This post is most likely going to come across as sarcastic and bitchy with a side of complaint and agitation. If you know me, this is expected. If you knew me back in the day, this is still no surprise. If you don’t know me, might I suggest that you read the title of the blog and then decide if you want to proceed?
I acknowledge that I can be a real dick sometimes and my language does not make my mom proud, but somewhere in their lies my scrooge little heart that does beat every now and again. This post was inspired by a number of people commenting on my weight loss and wanting to know the secret to my success. Spoiler alert: there is no secret so you can stop reading now if you wish.
Despite how this may come across, it really is meant to be helpful, however, as you will soon see, there is a reason I am not in the self-help field. It’s probably going to piss some people off as well, and, while I won’t apologize for an expression of my feelings, what I can do is offer up a disclaimer if that will help:
*Disclaimer - I am neither a doctor nor a medical professional of any sort. I am not a life coach with a bleeding heart for other humans (although animal love punches me in the feels every single time.) I only speak from my experiences and for myself, so if what I have to offer does not help you in any way, please disregard it all.
I am not calling anyone fat other than myself. I am not suggesting anyone reading this needs to lose weight other than myself. Your weight may be perfect for you and I celebrate that. I am merely writing this in response to some who have asked about my situation in particular. This is how I view me and only me. Just because you and I may have different methods and approaches to health and life in general, does not make one right and one wrong. You do you. I’ll do me. Sound good?
MY "WHY" AND MY "PROCESS"
So I dropped about 50 lbs. this year. I have not achieved all my health goals just yet but I am well on my way and I am very proud of all my efforts to this point. I have to say, however, that I am still not completely comfortable with my new look and the attention that comes with it. I have lost count as to how many times friends and family has said to me “Oh my God! What happened? You look fantastic! Look at you! Wow! You look amazing!!”
For starters, I rarely hear how amazing I look unless it’s from Pam who is biased. I was never the hot friend or that person who made another strain their neck to get a second look. Ah, but if they only knew what a stellar personality I had (and still do, of course.) That would have been a game changer for sure. I guarantee, had they known how piping hot my sarcasm was, that would have shown on the outside and they would have walked straight into walls checking out this smoking hot ass!
If I had to hazard a guess, I believe the attention that makes me uncomfortable the most is the way people acknowledge the weight loss. All the “HOLY SHIT JUST LOOK AT YOU” comments stated with utter disbelief makes me ask myself, “How fucking fat was I?”
Look, I’m not stupid. I knew I was big woman and I most definitely knew that hyperventilating at the thought of walking up a flight of stairs was not normal, but when I looked in the mirror I just saw my beautiful blue peepers. So imagine my shock when this little gem arrived in my text messages:
Here I was lounging on the couch watching The Gilmore Girls when my dear friend Bri sends me this out of the clear blue. Once it registered in my brain that I was looking at an actual image of myself from a year ago, all I could do was stare and wonder “what the actual fuck is she sending me this for? Is it throat punch a bestie day or something?” But wait. There were more:
That nimble 217 pounds of pure milkshake was circa February 2016. I had taken my bad Billy Idol hair and my fat ass and decided to compete, “for fun”, in the CrossFit Open. I don’t know many over-weight people who find this fun, but I am a special breed of obese.
This particular WOD was a rep scheme of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of 65# Thrusters and Bar over Burpees. It took me over 28 minutes and I cried midway through. Like a legit, ugly, “if I wore make-up I’d look like a raccoon”, blubbering, cry.
My fat and my tear ducts were cut open. I was gasping for breath. Every Burpee reminded me of a wounded animal. I equate the experience to a to deer being hunted, shot and blasted to the floor. Except I wasn’t a deer, I was a cow, and I kept rising from the dead at an elephants pace.
And then you add the jump over the bar? Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I just remember thinking that I was too heavy to get over the bar so I tended to over exaggerate my jump (I mean, do you see the air I have here?) but when I landed I was convinced my knee caps were going to pop off like champagne bottles on New Years Eve. It was nothing short of a brutal shit-show.
I’m not sorry I participated though. There is a long history of heart disease in my family and that little trend needs to come to a halt. I have always been drawn to sports and this was the only way I knew how to start making a positive change. I figured if it didn’t kill me, I must have been doing it right. Turns out, I was doing just fine. It was the diet that was the issue. Home girl over here was big on diet fads but took issue with putting down the fork.
The problem with fad diets was that every time I tried something new, I failed for one reason or another. Maybe I didn’t want it bad enough? Maybe I wasn’t deserving enough? Perhaps my milkshake really did bring all the gals to the yard and I wasn’t ready to give that up? Who knows?
All I do know is that, while I blindly followed other people’s ideas and opinions about what worked for them, I felt like a failure every time I fell short of my desired result. I “trusted the process” only to find out that the process was a complete barn of bullshit.
If you’ll allow me to digress for a moment, I’ll tell you how I really feel about the statement “trust the process”, but before I do, let me acknowledge my “trust the process” friends and family believers out there reading this (and I know there are many.) To those folks, I stand beside you, middle finger in the air, smiling, and saying, “Do you! I still have nothing but love for you all and your crazy ways!”
But this isn’t about them. It’s all me.
I feel that “trust the process” is a bunch of words strung together to form a sentence of lies. It no longer serves a purpose in my life. If I don’t know you, if I don’t know anything about what you’re trying to sell me, and if I have seen no tangible evidence that your “process” works, why on God’s green earth would I trust you? Or it? I don’t need someone else’s ideas and process to help me reach my goals.
Make no mistake, I learned the hard way. I trusted the Weight Watchers process. I trusted the Paleo diet process. I trusted the grapefruit diet process. I trusted the Atkins process. I trusted the “only do CrossFit, eat bacon and drink bullet-proof coffee process.”
I put all my faith in the “change your words, change your life” thought process. (I’ve heard so many times: “Love your body, Tiffany. Speak kindly to it. Change your words.” That’s cute. Thanks for the tip, however, my body knows it houses a sarcastic bitch and we have an understanding. We got this! Trust MY process.)
I think you see where I am going here.
I was lost and needed some sense of direction and I followed just about anyone and anything, and, in return, my blind, process-trusting mentality failed me. Shocking, right? In addition to my mental and emotional baggage, all the “processes” I have trusted over the years had all added up to 217 pounds and a shit ton of missed therapy sessions.
If I never hear that statement again, it will be too soon.
Rant over. Onto the next.
THE TURNING POINT
The Universe definitely has a unique way of getting one off one’s ass to make changes. Even the slightest run-of-the-mill friendship drama can cause a ripple effect. In my case, despite my anger and butt hurt feelings, it turned out to be the best thing to happen to my health. Here’s the short of it.
It was a “friendship” gone wrong (I use the term friendship very loosely here as I discovered I was being used as a replacement friend until the “real” friends returned; not to mention my also being used for business ideas and promotion. Well the joke is on you, girlfriend because I am grammatically incorrect daily. I don’t have my own business and I couldn’t sell water to a hiker on a 117-degree day in the desert. Sales and promotion are simply not my finer qualities although I do try.)
But I digress. Again.
Inauthentic people seemed to be my life’s attraction factor and this phony friendship finally forced me to take a step back, distance myself from everyone (until I could decipher who and what was real), and go within. What was it about me that was dialing this up in my life? Where was I being inauthentic and what changes needed to be made?
The whole realization was a little sad and borderline depressing, sitting and wondering if anyone really did care or if I was just a billboard for business promotion? (What’s that saying? “If you’re not adoring them, you’re boring them?”) But it turned out to be the single biggest, and best, blessing in 2016 because, a year later, here I am in a much healthier and happier place.
In drawing inward and going silent (yes folks, I am capable of silence), I was actually able to hear my own thoughts and listen to what my body and soul were asking for. The common need was the same no matter how I looked at it: it was to stop comparing myself to others! This led to a much-needed social media break and decreased time at the gym since those are the two places where I do the most damage.
It was time to go it alone for a while.
The majority of my workouts went from trying to keep up in the 800m run with the other 5:15 a.m. athletes, to long walks with Pam and our dogs (the competitor in me wanted to race the dogs but Pam Cakes frowned upon that.) I started to ride my Peloton more to keep up with my endurance and I drew inspiration from a couple of the instructors who spoke in my native, New York, sarcastic tongue. I stayed off Facebook for a few weeks, although I did cheat a little with Instagram. Bottom line: I did what was right for me even when it meant shutting myself off from the world (I work from home so social media and the gym were two major outlets; this was a big deal!)
I started to see people for who they were and no longer held onto expectations that they be someone I wanted them to be. I was reminded that we are all on this journey and we all have to find our way. Some may choose a more inauthentic route than others, but who am I to judge? It doesn’t mean I need to be a part of it. I stood in my authenticity, lost some more relationships, and felt immediate peace. It was somewhat cathartic and quite awesome.
Then the real magic happened! Little by little the scale started to decrease in numbers. My clothes started to feel a little loose in the waistband. By dropping my baggage, I was literally transforming.
YOU'RE SO LUCKY!
There are no words to express just how much I love it when people tell me how “lucky” I am that I lost all this weight. Seriously, when people down play another’s success by equating it to the luck of the draw in an effort to feel better about their own lack of success, it warms my stone cold heart. It’s a favorite theme of mine and I sure wish it would happen more often.
Two of my favorite “lucky” comments were being told by new Moms how “lucky” I am to not have to lose baby weight and the other about being “blessed” with a fast metabolism. If by “lucky” and “blessed” you mean that I dialed up a hysterectomy in my early 30’s without having a chance to bear my own child, or that after 23 years my speedy metabolism finally kicked into high gear, then yes, I should play the fucking lotto! Know your audience people. That’s all I’m saying.
Now, I know this sounds like complaining but that’s only because I am. Otherwise, it wouldn’t sound that way at all.
But LUCKY? Do I look like a Goddamn leprechaun to you? Perhaps “determined” is the word? Or maybe “persistent”? But “lucky”??? No, bitch! I WORKED for this. Go pour yourself a bowl of Lucky Charms and see your way out of my dance space.
As you can see, I may have some more personal development work in this area. But hey, trust the process, right?
QUIT YOUR BITCHING AND TELL ME HOW YOU DID IT
If you’ve read this far and put up with my rants to this point, you may as well complete the journey.
I do get asked a lot how I got to this point and the only meaningful tips I could come up with are the following:
1. Just start. And stop with the excuses. It really is that simple. I stopped looking for the right way to start and the best day to start on and I just I started. I started walking despite being exhausted from work all day because my body was craving movement. I started peddling at 4:30 in the morning when I wanted to cycle but knew I had a long workday ahead. I started the car and made my way to the gym when I wanted to CrossFit. I reached out to friends and family and started typing the words “I need your help” when I was struggling and couldn’t do it alone. I started taking inventory of my family history and stock of the quality of people in my life. I started saying no to things that I didn’t want to do, instead of saying yes just to please others. I started to take an active interest in my health. I just fucking started. If nothing else, that’s what I would encourage anyone wanting to start to do. I started believing that I was worth the struggle and so should you, because you are!
2. Stop comparing yourself to others and, as I have said before and will continue to keep stating, just do you! There is no right or wrong way. If you want to CrossFit, get into the box and get it done. If that’s too much Kool-Aid and testosterone for you, and you would rather walk, lace up your sneakers and get to it. If you like to cycle, take a spin class or get outside and go for a bike ride. If yoga is your jam, do what yogi’s do. I am not entirely sure what that entails but I think it requires a mat and some flexibility. But hey, go for it!
3. Put down the fork and/or spoon and get your grubby paws out of the chip bag. Feeding yourself until your past your saturation point is not going to remove your problems. 9 times out of 10, at least in my case, I wasn’t even hungry. I was bored, or frustrated, sad, or pissed off. There was always something else going on and food was an escape. Save yourself the trouble of sliding down the escape ladder. Sooner or later the ladder will break (or you won’t fit down it) and you’ll find yourself worse off than when you started. Face your issues, ask for help, and trust that you have all you need to make it through stronger on the other side.
4. Surround yourself with quality people who are only looking out for your best interests. In my grade school days it was all about the quantity of friends I had that determined how popular I was (for the record, not popular at all.) As an adult I have learned what most people probably already know; it’s the quality of the person that really matters. Having those people in my corner, who I know I can count on regardless of time and circumstance, has made all the difference. It really does take a village and I am truly blessed, and maybe even “lucky”, that I found mine. Ya’ll know who you are! I appreciate you; I love you and I thank you. And I hope that I am as tremendous a friend/family member to you, as you have been to me.
My biggest take away this year is that I am finally willing to trust myself. I’m learning to trust that I know what’s best for my body and that all the answers already reside within. It’s been a long time coming, but I can now say with great confidence that I have my own back and I trust myself to make the right choices and, who knows, maybe even inspire someone else along the way.
Get started or don’t. The choice is yours.
That’s really all I’ve got folks. It’s not always easy but it’s not as difficult as one would think either. Just get started and prepare to be amazed!
The Universe has come at me in a variety of ways, poking at me to sit my ass down and write again. Most recently it took the form of two lovely ladies who took Pam and I out to dinner and for a night of painting. “Why aren’t you writing?” I was asked. “My office peeps are your biggest fans!” Well shiiiiiiit. You mean to tell me I have a cubicle of fans that I never knew about? Now, I NEED to write!
Truth is, even before all the signs and the well meaning friends and family telling me I should be writing again, I’d already been having the internal struggle with sincerely wanting to return to it. Yet I continually keep finding excuses as to why I can’t; the biggest one being that there is nothing to write about. Even I wasn’t buying that line of crap! There is actually plenty on my mind and lots I could say. But, after a little soul searching, at the heart of the matter is wanting to keep it light (yet very real and sarcastic; similar to my personality) while not appearing as though I am turning a blind eye to the state of the world today.
I’m also quite lazy.
There are days when I feel absolutely helpless to what’s happening to our country and our people and all I want to do is sit in a dark room and cry over a tub of Tillamook. Even I am smart enough to understand, however, that the only thing that will solve is absolutely fucking nothing. Do you know what else solves absolutely fucking nothing? Facebook debates. Twitter rants. Screaming at friends and family who have a differing opinion. If you want to make a change, pull a Michael Jackson, look in the damn mirror, and MAKE ONE! So, that’s what I have decided to do.
Rather than sit in wallow and worry, I have decided to take some action that would make ME feel better. Cause, let’s not lie, it is all about me. My action plan is simple.
Blog as the sarcastic bitch that I know I can be and bring a smile to even just one person. Maybe that one person can then smile at someone else and so on and so forth. People will smile. Relationships will be formed. Babies will be conceived and I, my friends, will be the reason for World Peace. You’re welcome.
But how do I start? What the hell do I write about?
It’s been a year and 5 months since my last entry and 34 years since my last confession. Last you heard from me I was on some sort of cleanse and, FYI, I didn’t finish it because it was stupid. Last a priest heard from me , I was wearing a white dress and patent leather shoes. I was holding a Bible, and the only thing straight about me was my hair despite trying to convince myself otherwise. Consider yourselves caught up with a few minor life experiences in between.
What to write? What to write? Hmmm?
I know. I’ll pray about it. YES! Seems to work for my Mom who is always covering me with the blood of Jesus when I travel. I have yet to die so this is a great starting point.
I figured I’d ask the Big Guy if he could help a sister out and give up some writing ideas. I used to pray all the time, but I didn’t think I was doing it right so I became complacent and just gave a shout up to God when someone was in distress or dying. Or when I was in distress or dying. You know the type. “Dear God, if you let me get through this Front Squat WOD without sharting a wad in my shorts, I promise to never eat burritos again.” Or your basic prayer to the porcelain God; “Please Lord if you stop me from puking, I promise to never do shots of Patron again.” (It’s a good possibility these two prayers were from the same night.) I became a Bargaining Betty.
Nowadays I’ve flipped the script(ure) and I pray over every damn thing to the point that I think even Jesus is tired of hearing from me.
“Hi J. Me again. Today I am here to pray for the folks in Houston, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Sonoma, and Las Vegas.” It’s since been shortened to “please protect your people from all pain and suffering that is induced by Mother Nature and humans.”
I had to shorten that shit or nobody else would get a prayer in edge-wise. I’m throwing prayers up like it’s confetti and hoping for the world to come together in a Pride Parade. It hasn’t happened yet but I remain hopeful.
Anyway...prayers for writing...
This morning I was sipping on my tea like a little old Nana, trying to ground myself before I got started with my day, and I found myself wondering if my prayers aren’t being answered because I am doing it wrong. I asked for ideas for writing in addition to peace on earth, but so far I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Spirit cares what I have to say.
Perhaps I swear too much? Maybe it’s because I am not addressing them properly? Maybe instead of a “Hey, J.C., what it be!?” it should be more of a “Dear Holy Spirit, Higher Self, Divine God, Ascended Masters, Buddha Rising, Beloved Deceased, Loved Animals in the Light, and anyone I may have missed...” kind of intro?
So what I have been known to do is eavesdrop on Pam’s grounding meditations and prayer. You see, Pam is very into what I like to call “woo” and she has helped me with grounding methods and has given me tips as to how to connect with my Spiritual team over the years. While I love her dearly and appreciate her efforts immensely, I cannot lie; the tips aren’t working in my favor these days.
Listening to her is no joke. Her shit is LEGIT INTENSE. She is over there blessing us all with love, light and prayer hands; asking her Spiritual team to wrap the world in a translucent bubble of golden butterflies, crescent shaped moons and heart-shaped angels wings, and I’m over here like, “Sup’ G.O.D.? Please let me fit ice cream into my macros today.” Perhaps that’s the first sign that something is amiss. Make it more about others and less about me?
All this work at prayer reminds me of when I was studying to become a Reiki Master and the whole class was all, “I can see bright blue, pink, and orange auras and, if you look every so gently, I see an elderly woman in the corner weeping and giving us all her blessing to move on.”
WHAT THE ACTUAL F!? I relaxed my eye so much it went lazy and all I could see was a corner consisting of a potted plant in desperate need of water and the words "Joanie loves Chachi" etched in the drywall.
My Reiki prayer is more along the lines of a “Reiki Reiki, Reiki.....work, work work....please Reiki work... Go, Reiki, Go” chant! (I am pleased to announce that I do actually sense energy during Reiki and believe whole-heartedly in it, but I have yet to see Grandma dancing on a Teppanyaki Table.)
Is there a right way to pray? Is there a wrong way? I have not a clue. All I know is that my Guides just gifted me my first blog post in 17 months. This gives me Hope for World Peace.
Pray on playa!
It's day 5 of the cleanse and it may as well be day 25. It feels never-ending and I am thinking of changing the name to the "Lifeless Body, Demented Mind & Spiritless" cleanse. It's awful. What was I thinking?
Every fiber of my being wants to call it quits. The battle in my head is a fascinating conversation of darkness versus lightness.
"Just throw in the towel. Nobody will know."
"Tiffany, I will cut you if you drop out now. That's what you ALWAYS do. You surrender when the going gets tough. You owe it to yourself to keep your promises."
"Fuck your promises. Life is too short and you're not getting any younger. Eat the damn sugar, throw back some coffee and get back to life as you know it."
"Bitch, shut the fuck up! Life as you know it is over. You've destroyed your body long enough, you're always whining about being fat and feeling sick, and what's served you in the past no longer serves you now. Stay focused!"
"This time won't be any different. You're wasting your time."
"You're right. If I give up, this time won't be any different. Stay the course and make a lasting change. You'll thank me later."
I'm choosing to plow forward as ugly as it may be and trust me, it's "U-G-L-Y, I ain't got no alibi, UGLY."
A major part of what makes this process so horrid is the fact that, other than on day 1 when I realized I have a social media addiction, no other "a-ha's" have shown up. No break-throughs. No anything. Break-downs and tantrums? Yes, but that's about it.
For instance, part of the cleanse is doing Kundalini Yoga 3x a week. I've done 2 so far and I want to stab myself in the face. It's a grisly experience and the claim that it'll help me connect with a Higher Power is fucking bullshit! If anything, it's kept me disconnected. One session was sitting cross-legged, keeping my back in alignment, shoulder blades down, and waving my arms in and out for 11 minutes. ELEVEN MINUTES of sitting there flailing around like a bird with a clipped wing. When I was done I could barely turn my neck or lift my arms and I was more pissed off then when I started. Pam suggested my neck hurt because I was doing it wrong. "Ya fucking THINK!?" And if that dumb Yogi bitch tells me one more time to keep up, I swear to sweet Jesus that I am going to choke her out with her little habit towel thing that she has wrapped around her head.
The other session went a little something like this:
“Now, I want you to take a deep inhale through your nose, think about what it is that you’re willing to let go of right here and now, and then exhale slowly and with purpose, letting it all go.”
“This fucking pose. That’s something I am willing to let go of. What bullshit. Fucking breathe AND let go? Pick one, asshole!”
“Great job. Next we are going to move into Sarvangasana and we are just going to stretch those legs and point your toes upward towards the ceiling. Let's hold it here for 3 minutes."
“Damn, does my belly button really smell like that? I'll be passed out in 3 minutes.”
It's just dreadful. The powers-that-be call it a "spiritual practice." I call foul on the play.
All of it. Depressing and grisly. I shit green about 4 times a day, my farts are like that of a rabid animal, I have next to no energy to walk upstairs let alone workout, and even my dogs don't want to be around me.
Miserable, party of 1, your table is now ready. Ding.
Hey, hey, friends! For those of you who asked me to keep a little diary of my 30 day “Body, Mind & Soul” cleanse, here is the low down and it ain’t pretty!
The first day has come to an end and I feel like I should be rockin’ out to Destiny’s Child “Survivor”. The lyrics are going wild through my head and I pretty certain that this song needs to be on repeat for the next 29 days to keep me motivated:
I'm a survivor (what?)
I'm not gon' give up (what?)
I'm not gon' stop (what?)
I'm gon' work harder (what?)
I'm a survivor (what?)
I'm gonna make it (what?)
I will survive (what?)
Keep on survivin'(what?)
Day one, people. Day. Fucking. One. This shit is hard! I didn’t expect rainbows and unicorns but I was hoping when the time came to get started that I would have been gently shoved into the shallow end with floatation devices not punched in the throat and tossed into the icy deep with my arms tied behind my back. (Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a little. It wasn’t extremely terrible but it wasn’t without it’s challenges and this morning, I am feeling quite irritable and bitchy! Day two should be a fucking blast.)
It started when I woke up with a slight headache from Saturday night’s activities and the option for my favorite vanilla iced coffee with heavy whipping cream and cinnamon was replaced by warm lemon water. Not even Goddamn tea. Just warm water. With a lemon. Ugh. Long story short, it was the graduation potluck for Healthy Habit Solutions clients and cooking students and I may have sipped on a couple of vodka’s to take away the pain of not winning an award for my Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. I slaved away and made them as healthy as I could, but I was beaten by Brussel Sprouts, Oxtail Stew and Cauliflower Pizza. I can’t lie though. Those dishes were amazing and Tracy, Cavene and Nancy deserved the win. Well done, ladies, well done.
But back to me.
Somehow, in the spaces between that “one” drink and the car ride home, I found myself elbow deep in a glazed donut and a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to know that my old school self still likes to hang out and sabotage all my hard work. Time to shut down that food whore! What better way than with a cleanse? Hooray.
Yesterday I ate about 10x the amount of veggies I am used to eating and probably more than any person should ever consume in a day. I followed it up with green juices between meals and, shockingly, I felt quite full. Not so shockingly, I also crapped green and burped up Kale all friggin day. Breakfast right now is a blend of Quinoa and Kale leftovers still stuck between my teeth.
I am missing my coffee, my dairy (despite my lactose issues), and some heavy doses of protein in the form of bacon! I am sure it will get easier but, until it does, I am just going to sit here and sip water from my special mason jar so that I at least feel cool.
The real difficult part, however, is going to be social media. I knew I enjoyed my time online perusing through everyone’s happy family photos, but what I am actually somewhat appalled to learn is how much of my time it has truly taken up. I think the younger me would be so disappointed that I traded in the outside world for an all day romp in the Facebook hay with people I really don’t even know that well to begin with.
My mornings are automatic. Coffee in one hand, iPad in another. So I was well and truly stumped yesterday when those were replaced by warm piss and a blank screen. Facebook and Instagram are the apps I go to first and it was as if I didn’t know what to do with myself when I realized that I couldn’t open them. After much internal debate over what to do next, I decided to throw in a load of laundry and watch an Elvis documentary. Spoiler alert: Elvis really is dead.
Being out and about running errands was helpful in taking my mind off of how I was going to successfully complete this cleanse but it came roaring back to the forefront of my mind when Pam left to go to the bathroom. We were waiting for a table at True Food Kitchen and, while I was sitting there, I figured I’d check Facebook. See where I am going with this? I am outside, on a beautiful scorching 100+ degree day in Arizona, surrounded by people, and here I am with my face buried in my phone pissed off because I cannot get my social media fix. There was a time when I could sit and people watch all day long. When did this all change? When did I stop becoming present? Never in a million years did I think I would ever substitute real conversation or an opportunity to laugh my ass off at dumb shit people do (aka, people watching), for an account of how amazing someone’s life is (on a daily fucking basis because ain’t life always grand at every given second?) or pictures of a perfectly formed egg. Yup, my younger self would have kicked. my. ass!
Total eye opener on the first day. I shudder to think what I will discover by like, let’s say, day ten. It’s going to be a wild ride!
I leave you with my lesson from day one: Be present. If someone is seated across from you, give them your full attention. Checking Facebook and all your other social media accounts while in their company is rude and a discount to the person you are with. I was a dick without even knowing it. You’re probably being a dick as well. Don’t be like Tiffany. Don’t be a dick.
By the way, if you are reading this and thinking that this is considered social media and I’m cheating, that would be incorrect. I am on Weebly and, because my accounts are connected, I can publish multiple places at one time. I just cannot go see the responses (if any) from Facebook. Bazinga!
Feel free to leave me a message here if you wish, otherwise, I’ll check in with you in the next 29 days (assuming I haven’t completely broken up with social media altogether by then.)
There have been a series of unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on my mood on any given day) events that have taken place since last September that have kept me in a bit of a rut and shifted my gear from forward to reverse.
Everything happened one right after the other right after the other that I don’t even recall in which order they occurred. All I know is that my back got all jacked up in a car accident and that my minor ankle sprain turned into a major high ankle sprain because my Ragnar Prince Charming was too busy sitting on his royal ass and compressing his legs rather than heeding my call for help. I had to “run” the final 5 miles before I collapsed in a heap. I’m getting over it. And him.
From there I was called back to NY to assist with cleaning out an office for an employee who is no longer with the firm and (just for shits and giggles and because the East Coast loves me) I was faced with decent sized issues that cropped up specifically to piss me off and create additional, unnecessary, stress. Its pretty safe to say that I did minimal workouts, ate the maximum amount of “feel good” food I could get my grubby, fat fingers on, and now, here I am in May starting from scratch.
It’s all good though. While I may have been regressing at the gym, my waistline and my attitude have showed tremendous growth. I’ve taken the time to read some self-help books that have been gathering dust (I’m a self-help junkie and book nerd at heart), I’ve been meditating and I’ve really been tuning into my spiritual side. How tuned in, you ask? I now have a Christian music section in my playlist. Never saw that shit coming! God and I are back in business, but believe me, I won’t be knocking on your door anytime soon. We have an agreement. I stay spiritual and tune in daily and I don’t have to go to church. We pinkie swore.
So here I am ready to challenge myself. I am 2 weeks into an 8 week course which is designed to help me deal with the bullshit that is holding me back. This week is a prep. week for a 30 day cleanse. I don’t know what the technical term is for said cleanse so I am calling it my 30 Day: “Body, Mind & Spirit” cleanse. I have chosen my start date as Sunday, May 22nd.
Why am I sharing this? Two reasons. First, so that you can help hold me accountable if ya’ll wouldn’t mind. I’m resisting some areas and I haven’t even started yet so I know it will take a village but, I’m worth it! Second, because, in some way shape of form, it will affect you. Conceited? Perhaps. Confident? Yup!
Here’s the skinny on some of the categories. Most are mandatory; some is of my own, crazy, “let’s see what you’re made of” choosing. For the next 30 days from this Sunday, here is what WILL be happening come hell or high water:
Food and Beverage:
What it means for me - 80% green (veggies) 20% meat OR starch, not both. I am taking this week by week, but I am starting out vegetarian. Meat is making me feel awful lately so it’s time to weed it out! (That would be my crazy idea); NO caffeine (this includes coffee and tea), NO sugar (farewell, honey), NO gluten, NO alcohol, NO happiness, NO smiles, NO life. BUT, I do get to add 2 green juices per day, a probiotic, multi-vitamins and Evening Primrose Oil. Yay. Small victories.
What it means for you - Go back and read the NO caffeine and sugar part. You’ve been warned.
What it means for me - Water, water, water, lemon water, more water, repeat.
What it means for you - Nothing unless we workout together or you coach me. If I am running towards the bathroom during a workout, carry on.
Breathing and movement:
What it means for me - Kundalini Yoga to work on conscious breathing and emotions (Google it) and “light” cardio exercise for a minimum of 3x/week but a preferred maximum of 6x/week.
What it means for you - Most likely nothing but don’t assume I am dragging ass on purpose in a workout if I am not going all out. I’m struggling with the “light” part because my entire life has been centered around “go, go, go.” For once I am giving myself permission to slow down (on purpose, not my normal out of shape pace) and give my body a little break without being a couch potato. You should also note that I fucking hate Yoga and I plan to hate it even more if it makes me emotional. So, if you ask me how I am doing and I slobber tears all over you, you can slap me, hug me, offer me a tissue, tell me to shut it down, whatever...do whatever feels natural for you.
What it means for me - NO Facebook, NO Instagram, NO Twitter, NO comparisons, NO "likes", "loves" or "ha-ha’s", NO clue what’s happening in every day life.
What it means for you - Prepare to miss my wit, charm, sarcasm, bitchiness, swearing, rants, etc… Texts and e-mails are welcomed. I’d say call me but do people even use the talk feature on their phones anymore?
There are more categories but they are quite simple and don’t affect me (or you) one way or another so what’s listed above is the meat and potatoes of it. Mmmm, potatoes!
Namaste away now. Peace!
Destiny was the 1300-pound, beautiful, white, horse that took me out on a 90-minute rendezvous this past Tuesday afternoon. Ella and Henry had gifted this excursion to me for Christmas and it was near its expiration date. I am so grateful I did not let this opportunity pass me by. Who knew I’d actually learn something?
HERE ARE 5 LIFE LESSONS FROM DESTINY'S SADDLE:
Lesson 1: This was more of a reminder that big is beautiful and strong is sexy. My Princess Destiny was large, in charge, and so confident in that behemoth frame of hers that she left nobody wondering who was boss. At no point did she hang her head in shame or give me an apologetic look of “I sure wish I hadn’t eaten that bag of carrots earlier. Now look at me all bloated and shit!” Instead she welcomed a couple more hundred pounds on her back and waited patiently for me to settle in. She never buckled under the pressure and she certainly wasn’t worried about whether her muscles made her booty look too big. Destiny was the epitome of poise and certainty; a considerable suggestion to never mistake a full girl for a fragile one.
Lesson 2: Energy is everything. If my words are not in alignment with who I am and how I show up in the world, what I say means absolutely nothing. Destiny let me know early on that I either need to walk my talk (or ride it in this instance) or shut the hell up and get my spirit in check.
This was just my second time on a horse and I was panicked. They are alluring creatures and always a pleasure to admire from a distance, but riding one was a whole new experience that I felt unprepared for. I kept thinking “one wrong move and you can slide right off the saddle, hit your head on a rock, be bitten by a Cobra, and left to die out here. Why did you initial the option to decline a helmet, you asshole? How well is your hair going to hold up in a coffin?” However when Pam, poised up on her stallion, Doc., acting all prissy like she’d been on this rodeo before, asked me how I was doing, I kicked it like a cool, New York, cucumber. “Babe, I got this. Please. I was born to ride!” (Because every chic “born to ride” wears a Mets cap and sweats for 15 minutes in an attempt to put her boots on…and pull them off.)
Destiny was every bit as smart as she was enormous. She picked up on the intensity I felt inside and didn’t seem to initially enjoy my company as was evidenced by her jittery disposition and her overly exaggerated headshakes every time a fly would land on her. I swear she wanted me to fall off, but, when I refused, she just turned and stared at me as if to say “are you going to trust me or not because if not, this is going to be a painful jaunt for both of us.”
Whatever she did with that intense glare, it worked. I admitted fear, took a deep breath, settled down and reminded myself that our guide, and Destiny, were both professionals. They were not going to let anything happen to me. And they didn’t. Destiny poked along so relaxed that I thought she was going to stop for a nap, and I got to enjoy the quiet, serene, trail.
Lesson: 3: Apparently I got too comfortable which brought me back to the reoccurring theme in my life. Be present. If I’m not, Destiny will lead me to a fresh pool of piss just to see if I’m paying attention.
Lesson 4: When telling the Universe what you want be VERY specific. If I was granted a do-over, instead of asking for a horse that was “calm, cool, collected and easy on beginners”, I’d ask for one that was “calm, cool, collected, easy on beginners, can beat a turtle in a race, is younger than 75, doesn’t have a rank ass chock full of gas, and one that doesn’t stop to shit every 10 minutes.” If you ask for very little, you will receive very little. Ask for the world, and well…I guess you get the world? Fuck if I know but that’s how it seems it should work.
Lesson 5: Boy shorts are better than bikini briefs. I actually was convinced that I had gone commando until I was assisted off the horse. After 3 minutes of forcing myself to stand upright, I noticed that something felt, how should I say…? Out of place? I tried to discreetly lodge a finger or three up my ass to search for any hint of cotton that I could find to pull my underwear back into my jeans where they belonged, but this had proved to be a complete and utter failure. I don’t know many tour guides who would turn down a tip but I learned that it does happen.
I can’t wait to see what Destiny has in store for me next time!
Birthday morning I was searching for my favorite bra while getting dressed and all of a sudden I heard my Dads voice from 28 years ago: "Happy Birthday, Bubba! Now you're 13 and wearin’ a bra!" Kind of creepy hearing Pops voice while in my underwear drawer but the memory makes me laugh. As if hearing my brothers tell me that the reason my freckles existed was because “Mom held a screen to my face while Dad threw shit at me” wasn't bad enough, I had my father cracking adolescent jokes to assist in bolstering my self-esteem. Apparently the nickname “Bubba” wasn’t doing the trick. Between my newly developed chest and my first period, I quickly learned that my Mom was the only one who could be trusted not to poke fun at this awkward phase of my life. These joyful memories triggered other recollections and, ultimately, led me to ponder whether or not I learned anything else fascinating from my 40-year existence on this planet. Spoiler alert: I did and it starts with poo.
I compiled a list off the top of my head, but the problem was that the majority of my life lessons have already ended up in self-help books so I almost immediately found myself yawning and ready to take a nap. You know the ones I’m taking about. “Always do your best, Slugger”, “Don’t take anything personally”, “Never settle”, and, one of my personal favorites, “Change your language, change your life.” Fuck that noise! My life is grand!
It wasn’t until I really dissected my inventory to weed out the Pollyanna crap and was left with just the down and dirty truth, that I felt confident in sharing. I would have been remiss, however, if I left out some of my top lessons from the late, great, Maya Angelou. So, if nothing else, there’s always real wisdom to fall back on.
Without further ado, I bring you…
Lessons From My Ass
1. Always have a legit alibi, or, at the very least, be a damn convincing storyteller!
I learned this at age 5 when I pooped in the bathtub and failed to claim responsibility. The following cover-up story had no chance in hell of being even remotely plausible because both components were missing.
I remember sitting very still in lukewarm water hoping that, by remaining statuesque, the little balls of shit wouldn’t come floating towards me. After the bastard turds failed to fall into oblivion down the drain, I began to frantically throw together a tale that would resemble the truth but before I could make it happen, my Mom walked in. Just as she was about to rinse my hair, I recall watching her nose wrinkle like there was some offensive smell permeating the air in her bathroom, and then, as her eyes grew wide, she pointed at the fresh creation made from my adorable butt and asked "What's this?" I found myself wishing that my crap had rolled down the drain as fast as that conversation had rolled downhill:
Me: "I think its poop."
Mom: "You think its poop?"
Me: "Yes. It’s poop."
Mom: "Whose poop?"
Mom: "So you’re telling me that Billy pooped in your bath?"
Mom: "Where is he?"
Me: "He left."
Mom: "So Billy pooped in your bath and then left?"
Mom: "Billy is at his baseball game so I am going to ask you this one more time. Whose poop. Is this?"
Bathing alone in poop can make you sad. Bathing alone in poop and having nobody to blame it on is stupid.
2. Never be afraid to fart.
It’s most likely what got me into the whole bathtub fiasco to begin with but it’s a part of human nature and my stomach always feels like it won the lotto when I can just get let it fly. Side note: It’s also so much fun to talk about with my most cherished friends and a great conversation piece when talking to someone who I would otherwise have nothing in common.
Lessons From Spirit
1. My intuition is there for a reason and should never, ever, be ignored.
If I had chosen to ignore it when I was 11, I am convinced that my younger brother would be dead. I might not have known what to call it back then, but I knew that when the hair on my arms stood on end, when my heart started racing and when I felt like I was going to vomit, that was a red flag that danger was looming.
My kid brother Johnny was on his way to the playground located at the middle school behind our house. Usually I never cared what he was doing because I was much too cool to be seen with him, but that late afternoon was different. I was chilling out on the couch watching TV while my Dad was in the kitchen making dinner, when all of a sudden I jolted up and felt an overwhelming urge to go after my little bro. I tried to ignore the doomed feeling because that was our main hangout and there had never been any problems, but the feeling was persistent and all I kept thinking was that he was in danger and shouldn’t be alone. Couple those thoughts with weird images flashing in my mind of his funeral and I raced to throw on my sneakers and I was out the door. As I sprinted (and again, no clue why I felt the urge to run; it’s not like this was a going out of business sale at the Donut Hut) up the hill and out of our backyard, I saw Johnny making his way to the playground. I have to admit that when I saw that there was no danger to be had I was somewhat annoyed because I just ran a marathon and there he was all fine and dandy. “God that little bastard is always ruining my life! My shows are on and I’m outside for this nonsense?” I thought. I caught up to him, lied about dinner being ready, and we started our trek back home.
Out of thin air (I swear to this day I still have NO idea where he came from) a jogger literally just appeared. He looked to be in his 50’s, was wearing a pair of blue running shorts that were so tight and high on the thigh that it left no room for me to wonder if I’d ever dig dudes (I would not), a fishnet white tank top, and a thick red, Richard Simmons-esque sweatband. He was a cross between a masculine Jane Fonda and every pedophile I had ever envisioned. When I saw him my heart began to feel like it was beating out of my chest and I was certain that he was the reason for my initial fear.
The man claimed to have a litter of puppies “right back there in the woods” that he wanted to show us. I was at a brief cross roads between the decision to act respectful to my elder, as I was taught, or to bolt the scene knowing that a) said puppies most likely did not exist, and b) never talk to strangers. My choice ended up being a little bit of each as I said “No, thank you” and attempted to walk away. My asshole brother was not as bright. “I love puppies! I want to see them! Where are they?” and he turned to stroll off into the distance with this creepy man. I grabbed Johnny’s arm and firmly told him “NO! We have to leave!” The faux runner then proceeds to give me permission to leave my brother with him and made a promise to bring him back safely. I knew this was not going to have a happy ending had I allowed that, so, again, I politely declined and strongly urged my brother to follow me. It wasn’t until the bastard reached to grab my brothers other arm that Johnny finally caught on to what was really happening. From that point on it was a blur. I can just recall running away hollering for our Dad like a couple of lunatics. When I looked back over my shoulder he was gone.
The next morning there was an article in the paper about the very same man who was arrested for indecent exposure and endangering the welfare of a child. If I had ignored my intuition, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would be living today in a world of hurt and deep regret. If anyone is going to make my siblings life miserable, it’s going to be me; not some child rapist, murderer, psycho! I watch TV. I know what happens in those situations.
Long story short, I am a hero and he should never forget that.
2. If I remain open to the possibilities and cease with the need to always have the answers, the Universe always provides.
I learned this as I was applying for massage school. While I always felt drawn to the profession, it was not an opportunity I expected to be delivered in my late 30’s and especially not while I was working in corporate America. But, one breezy, menopausal, summer day here in Arizona, I was having my bi-monthly “what am I doing with my life?” meltdown, when I suddenly felt the need to check out the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts website. I figured “what the hell.” It could provide a little extra income, it would get me out of my comfort zone, it was a way to meet new people, and perhaps I had finally found my calling.
I was determined to become only a Sports Massage Therapist which is an interesting tidbit based solely on the fact that I insisted on attending a “healing arts” school and not a straight up massage school. That should have been my first clue that the Universe had other plans in store for me. Almost as soon as I began the hands-on work, I discovered that I loathed sports massage and anything related to it. My rationale was that I should not be pulling my back out and sweating like a pig in oil on a blistering hot day just so some 300 lb. linebacker can have his quads stretched. I’ll leave that BS to someone else.
I am pleased to report that I graduated with a 4.0 as a “Master Massage Therapist” and my title of “Reiki Master” followed shortly thereafter, as I anticipated. What I was not expecting, however, was to be drawn to the spiritual side of the practice and having to face my own emotional trauma that energy work brought with it to the surface. But, I remained open and the Universe delivered what I wasn’t even aware that I needed. It turned out that my entire education was for my own personal growth and healing and never about the money or finding a new profession. Had I questioned every single part of the process I would not have understood it, I most likely would have quit and I would not be the enlightened, evolved, gal that I am right now.
Lessons From My Dogs
1. Keep my nose in my own bowl.
Twice a day the puppies sprint to their bowl for chow time. When they hear that food bag open, it’s a pushing and shoving match until they claim their space and then it’s down to business. They know which dish is theirs and they are ready to hone in and eat!
Now, I may be wrong, but as Ella celebrates the end of her meal by licking her lady-bits, she doesn’t appear to be concerned with the fact that Henry is still eating his kibble one, slow, tedious, bite at a time. She doesn’t stop what she is doing, run over and get all up in his grill and then think to herself “if only I ate slower, I wouldn’t be so fluffy.” Henry, I’m going to assume, doesn’t give a hoot that Ella finished 15 minutes before he did and that she did so without dropping any of her food on the floor. He will eat at a snails pace and toss his cuisine all over the carpet if he wishes. It has no affect on Ella whatsoever and he certainly doesn’t give a shit that it drives me insane! They each have their own dining preference and they have zero concern for what’s going on around them. What a novel fucking concept!
The question I now strive to ask myself every time I am in comparison mode, or when I start to become overly concerned with what someone else thinks or says about me, is “whose bowl am I eating from, mine or theirs?”
These animals mock me with their simplicity.
2. Be present.
Every single day the words “you wanna go for a walk?” sends Ella and Henry into frenzy! It’s like they are being thrown into a ball pit of never ending cookies where they are allowed to stay forever. They get outside and strut around the neighborhood with purpose. No rock left un-sniffed, no cactus left dry. Pee, poop, sniff, explore, and repeat.
Let’s play a little game I like to call ‘Guess Whose Thoughts’:
“This is the best day of my life. I’m on a WALK!” Dog or human?
“If I request the search this morning I should have the results back this afternoon which is perfect timing for the closing and which leaves me plenty of time to workout this evening because I missed the last 2 days but I really hate what’s been programmed and it’s so fucking hot that I probably can just stand outside and sweat for half the time but if I don’t go I will regret it later and it’s my birthday so I want to be able to eat the ice cream cake without guilt and I wonder if anyone responded to my post on Facebook about aging which was just like the wittiest thing ever and I need to respond to that text because that wasn’t humor it was just passive aggressive bullshit that isn’t going to fly with me and FUCK!! I just stepped in dog shit!” Human or dog?
Presence. Saving sneakers and sanity one step at a time.
Lessons I Just Learned This Week
1. You really can teach an old lesbian a new trick.
Behold the evidence from my birthday party:
Making Mom proud since 1975!
2. As someone who grew up in a household of people who always had to have the last word, I’ve just now learned that sometimes silence is the best “last word” of all.
I learned this by quietly following the example of a friend who has had her good name dragged across the mud by a manipulating, sociopath. Rather than stoop to that crazy level, she simply goes about her business and chooses to remain in her state of truthful bliss.
I was tested when the Universe presented me with an opportunity to get into an ugly war of words with an acquaintance. Bearing in mind my buddy and her stellar example, I chose to remain silent. Despite my blood pressure being at a boil (especially when I had about 6-7 different replies back that would “prove” my case), I decided to test this silent theory and just quietly bask in my authenticity. The level of calm that eventually took over pleasantly surprised me.
Lessons Which Prove That Not All Quotes Are Crap:
1. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
I once had a bizarre experience with someone sitting across from me at breakfast who looked me square in the eye, and, without hesitation or humor, said “I’m not a nice person.” I was confused, caught off guard, and chose not to believe the confession because I’ve never known anyone who would easily admit such a thing. In failing to heed the warning and see it for the certainty that it was, I became the next victim. Lesson received, loud and clear.
2. “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” – Maya Angelou for the win again! This needs no explanation.
Lessons That Only Require One Sentence: My Gift To You
1. Just say, “thank you” and stop pissing all over the compliment.
2. Laugh at yourself because it isn’t all that fucking serious!
3. If you have nothing nice to say, roll your eyes because your face will give you away regardless.
There you have it my peeps. The sooner you learn these lessons, the better your life will be. You have my 100% non-guarantee.
Until next time…
*Disclaimer(s): This post is lengthy and contains more cursing and bitching than usual. If you’re easily offended, read something encouraging such as this. I’m not sure you’ll find a lot of “rah-rah” here today. Like one of my favorite celebrity role models, Jillian Michaels says, and to which I whole-heartedly agree and relate, “I don’t drink much, I don’t do drugs, so swearing is my stress relief.”
You should also be advised that this is more of a confessional all-out rant instead of story-time. This is, after all, named “Confessions of a Sarcastic Bitch.” Well, you’re getting it all right here, right now. Buckle up, Buttercup! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My Own Worst Enemy…
I have a deep passion for blogging, but having been completely uninspired as of late, I’m ashamed to admit that my last post was in January. Writing helps me to release stuck energy and I find it quite cathartic. I used to journal every day and there wasn’t one person or event that was on my mind that didn’t get a pen stab directly to the heart of the paper. I also love to find humor in just about any situation and I live for making people laugh. If I wasn’t so God damn scared of my own stage shadow and that heinous activity known as public speaking, I’d be hustling to get paid for acting like a goof. Don’t think I haven’t visualized hanging out on set with my twin, Ellen DeGeneres, just shooting the shit and talking comedy and exchanging hair product ideas. But I digress.
Finding and being able to express humor in just about any situation was a necessity growing up. I had an image of myself as morbidly obese, I fantasized about the gals from The Facts of Life, my mullet had its own chapter in The History of Lesbian Hair and I’m certain that the entire Monroe-Woodbury class of 1993 could agree that my braces didn’t do me any favors. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was always my best friend’s wing-woman.
Here’s a fun for instance: the one and only time I went to the college bar with my bestie, a handsome fella sauntered over to me, placed his hand on my right breast, gave a little caress, and whispered in my ear “what’s your friend’s name? Can I get her number?” I gave my best impression of a sweet smile, wrapped my fingers around his tiny package, twisted him close, and whispered back delicately “with that nipple action you just displayed? She’ll be coming home with me.”
Sharing awkward memoirs with others has always stoked my fire, and I kept telling myself that I was going to use my down time to write more. As I sat strapped into my corporate electric chair counting down the minutes to when I could log off, I made mental notes to jot down my feelings around random events such as last night’s workout (that I was absolutely positive had rendered me crippled) or that ludicrous Facebook post from earlier that morning which was just begging for my arrogant remarks. Then BAM! I sucker-punched myself in my fanciful balls and all was forgotten. My imaginary sticky-note which read “write about cooking class — #BrothIsBeautiful” was drowned out in a sea of “woe is me” comparisons and mental mind-fucks.
This is probably an opportune time to admit that one of my biggest struggles has always been with comparisons and self-worth. It’s been an old recording that continues to repeat itself because I can’t seem to get out of my own way. Add a touch of pneumonia, an almost two week long hiatus from exercise, zero social activity, and, my friends; I had myself a full-blown pity party! Naturally the only cure was to scroll through Facebook to see what I was missing out on. This is where my subconscious demanded that my creativity go fuck itself!
In my codeine state of pathetic, I made a conscious choice to allow the marvelous people of social media to take up residence rent-free in my head. I simply couldn’t stop myself. I was Alice and I followed that adorable bunny ass right down the rabbit hole. The displays of nut twisting decorum from my collegiate days that embodied my true essence were buried under a row of picture perfect status updates on my newsfeed. I became the poster child of thoughtful and overly serious. More to the point, it turned me into an angry bitch!
Well it’s now time to name it, claim it, complain about it, and bounce those vagabond bitches out of my mansion of intellect and back on the boulevard where they belong!
I, Tiffany Jayne Vacca, in my already fragile mental state, have allowed Facebook to additionally fuck me up and stop my creative flow in the following ways:
Let’s start with a fan favorite: fucked up by photos! As some of you may know I am not an advocate of having my picture taken and I am even less enthusiastic to see the ones that were taken when I wasn’t looking plastered all over Facebook. If I needed a beauty reminder I’d look in a mirror. It’s my page and I will choose what the world can and cannot see, dammit!
Or not. It would seem that when you sign a waiver for Crossfit, all bets are off. Somewhere in between “we are not liable for your death or dismemberment” and “leave your EGO at the door” is “you agree to let us post every tear-filled, camel-toed, belly rolled, baby-got-back image we can find of your hefty ass at our discretion.” If I may make a suggestion to the powers-that-be: remove the EGO clause, as I no longer have one.
What I’ve learned here is to read the fine print and that the “remove tag” feature Facebook provides is my new best friend. It can shield the people on my friends list from a visual that, once seen, simply cannot be unseen. I don’t worry so much about the gym folks because they’ve already seen my body shake, rattle and roll, live and in living color! And they know what I smell like to boot. I’m the gift that keeps on giving.
It’s probably safe at this point to assume that I still have body image issues. It’s a work in progress and one that will have its ebbs and flows. What keeps me cemented is when I make the wise decision to look at my photo, locate the flaws, and then compare it to someone else’s excellence. In making this connection, not only am I handing over my power to someone who hasn’t even asked for it, but I am also placing that person on a pedestal where they don’t belong. How completely fucking ridiculous!
As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also allowed myself to become fucked up by specific commentary that’s clogged up my newsfeed. I either need to find new “friends”, un-follow people, establish an even better sense of humor (if that’s even possible), or hop on the “let’s be an asshole” (albeit a confident asshole) bandwagon. Perhaps you can relate (perhaps you can’t) but I am speaking of the types who have made a decided change in their life and then proceed to hand out unsolicited advice as to how I need to adjust mine. I liken it to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door in hopes that I will join them on the road to everlasting life. Our roads diverged my friend. You chose hot dogs; I chose fish tacos. See you in hell where, I am quite certain, I’ll be your tour guide.
I am all for self-improvement, exceptional health and taking action steps towards being an overall Grade-A, incredible human being. Hell, I’m living in sin with a woman whose sole purpose in life is to serve others in finding their own self-worth. Some of my dearest friends are all about assisting people in discovering new ways to achieve optimum health and changing their gloomy story into one of confidence. I get it.
These earth angels surround me, but Jesus Christ people of social media, stop with the sanctimonious attitude! You lost weight. Wonderful!! You’re no longer a dick to homeless people. Hallelujah! You live your life out loud and on purpose and by fucking golly you’re going to tell me exactly where to sign up so I, too, can be saved regardless of if I asked or not! In my humble opinion, this should be the real meaning of “don’t ask, don’t tell”: I didn’t ask for your opinion, therefore, you need not tell me what is and is not functioning in my own life. I’m either working on it or haven’t yet discovered it (but trust that I will.) Unsolicited advice is inappropriate and unhelpful.
What is truly unbecoming are the espousals of spontaneous guidance from someone who just displayed the exact behavior that I’d been admonished for. I witnessed you get tanked on 2 bottles of wine and stuff your face with Cheetos, yet the next day’s post is a link to an article on alcoholism with a personal statement which read along the lines of “These are the reasons I don’t drink and why you shouldn’t either. #teamsober.” Huh?
Is “fake it until you make it” the new norm? If so, count me out. Fake=lie.
Never Ending Lessons…
So this is what I learned should anyone care to enroll in the “Keep It Credible For Dummies” fast track instead of taking the entire 8-week course. It is okay to be REAL! Nobody is going to kick your newly toned ass to the curb because you lost a client, your luscious long locks are actually hair extensions, and you just confused a fart for a legit shit which is now running down the left pant leg of the only pair you have. And, if you do, in fact, lose people, good fucking riddance!
I can’t speak for you, but I would much rather have people in my life who I can trust to be sincere, tell it like it is, laugh with me, at me, and even go so far as to offer to change my Depends. I mean hell, allow me be your model (it’s not like Vogue is calling me for my services any time soon, so here is my chance at the runway!)
There are garbage disposals that have more elegance and purity than the feces that falls out of my mouth. I cannot manage a simple declarative sentence without being sarcastic. I’ve thrown full-on juvenile tantrums and stopped promoting people because the false promises of promoting me in return have hurt the only two feelings that I do have and the “I’ll show them” attitude comes roaring to life. If that is not enough, there is a 99.9% chance that I haven’t lost a single pound (can’t say for sure because I smashed my only scale against a wall about 3 years ago), I workout so that I can eat, I have bona fide anger issues, I’m still coming to terms with past hurts from my childhood, AND (deep breathe…here is the real truth)…
I’m typing this without any underwear!
So. Fucking. What.
That’s the shit that’s going to get you laid! Stop with the showboating and the un-welcomed advice. At almost 41 years of age, I know EXACTLY who I am and what I stand for and a sell-out I am not!
Also, while I’m at it, I’d like to ask that you please don’t eye ball my pizza with disdain. If you want a slice, ask. If you’re about to tell me the calorie count, don’t waste your breath. With everything going on in the world today, I’ll be damned if my last regret is that I didn’t eat that cheesy, oily, gluten-filled slab of heart failure with a Cannoli on the side.
I’ll deal with my frustration later like any normal person with issues; by crying about it during a workout and wondering in my head “why am I still fat?” As a matter of fact, while I’m being completely honest, I did just that last Tuesday night (minus the Cannoli). Another terrorist attack + PTSD = Emotional eating with 3 of my favorite people followed a few days later by a vile Crossfit workout, made up by a soul-sucking man, that had me in tears in front of the entire gym.
So there you have it folks. The reason I’ve gone MIA. I got all caught up in this shit-storm for a good two months and told myself a very convincing story of how writing was a waste of time and provided no value. A tale about how I had nothing worthwhile to say, and, my all-time cherished fable, of how I was a vile human because I couldn’t find it in my jaded heart to give my last $3.00 to a woman who is homeless and has been pregnant for 18 months straight.
In short, I was reading Facebook posts like it was the Bible and believing myself to be less than. It was a hell of a sorrowful party for one. I picked up what everyone else was putting down and I was swimming in every other lane but my own.
I’m fucked up, I guess. Sounds plausible enough. I’m not proud but this post isn’t about pride for me. It’s about acknowledging what is and learning to love and accept myself, as I am, faults, farts and all. It’s about creating the mental space to get back to being my creative fun-loving self and showing up as authentically as I possibly can.
Thank you for reading and for bearing with me.
In the words of my favorite musician, Melissa Etheridge:
“Be strong. Speak true. Spread the peace.”
Never lose the humor. And punch me in the tits if I do.
So here we are near the midway point of January 2016 and I have just now gotten off my lazy ass and put finger to keyboard to share with you my bright idea.
During a random moment of insanity I agreed to tip-toe away from my contented state of comatose and try something new. I signed up for 5 months of cooking classes with my favorite nutritionist and lovely friend, Maya Nahra of Healthy Habit Solutions. Yes. You heard me. Miss “I can’t tell if it’s a gas stove without hearing the sound effects first”, willingly enlisted for this activity. I now use the word “enlisted” because it makes me think of bootcamp, which makes me think of hell, which brings me to my first class next Monday.
If the syllabus is any indication of what’s to come, I’m fucked! According to said syllabi...syllabuses...syllabus(?) here are some course objectives:
1. “Flavor foods using spice and herb combinations such as Cajun, Mediterranean and Indian.” Now is probably a good time to let Maya know that both Cajun and Indian light my ass on fire and a plunger is a good option to have toilet-side.
2. “Demonstrate understanding of how to create basic home-made stocks.” I don’t even know what this means. Stocks? Is this a typo? Bonds?
3. “Practice creating recipes.” See below for my 2013 recipe, which, coincidentally, was also my last. It was left-overs for Pam for her birthday. I just so happened to have gummy sharks, strawberries and chocolate laying around the apartment and I thought it would be a nice compliment to the charred dumplings and left-over pizza.
And if that is not enough, I have come to find out that we have actual tests! Wait. WHAT!??? Quizzes, tests, AND a final exam!? And no grading curve!? How awesome to recognize that, at the age of 40, I have a legit chance to receive an actual F.
I’m not gonna lie to you. I thought this was a chance to meet some people, sit around a table, try some new, colorful veggies, learn how to turn on the stove, get comfortable handling a knife, and maybe frying up a few pieces of chicken. I was going to take the class, bake a slice of protein for Pam, show off my new culinary genius, and call it a day. Braising and roasting a fish so that I can taste test for doneness was not on my radar. If I were stretched any further outside my comfort zone, I’d break a Goddamn hip!
If anyone would care to join me, I believe Maya still has 3 openings left for Monday evening classes. If nothing else, it will be entertaining.
Good Lord, what have I done!?
I am by no means an actual cheerleader (mini skirts and I were never friends), but, if I am recalling correctly, the above title was an actual cheer heard from my days as a Monroe Woodbury High School athlete.
It was rare to witness me as a recipient for a "main event" award as I was usually coming in 2nd place or below or there was always someone faster, stronger, better, or more improved than I was, and I never dared to enter contests which involved food for fear that I WOULD win.
Here are some accolades however, that, if they existed, I would highly expect to receive:
“Most Likely To Bitch About a WOD”
“Most Sarcastic” (kind of a no-brainer here, don’t you think?)
“Female Sweat Angel” (there has to be some upside to menopause!)
“Best Use of Profanity” (my personal favorite)
If these were up for grabs at this past weekend's Wildfire CrossFit Anniversary party, I would have bet the house on my winning them all and I would have been chomping at the bit to hear my name called. “The Tom Casella Spirit of Wildfire” award, however, was NOT something I expected. Don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful but had I had even an inkling this might be the case, I would have stood closer to the front of the room and turned my hearing aid up so I could tune-in to what Skip was saying. (*Note for next time Wildfire owners…use a microphone. Too many damn drunks yapping during the awards. I know. This probably makes me seem high maintenance, but….) I figured that standing in the back would make more room for the actual winner.
So, while I could not hear a lot of what was being said, I do know enough about Tom Casella to tell you that this award makes all the difference in the world to me. For my readers who don’t have the pleasure of knowing this amazing man, let me give you a very brief glimpse (brief because this blog is about ME after all; sorry, Tom, but it is what it is.)
Tom is a coach at Wildfire. I didn’t have the opportunity to take as many classes with him as I had wanted due to scheduling conflicts, but, the few times he did coach me, I always walked out of there feeling like a better athlete. He would always take the time to work with me on my form, help me scale the workout so that I could keep up with the class yet still be competitive, answer my lame ass questions, laugh at my even lamer jokes, and yet still manage to do the same for others and always with a smile on his face. I remember watching him compete with his son a few times and I was in awe of his abilities. I remember asking myself, “is there anything this man CAN’T do?” He coaches, he inspires, he leads by example, he lifts heavy shit, he’s the father to amazing young men, he was as good, if not better than, any Masters Regional athlete out there, and he has great legs to boot! Everyone in the community adores him and to meet him, even if it’s just once, it’s easy to see why.
About 6 months ago, Tom suffered a stroke and has been facing new battles, yet, with sheer determination and an iron willpower, he has made amazing progress! So, to answer my own question, “NO! There is NOTHING this man can’t do!” Tom “Superman” Casella, I am in awe of you, and you inspire me to be, not only a better athlete, but a better person. But now…your time is up. Back to me.
So I won the award. I guess the powers-that-be and the athletes in the gym figured that my mouth far outweighed my BMI and anything I can lift overhead. Apparently all my chatting, yelling, and getting up in people's faces is considered motivational. Perhaps nobody heard me cursing out the coaches and their friends and family members under my breath during an exceptionally difficult WOD (and by difficult I mean anything that included legs, arms, or Burpees.) I guess walking up to random newbies and striking up smack talk about my shitty NFL team is different than the "don't talk to strangers" lecture I was given as a child. I can’t help myself though. It’s part of who I am. I was the kid that always got her seat moved because she was talking too much to the person next to her. My report card always read “Tiffany is a pleasure to have in class, but she needs to stop chatting; it’s disturbing the other children.” I am also the adult that welcomed some random shit-talker to come up to me and introduce themselves when I was new. It helped to ease the anxiety. I am merely paying it forward. All the time. Constantly. Whether you want to hear it or not.
I have to admit though; it feels wonderful to be recognized with this beautiful gesture. I am truly humbled because this could have been gifted to just about anybody in the gym. The Wildfire community is all about spirit and inclusion. I honestly cannot think of one person at the box who doesn’t take time out to cheer on another athlete, encourage someone when they’re down, or just give that knowing glance that says “suck it up…you’ve GOT this!” We are a product of our environment and our environment has been created and maintained by the heart and soul of our owners, Skip and Tiffany (affectionately "Skippany".) We just all picked up what they both were putting down.
But I won the award. And people wanted a speech. Which is quite stupid and let me tell you why: My basic vocabulary starts and ends with the word “fuck” with some “bitches” and “bullshits” thrown in for good measure. I am extremely self-conscious and could feel every eyeball in the place drilling a hole through my soul with a scorching poker, which, by the by, only turns up my internal thermometer, makes my face and neck flush, and produces millions of beads of sweat to drip down into places where I can no longer confidently define it as “glistening.” AND….I would rather swallow a bucket full of chalk while sky diving onto a floor full of Kettle Bells than do anything even remotely related to public speaking. Hence this blog post, which I promised to do instead. I hope it made up for my duck and run after accepting this most spirited award.
Thank you, once again, to my Wildfire family for accepting me into the fold and embracing the shit-show that is ME!