Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Serenity Now!

Wow, has it really been over a week since my last post? The super lame one that wasn't so much a post as a list of ingredients in my cupboard? Man, this might be a new low.

It isn't traffic, comments, or networking potential that I mourn when I don't post for a while. I mourn the words that I was too lazy or tired or preoccupied to write. They might not necessarily be eloquent words, they might not say what I need them to say, but each one of them helps me stretch that writing muscle and brings me closer and closer to finding that eloquence.

See? That muscle metaphor? Weak. But, now I'm writing. I'm thinking. I'm trying things out. And maybe if I write again tomorrow, instead of a week from now, I'll be able to come up with something before that muscle stiffens up again. Oh, yes, I am riding this lame metaphor ALL the way out.

Get ready for a forced segue!

Speaking of stretching muscles, let's talk about my current fitness routine!

Yeah. That just happened. Believe it.

No, but seriously. Remember when I wrote this post about being happy? Part of the deal was to focus on being healthy instead of thin. And while there are times *cough*Christmas*cough* that I am neither, I think if I were to stick to what I said, I should be reasonably pleased with myself. I don't always find the time or energy to exercise, and I might bake a little too much for my own good. But, generally, I am healthy.

But recently, I've found that I do need to be more proactive in losing some weight. My clothes don't fit properly, and I'm not comfortable in my own skin. And I find myself wishing I could just do one of those crash diets that are just as impossible as they are bad for your health. I could eat nothing but grapefruit for a month, right? No. I couldn't. Even if I could, why would I want to?

Sometimes I understand how morbidly obese people on those TLC shows get to be the way they are. Maybe they just get so damned tired of thinking about food and calories and fats, until they wonder if this was really how they were meant to spend their lives: struggling against a country and culture that foster obesity while concurrently shaming anyone whose arms jiggle when they wave. Maybe it's like, "Screw it! I'm just going to enjoy this food and not think about it." As if that were possible.

Maybe I should get to my point. Balance. That is the word of the day. The word for my year. Instead of pondering crash diets or berating myself for even considering them and thus going back on my resolution to be healthy, I will accept that I would like to look different and take steps to achieve that. Then when I take one of those steps, I will pat myself on the back. Like when I had a good workout on the treadmill or when I choose a grapefruit over a third pancake (Both those things really happened!)And when I slip up? I slip up. I can be okay with it. I think.

When my husband showed me this lovely picture, all I could talk about was how fat I looked. I don't want to be that girl. I want to punch that girl in the face.

I'm looking for balance with my writing. I need to do more of it, but I also need to spend more time on my projects, meaning I can't worry about how often I update my blog if I'm working on something I need to spend more time writing, like the fiction I keep saying I'm going to attempt. Maybe I need some writing prompts. Or a dictator. A dictator who has given up on world domination and just wants to see me write a short story, for god's sakes, and who will yell at me until I'm done.

Balance in parenting. I think I have made vast improvements in my quest to stop worrying and over-thinking every feeling I have as a mother. Like, I don't need to feel guilty because I wish I could get out of the house more and do some of the things I did before having Charlotte. It doesn't mean I don't love her. It doesn't mean I regret having a child. I know these seem like obvious statements, but this is really how crazy I am.

The other night, Charlotte was in one of the moods, all too familiar at this juncture of our relationship, where she wanted to push my buttons. She was doing the opposite of everything I told her to do. She grabbed on to the base of a floor lamp in the corner of my bedroom she knows she isn't supposed to touch. I asked her to stop. At which point, she looked directly at me and began to shake it harder. I moved to physically pull her away from it, but I was too late. The heavy, frosted glass shade fell down and landed on her head. In that instant, before I had a chance to see the damage, when I wasn't sure if it had hit her eye, cut open her head, or gave her a concussion, I was terrified. But, I was also MAD. I told my friend that she was trying to piss me off, and she succeeded more than she had dared to hope was possible. I hate when people use a child's injury as an "I told you so" moment, convenient though it may be, so I refrained. But, once I ascertained that it was just a bump, I silently thought, "Bet you won't be touching that lamp again!"

The old me would second-guess those feelings, wonder if a GOOD mom, a mom who actually loved her children would entertain those thoughts. But, I didn't. I have accepted the balance between the idea of devoting all of yourself, leaving nothing for yourself, and of being a selfish parent. I am neither. I am human. I am ZEN.

Okay, so I'm far from Zen. But, I'm closer. Happier.

Oh, and these are my new glasses. Special shout-out to Jana who told me all about the magic of Warby Parker.


  1. I love that your title has an exclamation mark. Serenity Now! is so I'm making my serenity happen, it's HERE.

    You sound good. You look awesome. Grapefruit is delicious! If you want me to make you write 500 words a week of fiction, let me know. I have ways.

    OK, the ways are mostly to email and tweet at you incessantly until you give me 500 words a week of fiction but still. WAYS!

  2. Balance. That's a lovely word to strive for this year. It makes me kind of wistful even thinking it...

  3. @Clara- I would LOVE to have you make me write. I think I need to get my feet wet a little before I feel confident enough to send you, of all people, anything I write. And I say "of all people" because you are, you know, a GREAT writer, and I like that right now you don't know how bad I am and maybe still respect me a little. ;)

    But, if you have any suggestions or tips for me on how to get started, well, I'd appreciate that.

    Oh, and the "Serenity Now!" is a Seinfeld reference.

    See? You thought I was cool. But, really, I just watch too much television.

  4. @Ginger- I know! It's such a good word for me at this point in my life.

  5. When I saw that picture I thought of how Californian you guys look. If I tried to take E to a beach, the mist would freeze on his wee nose. So sad. :)

  6. Yeah, I guess we sort of fit in here. I have been a Californian for almost 30 years. But, I am not digging this 70 degree weather in January. It was nice for a few days, but I want a real winter, damnit!

  7. Now see, *I'm* the loser for not getting the pop culture joke. See!

    Yeah you don't have to show anybody anything. That's scary. (you're probably not as bad as you think) (and thank you for the compliments) could set a timer for 15 minutes and just free-associate. Or try writing a whole tiny story in 15 minutes. I find a timer is usually easier than a word count because with the latter you just spend the whole time checking how many words you have, right?

    A few years back when I started running for real and doing a sort of couch-to-fiveK program, I made the connection between training for a 30 minute run, say, and writing. Both involve little, doable chunks, repeated over a few days a week. Eventually your muscles will build up and you will be surprised at how strong you are.

    So - 15 minutes a day? Go!

  8. That's definitely possible. Thanks for the pep talk, Zen master!