Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yes Virginia, there is a Conscience

A sick Me lets so much go unchallenged, indifferent to past or future, it doesn’t exist, it’s wrapped in unhappiness and sleep and any moment of connection is special. The Me that’s starting to process things and the Me who has a timeline with a memory, is starting to be faced with decisions that make me define who I am. What I stand for.

Tonight was the first time I was faced with a decision, that I’ve never taken seriously before. Lately, there have been instances where people will say something about someone that I respect behind their back, and I wonder: Where do I stand? What do I say? What is my responsibility to the other friend? What happens when one friend says something about another and maybe even vice versa?

I don’t usually take sides; in the past I could hang out with person A, who says something about person B. 1 hour later I’ll be hanging out with person B and listening to them speak about A. But that is starting to feel wrong; empty. Now, it has me asking questions: Are you supposed to take sides? Or, are you supposed to say: “it hurts me when you say that about one of my friends?” Or do you just let it go by and just stay neutral, with the adage that: the more friends you have the richer you are?

There are people I want to connect with, I want to share “fight” stories and learn how to survive with. I want to share laughs and drinks and hours at Frenchie’s showing each other funky cloths. But if the person says something about another friend… what are they going to say about me when I turn around? What obligations do I have to the other friend?

I don’t have the answer tonight, I think I must keep asking questions.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Play it Again, Sam

I did it. When I first moved home I set up the piano (it’s a Korg digital, but it’s my piano) in an awkward place by my bed. I tried to play it, but my heart wasn’t in it and I didn’t want my parents to come in and watch me and ask me questions. So my philosophy was: “tomorrow I’ll feel like it. Tomorrow I’ll play." In the city, I played and sang almost an hour every day. I’ll stop there; I’m totally tone deaf, I only play at a grade 5 piano level, and can only learn songs if I’ve heard them played for me first. But music is something I love with all my heart.

This New Years I started another Journal where I listed things and what they mean to me and how I could incorporate them into my life. I didn’t plan it as a New Year’s Resolution, it just happened that way. One of the sections was passions and included: writing, dancing, friends, food, theatre and music, among other things. I listed what I could do to include these more in my life; try to find one play and go to see it (those of you who live in B’town will understand that’s harder than what it sounds). I will try to take in one musical event (see above), I will join the writers federation and go to any local workshop I can (which I did and am doing) and I will play the piano for 1 20 minute time span once a week and go from there.

That was a month ago. Today was the day to try it, four years after moving home. I made sure it was during the day, so I didn’t disturb anyone in this noise free building, and I set the egg timer (on a slow day I’ll tell you about my egg timer) for 20 min and I started with the basic scales. After that I tackled “The Rose” as the range is pretty easy and “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel. There was no voice there; the muscles in my stomach and my throat didn’t know what to do, simple warm up exercises that I’d learned from theatre and voice lessons, and taken for granted, I couldn’t do. And although finding a note is tough for me at the best of times, today my attempts sounded really bad. I was one of those American Idol auditioners they let through so they can film Simon rolling his eyes, saying “What were you thinking? This is a joke right?”

And that’s what I’ve been afraid of all this time. How bad I would sound after all these years. But I did it... and I’m proud of myself. I wonder if it will take another four years or if next week I’ll take the homemade quilt off the black and whites and try again?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Phat

So I bought a bathroom scale today. I swore, with all the problems I have with food I wouldn’t do it. I’ve been scale free for over ten years. I would eat what I want and be happy with me and let my body tell me what it needed to do. I’ve found out a lot about what is good for me and what is bad for me by listening to my body. But just as my body told me it was ok to keep a food diary on “myfitnesspal.com,” my body also told me it was time to get a scale and monitor what body is doing number wise. Plus, I was nosey, after losing a pant size and a bra size I wanted to know exactly how much I lost. I used to weigh myself at the gym, but I quit because that particular gym wasn’t working for me anymore.

I lost 22 pounds since the fall. A triumph? Yes. More to lose? Yes. A positive feeling? Yes. But I swore when I was younger that I would never be that person. I would always be strict with my food and exercise and never be there, never be someone who had 40 pounds of weight to lose. But my 16 year old self had no idea there would be so much to learn about life in the years to come.

Makes me wonder how I got to that point, but only for a moment, because I know there were other priorities. My mental health and being alert enough to make it through a day at my job were two things I was worried about. And I used to eat because I was scared that I wasn’t eating enough. I would eat an extra bowl of cereal, snacks etc. thinking that would give me back the energy that was being sucked away by the foods I was still eating that were making me sick.

So now the new food challenge is fat. I’m eating about half the fat that a woman my age should be eating. I eat mostly vegetables; eggs and seafood are the only animal products I eat (well honey too) and although I often go over my carb limit (thank you chickpeas), I usually only eat ½ my fat. That affects the vitamins I can absorb, my hair and skin, how my body deals with shock; and upping my fat intake may allow me to sit at work and not freeze, as fat helps regulate body temperature as well.

I’m thankful I am healthy enough and aware enough to pick up on things like the fat problem. And that I have the time and the means to find a solution. I bought some nut butters, soy cream cheese, soy sour cream, and an avocado is on the next shopping list. Although I don’t eat as many different foods as other people, and although at times I hate food more than anything. Today I feel more aware of how food affects me and that I do love and respect the food I can and do eat.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Room to Run

I’ve always wanted to run. I could join the gym and do aerobics for an hour, I could walk three miles around the community, I could spend an hour 3 mornings a week skating around the rink like a maniac, but I could never run. When I was in High school I walked an hour every day, sometimes, when I felt strong and energetic I would try to run. I would run until I got tired and try to run again. I could make it 100 meters and get this crazy tired, with no desire to push or try running again, there was no recovery to the tiredness I felt in the first 5 minutes. Over the years when I lived in the city the pattern continued.

In August I read Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book about going gluten free (which I am) and she told me to get even stricter with searching for harmful ingredients, and I cleaned even more crap out of my diet. Now If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it, even if I’m sure it’s not dairy or gluten. No low fat salad dressing (Wikipedia doesn’t even give examples of some of those ingredients) no aspartame and no premixed spices that claim not to have msg, but do have components of it in, causing a bad reaction in me, that leads to confusion and depression.
In September, I started to get an urge to run. The first night I would run a bit and then walk a bit, run bit and then walk a bit. The next time I went (I usually exercise one day and take the next day off) I could run a little further and walk a little less, gradually I could drag my butt around the block at a slow jog the whole way around, and if I missed a run in there because I wanted a day to deal with my emotions, or the weather was bad; the next day I didn’t need to start from the begining again with a jog and a walk.

Today I stretched my legs at the start, which I never do, but seemed to give my body a warning, like get ready for this. I started right off at a challenge pace, faster than the plod, plod, plod I usually do. I expected that I would need to slow down very soon, but instead my body made the adjustment and let me keep up the pace for the whole 25 minutes. I was impressed, it’s still a jog, but there’s some speed and bravery to it. And I’m running and that feels good. I feel good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conflict

If I’m writing a short film, or anything there needs to be conflict and images and interesting characters. Right now I just have two characters talking and I’ve only been thinking about the inner conflict of the main character. But inner conflict is easy to write in a short story, but not so easy to put into a script without involving another character to have a conflict. The whole idea is that there is no one else in her life except for her very young daughter. I don’t want her to narrate because if I wanted a narrator I’d make it into a short story again. Right now that is starting to look like a good idea. I’m discouraged and overwhelmed and feel defeated like I’m not good enough and I don’t know what I’m doing. I feel like it should be so easy. That I should just sit down at the computer and have ideas roll off my fingers and onto the screen. After all I was up early, excited about this and all I’ve done is procrastinate. I’m not sure if I should brainstorm a whole bunch of ideas, or just keep writing a first draft and hope that something good comes out of it. Right now I don’t want to write a whole bunch of stuff and have to totally revise it. But that’s what writing is.
When I left the city I felt like I was running away from everything and leaving very important pieces of myself behind; pieces that I both loved and hated, usually at the same time. I had to let things go and see what came back to me. I knew that I had to leave it behind in order to get well. The initial idea of the story has come to life with these two characters now it’s time to pull it apart again and build it back up. Maybe I’m trying to make it too much about something I don’t know. Back to the brainstorming.
Anne Lamott says just write a picture frame. So I’ll pull out some scrap paper and write a scene with her arguing with her mother that I’ve been thinking about for the last 24 hours. Yeah, I know, her mother is dead.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can I enjoy dreams and not have them stress me out?

This morning I had a dream that I was back at The Museum and at The Hotel I worked at 10 years ago. There were so many things happening and I was suffering the many emotions my dreams have. I wasn’t dressed right at the hotel and that was stressing me out. I don’t think I even had shoes or socks. I was catering and cleaning both and I didn’t finish either job because I had a ride home with my mom.
Then I was a new hire at The Museum and I know I didn’t have shoes or socks for that. I was hired at the end of the season and I was getting a tour because it had been so long since I had been there. This museum wasn’t boring, there were more working boats and a train and rooms and rooms of artifacts. I was going to enjoy being there. Fellow workers were even discussing adding an extra floor; apparently it was build structurally sound enough, who knew? I walked between boats, had conversations with friends new and old. I felt happy and excited. They asked me what I would do as this job was only part time. And I looked at the catering boss, who was also at the museum, and said I have a few leads right S___? Rather than feeling embarrassed or scared, I realized in this dream that I don’t have to take dreams so seriously. I had the freedom to run around with no shoes on, to work wherever I liked and leave whenever I liked. I was still emotionally drained when I woke up, but there was a sense of relief that I could have these dreams and enjoy them the way they happened.