Some Thoughts on Being a Grown Ass Woman

19 Feb

I haven’t written in a long time; mostly because the actual living of my life has gotten in the way. There’s always an email that needs answering or a ringing phone or wine to be drunk that prevent me from sitting and collecting my thoughts all quiet-like.

A fun but perplexing weekend has left me working over some thoughts, likely till I’ve worried the finish right off of them, but all that thinking led me right back here to try and distill it all down to something useful. I had one of those moments this weekend that just made my brain explode. It was the moment that launched a million questions about myself, about how others perceive me, and the way things work between people. Ultimately, it led me to some of my own truths, that by writing them here, I’m owning.

It was a simple thing really….a very sweet, well-meaning friend who, I believe, was speaking to protect my best interests, said I was naive. My cerebellum lit up like a pinball machine at the word – a mixture of horror, amusement, and indignation for the most part. I managed to collect myself before I spoke. My response was simple, “I’m nearly 38 years old, I’ve been in relationships most of my adult life, I’ve learned a few things. Now I just take what’s good from a situation and move along.”

I can’t rightly say how it was received, but over the past few days, I’ve come up with some things that I know to be true about myself at this point in my life.

1. I am an enthusiastic and whole-hearted lover of people, music, and words. I am truly unabashed about all three. An ex-boyfriend of mine used to laugh at how I would gush that something or someone was “amazing” with such emphasis and glee. I’m quick to love people and pull them close and despite it getting me kicked in the teeth more times than I choose to count, I wouldn’t change it. I love that my friends, family, and “special interest groups” know how great I think they are and that I adore and appreciate them. Yes, I’m more careful these days about who gets into the inner sanctum, but I’m ok with being effusive. It’s what makes me me.

2. I want things and that’s ok. I’ve been very uncomfortable for a good many years about having needs and wants…that is, up until I put some serious time into dating. There is nothing that gets you to define and embrace what you want and need (and don’t) like a series of bad dates. I want to be myself and blurt out ridiculous, silly, filthy jokes and comments because that’s what I do. I want to be surrounded by people who make me think, sing, laugh, smile, and make a fool of myself. I want to shamelessly flirt because, no matter what the size tag on my pants says, I’m sexy and I’m a damned good flirt when the spirit moves me. I don’t ever want to make myself smaller for anyone again either physically or emotionally/spiritually.

3. Losing weight is not easy. It actually gets harder every day. It’s work. Watching what I eat isn’t enough – my body tends to want to be…zaftig. I have big boobs, and a big ass and when I weigh less they are still big – and I like ‘em. So do some other folks. I will never be tiny, I’m just not built for it, but if I work really hard – exercise and diet – I can be healthy and smaller. More than anything, I need to be doing it the right way for the right person – me.

4. I like men. Ok, you knew that. For the record, I’m down with everyone liking men or women regardless of their own gender. I like sex. I’m a grown ass woman and there is nothing in the world wrong with acknowledging that I like it. No, that doesn’t mean I’m bedding every willing man in the contiguous U-nited States, but guess what? Sometimes I have ulterior motives. Sometimes I find someone so attractive that I get that “oh-yes-he-will-be-mine” thing going on. I met a fella not too long ago who I found very appealing pretty much from the get-go. As I’ve gotten to know him a little I’ve found him to be smart and funny and interesting to talk to and very talented to boot. I also wouldn’t mind seeing him naked. Not one bit. In fact, I insist. I don’t think we’re getting married and having a white picket fence and 2.5 children. I just enjoy him. Whether I ever have my way with him or not I will continue to enjoy him and harbor dirty thoughts and flirt. If this is problematic for you, please review items 1-3 and then revisit.

5. My life would be incomplete and no fun at all without my girlfriends. They are the loves of my life, my partners in crime, the Sonnys to my Cher, the Pinot to my Grigio. They are also all significantly better looking than I am and I only go out with them because they’re happily married and therefore off-limits to my conquests. Joking aside, if I never make another friend for the rest of my life I’ll be ok. None of what I’ve written here will surprise any of them because they already know who I am.

I could make this list far longer but it would get a lot less interesting and you’re probably exhausted from the exertion of reading these five things. If you want to share some of your truths in the comments I’d be delighted. In closing, I’d like to quote 2 men who have been very influential in my life.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

“Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.” – My Dad

Life Support

15 Aug

20120815-233718.jpgI want to begin by thanking all of you for reading my last post. It’s nice to know that so many of you are interested in the mental and physical benefits of yoga…oh wait…no…you just popped in to see me get kicked to the curb in the comments. In that case, thank you for not making me an overnight Internet sensation, a trending topic, or suggesting that I might want to go out with your 50 year old son who lives in your basement, collects dolls, and is “such a catch.”

At moments as special as this I like to reflect on how lucky I am to have the friends and family I do. On Friday night my darling friend, the Secret Agent, hauled my sorry ass to the park to “walk it off.” Yes, a bottle of wine was looking far more appealing. Yes, I was second guessing and mood swinging and swearing. Yes, I was a bundle of mixed emotions that just wanted to crawl into bed and pull the sheets over my head…but I went. And it was exactly what I needed to be doing.

Secret Agent knew that I needed to vent and then just rub some dirt on it. She has the distinct advantage of knowing me since the 7th grade, so she knows how difficult I can be when cranky, but she also knew what I needed at that moment…a friend and a distraction.

I know you’ve been waiting to hear about the Sister Wives, and I couldn’t think of a better time to talk about them. What you have to understand is that we knew each other ages ago in a dystopian society known as high school. Some of us were friends, some of us were friendly, but through the miracle of social media and the uniting love of brunches that involve booze, we came together again nearly 20 years later in a community far more successful, moderately more hygienic, and far more fun than Bronson Alcott’s utopian adventures at Fruitlands.

As a unit, we fight crime, right wrongs, and singlehandedly keep vineyards and distilleries worldwide in business. Ok, those first two things are a slight exaggeration. We provide each other a great deal of love and support. This is most apparent in moments of crisis….like my birthday…you know, the baby thing. One Sister Wife was alerted to the crisis and mobilized the other two (we’re working on getting something akin to the Bat Signal going to facilitate this process). All three arrived at my apartment to be with me while I drank and cried and, in the end thanks to them, laughed.

The idea of the Sister Wives began as a perfectly rational discussion about the ideal of living together and sharing the responsibility of caring for the menfolk and children…but has since evolved into a more Edenic vision than ever before dreamed. We talk often of purchasing a compound – we have our hearts set on a recent listing for one with 22 small houses and a casino – and living happily as one extended family. I’m lucky here because, as the only single gal, my sisters bring 3 good lookin’ men with them as well as two awesome children.

We are selectively offering membership to others, ensuring harmonious living. My gusband will be joining us, provided there is a dance club and a stable of hot, young men. We were also lucky enough to stumble upon someone who readily volunteered to be our charismatic cult leader and is uniquely qualified to fill that role. I intend to be First Wife to that one.

The point of all this is (or at least what I’m forcing it to be to fit into the theme of this blog), that sometimes you need your friends to take care of you or remind you to take care of yourself when things look bleak. I know that as I’ve struggled with my weight loss, fitness goals, heartbreaks, and family health crises, whether I’ve succeeded or failed, crumbled or stood firm, I’ve come through all of it because of my incredible support system.

Pro Tip: Build yourself a support system…a soft place to fall (yeah, I think I just quoted Dr. Phil). Help and encouragement can be found in so many different people and places: a yoga class, friends, family, neighbors, a personal trainer, dietitian, or therapist. Your support system doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s – it just has to work for you. Trust me, I’m moving mine to a compound led by a man named Mingo.

Just Say Om

8 Aug

20120808-233338.jpg

When I sit down to write these things I usually know what they’re about and where they’re going before I type the first word. Tonight I’m not as sure. I have a lot of things I want to tell you…about my twisted love life, my yoga classes, my Sister Wives and The Compound, but I’m not getting my usual laser focus going so I’m just going to wing it. My apologies if reading it feels like dropping acid.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in 37 years, some of which I’m just now starting to implement in my daily life. Some are simple, like eating ice cream on a really hot day makes me sick, and some are more nuanced, like what I want and need in my life and that I have a right to make those things clear and ask for them.

Things with the Irishman have been a bit dicey for the last week. We had a stupid tiff and he’s been a little on the standoffish side since. I brought him to a party on Saturday night at the home of one of the Sister Wives and he really enjoyed himself but I think he also got his first glimpse of Independent Lisa. Independent Lisa doesn’t babysit or cling to you…she drinks, and mingles, and meets other people, and laughs a lot. Independent Lisa had a great time at said party. It could well be that Independent Lisa is not the Irishman’s type.

Here’s the thing about his type…I don’t know what it is. I realized that I have no idea what he’s attracted to as far as I’m concerned. Kids, I’m built like the prow of a ship…if the prow was attached to a short, padded body with a sizable aft, and I’m pretty ok with that. As it turns out, neither my fore nor my aft are of interest to good ol’ James Joyce. I like to think I have a big personality and a good, if bawdy, sense of humor…and yet those characteristics seem as incomprehensible to him as Finnegan’s Wake. So what gives?

So here’s where it gets weird – just as I start to spiral a bit and berate myself about my smooshy midsection and the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in 2 months, The Hebrew Hammer reappears. I cannot say at present time (because I don’t know yet…I’m not holding out on you) what has sparked this renewal of his suit, but he has resurfaced full of praise of my multitudinous virtues. He is aware of my current involvement and has nicknamed the Irishman “Judgy O’Judgerson” for his habit of mild yet repeated critique. I know I need to address the fact that neither of our towns have been miraculously relocated closer to each other…but not just yet…because I’m confused…and cranky…and thinking too much about what everyone else thinks and wants and thinks of me.

So I went to yoga. Twice this week. Yoga is amazing for this sort of confusion and angst. No, it doesn’t solve anything. You don’t shake yourself up like a Magic 8 Ball for an hour and suddenly receive the right answer to the dilemmas of daily life. Here’s what it does do: it forces you to focus on yourself. To practice effectively you have to quiet the mind and focus on your body..its movements, its limitations, its strengths AND NOT JUDGE THEM. It takes all my concentration to breathe and not fall over. It takes all my patience and kindness to laugh and smile when I DO fall over. I can’t think about the Irishman and the Jew or my belly or what comes next. I just have to stay in the moment and contort and lift my body and breathe.

I like my body when I’m in class…it can do cool things and if I keep at it it will become conditioned to do more cool things. Yoga is moving me toward my weight loss and fitness goals and helping me gain the focus to tackle my personal and professional ones. If you haven’t taken a yoga class, I encourage you to give it a try for both the mind and body benefits. For those of you who feel like you’re too hardcore – have you tried lifting your body weight recently? How flexible are your hips and hamstrings? Give it a shot – you’ll find it’s quite the workout. Most studios offer small beginner packages to take it for a test drive. My studio, Verona Yoga has 3 classes for $30 for new students and two Absolute Beginner classes a week.

As always, I invite any and all comments, but I’d love to know what you do to get out of your own head, find your focus, or feel more comfortable in your own skin. Off to bed for me! Namaste.

The Luck of the Irish…Perhaps

23 Jul

Irish Big Love?So when I last wrote I was pining for a fellow of the Hebraic persuasion who felt that the schlepp through the deserts of South and Central New Jersey to reach me in the Northern Promised Land was far too difficult. Had Moses felt the same all of Biblical history would be re-written. And so it was in the life of this single gal. If I have learned one thing from this epic attempt to date – other than that I don’t really like being molested in parking lots by men who look like my gusband but are straight – it is that we (meaning me) cannot pin our hopes on impossible dreams and stories we made up after enjoying the fruit of the vine.

When it became clear that my gentleman caller was, in fact, sticking to his zip code where dating is concerned (marked by the arrival of a woman who I arbitrarily named Ethel), I moved on without many bumps and bruises…and met the Irishman. Besides having a smattering of Irish in my family tree, many of my favorite people wear the green including one of my Sister Wives (known for going “All Crazy Irish Girl”). For those not in the know, I am not a polygamist, and I promise to devote a post to my beloved Sister Wives and our dream of owning a compound in a later post. I loves me some Irish…and redheaded Irish…don’t get me started.

The Irishman is handsome. And age-appropriate. And an amazing father to his beautiful 16 year old daughter. He is sane, has a great job, lives a reasonable distance from me, and, did I mention handsome? He has a great sense of humor and, virtue of virtues, seems to enjoy me. I’ve been enjoying his company both on the phone and in person and had the great pleasure of meeting said beautiful daughter this weekend. Children are the measure of their parents and this girl was a wonder. She is sweet and funny and has none of the disturbing overly grown up qualities I see in many girls her age. We had a lovely dinner and I managed not to spill anything on myself or drool on her father.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or put pressure on things, but I’ve been smiling a lot lately. The Irishman is generous with his praise and is quite clear that he finds me attractive, and yet…the sad fat kid voice keeps cutting through all the fiddles and fanfare. Although my weight is slowly wending its way down, I’ve become a little obsess-y. I hate my mid-section – where I store anything and everything I put in my pie hole. I find myself considering Insanity (which would kill me) and  CrossFit (which would kill me twice) to make it go away. The truth is that I still haven’t adjusted completely to my workday beginning at 8 instead of 9 and have been staying up too late as a result of the dating expedition to actually get up and work out in the morning.  I’ve missed yoga more than I’d like due to work stuff.

Here’s what I AM doing…I’m trying to relax and enjoy myself. I’m taking control of my eating by starting the day with a good, solid protein shake, drinking a Red Sea’s worth of water and decaf iced tea, and having a reasonable lunch and dinner. Most of all, I’m walking in the door of my apartment every night and immediately removing my pants. Pants-free evenings are not only comfortable, but also remind me that my rear end hasn’t met the back of my thighs yet and is still pretty damn hot.

I’m off to enjoy this delightful thunderstorm, the latest episode of The Closer, and some absolutely hysterical texts from the Irishman before I retire. Until next time, may the road rise up to meet you all.

Geographically Undesirable – An Almost Love Story

9 Jul

It’s been months since I’ve written and rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I haven’t fallen off the wagon or joined a cult…life just got in the way. There were family illnesses and weddings and a new job to start. There were relationships that ended, attempts to rekindle old relationships, and attempts to start new ones. This post is about two of those attempts. I bring this to you tonight, not only because I have love on the brain, but because when you’re not entirely (or even close to) satisfied with your weight or the shape of your body, it can create some ugly thoughts (ie: “I’ll never find anyone”) and major roadblocks to finding love.

About two years ago I was still participating in a relationship that had run its course and, when I least expected it I met someone new at work. He was funny and sexy and handsome and…well, a true man’s man. For some reason he found me attractive and, because we’re both decent people with morals and I was in a relationship, we kept our relationship to wild flirting. He gave me time to sort out my feelings, extract myself from the relationship, and check in with myself to make sure I was ready to jump into something else. His reassurance that I would get used to being treated well helped that happen fairly quickly.

Once we were free to be more involved I found myself in a very exciting, very charged, very undefined relationship. True to his word, he treated me well, was the consummate gentleman, and made me feel so appreciated for the first time in 5 years. Our time together was…highly charged…the attraction palpable. Until it wasn’t.

I could never bring myself to ask what he was thinking about our relationship, where it was going, whether it was exclusive, but I wondered about it. As I wondered he disappeared. Dates got cancelled – always with good reason – months went by with our only time together being through Facebook chat. When I suggested that maybe things had just died out between us he said it was just bad timing, that he was just plain busy. It was true. I knew it he WAS busy. But something else had happened – I had fallen in love with him…and I was WAY ahead of him.

He really was a mensch. He took me to my brother’s wedding, was amazing to my family, took care of me in every moment of need, but the truth was that we weren’t meeting each other’s needs. So I ended it…sort of. Even though I said the words and started dating someone else, I kept talking to him.

Fast forward to this Spring. In a moment of startling clarity, I realized that I had screwed everything up. When he and I were together I missed all the signs that he had really cared about me, worried the relationship out of existence. So I took a deep breath and asked him if he’d be willing to try again. He was.

We made two dates that didn’t happen. And then he became a father. 4 days before my birthday. And I didn’t know it was coming. I was heartbroken..chiefly because I never stopped loving him and I was feeling hopeful that the second time was a charm. I’ll spare you all the ins and outs of the situation, but he’s not a heartless bastard and we’ve talked our way through it. What I learned from this experience is that I have an ENORMOUS capacity for love. Whether it’s healthy for me or not, my desire to care for people and to show that love FAR overshadows other less happy feelings. He’s still one of the first people I call when things go wrong and I believe him when he tells me it’s all going to be ok. I still love him and probably always will.

Which brings me to my second tale and the title of this post. Having learned, as I did, that I have a great capacity for love, and knowing, as I do, that I want a relationship and, ultimately, a marriage, I decided to date again. Inspired by so many friends who have met husbands and boyfriends online, I set aside my trepidation and essential dislike of the medium, and wrote up my product description (profile, whatever), picked a few pictures, and put myself on the auction block.

While I could share horror stories with the best of ‘em, within 3 days of entering myself into inventory, I received a message from a man with an amazing sense of humor, a quick wit, and the Semitic looks that this daughter of a Jewish father has always liked. We corresponded for 2 weeks before we actually met. Our emails and text messages were a source of endless amusement to both of us. We share a frame of reference and inherent geekiness that made me wonder if I had found the male version of myself. And then came the first date.

I worried that, despite having shared recent and accurate pictures and having told my new beau that I am, in fact, a big girl (though a recently 25 lb. lighter big girl), that he wouldn’t find me attractive. I sweated and fretted and changed my outfit about a million times. At last he arrived and…he was everything I hoped he’d be….and he liked me…and we were so incredibly attracted to each other. We had a fantastic, fun evening together and agreed that we wanted to see each other again.

I spent the next morning volunteering at a local triathlon as a human traffic cone, texting him, thinking about him, and smiling. The kicker is that my buddy from story #1 was also volunteering. It was great to see him. I missed him more seeing him…but I was also happy with the potential of this new relationship. So new guy and I continued to text and talk all day about how much we’d enjoyed the night before and couldn’t wait to see each other again…and then….

And then came the text message that said he was worried that it would be hard for us to date with an hour and change-worth of distance between us. I immediately thought that this wasn’t about distance but that he wasn’t all that interested. I picked up the phone and dialed – preferring to address it head on. We talked, he reassured me that I was everything he had expected, that he liked me, that he found me incredibly attractive, but that his adorably OCD self was truly concerned about how it was going to work.

We left it largely unresolved until the next day when his worry got the best of him – the idea of me traveling so far alone to see him bothered him too when I offered to do the bulk of the driving. I was perfect for him in all ways but one – I was geographically undesirable.

We’ve continued to talk daily. He sent his most recent message to me just an hour ago when heading to bed to say goodnight, that he still likes me, and that he’ll be thinking of me.

I’m a writer by trade and although I’m a marketer, I’m known for my creativity. I like the stories I make up about my own life. In the past two months I’ve made up some doozies. I reframe the events of my life to construct a storyline that doesn’t offend my delicate sensibilities…I ascribe motives to others that make the stories heartwarming and kind rather than catastrophic. I told my almost-beau that despite the distance and his OCD that he is literally everything I’m looking for – which is true…at least so far – and so I’ve made up a story about him that we’ve been acting out together. While initially the distance seemed insurmountable we continue to talk, and have bad dates with other people, and look far and wide to find our “one.” In not so very long, he realizes that he’s already met his…and she’s only an hour away. I let him in on it a bit today by telling him that I’m plotting to get him to fall madly in love with me.  He wrote back “You’re smart.”

Maybe this time I am.

Yes, You Can Be Too Good

17 Mar

Today was weigh in day for me at Weight Watchers and I gained a pound despite being the model of reserve since my binge 2 weeks ago. It was a disappointment to say the least, but I pulled my leader aside after the meeting and gave her the lowdown.

Davida asked about what I’d been eating and how I was doing on Points. I told her that in an effort to introduce more protein into my diet I’d been downing a protein shake for breakfast with skim milk, PB2, chia seeds, and a banana, but that because the Points were so low I’d found myself with a ton of Points left at the end of the day. She looked me dead in the eye and said “You’re not eating enough.”

Let me tell you, those are 4 words I never thought I’d hear. She told me that if I continued to eat significantly less Points than I’d been given I would not lose weight because my body would hold onto everything I put into it. She encouraged me to beef up my breakfasts and said she often eats 8 Points at breakfast – with an egg, toast, a glass of milk and fruit. She said that having 2 or 3 Points left at the end of the day is ok but 10 is not.

This anecdote brings up a good point, sometimes when we’re trying to lose weight, even in a structured program, we impose restrictions on ourselves that are not only destined to trigger a setback or binge, but are totally counterproductive. In accordance with this sage advice from Davida, I’m going to eat more this week and see if I can sort myself out, starting with a lovely dinner with my folks tonight.

That’s all for me for the moment, I’m off to do a yoga DVD to work the kinks out. Let me know if you’ve had issues with under-eating or other food-related challenges – I’d love to hear from you. Also, Fitness Forsaken is on Twitter (FitnessForsaken) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FitnessForsaken) so there are even more ways to get in touch.

Have a great weekend!

A Little Perspective

14 Mar

As I sat on my yoga mat tonight, waiting for class to begin, a beautiful, tall, willowy woman – the woman I’d like to be when I grow up – walked in. She was a friend of a class regular and a first-timer. She bent down to roll out her mat in front of mine and immediately turned to me and said, “Please don’t watch me…unless you want a laugh that is.”

I laughed and reassured her that we would all be too busy figuring out what to do to look at anyone else. I remembered my own first time in this class – just 8 short weeks ago. I arrived anxious, self-conscious, and slightly uncomfortable. What was the difference between me and the supermodel? I outweigh her by about a third grader.

When I first came in I got acclimated by checking out the other students and felt better when I saw a woman about the same size as me. I felt better because I felt like the expectations of what my body should look like and how flexible I should be had now become more realistic- if you look like me you must perform like me. Now the real difference between me and Heidi Klum is more clear…and more than poundage.

She was nervous, not only because she had never done yoga before and was afraid of looking stupid, but because having a body like hers…looking the way she does, people expect more of her. There’s something really comforting in the idea that it cuts both ways. It really drives home the point that insecurity lives in bodies of all shapes and sizes.

As I went through my practice I felt good and strong and capable. My head stayed clear. I didn’t think about my body except to notice the increase in my flexibility or which muscles I was tensing so I could release them. I love yoga for the way I feel after practice, but even more so for teaching me to be aware of my body without judging it. I hope our resident top model learns the same…and I’ll stop referring to her as a supermodel or Heidi Klum because I shouldn’t judge her either.

In terms of my own weight loss, I’m back in a good place. I reminded myself that I know, from previous weight loss efforts, that my body drops weight more easily and functions better when I eat more protein – something I’ve been lacking in my mostly meatless meals. I’ve been having morning protein shakes made with skim milk, a banana, chia seeds, and Synthrax Nectar Sweets chocolate truffle protein powder. Today I added PB2 – basically defatted powdered peanut butter – for even more protein and a quasi peanut butter cup flavor. I’m actually looking forward to weighing in this week.

I hope everyone’s having a great week. I’ve got an amazing personal trainer waiting to answer your questions in an upcoming post so ask away in the comments, or, if you’d like more privacy email me at lrgittleman (at) gmail.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers

%d bloggers like this: