Talk Wordy to Me

Just a quick thought.

I grew up that dorky girl with bad hair and a nose too big for her face, so all I ever wanted was for someone to think I am pretty. Well, I grew into my looks and into my bra and I discovered hair products, and finally I was a “pretty girl.” And to this day, it is always a pleasant surprise to have that fact pointed out. I still live with the mindset of an ugly duckling, and I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of that, so I will probably forever blush when someone reveals to me that they find me attractive.

However, complimenting my looks is not the be all, end all of nice things to say to me.  In fact, with the tact most men have, it’s like an insult wrapped in a compliment with a snarky little center. Guys at the bar think if they look me up and down and smile that I will melt all over their shoes. Nay, sir. nay.

No, to this day, the greatest compliment I have ever received was, “You’re very articulate.” That, right there, is a proverbial panty dropper, just let me tell you.

You want me to feel flattered? Tell me you’re intimidated by my vocabulary. You want to make me want you? Tell me I am a beautiful writer. You want to really get in my head? Be my intellectual rival.

Humans are hardwired to be attracted to people who possess traits that they like about themselves and be repelled by people who possess characteristics that they dislike about themselves. People who are proud of being funny like funny people. Bossy people who are ashamed of being bossy do not like bossy people. It is simple: like attracts like. This  opposites attract bullshit is simply that: BULLSHIT.

So, I take great pride in my usage of the English language: I enjoy being bookish, I unabashedly own up to being a Grammar Nazi, and my impeccable spelling makes me swell with pride. I am a word nerd, and I like it. Therefore I am going to be drawn to people who appreciate those aspects of my personality and who reflect them back.

Just. Saying.

Oh, the things one thinks about when washing her hair.

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For writers and poets and artists and dinosaurs and…

Dear Readers,

A smart chica I had the good luck to encounter in college, the talented miss Sarah Lindsay,  created Edgepiece, an online literary magazine. I have been honored with the opportunity to be one of her editors, so I wanted to announce that our *insert trumpet flourish* FIRST ISSUE has hit the web, and our writers deserve to be read. So read, dammit, read!

Also, I believe in the power of words, of the tales people have to tell, and the creativity people have to share. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, everyone has a story worth telling, an emotion worth expressing, or a love worth shouting from the rooftops. Check out the site, give us a read, and then be brave and submit something. A photo, a poem, even a short essay about that one time with the guy and the thing and then the stuff happened. You know the time. Just do it, ok?

OK, end of my shameless plug. Thanks for your time.

Love,

Amp

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Sometimes the greatest gift you can give yourself is permission to be lame

The life I lead currently and the life I lead 3 months ago are two very different animals: like, I was a hamster, running on my sad little wheel, and then overnight I evolved into a carnivorous capybara.

(Attempted Pokemon reference FTW!)

You see, approximately 2 hours after I became a single girl, before I had even packed my first box or properly grieved my newly-ended relationship, I informed one of my friends–Jessica, single girl extraordinaire– that she and I would be spending a lot more time together. Well that lovely girl went all momma bird and took me under her wing, and I have been her apprentice ever since.

Most nights of the week I am instructed to meet her and her partner-in-crime Jen at one bar or another. I am resistant to this midweek debauchery: it’s a foreign concept to me, drinking on a Tuesday (a.k.a. Boozeday). But I have pretty swiftly adopted their live-for-the-weekend mindset, and I look forward to putting on my Hot Girl Disguise (thank you to Jenna Marble’s for inventing that term) and tipping back a drink or two at the bar with the girls every Friday. I can count on J & J to be doing something fun (if not certainly alcohol-related) at any moment of the day, and I feel honored to have been accepted into their topsy-turvy Do-I-Look-Hot-in-This? world.

The funny thing is, as much fun as I have been having with them, your average person find my recent behavior very strange: I wear sneakers and pigtails; I laugh at comma placement and enjoy children’s television; I listen to alternative music. So when I don 4-inch heels and dance to Usher songs in a crowded club, it seems out of character. I understand that viewpoint, I do; frankly, it felt very odd zipping up that first cocktail dress and walking around that bar looking for my friends. But I think that’s why I’m so enjoying it: it’s not the norm for me. It’s an Amp-like thing to do. Or, as Jess and Jen have taken to calling me, Spicy Pam.

So for several weeks, this has been my life: receiving text messages all week from the girls asking, “Is it friday yet?”; getting instructions on Friday about what time to meet them at the bar, and to dress cute, goddamn it; sipping Manhattans till midnight, then I sober up so that I can drive; dancing, and rejecting the weird men who attempt to molest me on the dance floor; Coney Island at 2:0o in the morning; finally, gloriously, sleep around 4:00AM. Repeat (sometimes) on Saturday, and once on a very odd Sunday. Wait for the next weekend all over again.

It’s not a bad life. I have had a lot of laughs, quite a few cocktails, and a couple hangovers; I have made a few good friends, a couple great friends, and maybe one or two enemies (well, maybe I wouldn’t go that  far, but they are certainly persona non grata);  I have kissed a girl, a couple boys, and have taken many ridiculous OMG-We’re-at-the-Bar! photos like so:

So cliche, so tacky, so fun

I have had very very much fun and do not regret a minute of it.

So all of that said, I am so fucking tired.

Having a life is exhausting.

I just a need a friggin’ break.

Jess is leaving for Law school soon, so I have been trying my best to power through and keep on partying it up till she departs.  This past Friday, come 10:00PM, I was tired and cranky and had resolved myself to simply staying in, but instead of sticking with that healthy plan, I stayed up until 5AM playing monopoly and drinking too much wine. Fun, but not smart. I was a zombie for most of yesterday, nearly falling asleep at the wheel and barely able to sit at the dinner table without collapsing with my face in the jambalaya. When I returned home from my aunt’s house, I was just passing out when I got the “You coming out?” text. I said I needed a nap and I’d meet them at midnight. Well, that never happened. At 11:30 when my alarm went off I said, “Mmm mm, no way, fuck it,” changed into more sleep acceptable clothes, and curled up with my dog.

But oh shit, it was a Saturday night! I was supposed to be getting hammered or getting hit on or complaining about how I don’t know how to dance with guys! Well, at least that’s what I was thinking last night as I was dozing off. Just as I’d drift off I’d pop back up and think about how pathetic it is to go to sleep early on the weekend and how my friends were out expecting me to join them and I felt vaguely guilty and very very lame.

But I finally told myself that maybe, just maybe, it’s ok to turn the Amp off once in a while. Maybe Spicy Pam can go in the closet for a night and I can be just Pam. Maybe I’m allowed to be lame. Once I granted myself that it was like the Heavens parted and the angels sang and it was raining gumdrops and my cat’s whiskers were rainbows and…

You get it. I got to sleep. And it was amazing.

We all need to be kind to ourselves now and then. A little self-forgiveness for our inadequacies, a little sympathy, it goes a long way to maintaining our happiness and our sanity. And as someone with a weak ass immune system, being kind to myself means letting myself rest. Telling a friend recently that I am old and get tired early prompted him to say, “Psh, sleep when you die.” Well, let’s be honest, if I don’t sleep I will die. So, I am not taking that sage advice.

I can be a “spicier” version of myself. I can say “yes” to experience and “no” to boredom and loneliness. I can Amp it up. But I am also allowed to know my limits and have the self-love to act accordingly. I am allowed to have mercy on me. And I am 100% allowed to sleep on a Saturday when I am deathly tired and not feel like I wasted my weekend. It takes a certain amount of courage to do what is right for you even when it’s not the popular option. So, frankly, by being lame, I was Being Brave (yay Return of the Mantra!). By turning down the volume I was actually being totally Amp: she is not afraid to be true to herself. EVER.

Awesomeness through lameness. It happens.

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Shins don’t fail me now

For the first time in…god, easily over a month, I went for a run tonight. The humidity finally took a chill pill, so once the sun got a little low in the sky it was prime conditions for lacing up my cross-trainers, and I actually had the drive to just effing do it, and so I did.

And my goodness gracious, was it wonderful.

I forget time and time again how much I love running. I forget how the rhythm of my shoes against the pavement can clear my head unlike anything else. I forget how the strain in my lungs is actually wildly refreshing, like a challenge presented to me by my own body to push on. I forget all these things, so I end up going without running for weeks on end, and then when I finally get my butt out the front door, I find myself wondering what took me so fucking long.

So, in the hopes that I won’t have yet another workout dry spell, I’m enumerating my How I’m Gonna Get My Track Legs Back (Sans Shin Splints) plan here for all to see, so that maybe I will actually hold myself to it.

1. Use and abuse the nearby stadium: One of the perks to living with my ‘rents is that I am literally 45 seconds from my old high school, which, gloriously, comes equipped with a track and a stadium just begging to be used by yours truly. I enjoy a nice long run now and then, but I was and will always be a sprinter at heart, so I LOVE a good ol’ fashioned speed workout: running 400M at 80%, sprinting full out 100M, walking till my heart rate returns to normal; jogging the stairs of the stadium until my quads burn; timing myself in the races I used to run as a teenager. The track is right there and I am still small enough to squeeze through the gap in the fence, so why the fuck shouldn’t I use it, right?

2. Something is better than nothing: Back in college when I had ready and willing running buddies coming out my ears, it was easy to find the drive to go for a run. But now, it’s just me, all by my lonesome. And sometimes going for even an easy 2 miles seems daunting. But why should I force myself to do even 2 miles? Isn’t it preferable that I get outside, get my heart pumping, get a quick burst of endorphins, if only for 10 minutes? One pathetic mile is still a mile. It’s still calories burned, fresh air breathed, mind cleared. So even on those days when it’s hot or rainy or I feel lousy, I need to remember that I can dress, run one mile, and be home in 12 minutes. A little rain or heat won’t kill me in 12 minutes.

3. A day off is good; 12 days off is bad: I always read about how giving your body a chance to repair is paramount to being fit; your muscles need time to recover. But what I tend to do is take a day or two off and then…never go back. Or I get on a roll and run as many days in a row as possible and burnout. I gotta stick with 2 days on, one off. Or Day 1, long run; Day 2, a quickie; Day 3, a hard interval workout; Day 4, rest like god did on the 7th day.

4. There is pain and then there is PAIN; know the difference: When aiming for a good 4-5 mile day, I usually wimp out around the 3rd mile. Either I get a stitch in my side, or my breathing is haggard, or my feet are hot, or my mouth is dry, and I make excuses to myself about why I am allowed to give up and go home. THAT MUST CEASE. Tight calves or tired lungs come with the goddamn territory: I will NEVER get into better shape if I cave in to a little pain. I need to use my mind to work my way through the pain; as my father always says, “MENTAL TOUGHNESS!” I hate to quote him, but the man has a point. There is a big difference between discomfort and, “Holy shit, I just tore my ACL.” I’ve had migraines my whole life, I can deal with a little pain to achieve the pride that comes with running your entire pre-planned course and then getting home and realizing, “Hey, I can keep going.” C’mon, Pamela. Suck it up, bitch.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got so far. But you get to hold me to this. I ran today and it was wonderful and the endorphins coursing through me right now are demanding that I keep it up. But tomorrow, when my little natural opiates have faded away, this post is going to be my reminder that I have goals, and for once, I’d like to actually meet them. Any words of encouragement or advice (or trash talk) you, my readers, can offer, would only serve to spur me on all the more, so comment comment comment. Please.

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My body finally got on board with my brain

So. Hi all. I know it has been quite some time since I’ve done this. Write about my journey towards health and happiness with my physicality, that is. So there’s lots to say. But it is 1:35 AM at this moment, so I’m going to pare it down a bit.

So after my ex and I became, well, exes, and thus I had to depart from his homestead and move back in with my parents, I put back on a decent portion of the weight I had lost in the months prior. And that was sad, and I wanted to do that thing where you already feel bad about yourself so you eat even worse and workout even less because, what the hell, I already look like shit, what’s one more pound? But I didn’t. I fought tooth and nail to regain control of my eating habits which, I must say, is not an easy thing to do while living with a woman who naturally burns 4000 calories a day. Why God? Why wasn’t I born with my mother’s metabolism?

Anyway, I lost nearly all the weight I had repacked on and was getting on my way to losing more. I was still struggling with sugar, so I was getting lax about what I was eating, and started caring more about how much I was eating. And that was working alright. But I felt awful after eating wheat. Not guilty awful. No, unwell awful. So I knew I needed to get back onto the Paleo train. BUT, a week at the lake with my very large Italian family threw a wrench into that plan, and rather than getting my ass back into gear, my ass got bigger yet again.

Sigh.

So then there’s July. It is UNGODLY hot here in Michigan, especially in my parents crap-ass house that doesn’t have AC. This climate crisis is bad because it prevents me from being able to go running without getting heat stroke, and the very notion of spending an hour in the 80 degrees+ yoga studio makes me want to vomit, so my exercise becomes limited to taking walks after dark. Not what I’d call kickass cardio. BUT, the good thing about it is my appetite disappears when I am dying of heat exhaustion. So once again, I start shedding weight, praise the lord.

And then, about two weeks ago, something wonderful, something glorious happened: my body spontaneously decided it no longer wanted carbs, but especially, sugar. I hadn’t been obsessively limiting my sugar intake, I’d even let myself eat a little pasta when it was the only thing that sounded appealing, but then *POOF* I lost all taste for grains and sweets. Do you have any idea how freeing it is to stand in front of a cake and have absolutely no desire to eat it? To see a sea of mostacciolli at a wedding and pass it by without a second thought? I don’t crave cookies anymore. I crave salad with a great homemade vinaigrette, or protein protein protein. Yum. It’s as if the heavens have opened and I can hear the angels singing.

So I am now officially back down to the weight I was at my lowest pre-break-up. Hurray! I don’t feel like I look as good as I did then, which is probably because my muscle mass is down since I haven’t gone for a run in ages and just this week finally made it back to yoga. But taking 4-mile walks to the library with the kiddies during work, and re-introducing myself to my yoga mat will even things out soon, and then I may finally–FINALLY–be on my way to meeting my goal weight.

This has not been an easy journey, but I have not  any point, fully fallen off the wagon.  I’m not sure why my body suddenly decided to get happy about Paleo,  but I’m not going to question it. I’m just going to be thankful that my brain and my body are on the same page, and I might be able to ride this train to my final destination: physical health and self-confidence.

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Filed under The Good Foods, The Good Moves, Wellness

She’s back

And by “She’s back” I do not mean, Pamela the blogger is back to…erm…blogging. Nay, I mean, a version of myself I hoped to never be again has made a sudden reappearance and it has shaken me so profoundly that it has inspired me to share my suffering with the one person who might still occasionally check this site for new ramblings.

And to you, sole follower, let me say I love you and appreciate your readership more than you could ever know.

So, last night, I attended the wedding of my oldest friend. Let me tell you, there is nothing stranger than seeing your childhood best friend–the girl you used to dance to “The Boy Is Mine” with– in a wedding gown. I am astounded and uncomfortable by how quickly time passes (and I wish it would stop). But, anyway, there I was, watching her glide around the dance floor with her father during the traditional Daddy/Daughter dance, and I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with sadness and grief that I did not know I still carried around with me, and I had to excuse myself to go bawl hysterically outside.

What. The fuck. Was that?

I was suddenly so aware of how different my relationship with my father is from one defined as healthy, let alone happy. I realized, watching them dance together, that the adoring gaze he bestowed upon his daughter was one my father has not bestowed upon me since I gained the ability to speak words. I know and have always known that my dad and I would never have a moment like the one that was playing out before my eyes, but I didn’t know that that fact upset me anymore.

Apparently, it does.

And today, the miserable feelings continue. I yelled at my mother for things that happened years and years ago, yelled at her for staying with this man I call a sperm-donor after some of the awful shit he put my brother and me through. And as always, she defended her actions, and revised history to make herself seem in the right. But instead of just rolling my eyes as I normally do, I began sobbing and had to curl up in bed.

I am a basketcase.

I have been able to calmly and casually talk about my POS childhood for several years now. I can mention to near strangers that my dad is an alcoholic without wincing. I have described the terrible night when my father permanently destroyed any hope we may have held onto of having a relationship here on this very blogsite for all the world to (theoretically) read. I had thought I had come to terms (as well as someone can) with the life my parents condemned me to, but suddenly, I am not OK with it. Not OK with it at all.

I don’t want to have to go to therapy. I don’t want to blame my daddy issues for all my inadequacies in relationships. I don’t want to walk around a shell of a person because of my childhood. But the despicable display that occurred last night indicates that I may need a bit more help moving on from my past than I had hoped.

Ugh. Life.

The only good thing about this breakdown is I am writing again. And seeing as I am finding it difficult to drag myself away from the computer so that I can go to my yoga class, I suspect I may be sticking around this time.

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What do you do when an avian cacophony is keeping you awake?

This.

Or, at least, I do this.

After being a lazy blogger as of late–an incredibly procrastinatorial (not a word at all…but shouldn’t it be?), computer-phobic, sorry excuse for a writer–I am finally attacking the keys because I woke up 45 minutes ago for a drink of water, and now I cannot for the life of me fall back asleep. What with the sun creeping its way over the horizon and the apparently 100,000 birds chirping, twittering, and confabulating outside my window, I had no choice but to give in, open my computer and come to this site to compose a long overdue post.

Resistance is futile.

For the last, oh, two weeks, I have experienced all the symptoms of adult ADHD without the perks of, you know, the drugs: an inability to commit to a task for very long, racing thoughts and the inability to relax, sudden uncharacteristic impulsiveness, a plethora of ideas but no patience or clarity-of-mind to take the time to write them down, etc. On more occasions than I can count, I had great ideas for posts on this here blog, even had 90% of it written in my head…and then I didn’t do squat about it. I had a simply brilliant conversation with my father (rare, but they happen) about regret and catharsis and believing in your own choices, and though in the moment I thought “I am going to go write about this the second he stops talking,” the moment I walked away I couldn’t remember half of what was said or what I even felt. I’ve been meaning to document my trip to Chicago because, frankly, it was so much more than I could have hoped for, but now it’s been a few weeks and the details are growing fuzzy and I no longer can find the words to say how great it was to get the fuck out of Michigan. And for the few people who take inspiration or insight from my struggles with weight loss, well, I’ve truly failed them. I just could not bring myself to dedicate even a moment of my time to say…something. Anything. And I feel very, very bad about that.

But here I am. I’m writing. It’s not an epic poem or a poignant little ditty, it hardly qualifies as coherent, but I am making an effort. I don’t have to time to really do an amazing job here, but I thought I’d just touch base briefly, and update ya’ll on where I am these days, both literally and metaphorically.

I am sick for the first time in months: It seems that, while exceptionally invigorating and fun, travel and I aren’t friends. My little jaunt over to Illinois was so enjoyable and so chock-full of good stuff that I totally forgot to take care of myself for a few days–by, you know, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating at all–and it was a huge blow to my immune system. It’s been two weeks and I still have a very sore throat and a stuffy nose. The last time I can remember having a cold was, what, February? And now I feel like crap and I only have myself to blame. But, what I don’t understand it, why is it taking so goddamn long for my body to get back on track? I’m back to drinking 88oz of water per day, eating quite healthfully, exercising…shouldn’t I be on the mend by now? Grr, immune system, grr to you and yours.

I have applied to take the GRE…again: After allowing a relationship (and a less-than-fulfilling one at that) to derail my life for the last year and a half, I am back on track with the goals I once held near and dear to my optimistic little heart: grad school, career as a professor and/or editor, moving away from Michigan and to a city where people like me can actually breathe. So, for the next two months, I will be studying my ass off so that come the day I sit down at that loathsome computer and attempt to prove that I am a valid candidate for furthering my education, this time, my verbal score won’t totally blow. I have never been all that good at studying, and have rarely needed to in the past, but it’s something I have attempted and succeeded at in times of trouble, so I’m hoping the fact that I’m more than a little rusty with the whole academic process won’t completely sap me of the ability to achieve a stellar score. Maybe I’m two years late, but I want to go back to school so badly, and I hope that I don’t end up standing in my own way.

I have admitted to myself that I condemned myself to limbo: As above-mentioned, for a few shameful years, I acted like a stupid girl and let my love for a boy distract me from all the things I wanted to achieve. I stayed in MI and didn’t apply for schools or out-of-state jobs because I was scared of what would happen (re: breaking up) if I left. This is not at all his doing: he never asked me to shy away from graduate school; he never asked me to abandon my dreams for a life of housewifery and loneliness. That was me…all me. And it’s hard to fess us to that, but, I think, knowing that I’m capable of being my own worst enemy isn’t the worst thing. I know what I’m capable of, and might be able to prevent a future derailment of my life. I also think I can forgive myself for losing sight of…everything…because, maybe, I had to lose myself to find myself. Maybe I had to make those mistakes to finally see that I was right all along (or at least up until I was wrong). Maybe, just maybe, I had to take my sweet old time to see what everyone else seemed to see–that we were a doomed couple and I was a fool–because in the process of fucking up my life, I learned an awful lot about life.

There is no place like home: My parents might make me crazy, and they might have made some questionable parenting choices in the past, but I owe them so much these days. Not only am I saving bank by living for free under their roof, but I’m finding a little respite in this bedroom I slept in as a child. All my friends who know I’ve never had a good relationship with my dad are shocked to hear that, hey, life here isn’t so bad. I’m, dare I say it, happy to be home. It’s still a messy messy house and my dad is still an alcoholic and my mom is still overly religion–dependent, but those things don’t bother me so much right now. I am actually happy to come home every day…and I honestly NEVER thought I’d be happy in this place ever again.

I won’t be a nanny much longer: I had better find writing-related work come fall, because whether I am ready or not, the babies won’t be under my care come September. It turns out preschool is effing pricey, and my employers can’t afford me at my current rate AND school for their daughter at the same time…so the end is near. This is both sad and very, very exciting. I love those children, I love them so much…but I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to work in a place where I have grown-ups to talk to. I’m ready to get the fuck out of limbo. Although…

We are all in limbo: No one–not business owners, not priests, not my parents, not even retired billionaires with everything they could ever ask for–is where they are hoping to be. Once you achieve one goal or all of your goals, you only set yourself new ones. It’s when we stop having goals that we stop living. There is always something to aim for, something to hope for, something to look ahead towards and think, “yeah…that’s where I’m headed.” And it’s not like when you make it there you’ll just…be there. There is no final destination, there are just stops along the way. So, maybe, I can stop saying I want to get out of limbo…because I never will be. And that’s alright.

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