Of shedding the old and jumping into the new

Time to get reflective, as one does on New Year’s Eve.

This year sucked. It was painful, expensive, and constantly kicked me in the ladyballs until I fell over. I dug myself out of holes, some deep, some shallow. I think 2010 edged it out slightly on the crap meter, but it’s running a close second. That’s not to say there weren’t good things this year. I got promoted and the raise that comes along with it. I found out exactly where I stand with Boy. I found out who I can lean on and who should be let go. I was shoved forcibly out of my comfort zone and fell flat on my face. I learned a lot, most of it the hard way.

I’m not making specific resolutions for 2014. It’s too easy to drop them because there’s such a fine point. In general, I want to listen to myself more. Stop forcing myself to do things that don’t fit, literally and figuratively. Embrace my evolution instead of sticking to what I know. They don’t call it growing pains for nothing. Stop writing things off wholesale because it doesn’t fit with who I am now. It doesn’t hurt to stick a toe in and see what happens. I’ll spend more time traveling next year. I’ll laugh so hard I cry. I’ll cry so hard I laugh. I’ll see my best friends and make new ones. I’ll watch my niece and nephew grow up. I’ll keep my sense of humor about crap situations. Some of the hardest times I’ve laughed was when my dad was going through cancer treatments. I’ll shed what doesn’t serve me and pick up things and people who do. I’ll stop taking myself so seriously and taking things personally. I’ll wear glittery lip gloss while hiking. The good thing about standing at the bottom is the ability to come back up. Of course bad things will happen. It’s life. It doesn’t mean I can’t find something to smile or laugh about. Come on, 2014, let’s dance.

XOXO & see you on the other side.


Of spinning plates and collapsing in heaps

While promotions are awesome, the learning curve isn’t. My (soon to be ex) coworker blew off work again today. Of course, she kept stringing us along until after 1p. Until they officially replace me, I back her up and do her work (formerly my work) when she’s not there. I’m still learning what my new position entails. The woman who now reports to me and knows *everything* about the process is out until January 2. She taught me a few things, sent me a few procedures, and I was off on my own. Just one task takes me pretty much all day. I ended up killing 90 minutes getting all her stuff done so things wouldn’t be ridiculously far behind. On the up side, I have it down to a science. I can knock out the worst of it fairly quickly. If I wanted to go into all the nitpicky bits, that would take all day. Then toward the end of the day, the internal auditor came by with a stack of all the errors they found for the past 3 months. When I was in charge, the audit was almost perfect. If I screwed something up it was either minor or I had an explanation for why I did what I did. The only time there were pages upon pages of errors was the first time the process got audited.

It’s not rocket science. It’s a straightforward, step by step process. There isn’t a whole lot of brain power involved. That’s why I was given other tasks and eventually moved out of it. I’d gotten it down so much that I could finish it in a little under 2 hours. She can’t be bothered to do the work and it’s come back to bite everyone else. The auditor kept apologizing and we kept telling her it wasn’t her fault. She’s just doing her job. It was the other girl wasn’t and that’s where the problems kicked in. Nature will take its course, but it would be nice if it could speed up a bit. I’ll keep doing my best and putting as much as I have into it. No one can point to me and say I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

I literally came home and collapsed in a heap. After getting some food in me, I’ve perked up a bit. I’m still too tired to feel angry or upset. My brain just feels like it’s grown peach fuzz. I think a long, hot bath and some trashy reading is in order. I was too tired to even go to dance. That definitely got me bummed. I was looking forward to having a chance at taking an earlier class tonight. Nope. I was too tired to do much more than get up the stairs and fall in bed.

Hope everyone had a good holiday and more good things coming.


Of the new year and cleaning out the should

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I like the idea of getting to start over with a (relatively) clean slate at the beginning of every month. Why should a new year be any different? Considering what 2013 crammed up my ass sideways, I’m not sure what to expect for 2014. Though 2013 did redeem itself at the last minute in the form of a promotion and a raise. I’m not going to vow to lose 15 pounds, run a mile in under 5 minutes, and adopt some extreme diet. Instead, I’m going to stop “shoulding” on myself. I should do this, I should do that, I should [insert ridiculous goal that doesn’t fit my lifestyle or tastes]. 

For example, I’ve been taking aerial silks classes off and on for over 3 years. Girls who started in the same intro class have progressed to performance level. I can’t even hold my body weight up for more than a few seconds. There was one particular apparatus, lyra, I really enjoyed. The teacher wanted to do it in a series rather than drop in. My schedule doesn’t really allow for series classes. If I missed one, there was no opportunity to make it up. Apparently a lot of other people were the same. The class didn’t last very long. Silks aren’t really doing it for me. I enjoy the ground based classes like gymnastics & handstands a lot more. They recently hired a new teacher who is willing to do drop in lyra classes twice a week. I figured I’d drop in (har de har har) to see if I still enjoy it. If I do, keep going. If I don’t, forget about it. Other students look at me like I’m nuts when I say I don’t enjoy fabrics. They can stare blankly all they want. I know what I enjoy. There’s no need for me to force myself to go to silks classes because I “should”. I can gain plenty of upper body strength in gymnastics / handstand class thankyouverymuch. We’ll see how lyra works out.

I “should” learn Spanish because it’s practical. I have no desire to learn Spanish. I’d rather learn Italian. Practical? Not all. Enjoyable? Damn straight. I “should” finish a book. If I hate it, I can put it down and walk away. I “should” get out of bed and go to an early dance class on the weekends. Don’t want to get out of bed? Screw it and stay in bed. I “should” stay up to a certain hour because going to bed at 930 isn’t cool. Tired? Go to to bed and ignore the imaginary haters.

With the new year comes another closet purge. I’m reasonably certain my weight / size has settled. I looked at myself in the full length mirrors in ballet on Wednesday. I saw my body as it is right now. I’ll never have boobs. I have a small waist, big thighs, and a butt. That’s okay. It’s so, so much easier to dress when I’m honest with how I’m built. I really want to focus on neutrals for the base and go wild and crazy with the accessories. Bauble Bar is my new jewelry crack. I wear the big stupid fake diamond earrings I got there all the time. There are several pairs of pants from J.Crew I’m looking at with lust in my heart. And shoes from Nine West. I have a pair of ballet flats from there that are about 10 seconds away from falling apart. I’ve said it before, but didn’t follow through. I want a base wardrobe that’s full of basics that will hold up well. I’m taking the Queer Eye approach. If I haven’t worn it in 2 weeks, it can go. I know the thrift store loves it when I come in with my giant boxes of clothes. Come prom season, I’ll load them up with all my old formal dresses which just take up space. Since my birthday is less than 3 weeks after Christmas, there should be plenty of gift cards that will need using. 😀

Things that make me smile:

*Rainy Sundays where I don’t have to do anything

*Kitten cuddles


*Eating chocolate for breakfast (one of the perks of being a grown up)

*Glittery shoes


Of the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’ve fallen a bit off the blog radar. Fear not, loyal readers! I’m back.

The good:

*Day 2 of my new management level position. Rapidly discovering how much basic information I’m missing, but I’m getting there. My boss is being super patient with me. And he did warn me about this.

*I’m reading more for pleasure. I finally gave in and started reading 50 Shades of Grey. With a red pen. Hilarity has ensued. There was many a moment where I was yelling at the book and / or to Boy in the next room with painful examples of what bad fanfic can do when released to the unknowing public. I missed my calling. I should’ve been an editor.

*10 weeks & 4 days until I’m mobile again.

*Got my hair trimmed and redyed. I feel about a million times better about how I look. And I’ve dyed several pillowcases pink in the process.

*Saw Butch Walker on Saturday night. He put on a great show, as always. I was happy to get another shot at seeing him live.

*I put glittery stickers all over my laptop. Because you’re never too old for glittery stickers.

The bad:

*One of our kitties passed last week. We’d had her for over 10 years and she hadn’t been doing well for a while. It’s always sad to say goodbye.

The ugly:

*Working up the courage to clean my bathroom. The CDC would have a field day in there. ‘Nuff said.

*My family at Christmas. Again, ’nuff said.

I have a longer, more philosophical post brewing. But for now, enjoy the Cliff Notes version.


Of Photoshop and making ’em laugh

I’ve seen a lot floating around on Facebook recently about how significant Photoshop is to the fashion and beauty industry. A big “duh”, right? Like how reality shows aren’t real. Both this article and this video really impressed me with how severe it really is. I knew skin tone could be smoothed out, make up touched up, and bodies trimmed down. I actually had no idea that limbs could be made longer. Of course, my understanding of Photoshop is limited at best. Commercials on YouTube come with a disclaimer that the mascara they’re selling is on top of fake lashes with a dash of post-prod touching up. Mascara is always going to clump. It’s colored glue. Trying to sell me a “clump crusher” mascara is hilarious. Nice try, Cover Girl.

I know I’m never going to look like a Victoria’s Secret model even though I’m 5’9″ and 140 pounds soaking wet. The funny thing is when I got a Withings & entered my height and weight, it told me to gain weight rather than lose it. Nicely done, Withings. I know all of 3 women who even come close to looking like a magazine ad. All 3 of them literally spend their entire days working out. One is a ballet teacher, one is a fitness competitor (think beauty pageant only instead of singing or ballet for their talent, they do crazy fitness routines to show how strong they are), and the third actually is a model and costumer. On the other end of the spectrum, my cousin’s wife will never be as skinny as a runway model. She’s drop dead gorgeous. It’s no question as to why my cousin married her (ignoring entirely her excellent sense of humor and undying kindness :D). I don’t have 7 hours a day to devote to working out. I watch what I eat, but don’t avoid entire food groups. Most of all, I keep my historical issues with body image, weight, and pants size in mind. When I start to restrict or become overly obsessive about my body, it’s a sign of a much larger issue, not my actual body.

I dance because I love it, not because it’ll help me drop that last 5 pounds. I wear make up because I love playing around with different styles, colors, and generally treating it like a big girl’s coloring book. I pay attention to what I wear because I love playing dress up, not to conform to some arbitrary standard of what I *should* look like.My hair is frizzy. I have smile lines because I’ve spent my life smiling and laughing. I’m all hips and no boobs. I currently have a zit on my chin and I haven’t been bothering to cover up. The make up will just rub off anyway. And concealer makes it more obvious. Anna Wintour would be appalled. When I was in high school and first started going to the dermatologist, she asked if I wanted to have my freckles removed. I looked at her in disbelief and told her no. Apparently that’s a thing. Yeesh. 

It’s a parody of itself when you take a step back. The design student was right. They’re ads for Photoshop, not make up, shoes, or a weight loss program. I’ve always been a firm believer in taking crappy situations and messages with a solid laugh. It’s a lot more fun that way. I endeared myself to a new dance teacher last night by admitting my limitations and making him laugh. His class, cardio hip hop, is relatively new at the studio. It was totally packed. He taught somewhere else before moving and brought his following with him. Last night was the first time I tried the class after seeing it on Black Friday. I scooted toward the back to see what everyone else was doing. He likes to walk around and egg people on as they’re dancing. I’m a ballet dancer. I’ll always look like a ballet dancer trying to do hip hop. My hips go in one direction and that’s forward. I have fully accepted this about myself. He was all “show me what you got, girl!” and I said flat out “I’m a ballerina trying to do hip hop”. He laughed and walked away. Toward the end of class when I’m sweating in places I didn’t know I had and barely able to lift my legs, he said “Come on ballerina!”. I stopped, curtsied, and he about laughed his ass off. He said “I like you!” and gave me a hug. I definitely plan on making his class as much as I can because it was fun and completely kicked my ass. The muscles between my shoulders are sore today. Moral of the story, admitting to and laughing at weaknesses or flaws make life a hell of a lot easier.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Mine is filled with friends, haircuts, dance, and concerts.


Of anniversaries and memories

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my friend Emily’s death. I met her in AA when I was giving that a go. We were about the same age, had the same name, and bonded very quickly. She was a recovering heroin addict. She was in drug court at the time after getting caught for several impressive drug charges. She’d had her license revoked, so I would drive her to meetings when I could. We’d sit in the parking lot chatting while we waited for the boring opening part of the meeting to finish. She ended up going back to jail twice during the time I knew her. I would call her when I was driving just to pass the time. One of the very last things she said to me was “The next time I use, I’ll die”. A week later around 11 in the morning, I got the call from her sister. She was 24.

She was the first person really close to me who died. I knew, deep down, it wasn’t an if but a when. She’d been shooting up since she was 14 to treat bipolar disorder. By the time they diagnosed her, she was already addicted. My bosses sent me home early that day as I was a sobbing mess and could barely explain what was happening. As I was driving home, I saw a rainbow right over the (approximate) area of her house. There was no reason for there to be a rainbow in the middle of the day on a completely clear day. I’m not one to believe much in God or any kind of afterlife, but I like to believe that was her way of telling me she was okay. 

I could never prove it, but I know she chose to do it. She knew what the consequences would be if she did it again. Just based on what she told me, her kidneys were failing. They had to take blood from the veins in her feet because every other vein was too damaged to use. I also learned more about vein placement than you would outside a medical school. Her heart was probably equally badly off and she smoked regularly. I guess she figured going out on her own terms was better than dying a slower, much more painful death when her body failed. I still have the letters she wrote me from jail. I was one of the few people who wrote to her. I’ll read them periodically and be reminded of how far I’ve come. I have something she’ll never have. Tomorrow.

Rest well, my friend. We miss you.


Of walking down the wrong path and doing a U-turn for the right one

My body image has gone to all hell in the past few days. I’ve been having a problem with auras (pre-seizures) for about the past week or so. I emailed the NP who works with my doctor and she increased my meds again. I immediately assumed it wouldn’t work, I’d have a seizure, and have to start the clock all over again. Then out popped my negative self talk about my body. I stood in front of the mirror in my underwear picking myself apart. “Your stomach is too flabby”. “Your hair is frizzy and ugly”. “Your skin is all red and blotchy. Can’t you see that giant zit?”. “You ate too much junk today. No food for you tomorrow!”. I know it’s a bunch of bullshit. I know it’s just something I do when I feel scared or out of control. I start to control what I can which is what I put in my body and how much. I’ve gotten to the point where I stop weighing myself. It was becoming obsessive and ridiculous. If I gained a pound, I would start to restrict. I’m much more aware of it than I was. I know when I’m getting too far into my own head. So I quite literally got out.

Boy & I went to the Christmas concert for the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus last night. My boss is a member and I told him I would come watch. We even accidentally got better seats. The show was great. The people watching was better. I was walking next to a drag queen (she was convincing, too). I saw all these adorable gay couples holding hands and putting their arms around each other as they watched the show. It still blows my mind how people can hate them. It’s a fabulous, if you will, expression of love. Who cares if they’re both men? Or both women? One of the songs they did was a not so backhanded jab at family who didn’t accept them for who they are. One of the lyrics was along the lines of “All the men with their wives and girlfriends. How am I different because I love a man?”. Well played, boys. Well played. As we were walking out, the chorus members were milling around thanking people. My boss was right at the door when we walked out. He hugged me, called me pumpkin, and said I cleaned up good. The highest compliment. He also got to meet Boy. It was a great way to wrap up an evening after an afternoon of tearing myself apart.

This morning I got up and decided to make today better. I went to dance because I wanted to, not to burn off the calories I consumed yesterday (because it totally works that way). I sweat my ass off, laughing at my own ballerina doing hip hop-ness, and had a great time. The musical theater class had a sub, so I skipped out on that one. Next week, perhaps. I’m enjoying the cloudy, drizzly day and pretending I’m in London. I’ve done dishes and laundry, not out of obligation to Boy, but because I wanted to get things cleaned up a bit. I may put on some football later for mindless amusement. I don’t have to listen to all the bullshit in my head. I can walk away. And that increases my confidence more than a 10 pound weight loss and going down a pants size could ever do.


Of “reality” TV and why I hate it

Now that I can actually watch TV again, I’ve developed some fairly strong opinions on ratings and how one show is renewed over another that falls into a completely different category.

I hate most reality shows. It’s obvious that most are scripted (Real Housewives of [insert city here], anyone?) and the production companies make a fortune off them because they don’t have to pay the participants anything unless they win. Even then, the winner will see little to none of the money depending on what the terms of the contract are. Kudos to the producers for minting money based on someone’s pathological desire to be famous just for being famous. I thought Survivor was stupid when it first came out in 10th grade. I still think it’s stupid. I lump American Idol and all the knockoffs of it, Dancing with the Stars, and pretty much every other show on a major network in there as well. I watched Top Chef through it’s 6th season and Project Runway through the 5th season. These shows require a base level of talent to even make it on the show. Every other show? If you’re willing to sign this waiver, c’mon in! Shows like these (and football, much as I love you, boys) shouldn’t be lumped in with what most people think of as “scripted” shows a la Law & Order for rating or renewal purposes. Apples and oranges, kiddies.

Scripted shows deserve their own category. Then based on those ratings and how they perform, determine who makes the cut and who doesn’t. Reality shows clog up those rankings. It’s a foregone conclusion that American Idol and Survivor will be the only survivors of the apocalypse along with cockroaches. Even the cockroaches won’t be amused. Let’s give the shows which require actual actors with something vaguely resembling talent a fair shake. It’s the same conundrum that started with TiVo and has since trickled to Amazon and Hulu. If you’re not watching live, how do they know how many people are watching? If you can’t track a show’s popularity accurately and cancel it, that’s a great way to piss off a lot of viewers. I rarely watch shows live. Most of my generation relies on some form of internet or recorded version of the show. Boy doesn’t have cable and never intends to get it. Any show we’re interested in watching can be accessed in several ways. There’s no need for it. Networks need to seriously reconsider how they track viewership, determine ratings, and who is measured against who for the purposes of renewal.

I also think scripted shows should have a 100 episode (about 5 season) maximum. After 100 episodes, the writers tend to go off the rails. I challenge you, faithful reader, to name a show that has survived more than 5 seasons with out a significant drop in quality. And go!


Of Miley Cyrus and cat calendars

Everyone needs to buy this calendar right now. It helps Putin looks like my Maggie. I’m stupid excited to get mine.

I’ve been listening to Pandora a lot at work lately. I have a station that started as a Pink / Lady Gaga which morphed into a lot of late 90s post grunge bands (a la Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, and Train) in addition to the trashy pop singers. Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” popped up. I was tempted to automatically down vote it out of general principle. Instead I gave it a shot and didn’t hate it.

Recently, I got into a conversation about the former female Disney stars who went completely off the rails as they got older. Britney, Miley, and Lindsay come immediately to mind. I’ve heard that contracts with Disney are insane. There’s all kinds of restrictions of what you can and can’t do in public lest you taint the Disney brand. It’s no wonder once the contracts terminate, these girls go completely to the other end of the rainbow. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to be a problem with the boys. Or they’re just better at hiding it. A bit strange, n’est pas? I joke that my parents should’ve exploited me as a child to make a fortune. Apparently when I was kindergarten age, my parents were offered the shot for me to be a model. They turned it down. As an adult, I’m glad they didn’t take that offer. God only knows how I would’ve turned out. Probably a nasty coke habit to stay skinny and my second or third stint in rehab. It can always be worse, even with a ton of money at your disposal. Thanks Miley.

Incidentally, every time I go into a Starbucks, I start singing it to the tune of “Starstruck”. I see a Weird Al parody in the making.


Of living in the moment and other such shenanigans

Well, well December. Nice to see you.

I got up this morning and looked at the date on my phone. 2013 is 31 days away from being done. Finished. In the history books. It also occurred to me how little I’ve actually lived in 2013. As always, allow me to elaborate.

I’ve either been looking ahead of me or behind me for the entire year. After I got the DUI in March, I kept looking behind me. “If I’d only done this.” “What if I’d done that?” “If I could do it over…”. Then I got the unofficial epilepsy diagnosis in June and they started me on the medication. The official, on the books, in my medical records confirmation rolled down in August. I had my last seizure in September. Ever since, I’ve been looking toward March like a kid looks out for Christmas (see what I did there? :D). I’ve spent the last week waiting for today when Boy gets back from visiting his family. But when have I actually sat where I am, absorbed it, and enjoyed it for what it was? At least, that I can recall clearly. Suffice to say, it’s been a spell.

Understandably, traumas like getting arrested or a diagnosis of a chronic condition tend to take front and center. That’s just how they roll. But those are both under control now. The DUI is paid in full, out of my hair, and I can get my license reinstated whenever I want. The epilepsy is under control. I haven’t had a seizure in 3 months. I know my auras, so I know when to stop what I’m doing, get up, and move around. This morning I looked around and thought “Now what?”. There’s nothing large, fanged, and hairy staring in my face demanding every ounce of attention I can muster for the next 6 months. It’s quiet. It’s calm. I’m not constantly in panic mode trying to block as much shit coming out of the fan as I can.

I always see these blog posts about living in the moment, reaching a zen like state of being, aligning with your inner values and “power words” and other things that sound great on paper, but aren’t so practical in real life. I’ve complained previously about my whole life being a game time decision because I’m not responsible for my own transportation at the moment. Why not use that to my advantage? If I can’t plan for more than the next 24(ish) hours, don’t try. Literally sit down, look around, and see what’s right under my nose. Does it need to be done rightthissecond? Can it wait? What decision will make the maximum number of people content or even happy (with me being top priority)? If it can wait, what’s something I can enjoy right now? If it’s not coming up within the next day or so, don’t stress over it. I’ll deal with it when it’s sitting there. For an uber planner like myself, that’s a tall order. I don’t want to turn around, all of a sudden it’s 15 years from now and I’m wondering “where did all that time go?”.

A perfect example was Friday morning. I went to a jazz class that I drop in and out of. It was literally the very first class I took at the studio when I started in 2008. It’s not in my usual rotation of classes. Since the schedule was different, I decided to drop into that class. The teacher is this itty bitty woman who can pirouette for days. I, on the other hand, can’t spot if you held a gun to my head. My turns are pretty sloppy and this teacher loves to put turns in her across the floor work and combinations. Some of her high school students were there in their leotards and tights getting in some extra class time. Of course, they get it (mostly) right on the first try. I totally screw up the across the floor work and I start laughing at myself. In that moment, I was happy. Even though I looked like a giraffe on roller skates, I was laughing. It didn’t matter what everyone else thought or if they were even watching. I was having fun. My heart was really, truly in it. 

Of course some manner of looking ahead is necessary, especially around holiday time. Plans are set for parties, time off from work, and the usual to-ing and fro-ing that comes along with the season. Three of my nearest and dearest have birthdays on Friday. I’ll call or message them, let them know I remembered, and wish them a good year ahead. Other than that, no plans. As I look around me right no, I’m still in my pajamas on a big, squishy couch. I just finished eating and am contemplating putting on Chopped for background noise until more football rolls around. The cat has had her usual psychotic romp around the apartment and is now solidly passed out in the middle of the living room floor. That’s my moment. It’s not glamorous or aligning with my zen, but I’m content. That’s more than a lot of people can say.

2013 & I have had a hate/hate relationship for 66% of it. Here’s to making the last 31 days something I can look back on and laugh.