Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Suburban Friendships...

The girl stood in the driveway with her dog staring up at the piece of crime scene tape fluttering in the wind. They were "nodding acquaintances" one of those things that seemed to happen in the suburbs. Odd almost friendships. The people you would see every morning when you were out walking your dog. Or out for your daily run. Run. When did we start calling it running? Remember when we jogged? Now you must run. And you need to know exactly how far you ran. You used to go jogging for an hour now you ran for 7 miles.

The girl was new to the neighborhood. She'd only seen her a handful of times. Always when she was on her morning run (5 miles every day) and the girl was out walking her dog. Ridiculous little mop of a dog who really looked as if it wished it was being carried instead of forced to walk around the neighborhood. Dogs like that had all of the dog bred out of them. Designer dogs must have come around about the same time we all started running instead of jogging.

She nodded at the girl as she ran past.

The next day it was the same thing. The girl and her dog standing at the end of the driveway staring up at the crime scene tape. Today would be the day she would ask. Sometimes they made it three or four days, but this girl didn't seem the patient type. She was right.

"Hey! Do you know what happened here?"

She slowed down and ran in place, "Hmm? Oh the tape?"

"Yeah, I've seen it every day when we walk past. Nobody seems to live there but the tape doesn't look old. Do you know what happened?"

This part was tricky. Just how curious was she? Was she going to be the type that would be satisfied with a simple answer or was she one that needed all of the little details. She thought she was dealing with a detail person.

"It's pretty gruesome. Are you sure you want to know?"

As she watched the girl's eyes light up she knew she had been right. This was a detail person. She would want everything. Eating up someone else's misfortune like candy. By the end she would be dying to get home and share it all on Facebook. "OMG! You guys will never guess what happened!" And then leave it for awhile. Make people beg her for the story. Drag it out for as long as possible.

She looked up and down the street then leaned in and whispered to her, "Do you want to see inside?"

"Can you get in?"

"The back door is unlocked. I chased some kids out of there a few weeks ago. But I was curious as well so..." She gave her best can you blame me smile.

The girl gave a conspiratorial giggle. "Sure, let's go peek."

They both took another exaggerated look around before heading up to the house. If anyone had been there to see them it would have been painfully obvious they were lousy sneaks.

There was another piece of broken crime scene tape on the back door. But other than that everything looked normal. Just your typical suburban back yard. Swing set, old basketball hoop, garden shed. The girl was looking around trying to take in every detail.

She let them both inside through the unlocked door.

The kitchen was empty. No furniture. No appliances. Everything had been cleared out. The whole house was like this. Completely empty.

When they stopped in the living room she pointed to the edge of the fireplace. "See that dark spot? That's where the first person died. Head smashed against the edge of the brick."

The girl leaned in to look closer and shivered. "How many people did he kill?"

"Six."

"Wow..."

She pointed out a faded spot high on the wall. "That's another spot. Blood spatter is what it's called. That's trickier because the person could have been thrown against the wall or possibly hit with something that caused the spray."

"Is that how he killed them all? Hitting them? No guns or anything?"

"Nope, no guns. No knives. Hit with something or against something. Maybe a baseball bat or golf club."

The girl looked around the empty living room and gave a small shiver, "Did it all happen in here?"

"No, it was spread out. Here, I'll show you."

They walked in to a bedroom and she motioned for the girl to move away from the doorway. Lifting the edge of carpet she pulled it back to reveal hard wood floors. Hard wood floors with a very dark stain. "I don't know how far in to the room this goes, but you can see here where someone bled. A lot."

The girl shivered again and her dog whined. She reached down and picked him up. "I know, Francis, it's spooky in here isn't it?"

"Francis?"

"Francis Bacon. The surrealist painter. Not the aristocrat. I always thought Franky Bacon would be a good dog name. But he's definitely a Francis more than a Franky."

She nodded and smiled like this was a normal dog name. Maybe for a designer dog it was. Dog names like Spot and Rover were for people who still jogged.

She walked out of the bedroom and in to a small bathroom. Pointing at the shower she said, "You can see a stain in the grout there. No matter how much you scrub grout it never gets as white as when it was first put in. But here it's a lot darker. Someone bled as they leaned against the wall here. See?"

The girl stepped in to the shower stall and looked at the corner of the wall. "Yeah, you can totally tell it's a different color. I wonder if he surprised them in the shower or if they ran here."

They walked back out in to the hallway then back in to the kitchen. "See where the stove used to be? You can see a chipped spot of tile on the corner there. Somebody hit the counter hard enough to break that. And if you look closer you can still see a little discoloration on the floor. Or at least I think you can. Sometimes I think I am imagining it because I know what I am looking for."

The girl knelt down and peered at the floor, "I can see it too. I think you are right. They must have hit their head here, and then the floor here." Francis Bacon sniffed the area as well. The girl got up and tugged at his leash. "No, Francis, leave it."

They went back in to the living room and then down the hall to the master bedroom.

"Is this where number 6 died?"

"Yeah." She walked in to the bedroom and toward the large walk-in closet. The girl followed behind.

"How do you think it happened? You know, how did no one get away from him? How did he kill so many of them?"

"It's hard to say for sure. I would guess maybe curiosity and sexism got the best of them."

The girl gave a startled laugh, "What?"

She turned around then holding the baseball bat she had left in the closet earlier. High arcing swing connecting solidly with the girl's chin.

The girl was unconscious before she ever hit the floor. Francis whined.

"Curiosity and sexism, Bacon, every time."



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tailor your message...

A few weeks ago I posted a status about someone making the mistake that calling me a skinny bitch would be an insult. I'm going to share the whole story now because it fits with a few other things that happened recently.

It all started in the parking lot at Target. I was sitting in my car with my blinker on waiting for another car to move and for the people walking in front of me to clear before pulling in to a parking space. This jerk whips around the car and the people to take the space. Seriously? Ugh. So rude.

So I end up parking a few spaces back, not a big deal. The rudeness bugs me more than anything else. And it sets up my feelings about this guy right at the start.

So they get out of the car. Pajamas. Four thirty on a Wednesday afternoon and they are wearing pajamas. To Target. This isn't Wal-Mart go home and put some damn clothes on. And they are both (guy and girl) significantly over weight. So the inside my head voice also makes a comment about how maybe they should be parking just a little further away from the door, might do them some good.

But this is all on me. I know it. I'm mad at them for being rude so I am being a jerk about what they are wearing and how they look, it's normal, but not nice. I know this. So I keep it in my head. We are all jerks sometimes no matter how much we want to not judge and....what the fuck did you just say?

See as we are all walking in one of the clerks that works there is in our group and these two louts in their pajamas start talking rudely about her. Because she's transgender. They were talking loudly enough that I could hear them and I was behind her, so I know she heard them. And she can't say anything. She works there, she can't be rude to customers. So I walk up to her and tap her on the shoulder.

"Those are really cute shoes."

She smiled and said "Thanks it's so nice when people are nice and not assholes."

And I said, maybe a touch louder than necessary, "Yeah, it's a shame when people feel the need to be assholes."

We went inside she went off to the break room, I went over to get a cart and these two lovely human beings stop and look at me. I give them a little side eye.

He says, "I see you giving us dirty looks like you think you are better than we are, you skinny bitch."

So I open my eyes wide and give him the BIG smile, "Skinny? Really? You think I'm skinny? Thanks!" and walk away.

Rude people don't deserve any more interaction than that. Though I could have said a lot more. This young lady has never been anything but nice to us. She's worked there for a few years. And she's always a sure bet to notice when I am wearing a cute outfit, or just got my hair cut, or actually did my makeup before I came to the store. So I love her even though I don't know her at all. Because she's nice. Those people? I don't know them either, but they are rude and nasty so they get no love from me. They aren't worth the time.

Fast forward to this week. There is a young transgender girl who just got a reality show on TLC and is a spokesperson for Clean and Clear. She's been an activist for most of her life. She has a very supportive family and wants to help other teens who are going through what she has by showing them that it can be okay. There are people out there that will be supportive. And kind. I had never heard of her before and spent some time reading about her story. Really interesting.

And of course because I cannot help myself I read comments. And the number of people out there that were concerned with a 14 year old's genitals was more than a little disturbing. I get that the entire transgender experience is hard to wrap your brain around because it's not your experience. But most things in life won't be your experience so you won't be able to understand them. I will never fully grasp a lot of things because I didn't live them, doesn't mean they aren't real. And the number of people that would make a huge point of referring to her as him, or worse, it, was astounding.

Why can't you use the gender pronoun she prefers? What skin is it off your nose to be polite? Because that's really all it is. It's like meeting someone named Charles and calling them Charlie, if they correct you and tell you it's Charles then use Charles. If you then insist on using Charlie you are an asshole. It's their name. Let them choose it. So I made a status about it.

Most likely it won't change any minds. But the people on my Facebook feed deserve my interaction on this one. Use the gender pronouns the person wants you to use. Their genitals are none of your business. Don't be an asshole.

And then we come to the latest...

Talking to my mother yesterday. She's 82. She's conservative. She's religious. And we have a member of our extended family who is transgender. And this is just now becoming known. I figured it out while they were transitioning. I saw pictures and posts and thought, hmm...I think this is what is happening here and then when the big shift with name and gender pronouns happened it was just a moment of Yep. I thought so.

But this is my mother I am talking to so what now? I know she doesn't approve. This is so far out of her approval matrix she can't even see it from where she stands. I can't really lecture her, she's my mother, but I cannot act as though I agree that it's a problem. So I go subtle. I use the name our family member has chosen. I use she and not he. I subtly correct my mother every time she uses he. And then I say, "She's not hurting anyone. I don't understand why people get so worked up. Even if it is rebellion isn't it a better rebellion than using drugs and stealing from people? She wants to be a girl? Okay. She wants to wear dresses? Cool. As long as nobody is expecting the same from me, I'm fine."

She stops and says, "Well I'm just not sure."

And that's the best I could ask for right then. I'm just not sure. I probably didn't change her mind but she's my mother and she deserves all of my interaction on this subject.

You might have to tailor your message when you talk to people but you have to talk. I ranted for years and years about marriage rights. I told people it wasn't special rights it was equal rights. I shared personal stories. I talked and talked and talked. And I know I changed a few minds. Maybe not a lot, but some. But it was important to me so I kept talking. And other people kept talking. And now we are seeing a shift in laws and more importantly perceptions.

This seems like it's going to be another one of those things. I'm not transgender. I have no idea what that would be like. But I have no reason to think that my being an asshole to someone is going to make their life better. You want to be referred to as he now? Okay. You want to be called she? Okay. None of this is a big deal. Not a single bit of it.

Now to be perfectly honest I am really curious about their stories. When did you know? What did it feel like growing up? Are you doing okay now? What could have made it easier? What do you wish people knew? Pretty much the same sort of questions I ask everyone about their lives. I'm nosy. I have questions. I want to know your story. I love stories. Luckily for me I have friends who are used to me asking inappropriate things and they tell me when I've overstepped so I can step back. I also have a friend who is nosy like me who does a whole series on the LGBT community and tells their stories so I get to be nosy by proxy. (Happy Hour with Cameron Stiehl if you want to check it out)

But the bottom line is, this isn't your choice. This is theirs. It's their life. It's none of your business. You don't have to understand. You don't even have to approve. Just don't be an asshole and life keeps on ticking along just fine.

Also, since Google has psychic powers as I was writing this blog this story came in to my search. If you are like me and curious about people's stories take the 15 minutes and watch. But maybe have a tissue nearby...I got a little weepy.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Well hell...

So I set out to write a blog today and knew that I had written on the subject before so I went back and found that old blog and re-read it to make sure it was the one I wanted to reference and I found...

The blog I wanted to write today.

Yeah, I didn't have a lot more to add to the subject. It would have been a very similar blog but with other examples from life. Other terms for the same actions. So now I am here with a blank page in front of me waiting for some inspiration to hit.

....

And an hour passes and I have a mostly blank page.

....

I think this is the worst part of wanting to write. Those days when you really feel like writing but then find you have nothing to say. Or nothing that will coalesce in to a coherent blog.

Random bits of thought that are just now starting.

A favorite author died today. He had a form of Alzheimer's disease. Early onset. This terrifies me. There are all of these studies about keeping your brain working and challenged to stave off dementia and Alzheimer's and then... If his brain wasn't busy and challenged I don't know whose is.

Death doesn't scare me. Being alive and fading away scares me. I've written about this in fiction and nonfiction pieces. I read every article, follow every promising development. Knowing full well that if it happens it happens and I can't do anything about it.

I'm working on a couple of short stories for the blog. Usually I just write in a speed frenzy and post, but sometimes I have half of an idea, or a feel of an idea and it takes me longer. There are two of those right now.They keep dancing at the edge of my consciousness but not fully forming. One I can see like a movie. I see the opening scene, the elevator doors opening...I know some of the lines I want to be said. I know the feeling that I want to convey. I have no idea how I want to end it.

Sometimes that doesn't bother me. The flash story I posted yesterday was actually just four lines that came to me on the treadmill one morning that finally turned in to a sort of conversation. But I had no ending. As you can pretty much see from the story. In fact I almost just left it mid story and posted anyway. Just walked away like you were eavesdropping on their conversation and got pulled away.

But this other story? I like it too much to leave it half done. I like the feel and the tone and the main character. I have a feeling she will come up in other stories at other times. She might even join up with the wish granter from the story a few days ago. I need to figure out her name...both the wish granter from the other story and this woman. She needs a great name.

Names. I have such a hard time with names. Nine times out of ten the characters in my story are named after the last people I talked to on Facebook or got a text from. Sometimes I think I have found an original name and I am halfway through the story and realize it's actually just the kid of the last person I talked to instead of them. Of course that's if they even get a name. You know how many things I write where there are only two characters so I don't even bother giving them names at all. Ugh. It's amazing I ever named my son. And it's amazing that he actually has like a half dozen names we call him. Though to be fair The Boy is the main one. I told you I was lousy at this!

After a really long stretch of good sleeping patterns I'm back in an insomnia cycle. And it's the worst type of my cycles. Can't get to sleep until really late. Sleep for a very short amount of time and then can't get back to sleep. Finally start to drift off as the alarm goes off for the day. Last night was day 7 of this particular swing. I actually stayed in bed two days this week after Brent left for work. That doesn't normally happen even on days he takes the car. Worked on Tuesday and I got an extra hour and half sleep. Today? Not so much. See even if I wanted to sleep in the rest of the neighborhood didn't. Rude.

And yes, I totally see the connection between the insomnia and the writer's block. It's hard to hold on to a thought for very long when you are just bone tired.

Okay, well I am hopeful that I've cleared the pipes enough that something good takes hold for tomorrow.

I wish us all luck....

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's electric...

Erica checked her phone and smiled.

"And who are you getting text messages from, hmmm?" Sarah teased her.

She put her phone face down on the table, "Nobody."

Brian raised his eyebrows, "Nobody? Nobody sent you a text that made you smile like that?"

"Fess up. Who is the new guy?" Sarah reached for the phone.

Erica put her hand over it and sighed, "It's not technically a new guy. It's Andre."

"Oh god, seriously?" Sarah and Brian both said at the same time.

"Yes. Seriously. I know you don't understand, but what we have is special. When he touches me I get a little jolt of electricity. It's magic."

"You know what else gives you a jolt of electricity when you touch it? A taser." Sarah said.

"Electric fence." Brian added.

"Cattle prod."

"Electric eel!"

"Lightning!"

"Very funny, guys. I get it. You don't like him."

"It's not that we don't like him, it's that he's not good for you. You two together are a mess."

Sarah shook her head, "That's only partly true. Brian's right, you two together are a mess. But I also don't like him."

"You haven't given him a chance! Andre's a good man."

"I've known him since middle school. How much more of a chance does he need? And his name's Andy. It's Andy. From Andrew. Andre is just something he uses now because he thinks it sounds cool."

 Brian nodded, "It's true. He thinks it helps with the ladies...and well, I guess maybe it does."

Erica glared at her friends, "He thought Andy sounded too young and Andrew is his father's name so he went with Andre. Are you happy?"

"No." they both said together.

"Well you don't have to be. He's not dating you. He's dating me. And he treats me like a goddess. He says I should always be on a pedestal."

"You know the only way to get on to a pedestal right?" Sarah asked.

Erica rolled her eyes, "I'm sure I'm about to be told."

"You have to be put there. And the only way down is to get knocked off."

Brian laughed.

"Don't encourage her! You know how she is! I thought at least you would be happy for me!"

Brian reached over and patted her hand, "I would be happy for you. I really would. If it weren't Andre. We've been here before. It's all wonderful in the beginning; roses and sunshine and happiness and in a few weeks it's all tears and ice cream. And I cannot afford the ice cream weight this close to summer!"

Sarah reached out for Erica's other hand, "Look we love you, okay? We want you to be happy. We don't see this ending well. But like always we will be here for you. If we are wrong you can gloat for ever and ever about it. And if we aren't..."

"You get to gloat, I get it."

"No I was going to say, and if we aren't you are paying for Brian's gym membership."



Monday, March 9, 2015

Picnic Lunch...

"You really are beautiful."

She smiled at him, "You sound surprised?"

"No, no...I mean, I knew you would be beautiful. They told me to expect you to be beautiful but..."

Her laughter cut him off. Laughter that was so rich he felt as though he could touch it. Bathe in it like a waterfall. "Oh, they told you? I am always so glad when they get involved. They are always full of such good advice. What else did they tell you?"

He blushed, "They told me you would tease me."

"I am beautiful and I like to tease. They are full of wisdom, aren't they? Could you not have discovered these things on your own?"

He perked up, he did know things that should impress her, "They also told me what your favorite foods were. I packed them for you. See?"

He opened his basket and brought out a pot of honey and fruit he picked that morning at sunrise which everyone knows is when fruit is at its sweetest. He also had cookies from Lady Gene's maid, delicate pastries dusted with powdered sugar.

She reached out and took the jar of honey holding it up to the light, "Pink and golden hued honey."

"I bought it from the travelling show caravan. They told me you prefer honey from the highland clover fields."

"They are right. And aren't you clever to figure out how to get me highland honey without the long journey."

He thought maybe he had made a misstep here. Should he have only brought the honey if he had gone to collect it himself? "I would have traveled for it if the caravan hadn't had any to sell. Your favor is worth any distance."

She gave him a small smile, "Ah but you didn't have to, so we will never know. Pretty words are easy to say." She broke the wax seal on the jar of honey and dipped her finger tip in to the sweet nectar. Flicking her tongue out quickly like a hummingbird she took the drop of honey in to her mouth. Closing her eyes and sighing to herself as the sweetness spread across her tongue. She licked her lips and opened her eyes to find him staring at her. Mesmerized by her mouth. She arched one eyebrow and purred at him, "Perfection. Would you like some?" She held the jar out to him.

"Hmmmm? Yes. Please..." he reached for the honey and then stopped remembering himself. Shaking his head as if to clear the cobwebs he ducked in a quick bow, "Forgive me. I forgot my manners. No, thank you, that is all for you and you alone. I would not deprive you of a single drop."

She laughed again causing him to shiver, "I see they told you not to eat any food offered to you? Even if it was the food you yourself brought?"

He was embarrassed at being caught in an almost lie, "Yes, they did."

"I'm not fae. Only the fae can entrap you with food and drink."

"They said you would say that. And that I should not believe you."

"Did you know that the fae cannot lie? It is not in them. If a creature tells you that they are not fae you know it is the truth."

"They said that you would tell me that as well."

"Oh they are very wise. Do you always trust them so?"

"Yes. I do."

"It is good to have such close friends. Now, why are you here? You do not wish to share my picnic. What do you wish?"

"True love."

She leaned back against a rock and closed her eyes turning her face toward the warm sun. Taking a deep breath she relaxed fully. He watched her closely. Her skin seemed to reflect back the sunbeams. Making her glow with hidden light. She was like a fallen star. He leaned forward. His beauty. His light. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him completely. Her eyes were blue like a summer sky. He felt as though she could see his very soul. The very essence of the man that he was. She flicked her tongue out again quickly licking the corner of her mouth. She blinked slowly and stretched, "True love? You offer me true love?"

His breath caught in his throat, "Yes, I...I mean...no. I wish for your favor for you to tell me if my love, my love at home, is my true love. I wish for you to make it so."

"You don't bring me true love but wish for me to give you true love? And they told you I would do this?"

"They told me you could do this. That if you felt I was worthy of your gifts you would bestow them."

She took one of the delicate cookies and let it dissolve in her mouth. Sweetness. Rapture. "Mmm...do you know how blessed you are to have these treats all of the time? No one can bake like this except Lady Gene's maid. She is magical."

He waited patiently. He knew this was a test. He did not have access to them at any time. It had taken weeks to find Lady Gene and to then convince her maid that his request was worthy. But he held his tongue. Any rudeness from him and she would deny him her favor.

"Tell me about your love."

He smiled, "She is the most beautiful girl in our entire village. The most wonderful. And she loves me."

"If she loves you and you love her, why are you here? Is that not enough?"

"I don't want to lose her. I know if you grant me true love she will never leave."

"And they told you I could do this. They told you to seek honey from the highlands to bring me. To find the Lady Gene and convince her maid to bake cookies for your travels. To pick fruit from the orchards at sunrise? And to come to find me here?"

"Yes."

"And you trusted them?"

He sensed a trap but was not sure how to avoid it, "Yes."

"And how long have you been gone?"

"Four weeks."

"And if the caravan had not had the honey? How much longer would that have been?"

"At least 3 more weeks."

"They told you to leave your love and travel for weeks upon weeks to see me? While they stayed at home?"

"They told me how to..."

"I am always amazed at their wisdom. They know so much and yet I never see them. I only see those that they send. Those that want an unbreakable spell to guard their gold. A true love potion to ensure that the lady fair stays true. A magic seed to grow crops on the best land. They always manage to stay behind while you and the others travel to see me. Do you believe that your lady will stay true while you are gone?"

"Yes. She loves me. I know that she will."

The small wry smile was back, "And you trust them to leave her alone?"

"Yes. I...I took precautions."

The smile became larger. "I see. You trust them, and you trust her, but maybe not completely."

"I just thought..."

"Better safe than sorry? I assume you have the key with you?"

He ducked his head sheepishly. "Yes, I wear it around my neck."

"Should you have asked me for an unpickable lock?" She laughed her deep rich laugh. This time it did not feel rich and luxurious but cold and icy.

"No, I know she will not allow..."

She held up her hand, "And are you so certain that you have the only key? Most locks come with more than one."

"I know..."

"You know...You know that you trusted them to give you advice. You know that you love her and she loves you. You know that they are your friends and she is your love. And yet, and yet, you put a belt on her and locked her up like a possession. How is this love? How is this worthy of my favor?"

He looked at her, how had he thought her eyes blue like a summer sky? They were dark like midnight, like a well. Black deep pools with no bottom. "I love her. I did not want to lose her."

"You do not know what love is. Go home. Release her from her bondage, if she is still locked tight by the time you return, that is. Let her be with one of them. One that was smart enough to send you away so he could pick the lock in leisure."

Now he was angry. "I brought you gifts. You are supposed to help me."

"I am helping you. Learn your lesson. Do not leave that which you treasure most. When you have what you truly desire in your hand do not seek more. You are young. You will have another chance. I am giving you my favor. Leave with your life. Free your young maiden to find another who will trust her with no lock. And when they whisper in your ear remember, they are not fae and they will lie to you."

He looked at her again how had he ever thought she was beautiful. Her dark eyes flashed as she spoke. Her lips pulled back from teeth that looked sharp enough to bite through him. Her skin was pale enough to see the veins pulsing underneath. Greenish blue lines covering her body. Her fingernails were like claws. She was terrifying.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again she was gone. Only the basket remained. Empty. She had taken his gifts but not given him the favor he had desired. He began the long journey back to his village. They key weighing heavy around his neck as he realized they had played him for a fool.

They always do.









Saturday, March 7, 2015

Love is...

Love is easy.

It's that first smile that lets you know this is something special.
That touch that feels like an electric current through your body.
Smiles of a newborn that fill a space you didn't know was empty.

Love is hard.

It's that moment when it all falls apart.
The longing for something that you think might never come.
The tears of a child that you can't sooth away.

Love is young.

First loves are true loves.
The rush of everything new. Butterflies and shaky hands.
Overwhelming passions and impulsive decisions.

Love is old.

Last loves are deep loves.
Comfort in knowing who you are and what you need.
Deep passions and lasting decisions.

Love is ageless.

Love is timeless.

Love is everlasting.

Love is fleeting.

Love is all you need.

Love is sometimes not enough.

Love is the hand reaching out to you as you slip a ring on a finger. Promises made.

Love is the hand reaching out to you to grasp as you mourn a deep loss. Promises kept.

Love is everything.

Friday, March 6, 2015

If you're crazy and you know it clap your hands...

The problem with knowing you are crazy is knowing you are crazy.

See if you are crazy and don't know it you just live your life like a normal person completely unaware that you are crazy. Life might be different for you, but it's just life.

Once you realize you are crazy and you are aware that you are crazy things shift.

Because intellectually I can explain to you how I am crazy. I've done it before in the pages of this very blog. I can tell you the signs and symptoms of my particular brand of crazy (brands actually since I have two areas of not quite right, but today we are talking about weight). I can theorize with you about why I am crazy, when it first manifested itself, the probable causes of my particular brand of crazy. I can even speak so clearly about it that it really seems like I have a perfectly good handle on it.

But I'm still crazy.

I'm just really aware of it so I can do something about it when it happens. Normally. Sometimes it sneaks up and blindsides me and I have to do the whole hind-site thing to see where things fell apart, but for the most part I have a really good grasp on my crazy. But even with that it doesn't mean I'm not crazy. And it doesn't mean that I'm not slightly terrified of it all.

My BMI puts me at overweight. I know this because I know exactly what I have to weigh to be in the normal range. I also know that I'm not built for the BMI. I'm always going to be heavier than people think I am. I'm solidly built and quite rounded. So I weigh more than you think. And more than I think I should. The funny thing, funny being crazy here, is that I find all sorts of body styles attractive. I have really slim friends and friends who are quite heavy who are all very attractive. I have friends made up of angles, friends made up of curves and combinations of both who are all gorgeous. So I hear you say, "You look great." and I believe that you mean it, and I would mean it too, if it were someone else, but what I think is "Five more pounds." I have great body acceptance. For other people's bodies.

Years ago before the great Oprah leaving of the early 2000s I remember watching a show about weight loss of hers and she was talking about complaining to her trainer Bob Greene that it was all so much harder for her than other people. And he basically told her, So what. It is harder for you. That's not going to change, it just is. So you have to decide if you want to work harder at it or not. It's not going to get easier for you, it's always going to be harder. That's just life. So for her she has to work harder to lose weight and maintain it. For me I have to be careful not to swing too wildly in either direction. So I have systems. And that should be enough. Except it's not.

Even building in all of the crutches and support systems and modifiers and check points and accountability stations... it still happens. And I still deal with it knowing that normal people do not. And as much as I talk about it, I know that I'm not really able to express what it feels like in my head when it's happening. How much it actually scares me. The thought that I might not ever get this right.

I've been fighting this battle since we wore suits made out of plastic and then went jogging in them. I can still remember the joy I felt when I first heard about appetite suppressing pills and then the crushing disappointment I felt when I discovered they didn't completely take away your appetite and if you were living on caffeine and nicotine you were still going to get hungry even with the pills.

I've been trying "new" programs since High Intensity Interval Training was called Module Training. I've been through longer workouts at a lower pace, shorter at higher, Jazzercize to Zumba and everything in between.  I've eaten nothing, everything, smaller more frequent, Zone, Atkins, low fat/no fat, veggie, meat, cabbage soup diets, and followed Weight Watchers, portion control, natural appetite selection and just plain old fashioned calorie tracking.

I view it very much like my insomnia now. I've dealt with it for so long that if there is a solution I've probably tried it. Or at least heard about it.

So we come to this latest round. I started to get heavier than is good for my health. My knees were complaining.  My jeans gave up the ghost and turned the job over to a new size. I knew I really needed to drop weight before I climbed anymore. Ten pounds to start, probably 15 was really where I should go. I went about it in all the right ways. Three months to reach the initial goal. No crazy diet. No extreme exercise plan. Just step up the workouts I was already doing and turn down the calories a touch. Those two things would be fine. And of course, making sure people knew. People who I know would ask questions if things seemed off. Because I know I'm crazy.

The first month went okay, the second did not. And all of sudden I was facing a goal in 5 weeks that was not going to be reachable unless I tweaked even more. Which is fine. It's really fine. I know I said I wasn't going to switch things up until the end of three months, but I was missing a goal. A REALLY EASY FUCKING GOAL so a little tweak would be fine...and a weekend was spent looking at fad diets and exercise programs. Even though the part of me that knows I'm crazy kept saying, "Hey, you are starting to seem a little crazy here, maybe you should...." IF I EAT 1000 CALORIES A DAY AND WORK OUT 2 TIMES A DAY I CAN GET BACK ON TRACK IN A WEEK OR MAYBE TWO AND THEN BE FINE....and still I kept looking.

Then I was talking to C on the phone and telling him how frustrated I was with it and I could hear the brittle edge in my voice. That very fragile tone that means I'm really on the verge of a snap. And worse I heard his very measured calm, "you know this could just be your body telling you that this is where you are supposed to be weight wise. As long as you are healthy this is really fine." And as I heard his calmness I thought..."oh he hears it too."

So yeah, the gremlins were coming to play. So I told Brent that I was going to take a week off. I would still workout, but I would switch up what I was doing a little, more fun driven than fitness, and I was going to half track. Basically I would keep tracking what I was eating but I wasn't going to pay attention to the number so much. And I wasn't going to step on the scale.

I did that for a week and everything sort of calmed down a bit. I even enjoyed the Girl Scout cookies without cutting out actual meals to eat them. Which is totally a thing a crazy person does. We decided to go to Hawaii in a few weeks and I made the joke that maybe I should let the crazy out for a little bit just to be beach ready. It's funny...because I'm crazy.

Anyway...this past week I went back on schedule. Food tracking, workouts stepped back up, and stepped on the scale this morning and basically the same weight as two weeks ago. And the gremlins in my head said, "Three weeks 5.5 pounds, you could easily do this just..."and I stepped off the scale and said, "We're done." So the March goal is off the table. Workouts are back to being for fitness not weight loss. The weight loss might happen but I'm probably not stepping on a scale again for awhile. Food is food is food. I'm not sure how much longer I'll track what I am eating, probably for awhile just to make sure I'm not lying to myself about what I'm doing.

When you are crazy and you know you are crazy it doesn't stop you from being crazy.