Monday, March 25, 2013

One Of Those Ecard Daze: Smartphone God

It's been one of those days; one of those dazes. There's many ways to measure the success of your endless day before the keyboard, many of them with the dry wit of someecards.  Here's mine:

Hear ye, hear ye.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weighing The Issues 2: The Revenge Of The Resentful

WARNING: It's not a funny post - do not be taken in by the picture of the clown. As in the picture, it is a trap. This is a ranty lady post.
 I know, it's okay; I'll see you next week.

So, I've been trying to lose weight for a few years...I finally made it to target weight back in December of 2011. I know, breaking news right?

Anyhow, before that I had a bit to say about my goals, my lack of progress, and my methods...since then, I found an online calorie-keep-track-of-er (I don't like the term "calorie-counter", and I never look at the numbers anyhow; it has a colorful little bar that tells you whether you're in the red or not, but "calorie-color-er" is a prohibitively confusing term) called LoseIt, and I charged through the rest of my weight loss like a herd of...well, not turtles perhaps, but not racehorses either. Like a herd of conservatively-paced pack animals, let's say. Maybe Shetland ponies.

I reached my goals, eventually -- surpassed them even, and I was soooo happy.  My friends congratulated me, complimented me. Clothes looked nicer on, I wanted to wear less and bare more as per my Hawaiian social mores, the self-esteem was being fed and the face was too, although to a lesser extent -- the roses, they were a-coming up. American Dream style.

Then, as someone other than me might've expected, Phase 2 of having lost weight happened -- and the compliments and congratulations stopped. What more is there to say, seemed to be the sentiment -- you're thin now, you don't need encouragement like the rest of us. Just be happy, you made it.

It felt strange -- to be given so much love and support while failing, and then dismissed once there was success. I told myself I couldn't expect an eternal yay-me parade, and tried to let it go. 

Can't last forever

But maintaining weight is a struggle, too -- not as huge of a struggle, of course -- but a non-stop, for-the-rest-of-your-days long-haul slogfest that people really do NOT support.

Because now you're lumped in with skinny people, most of whom are -- aarrgh -- naturally skinny. They don't worry about what they eat because it's never been an issue, and they'll treat you like you have an eating disorder if you decline food or talk about calories. And your heavy buds don't want to hear you complain, either -- Oh, cry me a river, Miss Size Four. Striking the balance between foods that won't make you feel like you're on a diet for all eternity and stuff that won't make you backslide is a guessing game now played in the solitude of your own head, without being able to chat about strategies or good-calorie-value "finds" with others -- neither camp wanna hear it. I find that I keep myself a few pounds under target weight just so I can be spontaneously taken out to eat -- nobody, regardless of weight or health habits, wants to hear "No, thank you anyway - I can't afford it calorically." It's a guaranteed rage-and-resentment-fest every time, so I just try to stay under that line in my head/on the scale so I'm not seen as "being difficult". Yeah, I'm such an asshole for making a goal, doing what it takes to accomplish that goal and sticking with it. Forget eternal yay-parade, could I get an "It's okay, I understand" up in here?

There's a place in all weight loss plans that's like "The Wall" long-distance runners talk about -- where you feel like you've slammed to a halt, and can't go on any longer. When you start to get really close to the weight you ought to be, your body clings to every pound because it's convinced you're on the road to starvation and self-destruction. Every quarter-pound must be squeezed mercilessly out of the week, and you feel like you've lost all momentum, are failing right before the finish line, etc. It's a tough hurdle, especially that last pound, but you do get there. But that incredible toughness, where it takes ages to make downward progress? I live there now. Every time I go up, I have to take the tough line for two weeks to see my way home. It makes me seem obstinate, and unreasonably harsh to today's low-effort humans -- but it's important to me, and I tried so hard to get where I am that no, I don't feel like compromising. Coz that's how you backslide -- especially if you like carbs and dairy as much as I do! It's even harder to lose weight when you are too childish to eat your veggies.

My inner child is very opinionated

So when Phase 3 kicked, I wasn't ready. I thought the other shoe had already dropped on me -- no more talking turkey, I now keep up the balancing act alone. There's gotta be some cloud in all the silver lining, and the realist in me had accepted that. But a year had passed, and I started meeting people who'd never known me when I was heavy. The one's who'd say, "Oh, well, it's easy for you," or "You don't know what it's like" when weight management comes up.

I work in an office environment, next to the administrative staff. All ladies. It comes up a lot.

And Phase 3 has gotten a little dark -- in offering words of support or giving input, such a familiar activity from back in the pre-LoseIt days, I now get active rejection. Sometimes even anger. Assuming I was never "that heavy," (We aren't competing, are we?? I thought we were collaborating) or that it must have been somehow been easier for my bodytype or what have you, undermines the shit out of the girl who marched at the head of an imaginary parade a year and a half ago. I've lost some sort of connection or cred to that whole heavy-girl identity, and am now resented for trying to impinge upon that group. Hey, anyone who knows about the Venn Thigh-agram should have lifetime, if honorary, membership.

My inner chunky chick is also pretty sassy

So I guess target weight ≠ dharma moksha. Weight issues still exist even from the other side of the looking-glass, and create class-like boundaries that confuse and isolate women even as we reinforce them. But although this was a real good-old-fashioned rant, full of opinions and no real funnies, I'm puttin' it up here for the sake of acknowledging both the struggle and the accomplishment, and most of all the boundary that marks the two. Hopefully if we see it's really there, we can build a bridge over it and not let it keep us isolated or unhappy in our separate bodies -- regardless of that body's weight.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Things That Go Together: The Sesame Street Martians and the Warner Brothers' Gophers

In this wide random world full of stuff and stimuli, there's some things that just go together in your mind. Oh, you know it to be true -- is it that rubber-rainboot yellow that goes with the sound of rain? How about the smell of your grandma's house, which is the smell of peace of mind? Or the sound of seagulls, forever linked to that one special memory, the day when you -- ? No, no need to tell me. I can tell you know what I mean now.

They're not always quite so profound -- but like a good double feature, your brain will sometimes draw a line between two things in life and say to you, Here, look. Like the Sesame Street Martians and the Warner Brothers' Gophers. Both are pairs of tiny, unworldly little creatures in an us-against-the-world pairing -- one never without the other. This double duo exemplifies a common theme that has no name but now, thanks to one conscientious blogger, has a fan pic.

What "goes together" for you?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trying Snowboarding OR: In Which Our Hero Valiantly Decides To Stay Home From Now On

People from back home always ask me the same few questions about Alaska* -- have you seen a polar bear, have you gone skiing yet, blah-I'm so original-blah. And, no. No I have not. Because Alaska is a howling wasteland of killer cold and giant monsters who can survive in that cold, which means all of the outdoors -- whether its a bear, or black ice, or just the dry freezing air itself -- wants you DEAD.


So I stay the hell indoors, like a smart person. Except for this one time...

I'd only just come up for college, so that may explain the dumb. I was seeing this guy, and he and one of my other dorm buds were into snowboarding. So they decided I must also like snowboarding, and must now go experience it to begin the lifetime love affair immediately. (They said none of these things, but I'm eloquent in my bitterness -- over what transpired next, dun dun dun.)

They put me in her car, one of those new-model VW bugs. He has long legs and she was driving, so I was in the back seat with the gear; just try to imagine my fun at the drive out to Alyeska** Ski Resort. Thankfully it was merely an hour's drive, so I didn't even have anything to complain about...from their perspective, maybe. (I'm from Hawaii, people. If it takes more than twenty minutes to get there, there's usually a boat or a plane involved.) It could've been worse, they assure me. Most resorts are way more remote. I try to think of how that should make me like their sport.

Then they strip me of some of my possessions, start shoving me into more layers, and strapping me into things. They inform me with benign magnanimity that it's fortunate for me they have enough stuff between the two of them to almost fully outfit me, otherwise it'd be crazy-expensive.

Tried again to see how to connect that dot to the "this is an awesome pastime" dot -- no luck.

So they bundle my Stay-Puft form over to the snowboard rental kiosk, and in the transaction there perfectly good money is turned into this big heavy piece of plexi-plastic bristling with angry-looking black plastic foot-traps. They pick up one of my moonbooted feet and plug it into this contraption, telling me to move it along by pushing off the ground with my other foot, "Like a skateboard." They were unmoved when I told them I'd never been on a skateboard. That should have been my first sign.

Oh, yeah -- I was immediately helpless. The big heavy boots were unbending, and I had to keep my foot at a rock-hard 90-degree angle at all times -- more like a stone sculpture of a foot than any actual pedal extremity I was accustomed to performing physical feats with. Even if push-off foot hadn't been a weird scary statue, the one strapped to the board was now a giant artificial flipper of fail I couldn't even begin to work with. I proceeded in a series of slides and falls to the end of the line for the ski lift.

Guess which one *I* am
The line should have been my second sign that these people were not my friends. It went up a twenty foot high subslope to the foot of the mountain, where the ski lift actually began. Apparently this benighted activity is so popular the lines are as long as a Disney ride's; and so to conserve space, and to mitigate the steep grade of the slope, the line zigzagged up the side of the hill with little landings at each direction change for people maneuver their gear around. This is a great idea, which is only ruined by the physical reality in which I CAN'T FREAKING STAND ON A HILL WITH A GIANT HEAVY BOARD STRAPPED TO MY FOOT. Other people can, apparently. But they're obviously wizards.

It was cute, the first time the line shuffled forward and I slid down that first bit of incline into the people behind us. We laughed, they helped me up; I apologized with rosy cheeks that were only partly due to the cold.

They weren't speaking to us at all by the time I struggled onto the first landing, gasping with effort and recovering from my seventh slide down the line on that treacherous incline, or what I like to think of as the (ha!) inc-line***...or vicious Sisyphian hellscape, whatever's easier to remember. From there it was a sort of grim effort of the tight-lipped strangers behind me to prop me up, and sort of push against me whenever the line moved -- you know, so as to keep me from knocking over the entire line like a row of bowling pins and rocketing off the edge of the last landing, back down to earth. The usual. My so-called friends offered no support or sympathy whatsoever; honestly, I think they were probably busy trying to hide how mortified they must have been. I was the quintessential total n00b, making all the wrong moves and appeared to be nothing less than a danger to myself and others. No wonder they were pretending I wasn't there nothing was wrong.

We finally got to the top of the line, and blessedly flat ground. Here was the ski lift, a giant rearing apparatus that splayed its awesome length all the way up the mountain. I looked up at it, and then learned in my usual pass/fail way that I'd found yet another thing you shouldn't do with a snowboard strapped to your foot. I picked myself up not from snow this time, but freezing water; the fricative heat of the lift, it seems, melts the snow underneath the machine. So now I was trying to sort of float/hydroplane this hateful hobble over alternating water and slush. Wooo. Dripping, exhausted, bruised, I looked up at the start of our stated objective -- a whole gorram mountain of this chicanery.

The other two looked at me, and said since the lift took two at a time, they'd go first -- so I'd have time to get ready and see how to do it. Sounds nice, doesn't it? That's why they said it. It's hard to be mean to someone who has just fallen in a puddle and is dripping pathetically at you. They made good their escape onto the chair, and vanished up into the sky. I thrashed incompetently towards the space their chair had just vanished from, and fell with a magnificent sploosh into the even deeper slush lake under the actual chair area -- which was for the best, actually, because just then a high-speed chair-shaped missile rocketed inches over my head and blasted right through My Bubble. I grinned feebly at the lift attendant as I tried to get clear of the puddle before another death chair could decapitate me. He glared stonily at me, and in no way indicated any intention of helping me to my feet.

"Whew," I said, sheepishly. "This is harder than it looks, ha ha."

"If you can't even stand up," he asked icily, "Why are you in line for the advanced slope?"


Yeah. That's right. Think about that for a minute. THE ADVANCED SLOPE.

I had nothing to say to him, because the people who had tricked me into this horrorfest had admittedly given no outward sign that they were my friends for the last twenty minutes -- I couldn't very well expect him to believe I had just gotten in line with my friends (BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T) and hadn't even known about there being different classes of slope. (Because it's a mountain -- I didn't know that came in finely-delineated grades of complexity. I thought you just survived getting down a mountain, and called it "fun".) What a putz, right?

So basically I had been seen as being deliberately obtuse this whole time, a know-nothing wannabe @$$hole posing in the advanced line. I staggered in the vague direction of the bunny slope the attendant indicated, totally crushed by this knowledge. Unfortunately, I had ascended the subslope ziggurat but had not gone up in the intended lift, so this was not actually an area designed to be flailed ineptly across.

Won't someone crash this pity-party??
I eventually just lay down and allowed myself to slide cautiously, if gracelessly, to the flat area below. I was so tired and disheartened, though, I couldn't get up; I just lay there in the snow for a while. I was looking into the resort chalet, where hundreds of happy outdoorsy types were getting burgers or cocoa. I wished with all my heart that, even if I had been tricked into coming all the way out here, I could've had the good sense to immediately dive into that warm happy place -- and refuse point-blank to allow this money-wasting demon plank to be strapped to my body. Cold, sore, tired and full of self-pity, I stared through the window until I saw someone I recognized from the college.

I am to this day profoundly grateful that it was the guy it was -- the most unselfish, cheerful and giving human I have ever taken pitiless advantage of. He's the good kind of fraternity brother, I'm talkin' seriously good, like a golden retriever had a baby with sunshine and lollipops****. I latched onto him in an exhausted sub-hysteria, and demanded that he take me home.

You know, to hour's drive away.

Away from whoever he came with and presumably wanted to spend the day with. As bad as this sounds, I honestly didn't care if he minded. I didn't even care about all my stuff in my friend's car -- I left it all behind like a fleeing refugee, even my street shoes.

An exchange was made later -- stupid expensive snowboarding gear for my precious belongings -- and the whole bailing issue was carefully avoided. And now I may go sledding, or ice skating, even though I'm still terrible at it...but the serious winter sports can just stay outside in the cold as far as I'm concerned. I will be at home, or maybe -- maybe -- at a chalet. Pitying those poor misguided people wizards on the death-planks.

*People from Alaska just ask "WHY did you MOVE???"

**Gosh, you might think, That sound an awful lot like Alaska, what a coincidence. No co-inky-dink -- this place has a magnificent history of naming bloopers that would (and does) make a linguistic anthropologist gibber.

***A line on an incline? Get it?? GET IT???

**** FB Relationship Status: "It's complicated".