The world is melting.

Thank you, Snapchat, for makeup filters.

There seems to be a running theme in my blog posts.  A proclamation that I am here to conquer the world, watch out, here I come, followed by a long silence, and rounded up with a “yeah, I done fucked up.”  I have, once again, fucked things up.

To bring you up to speed, since my last post in 2016, the world has been blighted by Donald Trump’s “presidency”, and we are in the midst of a global shut-down of pretty much everything in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The only thing worse than the virus is the giant orange asshole and his ilk, trying to profit from it.  Apparently, this unbelievable piece of shit tried to secretly buy the company working on the COVID-19 vaccine, so he could give the US exclusive rights and access to it. 

But I digress.

My hair is purple, I’ve found all my lost weight and then some, and I’m probably in the middle of what they call a mid-life crisis.  Hence the purple hair and IDGAF attitude towards pretty much everything.  I still have dreams of being a writer, but there’s only one problem with that: you have to actually write frequently, and consistently, in order to be a writer.  I tell myself it’s writer’s block.  I tell myself I’m waiting to have the right things to say.  That I’m waiting to build my writing skills before I tackle The Next Great Novel, so I can do the story justice.  But ultimately?  If I’m honest with myself?  I think the answer is simpler than that.

My writing style demands transparency.  Honesty.  Humility and vulnerability.  I don’t think I even know how to write without doing this. I think it’s these things that speak most clearly to people.  It’s the message I most want to bring to others: that it’s normal to be ordinary, plain, underwhelming, and yes, even an asshole sometimes.  Social media keeps telling us about all the amazing shit people are doing out there – and yes, there are some people out there who are actually making a living skydiving.  But life isn’t a competition.  Their experience doesn’t invalidate yours. Or mine. 

I am ordinary in so many ways.  I’m a privileged, middle-aged white woman of average looks, gainfully employed at a 8-4 office job, married, and living in my own brick bungalow in the rural countryside of a peaceful, prosperous first world country with free healthcare.  If God gives us only what we can handle, it doesn’t speak well of my strength of character.  I’m too much of a pansy to have any hardships in my life without it distracting me too much from my life goal. What that is, precisely, I’m not sure. But it better be damn good to warrant such a cushy life.  It sucks a little, though, that my life story doesn’t lend me much street cred when talking with people who have had to endure so much more.

And yet, despite my middle-of-the-road, beige minivan of a life, I understand how awesome I am.

I am.

I am really and truly awesome.  And if others don’t see that, I’m sorry for them, that they don’t get to know the real me.  I’ve always been this way, I think.  Thinking that highly of myself. I’m goddamned royalty, if you ask me. It often provokes a who-do-you-think-you-are from many, offended that anyone would think so highly of herself, assuming that I must think I’m better than them.

On the contrary.

I think they’re just as awesome as I am, and their disbelief is the only thing getting in the way of it being true.  My job – my calling – I think, is to get people to understand their own potential.  And how do I want to do that?  Preferably by writing about it.  Because I’m not good at the face to face stuff.  Don’t even get me started about public speaking.  And here’s where things fall flat.

Why am I not writing?  I obviously can run my mouth.  Usually my posts are liberally sprinkled with all sorts of profanity, epithets, controversial opinion, etc.  As an aside, true to form, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf…again.  Trying to keep it PG.  It ain’t gonna last, but I’d like to try to get through at least one post without saying fuck.  No, I have all sorts of opinions.

The bottom line is…well…a couple of things.

First, because my writing style is at its best when it’s vulnerable and transparent, I need to actually follow through on my plans when I proclaim them to my readers.  Follow-through is, obviously, not one of my strong points.  I don’t DO anything worth writing about.  I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I need to be a fitness model drag queen who does makeup tutorials while skydiving to be worth listening to.  I don’t have a schtick.  What’s my catchphrase? Which niche do I fall into? 

I don’t know who I am, and because of this, I have no idea what to say to others.  I have no idea why anyone would listen to me. (Why are you still here??)

And further to this, the second thing is that most people aren’t keen on being told the truth of things.  Because the truth looks a lot like work.  Everyone has gifts.  Mine, unfortunately, is rooted in my ability to see through people’s bullshit facades to who they really are.  Not the ugliness in themselves, but to something even worse: their potential.  It’s easier to admit to yourself that you’re a piece of shit, than it is to have to come to terms with unlived potential. 

Let me say that again…

It’s easier to admit to yourself that you’re a piece of shit, than it is to have to come to terms with unlived potential.

Nobody is comfortable with that truth.  Present company included.

But there’s something else with which I’ve been gifted: an unfailing, unswerving devotion to the truth.  It’s where I find God.  It’s my responsibility, as the steward and keeper of my immortal soul, to question what I believe, and seek out God/The Truth wherever it may be found.  And if a thing is undeniably true, it is my obligation as an obedient servant, to bend my knee to it, own it, and have the humility to admit I was wrong.  Regardless of where that truth was found.

Don’t know if you’ve picked up on it, but I’m a little intense sometimes.  Honestly, I have no idea how people put up with me so regularly.  I’m like a shot of ghost pepper sauce.  I’m an acquired taste, a little goes a long way, and I give many people indigestion.  Unlike Frank’s Red Hot, you don’t want to put that shit on everything.

ANYway, the uncomfortable truth is that I have used the excuse that I don’t do enough living to be interesting to readers.  Perhaps what I’ve been missing all this time is that it’s my failure that could interest them the most.  The process of falling and getting back up.  Hopefully learning as I go.  If failure is your thing, holy shit have I got some material for you.  Buckle up, bitches.

Not really.  Just… read my stuff.  My life doesn’t require a seat belt.

What year is it??

Oh wow, I had forgotten all about this blog.  I’m sure you’ve all missed me.  All…five of you.

So yeah, we lost our weight.  I lost about 50 lbs, and regained about 10-15 or so, but I’m stabilized.  Jody lost about 60 lbs in 5 1/2 months.  He’s currently working out like a madman, cycling and lifting weights to shed the remaining padding and build some serious muscle.  He is looking pre-tty good *appreciative eyebrow wiggle*.

I wore my bikini to the beach.  Several times.  That’s the good news.  Bad news is that the body I found under all the fat is not the one I remembered from 10 years ago.  Ugh, God.  My skin fits a bit like a worn out elastic band on an old pair of granny panties.  My arthritis is kicking up for some reason, so that’s also just…great.  And of course, I just generally look 10 years older.  But all in all?  It ain’t bad.  I’ll take the floppy skin and saggy boobs and ass over the juicy peach I was a year and a half ago.  I was an unhappy camper then, that’s for sure.

I’ve also developed a newfound confidence that I had never dreamed of before my 40’s.  I’ve given myself permission to be imperfect, and I love myself for it.  I’m amazed that I really, truly do not give a flying fuck what people think of me.  I’m pretty much done with that, and I’m starting to realize what a gift that could be to share with other people.  To show them how that’s done.

I’ve been experimenting lately with something – just dipping my toes in – but it’s showing some real promise.  I’m toying around with the idea of not asking other people permission anymore.  You know, to do things that I want to do.  I always know the answer when I ask: a resounding ‘no’, usually coupled with a derisive snort and a shake of their head that I could be so stupid for even considering venturing outside my tidy little box.  And so I don’t do the thing, or be the thing, that I wanted to do or be, and they’re like, “See?  Told you so.”  Well…of course I didn’t achieve it…because I didn’t actually…you know…really try.

My whole life, I’ve been told I was too much, too much, too much.  I don’t even know what ‘too much’ really looks like, because I’ve only ever hinted at it.  I don’t think I’ve ever really cut loose with what I considered to be ‘too much’.  So.  The trick now is to pick some stuff to do, and just do it.  Lost the weight.  Check.  Bikini on the beach.  Check.  Go back to school?  Maybe.  I do have to wait my turn, however; kids take priority there.  Must start a list…

We’re doing it

So Jody and I decided it was time.  Time to make the fat go away for real.  We signed up with the Limestone Weight Loss Centre on the Ideal Protein program.  His former boss lost a ton of weight on the program and highly recommended it.  It’s as expensive as fuck, but maybe that’s been part of the reason we’ve been able to stick with it.  Hopefully tonight’s dinner didn’t just blow it out of the water: waaaay to much food, including a new one, shirataki noodles.  If you’ve never tried them, I highly recommend it.  They’re made from white yam flour and have zero fat, carbs or calories.  You read that right: zero.  However, that may change if you eat nearly a whole package at a time.  And I’m hoping that they don’t cause us any gastrointestinal distress over the next little while.  We shall see.  But they take on the flavour of whatever you put on them and fill you right up.  I believe they contain glucomannan, a kind of dietary fiber that helps suppress the appetite.  Seems to work.  I’m stuffed.

Anyway, we’re doing well so far.  Tomorrow will be 4 weeks.  Jody’s lost about 20 lbs and I’ve lost about 15 since we started.  We’ve both lost several inches; Jody’s going to need a new belt pretty soon.  I’m shrinking, too, but not nearly fast enough.  As always.  I am having fun with coming up with new recipes, however.  We eat their pre-packaged meals in the morning and afternoon, along with two cups of veggies at noon, two more cups of veggies with our evening meal, which is a lean meat of some sort, and one of their snacks in the afternoon.  Lots of vitamins, tons of water, no eating after 8 PM and absolutely no deviation from the foods on the list.  Shirataki noodles were not on the list.  But come ON!  They’re frigging calorie free!  Give me some slack here.

I guess tomorrow’s weigh in will tell whether we’ve screwed ourselves or not.  I’ll let you know.

Brain Trolls and Learning to Grow a Vagina

I’m working on growing some backbone.  Or a set of balls.  Or as comedian Sheng Wang suggested, a vagina (because balls are weak and sensitive, but vaginas are built to take a pounding).  I’m not yet able to totally overcome my shyness about saying exactly what’s on my mind, probably because 40 years of experience has taught me that it’s a 50/50 crap shoot: either people nod and agree/applaud/laugh (if I’m lucky), or they’re confused, scared or outright offended.  I never seem to know which reaction to expect.  I suck at reading minds.

So sometimes when I come across some blogs or articles or whatever on the internet, I develop opinions.  Then the little trolls that live under the synapse bridges in my brain creep out and remind me just how often my opinions have backfired, leaving me writhing in unspeakable embarrassment until I can find some way to stuff it way deep, deep down in that place that only the trolls seem to know about.  You know that place: that reservoir of a lifetime of horrific social faux pas like thinking that wearing Aunt Mary’s crocodile print tan lace-up oxford chunky heels to school in grade 8 was you being a “trend setter” * or that time you remembered something truly mortifying that you left up on your (not-auto-screen-protected) computer to have a close relative find it, the first time you slip and accidentally say the F-word in front of your Mom and that sinking feeling you get knowing that – even though you’re both grown ass women – she always hoped against hope that those words never escaped your virgin lips, or for that matter, the time that Mom cleaned the shit out from under your bed…and went through every X-rated piece of it…and left nary a dustbunny underneath…and a well-worn bible lying on the pillow.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  That slimy pit of experiences that make our skin crawl and we wish we could erase from our memories.

I would really like to flip the trolls the bird and say what I like, because apparently, whether I try or not, I still end up embarrassing myself all to hell.  The following was my response to a blog post about how stupid people must be to buy into the validity of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality types.  Hopefully my husband doesn’t think I’m dissing him here.  I didn’t think it was a secret that we have polar opposite personality types, or that, regardless of my inability to make decisions and take charge like he does so magnificently, I, too, rock in my introverted, thoughtful, butterfly-and-rainbow-spattered way.

Oh for the love of God, just let me wear my pink spandex leotard and cape with the big INFP on the front of it and stop judging me for it already!  Maybe I like wearing my superhero outfit now and then.  I’ve got another one in hunter green in the closet with INTP on it when I want to flaunt my inner troll.  Personality typing isn’t meant to pigeonhole anyone; it’s just convenient for some people who aren’t so good with messy grey areas (which is what people really are).  In fact it just helps validate that there’s NO SUCH THING AS NORMAL.  There’s nothing wrong with them.  Some of them just prefer that you get to the effing point instead of going on and on with flowery prose like I’m doing right now.  If you’re still reading this, you’re probably not an ESTJ, like my husband.  An ESTJ will have finished my first sentence for me, summarized my argument and concluded the conversation without my having wasted but a single breath.  To make matters worse, he’s right about 80% of the time.  Maybe 85%.  I love the man to death, but obviously we have our areas of friction.  Slapping a convenient little label on him like that serves as my reminder that his personality is just as irreversibly screwed up as mine, and we need to find ways to meet in the middle and learn from one another’s strengths.  Do I set my clock by it?  Not remotely.  It’s just a fun way to make sense of some people you would otherwise smugly laugh at on the inside when they pushed the door marked ‘Pull’.  PS: My hubby thinks MBTI labels are dumb, too.

* I wish I had held onto those chunky heels of Aunt Mary’s; my daughter would have been delighted by their vintage grotesqueness.

Let’s try this again…

Okay so since my last post I cancelled my gym membership because my new boss had a different view of “flexible lunch hours” than my previous one, I got laid off from that job, and got a new job at the university with an AMAZING group of people.  Loving my new job.  As far as my health pursuits go, I didn’t do the PSYCH-K thing, I still ate a lot of crappy food and didn’t work out at ALL.  To my credit, I did do a prolonged fast.  Not the 30 days I had planned to do, but a 17-day juice fast is still pretty respectable.  I lost about 10 lbs permanently (I had gained back about 7 lbs after resuming eating).  It started out because I had a stomach bug and I couldn’t eat anything without it going straight through me.  The only solution was to simply not eat.  So I started juicing and just continued.

Let me tell you this: December is not the month to go on a fucking juice fast.  I had to sit through no fewer than 4 holiday dinners, drinking my juice and having to explain myself.  It wasn’t that bad, but I could have done without the extra temptation.  I loved the results, though.  My belly flattened out, my tissues lost their excess fluid, I felt thin, light and clean, and all my aches and pains from arthritis went away.  They were just GONE.

Then I started eating again.  I have come to realize something profound.  I am a food addict.  This means that I can diet all I like and I can even lose weight.  But the truth is this: you can’t get high on carrots and kale.  Chocolate cake and mac & cheese are designed to get you high.  Shitty food like that is a straight shot to your pleasure centre receptors in the brain.  Nutrient-dense foods like the aforementioned vegetables give you a nice even sense of well-being, but once you’ve felt that dirty, dirty buzz of warm, peaceful satisfaction that only comes from the hedonistic gluttony of burying your face in a heaping platter of sweet chili crispy wings – and unapologetically polishing them off and licking your fingers – you will always want it.  I am a food addict.  Until I change my thought patterns and get my warm fuzzies elsewhere, I will always gravitate back to my old friend the cheeseburger, who never lets me down.

In the meantime, my hubby and I are booked in this Tuesday to start the Ideal Protein Diet, a doctor supervised extreme-low-carb diet that promises 3-4 lbs of consistent weight loss per week for women, and 4-6 lbs a week for men.  With about 50 lbs to lose, I can expect 4 straight months of SUCK.  But hopefully the near instant gratification of consistent weight loss will keep me motivated, and I can look forward to a new wardrobe this summer, including a new bikini.

That’s right, 40 years old and strutting the beach in a string bikini.  Deal with it.  🙂