Meet my nemesis

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Meet my nemesis, Mr. Scale

I thought I was like Wonder Woman in the fact that I didn’t have any kind of longtime rival. (I know. Comparing myself to Wonder Woman is foolish, but I *often* wish I was her. Still. Even at the age of 41.) Interesting fact: There is no one villain that opposes Wonder Woman, like Joker to Batman or Lex Luthor to Superman. She has no archenemy. Isn’t that odd? But I digress.

The fact is I do have an archenemy. I’ve been fooling myself by thinking that he was my supporter, not my opponent. I thought, in fact, that we had a decent although sometimes rocky relationship. Yet after a few weeks of bad mornings, I’ve decided that I need to take a breather from this relationship. As of today, like Ross and Rachel, Mr. Scale and I are on a break.

For the past 6 years, I have weighed myself nearly every day. SIX YEARS! I’ve let the scale’s wicked numbers dictate how I feel about my body. He could boost my self-confidence for the day or bring me to tears. He was a cruel bastard while I PMS’ed, and I finally learned to stay away from him during those times. But to be fair, over the past few years he was mostly good to me. Until last fall. When those numbers kept crawling back up and I couldn’t make them go back down.

Now look, I take full responsibility for my actions and the pounds of chocolate I consumed over the holidays. My running days are still very limited, but my eating is not as controlled as before. I try to count calories, but some days I just don’t have it in me. And even when I seemed to be in a good, healthy groove,  those rotten little digits refused to go any lower.

I just can’t take it anymore. I need to cut this toxic relationship from my life….for a month.

I’m not ready to cut him from my life completely, ok? Don’t judge.

Just listen when I need to talk about him. Remind me of the cruel way he kept jumping up past the 170 mark and refused to budge. If I seem agitated and tell you that I just need to see him soon, tomorrow maybe, just to make sure my weight hasn’t skyrocketed….then hold my hand and tell me to hang on.

And if I visit your house, hide your own Mr. Scale. You heard me. Hide him!

I just need this month–the month of March–to find some self respect, to find other ways to define my self worth, to discover that I’m so much more than that damn number.

Whatever that number may be.

 

 

 

That tingly feeling

I’ve been toying with the idea of renaming this blog. I haven’t been able to run for a few months now, and after my PT telling me that long distances were permanently out of the question, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to run anymore. I’ve been walking on the treadmill this winter while watching many episodes of Arrow on Netflix (I have a major girl crush on Felicity and drool-worthy fantasies of Oliver). This has been an enjoyable way to maintain some sort of fitness level.  I’ve only lost 2 of the 7 pounds I gained over the holidays, but I’ve just started to improve my eating habits again so the weight will be lost. Eventually.

This morning, as I walked on my treadmill and watched drama unfold in the fictional Starling City where Oliver is in fact the mortal superhero Green Arrow, my mind drifted to other names for this blog. “See Holly Read” was suggested a while back by my friend, Jess. I do love being a book pusher, but not sure I’m ready to only write book reviews. As I considered other topics to write about, I realized that I don’t have a helluva lot of interests. I love to write, eat, read, visit libraries, hang out with my family, friends and cats…..and run.

Sure, I can give you an opinion about nearly anything but I don’t want to write about just anything. Obviously I need to be a key component of what I write about (hence the “See Holly”) and that’s not because I’m so narcissistic. Ok. It’s not *just* because I’m narcissistic. It’s also because there are no rights and wrongs when I write about myself and how the world affects me. It’s my opinion, my feelings, my views. Rarely are there answers, yet typically more questions. But in writing about myself and how I fit into the world, I’ve come to realize that so many others feel just as lost or insecure or uninformed as I do. We all try to put on a good face, but often we have no idea what we’re doing or how we got where we are. We do the best that we can and keep chugging along.

So after finishing my treadmill walk, I climbed upstairs out of my dark basement and away from beautiful Oliver, to discover the sun was out and it was 40 degrees outside (Maine’s mini heat wave). And you know what? Right then I knew I didn’t want to rename my blog. I just wanted to keep chugging along.

And I wanted to run.

As my son buzzed around the house finishing his chores and my husband came inside after snowblowing the driveway, I put my headphones and jacket on and ventured outside for, what I told my husband, would be a mile walk. Just to get some fresh air.

After 5 minutes, I slowly jogged from one telephone pole to the next. I alternated walking with slow jogging, then skipped the walking and just ran. It was slow and I had to continuously “stabilize my core,” but I did it. Instead of that 1 mile, I took my old 5K route and ended up back home 43 minutes after I began. It was slow…but my god it was good. Maybe even orgasmic.

Well…I felt a little tingly at least.

Admittedly I also felt pain during my run. Mostly my hip and just a twinge from my back. But I didn’t feel sluggish. I just felt…grateful….happy to be able to do this with my body, even with the bits of pain. I felt ecstatic to be OUTSIDE, especially knowing that tomorrow’s temps will be back in the single digits. I was curious to see how my neighbors were doing and how they’ve fared so far this winter. It was nice to see some of them out and about, even if they were just clearing the snow and making room for more. There were still more smiles out there than frowns (although I did hear a bit of cursing, too).

This run just made me feel alive. More than I have all winter. I wish everything could make me feel this way, but not everything does. It’s been a really rough few months for most New Englanders–below freezing temps and more snow than we’ve had for a long time. The weather doesn’t affect everyone the same, but there’s no doubt that many folks have felt more blue than normal this year. I certainly have.

Today’s run gave me hope that the winter *will* in fact end some day, and maybe I’ll be able to run like this again when it’s even warmer with no hat or jacket. That sounds amazing! (Endorphins are truly magical, aren’t they? Best.drug.ever.)

But tomorrow, will I wake up in pain and feel angry at myself for overdoing it? Will I be able to walk on the treadmill in the morning and not have back spasms? Or will running be an integral part of my life again?

Maybe all of the above. Although I’m really hoping for the latter, since I already have a summer 5K race all picked out. :) And honestly? I (and my family) really need those endorphins to counteract the effects of the pill I’m taking. Things aren’t going well in that respect. But that, my friends, is another post for another day!

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Yes!

This is just a quick update. Yesterday was my follow-up after all the drama over the last few months (“I made a mistake” from the doc, then the most painful procedure ever with no results and finally knocking me unconscious to get what she needed).

No precancerous cells! Yippee!!! Nothing terribly wrong, just pretty bad endometriosis that I’ve had for years. It’s like kudzu in there, kids. Kudzu.

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I lived in Mississippi for a year, where kudzu runs rampant. It’s like the blob!

 

The only negative aspect about my visit, is the doc wants me on a birth control pill that should help control the endometriosis. I’m willing to give it a try, but I warned her that the last time I was on birth control (20 years ago), I was angry nearly the entire year. That’s angry with a capital “A”. And at that time, besides lashing out at people, I dealt with my anger by binge eating, throwing up and lying about it. That was a really bad year and one I’d rather not repeat.

So far this pill has just made me feel nauseated. But it’s possibly made my husband angry. When I asked him to pick up the pills for me, he responded with, “So…why did I get my balls snipped just two months ago?!?”

Ummmm….I just didn’t see this coming, dear. Sorry! And he did pick the pills up for me, so perhaps all is forgiven?

*fingers crossed*

My village

NPR recently broadcast a story about a man who built a retirement community in Florida, where he invited people from his native country to come and live. (All folks were welcome, but the community was designed to look like India with Indian food and music.) I listened to the story and wondered what kind of community I would like to retire to if I had the choice. What cultural group would I belong to?  I certainly identify with Mainers (and there are a load of communities in Florida filled with Mainers), but I also love being with librarians, women, writers, readers, and very tall people.

So who would live in *my* community? I want to hand pick them. Right now. I don’t want to wait until I retire. Do you know how many times I’ve wished all of my friends and family lived within walking distance of me?

I wish all of my college roommates could meet and talk about how horrid I was to live with. (Aymie and Becky, I think you would really get along. You’re both educators and great mommas and honestly, you’re both so sensual that being in the same room might make the room explode but it would be awesome!)

I wish some of my writer friends and family could meet and talk about literature and writing and wow each other with all the shit they know. (I’d love for Sean to meet Phil so they could discuss the books they’re writing or want to write. Of course then they’d end up talking about Star Wars at some point and would have to have THE talk. Han or Greedo?)

I want my work friends from all the libraries, bookstores and video stores to meet and talk about books and reading and how freaky the public can be. Share stories about the most disgusting thing (or person) you ever had to touch. (Judy from the bookstore could tell her tale about throwing away the pen the “urine lady” used and Heidi could talk about the many sticky videotape cases she had to clean.)

I want my college friends to meet my high school friends. I want my new friends to meet my old friends. I want to introduce Jess to Jo because I think they were sisters in a previous life.  I want Moriah to meet my son because I think they would love each other, even if my son will be taller than her by the time he’s 9. I want Leanne to meet my husband because they’re both such excellent and creative cooks and would have the most spectacular cooking competition ever. And Sarah and Lyn should be there to judge it because they have the best palates!

But I also want Tiffany to live closer because she seems to calm me. And Gary could work on my back with his physical therapy mojo. And Trish inspires me (and makes me cry). And Theresa makes me want to do good. And John makes me feel good about what I’ve accomplished in life. Denise and Jean bring me common sense. Chrissy makes me laugh. Monica makes me feel better about myself. Ang brings love and reminds me to be who I really am. And I want to meet all of Nichole’s family and Shannon’s kids and see Andrea and Casey in person again and oh my word this will never end! (Don’t worry, I know you were thinking it.)

On Valentine’s Day (or Dress in Black Day), maybe don’t worry so much about getting flowers and candy for your honey or get upset because you don’t have a honey to begin with. Perhaps you could think about all those fantastic people (and animals!) you have in your life instead. Who would you want to live in *your* village?

Weirdness upon weirdness

This is probably a really bad idea, but I just had to blog while the drugs from anesthesia are still swimming through my blood and my brain. Typically I just feel super tired and woozy after having a quick procedure with anesthesia, but today? Today is just plain freaky. I feel a little drunk and that all of my inner censors are on the fritz. Maybe a bit like truth serum? Like I’ve been hogtied with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.Lynda_carter-wonder-woman-golden-lasso1

I had to stop myself from commenting on other people’s FB statuses.  Seriously, the shit I nearly said was ridiculous. Truthful, perhaps, but not necessary and sometimes hurtful. As much as it feels like my brain is going wacky, I was glad I had at least a smidge of self-control.

And my family? Well, they’re still here. I didn’t scare them off too much. I *did* spray my husband with the squirt bottle we have for one of our cats, but hey! He was seriously irritating me and being a male chauvinist pig. So I let him have it. And it was truly awesome. (And he still made me dinner, so I guess all is good.) My son is doing well although I did yell at him. There was a lot of him whining this afternoon about a topic we continuously argue about, and I just couldn’t deal with it. I yelled, he whined again, then somehow I found some inner calm that I didn’t know I had. I said no to his request AGAIN, the reasons why, and the list of toys he was about to lose. He cried, I cried, we hugged and at this point we’re doing ok.

Oh. The crying. There have been a few bouts of that off and on since the hospital visit. The tears feel like they’re swirling in my gut and slowly rising up, winding around my heart and in my chest, until a little strangled cry comes out of my mouth and just a few trickles of water from the corners of my eyes.

I’m not sure what the crying is about. Relief it’s over? Yes. Still a tiny smidge worried about the results? Yup. Emotions a mess because of the drugs? Absolutely! But since I held my boy and we both had a good cry? I think those scary little convulsions may be over. I certainly hope so.

I think the rest of this evening will be filled with watching Big Bang Theory with the family, reading to my boy and hopefully dreamless sleep. Or at least no bizarre dreams. Unless Wonder Woman is involved. :)

Live What You Love

Nearly 10 years ago, when I left my job at the University of Maine Bookstore, my friend and co-worker, Diane, gave me this:

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Although I had decided to take what I thought would be a short break from librarianship (I never expected it to take me 4 years to get back to it), I was dying to be a librarian again. When I got the job at the Pittsfield Public Library back in 2005, Diane gave me this stone, LWYL–Live What You Love.  She knew how much I loved being a librarian, how much I identified with it. And since that day, I have carried this stone with me nearly everywhere I’ve gone. Each time I change purses or go on vacation, I look over everything I carry around each day to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.  This stone has gone in each and every purse I’ve owned and has been to New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Florida.  I am not a person who likes many “things.” In fact, if I could, my house would be quite sparse. (Living with my husband and son has forced me to do otherwise.)  And yet I have always held onto this stone.

Being a librarian, specifically a librarian in a small town library, is something that I truly love. I think I’m good at it, and maybe even more importantly, my library patrons (and hopefully my boss) think I’m good at it, too.  It’s never paid much, and I knew it wouldn’t.

After nearly a decade, I thought it wouldn’t bother me that I don’t make much money. In fact, it didn’t really bother me at all until a few years ago when I started to pay for health insurance for my family. That’s when my paycheck dwindled to nearly nothing. That first year, I was ok with it. It’s good insurance, and with my husband’s current health issues, it’s necessary. “Money isn’t everything,” I said. I kept telling myself that at least with my husband’s work, we can still pay our bills and everything is good.

But you know what? It’s not good.

After 2-3 years of working for health insurance and my take-home pay only being enough money for after-school childcare for my son and groceries…what the hell is the point?

Yes, I love what I do. Yes, it does fulfill a part of me that probably would go unsatisfied if I did something else. And yes, with my husband’s work we can pay our bills and take care of our son and even get to go out to dinner occasionally. But that’s with my HUSBAND’S pay. Not mine.

Before we got married, I always thought that I’d be the one in the marriage to make more money and provide the benefits. I was the one with the college education, so I should be making the most money, right? And maybe if I stayed in academic librarianship where I began my career, then I would be the breadwinner of the family, or at least a more equal partner.  But academia wasn’t for me.

Rural librarianship called my name  and I ran to it. I ran with my eyes, arms and heart wide open. I knew it would cost me, and I didn’t care. And I will agree that I’ve been happier in my career because of it….but….can I keep doing it?

Can I keep getting those tiny paychecks while someone else watches my child after school and still be ok with it? Still be happy with what I’ve chosen?

I honestly don’t know anymore.

I do know that I love what I do. That much I’m certain. It’s not just what I do, but who I am. “Librarian” would be the second label I’d give myself after “Mother.” But as I watch my son grow and mature, and the days and weeks whiz by faster than what should be possible, I keep asking myself, “How can I spend more time at home? How can I spend more time with my son, yet still contribute to our household AND maintain my well-being by being a librarian?” Or do I need to find something else to do and be, at least for a while? How do I live what I love but still be there for my son, the love of my life?

I don’t know.

I don’t have any answers. I’m hoping that if I put it out there to the universe then I’ll have the courage to change or I’ll have an epiphany or I’ll just be happier and accepting of my current situation.

I suppose time will tell.

But I do hope *you* live what you love. If not, may you find the courage to do so. Life is too damn short to be unhappy, and when we think about how many years of our life we’re actually *at* the workplace? Let’s not settle and be content with misery.  Like Pharrell Williams sings, “happiness is the truth.” So no more lying to yourself.

LWYL

 

True confessions

I don’t particularly care if you like how I dress or think my hair is ridiculous or you hate my lack of religion. It doesn’t bother me if you think I’m bossy or that my love of Cool Whip repulses you. And yet, I seem to care what you think of me as a parent.

See, my son loves video games. He enjoys Minecraft and Lego Star Wars…and Halo. Let me say that Halo is not a game I think a 7 1/2 year old should be playing.  My husband and I got into quite a “discussion” about this. I wasn’t happy *at all* and yet I relented.  Why? you may ask. Why allow your kid to play a game that is geared towards teens and adults and involves lots of shooting of guns of every size imaginable?  I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a co-parent and I must pick my battles. (Co-parenting is a subject that needs its very own blog post, so I’ll skip that for now.) But my son also got in on the discussion. He gave me reasons why he thought the game would be ok to play (“we’re shooting bad aliens, Mom, *not* people”) and he assured me that he would never shoot anyone for real. (This has always been my fear, that my son will be that guy at the top of the clock tower, picking off people for amusement.)

Once we established that my boy could play this video game, I told him not to tell anyone at school. I knew he had at least one friend that played Halo, too, and the kids often pretend to play it on the playground acting out the parts of the game, yet I didn’t want any teacher or parent to know that I had allowed my child to play this shooting game that I knew *they* wouldn’t approve of.

Why the hell do I care? Is it because I don’t want these people to think badly of me or that I’m a bad parent? Maybe. Originally I thought it was because this video game isn’t something I would have allowed him to play if I were the only parent…but you know what? As a family, we all watch The Big Bang Theory together and I told him not to tell anyone about that either. Honestly, I think some of the show is highly inappropriate for him to watch or hear, yet we all laugh hysterically and much of it is going right over his head. He’ll ask questions occasionally, and very often I tell him that we’ll talk about it when he’s older. But is it any worse than watching M*A*S*H* or Three’s Company with our parents when we were little? I don’t think so.

Maybe, in all truth, I care what you think because I want to be a good parent and I’m not always one. Sometimes I don’t make my kid brush his teeth at night or change his socks and tonight we had cereal for supper.

And yet…if all of what I’ve done (or not done) and the fact that my child plays too many video games and watches questionable sitcoms with his family makes me a bad parent, then what about everything else? What about the fact my son loves to read out loud “with expression” (his words) or that he gives someone a compliment every single day because he wants to or the fact that his vocabulary is better than some adults I know?10616646_10204630006812846_8115794330705525964_n

Or what about this? The fact that I love him more than any human being that ever existed or ever will—and he knows it.

Maybe that’s really what a good parent does–letting your kid know you love them, and that you’re doing the best that you can.

And maybe not give them cereal every night. Seriously, I need to do better on that one.