This Fat Girl Isn’t on a Diet

donut dietYou’re probably coming into this post going, “Who cares?” because you’re probably tired of people talking about their diets (and exercise routines, but that’s another post). You’re tired of hearing about paleo and gluten-free and high protein and low fat and no carbs and fasting and juicing and everything else that everyone else is doing in order to get healthy, be healthy, and lose weight. You’re probably wondering, “Why does this ditz need to proclaim that she’s NOT dieting?”

I’m glad you asked.

Two reasons.

1. I’m probably giving people mixed signals in regards to my eating because I can’t eat mass quantities in one sitting (I’m the disgrace of my family; my tiny little ninety year old great-aunt eats more at a family dinner than I do) and I do eat fairly healthy most of the time. I don’t drink a lot of soda, I don’t eat a lot of fast food, I don’t eat a lot of sweets or candy, I don’t eat a lot of processed food, I make a lot of vegetarian meals, I will crave salad, and if I’m not careful, my baby carrot addiction will get out of hand and I’ll end up turning orange.

So, it can look like I’m on a diet. Especially if you see me eating celery because who in the hell eats celery any other time?

(For the record, I actually eat it to help with acid reflux. And it works. Weird.)

And since it can look like I’m on a diet, then it also looks like I’m going off my diet or cheating on my diet when I talk about eating my weight in Sorrento’s pizza. Or when I talk about drowning my sorrows in ice cream because the Cubs lost. Or when I post pictures of me eating a plain cake doughnut with strawberries and whipped cream. Or any other time I talk about eating stuff that’s “bad” (the labeling of certain foods as bad irks me, but again, another post).

I don’t want you to panic and think I’m failing at yet another thing in my life. I’m not. Everything’s cool. I’m not riding on any wagon so you don’t have to worry about me falling off.

Also, that baby carrot intervention isn’t necessary. I can quit any time I want.

2. It’s easily assumed that because I’m a fat girl that I should be on a diet so I can qualify for Good Fat Girl Status.

You know what that is, don’t you? Good Fat Girl Status? Being a “good” fat girl means that you’re trying to lose weight. When people see you eating healthy and/or exercising, they assume you to be a “good” fatty because you’re trying to no longer be any kind of fatty.

Well, you know what happens when you assume, right? I wreck your world and burst your bubble and make you sad.

I am not on a diet. My health focal points actually have nothing to do with weight loss. For me, weight loss is a side effect of doing better for my health. My ultimate goal is to feel better, a total subjective measurement that only I can evaluate. My “diet” for this is drink a lot of water and don’t eat too much garbage food. That’s it. It gives me far less angst than counting calories or keeping track of points or wondering if cavemen ate cottage cheese.

And if that gives me Bad Fat Girl Status, then I’m cool with that.

We all know that bad girls have more fun.

Why The Timeless Man Got Postponed and Other Life Lessons

Cheaters and ChupacabrasI was supposed to self-publish The Timeless Man last month and the reason why I didn’t publish it is because it didn’t have a cover.

It’s like this.

A friend did the cover for the first Ivy Russell novella, Cheaters and Chupacabras. I decided that I wanted the other three novellas to use the same background, but a different symbol for each novella (for Cheaters it was the wedding rings). I asked this friend if they could do the symbols for the other three novellas earlier this year and they agreed.

But between illness and humidity (because that affects art when you’re working with water colors, kids) and communication issues, it’s now July and the cover still isn’t done. I’m not sure when it’s going to get done or what I’m going to do when it gets done since this has sort of jacked up my entire self-publishing timeline, not to mention it’s not just this cover that needs to not be plagued by humidity, but the next two as well and I don’t feel like it would be a good idea for me to try to publish anything until I have every cover done. And so, we limbo.

The last time I inquired about the covers, which was Tuesday night, in the course of our conversation, my friend said to me, “I thought you got mad and just did it yourself anyway.”

See, that’s the life lesson I’ve taken away from every interaction I’ve had like this and there have been a lot in my existence. People I work with or ask for help from or ask favors of don’t come through for me often, so I just end up doing it myself, if I’m able to do it at all. It’s now such a common occurrence that people just expect it to end this way.

And it’s all my fault.

When you come out of the birth canal (or in my case, c-section incision) as a preordained responsible, independent human, then that’s your label for life. People go to you for help and you help them because you can and that’s what the world tells responsible, independent humans to do.

But when the script gets flipped and the responsible, independent human needs help, nobody knows their lines anymore. They don’t know how to react. Because the responsible, independent humans have a tendency to attract and surround themselves with somewhat flaky, dependent humans that just aren’t up to the task of helping. They want to, but they just can’t. Because reasons. Or they will, but it’s on their timeline, which is completely out-of-sync with your timeline, and that’s just too damn bad because you should just be grateful that they’re helping you at all.

So, I don’t ask for favors very often because I know the likelihood of being blown off or disappointed is pretty high and when I do ask for a favor hoping that maybe this time will be that one time things are different and they end up being the same, yeah, I tend to stop asking and keep on slogging through life on my own, doing everything the hard way because it’s been made pretty obvious that I’m a responsible, independent human and therefore shouldn’t not require much in the way of help. So, yeah, I either get pissed and do it myself, or I find myself in limbo, at the mercy of someone else’s timeline.

Which sucks.

‘Cause it makes my books late.


Disclaimer: I love my friends, I really do! Even though some of them aren’t the greatest at helping me out when I need it, they still have other qualities that are absolutely marvelous. All of my friends have their faults, as do I (and I have more than most), but they’re all really good people.

I wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t.

Give me some credit here.

A Quick Thought on Love Winning

rainbowflagLast Friday marriage equality was declared law of the land and I am down with that. Not because I’m the marrying kind (thought if I do decide that I am the marrying kind and the kind I want to marry is a woman, then yes, I have a vested interest in this outcome in the future), but because I know that there are other people that are the marrying kind and I think they should have that civil right. I am all for it.

The reason I think I am so all for it and probably would be all for it even if I wasn’t a bisexual gal is because of my great-aunt and my childhood.

I have a great-aunt who is a lesbian and throughout my childhood she and her then-girlfriend were often present at family functions. These were happy occasions usually, filled with food and laughter and hugs. Wonderful, warm occurrences in my existence. Now, the children were never expressly told that my great-aunt was a lesbian (I was in my teens before I did that math and then got confirmation from my mother), but in my kid-brain I put her and her girlfriend together. They were always at the family functions together so in my head they were one entity, a team, a partnership. And I remember a lot of my cousins referring to them likewise.

The big thing about these family functions, though, was that even though it was not expressly stated to the children that my great-aunt was a lesbian, none of the adults treated her as anything but a beloved family member. She was never treated as an other or a less-than. She was never treated, at least in my memory, as a deviant or a disappointment. She was loved and respected and cherished and so was her girlfriend.

So to see people so dedicated to treating people like my great-aunt as other or less-than, to deny them a government contract that grants them a certain set of rights that are only granted to couples that enter into that contract, to see people that I share DNA with, my own blood, HER own blood, putting their religion and their adherence to a cherry-picked handbook above someone that they are told by that same handbook to love, is just fucking baffling to me. I don’t get it and I decided on Friday, once and for all, that I’m not going to get it and I don’t want to get it. I’m sorry you feel that way and I feel sorry for you because you feel that way. I’m sorry you choose self-righteousness and a promise of an afterlife by some super judgmental god over loving and protecting and relating to people in the here and now. But if that makes you happy (and considering how many folks are frothing at the mouth right now, it doesn’t seem to make them THAT  happy), then you do you.

But my great-aunt is not an other. She is not a less-than. I am not a less-than. That guy you don’t know marrying his partner of fifty years is not a less-than.

The way you cut your own humanity off like it’s some sort of defect, though, that’s pretty less-than.

Love wins.

Charity Money

thumbs upIf you’ve been present in my social media world in the past week or so, then you know that I’ve been doing some linking to a few different things that are raising money for a couple of different causes (a teacher friend has a campaign to raise money for some hands-on math supplies for her high-poverty students at DonorsChoose.Org; The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund is having an auction; Davy’s Angels are selling t-shirts with the proceeds also benefiting DJEMF). In addition to trying to raise some awareness for these activities, I’ve also donated to my friend’s campaign, bought a t-shirt, and have been getting outbid left, right, and center on the nifty memorabilia at the auction.

I like to put my money where my mouth is when I can. And I try to work it so I always have money for my mouth (thought I will have no trouble running my mouth for various charities and organizations when I can’t afford to donate; that is the very least I can do).

So, I feel I should make a full-disclosure about my charity money, the money I earmark to donate to various causes, charities, organizations, and whatnot because that money might involve you, too.

My charity money is the money I make garage sale-ing my life.

That’s right. If you buy any of my crap on eBay (stuffed animals will be going up in the next month or so, BTW) or any of the stuff I’ve made and put in my Etsy shop (new bracelets should be in the shop in the next few weeks), then the money you pay me will probably go to one of my chosen organizations.

Now, it didn’t always work like this. For the longest time, that money went to pay my bills. And then, when I started making enough money through my various day jobs and a little from writing, I started saving it up. It’s never been a big cash flow. More like a nickel trickle. And last year I came to a point where I decided to put those nickels to some good use.

Why am I telling you this? Because some people like to tell other people how to spend their charity money. Even if they have absolutely no connection to that person’s charity money, they still feel the need to tell them that there are other, more deserving organizations than whatever one they chose to donate to, oh, and by the way, there’s no need to tell people that you donated to any charity because they do it all the time without needing to mention it, you unhumble jerk.

I am telling people this so they don’t make the grave mistake of buying something from me (except my books; that’s bill-paying money and I’m fairly sure folks are cool with me paying my bills) only to then have me take the hard-earned money they gave to me in exchange for goods and give it to some organization that they don’t feel is deserving and would rather I not ever mention.

I am also telling people this so I can tell the people that don’t even buy my stuff, but still have a problem with the organizations I give to, that they can just shut the fuck right up, turn right around, and give to the organizations they think are more deserving. Don’t like me talking about my organizations? Then you talk about yours louder than I talk about mine. Or don’t tell anyone at all and just mute/unfriend/hide me. Whatever trips your trigger, floats your boat, and/or tickles your fancy.

But for the love of all that is unholy, just in general, STOP TELLING PEOPLE THAT THEIR GIVING PRACTICES/AWARENESS RAISING IS WRONG. Sweet mercy, you fucking buzzkills. Shaming people because their giving/awarness-ing isn’t to your liking is just a dick move and you’re a terrible person and you should feel bad. No, really. You need to analyze your need to belittle someone trying to do something good. Because that seems like a serious hang-up to me. Major personality flaw. Also, not a good look.

(For clarity’s sake and to cut off an argument before it starts, I’m not talking about valid criticism of an organization because not all of them act on behalf of the greater good. I’m talking about people shitting on a reputable organization and/or fundraising/awareness attempts because of blah blah bullshit bitchcakes. You know what I’m talking about.)

So, in conclusion, if you buy something from me during the garage sale-ing of my life, that money will probably end up going to a organization that I dig. If that offends you, then you should not buy my stuff.

Except my books.

Always buy my books.

Let Me Meditate on That

sunWhen I first started doing yoga about ten years ago, I sort of snubbed the spiritual/mediation part of it. It felt odd for me to include it since my whole purpose was to use yoga for exercise, not enlightenment. Let me just get my stretch and strength on. I don’t need to appeal to a higher consciousness to make it count.

Things like that, thoughts like that, have a way of coming back to bite me in the ass. Because here I am, ten years later, meditating.

Of course, like yoga, I’m using it more for health purposes rather than enlightenment.

Meditation, taking that brief timeout to rest the brain, has proven to reduce stress levels and that is an area of my world that I’ve always needed help with. I have a tendency to work and stew and think and worry and work some more and never give myself a break. This summer, I decided to teach myself to give myself that break I need.

And I’d like to say that my anecdotal evidence supports the science I’ve seen. I feel much better mentally and my stress levels are quite a bit lower. I’m happier. It’s a nice, bright feeling. I rather like it.

So, if you’d like to give meditating a try, here’s how I do it.

First of all, I don’t think of nothing. A lot of meditating folks will tell you to clear your mind and not think of anything and that’s just an invitation to thinking about something and that’s frustrating when you’re trying so very hard not to think of anything. Total opposite effect that meditating is supposed to have.

If I want to clear my mind as much as possible and not think of anything then I focus on thinking about one thing. The easiest thing to do is just count breaths. Focus solely on your breathing (deep breaths in and out through the nose) and the numbers. That way you’re focused, but not really thinking. You know what I mean? I give myself a set number of breaths that I’m supposed to hit and when I get to that number, I can be done. Just doing even a small number that way relaxes me.

I’ve also used my mediation time to focus on other thoughts. For example, when I meditate in corpse pose (lying on your back, arms out a little, palms up, legs and feet relaxed, eyes closed) I picture myself breathing in happiness and breathing out unhappiness. It sounds stupid, but it’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s positive, and it keeps my mind from wandering all over hell and thinking stressful thoughts. I end up feeling happier when I’m done because, well, I’ve been breathing in happiness, haven’t I? Yeah.

When I meditate sitting up, I’ll focus on other positive, productive thoughts, a short phrase that I might repeat to myself or a picture I’ll create in my head and concentrate on, but it’ll just be one thing for the entire period.

That sort of focus calms my mind and reduces my stress levels. It’s calming but for me it’s also productive because I’m focusing on something (like breathing in happiness). I’m doing as much as relaxing.

Second of all, meditating takes practice. Your brain needs to be conditioned to accept your quiet time. I try to meditate about the same time every day. That sort of habit helps. Some days I’m very focused and some days, my brain is like a monkey on meth and cannot be contained. I still do it on those days and get what I can from it. Even a little is better than nothing. But the more I do it, the better I get at it.

Which is really good for my stress levels.

I Don’t Know How You People Do It

Energizer Bunny

In the next week I’ll have a holiday party, three Christmases, grocery shopping, one floorset shift, and hopefully a haircut.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

And I can feel my anxiety rise every time I look at my calendar.

It’s not that I don’t want to do these things (okay, I’m not a big fan of grocery shopping), but it’s just a lot of me to do in a week. For once, this has nothing to do with my laziness.

I’m an introvert.

Someone explained it that when it comes to social interactions, extroverts take in the energy from being out and about while introverts expend it. As an introvert, this means I will be expending some level of energy for every activity I do the week in question. The routine stuff, like floorset and grocery shopping, doesn’t require as much energy as the holiday party and the Christmases will, but it will all cost me. I’m going to be more than wiped out by the time it’s all said and done.

As an introvert, I require a certain amount of preparation and recovery time from social interactions. Sometimes it’s not much. Sometimes it’s a lot.

This means I don’t go out as much as my friends. I’m not as socially active. I have one friend that I know might be home for dinner one or two nights a week, maybe. She’s always running. After work there are all sorts of activities that she or her husband or her kids are involved in. And that’s great! But I have no idea how she can manage it because for me, it would be so draining that I’d be dead within a week.

She is an extrovert. And I’m little jealous of that.

Being an introvert can be a bit tiring. I don’t go out as much with my friends as maybe I should or maybe I’d like to. There are times when my energy is riding high and I’m good to go. Lots of times, it takes all I can muster just to get through the regular social interaction of my day. As a result, people stop asking you to do things because they know the answer will “always” be no. It’s kind of a bummer.

I’m not trying to whine about it. I’m sure there are bummer aspects to being an extrovert, too. I’m just not sure what they are.

I’m too busy looking on in amazement at how people can be so socially active and not need a day or a weekend or a week (or month, or…) to recharge. To me, extroverts are like the Energizer Bunny, just going and going and going.

Meanwhile, as an introvert, I feel like a dying laptop battery that’s gotta be charged every couple of hours.

I wonder if I can get a replacement off of Amazon.

When I Put My iPod on Shuffle

English: An 2G Shuffle iPod

I came across a Twitter hashtag that had people name the first 30 songs that came up on their shuffle. That’s a little timeline clogging for me, but I still liked the idea of it and decided to put it on the blog instead.

Okay, maybe this post belongs in Friday Funtimes, but I happen to think that the kind of music a person listens to reveals a little something about themselves. For example, it says a lot about someone who loudly proclaims that any one genre of music sucks. A whole lot.

So what do my 30 songs tell you about me (aside from the fact that my taste in music is questionable because that’s already been established)? Also marvel at the sense of humor my iPod has. I’m telling you. This thing is sentient.

1. “Let Him Fly” -The Dixie Chicks

2. “Your Mama Don’t Dance” -Poison

3. “Laugh Kills Lonesome” -Michael Nesmith

4. “Hold On/Luka” -The Dan Band

5. “Can You Dig It?” (Peter Version) -The Monkees

6. “I Hate Everything About You” -Ugly Kid Joe

7. “Magic Man” -Heart

8. “Sound of the Underground” -Girls Aloud

9. “A Girl’s Gotta Do” -Mindy McCready

10. “Groovy Kind of Love” -Phil Collins

11. “What’s My Name Again?” -Blink-182

12. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” -Joan Jett

13. “Mo Run Gael, Dileas” -The Rankin Family

14. “Bad Medicine” -Bon Jovi

15. “Penny Music” -The Monkees

16. “Bang Bang” -Nancy Sinatra

17. “The Light of a Fading Star” -Flogging Molly

18. “For Pete’s Sake” -The Monkees

19. “Abba Medley: Mama Mia/Fernando/Waterloo” -The Dan Band

20. “Mother, Mother” -Tracy Bonham

21. “Highway to Hell” -AC/DC

22. “Girl, Girls, Girls” -Liz Phair

23. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” -Michael Jackson

24. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” -The Beatles

25. “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?” -Reba

26. “She’s Always a Woman” -Billy Joel

27. “Carmina Burana” -O Fortuna

28. “Only God Knows Why” -Kid Rock

29. “Get Up” -Dropkick Murphys

30. “Check Yes or No” -George Strait

A few notes on this list.

-This list does not accurately reflect my love of covers, mash-ups, and 80’s pop.

-If you knew Gaelic, you’d understand why putting “Mo Run Gael, Dileas” in between “Bad Medicine” and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” is either baffling or brilliant.

-Sticking AC/DC between Tracy Bonham and Liz Phair is pretty funny.

-Considering I own every album The Monkees released and then some, I’m shocked that only 3 songs made the list.

-Ditto only one Michael Nesmith song making the list, not because I own all of his albums, but because of the four I do own, shuffle loves them.

-“Carmina Burana” in between two ballads will drop your transmission. Talk about shifting gears too fast.

-None of my R&B, hip hop, rap, jazz, blues, bluegrass, or classical made the list.