Archive for June, 2011

Published by PaintingChef on 28 Jun 2011

In the immortal words of L.L. Cool J… “Doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well”

I know I haven’t mentioned the whole weight loss thing here much recently. Oh please, let’s be honest with one another, shall we? If nothing else, at least we can do that. I haven’t mentioned much of ANYTHING here recently. I’m not complaining. Or making excuses. I’ve just been busy. And happy. And did I mention busy? None of which allows much time for the things that fly through my head at the most inopportune times (should I keep a notepad by the crapper? In the shower? WHY are these the main places that I think of things to talk to you about?) to find their way here to this hallowed pages.

Hallowed? Really? Yes really. I was immersed in some Gilmore Girls reruns yesterday while it rained and somehow my mind is stuck in kind of a private school Ivy League place and instead of deciding what to make for dinner, I spend my evenings wondering if my life would be different had I actually used my 184 IQ for something other than mixing drinks, writing papers for other people for cash and learning the ins and outs of the economics of selling pot. Somehow I kind of think it wouldn’t and that makes me happy. I like where I ended up and, like Tim Riggins, I have no regrets

(LIE! I SO should have spent that year I was unemployed in Augusta making a habit of going to the gym instead of eating shells and cheese and running up credit card debt. Also? That one boy that time in college. Oh. And the one in high school. Him too. MISTAKES.) (And that haircut. The short one. No, not the CUTE short one, the REALLY short one. And perhaps that phase where I wore long blazers and leggings and boots. Maybe… that actually may have been kind of cute and quirky. And maybe quitting the cross country team but I tend to lump that one in with one of those boys.)

Where was I? Ah. Yes. That whole don’t be such a fat ass thing. Usually I tend to not talk about something because it has been neglected. For details, please refer yourself to many prior posts about things we don’t discuss. But that’s actually not the case this time. It’s going well. REALLY well, in fact. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy because it really isn’t. Not exactly. But it is… easier? Regardless, whatever it is, it’s working. I’ve lost almost 70 pounds. And that’s kind of a big deal.

But I find myself noticing little things that are different. Ways that my life is different. Or, more like it used to be…? It’s not necessarily the numbers on the scale that I notice first although don’t get me wrong, I’m on that scale at least once a day if not more. It’s not quite the frightening piece of glass and metal that it used to be. But that’s not the big thing. The big thing is that my outlook is different. My attitude has changed. I don’t mind being the person that gets up to do something. That weeds the garden. That walks the dogs. That goes to the store. That has to run through the airport because we forgot to confirm that the plane was at the same gate that was printed on the ticket and oh look! It’s not! I don’t make excuses to not get up and do something. I just… get up and do it.

I am sleeping better. I am three sizes smaller and FOUR bra sizes smaller than I was 6 months ago. My rings are all too loose. My shoes (OH GOD… MY SHOES) are a little too big. (Anyone out there wear a size 10 shoe…40 in European sizes? Let’s talk… my babies are going to need a good home if there are ones that won’t fit again once I stock up loads of insoles) Chairs feel larger, airplane seats are more comfortable, I’ve had to change the position of the seat in my car, my couch feels larger, my shower bigger, everything, except for my ass and my pants, feels bigger. And don’t get me wrong, those things are all nice and they are tangible and I notice them. They are important. But looking better is, in a way, a side effect. I feel like the changes are from the inside out. It’s a long process. And I’m only halfway there. But the choices are easier to make. I’m not scared of myself anymore. I trust myself to not only KNOW the smart thing, but to actually DO the smart things.

I don’t deprive myself. If I want something, I have it. There is chocolate in my house. There is ice cream. There is wine… OH IS THERE WINE. But it no longer has the power over me that it did. I don’t feel hopeless. I don’t feel like I’ve ruined myself and my body and that I’ve done so much damage that it can’t be reversed. I don’t look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that it is too late for me. I no longer see my outward appearance as just another symbol of my inner weakness and failure and inadequacies. I am strong. I am happy. I am becoming healthier every day. I am proud of myself and I’ve worked hard.

And I’m doing this FOR ME. I am allowing myself to be selfish and put me first. Yes, this will help me be a good mother and a good wife. A better sister and daughter and friend. But above all that is that it will make me be a better ME. I’m finally becoming present in my own life again. I’m showing up. I’m determining what is next and I’ve finally learned that it isn’t too late to choose my own adventure. This summer, I will learn to wakeboard. I will get a tattoo. I’ve had purple hair. I’ve pierced my nose. I’ve stopped being afraid of being seen at the fat girl, even if I still look a little like her. I know that inside, I’m not her. And I’m just getting the outside to match that.

It’s hard work and it’s a long process. But I’m doing it. Every day. And that’s all that matters.

Published by PaintingChef on 17 Jun 2011

On parenting my non-existent children.

I’m not a parent. Obviously. So as a disclaimer, I’m writing this all from a somewhat skewed perspective. I have no idea what kind of parent I will be, when I finally get there. Nobody does, I imagine. I do know that one of the main reasons we stopped the fertility treatments last year (aside from the very real threat of me randomly killing a stranger in line at the grocery store) is that I was seeing what kind of parent I did NOT want to become and felt I was precariously close to the edge of an abyss I wouldn’t ever find my way out of.

(Also. Back down. Retract the claws. UNCLENCH. I’m not about to criticize anyone’s parenting specifically. Or even non-specifically. I’m getting to a point. This is about me. I know. How unusual.)

I have a cousin and he is… lost. Or floundering. Or something. To be fair, he’s never had the most solid foundation on which to build his life. Things were in turmoil from the get-go and they stayed that way. Those were his circumstances and they can’t be changed. It just it what it is. But I think the path it set him down was kind of dark and he’s battled many, many demons in his 22 years so far.

For the time being, at least, it seems he is happy. He claims he is getting his act together and it appears that he’s been off hard drugs (the boy will be a lifelong pot smoker and quite frankly, I have no problem with that) and he seems to be having an adventure at the moment traveling the northwest on trains.

But thinking about his situation and where he’s been and how he’s managed the hand he was dealt got me to thinking about parenting and the life I’d led and the decisions I’ve made. I can’t imagine that anything would be more painful that watching your children make mistakes that you feel you could shelter them from making. From watching your child, your heart living outside of your body, have even a second of pain or hardship. To see a bad decision coming and to know that it was going to happen and have consequences and that the path was going to be rocky and difficult and to want nothing more than to just MAKE IT ALL BETTER.

I’m not a parent. So I don’t know how it works. I so desperately want to offer him some sort of guidance, some perspective, anything. But is it not 100% hypocritical for me to do that? Drugs? Yup. Check. Done that. All of them. Flunked out of school? Why yes. I did. Floundered and flailed about and been a general waste of life and drain on society? Yes, as a matter of fact that does sound familiar. I like to refer to it as “my early twenties.” Very, very VERY unwise relationships? Dare I say… inappropriate? Yeah. That rings a bell. Some of it I might even take back given the chance but most of it, not in a million years. It all shaped who I am today and, at the risk of sounding like an arrogant asshole, I kind of LIKE me. And I’m the person I am because I was allowed to make mistakes.

I can’t imagine that if someone who I knew had traveled the road that I have had tried to offer me some sort of advice or wisdom. I would have laughed out loud and possibly lost all respect for them. Is it not better to quietly be in the background? A safety net should they REALLY need it? I feel like that’s what my parents did and I am so grateful to them for it. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been and I know that I made every day of their lives a living hell for more years than I care to admit. But I had that safety net. And I knew it.

What about the people who aren’t that lucky? My cousin is one of those people. He father, my uncle Todd, is gone. His Neena is gone. His mother is a train wreck. He is somewhere… out there in the world riding a train. My sister has seen him and was able to say that yes, he’s okay. For now. But he’s my family and as I’ve realized recently, I don’t have a whole lot of that anymore. I desperately want to help him, to offer him some kind of safety net. But I don’t think he wants one. And I definitely don’t think he wants one from someone who has walked the same path he has. Would he see it as anything other than hypocritical?

I guess that’s my question… can someone who has lived kind of a wild life become a GOOD parent without being a big fat faker? Am I learning from my mistakes or am I just a duplicitous asshole? I want, with all my heart, to be an honest parent; to not hide anything from my children about mistakes I’ve made. I so desperately want them (yes, those unconceived, non-existent children) to know that they can tell me anything, that they can come to me and they will be treated fairly and not be judged, that I will always try to help them and to hear them and that above all I will love them. But there have to be consequences. There has to be guidance. There must be rules and boundaries. Can those two ideas exist in the same person? Or am I just going to be a two-faced parent and there is nothing I can do about it?

Published by PaintingChef on 03 Jun 2011

My Secret Sides

Given that Patrick and I spend much more of our lives in close proximity than most married couples should, we’ve had to learn how to deal with all the different versions of each other. You know what I’m talking about. Work Susannah. Daughter Susannah. Fun Susannah. Stressed Susannah. Procrastinating Susannah. Those are all me. And nine times out of ten, your spouse isn’t going to see that side of you on a regular basis.

Because let’s be honest… a little mystery is good for a marriage. I will maintain that opinion until the day I die. Bathroom business? Keep it behind closed doors. The grooming ritual a lady must undertake before that first step is taken out on the beach? Keep it under wraps. The twitchy little frown I get when I’m trying to slog through some math at my desk? My engineer husband never needs to see that. Not if I expect to keep him impressed with a completely and utterly worthless genius level IQ. The skill and speed with which I will check something at your head if you have the cojones to ask me for a favor while I’m in the midst of a project? Nobody that sleeps next to you needs to see that ugliness. The way I will shamelessly revert to childhood if I’m going to ask my dad, the boss, to leave early and get a pedicure? Patrick needs to think that level of manipulation adorableness is exclusive to him. And I am TRULY adorable. It’s one of the perks.

On the flip side, there are sides of Patrick that I used to remain blissfully ignorant of and I was FINE. WITH. THAT. My sweet beloved? Is a bear when he feels like he is losing control of his time-management skills. In the past, I’ve had my suspicions but I’ve learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that those skills are not actually present in his body. ANYWHERE. And without going into too much detail, let’s just say that the amount of time he spends in the bathroom at home is NOT an isolated event. I’ve also learned that I’m not alone in my frustration-induced stabbiness. We BOTH have a supremely bitchy side and that boy can drama-queen it up with the best of them. If I weren’t so furious that it was briefly aimed in my direction, I believe I would have shed a tear of pride.

All in all though, I figure he’s a pretty good guy. All sides of him. And I think I’ll keep him, drama-queen tendencies and all. But let’s keep that our little secret; I’m gearing up for a new summer wardrobe and I’ll have to flex that charm pretty hard. Should I stretch? I’d hate to sprain an eyelid…