Friday, November 22, 2013

Healthy vs "Healthy"

I'm not in a position to be purchasing a whole lot of seriously clean and healthy goodies right now, so I am eating what I have stocked in my cupboard whether it is, sadly, years old or not. But I am doing the best I can. Only because I've been enlightened by the numerous docus on Netflix about our eating habits in America, it feels like every morning I am excited to be eating something delicious while simultaneously panicking about what chemicals I am ingesting. It's a weird push-pull. For instance, I felt I had discovered a winning combination that left me feeling extremely full for like, 6 hours. This does not happen. Acclaimed combo: Fiber One pancake mix, with 2 tbsp of Hemp Organic Protein powder stirred in w/ a little more than a 1/3 cup of lowfat vanilla soy milk and 2 strips of Morningstar Veggie Bacon.

But have you ever looked at the back of the Morningstar veggie bacon box? HAVE YOU. Why is this even called veggie bacon? I feel like veggie should be in quotes, and spelled with like a missing letter, and a k for bacon, "veggi bakon". I saw the word "soy" and "bean", and neither of them were whole soy or whole bean products. Everything had a word after it with too many consonants and not enough vowels. I didn't even look at the back of the Fiber One box, I didn't even want to know. Not to mention when I had that weird rash a few months back on my lady rose, I was using a product faithfully (that was helping, mind you!) when I flipped the bottle over and there might as well have been a pirate skull with a cross through it. It turns out, I didn't even have a rash; aforementioned skull product was giving me the rash. There was some label that advised against some chemical in their product that is outlawed in the state of California because it is a known carcinogen.

Now, I know everyone's obsessive "everything is a carcinogen" phrase they like to use when this topic pops up, but no. You're wrong. Not everything is a carcinogen. We are just fat lazy unhealthy Americans, so everything we like to USE is a god damn carcinogen. I don't feel like in remote villages where they live off the land they are all too worried about whether french fries are a carcinogen (they are), as they munch on their bananas and live til 100.

Fuck this shit. Plus I spilled that powder all over the bathmat and couldn't shake it all out, so I am sure we have trekked that crap all throughout the house and we are going to die of lung cancer and it will be my vaginas fault.

Basically, to summarize: fuck veggi bakon and fuck my vagina(?).

Friday, October 18, 2013

You Know You're Unemployed, When...

This will serve as a working list with which to pass on wisdom to those staring down the dark tunnel of unemployment. Cheers to hope for a better future income!

1. go "out to dinner" with friends for what they think is a social activity, but for you it's because you know the restaurant they have chosen has a free breadbasket. Your skinny friends with real-life adult-y jobs will scoff at the bundle of free carbs because they have first-world problems and can choose which food group to eat. But you? Well, you'll be damned if you know about a free bread basket within 5 miles of your apartment being passed up.

2. know Whole Foods often has free food samples on Wednesdays? Because I know about all the places with free food samples near me, and you should too if you are suckling on the teet of America. As an 'unemployed', I shamelessly hit the same employee twice within 20 minutes, caring not about how everyone obviously knows my cart is empty but whether or not that chick with the new Nikes on is going to actually eat her whole sample and if it's weird if I ask her for the rest of it. (It is weird, fyi. Standards, guys.)

3. your hair is falling out because of nutrient deficiencies. Speaking of whole foods, you lack both on unemployment. And organic food? Please. You're lucky if your dented can of spaghetti-os from 1992 is botulinum-free.

4. ..."splitsies!" is a word you abhor. No, you rich sons of Bs. I will not "splitsies" this bill with you. In case you missed Numero Uno, I ate the free breadbasket. I did not come here to share the cost of your liquid dinner.

5. won't lose any weight from eating less. I promise you this. Because Americans are fat off of quality as well as quantity. Bad food is cheap, and cheap is good. So... if x=y, and y=z, and I did my math right, then bad food=good, right? Anyway, #5 was a disappointing reality.

6. ...every piece of clothing you own is atrocious: hole-y, off-season, stained. But... does it keep you warm? No, because it is off-season and has holes in it. Okay, well... at least it's clean! Also no. Detergent is mad expensive!

7.'ve discovered a new appreciation for what I will refer to as "college-liver". Bankers Club is some nasty rubbing-alcohol grade shit, and I honestly respect my past ability in college to drink this straight from the bottle as if hangovers were child's play. But, on unemployment, Rubbing Alcohol is just about the price range you are looking at when it comes to drinking.

8. pay for things in change. I have, without blinking, pulled up to a gas station and paid for half a tank of gas in quarters. Money is money, ok?

It's only been a mere two weeks since I applied for unemployment, so expect this list to grow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I'm a word girl. Ever since I could talk I was doing too much of it, and once I perfected forming my letters I had a story to tell. Whether that story was true, or just ever so slightly embellished was not the point; it was that I had the art of language and I knew how to use it. Drawing? Not so much. "Art" consisted of stick figures in precarious positions, or the ever-glamorous "collages" which were basically just a hodgepodge of JTT cut outs or Seventeen magazine words that 'spoke to me' at that moment or some shit. You know the crap I'm talking about. But there are some moments in life that even I can't seem to find a way to describe what's happening, or how I feel about it. So I've left that job up to a few pictures in order to best describe this phase of my life: 

High School Graduation 2003. 

College Graduation 2009 (I'm second from left). Movin' on up. 

        There is no good picture of me either at my job or in a boot and crutches, so the pictures above and below describe the last 6 months of my life post-fall. 

Applying for Unemployment October 6, 2013

Applying for Obamacare October 6, 2013

I originally looked through these photos during a moment of shame. Shame that I had come so far and it had amounted to so little. The rise and fall of success, I had muttered to myself. But I realized that that only depends on what you consider Success. Is it graduating from High School, and then graduating from College? Is it having a job, or having authority at your job? Does it even matter if you like your job? Is it setting your alarm for 5 am, making a sub-par cup of coffee and rushing off to work before the sun even rises? Is it having 200 channels on your TV, or being able to afford Starbucks instead of WaWa?  Suddenly I have found myself in a place where I need to re-evaluate my qualifications for success.  I now count myself among the millions of Americans without a job and the opportunity to apply for Obamacare; does this mean I am a tarnished person? Someone who has lost at this game of a "successful" life? I mean that's how America sees me. A drain on your income---> you are paying taxes because I need healthcare and income. (P.S. Thanks for that.)
The notion of what makes me feel successful has been creeping up ever so slowly over the last few years. And life has given me an opportunity to re-evaluate that. To slow down: rise with the sun, make an excellent cup of coffee, savor it quietly and at ease, take longer showers, slower walks, to just stare out the window. I strongly believe the art of just being has been lost on us.
 Life has handed me a Time-Out. There is no better time than the present to learn the art of savoring, slowing, staring. So, right now, my only measurement of success is whether or not I took the time to be grateful that day, to slow down and not let life pass me by. To take pictures and count my blessings. To perfect the art of just being. 

Unemployment/Time-Out Day 1

1. Apply for Health Insurance
2. Look for jobs.
3. Just stare out the window for a little while. Notice how good it feels. And don't even feel guilty about it.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Think I'm Supposed to Enjoy This

Everyone is saying I should be. 

Enjoying these dog days of summer without needing to work right now. Just spending them healing, relaxing, resting, recovering. I think people are picturing me sitting on a porch fanning myself with a magazine, listening to the buzz of the cicadas and watching kids amble by on their squeaky bikes in the sticky heat of August. I also probably have one hand tightly wrapped around a Freeze Pop in their maginations. All of this is true; this is actually as close to what I do on a daily basis given I normally have my hand wrapped tightly around something edible, my apartment is hot as fuck and the cicadas are mating like idiots right now. But instead of enjoying this, the whole time my mind is just like balls. balls. Baaaaallllls. I should be looking at more jobs right now or applying to every school on the east coast. 

Instead, each day is a vicious cycle of guilt, panic, and procrastination. Panic that I won't find a job anytime soon, that I'm not prepared to work, with my foot which will just lead to chronic injury if I go back too early. That there won't be any grad school that starts in January, or whether or not I'll even be accepted into any of them. That Nursing isn't really what I want to do for the rest of my life. That I'll never figure "it" out. I'll never figure myself out. That I'll just circle the drain, somewhere in between, in a constant free - fall of disaster.

And then the guilt comes....guilt that I'm on disability. That if I have an hour where I am actually relaxing, that I shouldn't be, that I should be figuring out what my dream career is and promptly reaching for the god damn stars already. 

And then the procrastination, because honestly... what do you do when you don't know what to do? Nothing. 

At the very most I shouldn't be buying coffee, when I am broke. But I do.

And certainly not watching TV instead of doing ankle exercises. Which I do excessively. Still injured enough to not work, but not injured enough to feel like laziness is an acceptable existence.

There's this weird pressure to lose a bunch of weight and get healthy while I'm off; to "figure myself out", discover my career path and my life path all at once. Like this is some caterpillar-butterfly moment where I'll emerge from this terrible experience stronger, resilient, beautiful, with all my goals laid out nicely before me, as though they just came to me while I was laid up on bed-rest. I think people often assume that after disaster emerges something amazingly well-crafted. Like everyone is expecting some soul-journey story to be the result of this trying time and I'm not fully prepared to disappoint everyone with the lackluster ending to this story. (what the eff is a 'soul journey' anyway?)

I feel like shouting I'm not an Oprah magazine article! I don't know how to make this my shining moment where I figure it all out. Did somebody write a book on this yet? I obsessively check my bank account, wondering when the money will run out. I take career quizzes and sit in Barnes & Noble hoping maybe by osmosis I'll absorb a grand idea or plan on how to create "the life I want", as all the self-help books advertise. Too bad there isn't a prequel called "i am about to give you all of the answers. all of them."

I want people to say: "well that injury and layoff was the best thing that ever happened to her! it led her to insert awesome life-changing experience"  instead of "she moved into a trailer and the only coffee she could afford was the stir in kind. I mean the girl couldn't even buy a pumpkin spice latte for fuck's sake."     seriously, people, what goes in the blank up there. or instant coffee is in my imminent future. 

Injuring myself and consequently losing my job because of it has not made anything more crystal clear than it was before. If anything it has muddied the waters significantly. At least before I felt I had no choice; I was locked into a job whether or not I liked it, but it paid the bills and allowed me several days off per week. It forced me to revolve my life around sleeping, eating, and work where little decision making had to be done.  I mean, I'm the girl who will suffer through a one-page menu, terrified of food-regret. Now, I have numerous life questions that kind of matter and not-a-one of them do I actually know the answer to. 

I'm groping blindly in the dark feeling like I have 3 months to decide what to do with my life. And the more I spin in circles, the more lost I feel.  It probably doesn't help that all I keep hearing in my head is the quote from Home Alone 'this is it, don't get scared now.'

Maybe I should write "the book."

It'll be titled "I Think I'm Supposed to Enjoy This."

The cover will just be a picture of me, holding an ice pop, sitting on a porch. Panic-free.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Skinny Ass Ankles

So, I hired a personal trainer. I was motivated, mostly because of the expensive perky blonde woman that was yelling in my face and making me do exercises I have only ever seen on Biggest Loser (waving humongous ropes through the air). But the changes were happening on the inside as well; emotions were bubbling up and suddenly I was awash in tears along with my sweat as I bounced up and down on a huge step while pumping kettlebells. I hated it and I loved it. I could feel myself changing, deciding to do right for myself, finally. And I sensed an emotion I hadn't felt in quite some time: justice. I was allowing myself to feel justice, for all the pain I had gone through over the last few years, I suddenly felt I deserved to treat myself well. I also felt like my hamstrings were burning and this biotch better get out of my face.

And then I fell. Sober, wearing flats, walking across a dark lawn, a step literally decided to put my dreams in a blender and halt my progress. Damn step.

For the last 5 weeks I have been laying low, with my foot propped on pillows resenting everyone who wears a size 6 because their ankles seem to be fine. Bitches. Ironically, my ankles are the slimmest part of my body aside from my wrists, and they came back to bite me in the ass. Freakin' skinny ass ankles. Couldn't they have plumped up for a night and protected me from the months of agony ahead?

Needless to say, I can't do much. I can't even grocery shop or cook my own meals because most of those things require two legs. I mean, unless you discuss this with somebody who has lost a limb and had to accommodate to those changes in which case they will probably tell you I am being a whiny bitch. I am merely just refusing to accept these changes because I am tired and sad and in a whirlwind of self pity. The frustration I have felt at this sudden stall in my progress because of a silly injury is overwhelming. I won't go into the medical details of it all, but basically this injury will keep me quite literally on my ass for the next few months.

And so I ate. Whatever people dropped off in the goodness of their hearts, I ate. I watched Homeland, and Pretty Little Liars (!!!) and Parks and Recreation, and I ate bowls of pasta and hoagies. Interesting how, in our moments of emotion and sadness we comfort ourselves with the exact poison that has gotten us to this place to begin with, right?

But then I watched a documentary about eating healthy and how it changes your body's response to illness and injury. And then I watched another one. And another one. And then I decided, hey I have the time, might as well read some of the books these documentaries recommend. so I read The China Study, and The Gerson Theory and, Hungry for Change. I became a woman obsessed with information, pie charts, and tangible change. From my bed, I could actively do very little, but acquiring all of the things I needed to know felt like participating in my life. I didn't have to sit here and let things happen to me, I could take the reigns somewhere, anywhere and disallow life to simply pass me by. Is disallow a word? It is now.

 I can't say I will ever be a vegetarian let alone a vegan.  Okay, let's be honest. I will literally never be a vegan. But I will say it has changed my idea of food from that of comfort to nourishment. From a band-aid, to a medicine. For the last few weeks I have *successfully* been able to eat at least 2 meals out of the day being meatless. In fact, somedays I have gone completely meat and dairy free. I purchased a juicer (which I need to promptly return because honestly how the hell can i justify buying a juicer right now), and I took back control. And God, it feels good to be able to do something successfully since even walking has apparently become a challenge.

And let me tell you, when I flipped the juicer to the on position and shoved apples and spinach and other nutrient dense foods in there I took my first sip and told my crutches to fuck off. I felt my muscles and ligaments and everything else in me just relax and I felt my soul say thank you. I felt that familiar sense of justice. I took another sip of my fluorescent green juice and decided that I will conquer yet another medical setback. Because food can be medicine, if you let it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Could Be the Moment

So it's true. I hate greek yogurt. Why would I bother centering my blog title around something so pointless? Because to me, it is both the holy grail and the Fear-Factor-Cockroach of my life. I've been on this "journey" to improving my health for like four years, despite it steadily declining during that time frame.  And Greek yogurt represents this entire mind-set to me. I flip through magazines hoping that I might absorb the glowing genes into my body by osmosis and among other things (salmon, Vitamin D) it feels like Greek Yogurt is all they can talk about. It embodies what I've been too lazy to try to achieve. I am my own worst enemy, sure, but Greek Yogurt, at least for the moment is my scape-goat. I'll buy a tub, take a spoonful, and just as quickly toss that disgusting $5 container down the trash. Me trying to be healthy feels fake and so does trying to enjoy this sour cream poser. You can sugar-coat it with honey or fruit all you want, but admit it, you will never look forward to that gelatinous tarty flavor.

And just like this entry, I've procrastinated getting to the point. So, let me paint a picture for you: My fire alarm just went off and I'm not wearing any pants. I'm still 50 lbs above my goal weight, and have no ab muscle to speak of. In fact, my 'core' is so underdeveloped I pulled my back out moving a child and was out of work for 5 months. I  just worked almost 50 hours in 4 days doing a thankless and generally depressing job and all I want to do is eat a huge burrito in my bed reading books about vampires and telling the love of my life I'm too tired for sex. That sentence is both incredibly long and incredibly true, but it is clear that losing weight isn't my only priority. Getting my life together has got to be some aspect of it.

Which brings us to where I am now. At the lowest end of the totem pole when it comes to a "healthy, balanced, 'together' lifestyle. Something needs to change, but quite frankly I've found more satisfaction complaining about it for years then actually making any effort. In fact,  I am the worst kind of friend. I'm so boring that I'm bored with myself; the only thing I talk about is how I live my life in extremes: I'm overweight and underslept; I hate greek yogurt but I love lasagna, tacos, etc. I abhor cardio but I adore buying 3 trench coats in different colors at Target. I don't even want to go out to dinner with me: I waver from extreme joy to overwhelming hopelessness as I steadily shovel the food in my mouth. I probably look like a mime on crack during meals.

So here I am, pretending like this Slim Fast bar really does taste like cookie dough and reminiscing about how time really does fly when you start checking the age box 25-34. It feels like yesterday that I made my 4th New Year's Resolution to lose weight, or meditate every day, or "get out in nature" for five minutes twice a week. Where do I even come up with these minimums and guidelines? One thing is clear: I've ignored every goal and risked my own health, disregarding my body in the throes of immediate chocolatey satisfaction. And I've dearly paid for it. I keep thinking this is it, this year is my year. But it never is, and the only person responsible is me. And Chobani, of course.

So, hang on friends. I've created a new outlet in which to complain, and retain a small glimmer of hope that writing about the woes of having a quarter-life crisis might just drive me to make some changes. It is December, after-all, which means that my 5th New Years Resolution of "Getting Healthier" is right around the corner. Something feels right about this moment. About learning to love myself again. Maybe I've reached that limit of complaining. Or a third health scare in September was the final straw. Whatever it is, I need to seize it. This could be the moment, my moment.

And by seizing, I mean, my Goal of the Day is to get out of my pajamas.

Baby steps.