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Thursday, November 2, 2017

I Will Survive

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Picture this:

It is Saturday morning on a brisk, fall day in 1978.  A 13-year-old girl sits with her mother in the front lobby of HAIR, the local upscale salon on Summer Street in Stamford, Connecticut.

Perusing the hair style books and fashion magazines, the young girl had already decided her impending transformation.  It's not like she was worried for losing her long locks.  She had a tendency to keep her hair barely shoulder length most of her life.  Her trepidation stemmed more from her excitement of seeing the end result.  The inspiration for change began with watching the 1976 winter Olympics and witnessing the women's gold-medal figure skating champion, Dorothy Hamill, spin and perform her flying camels.  Her hair was part of the overall aesthetic and athletic routine.  It moved and fell into place.  It accentuated everything that was fresh and likeable about Dorothy. 

Al, the husky-built and raspy-voiced stylist, guided the teen to the cushioned, salon chair.  He was dressed in a pumpkin-colored, polyester suit reminiscent of Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever. His silvery, silky buttoned-down shirt exposed a gold chain.  The music pulsated in the background as he ran his thick fingers through her hair.

"What are we doing for you today?" he asked while his hips moved to the disco beats.

"Have you heard of Dorothy Hamill?"

"Say no more!", Al exclaimed with a bit of excitement in his voice.

Al worked his magic and as he swiveled the chair to face the mirror for the big reveal, Gloria Gaynor belted out,

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got so much love to give
And I'll survive, I will survive
I will survive

The music, the words, and the energy of the hairdresser simultaneously combusted as the young teen faced her new look.  She was inspired by one of her athletic heroes.  She felt empowered to display the unconventional, yet, popular, hairstyle of the day.  Her confidence grew with the power of Gloria's words.  She realized that as long as she loved herself she would persevere.




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Final Stage

November 1, 2017

Is it really never too late to start?
Can we just begin anew?
Is age just a number?
Does mind over matter really work?
In order to begin a new habit (or rid thyself of one), will it take at least 30 days?
If we Want, Believe, Imagine, and Trust...should we just LET IT GO?
If it's Important enough to me, will I make the TIME? Or, will I just make EXCUSES?
Am I the only one responsible to make things happen in my LIFE?
Is GRATITUDE the ANSWER to living a complete and happy Life?
How does the power of POSITIVITY really impact one being, one society, one country, one world, ONE UNIVERSE?
...
Welcome to the final, and third stage of my life where I ask the questions that matter (or at least make one think) and perhaps finally realize my purpose and WHY I was put here on Earth.

Feel free to join me in my quest.
Examine yourself, examine me, examine LIFE.

This is not for the faint of heart!  This IS for:  pussies, sissies or those living in denial (of which I AM ALL THREE).

This journey is hard, challenging, and difficult.  But, necessary.

At some point we realize our time is certainly limited in this dimension.  We may panic (I most certainly did) as we now face getting REAL with ourselves as we tally our mistakes, contributions, and lessons (still unlearned) that tend to linger and reappear like monkeys on our back.

I am OPEN and VULNERABLE.

Are you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Talk About The Weather?

It really annoys me when people talk about the weather!

Why do you feel compelled to pretend you are the local meteorologist and give me a play-by-play breakdown of the temperature and wind velocity?

Did you not know that I could access the weather channel any time I wanted and could find the current sun status of Timbuktu?

If I place a call on my dime it is because I want to find out how you are and what you've been up to.  Don't bore me with something so neutral and unfeeling as the weather report.  If I'm giving you my time and show interest then indulge me with your views and concerns with things that matter.  Tell me a story about something of substance.

Just don't bore me with the weather.  Leave that to the professionals.

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago today we purchased our home in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I have never been back to Stamford, Connecticut since and don't miss it at all.

Today, I woke up at 5:05 a.m. to help my youngest get ready for his first day of tenth grade.  He's basically grew up in Raleigh, NC but there's no evidence of a southern accent.  His demeanor is pure Connecticut-snob.  He gets that from me; poor kid.

Just came back from a summer mini-vacation.  Had a good, relaxing time despite the 90% rainout.  No tan for me but I was able to enjoy the ocean and time with my mom and son.  I even worked out with Nicolas at the hotel fitness center.  Yay for me and my new, healthy lifestyle.

Now that we are back to the grind of early mornings and the demands of high school it is time for me to tackle some projects reserved specifically to address my needs.  I'm planning to make a list of goals for the next couple of months so I can have somewhere to direct my energy.  I'll keep you posted.

Had a weigh-in at Curves almost a month ago (8/1/12).  Down a total of 38.7 pounds and many inches.  My body feels better and I am able to walk and expend more energy during the day.  I average working out at Curves three times a week and would like to increase that to four times per week.  I'm due for another weigh-in in the next week or so.  I knew this journey would be long and I figure if i can keep my average weight-loss at one pound a week, I have a better chance of keeping if off long-term.

Random thoughts...
I suck at taking pictures.  I always forget to take my camera when we go places and I don't understand how to get the right light.  I have not taken a picture of myself in years and do not see myself posting a current picture of myself in the near future.  I give mad props for people who have the confidence to share their current state with the world.  I guess I am just a weak person with little confidence when it comes to appearance.  My nose is so big and pointy (which didn't really bother me when I was younger but is one of my sore spots as an adult).  My skin is discolored from years of sunbathing and ignoring the advice to take care of your skin.  Pro-tip...take care of your skin!  Even if you think it's too late, it isn't.  Get thee to a spa!  Have your skin analyzed by a trained professional.  Get a chemical peel (if needed) and take care of that shit.  Your skin is the largest organ of the human body.  Why are you ignoring its needs for proper care and nutrients?  My son (the aspiring actor) has received treatment recently for acne and I must say it is the best remedy for a teenager in the midst of hormonal warfare.  Don't let your kids walk around in their teenage years with a blatant defect.  Kids can be cruel.  Avoid physical and emotional scars and nip that situation in the bud.  Get thee to a specialist, dammit!  Take all that fucking money that you spend on stupid shit (junk food, non-essential stuff) and take care of the person.  God, sometimes our priorities are fucked-up!

I grew up a fat kid.  I am a morbidly-obese adult.  I'm working on changing that but it's taken 47 fucking years!!!  Please, please, if your child is overweight, please get them help.  Nip that shit in the bud.  The parents set the example for their children.  It is so important to teach your kids good, healthy eating habits.  You only have one body in this lifetime, treat it well.  Never mind the emotional scars of being called, 'fatso, chubby, plump, overweight, obese' and any other derogatory name in the 'fat' thesaurus, the physical scars of carrying extra weight can be irreparable.  You may offer the excuse that it's hormonal or a phase but that's just an excuse.  You may say it is temporary or genetic but you are kidding yourself.  Please, please don't let your kid grow up with this terrible burden of being fat.  It can (and does) ruin your self-esteem which is so important in living a fulfilling life.  My biggest regret is that I let my weight get in the way of me actually LIVING my life.  I am always self-conscious of my appearance and have made decisions which effected my overall happiness and fulfillment because of my weight.  While my kids never had the weight problem that I do, thank God (and knock on wood), I am so pissed at myself that as an obese mother I effected their life choices and happiness.  Maybe I was too lazy or scared to be in public and take them to a soccer game or go with them on a roller coaster or travel on a plane.  I limited their life experiences by being a morbidly obese parent.  I regret having this negative impact on their lives.  They may not realize it now, but they will some day.

More rants to follow.  I've gotta get this shit off my mind, damnit!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Walking Away From Opportunity

I AM the biggest loser!?

This past Saturday I spent a total of five and one half hours sitting/standing in line to audition for The Biggest Loser.  And then,...I walked away.

I arrived at the audition facility at 7:30 a.m., chair and Starbucks in hand (no breakfast).  There were 312 aspiring contestants ahead of me.  Yes, I was number 313.  The auditions didn't officially begin until 10:00 a.m. but clearly I wasn't the only hopeful wanting to arrive early, excited at the opportunity that lay before me.

I assessed my fellow competitors and the over 600 more that would follow me and take their place in line to gain one of 20 spots on the popular reality show.  For the most part, we were all obese.  Some more morbid than others.  It was the one place where you could surely find at least one (or hundreds?) bigger than you.  It wasn't necessarily a secure feeling.  It was a sad feeling.  I quickly realized that there are many more people in the world worse off than me.  I started feeling guilty about my place in line.

I struck up a conversation with George who was behind me in line.  He drove down to Raleigh, NC from the DC area (Alexandria, VA).  We shared some stories, family pictures, and holding each other's place in line as we needed bathroom breaks and water replenishment.  George is a very positive person and his determination was inspiring.  He has a beautiful, young family and I found myself rooting for George and praying that he can get it together so that he could participate in life with his boys.  I started wanting it more for him than for me.

I started my journey back on January 25th of this year.  While I haven't made amazing progress, to date I have lost 35 pounds and have regained the energy, stamina, and ability to incorporate a fitness program for the last six weeks.  I thought being a contestant on The Biggest Loser would help me get over this plateau and accelerate the shedding of pounds.  In the back of my mind I was concerned about the effect of my adrenal tumor on taking on such a rigorous workout program.

Before you can even step in line to become a contestant for The Biggest Loser, you have to pre-register online.  There are some thought-provoking questions and before you know it you are delving into your painful past and conjuring up events which you have tried to cover up (with food inhalation) for the last 40 years.  It is an emotional process.  Also part of pre-registering is the submission of pictures of your face and a body shot.  I avoid cameras like the plague and while reluctant to take a photo, I had to comply with the rules.  After the photos were uploaded to my computer I had to come face-to-face (so to speak) with my profile picture.  I am one ugly, fat, and pathetic son-of-a-bitch.  Damn!  The tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I realized I really don't look much different than when I started this journey back in January.  My son tried to console me but I knew the truth.  And, damn, it hurts.

To prolong the agony and really bring you to a dark place, there is a nine-page application which needs to be filled out as well.  And, boy, were there some doozies.  I was asked about my accomplishments, passions, and sacrifices.  Who is my hero?  Do I volunteer?  What life events have impacted my weight gain?  How motivated, athletic, and competitive am I?  Health questions, typical background check questions, and even legal questions were covered.  I was asked to provide names and numbers of potential character witnesses and friends.  Funny enough, these last few questions stumped me the most because I basically have no immediate, close friends.  Part of the reason is that I've been stuck in my house for ten or so years.  The other part of the reason is because basically (and my family would agree) I am:  rude, emotional, opinionated, cranky, obnoxious, and self-pitying (that was one of the questions, too, by the way).  Nonetheless, I forged ahead and was determined to at least try to audition.

At about 9:00 they handed out yet another application and each prospective contestant was asked to complete it.  It was only four pages.  This is when I found out I was number 313 in the process.  So, as the line moved up outside of the complex, the heat of the day blossomed.  By the time 10:30 a.m. rolled around we had reached the door of the building and I had to give up my chair that I had been dragging along.  The building was cool and conditioned but once we ascended the stairs to the third floor (Can you imagine all of these morbidly obese people trying to climb stairs after standing outside in the heat for three hours?  Not a pretty sight.  I was convinced this was a tactic used by TBL production team to weed out the really weak ones.) the line stopped.

By 12:30 p.m. my toes and calves were cramping.  I felt a little dizzy and oh, so aggravated.  It didn't help that they had a bunch of skinny, fit people running around and clapping trying to get the crowd excited.  I was ready to strangle them.  My attitude took a nose dive and I talked about giving up.  George tried to offer a little encouragement but basically he probably was happy at the prospect of negative Nelly taking her leave.  I couldn't sit down at this point for fear of not being able to get up or worse yet getting a cramp and having a spasm while I was on the floor.  I was not in the mood to become everyone's entertainment.  I told myself to try and stick it out for another half hour and then check to see where they were with the line and the interview process.

At 1:00 p.m.  I walked down the line in front of me and occasionally asked people their numbers...252...207...it looked like the line ended at number 175!  I did not see myself holding on for another two hours.  Besides, I told myself there were so many more people worse off than me who haven't even started a healthy lifestyle plan like I had in January.  Besides, I would rather see someone like George be a contestant than myself.  When it comes down to it there is really nothing special about me that would make me a better contestant than others.

I convinced myself that if I stick with my plan and tighten up some of my habits which have slipped since January (like:  writing every thing I eat down each day, eliminating salt, and eliminating butter) I could gain control and get back on the right track.  It may take longer but at least I will know that I did it on my own and at my own pace.

While I did walk away from an opportunity to audition for The Biggest Loser, gain control of my life, and possibly win $250,000, I know in my heart that I freed up a space on the show for someone who needs it more desperately than me.  I guess I am kind-hearted and therefore,  the biggest WINNER!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Playing Pretend Inside The Actor's Studio

If I were to ever visit James Lipton Inside The Actor's Studio, following are my answers to his questions:

What is your favorite word?  
I appreciate the vast array of words that surround me.  My best friend is the dictionary and my alternate is the thesaurus.  I have a penchant for alliteration and get giddy when I can marry words together to maximize descriptions and expand explanations.   VERSATILITY.

What is your least favorite word?
As we develop and learn language we find words that evoke an emotional response.  If a word elicits a negative response it holds power that directs repercussions with damaging results.  My least favorite word to say is the 'n' word.  My least favorite word to hear is NO.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
What excites me the most is an intelligent, in-depth conversation, one-on-one, with someone I care about and whom I can learn from because they are forth-coming and sharing a real part of themselves with me.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
People who are ill-equipped or unwilling to communicate and share their authentic selves with me do not deserve my time nor respect.
.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sounds of nature offer a peace and tranquility that can not be replicated mechanically.  The songs of the birds brighten my day and remind me of the spirituality and fragility of life.  The sound of water (whether its the ocean, waterfall, or running stream) reminds me of our ability to renew our lives, cleanse our palates, and change direction if we so choose.

What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound or noise which I most fear is the sound of a crash or vehicle accident.  It connotes a negative change in someone's life even if it is only property damage.  There are consequences and someone is at fault.  Perhaps someone was neglectful, irrational and irresponsible? 

What is your favorite curse word?
I grew up in a family who used curse words in normal every day conversation and, on the other end of the spectrum, to hurt and humiliate each other.  I am no stranger to the versatility of a good curse word.  It can be used for emphasis, as a noun, or to express great surprise.  MOTHERFUCKER.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Since I don't really have a current occupation I see the question more as what do you want to be when you grow up?  When I was young I wanted to be a Playboy bunny, model, artist, actress, writer, singer or lawyer.  I still would like to be these things.  Realistically, I would like to be a successful artist and writer. 

What profession would you not like to do?
The profession that I'd least like to do would be a mortician because I have a fear of death.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Come in.  All are welcome!

Monday, June 25, 2012

FINAL INVOICE

Well, it's been almost a month since my last post.  Partly due to avoidance and partly because I don't have much to say...until today.

My need to purge usually comes about when I've bottled up all of my feelings and thoughts and let them simultaneously combust at the most inopportune time.

My friend Lisa has pointed out to me that what we think of others is a reflection of how we see ourselves.  Harsh but true.  I must keep this in mind as I am enveloped in this cloud of negativity for going on three weeks now.  On a positive note, I've come to some very unflattering revelations about myself.  Sad but true.

The following statements, while on the surface are directed at another person, are in reality about me (according to Lisa):

  • I resent that I cannot be myself when I'm around you.
  • I hate stepping on egg shells so as not to hurt your feelings or offend you.
  • You make me feel fat, unattractive, obnoxious, annoying, and as if I remind you of my father of whom you dislike or even hate.
  • I think it's sad that you did not acknowledge my hard work of trying to adopt a healthier life along with smart eating choices and exercise.
  • Instead of lifting people up, you put them down.
  • You are a cold bitch who has no idea of how to communicate warmly with others.
  • Your holier-than-though attitude is so tired and old just like the wrinkles on your face and silver hair.
  • At one time I loved you and felt like you genuinely liked me as a person.
  • I believe your love for me changed when I fell in love with a black man.  You did not approve.
  • Can you stop loving someone?  Did you ever love me?
  • I choose not to subject my kids to your cloud of negativity. 
  • I will not allow you to make my children feel the way you make me feel.
  • I'm not sure who you are trying to impress with your life of denying yourself:  pleasure, fun, and happiness.
  • YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NUN!
  • If I could add up the entire monetary value of all the birthday gifts, Christmas presents, anniversary gifts, home down payments, money just because, vacations, souvenirs, and any other expenses that you have paid for under my name, I would take that amount and repay you in full.  The cost to suck up to you for your approval has left me: guilty, resentful, and used.
  • You make me ashamed to be who I truly am.
  • I am a selfish, immature brat at times.
  • I feel entitled to enjoy every day of my life even if it means I will be poor, miserable, and judged.
  • I know you don't approve of my choices to stay at home and not work.
  • I know you resent me, judge me, and disapprove of me.
  • I feel sorry for you.
  • You are a hard-worker when you want to be or when you want to put others to shame.
  • You judge people and their choices for how they choose to exercise their spirituality.
  • I don't like how you look over my shoulder, stare at me when my eyes are averted, shake your head in disappointment, or shrug your shoulders in indifference. 
  • Your denial of the current state of societal norms and your choice to cling to the past coincide with your inability to submit yourself to what the world has to offer.
  • I don't like the fact that I delayed my birthday vacation at the beach (even though I will go as soon as you leave).
  • I don't like that I reluctantly catered to you by biting my tongue and thinking before I speak just because you cannot handle confrontation.
  • I don't respect you because you refuse to tell me to 'go fuck yourself'.
  • I don't like how you use me as a pawn by having me be mediator and middleman between you and your sister because you lack communication skills.
When I win the lottery, and the payoff is big enough, I will pay my FINAL INVOICE so that I am no longer indebted to you.

The freedom to be myself will be my biggest win ever (even though my wallet will be empty) because I will then have the FREEDOM TO BE MYSELF!