Tag Archives: Health

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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Filed under self-reflection, The Good Moods, Wellness

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

Seeing and Believing

What I see when I look in the mirror and what I imagine myself to look like in my mind’s eye have never been one in the same. Never ever ever.

This is not always a bad thing. There are days when, for whatever reason, I feel very good about myself: maybe I had a hard workout the day before and I am sore in that way that tells me I did something good for myself; maybe I listened to really great music on my morning car ride that got me going on a path of positivity; maybe I just had a good sex dream and started my day with an imaginary ego boost. WHATEVER. The point is, on these blessed days when Pamela likes Pamela, I could have frizzy hair, no make-up, dark circles under my eyes, and be retaining approximately 7 gallons of water, but I’ll think that I look fabulous. I have found myself strutting–fucking strutting–in the mall, confidently making eye contact with strangers like I’m just the shit, and then walked past a window and scared myself because the face I am seeing is grotesque compared to the one I thought I had. But while that might be a little embarrassing, the fact of the matter is, I’d much prefer to look like a troll but walk like royalty rather than look like I’m worth a million dollars but feel like the cheapest trash on the block.

But usually, my body image issues manifest themselves in the usual feminine-beauty-dilemma fashion: I’m not “fat,” per se, but I see myself as a total cow. Now, for most of my life, could I have used to lose a few pounds? Sure. But even at my heaviest, I was never even medically speaking “overweight.” My BMI was always technically in the healthy range, I just found myself drifting towards the higher end of that spectrum. But right now, I am as close to my happy weight as I have ever been in my whole existence. And if I look in the mirror and try to see myself for what is actually in front of me, I can say that I look pretty good. On certain days I might even wager that I’m hot. But so often, I don’t see that version of myself in my mind.

First of all, I often still feel like the grade 10 version of myself: a girl with bad skin, who had yet to grow into her Polish nose, and who thought a frizzy bob made her look cute when it really just made her look dweeby. I can’t seem to completely shake that mindset. I once ran into some boys from high school in a bar in Canada, and I literally watched jaws drop. It was a fantastic feeling. But I felt wrong standing in their presence: I was Pam Wall, nerd, weirdo, unattractive, unwanted loser and they were the popular boys that were mean to me but that I still always sort of liked, or at least found *does Valley Girl voice* totally and completely dreamy. And now three years after that experience, I still sometimes wonder why anyone would want to look at me EVER. I know that’s such an obnoxious thing to say–it’s the sort of thing I would try to slap other girls for–but it’s true. Sometimes I remember that my skin is clear, I did grow into my nose, and my hair is now long and soft and age-appropriate, and then I think I’m a decent sight to behold. But most days I’m still just 16 and invisible.

I also have serious problems seeing my body clearly. I found myself this evening coveting the legs of middle-aged women on my mother’s soccer team. Now, I may not love my thighs, but they ain’t enormous. And yet I’m looking at these mothers thinking, “I wish I had her quads.” How fucked up is that? I had to step back and say, “Uh, hello? That lady is 30 pounds heavier than you. And probably wears Mom Jeans. What are you thinking?!” (Not to criticize these Soccer Moms, because they all look amazing for their ages. And kudos to them for being active and fit when society still expects them to drop their every want and need for their families.) I had to go in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror, I had to literally look at the size tag on my jeans, just to get my thoughts back to a healthy place. It was a frightening moment, there.

What causes this disconnect between what is and what we believe to be?  I know I am not the only woman who has ever seen herself in a completely different light than the one others see her in. Most if not all women (and plenty of men) struggle with body image, I’m sure. But I’m not asking, scientifically, why does this happen? I’m more asking, as a gender, as a people, as a community of humans just trying to better themselves, why do we allow this to happen? Yes, images of beauty and fitness and thinness and perfection are thrust upon us from the moment we exit the womb, so that naturally is going to screw with our views of ourselves, others, and the world at large. But why do we keep letting it? At what point do those of us working towards wellness and self-improvement not only say, “I can’t compare myself to her or to him or to you. I am an island, and I can only determine what’s right by me on terms of me,” but truly believe it and act accordingly. I tell myself every single day that my happy weight shouldn’t be determined by a number on the scale, it should be determined by how I feel. But then I catch an episode of Top Model where they mention that some chick is 5’11” and 116 pounds or something sick like that, and I can’t help but find myself drifting casually towards the bathroom to weigh myself.

I hate myself sometimes, I really do. I want to be better than this. I want to be the woman who stands up and tells others that you can look at yourself and love what you see and feel truly at home in that body. I want to be the one who encourages others to aim for  nothing more and nothing less than to be as healthy as possible, and fuck what you look like. But I’m not that girl. I want to have slender thighs just as much as the next girl, if not more so. I want to walk past a mirror and scare myself, not because I’m so hideous, but because I’m so nauseatingly pretty that I am taken pleasantly taken aback by my own face. I am not proud of these desires, but I would be doing myself and my readers a disservice if I didn’t put these thoughts out there because, damn it, I know I’m not alone.

And I would give anything to be alone in this struggle. I would love if I could save every other poor soul from being plagued by these nagging hopes and dreams by accepting all of your struggles as my own. I would hate every inch of my body for every second of every minute of FOREVER if it meant you and you and you could love yours.

But, unfortunately, we’re all in this together.

A little elf in my favorite Christmas movie once said, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

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Filed under self-reflection, social commentary, Wellness