Thursday, January 23, 2014

too dramatic

so, i've been a drag lately. i'm aware of this, believe me. i'd like to think that even if i hadn't been walloped over the head with the "hey so you're not marriage material" news, i'd still be grouchy and blah right now, because it feels like the entire goddamn world is. i posted a status update on facebook a few days ago about how i was tired of everyone's bullshit, and "is it just me?" turns out no, it's not -- i got a ton of likes and comments echoing similar sentiments. and hey, it makes sense -- january's a shitty month, we're all sick and tired of freezing to death by polar vortex, the days feel long and gray and hibernating for the rest of the season seems totally inviting.

timely: this article on how introverts react to january.
“You push yourself through the holidays because you just have to, but once January comes, it’s time to retreat and crash,” says Ableson, 30. “I just get tired out. It becomes about self-preservation in the winter, you want to conserve as much energy as possible. When I consider an invitation I find myself calculating how much energy will be consumed.”
bang fucking on. also, toronto's at the point right now where it's so cold it feels like your face is turning inside out, so there's that.

here's some of the things that i've been clinging to in order to feel better in these cold shitty days; they may work for you! (or not, i'm not qualified to give life advice to anybody basically)

front-loading vitamins & supplements: i take a ridiculous amount of pills; it's left over from my brief, unfortunate days as a vegetarian. as i've mentioned before, those days left me severely anemic, and i've never quite gotten my iron levels back up to snuff. i've finally decided to get off my ass and start taking iron supplements again, and i...guess i'm noticing an improvement? if anything, i'm not as sluggish or tired in the afternoons -- though that could also be because i've started taking 1,000 mcg of b12 so i can try to get an energy boost without resorting to even more coffee. this is all on top of my usual daily regimen of two multivitamins (to cover all my nutritional bases), two wild salmon oils (for hair/skin niceness), and two 1000 ui's of vitamin d (so i don't get all darkness-depressed). i don't know if this works for everyone, but it works for me, so feel free to give some of those supplements a shot. (i take jamieson vitamins and genuine health multivitamins.)

talking myself into exercise even if i really really don't wanna: yes, it's cold and dark and awful out and holy shit do i ever just want to get home from work and curl up under a blanket and never leave. but for two nights a week, i have to force myself to go out again in order to get to crossfit, and you know what? all those chirpy fitness blogs are right when they say that you really do feel better afterward. i actually feel a hell of a lot more accomplished at the end of the day if i've murdered myself with barbells. as for regular gym-going, i've started going either on my lunch break at work (i usually walk for 45 minutes to an hour on my lunch break, but it's too goddamn cold to go anywhere) or immediately after work so i don't fall into the trap of getting home and, uh, not wanting to go out again. did i mention it's cold out? it is fucking cold out. also, i get sucked into the following:

distracting ipad games: i was a heavy gamer when i was a kid and teenager, but not so much anymore. still, when i got an ipad for christmas, i discovered the wide world of game apps, and damn if they didn't provide me with a nice little option for time-wasting. (note: i'd already gotten to level 173 on candy crush on my iphone. don't ask.) my newest addiction is marvel puzzle quest, and i've gone through stints with bread kittens (only three more levels to go before i complete the game) and avengers alliance (love it; do not love the amount of real-world money it requires to level up your characters). i also have marvel vs. capcom downloaded - see a pattern here? - but fighting games are slightly harder to play on an ipad than they are on the video game systems of my youth. i'm old.

retail therapy: this isn't the best thing, i know, but damn if it doesn't work in a pinch. i already got my first box of sephora goodies (observation: i do not like the nars "jungle red" lipstick as much as i like the throwaway house brand lip gloss i threw in so i could qualify for free shipping), and now i've got a second one on its way to me (including the requisite billion free samples). oh yeah, and i was a sucker for modcloth's last sale and scored a blouse i've wanted for ages now. and i noticed that a cute pair of underwear on my wish list was down to its final item, and it was, by pure coincidence, in my size. sold.

again, a gif from bridesmaids sums up my life:

nobody ever said i was sensible. (therein lies one of my weird paradoxes: i am frugal to a fault - i will literally wear shit until it falls apart - but i have no problem being bored and sad and dropping $75 on cosmetics. i'm just very good at convincing myself i need material things that will somehow make me happy. they don't usually, but i figure as long as i don't regret the purchases and i don't bankrupt myself, it's fine.)

this song, on repeat:

don't panic
don't panic

[ music | feist, "1, 2, 3, 4" ]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

hit the reset button

trying to get one's health back on track is not the easiest thing. not even with my first-world-problems thin-privilege-white-girl bias. it's haaaaard. (shut up, me.)

first, i headed back to crossfit last monday for my first session in about six months. i was actually looking forward to it all day -- there's a real sense of camaraderie at a crossfit box, and i'd been going to mine twice a week from may 2012 through to august 2013. so it was cool to see lots of familiar faces again and get hugs and hellos, and it definitely made it better to not have to go in cold turkey. ("haven't seen you in a while," one girl remarked, and i replied, "yeah, i didn't really have the money. i still don't, but i shifted my priorities." as in, i'm trying to funnel money that i'd otherwise spend on booze to my gym membership instead.) it was simple stuff on monday - just front squats and hang squat cleans - and i was at least pretty happy to note that i didn't have to start with an empty bar, like i did back when i first started crossfit. sure, i have to pace myself and start slow (my squat form is resolutely terrible, but then again it always has been, what with my bandy legs and all), but i don't mind working back up to my former pr.

and then i racked the bar too hard against my chest and ended up with bruises all over my collarbone, as usual.

i am not dating chris brown.

second, i've started eating breakfast again. or drinking it, i guess -- i'm making one of these every morning when i get up:

giant glass of green monster, aka a spinach smoothie. this way, i'm getting two servings of green stuff plus protein powder plus other nutrients & fats first thing. my stomach still doesn't know what to do with this much cold sloshy protein-ized liquid getting dumped in it every morning, but it's probably better than coffee and nothing else (which is what my usual "breakfast" has been for the last couple years).

other things i'm trying to do to improve myself: remember to take an iron supplement every night (on an empty stomach, which means i can't eat anything after about 8 p.m.); pop a b12 vitamin after lunch every day; go to bed before 11 p.m.; limit myself to two coffees a day; walk at least 15,000 steps a day (the recommended amount is 10,000 but i am nothing if not an over-perfectionist); use the loseit tracking system to make sure my eating habits do not resemble a human garbage disposal; try not to crush half a bottle of wine every night (aka have at least a few sober nights during the week, because it helps me sleep better). trying to do all of these things in tandem is a weird sort of challenge, but i like challenges especially if they involve multi-tasking my ass off, so.

and then i rewarded myself by purchasing a ridiculous $100 worth of makeup from sephora's website. i am a sucker for one million free samples (and i can totally convince myself that i needed new blush and lipstick anyway). also i am possibly a terrible human being who has no idea how to budget correctly vs. base instincts.

but lookit! pretty things!

(this is likely a callback to when i was 23 and a dumb boy i really liked disappeared from my life and i found weird solace in buying new cosmetics.)

because i clearly haven't blown enough money all to hell yet, i'm taking a trip down to buffalo on sunday with pal katy -- with the express purpose of grocery shopping at trader joe's. you know me, you know this is what i do. (not sure i'll attempt to run back any booze this time, though -- i'm sort of poor and i sort of have enough liquor right now to do me for a while.) this is all weather-permitting though, so fingers crossed the weekend's forecast of snow isn't some unforeseen winter apocalypse.

i'm also racking up fun hangs and plans for the next month or so (preferably as cheap as i can make them): i'm housesitting/cat-sitting in the east end for a week. i'm hitting up the only at least three times with three different sets of friends. i'm doing winterlicious with a coworker pal and maybe a couple solo outings as well. i'm trying to schedule a therapeutic massage appointment and an infrared sauna session. i've got hockey games to attend. i'm planning on demolishing ungodly amounts of charcuterie and cheese with sofi at barvolo. i'm attending a couple birthday parties (aka weekend ragers). i'm having friends over on saturday to celebrate hockey day in canada with a lot of snacks and booze and yelling at my giant tv. i'm a resilient motherfucker; i'm looking ahead to better days.

some things are bullshit, yeah. but you gotta keep going.

[ music | the mission uk, "like a hurricane" ]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

heavy in your arms

i miss my family. there, i said it.

this only hit me over christmas holidays, really. i was in a cab heading to my mother's house at 2 in the morning (the weather caused a ridiculous eight-hour delay -- i was originally supposed to get in at 8 p.m.) and, during my exhausted and semi-delirious conversation with the driver, mentioned that i was the only member of my immediate family who didn't live here. it was an offhand remark, but it ended up making me think.

because it's the truth: my parents, my stepparents, my sibling and stepsiblings all live in kingston, and none have seemed to venture very far from home base. when it came to post-secondary education, my sister only went so far as belleville, which was a little over an hour away (and she still came home every weekend). my stepsister was in ottawa for a while (maybe a year or two?) but then came back and has been in kingston ever since. my stepbrother's been all over the place but he always seems to return to kingston. with the exception of one older, married stepbrother who lives in north vancouver with his wife and two sons, everyone lives in kingston and the surrounding area.

except me. i live in toronto. i've lived here since i was nineteen (minus eight months in vancouver). i found the city where i belonged and i still refuse to leave it, despite all the memories everywhere, despite everything.

nobody's forced me to stay here. this has definitely all been of my own volition; it's always been my choice to live here. i have an adult life here, set apart from my past, and that's what i've wanted all along. but i'd be lying if i didn't admit that as i've gotten older, i've missed the effortless connection that comes when you live in the same city as your close family. i do sometimes find myself envious of my siblings for their easy access to spending time with our parental figures; to be able to have dinner with them, drop in whenever they want, do their laundry, get rides to the grocery store, and so on. if i want to spend time with my parents, i have to book at least a weekend off work and drop at least $150 on transportation there and back. this at least somewhat explains why i only go back to kingston three times a year (once for my birthday/thanksgiving, once for christmas, and once in the summer sometime).

i'm not saying my step/siblings take the lack of distance for granted - i'm sure they don't - but it's starting to feel slightly off for me to be the odd one out. i talked to my mother late on new year's day, and she mentioned that they'd had all "the kids" and their significant others over for brunch -- but, obviously, minus me. we'd joked before about there being a "phantom chair" put out for me, but this was the first time i really sort of felt it. i live apart, and it may be by choice, but it's still my reality. and at times like this, it doesn't feel any less lonely.

also, the realization struck me that i don't think my parents properly understand what it's like to live here in toronto. it's an expensive place to live in, and it can be a hard city to go at alone. i was struggling with my post-christmas luggage, and my mom asked me how i'd get home from the train station -- did i have money for a cab, or would someone be able to pick me up...? i shrugged, shook my head and replied that i'd probably either take transit or, if the subway wasn't functioning (the weather was still fucking with toronto), i might just walk it. and she looked somewhat horrified at the notion that i'd shoulder all my heavy bags and trudge home from downtown after dark.

but then i got frustrated and said flat out, "look, this is what it's like for me. i do everything myself, because i have to. i don't have parents around to pick me up and drive me places, and i don't have the money to take cabs." again, i don't really have the right to complain about this since it's a choice i made for myself, but it was still aggravating to realize that my family doesn't understand it. (and then they gave me money for a cab, which wasn't my intention, but it was nice)

so i guess what i'm getting at is that it's not the easiest thing in the world to be as alone as i am, especially when you're still not used to it and you still don't like it very much. and when the only thing you really have left is your family (i have friends too, obviously, but they all have their own lives and their own problems), and they're all so far away and you're here by yourself -- it's a tricky thing.

at the end of the day, i've done a lot of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. a conclusion i came to the other night was this:

there are a lot of people who believe in you. now you have to start believing in you, too.

i wrote a chapter and a half of my first book last weekend.

(see, now, what you forgot - what you all forgot - is that when it comes to being apathetic and ruthless, i learned from some of the best.)

i'll show you all.

[ music | hannah georgas, "robotic" ]

Saturday, January 11, 2014

holding on to life

so starting next week, i'm going back to crossfit. and i signed up for a two-classes-per-week, one-year contract, so i'm gonna fucking do this thing right.

once upon a time, i used to be able to do pull-ups. i swear.

i dropped out of it late last summer, mostly for financial reasons and time constraints. it always seemed a bit excessive for me to have two gym memberships, plus i had just taken a new job a few months previous, and i was dealing with less funds from a smaller paycheque. also, i have the tendency to over-exercise, and having two gym memberships wasn't helping this behaviour -- i wanted to get my money's worth from both, after all. so i decided to break from crossfit because uh, i kinda hate hard work, and crossfit is hard fucking work. i figured i'd be just fine with a regular gym membership, staying active and keeping an eye on my diet.


not saying i've become a whale or anything (especially not after cleanse month), but i've definitely fallen out of shape in the last few months. i miss the adrenaline rushes and being able to be functional and lift heavy things. i missed the camaraderie, and i missed feeling productive, and i missed the challenges. i'm inherently lazy and don't like to push myself, but i've come to realize that i need the push every now and again. just coasting through life is a dumb idea and causes precisely zero personal growth. and if pushing myself results in being healthier physically, then it's probably a good trade-off. (also: i want to be more toned by this summer, and since i'm locked in to a contract for the next year, i'll hopefully look better in 4-5 months)

plus you know i'd be lying if i said it wasn't to work out some lingering aggression. well, perhaps.

but shit, guys, i need to start doing more with my post-work evenings than just netflix and hockey games. i should start being more motivated to do stuff with my spare time, and probably stuff involving other people. running home to hide from the world at the end of the day isn't the greatest idea, even though it's generally all i want to do.

i went out for dinner with a friend the other night, and this friend gave me the best advice for learning how to be okay alone: every single day, tell yourself, "i'm totally happy by myself." sounds kind of zen-hippie, but apparently it works. she told me that she'd had to say that to herself every day for three years before she finally had a breakthrough moment of realizing that yes, she was totally happy being alone. she had her own life. she had herself. (then a week later she met the man who would become her husband, so that's how these things work.)

yet i am...not good by myself. my mother once said, "just admit it: you really like being someone's girlfriend" -- and yeah, okay, fine. i do. i'm one of those weirdos that functions best when she's one-half of a couple. people will tell you that that's not a good way to be; you need to learn how to "love yourself first" and all that junk. you need to be okay with being alone. but i've never quite gotten there - sure, a five-year relationship was my longest, but there was always a guy or two in the picture when i was single in my twenties - and so i'm kind of emotionally stunted in that way. fortunately for my self-preservation, i'm not dependent on a relationship to make me whole or whatever -- so i'm not just going to haul off and partner up with the first guy who shows a tiny amount of interest. (for the curious: i've actually turned down a number of guys in the last year and a half. if there's no spark - and i know when there's a spark - i won't waste my time, or his.) for me, it's going to be quality or it's going to be nothing.

still, i can recognize that there's something fundamentally fucked up when you work better in a relationship because you're more used to taking care of someone else rather than yourself. and that's been my m.o. since i was a teenager. relationships work for me because i'm the bullshit self-sacrificing type. so that, inherently, is a problem.

(stuck to my fridge right now is a list of therapist recommendations from my doctor. probably ought to look into that.)

and i mean, i'm getting better at being alone. i'm very much at the "fuck this, i do what i want" stage of self-indulgence, which is kind of a breakthrough for me, who's so used to putting everything on the line for someone else. it definitely feels freeing, as do the little things: stretching out in a non-shared bed; not having to shave my legs if i don't want; having the kitchen and bathroom to myself; not having to adjust my schedule around someone else's. these are the things i ought to put more stock in, and be grateful for, because i'm willing to bet that they're the foundation that the whole "being okay alone" thing is built upon.

it's just such a weird thing, finding happiness in self-care when you're thirty years old and have literally never self-cared for yourself before, because someone else always came first. martyr complexes, kids -- don't do 'em.

i have bacon cooking right now so i will leave you.

p.s. i haven't heard from him, and that's fine. i hope i never fucking hear from him again.

[ music | none ]

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

with firm resolve

we now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog (aka the post i was working on before my brain exploded with sheer wtf over sunday's discovery).

i've been blogging here for just over six years now, so i'm fairly sure i've already mentioned that i don't really believe in new year's resolutions. i'm of the mind that you really ought to just make personal goals throughout the year and not put make-or-break goals on one occasion. still, it's as good a time as any to take stock of one's life and good & bad habits, and that was what i've been doing in the back of my mind for the last couple of weeks. y'know, before i had to stop blaming myself for not being the woman whose magical vagina would change a stubborn man's mind about never getting married. it's hard when you're not the one. feels really great, you guys.

but anyway. here's what i got:

start taking iron supplements -- or start retaking them, rather. i've mentioned it before, but i've been anemic in levels of waning severity for the last six years, and it feels like it's gotten bad again lately. my doctor followed up to confirm this back in september, and recommended i start taking iron supplements again, but i brushed it off. i used to take them, see, and for one, i didn't feel it did me any good; for two, it cost me extra money every month to buy them; for three, they're difficult to take (you have to take one on an empty stomach every night before bed, with orange juice to help it absorb better, and i hate orange juice); and lastly, the shit's hard on your system. it's a gastrointestinal nightmare, basically. but i've been weak and tired a lot, and i've had some moments of arrhythmea where my heart goes disturbingly fluttery, and so i decided to get back on the (iron) pill, ha ha. i had a hard couple first days on it - i actually spent one morning puking - but now i seem to be fine. haven't noticed any change in my energy levels, but i didn't notice any change back when i was taking them, so oh well. i'll just have to trust that my red blood cell count is getting back to normal-human levels.

five days of gym, two days off. ah, the old get-fit resolution, probably the most common and the most easily broken. i've never been in danger of stopping my gym-going - i've worked out almost every single week for the last eight years, not even kidding - but i do need to balance it a little better. there's been times in my life when i've worked out 6-7 days a week; there's been times when i've gone twice in one day (including a period of time when i'd go to crossfit and then go to the regular gym); there's been times when i say fuck it and only go 2-3 times a week. (to me, 2-3 times is low. i know. it's messed up.) so now, i want to create a happy medium where i have five days of exercising and two days off to rest. (those five days also include: two spin classes, one bodyshred class, one abs class, one weights class, and one core class. i know, still messed up.) exercising keeps me sane and undepressed and feeling accomplished, so it's something i gotta keep doing. hopefully two free days will make it feel like less of a chore.

take one day a week to hang with friends. or even two days! (the two days off from the gym, as mentioned above.) as i've written about before, i've really embraced my introvert side over the past few years, but sometimes it gets to the point where i feel like i just...don't see anybody. i don't think sequestering myself off all by my lonesome is really that good of an idea. sure, i need a lot of time to myself and solitude to recharge my batteries, but that doesn't mean i have to lock myself away in here after work every night. and so, since i'm aiming to take two days off from the gym, i can kill two birds with one stone if i schedule friend hangs on those two days. that way, i won't be able to bail so i can go to the gym instead, and i won't feel like such a social reject. it's funny, actually, how similar i feel about both gym time and hanging out with friends: i have to work myself up to do both, but after i'm done, i feel really good about it and realize i shouldn't ever talk myself out of it.

use that one day (or two days) to get the drinking out of my system, aka no more getting drunk alone. being a goddamn adult means you can drink whatever you want, whenever you want (well, within reason), and so it's easy to justify having a drink by yourself when you get home from work. what's not so easily justifiable is drinking a glass of straight vodka, which is my habit. i choose vodka because it gets me fucked up well and quickly, but it's also too easy to pour myself a second - or third - glass. and then, whoops, i'm tanked and alone in my apartment. fortunately, i'm very good at the "open bottle, close twitter" method of just shutting internet & phone down once i'm hammered, but i've had a few drunk texting/tweeting/blogging episodes. still, even if i manage to avoid drunk dials, i always have a lingering feeling of shame afterward, and wonder if i'd be better off saving my boozed-up nights for when they're actually worthwhile. i never used to drink alone; i want drinking to once again be a social thing for me, not something i do just because i can.

gigantic glass of wine is the best glass of wine.

i've also discovered that now, when i drink too late at night, my sleep patterns get completely fucked up and i fitfully doze for the entire night. i love sleep so this is basically the worst.

and lastly, i want to be better to myself. let's just take the last few days out of the equation right now, because that was an atom bomb of what-even-the-fuck that i can't factor in to this one. (to be brief, it definitely compounded a lot of preexisting shitty feelings, obviously.) but look, there's a lot of personal issues i don't like talking about, even though braver souls than i - many of them i'm fortunate enough to call my friends - have written about in public. there's a lot of bullshit and flaws and personal problems that i totally have enough experience to write about, but...i don't know. maybe i'm a coward. maybe i'm afraid of being judged. but to put it simply, i am very hard on myself, and i've never really been that good to me, and this self-loathing has manifested in any number of destructive ways throughout my twenties. my inner monologues are fucking vicious. i tear myself down every goddamn day of my life, and you know what, it's tiring. i'm tired. i'm thirty years old and i should not be stuck in the same rock-bottom self esteem mindset as i was when i was twenty-two. this is a childish thing, to feel all the time that you're not good enough.

that said, the scariest thing is to ask for help. it is. it means admitting that you're not alright, and that sort of thing leaves you vulnerable to feeling judged, or feeling like you'll always be seen through this lens of possibly not being okay. but last week - like i said, even before the whirlwind of crazy that's happened in the last few days - i finally told my mother that i need to get help sorting out my fucked-up brain chemistry (preferably not with drugs thanks very much), and so i'm going to my doctor's tomorrow to get a referral to a therapist. i need to talk a lot of shit out with a neutral third party, i think. i'm very aware of the problems i have and where they stem from, so what i really need is a game plan for moving forward, and also a way to motivate myself to actually make changes in my life, so i don't keep repeating the same ridiculous mistakes.

and this is the one thing i keep thinking of:

"well, you took a gamble."
"yeah. and holy fuck, did i ever lose."
" know what? i don't think you did."

add those extra points to the list of things i've learned.

[ music | none ]

how the end always is

"this has got bad news written all over it. you know how he is."
" i thought i knew him. i really thought i did."

so, i could talk about the lingering anger and the absolute fucking misery that comes with realizing that five years of your life just got invalidated.

i could talk about how this sort of thing really makes you look back and reconsider everything you thought you knew, and how much of it was probably lies.

i could talk about the fight-or-flight response, and how i always have the instinct in overwhelming situations to run, but then i realize that this city will never not be haunted for me.

i could talk about how incredibly embarrassed this makes me, and how it just highlights what a naive little idiot i was for all those years, throwing away her time and energy and effort and love on someone who never quite returned it.

i could talk about how now, more than ever, i feel like those five years were a complete and utter fucking waste of my life.

i could talk about the actual story of what happened in the end.

but i won't.

because although i know i have every right to feel all of these things - and i could write about them for days - i absolutely refuse to let this bullshit turn of events disrupt my life any further. (for those curious: yes, i did text him, and i briefly said what i needed to say in a choice of words that was as cutting and final as i could make it. there has been no response. i am completely fine with that.)

it's gone. it's over. it's done. and i think, this time, i actually might have learned my lesson.

now to take something away from all of this and goddamn make something out of it.

[ music | none ]

Sunday, January 5, 2014

fuck this

it never doesn't suck when the man who you spent five years - five of your really good years - of your life with, who told you repeatedly that he "doesn't believe" in marriage, who refused to discuss a future with you, who argued that weddings are lame and cost too much money and that he doesn't see the point in it, who kept telling you that he never wanted to get married ever...yeah, it really fucking sucks when you find out he just got engaged.

so much for the afterglow.

(you fucking liar.)

[ music | red lorry yellow lorry, "hollow eyes" ]