Thursday, March 26, 2009

(I know, I know, I'm a shit. BUT on the bright side I've written about 30 pages these past few weeks - really! - and have set up a schedule to religiously post twice a week. Stay tuned...)

Well, I suppose it’s because of a lot of other things I don’t do.

I don’t work out much. I have my fits and spurts like, become a gym fanatic to look good in this dress, or, summer is coming it’s sit-ups time! But I’ve never really made exercise a routine or daily fixture of my life. This is a shame in more ways than one, made bigger by the fact that I do in fact have a dog and should, at the very least, be running around with him every single day.

I snack. Boo. I snack later on in the evening, especially. Bigger boo. And while I don’t snack “bad”, at least for the most part, snacking later is not a good thing in general. Boos all around.

I may not thrive on unhealthy foods but I am a gourmet fanatic, and the lipids count on too many of those items is high, baby high. Rich cheeses, delectable pasta, sumptuous, fruity rich oils. I do try and eat these in moderation but every now and again a puttanesca will look at me longingly, and I’ll oblige by giving it a home. In my stomach.

Salt. Heavens to Betsy, I love salt. I think the sweet tooth I didn’t get is due to the oh-so-savoury taste buds rock ‘n rolling away in my mouth, bossing the sugar wants away. I have four kinds of sugar in my cupboard to fulfill every coffee and baking need; I have 14 different kinds of salt. Among them are kosher and sea salt for everyday, Fleur de Sel and Sel Gris for finishing, black salt for earthiness and truffle salt for everything from hard boiled eggs to popcorn seasoning. Air popped.

I love vegetables but don’t eat them as often as I’d like, especially in the winter months. I never pre-plan my meals, either. I do my best but then sometimes I just get so hungry or tired or both, and with few options before me I usually go for the toasted bagel that’s quick, easy and packed with carbs.

So while it could be said that I try hard, I really don’t try hard enough. But I’m not going to let that get me down.

In spirit of Love and Me, or, Loving Me, I think I’ll stop slapping myself on the wrist all the time. I’m human. I’m doing good but not my best; I’m not going to resolve to try harder because honestly, that mostly accomplishes nothing. I just know I can do better. And the main difference between this year and all the years behind me is, I want to do better.

I’ve been saying I have to I have to I HAVE TO for years now and quite frankly, it’s gotten me nowhere. I’ve been saying I can’t I can’t I CAN’T for even longer, and that’s taken me just as far.

I remember saying I HAD to study hard for this or that exam in university, then ending up going out with friends instead. I also remember my father telling me time and again in high school that I COULD NOT go out with boys, but you know what? I found a way around that. The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.

What I also know and remember is that when I wanted something that was totally achievable, I would get it. I wanted to learn how to rollerblade, and no matter how many times my ass hit the pavement, I made it happen. I wanted to get into journalism school, I wanted that internship in Europe; I worked my butt off for both, and did it.

It will happen because it will; it will happen because I want it to. It’s when I want something that badly that it stops becoming what it started as: want. It becomes a need, the air that I breathe. That’s when the magic happens.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hi there! Again, I've taken a lot longer to come back than I thought I would, but something pretty major happened a few weeks ago - something major, and to something I really, really love. Thankfully it was to a "something" and not "someone" (and majorly thankful my dog was not in that category, either) but nevertheless it was poopy all the same. I'll be writing about that in a few weeks time. Cheers :)

I don’t eat candy.

I’ve never really liked the stuff, at least not since the age of 10. The novelty of Halloween only took me so far, I suppose. I don’t even have a yen for sugary products, and can’t stomach anything too sickeningly sweet. I love to bake, but that’s mostly for holidays and special occasions. And, I rarely dig into the finished product because by then, I’ve had my fill of staring at it.

I don’t eat chips or other junk foods, not all that much. A handful of times per year, tops. I never drink soda, except ginger ale when I’m sick. I almost never eat takeout food, and no delivery man knows me by name. I can’t stand breaded foods, and ixnay on anything deep fried.

I’m not a chocoholic, though I do indulge in a good dark when my hormones dictate it. I don’t drink all that much, either. Sandy and I share maybe two bottles of wine per month. I do love coffee, but never more than five cups per week, or even more than one cup per day, except maybe sometimes on weekends. Coffee is more of a fall and winter thing, too; come spring and summer, my consumption of the stuff wanes down to almost nothing. Hot beverages and hot days rarely coincide on my planet, and truth be told, I really don’t like flavoured, iced or whip cream topped caffeine.

When I have parties I don’t spend a mint on ready-made, assembly line foods, I make everything myself, with fresh ingredients, from scratch. For the most part I hate canned food, mixes, overly processed crap, and the chemically-laden. When I do have any of these things I read the labels like a hawk, making sure the nutritional values are acceptable, and the ingredients are all natural.
Good yes, trans fats no. I try as hard as the next girl to put only the best things in my body.

This isn’t how I function when I’m being saintly or super careful; these aren’t my food-fascist ways at their peak. This isn’t me tiptoeing through the aisles of the grocery store, avoiding tasty, fatty products in fear of gaining an ounce. Very truthfully this is my everyday, how I choose and make the foods I eat. This is just me.

So all that said, why the hell am I still fat?

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Year's message to You, to You

I’ve been away for a lot longer than I thought I would be, than I said I would be and so forth, and while I’m super tempted to apologize and say that things will be better from here on in, I’ll write more regularly (and so forth), I don’t have to this time.

See, I didn’t want to be away. I wanted to write and I did do a lot of it, but my computer (and all the viruses it contracted) had its own ideas. I’m not totally sure if the matter is cleared up ‘cause I’m just not tech wired like that, but I am positive that current state of said PC is enough for me to continue where I left off.

Besides, it’s time for me to be here, time for me to write and finish what I started so very long ago. It’s the beginning of the end, I can feel it. And while many of you will disagree with the word “end” I’ve never personally had an issue with it. Everything comes to an end in one way or another; childhood, Harry Potter books (and movies); the Gucci 2008 collection.

It’s because ends make way for beginnings, wonderful beginnings. Just like winter snows always thaw into Spring, I’ll always be me, this crazy curly-haired writer trying to find her way one word at a time. But I want an end to the dream just being a dream; I want to capture the Me I envisioned for myself such a long time ago, the Me I gain a little more of, every single day.

It’s the Me I’ll never have if I don’t finish this story of here and now, my story. I want the rest of my story. I’m sure you do, too. So let us start the Beginning of the End, the rest of this story, with a story.

And, a question. Have you ever asked this of yourself: “What am I worth?”

Before I could be old enough to ask myself this question and truly ponder on it, it was asked of me.

My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Vinsanto, was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Maybe it was because he was one of the odder choices, I mean, being a man and teaching the fourth grade to begin with was quite an oddity in itself, but throwing pointy shoes and permed hair into the equation made for interesting hallway gossip. Still, Mr. Vinsanto wasn’t one of those teachers who was there for summer months off and a great pension; he taught because he wanted to, because he loved his job and he was great at it.

Even though it was a really long time ago, one of Mr. Vinsanto’s lessons in particular has always stuck with me. Actually it wasn’t even the lesson itself, since I really can’t remember most of it (hey, I was 9), but what he said in it that was so significant.

It was during a Religion class. Being a Catholic school we were subject to religion classes every now and then, where we learned all about the bible, the saints, pain, suffering, guilt, and who was flogged most effectively under Roman rule. Anyway, the subject matter that day was Worth.

How we got to that point is beyond me, but I remember, clear as day, Mr. Vinsanto looking all around the room, pointing his fingers at us and saying, “Tell me, all of you, how much are you worth?”

How much was I worth? I thought and thought, but had no answer. I could see brows furrowed all around me, but not one hand was up. Heavy thinking in a nine-year old universe.

“Think about it, as hard as you can,” Mr. Vinsanto went on. “How much are you worth?”

Hmm. Being young of course I put this down to monetary value, and concentrated. I knew I was definitely worth more than $10, and definitely more than $100! $1000 was a no-brainer too, but $100,000 started to sound steep, I mean, that much money could buy truckloads of Cabbage Patch Kids. A million I didn’t even want to think about, it was far too extravagant. Those types of fortunes were only for people like Queen Elizabeth and Scrooge McDuck.

$10,000 would cut it, I thought, maybe even $50,000 on a good day. I very apprehensively started to put my hand up in the air, noticing that others around me were being shy about the matter as well, when Mr. Vinsanto shook out those gorgeous black curls ever so slightly, flashed his pearly whites and said, “Well, I know how much you’re all worth!”

Hands went down quickety-quick. Fantastic! I thought. I took out a pencil to write the number down and show my family when I got home. Just imagine, my very own price tag! Maybe Oli could draw one up for me, and make it all nice and pretty. In my heart of hearts I secretly hoped I was worth more than Theresa, the teacher’s pet, while I KNEW I was worth more than stupid Bradley, who always threw dirt around at recess.

But Mr. Vinsanto didn’t give out any numbers. Instead he leaned a bit forward and said, most seriously, “You can’t attach a number to how much you are worth. You’re priceless.”

Maybe this would have garnered applause in an eighth grade classroom, but not in our fourth grade world. Most of us just sat there with blank looks on our faces after he said that. Priceless? What did this word mean? I knew what Price meant, and what Less meant, but the two didn’t quite seem to match up. Was I less a price?

Thankfully Mr. Vinsanto was used to dealing with kids our age every day, all the time, and so started to clarify. “Let’s imagine you were kidnapped,” he said, to which the class gasped. We all knew what “kidnapped” meant. “Let’s say you were kidnapped, and the bad people who took you only did it because they wanted money from your parents. How much would your parents give, to get you back?”

I thought and thought. The car? Maybe the house? I didn’t think they would trade Oli in for me, though.

But Mr. Vinsanto had a different answer. “If you were stolen, your parents would give away everything they had. They would give their lives for you. Do you know why?”

I thought I sort of knew why, but kept my hand down. So did everyone else, instead, we just stayed fixated on Mr. Vinsanto. “Because they love you, and because you’re worth everything they have, everything they can give. That is what 'priceless' is, it means, more than money.”

I didn’t look around the class just then, but assumed that everyone’s mouth was as wide open as mine. I was worth more than $10,000 and $50,000? I was worth more than $100,000 and even a million? Or a billion? What was bigger than a billion, anyway? And how crazy was it that I was worth more than that, too?

Mr. Vinsanto, amused and satisfied at our shock, sent his point home. “Each and every single one of you is worth more than money, or jewellery, or stuff. There is only one YOU in this whole entire world. No one else can do what you do, or be who you are. You are unique. You are everything.”

We had a special spring in our steps that day, Mr. Vinsanto’s fourth-grade class. Throughout recess, throughout lunch, throughout the rest of lessons and then going home after the final bell rang, we knew, every last one of us, no diamond on earth shone as brightly as we could.

Then, we grew up. I don’t know how the rest of the class has fared with that lesson but I’ve forgotten it too many times. I’m sure everyone does; other people tell us we’re nothing, we believe them. We read job contracts, mortgages, insurance policies and we believe those, too. Almost everything we have and everything we know can be bought for money and we believe in the metaphorical price tags on our heads too, when the reality of the matter is that no money could ever buy us, duplicate us, or bring us back after we’re gone.

We’re only a few days into 2009, and usually January is a pretty down time for me. It’s a new year, I’m back in the exact same place I was last year, disappointed, not where I want to be in my life, not looking at how I want to look. I pick apart my circumstances, I don’t like what I see. I stand naked in front of mirrors, I don’t like what I see.

Self-loathing, even in its most constructive forms, isn’t the most positive way to start off any year. I haven’t been very good to myself.

But this time, something’s different. Physically I’m not very far from where I was last year at this time, but emotionally, spiritually, something is changing. I feel lighter, happier. I feel free in a way I can’t explain.

So this year, instead of cutting myself up, feeling bad and punishing myself for bad choices, I’m trying something new. I’m going to try and love myself for a change, to forgive myself easier, to be more patient and overall, more understanding. I’ve given a lot more to people who have meant much less, even done less, so why can’t I give more to myself?

I’m worth it. Even if I don’t feel that some of the time, in fact most of the time, I do mean something to those around me. My family loves me, I crack my friends up. My boyfriend, bless his blue-eyed soul, looks at me in that extra special, sparkly way. My dog thinks I’m the bee’s knees. If I am worth nothing else in my own eyes, I am plenty in the eyes of others. I mean something in this world. There is only one Me.

There is only one You, too. You’re worth it, and this world would not be the same without you. So if there’s just one thing you take away from this long, long post today, maybe a little mantra you should carry with you throughout this New Year, even for every year following, let it be this: There is only one YOU in this whole entire world. No one else can do what you do, or be who you are.

You are irreplaceable. You are everything.