What a Difference a Decade Makes

Meeting new people is HARD, y’all. So, when I find myself invited to a ladies night out where I will barely know anyone, I can’t find any reason not to go. So, I go. I meet some fun girls, I dance, I laugh, I have a great time. I know this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but by the time I get home and think about the night, all I can think is, who the fuck is that girl that just went out and had a great time with total strangers?!

I mentioned previously my move to Oregon when I was 19 and how terrible it turned out. I’ve also made no secret of the psychological fun I’ve dealt with in life, and social anxiety has been a pretty big part of that. At the time I didn’t use the term social anxiety, all I knew was most times a lot of things that seemed so easy for other people felt downright impossible for me. Small shit like going to the grocery store or going to class on my own without feeling inklings of dread. Doing those things with a group? No problem. Doing things with friends or family allowed me to feel protected from people’s judgements, but going at even the most mundane things in life solo often felt challenging. I can’t really pinpoint why it was so difficult, couldn’t then and I still can’t now, I just knew that anxious feeling frequently plagued me. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence, thank God, because if it was, it’s likely I would have turned into a full on hermit.It was just one of those things that would creep up and leave me feeling an insane lack of confidence in myself. And a lack of confidence in one’s self does nothing to improve those pesky social anxieties- a vicious cycle really.

When I was at my least confident, living in Oregon, I had a really nasty habit of comparing myself to other people. Friends I left back at CSU where making new friends, joining sororities and frats and other groups on campus, studying abroad, getting jobs at restaurants, all sorts of things that just seemed impossible to me because it meant putting yourself out there with new people. All these “normal” people just made it seem so easy and it frustrated the fuck out of me! That will never be me, I would think to myself.

Well, here I am, a decade later and that is me. I can’t say why or how, and I can’t say that’s me every day- some days I’m still terrified of putting myself out there and would rather just stay at home curled up with a good book, living vicariously through a character’s life, but most days I’m out there, going to ladies nights with new girls, making attempts at dating, starting a new job and actually engaging with coworkers. Hell, I even went to a foreign country BY MYSELF. Who is this girl and where did she come from?! Who knows! Over time I just noticed myself changing- taking risks, opening up to new people, trying new things, and, in general, just caring less if any of that made me subject to people’s judgements. My best guess is it was a mixture of time, age, wisdom, confidence, not giving a damn, and finally realizing no one is really taking the time to judge you because mostly, everyone’s too busy judging themselves that got me to where I am now. And it pains me to look back on that timid girl in her teens feeling so crippled with anxiety that she missed out on a lot of opportunities, but unless I find a DeLorean that serves as a time machine, there’s really nothing I can do about that except appreciate how far I’ve come and where I am now. Truly, what a difference a decade can make.

Flyin’ Solo

You guys, yesterday I was kind of like this…

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And well, pretty much like this…

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And definitely like this…

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Y’all get the point? I. WAS. EXCITED.

The last piece of things to do before I turn 30 has finally come together. Well, technically it’s not going to happen until 12 days after I turn 30, but it is still happening. I’ve written everyday, I’ve done things that scare me, and now I’m traveling solo. Yes dear readers, on May 20th I will be taking Europe by storm, and trust me, Europe ain’t ready for all this!

I haven’t been outside of the U.S. (really, does a resort in Mexico count?) in over 10 years and I have plenty to make up for. There may not be any wine or cheese or delicious warm, fresh bread left (or possibly delicious men left to kiss) in all of France by the time I get done with it.

Now yes, I am excited (like literally running down the hall in the office ala Tina Fey after I  booked my flight excited) about all this. But, I’m still way scared about the whole going solo thing. I’m scared of getting lost in unknown airports and train stations, of having things stolen, and have had visions of Hostel and Taken popping up in my head, but I’m trying to focus less on the possibility of needing a rescue by Liam Neeson and more on the fact that in 56 days I will traipsing around England and France and beginning my thirties in style.

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

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Secret Sunday…Five Fucking Pounds Edition

As I previously blogged, I am getting my ass in shape. And IT IS HARD. It is like a second job, only I dislike it a lot more than any job I’ve had before (okay, except maybe when I worked sales for a communications company. I’ll take working out any day over that). I try not to talk about it too much because I don’t want to turn into one of those people that’s like “oh, well today at the gym…” or “have I told you about my diet in the last hour?” Every one knows those people, and generally, those people are fun suckers. They suck the fun right on out of any conversation. But, since I’ve made it publicly known that I’m working toward a specific goal (losing some weight and gaining a better self image by 30) I figure I may as well give an update now that I’m a month in.

1. I am very strong.

My first session with my trainer I thought I was going to die. I’ve done small group training sessions before, but nothing one on one where all the attention was focused on pushing chubby ol’ me to my limits. So going into the first training session I thought I was going to die, not from physical pain, but because I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do what was asked of me. That I’d be too weak or too out of shape, despite working out fairly consistently for the last four years. But I swallowed all that down and forced myself to go into it as fearless as possible…and it worked. Even from the first day I went harder than even my trainer expected. And it’s not just when I have someone there pushing me, I get in there and do it on my own as well. In my mind I’m Sydney Bristow (hell, even when I’m putting in my cardio time I get Alias going on the trusty Netflix app and picture myself running shit in the CIA). I know my abs and thighs don’t resemble hers, but sweating away in the gym leads me to believe I’m strong enough to take on any villain, even the ones in my head telling me I can’t do this.

2. I am very weak.

I’ve now cried at the gym three times. I’ve seen Biggest Loser (okay, well I’ve seen previews for it, which seems like enough for me) and I HATE when people cry at the gym. Boohoo, this shit is hard. Suck it up! It wouldn’t be a work out if it were easy. Well…now I’m that person. Except, I’m not crying because it’s physically too hard and I don’t want to do it. I’m crying because I’m doing it and I’m giving it every thing I’ve got, and it still doesn’t seem to be enough. At the beginning of my third week I’d lost only 1.5 pounds and every day I was going home dead tired. For what? For 1.5 pounds? I wanted to quit. Why bother, I thought. If working this hard gets very minimal results, why bother? So I cried out of frustration, and mainly out of weakness. As much as I hate that these people on TV are crying because the workouts are hard, I hate even more that I was crying because I too was expecting this to be easy. Not the actual work, but the results. I wanted to give in because I wasn’t being instantly gratified with a miracle weight loss, or even just a noticeable weight loss, and I’m still fighting this weakness every day that I step on the scale, or put on my size 8’s and don’t see and feel a difference. This mental battle is ten times harder than the physical work I’m putting in and remains the one area where I really need to become stronger.

3. Five fucking pounds.

THAT’S IT?! When I stepped on the scale yesterday that is all I could think to myself. FIVE FUCKING POUNDS?! A month full of healthy eating, no booze drinking, and more hours in the gym than in front of my TV or in bed with a good book and it’s only gotten me five fucking pounds?! Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

4. Five pounds is five pounds.

After about twelve hours of pouting, I thought about this; I have three months to go before my 30th birthday. Even if it seems slow, if I continue to lose five pounds a month, I will have lost 20 by the time I am entering into my third decade. And you know what? Twenty pounds would be the best present I could ever ask for, no matter how slow it was to come off.

5. I am a pretty great cook.

Well, great by my standards. It’s been well documented that I am a picky eater. For me, eating healthy is difficult not so much because I love fast food and sweets and drink a million pops a day, but because I am so dang picky about what I want to eat. It would be so easy if I just loved chicken and could eat baked chicken and steamed veggies all day long, but I can’t (okay, I could, but I would very quickly become absolutely sick of it and devour the first pizza put in front of my face). So I have to work really hard to come up with meals that A) include ingredients I can stand and B) are healthy and have an appropriate amount of calories and fat in them. This can be a tricky process, especially after working a full day and spending two hours at the gym when making any sort of meal for myself sounds absolutely dreadful and, again, devouring the first pizza placed in front of me just sounds so much easier, but I’m slowly figuring it out. I spend a few hours on the weekend cooking meals for the upcoming week, making picante fish or turkey chili or gluten free pasta with a sauteed mushroom, olive, and onion sauce, and suddenly eating better after a long day doesn’t seem so daunting when all the work is already done and the meals don’t involve baked chicken.

Some days I still think about nothing more than going home after a long day of work and clearing out my DVR in one sitting and allowing myself one delicious slice of pizza in the Liz Lemon style:tumblr_inline_mgyle22VY01rnvwt1

But so far, every day I end up in the gym, busting my ass and wanting to feel more like this (you know, with the guns, just without the actual gun):

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Lessons to be Learned

I’m a pretty smart gal. But for a smart gal, I still am making some pretty dumb mistakes. And yeah, mistakes are bound to happen, but there are a handful I seem to make over and over again. Well, no more, damnit! Before that ever looming 3-0 creeps up on me, there are some lessons that once and for all need to be learned….

 
 

Just because it tastes good/feels good/looks good/tells me I look good doesn’t mean it will be worth the calories/hangover/price tag/heartbreak that will come a long it..

When a guy tells me he loves me while he’s drunk or while we are in the middle of, ahem, coitus (God, I hate that word) for the first time, I should almost always take it with a grain of salt.

Just because the amazingly fabulous pumps feel okay while I’m walking around in them at the shoe store, doesn’t mean they will feel that okay while I’m wearing them for three hours in a bar or at a party that same night. Break those suckers in first, damnit!

Dying my hair may seem like THE BEST IDEA EVER, but is it worth the millions of split ends I will spend the next few months obsessing over?

Even though it’s amazing to be the type of person who will do anything for people you love, sometimes I really do have to put myself first.

My lady doctor will always be running 45 minutes behind. Just remember to bring your book already!

Halloween and New Year’s Eve will almost never be as much fun as I’ve hyped it up to be no matter what I wear or where I go, so going forward quit hyping it up and find awesome people, go someplace fun, and wear something comfortable (but still sexy, of course).

Don’t dry that cotton shirt on high unless I plan on being 15 pounds lighter the next time I wear it.

Just because I have cash in my wallet does not mean it needs to be spent.

My college degree may be a bullshit degree in real life (come on, English majors, it’s pretty much true) but it still deserves some respect.

Watching a movie or show or reading a book with a really awesome father character in it doesn’t make my life any less awesome just because I don’t have one in my life as cool (or at all, really).

When I go to Target for static guard I don’t HAVE to walk out of the store with bronzer, candles, pomade, yoga pants, and a ridiculous sized maternity shirt that I am are sure will pass as a tunic when paired with leggings. The universe will not implode if I merely walk out with just the static guard!

When I yell “LET’S DO SHOTS!”, that is exactly the time I don’t need to be taking shots.

Being single and without children and a great career path when I turn 30 doesn’t make me a loser or unaccomplished. This more than anything is what I need to get through my fairly large cranium. I may not be where a lot of other 30 year olds are, but it could be worse. I could be living in a van down by the river.

Plans

There is a reason clichés exist. Because they are true. One that I hear more than any other is, “You make plans and God laughs.” Sure, maybe it’s not God, I mean, who knows who it really is out there, but someone, somewhere is out there just laughing up a big old storm because of all us little people and all our little plans.

A week ago I thought I had a plan. I’ve been meditating and soul-searching and shaking my Magic 8 ball just trying to figure out what I want to do with the next chapter of my life (“next chapter” – my polite way of saying ‘I’m going to be 30 soon, better fucking do something with my life.’) and finally, FINALLY, I thought I had the beginnings of a plan. I had the next five months all worked out, culminating into that next chapter. That next big thing.  And I guess that’s when whoever is out there decided they needed a good laugh and decided to throw a giant cloud of uncertainty onto my sureness. The day after, literally the day after, I came to a pretty solid conclusion on what was what, I was presented with a brand spanking new option, one that could be very financially rewarding and provide a lot of stability to my future. In other ways it’s not as greatly rewarding, but still, it’s yet another option and it’s throwing a big ol’ wrench into my plans. Nards!

Now please do not take this post as a complaint. Suddenly I have a new option, on top of all the others I already had, and in no way am I complaining about having choices to make. These choices, albeit difficult to make right now, are a blessing. Being able to scheme and plot and plan a new adventure for myself is a blessing.

That being said…

Please, whoever you are out there laughing at my plans, please stop. Please leave me be and let me map out this “next chapter” plan without any more forks in the road getting me lost along the way.

Something Scary

As I previously posted, one of my goals before turning 30 was to do something that scares me. Well, there’s still about eight months left before the big 3-0 and I’m excited to say I can now cross this off my list.

If you’ve talked to me in the last month or so you may have heard me mention going to California to visit a boy once or twice (okay, okay, or more like ten or twenty times). While I was very excited about this, because this is a boy I am excited about, it also really scared me. Anyone who has been through a break up knows that the experience can leave a person feeling once bitten, twice shy. Well, after a few bad break ups I was feeling more like five times bitten, fifty times shy. I know, I know… I’m not the only person who has experience in this, but, because of this, it isn’t hard to imagine why putting myself out there for a new boy had me feeling me scared and going 900 miles to see a boy was about as out there as I’ve ever put myself.

As soon as my flights were booked I started thinking how nothing good could come from this trip. If it was a bust, I’d be losing out on vacation days and frequent flyer miles. If it was good, I’d be liking a boy who is 900 MILES AWAY and we all know that the long distance thing is a pain in the ass and causes nothing but drama and how are we ever going to figure out what this is if we never get to spend time together? And what if this is just a crazy summer fling and I’m completely wrong about what I’ve been feeling? And would I be okay if it was just a fling? These were just the start of the crazy-girl-over-thinking-everything thoughts I was having, but, regardless of how crazy the thoughts may have been, I was still scared at the prospect of ending up hurt.

Well, I ended up putting on my big girl pants and working some mind magic to totally change how I was thinking about the whole situation. If the trip was a bust, all I’d be losing is a few vacation days and some frequent flyer miles. Worse things to lose when a trip to the airport is involved, right? And if it was good, then it was GOOD! There are multiple ways to get through 900 miles when properly motivated and is there any better motivation than a boy who is smart and funny and sexy and makes your knees feel like jello when you kiss? Because I certainly can’t think of any.

 

 

And in case you were wondering…

The trip wasn’t good. It was AMAZING. I have a full and proper crush. And I’m now doing something that scares me even more. I’m just going with it. Things between us remain in the new and fresh stage, which is exciting, but scary since I will be the first to say that I’m not great at not knowing where I stand with a boy I’m full on crushing on. But, just this once I’ve decided to do something that scares me… Trust a boy and just go with it.

Happy Birthday Eve (to me)

In 21 hours and 3 minutes I will be 29 years old.

I’ve stared at that sentence for some time now. 29 years old. Age ain’t nothin but a number, right? Mainly, I’m kind of baffled by the number. 29. How did I get here? It seems only yesterday I was turning 18…21…25…now here I am, creeping into my thirties. But, more important than how I got here is, where am I going?
Birthdays have always been kind of a big deal to me. Not in the sense of parties and presents and wild nights out (although, I am quite fond of those things as well), but because I think of birthdays as a new year of you. A rebirth. A time to figure out what didn’t work in the year past and what you hope to make happen in the year coming. Since 30 is a pretty big deal, I think my “new year of me” goals should be a big deal. So, here they go…

1. Travel solo.
As a single gal, I’ve come a long way in terms of doing things on my own. I can go to dinner, see a movie, even grab a drink at a bar. But, the thought of traveling abroad solo kind of freaks me out. Even just flying in the US to meet up with my sister this last weekend gave me a bit of a panic, because unknown airports can be a tricky thing. Just the thought of layovers in Amsterdam or Madrid have me in a sweat. What if I can’t find anyone speaking English? What if I can’t read the signs or some miscreant steals my passport? It’d probably be a million times easier if I had someone there with me to get through it with. Shit, even past the flying, just getting out of the airports and into a cab or train to my hotel in, say, Florence sounds like something I’d really love to have someone navigate for me! But, then I think about waking up and spending my first morning in Signoria Square and knowing the whole day is for me to enjoy, and in that moment, the stress of getting there would all be worth it.

2. Write everyday… Even if it is just a sentence.
I’ve spent years dreaming up stories, creating funny skits, writing screenplays, but somehow, before anything is ever finished, I stop. I can think of nothing better than someone out there reading something I’ve written and feeling the way I feel when I read some of my favorite authors, so it’s time for me to suck it up and get pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

3. Do something that scares me.
A little over two years ago I fell in love. And I fell hard. This was pretty unlike me as I had spent years past being pretty protective of my heart after some severe betrayals. But, something happened, and I just let go. I was scared shitless of being hurt again, but every day I was with him, I let myself fall. Unfortunately for me, I did end up being hurt again. The break up was hard. The days and months and now, almost a year after, has been hard. But, in the end, I was proud of myself for taking the chance. Never will I have to look back and say ‘what if?’ because I was too scared to try. So this year I plan on getting scared all over again. I don’t know if it will be falling in love or jumping out of a plane or taking that trip to Italy by myself, but it will be something. And if even if I fall flat on my face (though, hopefully not if it’s the skydiving I end up choosing…I would hope for a more gentle fall…) I will once again be able to look back and high five myself for saying ‘fuck it, let’s do it’.

There’s plenty of little things I could add on here; run a 10k, drive to the Grand Canyon, be more giving, go on a fantastic first date, learn to make sushi, etc etc, but those are the big three to do before I turn the big 3-0.

Of course, birthdays aren’t all for serious reflection time, they are also for this…