Friday, December 23, 2005

More tired than usual, I get dressed for my work out early by my standards-- about three AM. I don't want to do it tonight, but I'm hellbent on going at least three weeks straight before having a break. Nissa says she read somewhere that's how long you need to do something every day before it becomes a "habit". Just under a week to go.

I'm dressed and about to get into it when the dog distracts me-- not unwelcomely. I pet him for a few minutes before he walks away to stand in front of the door and make puppy eyes at me, shifting his gaze between me and the door in an unmistakable way. I'm tempted to tell him that no, we will not go for a walk tonight, but eventually give in-- it's the 23rd of December and I've neglected his outdoor time all winter long, so I'm an easy target for dog-guilt. It's not that cold outside, either, and it's a few extra calories I could use to lose.

I get him into his harness (always a fight), grab the key to the mailbox and out we go. My trailer park is the largest in Maine and the mostly badly plowed-- the entire circuitous route to the mailbox we take could is one big ice skating rink, but I've lived in Maine all my life and know how to keep my footing in these conditions. As we walk, I am taking in the late winter night's quiet-- it's incredibly still outside, no wind, not a sound. In the silence, lights have a strange quality about them-- a string of white christmas lights looped around the railings to a porch and the warm-looking lights eminating through the curtained windows of the homes of a few scattered night owls have an unreal feeling about them-- like a painting, something out of an parallel universe of Thomas Kincade, where everyone's househould income falls below 35,000 a year. I guess it's a sight more real-feeling than anything he's ever painted, but it doesn't feel as though I'm really there.

In the quiet, I am thinking about how the walking and the atmosphere reminds me of being in Mariposa-- it was my first taste of indepence from my parents, and, if you think of it, probably the most independent I'll ever be. During lunch breaks or at night I would walk the empty streets, sit alone at The Grizzly for lunch or go up to the twenty-four hour gym I bought a month-long membership to. Sometimes I miss the people I met there, but I think I miss the alone time, and the feeling as though I could handle being alone, more than anything else.

I wanted to write about how, walking home, looking at the houses with the windows and the homey warmth, all the humble trailers with two cars in the driveway, I got to thinking about why I've been getting so upset lately, and I think I may have nailed it: I traded in my independence and my big dreams for a dime-a-dozen feeling of domesticity: working all day, then coming home to spend what precious little time I could with my Zack, eating meals we fixed together and sitting on the couch, watching TV until we both felt tired enough to go to bed. It wasn't much, but it was normal, and it felt like home: now, with me working late nights and him working overnights, and only having one full day of the week together, we take time together how we can get it. We go to sleep at different times, we wake up at different times. We eat maybe four meals a week together, and we're lucky if we had the time to make two of them. The days we do have off together, we normally sleep through, because we're on different schedules, and we're both always exhausted.

It's not about having less time together, it's about not having a routine. It's about leaving him sleeping in bed at 3 in the afternoon, piecing myself together without his help, and going to work for eight hours, knowing that when I get home, he won't be there, not until I've already gone to bed.

Money's certainly better now, and schedules work out better with school, but there's something missing: when I think back to how it used to be, both working all day and coming home to sit down to a meal together and watch whatever was on, I picture it, and in that image, there's a glow. That's the light I recognized in the lights of the houses I walked by. Maybe it was the same because those houses are homes, the way we used to be.

Or maybe it just seemed the same because it was so distant.

On with it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Emily's latest post on her livejournal (friend's only, so I won't link) is something of a stream of consciousness set of notes from her latest therapy session-- I hope it's okay that I mention she's in therapy-- and it makes me think about what I've decided I don't really like about therapy: so much stuff, so many memories and scattered feelings, shreds of things that happened to make us who we are, but we can never really tell how the affected us, and, in therapy, you spend your time resolving them, and it's infinite. My time with Mr. Ladd was helpful at the time, I believe, but at this point in my life I don't know if I could afford to be in therapy, taking bits and pieces of my life that have been smashed to oblivion, then trying to make some sort of awkward photomosaic existence out of them.

Take that whole paragraph with a grain of salt. I'm making my own attempt to write...that way. Can't think of the word I want.

I've been feeling badly a lot lately and most of the time I haven't been able to figure out why. I think a lot of it might have to do with hormones-- very soon in life, I will go on a birth control pill that will allow me to only have one period every three months. Hopefully this will help to control these tsunami-sized waves of PMS that I feel both before and after my period. Unless that's not what it is. Maybe it's not.

I am talking online to Tony, whom I talk to largely in order to exert influence over in the pertinent areas of his life, for instance how he treats my sister and how he deals with his anger issues. Here's someone who could use therapy, by the way-- I have no problem with the idea of smashing the mirror of his psyche to pieces for the purposes of closer examination, or even just for fun. More often than not, though, however convincing I can be in getting him to temporarily believe the gospel of my word, his short attention span makes all my effort for naught; therefore, it's notable that the other reason I talk to him is that it's easy enough. He types slowly, and doesn't tend to get offended if I don't respond. And it seems to make him happy-- I was as much a part as anyone in seperating him from his "family", so I may as well give a few minutes a week to chat. We are talking, today about bad eating habits, and I am commenting to him about how easy it is to absent-mindedly develop bad, if not horrible, eating habits that become a deeply ingrained part of your behavior. I am telling him that I believe myself to have a binge eating disorder, which is a fairly recent development for me. Whether it's true or not, it's an interesting idea to keep in mind, because the acknowledgement of it allows me to keep my eating habits in perspective. Maybe not do as much about them as I should, but realize when I'm doing something unhealthy. I've been trying to change that part of my weight problem, but slowly.

I'm doing it all slowly, really, so that I won't neglect to not to it at all. I want to get in shape for a variety of reasons: Lara, the sex/couples therapist Zack and I saw for a time about Vaginismus, suggested that it may be in an important step in overcoming some of the negative feelings I associate with my body (In grand Emily style, I will mention that her mentioning that losing weight may be an important step in my road to recovery from vaginismus came out, on my end, as A) comfirmation that I am now, in fact, officially fat and B) a kind of slap-in-the-face statement that not only am I as fat as I feared, but that it's my fault I have vaginismus, because I've let myself get fat. It's amazing the way a woman can have so many different conversations going on in her head while she's being spoken to: one part that's just taking in information, on a purely intellectual level, and then all the different emotional intepretations screaming out, complete with the different responses she has to each of these, and what finally comes out in reply, with the help of a self-conscious just before the lips who's terrified of sounding petty or defensive or stupid or needy.) Obviously, another set of reasons are the simple, straightforward desire to look good, be in shape, have more energy, be envied, etc., but there's a bigger one at stake: This is something I've wanted to change for years, aspired to for nearly a third of my life now, agonized over, looked for every shortcut and quick fix there is. This is something that I want, and only recently did I really listen to the annoying chirping in my head that was telling me over and over again: If you're going to get there, you have to Just do it. Try harder. Because you're worth it. Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name.

Then I turned off the TV and decided it was time to get to work.

So back to the real reason I'm doing this: There are people out there that I want to show that a person can change their life for the better, even if they've failed before, even if people don't believe you'll do it. There are people I care about that have felt badly about themselves for most of their lives, and are surrounded by circumstances they find insurmountable. There are people I care about who have allowed themselves to be conquered by the things that have happened to them, that have stopped trying to make a difference, who honeslty don't know whether to believe that a person can change for the better. I want to show these people that if you take responsbility for your own life, own up the to fact that your problems no matter who may have contributed to them, belong to you, and no one is going to come along and make them all better for you, least of all without your decision to help yourself, if you do all that and decide to make a difference, you genuinely can. And if you don't make that decision, and just keep bitching, then you're being obnoxious, at the very least, and at the most, wasting your whole life.

The number one person I want to teach that lesson to is myself. But I hope to lead by example.

Cheer me on.

On with it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The floor in the living room is littered with paper scraps cut out of the faux snowflakes I've been carefully crafting, partly to be creative and nostalgic, and partially to busy my hands while I watch TV to avoid eating. I'm going for the big one this time in my pursuit of weight loss, and when I have in my possession an accurate scale with which to measure my progress, I shall log it online for you. This time, I will not let myself take no for an answer. I will ignore my immature excuses and just do it, mindful of but choosing not to acknowledge the neo-Nike (c) implications.

I am not the victim of advertising. I am a strong, independent achiever and it happens to be a very useful and concise phrase.

Every night for 15 days I have stood in the center of my living room and Danced off the Inches with Lydia Haskell, a cute, short woman looking rather like a mix of Carrie from King of Queens and Rosie Perez, whose perkiness I regarded as cute and uplifting. Having located her personal website, however,, I am realizing that she's not quite the chirpy cheerleader type I had her pinned as...then again, no one seems quite the same after a google image search.

More later (I hope, but I will post this in the meantime so it doesn't get lost in cyberspace, like so many before it.) I'm off to see Zack on his fifteen-minute break.

On with it.