I’m gonna try and put some thoughts down that are both CHAOTIC in nature and having to deal with both weight shit and gender shit. Since I have two (quiet) blogs, one about weight loss shit and one about gender shit I don’t want to repeat myself so for today everything I’m thinking goes under one post called from here on out FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCK!
First and foremost let me start this blog post by saying: I had an amazing 28 days on the road. I’ve seen more in the last month than most people will see in a lifetime. Twenty-two states and close to 7000 miles means we spent a butt load of time in the car driving like mad people to go from destination A: Halifax to destination B: Vancouver. We saw long time friends much missed, watched sunsets and sunrises, listen to honky tonk in the east, watched hot air balloons in the middle and found ourselves in the middle of Japantown in the West. It also means we ate out for those 28 days. A lot of “OMG we may never be here again so lets order this (insert whatever food only in that ONE place)”.
I know a lot of people are going to say “But Carver, you were out there living and enjoying your time on the road”. True. But it came at a price….
Hold up, let me back up a little bit before I get to the “at a price” thing. All 10 of you know that because we made the big move from Nova Scotia to British Columbia we had to save money and that meant ending our membership at Crossfit Ironstone a few months before we left. So there has been no movement except the more than occasional “LET’S GO HATCH A POKEMON EGG” walk. There are a million excuses I could give but the meat of the matter is I didn’t move. I didn’t try to run. I didn’t try to lift a kettlebell at home. I didn’t even try some hippy yoga that I just can’t get into no matter how many times I try. I am not about to make excuses, because they’re pointless.
Also I’ve been on testosterone for 3 months now and there’s a lot of information out there that does of course mention fat distribution (hello beer belly) so since I’m not jumping on a scale anytime soon I’m going to let that distribution also be a factor but again the meat of this is that there hasn’t been enough movement…
I take full responsibility for that.
Let me say that again: I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY.
Taking responsibility is important. I think people want to make excuses to lessen the blow of our decisions. I did enjoy myself while on the road. I did eat those “we may never see this again” foods (damn you voodoo donuts while in Portland before realizing I was going to be back in Portland sooner rather than later). But not being able to button up a button down that fit the day before you put the keys in the ignition and started the cross country zoom zoom is just plain ridiculous.
So I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I need to get off the pity pot that I’ve comfortably sat myself down upon and figure some shit out. Food shit. Movement shit. WTF am I doing shit. I’ve got to humble myself and if anything just make some good decisions in the right direction. I need my 5 years ago self to knock some sense in to today’s self with that “small decisions lead to big decisions which lead to life changing decisions”.
I don’t know why I have such an adverse reaction to dusting off my laptop.
To sitting down at a blank blog page and do what I did so well in the past. Slinging words at life with a desperate need to understand all the inner workings that made me who I was. Who I am. And I guess in some emotional grasp to get my shit together at who I desire to become. For weeks I’ve had long conversations in my head (and by long I mean maybe the entire length of a minute because right now that’s about all I can stand when alone in my own thoughts). Emotions get confusing and the urge to slam my fingers on these black little squares in hopes of finding even the most minute understanding becomes so intense I stop thinking about it. I don’t even take the slightest step towards the laptop. I silently wish that by ignoring what’s happening “up there” and NOT blogging about it, it will just get pushed aside and eventually stop nagging at me.
Then I think “okay maybe today”…Maybe today I’ll just go somewhere and sit and try to find some cohesion with what I thinking and this stupid laptop of mine. So I sit…
And I stare….
Then I begin to digress into this mess of “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”…or maybe it would be better to phrase it: “What the fuck are you NOT doing?”. Then this internal diatribe unfolds that maybe things aren’t so bad. Maybe I should just shut up, stop thinking about life and just be. Be okay with food choices. Be okay with not working as much as I would like. Be okay with your “in this moment” gender. Just be okay.
Even now, sitting here “in this moment” I feel like this is a waste of my time.
But I have to be honest about how things have been going and how it’s affecting me. Even if, at the end of this post, I still feel like it’s been a waste of my time at least there will be some sort of dumping of the emotionally filled files that fill my head and then maybe some clarity will follow.
I’m really upset at the weight gain. I try not to let it bother me because in the grand scheme of “putting on the pounds” I still fit into most of my clothes (though I have gone up a size in pants). I try to let it go because my partner in crime has also been dealing with her own gain and lack of loss no matter how hard we work at it and I don’t want to make a big stink about it for myself because I know how our brains work….We all know how our forever ingrained morbidly obese brains work. I think about it constantly then get so angry at myself for making it a “thing” that it becomes this cycle of “You’re fat”/”That’s not fair to think that way so stop it”. Even if most of this 25 pounds came about because my weights are heavier therefore (dot dot dot) my muscles are bigger, what I see in the mirror are not muscles but hips I wish were non existent but now made more prominent from the gain. What I see in the mirror is a chest that doesn’t fit as easily into it’s binder and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable because the idea of buying a larger size is more emotionally scarring than the physical uncomfortableness of shoving my “can’t I just get rid of these” breasts into my one savior on this gender journey.
Not working is taking it’s toll on me. It was different when I first got here and COULDN’T work. I understood the process now matter how impatient I was. I’ve spent the last 2 years busting my ass trying to at least help in the financial department with my sandwich making, hot dog slinging, and shelf stocking work history. It was a conscious decision to leave my position at Costco during a time when it made sense. I still had west coast envisions of what interpreting *might* look like during the summer months but I was not prepared for what the last 3 months has brought…
I would be exaggerating if I said I managed to eek out 10 hours a week of work since June. 10 hours was all I needed to still be on par with what I made at Costco as a full time employee. 10 fucking hours. Its an exaggeration to say I even worked 10 hours in the last month. My whole being as a person is wrapped up in what I can provide professionally (and financially) and this summer has chewed me up, spit me out, shit on my chest and then stomped on it to rub it in for good measures. I feel like a failure and while I know most of it is because it’s the “slower” time of the year, it’s difficult not looking in the mirror and whispering “you’re such a fuck up”.
I’m falling into this whirlwind of “you shouldn’t eat, you shouldn’t go to crossfit, you shouldn’t buy yourself a damn thing” because when you open up your wallet and pull out the bankcard, that’s not your money you’re spending. Where is your money? Oh that’s right you P.O.S, you don’t have any” It seems like several times a day I want to go back to Costco and beg for my job even though I know that’s not the answer. Working for me is like when some people look at their children. Everything they know about themselves is wrapped up in their offspring. Their children are their purpose for getting up in the morning. Work is that purpose for me. My career as an interpreter is the equivalent of my offspring. Working and having the ability to provide financially for Mimi and myself is what keeps me the farthest from being my mother. Paying my bills on time and not juggling this dollar to cover that and that dollar to cover this is how I measure escaping the past of upbringing (or lack thereof) and for the last three months it’s been a constant struggle to not go back into that head space of “you’ll never be good enough”.
I would be lying if I said I’m trying hard to be patient and not be angry at the universe. Angry at my choices for leaving a good job to pursue doing what I’ve loved to do for the last 15 years. It’s been eating away at me. Going home to the west coast and then returning to an empty (and new) home on the east coast while Mimi is working internationally is making shit worse. I’ve not slept well in over a week. My “in bed by 9” is overruled with “it’s 1 a.m. and you’re wide away…good luck with that shut eye”…In the last three days I think I’ve slept 6 hours and I can feel the breaking point happening. Missing Amers and Melly. Missing Mimi. Missing my Old Man Chester. Missing me. Missing the rest of my biological family because the web weaved is so complicated it’s easier to just not so I don’t.
I keep thinking just stop. Stop with this rotten thought process. Nothing good comes of it. Get up and go workout. Go outside and breath in some fresh fucking air. What are you doing? You know this isn’t good for your emotional well being. Spend some time in the kitchen. Spend some time verbally vomiting your life into a blog post. But at the end of the day (especially these long days of summer where I’m spending a lot of time with myself), it’s hard to stop.
I see that dark cloud approaching and in all the brutal honesty I can muster, I’m just sitting here waiting for it to takes it’s place. No fight. Just a feeling of “I deserve this”…
I’m not looking for anyone to come to my aide. Except maybe Mimi to return home so at least I have a sense of purpose in the kitchen. This is just where I am today. Where I am in this moment. I know historically this may pass and I’ve got a pretty good track record in working through this stuff. I think today was more about acknowledging the feeling(s). Of forcing that verbal vomit to happen so that the desire to physically shove the closest sharp object down my throat dissipates. To feel like I’m worth understanding and to remember that this is just today, but this isn’t necessarily tomorrow.
There really is nothing worse.
That feeling of having the world around you support whatever endeavor you decide to embark on and yet the constant battle of just moving ever so slightly forward continues to happen in your brain. Your body. Your emotions.
I feel like that’s where I’ve been for quite a while. You wouldn’t really know it, what with the FB/IG updates of pictures of heavy weights and clean food but truth be put right there in the front of things: Life is a struggle of sorts.
Not a “oh woe is me, all is horrible and nothing is right in my life” nor a “I can’t cope so I’ll shove this entire chocolate cake from the bakery into my piehole” (though I’ve been having more than my share of ice cream and those damn delicious pop chips) but rather a “come on Tee, just a little tweak here and a maybe a lot of tweaking there and you’re back on track…”
It would be awesome to sit at this laptop that I’ve sort of come to despise with all it’s running programs that aren’t getting updated and it’s weight loss blog posts that are in fact no longer about weight loss and heading towards becoming about weight gain and what the fuck is happening to my body right now, and hash it out like I used to. Not able to see the keyboard through the tears and snot running down my face, getting in touch with the layers upon layers of emotions I didn’t know existed until I finally decided to exist in my own life instead of just letting life trample all over me.
The kind of existing that left me sensitive to the world around me. Vulnerable. Raw. Afraid to be in the moment and simultaneously terrified of NOT being in the moment. Looking at everything around me and wondering “is this helping or hindering” then making choices and decisions depending on the direction I was heading…
Now it’s a constant battle of “Why can’t I just fucking get this shit together”?
Sometimes I wish (and I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for the next statement) I was in a place where I could say I gained all the weight back…that I was heavier now than when I started this journey.
Whatever you’re thinking, just keep thinking it to yourself.
Of course in the grand scheme of shit people wish for, weighing almost 300 pounds is never really something a person truly wants. What I want is that fight. That inner strength of fighting for that first 3 minute run or the crazy fear of stepping up to a starting line for the first time. I want that sweaty hands/heart beating fast as I drive past the McDonald’s because more than anything I want two cheeseburgers/large fry/large diet coke and instead I’m going to go home and attempt to get in my kitchen and make something I’m going to love as much as that greasy balled up paper bag hidden deep at the bottom of Dusty’s garbage can.
I think my problem is I don’t know what I’m supposed to be fighting for these days.
I know I don’t like where my body is at right in this moment of time. While I’m not at my heaviest, topping the scales at around 280 pounds, the 20 pounds that I’ve gained since leaving Costco in February sits very uncomfortably. Body dsyphoria of having to buy bigger pants in the thighs from (fingers crossed) bigger muscles but also knowing it’s because there is a definite weight gain not having to do with muscle mass. Wanting to clean up my food but having that gnawing in the back of my brain that says “But you’re still at a healthy weight” and “most people would kill to say they’ve maintained a 100 pound weight loss” makes it that much more difficult.
Wanting to run more but not wanting to give up the weights that I move around means races that are becoming ever closer are starting to look like the impossible. Shortening distances in hopes that I’ll put it together in enough time to cross over a finish line and not feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew when not that long ago I could bite down, chew on and spit out a half-ironman like it was no one’s business.
I’ve have taken some small steps to try and get some things figured out. Red and I have started meal planning again, sitting down every Sunday and basically letting her decide what we’ll have meal wise, then I take over and implement them. I find it easier that way than trying to come up with something she might like when out of the two of us I’m more likely to eat anything put in front of me. She decides what she wants and I make sure she gets it (as any beautiful wife should). We’ve thrown around the idea of sitting down with a dietitian. I’m a little leery just because I don’t want someone to tell me to replace my food foundation with low-carb/fat-free/sugar-free crap out of box rather than chopped/diced/peeled/sauteed/bbq’d/pinch of this spice/dash of that spice kind of cooking that I’ve come to rely on (though again, I’ve been having my fair share of grabbing a the bag of pop chips and heading to the beach kind of munching).
I’m getting out of my comfort zone just the tiniest of bits and doing mobility classes in hopes it keeps my hamstrings from seizing up, yoga (not the touchy feeling kind either because that’s way too out of my comfort zone) but rather more crossfit focused yoga until maybe I feel a little more “touchy” and “feely” about the idea of downward dogging or tree posing for extended periods of time. I’ve reached out to coaches about adding more endurance to my crossfit life because deep down inside I really do miss running but don’t know how to find the balance.
I guess I’ll see where all of this takes me over the next few weeks/months and hope that no matter how small the steps are they are all going in the right direction. Figuring out that direction is probably the toughest part but if it was supposed to be easy I’m pretty sure we’d all have our shit together in nice neat little stink free boxes…
You know that old saying:
When life hands you lemons.
Life sort of sucks for you so you’re supposed to add a little water and sugar and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM, things start to turn around for the better.
But what if instead of lemons you’re handed lemonade and find yourself wishing for a little more lemons rather than lemonade?
I know, I know…”what the hell is Tee talking about?!?
My running over the last year sort of petered off into a non-existence form of “exercise”. A lot of factors come in to play when thinking about why that happened:
- Winter for one. Holy mother of all that is white and frozen, our winter here sucked. We didn’t see our sidewalks from December until just a few weeks ago and when I say we didn’t see our sidewalks I mean there was at least a foot of ice on the sidewalks. The region of Halifax sort of screwed the pooch when it came to plowing this year. Long story (not worth telling) short = pretty much no one ran (or walked) outside unless absolutely necessary.
- Crossfit (and Aspergers). I know, seems weird to put those two things together but trust me they sort of go hand in hand. When you have little aspies floating around in your brain, you get caught up usually one thing in particular. It’s pretty much all you want to talk about. When I first moved to Halifax that one thing was running. I lived it. I breathed it. If I could have put some bbq sauce on it I probably would have eaten it. I looked at races all the time. I thought about running shoes and whether I should have 3 pairs or 300 pairs. I thought about running routes. The weather. What I should take with me when I run. I literally thought about running from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. Everything revolved around pounding the pavement and putting the miles in. For shits and giggles I’m gonna lump triathlon training in here too since, you know….running. Then last year I turned in my running shoes for some pretty kick ass looking crossfit shoes and that kool-aid tasted so refreshing going down, running became a blurry spot in the back of my mind. I still thought about it. I just didn’t do it nearly as much as I had (read: not at all)
A while back I started thinking about running again. Funny thing about living in Nova Scotia is we are pretty limited in our racing options. The season doesn’t really get kicked off to a “running” start (see what I did there), until the Bluenose marathon, which I’ve sworn off since earning my 26.2 (again, long story not worth telling) in May. From May until late Fall the running of the races can be found if you’re willing to drive a few hours, spend a few nights in a hotel and spend some serious out of pocket cashola to make it all happen. As the wheels started spinning and that urge to run took hold I started looking at race potentials. One of my favorites as always has been Maritime race weekend but it is also costly with one race happening Friday night and a second longer race happening Saturday morning…
I want to run. I don’t want to spend the money. I want to run. I don’t want to spend the money. I want to run BUT THE MONEY IS GETTING IN THE WAY!!!
(Oh hello Facebook and random drawing to Maritime race weekend that I can’t possibly win because a gazillion other runners are also entering the random drawing, but what the hell let’s just see what happens)
Guess who won a free entry to Maritime Race Weekend Tartan Twosome? That’s right. This guy right here! So now that’s where the lemonade comes in. All delicious and refreshing. Quenching my thirst like I’ve been sitting in the hot sun all day. I get to pick the distance and since I’m so freaking thirsty I immediately choose 5k/Marathon.
(Here let me just take that entire pitcher of lemonade all to myself. No no, not just a glass the WHOLE DAMN PITCHER PLEASE glug glug glug….)
Sometimes when life gives you lemonade you don’t have to take the entire thing just because it’s being offered to you. I should have thought it out a little more, not bitten off waaaaaaay more than I can chew. Could I train my ass off for the next few months and get the miles in? Well of course I can. Would I enjoy the process? Doubtful. As my “official” training started I spent my fair share of time struggling with the notion that I would eventually be outside for up to 5 hours running on some hot day in July getting ready for what would be my 4th marathon.
The problem? I don’t want to spend that kind of time outside. I want to lift heavy shit. I want to go to the beach. I want to sleep in on Saturdays. I want to enjoy my running for an hour or two, ice bath then get on with the day. It took me a while to figure that out and even longer to give back some of that lemonade that I thought I was so thirsty for.
I’m officially signed up for the Tartan Twosome but now as a half marathoner. I’m much more relaxed about my training. I think half marys are the way to go when you’re thinking about finding a balance between running and crossfit or running and anything else in general. The physical struggle to get the miles in are still there as I “re-train” my body to get used to the idea of running a longer distance but I’ve let go of the mental struggle. I’m actually looking forward to running and figuring out the balance of pr’ing my deadlift (oh 200lbs I’m coming for you)….Crossfit Endurance is a thing and I like I’m gonna like this thing a lot.
In other news: All is ever changing here. Weight is up because I’m not at Costco anymore. Work is happening slowly but surely. My little grand niece Melly is hoping I come back sooner rather than later for a visit and Old Man Chester is still alive and kicking (and by kicking I mean sleeping)…
You know. Life. It happens.
We’ve been traveling for the last 12 days. In the midst of what felt like a never ending winter (when the plane left Halifax there was still at least 3 feet of snow on the ground), we headed for the west coast and have been firmly planted in your typical Northwest environment (think more rain than your remember but oh that sun feels so damn good even if you only see it for a few days).
I’ve spent more time outside in the last 12 days than I have been able to for the last 5 months. It’s been literally running from building to building dodging the next incoming snowstorm or watching any Netflix marathon show you can think of because it’s too damn cold to even think about going outside.
With all this recent time on my hands and the major changes that left me with said time on my hands, you’d think I’d be thrilled to spend endless hours on this laptop. Pouring my heart out through my fingertips. Getting back to all that soul searching that I seem to stop doing when I returned to working full time.
But to be totally honest with you, I’ve been avoiding not only the laptop in general but I think more importantly the blog. This blog…the HDD blog…The Carver blog. All of them. All of me. I can’t pinpoint why and I’m not even sure if I want to know why. I feel sort of lost in my endeavors. I feel lost in food. I feel lost in movement. I feel lost in gender. It’s not like I don’t think about shit. I think about (pretty much anything you can think of) all the time. I just don’t know if I want to take whats happening in my head (not that it’s anything life changing) and try and make sense of it here. Before I was all about “look at what I’m trying to do” and you were like “hey, we see what you’re trying to do and we’re here because we’re trying to do the same thing” and I was like “Awesome, let’s go out and kick some ass together” and you were like “fucking hell yes, let’s do this!!!” and then we all proceeded to get some shit done.
But now I feel like I’m so far removed from the “We” that mucking through the going’s on in my own thoughts without having to put them into words, into this blog and hitting publish feels okay most days. I struggle with the direction of this blog because I struggle with the direction of my being.
And here’s the kicker; while I’m not okay with the immediate decisions regarding food and movement (as in I want to hammer down my emotional eating again and kick up the notch in my Crossfit journey), I’m okay with not sharing them with the world. At least not like it used to be.
Being in the big city (you can argue that Halifax is a city, but let’s be honest it’s quite small compared to Vancouver) while Mimi has been working has afforded me some time to walk around the city and get swallowed by reality. I feel like I’ve been missing an important component to this journey called life and that component is a feeling of survival. Of wanting to fight for my little place in the world. I’ve been more grateful to having a few dollars in change in my pocket after walking around this concrete jungle than I have in a very long time. You forget to be grateful for what little you possess. That is until you’re hit in the face with the smell of urine in the early morning as you walk by a dozen people sleeping on the streets and you’ve barely gone a few blocks.
Don’t let me fool you. Mimi and I are staying in a very nice condo that’s been paid for. We’re in the middle of downtown Vancouver. We’ve eaten well. We’ve paid for our Crossfit workouts and sat and had fancy drinks while watching the world go by. By no means are we suffering.
The other day I left said condo and walked up the street to find some food. Not a hundred feet from the building entrance was a really cool performer. I can’t even begin to try and explain his contraption but it involved stilts, bagpipes and some pretty kick ass beatboxing. I had a $10 bill in my pocket and after standing there for a while I felt a little guilty because I didn’t want to leave without leaving something but for fuck sake $10 was a lot of money and it felt weird asking him if I could make change.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, find a Tim Horton’s, buy some coffee, grab the change and return to leave this guy a few coins in his bucket, another person walked into my view. I didn’t really register this person but knew right away he wasn’t “all there” just by his behavior and his appearance. I didn’t notice he had a coffee in his hand until I realized he was spilling most of it all over himself while supposedly enjoying the music of the performer. Right around the same time I began to stop watching the performer to take notice of the guy who would make me more grateful than I’ve been in a long time, the performer turns to said person and says “You’re drinking my coffee”…
He’s not all there. This coffee spilling, dancing wildly, enjoying the fuck out of the moment guy. This guy, that probably goes unnoticed by the throngs of people that forget to be thankful. Forget to be grateful for their gym memberships. Forget to be grateful for their fancy drinks on a Friday night. Forget to be grateful for the $10 in their pocket. For the bad food choices. For the ability to get up in the morning and work. For the chance to kiss those you love goodnight and sleep in the comforts of a bed. With covers. And pillows.
All of a sudden he pulls out a $20 and apologizes to the performer for drinking his coffee. It was like being knocked off my feet but I’m still standing. He didn’t do it because he was trying to be nice. He didn’t have the mental capacity to understand his actions. He just pulled out what was in his pocket and gave it to the performer because…well just because I suppose. You could see the performer was uncomfortable. He knew this guy wasn’t all there but you know when you’re performing on the streets possibly trying to scrap enough money for food AND rent you may not be so willing to struggle with the idea of not taking advantage of those less fortunate in their mental capacity.
I have a lot of my own mental struggles. Most days I have to deal with some sort of melt down regarding my Aspergers. Either it’s too loud, or too bright, or a simple choice has to be made in the moment that I can’t make and in a split second it feels like everything is going to come crashing down and I’m left on the verge of tears feeling stupid because for fuck sake I’m an adult.
As the performer’s music takes a turn for the quiet I approach him. I look him in the eyes and explain to him that I’m going to give him the $10 in my pocket. I want him to put it in his pocket because I don’t want someone to be enticed to grab his bucket and run off. I also explain to him I’m going to take out the $20 and return it to the not so dancing wildly any longer but still spilling his “you took my coffee” coffee guy.
He doesn’t resist. He doesn’t argue. Maybe in his gratefulness for his ability to bring me joy in his bagpipe rendition of Star Wars, he knows it the right thing. There’s plenty of money in his bucket put there by people who will forget the minute or two they spent standing there taking notice of the dancing coffee guy and laughing to themselves because he looked ridiculous but feeling totally uncomfortable as he put a lot of money in the bucket. Money that should have fed him. Money that should stay in his pocket. Money that no one else retrieved and gave back to him because they don’t realize how close we are to being right where he is.
My mental health in tacked.
The performer’s Karma in tacked.
Both of us grateful for our little space in this world.
And how about one more for shits and giggles.
Okay, let’s get this post started.
Life has been crazy…You only have to look at the lack of posts to see that the time I spend blogging has dwindled down to almost non-existent. In between working full time nights at Costco to rushing home to fall into bed before midnight to getting up at 6a to make sure Mimi and I get to break a sweat before taking her to work then rushing home again to spend a few hours preparing for my day (think mostly making sure I eat breakfast and lay down with Old Man Chester for an hour with enough time to pack my lunch/shower/and do any food prep for dinner for Mimi/laundry/shopping BLAH BLAH BLAH) there has literally been no motivation to think about putting my thoughts down.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m constantly in my head. But I think for the past 6-8 months the thought of sitting down in front of my computer has been mentally exhausting because I’ve been so physically exhausted and didn’t really even know it.
That all changed this last week and for once I’m actually looking forward to putting those thoughts into full length sentences and those full length sentences into a blog post even if it’s a short one.
If you’ve been following along the ever LifeChangingJourney that is me via Facebook or IG then you know that last week was my last day at Costco and while it was a difficult decision, it was one long in coming but I didn’t have the courage it took to take that leap of faith to leave. In all honesty though, it wasn’t just about a leap of faith. Working at Costco the last 18 months has been far more about fulfilling my emotional needs than my financial needs (though that twice monthly check no matter how small was a big help).
When I first moved here, I couldn’t work. I depended on Mimi for pretty much everything. To put food on the table. To put gas in my car. To put new clothes on my back. I spent a lot of time alone and by alone I mean I spent a lot of time stalking my local coffee shops for free wifi and running a shit ton while training for my first Marathon and subsequently my second and third marathon. I was lonely. I felt like a burden and to know me is to know I take my financial responsibilities very seriously.
It was a time of learning. Learning that it’s okay to rely on someone financially when the time is necessary. Most of my working life I was used to being the “money” maker in the relationship. Not the sole provider but always significantly more than my counterpart. Coming to Halifax, meant not only was I NOT the primary provider I was barely a financial provider. Of course Mimi is going to argue that I didn’t need to put money into the proverbial pot to be a contributing member to the relationship but my relationship with money is deep seeded and it took a lot to find my self worth when I couldn’t pay for something on my own.
Then after a long 15 month wait, I got my permanent residency approved and within 3 days went to work. Not as an interpreter but as a sandwich maker. Taking that job (and any job at that point) was more important than taking the time to plan my entrance back into the world of interpreting. All the loneliness felt spending hour after hour day after day with myself was suddenly washed away. It didn’t matter that I made barely above minimum wage. I was working. I was being social. I was making friends. And it may have been small but that paycheck felt like a million dollars.
Then an amazing turn of events led me to Costco. It’s not easy to get a job in that company but I did and it was everything but glamorous. Rolling hotdogs and sticking my hands elbow deep in dirty dish water and leaky trash bags furthered my desire to return to interpreting but by that time I was so entrenched in my need to provide a little more financially that I put it on the back back back burner and turned it way down low…
But then something happened: I loved my job there. I loved everything about working at Costco. Even on days when I would leave practically in tears from exhaustion/frustration and realizing my Asperger was way more apparent than even I understood, I loved it. I loved the fast paced, the lifting of heavy things. It was like all my hard work in losing weight and getting stronger was finally being used to it’s capacity and I felt important.
And I loved my co-workers. It gave me the social satisfaction that I longed for in parallel play unlike anything I’d experienced before. Just the right about of “we’re in the same space” with the perfect amount of “I’m in my space…you’re in your space”. But that pull to return to interpreting…my one true love started to get a little hot on that back burner and the universe decided to get involved.
For the past couple of months Mimi and I started to play around with the idea of me leaving Costco. The timing before us was about as perfect as anyone could ask for. Financially speaking we were practically debt free. Mimi’s own life events of changing her career path meant that we were in a position that I *could* let go of the full time night position and begin to return to my profession even if just on a part time basis. Our opposite schedules had taken it’s toll on us. Her waiting up for me to get home and my falling out of bed a few hours later to get her to work just so we could see each other for a few moments each day was just a little more than we could handle. But making the final decision to leave my position wasn’t coming as easy as I thought.
In the end, we both knew it was time. It was time we focused on our potentials rather than what was comfortable. It was time we both let go of what we know and go towards the unknown and not just step into, but rather jump head first towards that leap of faith that we can do things that are really scary and we can be successful if we trust ourselves.
The process of change has been slow. I left my position first (last Wednesday) with Mimi following along at the end of the month. Everything about everything changes for us. It’s scary but it’s really fucking exciting too. I’m a little too involved in my own head of what if’s (what if there isn’t enough work for me? What if there won’t be enough money financially? What if I miss my job at Costco too much) but I’m taking a lot of deep breaths and slowing down as much as possible. Yes, everything is changing but it’s not changing overnight and I have time to adjust to all the small changes that eventually add up to big changes.
Right now, it’s catching up on sleep. It’s retraining myself not to cook in such large amounts because I don’t have to think about packing 10 lunches each week in addition to making sure we’re not eating the same thing day in and day out. It’s letting go of counting calories because the physical aspect of my work is changing so maybe stuffing my face with 2500 calories each day isn’t necessary but also making sure I eat since I know I can get into that “we don’t have the money, so don’t eat the calories” (oh hello there deep seeded money issues).
It’s also learning how to be around each other again. We used to hardly have any time together so it was usually jam packed trying to get all the things done before one of us had to go to work. It’s almost like learning to live with each other. Our spaces are no longer Mine and Hers but once again Ours and it’s going to take some time to figure out how to fill the free time we so desperately missed (this damn snow doesn’t help either grrrrrrrrr).
So here I am. Slowly working my way back to interpreting. Dressing up professionally, rather than wondering what food item dried on my steel toed boots from the night before. Wondering if Mimi and I will have enough to talk about during our nights together because we actually can spend THE ENTIRE DAY together. Excited about being able to go back to the West Coast more but worried about how I’m going to pay for the tickets to get there. Oh the brain never ceases to worry lol.
Here’s to letting changes happen.
(and maybe blogging more about them!)
So here we go…
The beginning of 2015 and the beginning of all those New Year’s Resolutions.
By now some of those resolutions have already been laid to rest, 2 weeks in to the new year. Maybe it was too much too soon. Maybe there isn’t enough hours in the day for all those resolutions to stay a priority when work, family, bills and (insert whatever else gets in the way here).
5 years ago, I was just on my journey to losing weight (and changing everything about my life). I don’t remember saying it was a New Year’s resolution. It was just a simple decision to stay away from the elevator and track calories. A very very simple version of watching the calories that were going in because there wasn’t enough calories going out.
It was never a declaration of “I’m going to lose 100+ pounds”. I knew I was morbidly obese. I knew my food was shitty. I knew that there wasn’t enough moving throughout my day. I just promised myself I would take the elevator up but not down (because it was too hard to walk up the three floors) and if I was willing to log the calories of something then I could eat it, but that I had to log every thing that went into my mouth.
I remember thinking this was more difficult than I was prepared for. Just that little change felt hard and that was a wake up call for me. I wasn’t getting healthier as I aged…I was getting fatter. I was getting more and more unhealthy with each passing year both physically and emotionally. I always thought “there’s still time” but then I turned 40 and I didn’t have nearly as much time as I thought I did.
Then those little changes got pretty easy. Instead of just taking the stairs down to the car at the end of my shift, I was taking them up as well. The food choices became just a little easier when the toxins of fast food were allowed to leave my body and the diet coke intake was replaced with crystal delight (still not *that* good for you but heading in the right direction). Those first few pounds that came off weren’t really celebrated because I’d lost weight in the past. But I hadn’t really stayed in the moment with those other pounds. I made myself sick. I took pills. Never did I incorporate looking at my food and moving just a little more.
As all those little changes got easier and easier I started to challenge myself. I didn’t want to be on the Wii earning my fried chicken leg icon (you remember those right?) any longer. I was down 20 pounds and walking my dogs early in the morning. I was walking during my lunch. I was parking my car in the farthest parking spot I could find. I was carrying my grocery bags instead of trekking them in a cart. I was looking at labels. I was moving in the right direction for the first time in my life and it didn’t feel like a temporary thing. I acknowledge that I was 270 pounds and in order to get down to a healthy weight I was going to need to lose over 100 pounds but now I was almost 1/4 of the way there.
I shuffled a little faster than a walk. I did it for 30 seconds. I had that copper taste in my mouth. My throat burned. I coughed for a long time afterwards. I threw up. I pushed myself for what seemed like the longest 30 seconds in my life but you know what I felt?
My heart working.
My muscles burning.
Sweat coming off my face.
My breath coming fast.
I felt alive.
If a later version of me had been standing there and said to me “you have no idea what’s coming…marathons, ironmans, crossfit. muscles, triple digit weight loss, single letter clothing sizes“, I think I would have spit in my own face for telling me such lies when I was 250 pounds and puking because I couldn’t run for even half a minute. Even though I had no idea what was coming, I was always moving in the right direction.
It was five years ago I was struggling to walk up a flight of stairs.
It was five years ago I was crying over the food I was eating because all I wanted to do was bury my face in a Jack in the Box burger, and a vanilla shake.
I can’t imagine going back to the old me but I know that person is always lurking in the background. People wonder why I’m so adamant about my food and how much I move. It’s because I have too this adamant in order to make this a lifestyle that takes me into my old age. This was never about trying to look good for the beach or to get back to a high school body. This was always about finding the potential in me. In believing that for the first time in my life I could commit to a change until that change became the norm.
I do what I do in order to stay alive.
I don’t want to be depressed.
I don’t want to be morbidly obese.
I don’t want to watch life pass me because I’m on the sidelines.
I do this because I want people to know that weight loss and taking control of your life is not just a dream or a resolution that gets forgotten about 2 weeks in to the new year. It’s real. It’s possible and it doesn’t have to start by changing everything at once….
It can start with just a flight of stairs.
A glass of water.
A 30 second shuffle.
Small changes can lead to some amazing things…
Get up and get after them.
So many things are coming to an end for us. After what seems like the longest three years ever and all that has encompassed our relationship (the accident, the pain, the recovery, the long ass legal battle) is about to be finished for good. Three years we’ve been waiting and jumping through hoops to appease the legality of the matter. Three years we’ve been learning to live with pain and grow from pain. We’ve been puppets to doctors, both on their side and our side. We’ve been validated and repudiated. Believed in and felt lied too.
To say our house is full of emotions is an understatement. When the “normal” is about to change and you are about to be released from the constraints of what you think you should be doing versus what you want to be doing, all can seem a little overwhelming.
That’s our house right now. Overwhelmed. Excited. Relieved. Anticipating. Thankful.
And for me, still angry.
I’m still angry that Mimi has had to endure the physical pain for the last (and first) 3 years of our marriage. I’m angry that she’s had to be the one jumping through the hoops and learning to live with what is now probably going to transition into chronic pain. But more than angry I’m relieved beyond anything I can begin to describe. For the first time since our being together in the same country, this whole accident business won’t be hanging over our heads in one way or another. Be it an appointment, or paperwork or just plain waiting to hear something from someone about anything.
A few weeks ago we were sitting down to a meal and out of the blue she said “I feel like pre-accident Mimi”…Meaning in her head, that mental stuff that the accident brought was non-existent. I may have not been the one physically struck by the very large truck but we’ve both suffered over the last three years and what I missed most was her. I missed that chest-thumping let’s get shit done about her. Working through Depression is tough. I know from personal experience. Being the spouse of someone under that dark cloud is just as tough. I know this too now, from personal experience. To watch her struggle not only with the physical self but with the mental self as well was at times heart wrenching. To see the person you love become someone else at the fault of a complete stranger can bring about your own dark cloud and I don’t know about you but one dark cloud in a family is one too many.
I’m not going to lie. When she said “I feel like pre-accident Mimi”, I cried like a baby. No seriously. It wasn’t the reaction either of us were expecting but it was just there. I’ve been waiting for a long time to hear her say that and part of me had resigned myself to never hearing those words. The dark clouds have moved on and with the end of the legal battle just days away, life is feeling pretty awesome right now.
This past month Red took a HUGE leap out of her comfort zone and joined a women’s only introduction to Crossfit. It was her idea. Inside, I was like a kid on Christmas unwrapping that new bike you’ve been dreaming about. The one you circled in the Sears catalog and left it lying around for your parents to see. Outside I was cool and collected “If you think you want too, then sure“. You don’t have to spend much time with me to know how much I love Crossfit. To be honest any physical activity pretty much makes me pretty happy but there is something about Crossfit that goes beyond the happy feeling. All the sweat left on the floor is a testament to the hard work I’ve put into my life. The muscles I didn’t know existed, proof that I’m committed to taking care of my body because for so long I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about myself. Even the littlest progress is BIG progress and there is always something to improve.
She’s been next to me in a few classes and it is freaking amazing.
Three years I’ve been waiting for this time. Approaching the rack with our weights. Getting stronger together. Learning that just because you can’t do something today doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it tomorrow. If not tomorrow….soon. I love watching the struggle that she experiences because in the Crossfit box, we all struggle. Not one single person doesn’t understand even if our struggles aren’t the same. I love seeing her name and time under mine and knowing it won’t be long before we’re racing to beat the other’s time and high fiving when it’s all over.
So to the man that was driving the truck that day, three long years ago; I’m still angry but my wife is lifting the fuck out of some heavy shit and for that I’m extremely happy.
Let’s talk about Carbs, Baby.
Let’s talk about how we feed.
Let’s talk about all the good things, and the bad things that we eat.
Let’s talk ahhhbout Carbs.
Let’s talk about Carbs, Baby.
Before I begin this post let me preface everything by saying the following: I am not a dietitian nor do I claim to be one. This post is my own shit. Not a doctor’s shit (though I think lots of times doctors don’t know enough about nutrition to even shake a damn stick at) and definitely not someone who actually went to school and knows their food shit cause they’ll tell you pretty much the same thing I’m going to tell you but I’m giving it to you for free because I don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount towards a tuition payment.
Okay so let’s begin…
When I sit down for break(s) at work I get a lot of questions about my food. My lunch box is a super sized black and decker lunch bag big enough to hold two full meals plus two sets of snacks, a huge jar of veggies and another jar (or two) of fruits. It’s big enough that most times I have to sling it over my shoulder to carry it because it is that heavy.
The other day someone commented that it must take a long time to prep something that extensive everyday. It does. I consider my food prep/intake a part time job. I spend many of my days off prepping food for the coming work days and I keep track of everything that goes into the bag (and into my mouth) via MyFitnessPal. I put a lot of time into my food because I want to be one of those people that can say they’ve maintained their weight loss for the long haul and by long haul I mean for a life time.
*side note* I am officially 4 years in maintenance as of this month. Every year that goes by my chances of being a successful weight loss person gets smaller and smaller and I’m not going down without a fight.
One of the main questions I get asked is about my *diet* specifically and what I eat on a daily basis. I usually give them a spiel about eating a mostly Paleo diet and that my intake of grains and sugars are very limited.
“You don’t eat pasta?”
“You don’t eat cereals?”
“You don’t eat breads?”
“How do you do it?”
The better question to ask is “Why do you do it?”
The conversation usually ends with the inevitable “I couldn’t give up my breads or pastas” to which I always say “Yes you can” and when you go for long periods of time without them and then eat them you’ll understand why they’re not good for you on a daily basis.
The other day someone commented that they’ve lost 100 pounds eating a low carb diet and it forced me to stop what I was doing and take a deep breath. I’m really excited to hear this person say they lost a shit ton of weight but that term “low carb” always erks me. And when you don’t know that I too have lost a shit ton of weight and take my food very seriously talking to me about “low” anything isn’t going to win you any brownie points (no matter how tasty you might think it is)…
People wonder how to lose weight. People wonder how to keep it off. They say they work out all the time but the weight doesn’t budge or they plateau. No matter how hard you try you can’t out exercise your food intake. It’s not even a diet…It’s how you understand the food you eat, the relationship you build with said food and how it becomes a life long endeavor.
So I turn to this person and say “Low carb?…what kind of carbs are you eating?“
They go on to explain to me that they’ve stopped eating pastas, and breads. They’re intake of carbs include sweet potatoes and green leafy goodness. They’re intake of sugar is way down. And they only eat a certain amount of carbs in a day…
*light bulb above my the head*
I say to this person “You’re not on a low carb diet” (and you can see the instant look of WTF coming across their face).
“You’re on a RIGHT carb diet”
Low carb diets are bullshit. Yes I said it. BULLSHIT. Again let me remind you I’m not a dietitian. Here’s how I look at food in it’s basic form: “Good” Carbs for your brain. Protein for your muscles. “Good” Fats for your cells. We can talk about it more in depth with macro/micro nutrients but I think as long as you have that understanding of why we eat foods (to fuel and not use as a crutch for emotions – even good emotions), then you’re about 75% of the way there to being successful at weight loss.
When I first started to really looking at my food I fell into that low carb, low fat mentality. The lower the carb amount = good. The lower the fat amount = good. The lower the both of them was in a particular food = fanfuckingtastic and GetInMyMouthRightNowCauseImGonnaLoseThisWeightMotherFucker. But it meant I was still opening boxes and putting things in the microwave that came frozen for my local food store. I still didn’t understand what I was doing. All I knew was that if it was low in something that must be a good thing right?
Taking the time to understand the difference between low carb and right carb is what really solidified my success. The same goes with eating Fat (YOU EAT FAT?!?…you bet your sweet ass I do)…Understanding when to eat a carb, how much of a carb to eat and what kind of carb to eat means that you’re filling that life long tool box of weight loss / maintenance with knowledge and we all know that the more you know…well the more you know.
I’m not here to preach that because the foods you eat are not the same as mine you’ll never lose the weight. I know why I don’t eat certain food. I know how my body systematically reacts to what I put into it. What I want you to take away from this post is if you’re serious about weight loss then you need to be serious about food. Take a few minutes (or hours or days or a lifetime) and learn about Carbohydrates (do you know the difference between simple carb vs. complex carb). Do you know the function of a carb and the Glycemic Index of certain carbs? Can you name a source of carb that doesn’t include your favorite pasta dish? Do you know how a carb breaks down into glucose and what the hell is glucose? Do you know that your brain mainly functions because of the carbs you eat and if you’ve been feeling light headed or “out of sorts” lately it’s probably due to the type of carbs or lack of carbs (i.e. low carb dieting) that happening.
My food is a part time job because my life is a full time job.
My body. My mental health. My ability to lift heavy shit or run multiple miles. All of these things come down to being sustainable and 100% of that depends on the food I eat.
Pretty much everything we do comes down to the food we eat. It will either help us or hinder us. I of course prefer the helping ability that food offers and for that it means I have to get in my kitchen and learn some shit. Teach myself some things. Understand a lot of things, even if just the simplest of basic knowledge…
Low carb = no
RIGHT carb = YES!
The last 8 weeks of my life have been a little out of sorts. I like schedules. I like knowing what I’m doing, where I’m going and in what time frame I’m doing and going. Whether it’s an Asperger thing or not (though I suspect it is), having a schedule reduces a severe amount of anxiety.
For the last 8 weeks there has been nothing even remotely close to a schedule. Off work for most of that time because of gallbladder surgery, throw in a long-ass road trip and not being able to get to a Crossfit class for the entire 8 weeks and I can feel my mental strength get a little wobbly and my physical strength tucker out much sooner.
Return to work, only to be there for a week and turn what was supposed to be a 3 day “vacation” trip to Toronto to be with Mimi when she received her award in to a 9 day official vacation with a short stop over in Toronto but let me fill 3 of those vacation days with interpreting work so I didn’t really take a vacation, just got paid to stay home from one job while I worked another job.
Hopefully this show I like to call LIFE, will resume it’s regular schedule this week. No vacations until January (Yay for babies!), I go back to Costco tomorrow and resume my nightly shifts. I, #fingerscrossed, go back to Crossfit this week and get back to making the hashtag #trexloveslifting a daily part of my vocabulary.
I can physically feel this non-scheduled life weighing me down.
Today, after spending the better part of the day drowning in a swarm of Jr. High School kids I thought a nice run would help me feel better. This, after I literally tore my apartment apart looking for my iPod shuffle…which by the way did I mention when I forget where I put something (cause everything has a place…again that’s the Asperger), it throws me for a loop? Not a “oh I’ll find it later” loop…no it feels like a screeching halt, nothing is right, everything is out of place, I’ll never run again, where the fuck did I put it, hit myself in the head so I can release the anxiety kind of loop. I misplaced it, panicked. Looked for it. Was up at night thinking about it. Panicked some more. Then methodically looked in every nook and cranny until there it was nestled in a coat pocket (which I never leave it in a pocket of any kind so I must have been totally distracted) and my first thought: Let’s go for a run and clear my head because after spending 6 hours with a few hundred 13 year olds, the auditory sensory was way overloaded.
The only problem about this run? It totally sucked. I know the first mile usually sucks ass. The body has to warm up. Lungs have to adjust. A rhythm has to be found. The body warmed up. The lungs adjusted….other than that it pretty much blew chunks. I kept telling myself how tired I was and how out of shape I was. How I didn’t have the endurance. I had to walk a lot more than I wanted and each time I did that damn voice kept nagging at me:
It took a lot for me to keep going. I had to remind myself that not every run is fantastic. In fact sometimes it’s good to have a super shitty shuffling of the feet. To stop and want to quit knowing that you can’t because you’re too far from home and the only way back is to suck it up and do the best you can.
I have to remember that it wasn’t that long ago (though it feels like a lifetime – and sometimes not even my life ago) running for just a few minutes left me winded for the better part of the day. Some days just feel harder than others. I abused my body for a long time. Most of my adult life really. I didn’t care about what I was putting in it and I certainly didn’t care what my body was putting out in the physical sense. Preferring to leave a little sweat on the ground rather than watching a CSI marathon only truly began happening 3 1/2 years ago.
On days when I don’t feel as fast or as strong as other people I try to remember that this body is a work in progress. Some days I’m going to feel like I’m at the front of the pack. Some days I’m going to feel like I’m eating dust at the back of the pack.
AT LEAST I AM PART OF THE PACK.
Today’s run left me feeling cranky but I’d rather be cranky, sweaty and in need of a long hot shower than sitting on the couch at 270 pounds, watching a CSI marathon doing nothing but slowly eating myself to death.