Tag Archives: lollipop tuesday

The Day I Beat the Blerch

3 Nov

Henceforth, let it be known that at 9:00 antemeridian on Saturday, September 26th in this, the 2015th year of our Lord, I catapulted my gelatinous form across the New Jersey tundra – atop pavement, through thick forests, past unicorn-costumes and over miniature boulders, to ultimately cross the finish line in a bona fide half marathon called Beat the Blerch.

I would have told you sooner but I’ve only just now recovered. Praise be. And Happy Lollipop Tuesday!

As longtime followers know, I began this journey all the way back at this blog’s inception with a 365 post-a-day challenge. Then I moved on to a 365 workout challenge that culminated in a 10K . Then, after being fitter and healthier than I ever was in my lifetime, I immediately regressed into a blogless, sedentary, retreating version of myself. I devolved, and recoiled into solitude in what will now be referred to as The Days of Shame.

I have only recently re-emerged. Ever so slowly, I’ve been rebuilding the hot mess that has been the year of 2015 and told myself that even if everything goes to hell, I would accomplish one, solitary thing with certainty. And so, I lunged toward that which sounded the most awful and unattainable: a half marathon.

I don’t like running. I never have.  I don’t think anyone truly enjoys it. In particular, distance running. Distance running means battling the weather, your personal calendar, chafing, eating schedules, constant full-body soreness, and pooping.

Yes: pooping.

They don’t really tell you that. I mean, I guess they do if you know to Google but I consulted several training schedules when race planning and not a single one mentioned the enormous urge for spontaneous pooing in the middle of a run or directly thereafter.

It turns out that if you don’t fuel properly, you can be prone to defecation thanks to the immediate rush of blood back to your digestive system. That’s what gels and energy drinks and all of those weird looking items in the sports and fitness aisles are for. That’s why wiry, solid distance runners often have supply belts around their wastes. It’s to fend off the poops.

The day that I completed my first seven mile run, I went directly to the bathroom to make it my forever home. I wondered if I might find a long enough break between lower body activity to gather some basic tenants of survival so that I could simply stay there the night. After what felt like hours, I finally gave all I had to the sewer gods and attempted to stand up. I required the use of all supporting apparatuses in my bathroom – towel racks, sides of the bathtub, the top of the toilet lid, the sink edge – to do so because merely hours before I had finished running seven full miles with my God-given jelly stilts.

No, I don’t like running.

Life went on in that fashion – working, running, popping energy gels, meticulously planned poo schedules, and a lack of social life – throughout the training period. From April until September I consistently rearranged my life to make enough time to gallop across the Pittsburgh pasturage.

Eventually, details about the race course were sent to participants and I learned a vital piece of information: the half marathon was a trail run.

For the uninitiated, there is a staggering difference between a legitimate “trail run” and running on pavement or flat terrain. One ought not attempt the former when only training on the latter. But I didn’t want to run on trails – just running was hard enough. So I simply carried on. Until the Day of Reckoning.

The race began on pavement just after sunrise with dew sparkling on the fields nearby. I encouraged myself with the reminder that it was advertised as a blend of trail and pavement and that perhaps it was more the latter than the former. I trained for this, I told myself. I’ve got this. I’ll go slow, and I will prevail. After all, it’s a half marathon based on a hilarious digital cartoon. The Oatmeal knows his readers are mostly human puddings, right? I’ve got this. It will be fine.

Dave (who had been my coach throughout training) was serving as text coach and social media trumpet. My phone was full of people encouraging me in my endeavor. If I needed to remember how much shame was in my failure, I only needed to pop open an app or my text threads to see well wishes from those I would swiftly disappoint. The possibility of failure was palpable. I had to get this done.

The first few miles went well, actually. They were flat and predictable and I had trained my brain by this time to think of them as merely a warmup (a task that seemed Herculean to me only months before). The real worry started to set in around mile 4. The race took a turn into a state forest, and I remembered that I, in fact, hadn’t trained for this. I was running  lightly jogging directly into the belly of the beast.

I told myself to just take it mile by mile and that if I could only weather the elevation changes, I would eventually crest the horizon to victory. But the path was steep and skinny and full of rocks and roots. People were falling and getting cut up, and the longer I ran, the more my ankles felt like someone was thwacking them with a dozen tiny ball-peen hammers.

IMG_6298People were passing me in steady waves and the trail was so itty bitty that there was no way for them to go around me unless I moved off to the side or sometimes just stopped altogether. Hills and roots and rocks required balancing acts and such careful placement of my feet that, when approaching mile 9, I was simply too tired to execute. I instead resolved to run everything that I could safely run and walk the parts that would surely send me rolling down a hillside.

At the 9th mile marker, a blistery wind shook the trees throughout the forest and I swear to the wood nymphs that only the ones near me thwacked heavy nuts down on my head. I was in a nut storm. A frustrating, humiliating, kill-me-I-quit-this-is-moronic-why-am-I-doing-this-it-hurts nut storm. I hated everything. The earth. The nuts. The wind. The other runners. My pants. I told myself I would just sign up for another marathon on a flat, predictable surface.  I called Dave on a slight ripple of cell reception to regale him with my failure. He said gentle and understanding things, woven in with subtle reminders that I should do what I could. And that I could probably actually do it if I just mustered my musterness. I said something like thanks but no thanks and sorry I let him down and that I would see him if I managed to not sink into the dredges of Mother Earth and die there in an obscure New Jersey state forest.IMG_6300

Then I started to feel pretty bad. Mostly because he was just so gosh darn nice about it all. And because my phone was full of people who thought I could do it. And because I blogged about how I would and I knew I’d have to come back after it all and write something. And because deep down inside me was chubby 8th grade Jackie, who was always next to last in the soccer team long runs. Suddenly, I wanted to run so hard that my inner thighs would furiously chafe and catch fire and all my jiggle would burn up into the sky and be left there ever after.

 I carried on.

I honed in on this fellow who looked quite fit. The reality was that if he was in my neck of the woods this late in the game, he probably trained on cheesy poofs and good intentions. But I pegged him for my imaginary competition because he kept passing me and then falling behind me for the last quarter of the race. He also had a sweatband. I was tired of looking at the back of his head and its stupid sweatband that magically stayed in place and I was tired of my pathetic, whining, failure of a disposition. I needed a mission and I had one: I just had to beat Sweatband.

I picked up my pace to something I thought sustainable and worked to just make it to the next mile marker. Once I made it to 10, I told myself the last three miles were basically a cool down and that all I had to do was ride it out. I loaded up on Nutella at the last aid station, dammit. I could do this. I probably wouldn’t even have to poop right after it.

And so I carried on. Across skinny, boulder-laiden trails, up glute-busting hills, and past people who looked like they might have trained. As I barreled down a hill in the 13th mile, an early finisher appeared in the clearing, yelling to all the slow motors that we were almost there and the finish line was just through the trees. I was just behind Sweatband.  

The greeter gave him life – he lunged forward and increased his pace. Apparently he had trained to finish strong. That’s a thing they tell you to practice. I could see why.

I pushed off my heels and picked up the pace to match him. As I rounded the bend into the clearing, I saw a bench of finishers that included the friend I had signed up for the race with. I hadn’t seen him since the start. He wasn’t sweating anymore, and he looked like he had a renewed taste for life, so I knew he’d been finished for quite some time. He got up off the bench and began to run beside me, encouraging me. A wave of excitement rose up in me as I searched frantically for the finish with my eyes. I started going into a dead sprint and surged past Headband. My friend kept pace with me, smiling and cheering. My gaze flitted across the field – where in the holy hell was the finish line!? WILL THIS EVER END? WILL I DIE HERE?! I yelled to my friend in desperation to reveal the location of my resting ground. I spotted it in the distance – about a quarter mile away.

You might think a quarter of a mile is nothing when compared to thirteen, but let me tell you: when your ankles are beat to hell, you smell like an adolescent boy’s week-old gym shorts, your sports bra is carrying a pound of water weight, and you’re standing on a sliver of morale that’s been beaten down by nut storms and passed by waves of superior humans, 1,320 feet feels like a lifetime. I knew I couldn’t sustain my sprint that long, so I backed off to a pace I could keep until closer to the finish. My friend’s enthusiasm faded and he promised to meet me at the end. Headband chugged ahead.

I pushed on for the final leg, sprinted into high gear when I was truly at the end, and finished just behind my targeted stranger. The loudspeakers rattled “Congratulations, Jackie!” and someone stationed at the finish line to read off finishers’ names gave me a big hearty smile. A volunteer handed me a medal. My friend handed me a banana and a jug of Mimosa disguised as Tropicana. I downed half of it and stretched. Someone emerged from the horizon dressed as The Abominable Snowman for a photo opportunity. It was a confusing time.

AS

I’m delirious here.

It took me some time to accept that I didn’t run the entire race. And that I didn’t properly train, and that if I had perhaps I could have done the entire course without walking, or breaking down and wanting to give up. I rewound to every missed training run, every clipped completion, and every day I told myself I could just move today’s run to tomorrow.  And then I decided to pack up all of that and throw it all away because regardless of how I got to the finish line, I got there. And doing thirteen miles in any fashion is a gargantuan accomplishment for a jelly-laden lady of leisure such as myself. I had a medal, dammit. And I had bussed, taken a train, a taxi, and another bus to get to a place to run thirteen miles. I was going out to get the best pizza I could find and to go home a fat, happy hero.

When they tell you that if you’re going to run, you need to run for yourself, they’re not kidding. Nothing else is going to get you through such a difficult and rigorous task. Wanting to be skinny isn’t enough to get you through your Mile 9, and I’ll be damned if I ever experienced the rumored “runner’s high.”

When you truly challenge yourself, you need to be doing it for you. And you need a good strong support group who will cheer you on, meet you at the finish line, and even tell you it’s okay to stop when you need to. Nothing else really gets you there.

Except maybe some energy gels.

And the truth about pooping.

Hey: thanks for the support, Interwebz. I couldn’t have crossed the finish without your possible impending shame.

Jackalope, out. 

banana

Pasties Make Me Squeamish

16 Apr

Where in the hell have I been?

That’s a great question. I’ve been lots of places. I’ve been to a burlesque show, to Montreal, to court for jury duty, and to market to snag a new job. That’s a lot of things to do and none of them really have anything to do with my absence. It was moreso that I stumbled upon an unintended spring break. As I went longer and longer without posting, the part of my brain that has the ability to write things and push the ‘post’ button began to deteriorate. After a few weeks I was consumed with shame and harbored a modicum of fear that I would be unable to write anything worthy of being posted and thus, failed to post. Week after week after week.

Then I remembered that’s not what we’re about here. If I refrained from posting when I had nothing worthy to say, there would have been about 360 less posts in the year of 2011 and 14 in total in 2012 and 2013. You know this. I know this. And so we will all press on together – worthy or not.

I owe you a post about titties and so you shall have it. Happy Lollipop Tuesday, ladies and gents.

I know it’s Wednesday today but dammit, I can’t make excuses anymore. Just pretend this posted on a Tuesday so I can keep the whole bit going.

I went to a burlesque show. I didn’t want to go. But I have a friend with whom I have been quite enamored since middle school and she busies herself with a smorgasbord of ever-changing performance gigs. At the moment, the gig is singing and removing clothes.

There’s more to it than that. I’m obligated to say something or other about how burlesque is rooted in vaudeville and is less a stripping-for-money thing than it is a singing-and-empowering-art-of-costuming-and-teasing thing. 

Frankly, I don’t care about any of that. I hated it.

I came prepared to like it. I have a few lady friends who frequent burlesque shows and told me they can be empowering and lovely. I’ll admit that initially, there was a part of me that was a little inspired by seeing so many unique female bodies. It reminded me that beauty takes many forms and that there is no need to be ashamed of all things that jiggle and are not magazine-esque.

That was where the magic ended.

First, for those of you who have yet to attend a fancy titty dance, let me give you the lay of the land for this particular event. There was a stage, there were seats, there were two male emcees that said silly and distasteful things between acts and sometimes participated, and there were lots of beautiful, bendy, talented women who would either dance together in a group piece that stripped down to pasties or a solo act that stripped down to pasties. 

Pasties are the goal line, it seems. 

Once upon a time I thought myself the kind of gal who would be able to go out with the guys to a strip joint, laugh, put some singles in some panties, and have a great ironic time. I don’t know why I thought that. That person was stupid. I don’t like seeing women take their clothes off, by their own choice or not, while people hoot and holler at them. It makes me feel gross. Maybe that makes me a prude. I’ve been known to be prudish and I’m okay with it I guess because there’s no denying something deep and animalistic was fighting against the experience the entire time my cheeks were in the seat.

Admittedly, I may have made a few choice errors. Firstly, that I sat in the front. But with Lollipop Tuesdays, you go big or go home, kids, and so I took the front seat and prepared to be dazzled. Dave offered me a drink (because one must try to bring a Dave to a Lollipop Tuesday when one can) but I refused. I wanted to see the glory stone-cold sober.

Front row, sober. Mistakes perhaps. 

Back in the day, I would go so out of my way to save myself from discomfort that eventually I stopped doing uncomfortable things altogether and just flatly rejected any situation or potential for a situation where I might not be at ease. Now that I’m a seasoned veteran of Lollipop Tuesdays, I actively seek out those very situations so that I am forced to either change my perspective on them or to decline from somewhere other than a place of ignorance.

I was once the queen of comfortable ignorance. But no more. Now, I dislike burlesque because I went and I saw and I squirmed. I am now an educated objector.

I suspect the second piece of the show was what did me in.

The premise of the first piece was that a man had found an island of she-beasts who prepared to cook him up and eat him while he unknowingly delighted in the view. Yadda, yadda, pasties.

The second piece, however, was a line of women from one side of the stage to the other and one of the male emcees moving from right to left, asphyxiating, smothering, or otherwise incapacitating each of them and then proceeding to take advantage of their lifeless bodies.

That one didn’t end in pasties. Or maybe it did but I was just blinded by rage. 

This particular piece may have changed the way I saw the ones that followed it. I had a lot of conflicting feelings during the time I served as audience and many of them would have led me out the back of the theater if I hadn’t been bound by the honor system I so rigorously enforce on myself for this very blog. 

It was like this except there wasn't any fire. See those pasties that give you an experience not unlike seeing her actual breasts? That part makes me real squirmy.

It was like this except there wasn’t any fire. And don’t worry – those are pasties, not nipples. I’ve been told it’s a notable difference.

 

During intermission, Dave bought me a drink. It was a wise choice; he’s a good man. In the future, I shall view objectified women in pasties only when tipsy. There is no other way.

So maybe it’s fair to say that I could have entered this show, sat in the middle three sheets to the wind and I might have enjoyed it. Probably not. I suspect that the feministy things that stew in my belly cannot be removed by sheer force of alcohol. No, I suspect that would just exaggerate things for me. But there’s my disclaimer.

I was a good sport and bought a key chain and waxed academic with the dancers after the show. They were all lovely and part of me admires the courage, physical strength, choreography, and costuming artistry of what they do because they are fellow performers and the work should not go unnoticed. They are thoroughly impressive ladies. But beyond that I’m girdled with the belief that people should be nude behind closed doors. Blame Baptist school if it pleases you, but I’ll stay home next time.

Whew. There we are. That’s a whole post right there. Now I just have tales of Canada, jury duty, and the regular drum of my exaggerated life experiences to go. I’m back on the wagon, ducklings. Happy Spring. 

By the way, I’m still doing 30 Day Challenges all year for 2014. So far I’ve conquered the ever-present Jillian Michaels, forced daily reading, and sugar restriction. This month, I’m keeping a food journal. Perhaps it will help me identify all the things I will miss when I attempt to go vegan later this year. You can join me any time by doing anything at all for 30 Days. Click here to learn more about the beauty of self-torture and sweet release.

Boobs! Canadians! Patriotism!

12 Mar

This week I’m dropping in to announce two super important things. 

One: the little boxes under “How to Suck Less” ——> over there

have been updated to take you to an actual “how to.” So if you’d like to grow a pair and try something new, do something for 30 days, or go all in and try a 365 Project, there you go. And if you don’t want to, let those little boxes be a constant nagging reminder of the human you could be.

No pressure.

As promised, I’m working on a little hall of fame for the folks who have tried and completed a Lollipop Tuesday, 30 Day Challenge, or 365 Project. I can’t do everything, people. Not all at once, anyway.

The second announcement is that I realize it’s been quite some time since I’ve regaled you with stories of my attempts at conquering fear in my Lollipop Tuesday series. But I’ve got ’em in the queue. There’s all sorts of newness happening – a burlesque show (watched, didn’t perform thankyouverymuch), a trip to Canada, and if I prove myself to be a worthy enough patriot, even jury duty. Boobs! Canadians! Patriotism!

I’m struggling with my feministy feels on that burlesque one. Maybe I shouldn’t have sat in the front row. 

So! Good things are here, and good, potentially distasteful things are coming.

Glory, hallelujah. 

Come to the Cool Kids Lunch Table

16 Jan

Look: I made buttons. They’re over there on the right. Remember how last time I said something about how if I was a nice person I might put all this motivational nonsense into one convenient location so that I can use my posts to talk about my unwillingness to do laundry in a timely fashion and my discomfort with everyday life situations and keep all my other stuff where I try to be a moderately better person over there in faraway land? Well there they are. Over there in faraway land. 

Now I need to put some things there and I want you to be the things. For now those fancy homemade buttons I fashioned with my own paint program and a google search lead curious ducklings to a previous post I’ve written regarding Lollipop Tuesdays, The Gaunlet, and 365 Projects. In an ideal world where my blog is cosmically awesome and you’re all supportive, those links will change to pages that instruct you how to start a challenge and links to people who have completed them and lived to tell the tale. So If you’ve successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, a 365 Project, or a Lollipop Tuesday, and have documented the experience in any way, I’d like to tell people that you’re cool.

You, yes you could put yourself through a serious challenge of discomfort in social situations, a dedication to completing one daily task that you struggle with, or to repeating the same small achievement every day for 365 days. And in return, I will grant you a link on my website, which statistics have shown could perhaps have some sort of percentage of my readership click on if they are absolutely without anything else in the world to do at the time.

So there we go: I’m made little image linky things over there on the right for you. And kind of for me. Mostly for me. But a little more for you, and I think that’s worth something.

And I had my dad draw my cats for you.

cats

© 2014 Jackie’s Dad

Aren’t they precious? I love them so. Lola is the frazzled one and Hobbes is the one who is grumpy because his cake is gone. They’re very accurate. I’ve begun to harass my artist father to doodle things so I can steal the doodles and design my blog after them. That’s right: change is coming. Lots of uncomfortable change. 

See? I have new buttons and I’ve gifted you cartoon cats. Join my page of cool people and let me link to you.

Seriously, if you’ve completed a 365 Project of any kind, successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, or tried a genuine Lollipop Tuesday and have written, virtual proof of it, I’d love to invite you to the cool kids lunch table. I was never really invited myself, so I thought I’d start my own and invite everyone.

Read about the things on the buttons, do the things the buttons say, get added to the buttons. For those of you who want to be added, hit me in the face with a link. For those who’ve thought about starting a challenge, may the half-promise of perhaps-fame embolden you.

Do it for cake-starved Hobbes. 

I Fought the Law and the Law Didn’t Win

6 Mar

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, my dearest dearies. I so adore you all that I’ve decided to go to a gig with Dave, whip open my laptop, and tell you about a time that scared me out of my wits instead of socializing with humanity. Because right now I’m having trouble with a big girl decision I recently made. I decided to try to do something very difficult and it’s scary and adult and since those sort of things make me want to curl up in a ball with a block of cheese and a bucket of hot fudge, I thought I’d instead open up this laptop and be reminded that I am the creator of Lollipop Tuesdays and I shall not be daunted by the great open plain of adulthood. After all, I have gone to a pole-dancing class and reenacted The Battle of Manassas and competed in the World Pinball Championship. I shall remind myself that even though I’m scared to death to go outside every single day, I do it because by golly, my resume reads like an adventurous person and I do therefore I am, dammit.

So let’s talk about the time I decided to represent myself in court.

Oh! Happy Lollipop Tuesday ladies and gentlemen.

Once upon a time I worked at a fudge factory. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I was the office manager and I signed sheets for people that read “fudge packer” because that was literally their job and I tried every day to be mature about the whole thing. But then they kind of lost some money and had to lay people off and I was one of them. So I claimed unemployment for 5 weeks and then began working for the woman who wears fashion capes to work and I felt like Anne Hathaway before she quit to pursue a writing career.

That’s where you all come in. Right there with that Jackie who is an executive assistant and blogs about being the Jane Goodall of the corporate jungle.

Anyway, here I am three years later being all zen with my recent decision to go to grad school for two masters degrees at the same time, and unemployment sends me a random piece of paper in the mail that states that I was not laid off three years ago, that they were taking the money back they gave me from insurance, and that if I didn’t agree with the charges of fraud, I had the right to hire an attorney.

Let me tell you, that’s some seriously adult stuff right there. I miss being a kid when I get a letter like that in the mail.

pigs in space

This is what my friend drew at the bar while I sat on my laptop and wrote a blog post instead of talking to her. Let”s call her Navi. All hail Navi.

As it turns out, I couldn’t afford a lawyer and hiring one would have been the same amount that they were going to take away from me so no matter what I was screwed unless I could 1) represent myself and 2) win. But I was scared and the paperwork was confusing and I wanted to play video games instead. So I told myself to make it a Lollipop Tuesday, told everyone I was going to do it so I couldn’t back out, and did the dang thing.

Let me tell you: it wasn’t fun. There’s a lot of really complicatedly simple and stupid paperwork to do and then you have to ask people who know you to go to court and be like “yeah, she was laid off. we all were” and then go to court and swear to tell the truth and sit in a tiny room in a tiny place with a tiny man who is very stern and records you and asks you the same questions over and over and then decides if you’re lying and mails you a letter to tell you so.

I put myself on autopilot so I can’t remember much except when I was waiting in the lobby to review my file (that’s a real thing. It’s pretty much like it is on the movies, don’t worry. You just act like you’re demi moore in a few good men). There were a bunch of lawyers there with briefcases looking very serious and I realized that all I was doing was staring around the enormous room like an idiot so I tried to look busy and got out my phone and contorted my face very seriously and played Hay Day.

It’s like Farmville. I’m embarrassed that I play it but I do. I’m sorry. I’m trying to quit.

So I planted digital corn and milked digital cows very seriously and when I was let in with my witness, we told him all about the day I was laid off 3 years ago and he was all stiff and grumpy and we finally made it through to the end. He tells us we’ll get a letter in the mail and ends the recording and hits the gavel and we’re done.

And then something amazing happened; he began to tell us his life story.

I kid you not – the moment that gavel landed, he suddenly lit up, and began to tell us about the first time he went to court and about how it’s a procedure people used to know and now no one does anymore and how he got his pilot license and how one day he got pulled over by the police for speeding and got out of the ticket and a bunch of other things I really couldn’t hear because I was thinking about the cost for parking in the garage next door while I listened.

But I listened. Because this guy was about to send me a piece of paper in the mail telling me if he liked me or not and I didn’t know what else to do.

And then two weeks later I got a piece of paper that said he believed I did get laid off from and I could go about my life in peace.

I fought the law and the law didn’t win.

That’s the moral of the story I suppose: I can do anything. Anyone can do anything. We just tell ourselves that we can’t and if there are people out there who can climb Mt. Everest and stand up for social injustice and be social workers and make products that change the entire world, I can suck it up and go to court.

So tomorrow I will embark on my new journey. Because it’s an incredibly small thing to do in comparison to all the things people are doing everywhere else. And someday I think that’s how you become one of those people: by being bold.

Please excuse the sincerity of this post. And the fact that I’m ending it with a quote. Just pretend it didn’t happen and go read one about how I can’t stand being trapped in an elevator.

Every day I’m hustlin’.

Some Observations on Water Fasting

29 Jan
true story.

true story.

Zomg it’s a Lollipop Tuesday.

I’ve picked up a few ducklings in the new year, so if you’re unfamiliar with Lollipop Tuesday shenanigans, you can read up on them here.  Or if you’re too lazy (and I suspect like me, you are), I’ll just tell you that in essence, Lollipop Tuesdays are Tuesday posts in which I recount something new that I recently tried and very often end up sucking at, which is why I’ve dubbed the post for a sucker.

Lazy long time subscribers everywhere are going “oooooooh!”

You’re welcome.

And so allow me to regale you with my most recent foray into the unknown: fasting.

I’ve always been curious about fasting.  It’s mentioned in church from time to time, I occasionally read about it in health-related articles online, and I specifically remember visiting my grandmother when I was young and discovering a book on fasting on her bookshelf, much to my surprise.

My grandmother is against everything except Jesus and  gardening, so finding a book on what I presumed would be a controversial subject was surprising to me.

My run-ins with the subject have been intermittent but longstanding and so on January 1st of this year, I decided to commit to a 7-day water fast. My reasons were more spiritual than health-related. I’d been chewing on the idea for quite some time and realized that the majority of my struggles are tied to a lack of self-control. I bite my nails, I blab out whatever I feel like saying whenever I feel like saying it, I have a tendency to rage and cuss while driving, I can eat an entire pack of Oreos in ten minutes without batting an eye…the list goes on to my deep humiliation.  I figured I had quite a bit to learn from the practice of abstaining.

So abstain I did.

Let me tell ya: if you want to see how much food you mindlessly put in your mouth, actively attempt to abstain from eating for a few days. I can’t even count the number of times I caught myself shoving little bits of nibbles in my face pouch over several days. While I was cooking dinner, while I was cleaning out the fridge, while I was unpacking groceries… that’s a lot of mindless gobbling. You know what else I noticed? That without food or drink, there is little to no reason to get together to see people you know. Or at least, people I know. It felt like every day someone was asking me to go get a drink, to come over for coffee, to go out to dinner – I swear to the Good Witch Glenda that Dave accidentally asked me out to dinner and ice cream every single night that week. 

Since I didn’t really know what to do in social situations in which I could not busy myself with food, I just turned everyone down – which worked out pretty well for me since I kind of hate social situations to begin with. By the fifth day, it wasn’t really doable to go out anyway since every time I stood up I got dizzy. I admit that since everything I read said to be careful to watch for your “fainting point”, I nibbled a bite-sized piece of bread at that point and it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever put in my mouth in the history of putting things in my mouth.

Aside from dizziness, hunger pangs, and difficulty mustering the energy to get through an entire load of dishes, side effects included crankiness, lusting for taste, and constructing elaborate lunches and dinners for Dave.  In fact, he thoroughly enjoyed my fasting week.  It’s his theory that because I was food deprived and in a perpetual lust-state over the simplest of sustenance, I loaded his meals with uber deliciousness.

He’s right; I did. I stuffed his lunch sandwiches with all sorts of freakalicious things. I bought random gourmet concoctions at the supermarket.  I pinned a record number of recipes on Pinterest.  And I frequently asked Dave to breathe the hot stench of whatever he was masticating into my nostrils so that I could get off on the smell.

The first time he didn’t hear me, the second time he thought I was joking, and the third time (subject: movie theater hot dog, location: showing of The Hobbit) he whipped out his serious voice and told me I was grossing him out.

Now, I’m sure there will be a crowd of folk who fly off the handle about the dangers of fasting and whatnot. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, but I’d like to note that I was carefully monitoring my health throughout and was sure to arm myself with as much information as possible so that I was well-prepared.  As I see it, the most dangerous thing about fasting is that it feels bloody fantastic to see how quickly you lose weight. I lost a little over ten pounds in seven days and remember at one point thinking that I could understand a little better the mentality behind anorexia.  Please, please note that I’m not saying I “understand” anorexia and that I fully acknowledge that folks who suffer from it are not fasting and are not well. I’m just saying that there was certainly a temptation once I’d become accustomed to the hunger pangs and the look of my body in the mirror to consider how this was the most effective dieting technique I could possibly imagine – and that was a little scary for me.

Naturally, you gain it all back afterward. Or at least most of it.  I followed suggested guidelines by very slowly incorporating new foods back into my diet over the course of five days.  Though I did this more for the spiritual benefits than the health, there were still some health-related perks to be mined from short-term starvation. For example, since before the fast I was accustomed to splooging the contents of Hershey chocolate syrup bottles directly into my mouth, these seven days were a great way to re-calibrate my taste buds.  Bananas actually taste sweet again.  I can savory the subtleties in flavor and nuances in dishes.  Healthy food is actually pretty darn delicious when you’re actually hungry, and after realizing how scrumptious bites can be if they’re truly savored and appreciated, I’ve upped the ante on my healthy diet for the past several weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ve also slowed my eating way down, most likely as a result of needing to chew every single bite post-fast until it reached a safe liquid consistency. At first I was kind of grossed out by that, but then the fat girl in me realized that the longer the food is in my mouth, the longer I can savor the beauty of its delicious tastes. 

I used to eat so fast I’d nip a finger here or there so this was a pretty relevatory moment for me.

It also turns out that getting a chance to see how much better I looked with ten less pounds of fat on me helped me visualize myself as, well, not so fat.  That’s been a pretty great motivator in my newfound Fat Ass 365 Project wherein I imagine myself as a healthier, less jiggly version of myself that won’t suddenly disappear when I wake up and eat breakfast the next day.

Speaking of which, I need to go get my Jillian Michaels on. Two more days left of 30 Day Shred Level 2. And when I’m done I get to eat some food!

Giddy up, porky. 

Craft Fail 101: Fat, Lumpy Sock Bunny

18 Jan

Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy Lollipop Tuesday.

If you’re new to the beauty that is the Lollipop Tuesday series, check out a brief explanation here.  Otherwise, onward!

Today’s new attempt: Completing a craft tutorial.   Task:  A bunny made out of a sock.

Before I post my pathetic account and my failure of a bunny sock, I should submit a disclaimer.   I attempted the “Quick Little Bunny Tutorial”  featured on Elsie Marley’s Blog (linkity link) without 3 important things –  a baby sock, sewing skills, and patience.   Because after all, the joy of Lollipop Tuesday is in how much I absolutely suck at new things.   I will learn to embrace it.  You will be inspired.

Okay! To start, I had no baby sock.  Thus, I found the smallest sock in my drawer and went with it.  Let the record show that I am a big girl with big feet.  Size 10 feet, to be exact.  Thus, my bunny is… fatter… than the originally intended design. 

Since my sock was a grown-up sock, it was white and dirty and gross.  So to start, I dyed it black.   In honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday.

Those are my good kitchen tongs.

 I was presented with a rather large problem after this dyeing session.  Namely – where to put the dye.   An attempt at rinsing it down the tub dyed the tub black, a security deposit blunder that I’m still trying to undo with a good old fashioned bottle of Clorox even as I write this.

I freaked out, ran to Dave, and asked him what to do with the evidence.    Without hesitation, he replied that I should flush it down the toilet.  And you know what? It worked.

All right – sock is dyed, dye is down toilet, bathtub is soaking.

I have absolutely no patience for anything in life, and didn’t feel like waiting for the sock to dry… so I stuffed it and sewed it while it was dripping wet.   Besides a bad case of granny fingers, I saw no negative repercussions to this.

For some reason, the logo "Hue," which was green before the dye job, turned bright yellow. Chemistry is a bewildering magic.

I feel as if I should reiterate that I have absolutely no sewing skills.  So every time Elsie’s tutorial said “make a running stitch,” I just ignored it and ran the thread around, through, up, and down every which way until it kind of looked like it was supposed to. 

Behold the Big, Fat, Lumpy Bunny

And voila: A big, fat, lumpy bunny made out of an old sock.  I think it speaks volumes about the clarity of Elsie’s tutorial that I did not pursue this project with any degree of passion and had absolutely no sewing skills and yet somehow my end result actually resembles an adorable bunny.  Minus the adorable.

 End result: Down one security deposit, up one useless sock bunny.  Bids start at a penny.

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