, overloaded air.  Am home in the Denver area now in an equally charged, though not so moist ether.   The computer feels like it’s about 9000 degrees.  Does this mean I’m going to take it off my lap?  Not hardly.

So, I was pretty sure this post was going to be about my sister again and how she pretty much destroys all vacations and all self-esteem and all semblance of a normal familial experience with her psychic vampirism and her philosophy of Manifest Libido.  Which is, of course, she wants to get laid so the universe had better bend to her will including all laws of physics, time, space, any of us errant dependents she’s managed to pick up as barnacles on her great Pussitania.  Disgusting analogy, but entirely appropriate given her response when it appears that we can’t just making the plane take off or make my parents be any less overzealous about the safety of our family in a rental car on in a new city where they haven’t driven the roads to the point of deep memorization.  Those being our cases, she screams, she curses, she rips the earth right along the horizon.  She snarks and rages and confesses to sins to justify herself.  She throttles you with her voice and how little she cares that it bothers you.  She does it to resolve her frustration and she does it because she’s bored and she does it because no one can stand up to her.  And that’s the facts.  But that is old news, just forgotten until this weekend.  And I’m home now and I don’t live with her and as sad as I am that she treats my mother exactly that way while living rent-free, I have a whole other sea of fishes to fry and my own terrible problems and my own frustrations and loneliness.  I am definitely sitting in a glass house and pitching bigger and bigger pebbles at my pretty walls.

So,  here’s what I know as of right this very instant.  I am going to keep writing until I finish this story’s first draft.    I am going to take a cool bath.  I am going to set out my clothing for tomorrow.  I am going to get a trash bag and throw away five things.  I am doing 30 days low carb + exercise exercise starting tomorrow.  This includes tomorrow for both items.  Like it or no.  We said we would, so we must!

Freedom doesn’t always mean being a layabout.  In fact, it hardly ever does.

Freedom is about not having to be a wretch in your own head when you have all the tools to make yourself into whatever it is you want to be.

Me, I want to be airy, comfortable, loving and loved, in beautiful places, dangerous with a pen, safe with money, full of dreams, not bothered by screaming because I’m settled in myself and my path, less egotistical than I currently feel, with access to venom but no reason to loose it.

I am worthy of a good plan.  But more than that, I’m worthy of action.

Between Frying Pan and Fire

So, I manically need to type this out and get it done so that I will not ruin this streak.  This streak is not something to mess with.  I would…beyond cry if I broke it even for so lovely a reason as going to a Mumford and Sons concert.

It’s already midday and I haven’t done that much, but I have been busy.  Got my hair colored and I feel much more at ease, also got the hair ripped out of my face which makes me feel so much less like Frida Kahlo’s more hirsute cousin and I don’t mind myself so very very much right now despite the fact that I am considering this a day of fallowness and fallibility.   Tomorrow, at this moment, I know I can get back on track and re-defined towards my goals (though I know that the overwhelming emotion that tonight will invoke will be hell towards that plan, but I want to feed on the experience, not let it feed on me) and I know this because even with this vast mandate to fuck around with food – I blew off Starbucks.  It’s just coffee and sugar and diuretics and I am already high as a kite.  Having to stand around for more than a few hours, that cannot possibly be a super great plan.   Yes, I am a deeply aged person, concerned with my fragile bladder situation.

No, seriously, tonight is going to be ridiculously fun and I’ll be so glad that this is done and I can enjoy like the full-on idiot I am.

So, yes, got my hair done and it took a long time.  I meann, I guess I don’t really know how to gauge these things but 2 and a half hours, wow.  Still, my hair is quite silky soft and this kind of blonde that is so lightly slightly tinged strawberry and I feel great.

Then I saw my mother and aunt and it was momentarily weird because my hair salon is across the street from where I work and I didn’t and don’t want to go anywhere near the office on a day I’m on vacation – not only just on principle, but also because I will surely be drafted to fix some piece of equipment or open some email or do one thing and what I want and deeply need is to be my own human being for just a little bit.

So I met them in the parking lot and we went and had lunch and it was lovely and I felt like a real human girl with real human interests and not some mental ward escapee with a lazy eye and a hunchback.  Against my will, even, I felt pretty.

Box I needed to drop off is dropped off, got gas, got my tickets and my liner notes in case (one hopes and prays) I could get an autograph, and no Starbucks as of yet.  How bizarre to just be in the universe, undocumented and beautiful without anyone’s intervention.

A Tambourine Song: Day 9

Another day, another dollar, another fear overcome while one grows its roots a little deeper.

Whatcha gonna do?

I am going to make dinner very quickly here once I dispense with my duties for the day.  I’ve eaten today, but not quite enough and so it’s probably back to eggs and bacon and salad since I cleverly left my cold chicken carcass and greek salad at the office.  Clever being a far more clever way of describing plain forgetfulness.

I suppose the only way to up my word count tonight and not regale you with more shitty rough draft slices of the dream within the dream of my head which may not end up meaning anything at all is to be a bit meta.   To talk about the process even though what formula seems to be working for me is not talking about losing this weight but just driving myself forward into actually doing it.  I’m halfway through the “induction” phase of this fairly strict Atkins-style diet. (still allowing myself caffeine and pop, but I don’t really crave soda at all…) and obviously I’ve lost some weight.  It’s enough that it’s noticeable to me, though it doesn’t blow me away or make me uncomfortable yet.  148 is where that serious discomfort and disturbed feeling has cropped up in the past.   Just below 150 which is the far left field of the ballpark of where I think I should be.   So really, I’m about halfish ways towards that point and I know that I have to get ready for that if this time is any different.

I don’t exactly know how, though, is the problem.

Self-confidence, now! Just shout it into the mirror, or perhaps lovingly insist it at myself like the old Al Franken SNL sketches?  One of my boss’ friends, one whom I have seen go through a painful and surely terrifying transformation in my five years of knowing him, came by and asked how I was doing.  I smiled and said fine.  He said you’re always fine.  I said, well, what’s the use of being otherwise?  He said I need to find me a girlfriend like you.

I know that these kind of compliments from someone whom you wouldn’t date for a multiplicity of reasons don’t really count, but I felt good about it.  Being a positive, friendly (even if I fake it) type of person who might lift the psychic burdens of others is something I merit in myself.  Someday, someone who I would date and will date, will see that, too.

I don’t know that I can self-affirm my way into this door, though.  At least I’m going to stop kicking up dust about ugliness and skulking Quasimodos and Elephant Women in the cavernous environs of my head.  We are not allotted a single level of beauty to which we can rise with makeup and all of our personal magic and otherwise drift and fall beneath.  Somedays we’re all internally haggard and savage and difficult to be held in the mind of another, even another who loves us.  Others, we carve right to the Michaelangelo in those around us and can see no flaws.

There is no reason to brand ourselves with the Scarlet U.  No reason to fear.

Today: 159.6
Yesterday: 161.6
Goal: 155 by June 15

(I think this recap is actually helping, though I may just be saying that because today it went down instead of going up, but nevertheless.)