How many restarts are we allowed?

This has been an interesting year.

Before the start of 2019, I had already gotten a little bit happy-fat with my guy. And then 2019 kind of kicked my ass. A couple of deaths, getting news at my work that really rocked – and continues to rock- me right down to my bones, another twisted left knee… and I got fat. Fatter.

Before I get more into this, yes, I’m aware that I am not fat, that we all have fat, so really, I have gained weight and no muscle, and I’m back to square 1. How many restarts are we allowed? This feels like my thousandth, and it never fails to be tiresome and difficult.

But, here I am.

Again.

This is what I know.

  • I have joined Weight Watchers with my lovely, lovely honey.
  • I started doing deep water aqua-fit, and my knee is SO HAPPY even though I go enough that my body aches. Seriously, it’s so awesome being able to push myself without fear of hurting myself. Although I’m noticing that my ankles and shoulders crack and pop now…
  • I’ve started picking up my external yoga practice to at least once a week. In fact, I found a studio that is stunning. I’ve been to many (many many many) yoga studios around the city, and this place fills me with peace and belonging – it may be the closest to Noorish I’ll ever find.
  • I cannot keep this yo-yoing going. It’s not healthy for me, and I’m getting old enough that it’s not easy to shed the excess weight.
  • I cannot have a baby at this weight. I mean, I can. But I do not want to bear a child at this weight.

From all of my other reading, I feel like this might be the manifestation of other things around me, and inside of me. And there is a lot with everything that’s been happening – the death of one of my best friends, the death of someone I loved for my whole life, the loss of a job that I loved more than I thought possible, ongoing personal drama – that I truly feel that it’s possible that this weight is my subconscious trying to protect myself. That my depression and anxiety help keep me eating and not moving.

I was lucky enough to see Oprah last week, on her book tour for Path Made Clear. I’ve been doing a lot of thought since then, a lot of soul searching into some of the wounded, scared places within my heart. There is something bigger for me, but I know that I’m stronger than this. I’m strong enough to keep moving, I’m stronger than anything that can hurt me.

So, I suppose this is my 1000th restart. My 1000th time to start moving, to keep moving, to get this cute little Irish ass up and shake it. I’ll be writing every week, to keep myself accountable.

And I’m not publishing my weight until I hit my last lowest point.

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She’s got legs

Yes, I’m aware it’s a ZZ Top song. It’s been stuck in my head for a week.

I wore a dress this week at work to impress a group of people that I desperately wanted to impress. After a restructure, yet again, I find myself lost and flailing at my job, looking for finger holds before I fall. There have been a lot of questions, a lot of my asking angry questions and making demands that maybe, I have no place in making, but I do anyways because I’m pissed off.

Which is why I found myself wearing a dress and a blazer in a room full of people and feeling oh-so-fucking lost. Literally walked in with a water bottle and a computer, and didn’t say a word because I was so nervous that I thought if I opened my mouth, I’d throw up. I haven’t done that in a long time.

I’m also pretty sure that I didn’t impress anyone.

But. This isn’t about my job, or my anger, or my sudden insecurities in my expertise.

This is about my legs.

During a quick bathroom break in between meetings, I caught sight of my legs in the full length mirror. My first thoughts were “oh dear god, why did I think that wearing a short dress today? I’m so PASTY and when did I get dimples over my knees?!”

My second and third and fourth thoughts were of how much I like my legs.

Because they had to be. I just had walked out of a meeting where I felt like, for the first time in a couple of years, I face planted. So, in a time where I felt like a big fat failure, I decided to fall in love with my legs and love them endlessly for the rest of the day.

I like that my legs don’t get tired. I can walk and walk and walk forever, I walk quite regularly with one of my beautiful friends through the river valley for several kilometres at a time. My calves are strong and shapely, and so is my butt. My knee, as broken as it is, and as often as it pops out of place, it can move as I need it to. I can still do yoga, and I have started doing aqua fit. And my knee isn’t the strongest knee there has ever been, but it’s still strong enough that I can move (even though it aches when I get tired), and I feel grateful that it gets happy when I prop it up on a pillow.

I like that I have been able to move through a whole bunch of country and take all kinds of adventures. I’m grateful that I get to move and exist. I like that, even though I’m a stubborn, persistent, pigheaded human who destroyed my hips/knees/ankles/feet, my hips/knees/ankles/feet still are lovely, and freckled, and get stronger every time I (gently) bring them out to play.

I like that my feet can wear pretty shoes. Whether it’s high heels or boots or flats or sneakers or sandals, my feet look good. My feet, whether covered in dust or socks, can walk over 15 kilometres a day, has broken a thousand boards and hit a million targets, and they dance every day. I got my toenails painted regularly, and I like that my toes are uneven (yes, my toes are uneven. One foot from my mother’s side, one foot from my father’s side.) because it’s unusual.

I don’t even care that this might sound ridiculous. Because this week, I walked into a meeting that blindsided me and made me doubt in my abilities. I currently have the plague that took down my whole team at work. I finished a book that makes me want to celebrate the things that I might see as flawed. So.

I love my legs. As the song goes, “She got legs. And she knows how to use them.”

https://youtu.be/eUDcTLaWJuo

Graveyards at night

About 15 years ago, I got a little bit drunk and went into a graveyard after dark.

I wonder, sometimes, if I am still that brave.

Let me back up.

I spent one year in my hometown after graduating high school, and I immediately bailed for another small town in an effort to become anonymous. As far as I knew, one person that I went to high school with lived in this small town, and that was enough. I was chasing a history major, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was all grown up, and I honestly didn’t care where I ended up. So, I moved to a tiny prairie town about an hour away from anywhere, and met someone who would change my life forever. Someone who would not only invite me to Ireland, but who would also invite me to change my way of thinking forever.

About halfway through the year, I decided to transfer. Who knew that it was a Lutheran college (hint: I didn’t do a lot of research before I moved) and I was a godless, heartbroken human who decided to bail on history and go for an English degree instead.

And then, as the transfer was accepted, I ended up in R’s year 1 history course. R, who runs through his class yelling about Napoleon’s croissants and red wine, stomping through the aisles about treaties and wars. R, who (I’m going to be honest – I’m still not entirely sure *how* this happened, but I’m ever so grateful that it did) called me after midterms and asked me to join him in Ireland. And, like any slightly hungover and baffled student should, I said yes.

Which is pretty much my rule for life now. If someone asks you to do something you’ve never done before, you say yes. Unless it’s highly illegal or highly immoral.

So, Ireland with R. It was the two of us, another instructor from the college, her mother, and 5 other students. It was historical and amazing and engaging and GOD I WISH I HAD R MY FIRST SEMESTER. I would have DEFINITELY stayed at that school. I’m still really proud to be his friend – I attended his last lecture last year, and definitely don’t see him enough (hopefully soon, though!)

After the first couple of days in Dublin, we stayed in an amazing little hostel in a village called Glendalough. If you’ve watched Vikings, you’ve seen this place. However, all those years ago, it was sleepy and lovely and home to a really old graveyard that we visited during the day. Like, old enough that the earth had sunk around the graves, and outlines of coffins were visible. That the Irish round tower was ancient and hostel full of feather beds. And, like, every where in Ireland, there was a dark, happy, local filled pub.

Also, Ireland has amazing beer.

So. We spent a day in a graveyard and hiking up to a lower lake, and then we had dinner and walked to the pub from our hostel, as you do. We missed the sunset that night, but the beer and music was terrific as the night fell. Nights in Ireland are inky, velvety black – I remember thinking that it must be as magical as all the reading I’d done, because nights weren’t possible that black without magic. After a few pints, R suggested that we sneak back into the graveyard and walk around the round tower.

Every single one of us was in. I have the photo evidence. The headstones in the graveyard, with the names long weathered off, seemed to glow in the dark. We has been whispering about ghosts to one another, and each of us clutched the other, watching for a ghost or banshee to rise over the sunken graves. None of us had a flashlight – just a camera or two.

R suddenly pointed out to the darkness.

“WHAT IS THAT?” He exclaimed. And then, he ran away, down the path, into the darkness.

The girls shrieked a little, and then laughed nervously. We inched forward in the darkness together, waiting for R to reappear, and then, when he didn’t, we started whispering about if the ghosts got him. The round tower appear out of the darkness, and then…

R ran back at us, jacket covering his head, screaming past us. We screamed, we laughed, and then we went home.

I’m older now – 16 years older, to be precise (side note: how the actual fuck am I that old? Am I old? I don’t feel old), and today I don’t know if I’d go into the graveyard. I think I’d be too afraid – afraid of the dark, afraid of lawbreaking, afraid of hurting my knee- and that makes me feel… sad.

I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my life. I’ve snuck into graveyards, I’ve jumped off of bridges, I’ve learned to scuba dive, I’ve received two black belts, I’ve moved to Australia, I’ve traveled alone, I’ve gone on ghost walks in one of the most haunted places on earth, I’ve gone back to school and chased my dreams to be a writer, I’ve bought an apartment and adopted a homicidal love muffin to match, I’ve volunteered in Africa, I’ve broken my heart.

I don’t quite know why I’m afraid now. Maybe because I am older, because I’ve broken so many things (my knee, my heart, my arm), maybe because it’s been so damn long since I’ve done something that scared me. I mean, yeh. I’ve lost a couple of jobs, but that wasn’t doing something to myself. That was always straight instinct, to stand up when I kicked to my knees. But doing something to purposely to push myself out of my comfort zone?

Nope.

Now, though. Now I’m in my mid-thirties (WHAT THE HELL) and I’m so happy. I have a partner I adore, a cat that I absolutely love, a house I dig, my family and friends are absolutely amazing… and I’ve had a bit of a shit year. I’m in serious need of a change, of SOMETHING changing because I’m about to go crazy and shave my hair or pierce something or get a tattoo. I keep dreaming of that graveyard in Ireland, of walking past the entry arch feeling the warmth of Irish beer in my veins, the excitement and fear of the dark and the graves and the history urging me forward.

I’m about to do something with my life that scares the everloving crap out of me. I’m about to light my life UP, to make a change that is going to (hopefully) send me down a new path. And, for some reason, I’m stalling. I’m waiting, I think, in hope that I talk myself out of it. Which I know I can’t do. I know I need to be brave, I know I need to make this change, because I literally don’t think I can be in communications anymore. As Elphaba says, I need to trust my instinct, close my eyes, and leap.

So, I’m sending this link to R. (Hi R! Surprise! I write a blog!). Who better to tell that I’m making a big change than one of the people who will be the least surprised? I’ll buy you a glass of wine and fill you in soon, I promise.

What do I want?

In the days following New Year’s Eve, I spent some time meditating on what I wanted for 2019. I’ve been journaling a lot more this year – more than I have since I was in high school – and I filled six pages with intentions for this year. The part that took the longest was splitting the page into four, and writing about how I could be a better human.

I’ve said time and time again that I am happy with who I am. I’m happy with my looks, I’m happy with my job, with my cat, with my partner, with my life. But I believe in constant education and evolution, and when things could be better, we owe it to ourselves to improve, however little.

So I asked myself – what do I want?

What do I want to do with my life? What kind of daughter do I want to be? What kind of partner do I want to be? What kind of friend? What do I want to improve myself? What steps do I need to take to make myself happier and healthier? What can I do to feel sexier in my skin?

With that in mind, I wrote my lists. It wasn’t easy – self reflection rarely is – but in the end, I was content. With a small change each day, this list was doable.

And then things changed.

Someone I loved dearly died.

And I have been trying to find words ever since.

Jamie was one of the best men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he also was the person I generally confided in. We talked a lot about what we wanted from our lives – love, careers, kids – and some of my scariest secrets stayed with Jamie. His passing felt – feels – impossibly heavy. There was a day – just last week, actually – when something I’ve been wanting for years, happened. This far fetched dream became reality from something bittersweet, and I actually wrote Jamie a Facebook message to tell him, because he KNEW how much I’ve been wanting it. He cheered me on, every single time.

I got finished the first sentence, remembered, and cried a little.

I do think he knows, and I do think he’s hella proud of me. But there was a hole in that day.

There was a memorial for him, and on that day, I realized how much work I have to do in order to start moving forward on the “What do I want?” Question. I went to high school with Jamie, and at his memorial I was surrounded by people I knew in high school. Hell, I ended up sitting with my high school crush and his parents. I couldn’t bring myself to look around – I was so afraid. I’m good one on one – but surrounded by people that I haven’t seen in almost 20 years put me over the edge. I couldn’t stop looking forward – I dared not look around – and as I sat there, listening to people talk about Jamie and how kind and loving he was, I was fighting a panic attack. I couldn’t stay for the social afterwards – I ran. I didn’t make eye contact, I couldn’t breathe, I held in most of my tears until I got into my car – and then I called my mom and cried.

I cried for Jamie, for his mother, for his life, for every single person who was feeling Jamie’s absence. But I cried for me, too. I cried because I was ashamed – too ashamed to make eye contact with anyone – I cried because my friend was gone, I cried for the hearts I’ve broken and cannot mend, I cried because I’m not who I thought I was, I cried until I couldn’t that night. I cried until I was empty.

One of the things I want most dearly is to be a better friend. I hope to make amends, one day, for the people I’ve hurt and for the heart I’ve broken. After Jamie’s memorial, that is so clear to me.

So, in case I haven’t told you lately, I love you. I’m sorry that I’m not the best friend all of the time, but please know that it doesn’t lessen my feelings for you. I am trying to be better, and I intend on trying to get better at showing how much you mean to me. Please be patient with me.

Who are you?

A gentleman I work with spent the 2018 Christmas party with a tray of shots. As people approached them, he’d convince them to come over (mostly using that tray- does anyone else work at a place with many different flavours of holiday shots?) to have a shot with him, if they could answer one question.

“Who are you?”

If you gave your name, or your job title, he’d shake his head and repeat the question.

“No, WHO are YOU?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Thinking a lot about who I am, what defines me as a person. I’m all about New Years, Mondays, new beginnings in general. This new year’s was one of the best I’ve spent, which may be the reason I haven’t written here for so long, but this question still plagues me.

Who am I?

I’m a daughter, and a sister, and a granddaughter. I come from a long line of revolutionary women – suffragettes, protesters, warriors. I’m a friend – I try to be a good friend, a supportive and kind human. I’m a girlfriend, a partner in crime. I’m a leader, dedicated to my career. I’m a writer, someone who creates things out of nothing, carves galaxies out of words and inhibits them.

But is that who am I?

I’m a reader. A student. A teacher. A mentor. A mentee. An amateur photographer. A geek. A fan girl. An adoptive mom to a fur baby. A music fan. A volunteer. A dreamer.

I am a tender hearted person who cries at books, movies, gifts, and commercials. I have anxiety and depression, and I battle them. I am strong – I get hit 9 times, and stand up 10. I mediate, and I try to find peace within myself. I am kind to a fault, and stubborn to a fault, and wildly introverted.

I’m a child of the stars, born of the universe and crafted from stardust. I share a name with a goddess, and I feel that sometimes I stand up to those standards.

2019 will be a year of change for me.

I wrote a list directly after the new year about things that I want to improve about myself. I mean, I think I’m pretty neat, but I want to improve. A dear friend of mine (who recently passed) always encouraged me to reach for the stars, and this year, I want to honour that.

The rantings of a pissed off introvert

I was 18 or 19 when I gave someone a fake name for the first time. I don’t remember how old I was precisely – I know that my high school sweetheart and I weren’t together at that point in time, but we were allowed to smoke in the bars, so I had to be under 20.

Like most little shithole towns, mine had a bar called The Zoo. It was typically shitty – the carpet was ancient and so sticky that you could slip a high heel off, stretch your toes, and your heel would be exactly where you left it, the pool tables warped and faded, one of the ladies’ toilets stopped flushing years ago – and it’s been a very long time (like, I think I was 24 the last time I was there) but I still remember the layout. They used to put up a stripper pole a few nights a week, used to truck sand onto the dance floor a few times a year (for a beach party!), and it was your typical shithole bar. It was my shit bar. I loved there, I fought there – generally with the same person.

Anyway.

This particular evening I was likely having a smoke with my beers (I was a social smoker. Altogether now – ewwwwww) and this guy slid up next to me. He was older than I was, but I didn’t recognize him. He made my skin crawl, but I couldn’t walk away easily because of a small wall between us.

“Hey, cutie. Howzit going?” His breath full of smoke, his eyes droopy from the drink. “What’s yer name?”

A fake smile. A realization that I couldn’t move away from him easily.

“Luke,” I yelled over the music. A lie. A joking nickname one of my high school friends gave me due to my riding shotgun pretty much all the time until I was allowed to take my dad’s truck more often.

See, if I’d given my real name, he would have leaned in closer to try to get it right. He’d have blocked my exit more than he already was, gotten close enough for me to smell the nicotine seeping from his pores, maybe would have put his hand on my lower back to steady me as I repeated my real name until he got it right.

Since then, I give Luke out when I’m too tired to talk about my name. Coffee shops, creeps in bars (you’d be surprised at how many people believe that Luke is short for Lucinda, but I disgress), you name it, I’ve given my fake name there. I even used to have a flask that read LUKE in all capitals letters, given as a goodbye gift from a friend in Australia. It’s particularly lovely given my introversion.

However, since entering my profession, I’ve gotten more careful with my name and pictures of myself. I’ve curated my online reputation to the point of lunacy, I’m sure. I tend to be anal about Googling myself (every 6 months or so), to ensure that nothing new has cropped up. My privacy means a lot to me (especially since the business intelligence team. It’s alarming how easy it is to find someone.) and I protect it fiercely. Triply so since this whole terrible terrifying encounter.

So, what does this mean? It means that I don’t use my full name on Facebook (and, in fact, am debating changing my name to its traditional spelling to hide further). It means that there is no photo or detail on LinkedIn until we connect. It means I use a bastardized spelling on Instagram, and I’m named nowhere but on media releases and for volunteer activities. My Reddit account is tied to me in no way, ever. Period.

Now, however, I’ve found myself embroiled in an unusual situation, and the media wants to talk to me. And I’m torn between rioting for this unusual (for me) cause, and protecting my privacy.

I bought a place a few years ago, and until now, we have been allowed to smoke on our personal patios. Frankly, that meant sweet fuck all to me. I don’t smoke, precious few of my friends smoke – but we were allowed. And now, in a knee jerk response to the legalization of marijuana, my condo board (who are, with the exception of one truly lovely soul, a pack of judgmental assholes) has decided that the entire property should be grow and smoke free. The level of Reefer Madness has reached feverish heights, and the bias being shown by the condo board is unbelievable. Like, if you smoke pot clearly you’re a criminal levels of bias. At an “informational meeting”, one of the directors was giving her absolute bullshit opinion on medicinal marijuana and how you can take different things to get the same effect.

I’m a bit pissed. I don’t smoke a lot, but it’s none of anyone’s business whether I do or not. I have no desire to leave my home to go for a walk, or to a smoke shelter (where old men in my building can sneer at the “dirty hippies embroiled in the sex, drugs, and rock & roll lifestyle” as they stroll past). I don’t want to host a gathering of friends and police them – “Sorry, I know that you smoke cigarettes but you need to leave my house and property in order to do so” – let along be fine with my neighbours propping doors open. There are security risks, safety risks, and all this board cares about is banning cannabis. They are saying it’s because it’s a fire hazard, but are doing nothing to prevent the smokers who are currently tossing their butts over the balcony railings. And even though the most vocal people are ANTI this bylaw, and even though they are using skewed data to support this decision, the board isn’t saying anything… I’m furious.

First, I’m aware that I’m at the mercy of multi-housing living. I do realize that. I did join the board for a time, but literally couldn’t handle the stress of it all – the continued drama and flat out lies told by the then-president. And this just….

Makes me want to riot.

I went online awhile ago and asked for options. “Does anyone else have some ideas how to deal with this?” I got railed on a lot, and was given a really hard time by a few, but now a reporter wants to talk to me about this. Frankly, I’m debating publicly shaming my board. I’m debating tying my name to the “Hey, I smoke pot sometimes!” article and speaking my rage to a paper to be published for the city to see. Right now, she and I have gone back and forth on it – she can’t grant me anonymity, but wants the scoop. She messaged me again this morning. And I want to do it. I want this reporter to call my property management company and demand answers, and then destroy them in print.

Except it’s in ink. The internet is ink, and my name will be tied to that position forever. My real name, which most of the people reading this blog already know. But I’m sure that I’m surprising people that I’m on this side of legalization (hey guess what, I also staunchly support the legalization of prostitution! Surprise, y’all!) and it scares me that my position on a smoke and grow free building will be freely available. I don’t want my colleagues knowing that I dabble or support it.

Ugh. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

But, here’s a happy tune to end with. Happy Friday – may your beer be cold and your decisions wise.

One day before 35

We recently completed an employee engagement survey at work. I hate those things. Generally it doesn’t change anything but the rhetoric, and it feels like more of a chore than anything. My team had a meeting yesterday about our results, and after a lot of talk about the past and how we can move forward as a team, I spoke up.

Now, I am very happy at my job. In fact, I LOVE my job. I wake up excited more than I don’t, and I’m usually bubbly the second I walk in the door. My team is amazing, and I am proud to work where I am. Full stop. I’m in love with what I do, and where I am. I get thanked a lot for the work I do, I get a lot of compliments about my attitude and the effect it has, and I haven’t said no to a project yet. Hell. I even had a little birthday celebration yesterday, and got thanked by two directors (including my own) for overtime I put in.

I. Love. My. Job.

All of that, however, didn’t stop me from pointing out that employee engagement results tend to be difficult to implement, that I had the previous results and nothing has changed, and that I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into something that wouldn’t matter anyways. I genuinely believe that effort needs to come from the top – that it’s impossible to say to jaded individuals “It will get better if you work harder!” unless you want to piss everyone off.

Given that I’m generally the happiest person in the office, that statement has raised a few questions and a few compliments from my team. Most obviously, the one I’ve heard 4 times now is comments about my positive attitude versus my opinion about employee engagement surveys.

To that, I say I choose this.

I’m turning 35 tomorrow (what the fuck), and I have to say that the lesson I’ve learned the most since last year is that your attitude defines your life. I have finally learned that I get to choose.

I choose to be happy at work, especially on Mondays, even though it would be really easy to be grumpy and disengaged.

I choose to be happy. Even when reason says I shouldn’t be, I choose lightness over darkness.

I choose hard work. Whether it’s the gym or repairing a relationship, or even cleaning a storage room, I choose to get sweaty and fight through it.

I choose to dance. Even though I’m TERRIBLE at it, even though I don’t know how, I choose to shimmy and shake and sing to honour God and myself, I choose to feel lovely as I move.

I choose love – I choose to love me in all my busted up glory, I choose to love my friends and family, I choose to believe in romantic love and a happy ever after (even though I struggle with that last). Today, especially. I choose love.

I choose to fight for the things that I want. As Sugar says, I want to fight in the muckiest muck and walk out, filthy, exhausted, but still choosing it every time.

I choose, I choose, I choose.

It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, only in real time. It’s really hard to be this way – I struggle with falling into old habits (“Why does this keep happening to me?!”) and somedays, owning my choices is really fucking difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it is.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and I choose to be happy. I choose to keep living my life without regret, I choose to keep working to being the person I want to be. If I could give you any advice, it would be to choose. Choose what’s important to you, choose to fight for the people you love and the future you want, choose yourself, choose love.

Week 7: February parallels

This time last year, I was well into a bottle of bubbly.

I had been restructured out of my job. They pulled me into a meeting room, told me that they didn’t need a marketing and communications pro (which, to be fair, was true), tried to look sincere when they apologized, and then let me pack up my things and go. I sat in my car and screamed, cried a little…. and then came home and drank prosecco because I had no idea what I was going to do.

To be clear, this wasn’t the same as the Irish whiskey black out that happened when I left the GoA. This was a night of “well, fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Cheers!”

It’s been 365 days. And oh so much has changed. In true N style, let’s show some gratitude for that time before I get into the parallels.

I am just over 10 months into a job that blows my mind every. Single. Day. Seriously. Every day. I wake up absolutely pumped to go to work, and my boss often teases me that I must be on great drugs because I’m just thrilled every day. My reviews have come back positive, and I’ve been praised for my leadership skills. Which is awesome, because this is my first leadership role (hooray to going from a MarComms Coordinator to Communication Team Lead!). I’ve been doing things that are generally out of my comfort zone and succeeding – traveling to large scale events with no idea what I’ve been doing, interviewing for vacation positions – and I am so fucking in love with my job. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

I have the homicidal love muffin. She’s currently asleep in a shoe box (well, she’s trying to fit into a shoe box) and chirping in her sleep. I didn’t plan on adopting her. I saw a photo, and all of a sudden I had a feather chasing fuzz butt who is now 12 pounds and loves to play hide and seek.

For the first time, I dated with intention. I realized precisely how lonely I was, and started being even picky than I usually am with dating. There were some really nice guys. And now… there is just one really nice gentleman. No drama, no strings attached, just goodness.

I am slowly but surely getting healthier. Full stop. There have been slides backwards (like right now, because fuck my ankles and the flu, that’s why!) but I am always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

However, it can’t all be hunky dory. This time last year, I was steeling up the courage to go to my doctor and tell her that I wanted physio to heal my knee so that I could start running again. And now, I’m dealing with an ankle that isn’t stable that I’ve been instructed to be gentle with until it stops popping out of place. No high heels. I’m not allowed to spin until I’m done curling (repetitive motion, for the win!) so I’m generally just cranky about it. The other night I slid out of the hack, and my foot popped so loudly that I thought I’d broken it. And today, it’s all swollen.

All that said, I take a lot of peace that the only thing that is the same as last year is the idea that I need physio. How amazing is that? I’m experiencing a lot of joy, things are finally in a place where I am content and feeling happy. I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’m done improving, because I don’t know that I ever will be, but I’m so happy.

Week 5 – so much for weekly updates

Well.

The road to hell, and all that jazz.

It’s week 5. I’ve been steadily losing, minus one really weird week that I will account to a monthly bloat. I went up 9 pounds (WTAF) and then dropped to my lowest weight yet. Boom. Low 170s. I’m a babe.

My January and February so far has been a lot of remembering. I have been struggling to meal plan and prep, but I’m getting better every week. I have said this before – but prepping healthy and delicious meals for one person SUCKS. I get sick of what I make easily, so I’m trying for variety and delicious. This week was the best one – raspberry, salami, and feta spinach salads, and roasted sweet potato, apple and feta spinach salads. I had smoothies and egg sandwiches for breakfast, and snack consisted of fruit, snack bars, and yoghurt. Simple but delicious, and lots of choices. This week felt good.

Exercise has also been good. I signed up for my friend AR’s weekly spin class. AR and I used to run together (and by together, I mean that we’d chat before our runs, because even in my wildest dreams I likely couldn’t keep up with her). But, a year or two ago I confided that I was sad that I wasn’t able to run any longer, and now we work out before our beer visits. Whether it’s yoga or spin, we move together. So when I say “it’s my goal to ride one of those core bikes”, I know that she’ll have me on one. And I did this week – it was a bit of a stretch for me, but it felt GREAT afterwards. I feel super lucky to have a friend like AR.

I’ve also been at the gym at my work almost every day. My go to is walking – I can walk over 3KM in 40 minutes. I love walking – it’s as close to running I’ll likely ever be again. Also, confession – I don’t like figuring out the machines, plus I’m a creature of routine, so I like the treadmills. That, however, is changing.

Because I signed up for, and started working with, a personal trainer. And she has told me that I’m not going to be walking anymore. Because I’ve also told HER that I want to push myself. I am regretting that a little today, though. Yesterday was our first REAL session together, and I was feeling like a babe before the session. Wednesday, I wore my old running pants to spin. They had stopped fitting about 2 years ago – and they fit amazingly on Wednesday. On Friday, I was able to bust out a pair of jeans that make me look and feel amazing. To say I was feeling like a babe is an UNDERSTATEMENT. And then I went to the gym.

You guys, I was so ashamed. I almost cried in the gym I was so embarrassed. It was an easy ish routine (even now, replaying it in my mind, it seems easy) but I am so so weak. My arms were shaking as I moved the weights, and my balance was off. I struggling to finish, my legs were wobbling. I am so ashamed that I’m so weak. I have neglected myself so much that I struggled with every single movement – and today my body is ACHING. My shoulders and legs especially. Even putting on my awesome jeans after the workout didn’t make me feel better. I felt sad. And fat. Which, as I’ve already discovered, makes me want to eat. That makes me feel infinitely worse.

This is the defining moment, though. I know that, in my heart of hearts, I have two choices. I can give up because of my shame – I can go back to what I know, and what I am comfortable with – or I can choose to move forward through the discomfort to be better.

It’s the second month of 2018, and this is the second time I’ve made this choice. I went to a meditation workshop in January, and during an affirmation session, I started to cry. The session leader was talking to us about the teaching of Louise Hay, and I couldn’t repeat these affirmations – all positive statements that I want to believe about myself. The words we were speaking are my deepest fear about myself, the thing that keeps me awake at night and prickly during the day. As I was struggling to speak, my tears were flowing down my face. My heart felt like it was being shattered open. Even thinking about it – I have tears in my eyes. And maybe on my cheeks.

There are only two real choices as I move forward with this journey. I can choose easy. I can choose to move forward with my hard shell and soft body – I can ignore that my joints ache, and that my heart breaks (and I cry) every time I try to speak about my deep fear. Or I can choose discomfort – I can choose to continue to show up for myself, to look at myself in the mirror and acknowledge that it’s hard and that it hurts, but moving forward is the only way to go.

This is my choice. This discomfort and vulnerability is my choice. I will continue to make this my choice, even as my heart heals and my body gets stronger. I choose discomfort over easy.

Week 1 – Again

It feels weird to write Week 1, again. Especially since the Week 1 already happened, but it feels like just starting over.

Accidental John Lennon reference in the first sentence. Go me.

Ok, so it’s week 1. My Fitness Pal gave me a very very salty goodbye yesterday (“We see these reminders aren’t helpful. So we are going to stop now.”), because I’m having a hard time putting my meals into it. It’s not like I’m not eating well, because oh, I am, but I just don’t seem to have that particular routine down yet.

HOWEVER. Overall, the rest of it came back easy peasy. I managed the gym 3 times this week, with over 11,000 steps each of those days, and I completely forgot how much I loved working out. Also this week – I signed up for 13 weeks of spinning, and gained a 25 class pass at Oxygen Fitness because I’m so done feeling like not my total babely self!

That said – and I’m very excited about this – I stepped on the scale the day after my last post. It wasn’t as high as the first Week 1 – about 10 pounds under that first horrible terrible first time – but it was higher than the last time I stepped on the scale. However. I stepped onto the scale on Tuesday.

And I am officially in the 170s. Officially, more than halfway through the 170s.

I feel like a total and utter babe.

***

To that, there is something else I want to write about. It’s been percolating a lot this week. Mostly because 5 years ago, exactly, I was in Africa. Africa was a total game changer for me.

5 years ago, I was ready to quit communications and marketing altogether. Like, full stop. I hated my job, I hated every single day I was at my job. There was one good thing about my job, and she was my boss. I wanted to quit and run back to operating heavy equipment. Because, and this cannot be overstated – I hated my life every. Single. Day. I had to go to work.

5 years ago, I was sharing my life and home with a man, who I very often described as my soulmate. I had a dream for us (even though I wasn’t allowed to talk about it with him), I wanted to marry him and have his children. Even though it was secretly awful and devastating and far lonelier than I have been since.

5 years ago, my anxiety was off of the charts. I wasn’t allowed to cry or be anxious at home, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was constantly thisclose to a full on meltdown.

And now I’m here.

I love what I do, even though I’ve gone through a couple of major derailments and ended up on my ass (and sometimes in a bottle). I love writing, I love the challenges I face day to day. Communications has become my love.

I have been single for most of the last five years. I have dated- some men longer than others – but haven’t ever found anyone that made me feel like my former roommate. I keep faith that I’ll find that spark – but then I think, maybe a spark like that isn’t meant to light a life. Maybe they are meant to incinerate who we were, in order to become who we need to become. I’ve been on the most hilarious and terrible dates, but I’ve also fallen in love with myself. That was something definitely missing from my life 5 years ago.

It’s been a battle – mostly with myself. I have fought myself into corners, fallen, given up, folded in child’s pose and wept, stood back up, and kept fighting. I’m really, really proud of all that. I’ve learned to dance more, sing louder, care more, and be fiercer.

To that – here is a really great dancing tune. Please go and dance for joy. Dance for life, dance for love, dance for all the lessons we have learned, for the lessons we haven’t learned yet, and the choices we yet to get to make.