Tag Archives: me me me

The D-Word

Here are 4 words that I’ve never said before but are now actually true: I’m on a diet. 

Why do I feel kind of shameful saying that? I do. I’ve felt weird about it since I started last week and I decided that meant I probably needed to blog about it to work through whatever it is that’s going on with me.

It’s not that I’ve never tried to lose weight. I just never did anything official, anything with rules. I would just watch what I ate, so to speak. I cut back on things, I ate smaller portions, I worked on healthier foods, etc. But I never called it dieting because I was just trying to be healthy or whatever. It’s not like watching what I ate meant I wouldn’t eat cheese. (God, I miss cheese.)

But now I’m all official. And while internally I feel really good about this decision, it’s one I am really embarrassed about making public.

I have good reasons. I know I’m justified. I gave myself a year after Tessa was born to not worry about my body. And then I gave myself a year to gradually work on it. But those years have ended, and while I lost most of my baby weight, I’m stuck. Very stuck. The only time I made progress since hitting my plateau was the stomach flu. And it all came back a week later. I’d like to give it a real effort to see if I can get where I’d like to go. It’s a realistic goal but one I haven’t been able to meet on my own. 

I joined Weight Watchers because 1) it’s at work so it’s not extra effort for me to get there, 2) it’s covered by my insurance, and 3) I have a group of online friends who have done it and who know their stuff and who are super supportive.

Now that I’m in it I finally get why people hate dieting. It is TERRIBLE. I am surrounded constantly by things I cannot eat. I am meeting someone for a drink on Friday and I will have to limit myself to a single glass of wine and even then I’ll be using up a majority of my extra points for the day on that one glass. Goodbye to a cold beer on a warm day, it was nice while it lasted. And now he wants to make it dinner and I’m trying to think of how I can order a meal that won’t be one of those “girly” meals that makes it really obvious I’m on a diet. At home I have lots of options for what I can eat and on that front I’m doing okay, but wow there’s just so much that isn’t an option. 

I realize how many restaurants I follow on Twitter, how many bloggers are posting recipes, how much I think about and talk about food. It sucks. 

But the embarrassment may suck more. Why am I embarrassed? Since when is it not okay to decide you want to lose extra weight? Maybe because I’ve worked so hard on accepting my body and being okay with it that now admitting I’m still not fully comfortable is admitting some kind of defeat? Maybe because I think I’ll have to insist that I really need it when people say I don’t?

I’ll be honest, I do not like my stomach. It is so much worse after Tessa. I still get people asking if I’m pregnant from time to time. I hate that. I know losing weight may not do anything for my stomach at all, but I’d like to at least give it a shot and see what happens. I’d like my dresses to fall a little better, like my jeans to fit a little better, all that stuff. 

And let’s be fully honest. I’m single. I’m dating. As much as I don’t want my looks to matter, they do.

On the bright side, my will power is pretty kickass. Then again, it’s only been one week.

I guess I just want to throw this out into the ether because I wonder what the rest of you out there do and if there’s some amazing tips you can give me or if you can just pass along some solidarity or commiseration. Because there’s 11 more weeks of this to go. It’ll be September when I’m finished. Summer will be over, Graham will be in school, the time stretching in front of me is intimidating.

Also I’m kind of nervous that I’ll lose weight but it’ll all come from my boobs. Worst possible outcome.

Jess Is Crazy. This Should Not Be A Surprise.

It takes so little to activate my neuroses. As long as you know what you’re doing.

I don’t have much in the way of girl skills. You know, hair, make-up, clothes, general cute-ness. So I spent a couple decades throwing my hair back, wearing little make-up, making it through each day in jeans and a nondescript tee, and just not caring about my general cute-ness.

But since I decided to let my curly hair do its thing, I am faced with hair. So much hair. So big. All the hairs. Hairs everywhere.

You guys it’s frightening.

 IMG 20140606 104332 e1402604200964 Jess Is Crazy. This Should Not Be A Surprise.

See? I warned you.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Jessica, that wasn’t at all frightening. You are acting like a crazy person. You just look like a person who has curly hair.

And you are right. But I am not USED to it. So to me I look like me with a big frizzy animal on top of my head.

But the thing is that when I’m not looking at myself in the mirror and freaking out, I dig the fact that my hair is down, that I have a different look, that it draws some attention away from my ridiculously chubby cheeks.

I’m also starting to put more effort in on the style front. I don’t get to do much shopping, but when I do I select pieces carefully. I am buying more dresses and no tee-shirts. I wear jewelry, minimal but still. And I may even have a scarf on some days.

I’m also slowly working on the make-up front. Phyllis posted an article on drugstore make-up on Facebook, which sent me down a rabbit hole, and then had me obsessively looking at red lipsticks and thinking Hey, Taylor Swift can do itwhy can’t I? and let’s just ignore the hilarity of that thought and move on.

So during my lunch break I went to Sephora and found myself a cheap red lipstick.

And now every time I look in the mirror I am freaking out. Red lipstick! Bright lipstick! Holy crap all the lipstick and the redness and the bright and bold color!

IMG 20140612 122525 e1402603689891 Jess Is Crazy. This Should Not Be A Surprise.

 

Yup, terrifying stuff. 

Though, to be fair, when I picked up Graham from school with my super red lips (although they’re actually kinda pink, otherwise it tends to look orange-y against my pink-ish skin) he stopped and said, “Mom, how did your lips turn?” I explained I got a new lipstick. He told his friend, “Hey, what do you think of my mom’s lips? She got a new lipstick.” So it’s definitely noticeable. Mission bold lips was for sure accomplished. If I had a baby would they have recognized me?

But still, not such a bad thing, right? Getting outside my comfort zone, doing something that I don’t do every single day. I have to keep telling myself that.

I’ve started instagramming when I get self-conscious like this. Because if I just come out and say, “I know I look normal but I don’t FEEL like I look normal,” it somehow helps. And I have faith that my friends would jump in and say, “OH HONEY NO,” if I really didn’t look normal.

Now, if you don’t mind, me, my giant hair and my clown lips have things to do.

In Which I Respond To Things Other People Said On The Internet

I am not really one to take part in the back and forth when someone writes something that is popular or mildly controversial and then we all have to have our say about it. But WTH, it’s a holiday weekend. Let’s go crazy.

To The I Won’t Get Divorced Guy

Look, I get what you’re saying. Marriage totally suffers when you have small children. Parenting small children turns some of us into our worst selves and it can feel hard to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

BUT. “I don’t think couples with small children should be allowed to divorce.” This is a ridiculous thing to say. 

If you have more than one kid, the time you spend with small children can be well over 5 years, maybe 10. That is an awfully long time to ask a couple to deal with being miserable. It can be such a long time that it may create a void that can no longer be filled. 

I think a better thing to say would be, “Small children are not always small. Things get better.” Or maybe, “I feel you, it’s hard.”

You’re adding to the stigma of divorce, this thing I constantly hear people say that, “People just get divorced like it’s nothing. They don’t even try.” I hate this. Because you have no idea from the outside what is happening inside a relationship or how long it’s been bad. You have no idea how hard it is and what a large burden you take on when you make that decision. People who are not divorced have many opinions on people who are, and it’s kind of like people without kids having opinions on childrearing. 

So dude, I know you weren’t trying to be harsh. But what works for you works for you, and doesn’t mean you are now able to tell everyone else how it should be. We can only ever be experts on ourselves and our own families.

To The You Are Not A Single Mom Lady

Thank you for saying something I haven’t been gutsy enough to say publicly. But I think about this a lot. I don’t just think of single moms, I also think of parents who have a partner who’s rarely home due to a job with crazy hours, or one who travels for months at a time, or one who has military service. Parenting alone is rough. I admit I feel a little guilty that I get every other weekend off, that I have an end in sight, albeit a brief one that will be spent mostly recovering. 

I know we all have stuff that’s difficult for us, that everyone has their own thing. I had to learn that as a special needs parent and I’m re-learning it as a single parent. But I would never be able to say this. So thank you for taking one for the team. 

To The Idiots Who Write Headlines At The Washington Post

Thanks for your scaremongering. That was really awesome of you. Even though your article goes on to talk about how we shouldn’t draw sweeping conclusions, that research shows the vast majority of autistic people are law-abiding (many of them ridiculously so), and all sorts of other reasonable statements, your headline is just bad. And the first 6 paragraphs that throw in Sandy Hook and all that are not much better. Please stop doing this. 

Oh, and media in general, stop reporting on preliminary studies. It is not useful information. Maybe read this and give it some thought.

 

Updated: I found another one!

To The Never Too Busy To Exercise person

So no one is too busy to exercise, eh? It’s just about priorities and habits, eh?  My day consists of getting my children ready for the day, taking to their places for the day, going to work, working, leaving work, picking up all the children, getting the children fed, getting the children in bed, and then collapsing into my own bed. I could probably squeeze some exercising somewhere, though on a day when I have the kids the gym or a run is not an option unless I want to feed my kids well past dinner time and then have a ridiculous evening trying to get them to sleep well past bedtime. If I didn’t have kids or if I had a spouse, maybe I’d be sitting here nodding my head and thinking, “Oh, right, I have no excuse.” But yeah, not all of us have that. (I suspected the expert in this piece has no children, and I was correct. I looked it up.)

I like your small steps forward philosophy. But seriously, do not tell me how busy I am. Do not tell me what I have time for. 

 

Okay, that all felt pretty good, I have to say. I think I get why people enjoy arguing about things on the internet.

Everything Is Pretty OK

A really great thing happened this week. In fact, a lot of really great things have happened in a pretty short period of time. 

On Monday I yelped when I found out I’m a BlogHer 2014 Voice of the Year. (Yes, I literally yelped. In the middle of an event.) I got it for this post, and the bad of that post with the good of the award got my brain all moving.

That post was from the worst of it. Definitely a Top 5 Worst for me. It was, thankfully, more short term than I expected it to be. But part of what made that time so terrible was not knowing when it would end and what I would do.

The six months or so after that post were better, but still not good. There was a lot of uncertainty, money was past tight, it just plain wasn’t there a lot of the time. Bills were paid very late. My credit score took a beating. It was less than paycheck-to-paycheck kind of life. My new job added stability and now that I’ve been here for a while it’s finally starting to even out and settle in. Sure, it’s no picnic these days. There’s still lots of pinching pennies and avoiding everything but the essentials and budgeting spreadsheets. But I will take that any day over where things were.

Still, in my head, I haven’t been able to shake off that feeling. My default position of “We Are In Dire Straits” has not yet modulated to “We Are Treading Water.”

I really want to get my head right. Especially because I have been surrounded with wonderful things lately. Good things are happening, things I have worked for, things I have aspired to, things I didn’t think could actually happen. I want to break out from under my cloud and let myself enjoy the happy. I’d also like the chance to appreciate the fruits of an awful lot of labor. 

I’m not sure why, in the midst of success, I tend to cling to my feelings of failure. I just went to Mom 2.0 Summit, as I mentioned previously, and I was there as a Speaker and as a Brand Rep. Those were things I never would’ve imagined not too long ago. But instead of being able to feel happy about that, I spent a lot of time wondering why the big bloggers always look so effortlessly stylish and put together while I feel like I constantly look awkward and just barely able to get by looking not terribly awful. Why do I let my stupid brain do that to myself? 

So hey, me, take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back. Take some of those hard-earned dollars and get yourself a pedicure–one of those treats that feels like something you don’t have enough money to do anymore. (It’ll probably be a couple weeks before you find the time. But pencil it in, k?) Enjoy your new writing gigs. Enjoy that feeling that you’re actually turning into a legit writer somewhere outside of your own head. And take a few more minutes, maybe even a few hours, to acknowledge that you made this happen in the midst of a really really really shit year.

I am sucking at optimism of late. I had a long and fantastic chat with Elizabeth a week ago and we talked about dating as a parent and she said, “I met my husband and married him within 18 days. So just think, in 3 weeks you could be married.” And something about those words just hung out and rented space in my head. Even in the dating world I have gone from, “I am awesome and a catch, dammit,” to “Will I ever have a boyfriend again?” While I probably won’t be married in 3 weeks, it reminded me how fast things change. And FOR GOODNESS SAKES, JESS, if there’s anything you should’ve learned in the last year, it’s how fast things can change. But yeah, that same silly brain of mine thinks Not Currently Dating Anyone = Never Dating Anyone Ever.

So hey, me, chill for five seconds, okay? If you’re having trouble describing the glass as half full then just add some water to the effing glass!

I’m glad I’ve had this little talk with myself. I hope it wasn’t too weird for the rest of you.

Stuff I’ve Been Doing When I’m Not Blogging aka Most of the Time

Yeah, you’ve probably noticed I’m not so great with the blogging of late. I blame everything. Work, kids, house, dating, sleep, etc. This last little while in particular I can also blame Listen To Your Mother, but now we’re going on a nice long hiatus from that one for a while. (Which will hopefully mean I can get back to Red Letter Reads, which has been sadly neglected.)

But while I haven’t been around here quite so much, I have been doing other things. The kids have been doing things. And instead of writing a big blog post I’m just going to half-write a post with some of the stuff that has been going on.

I’ve been writing for Piccolo Universe, it’s a great gig. So far I have an article on teaching your child about giving by being a blood donor, and one on your back-to-work postpartum wardrobe.

I’ve been working at Wayfair, where I get to run blogger campaigns and it is pretty darn awesome. One of the first things I got to work on? This cool resource, which tells you how to make a butterfly garden AND what butterflies and plants work best in each region of the US. I’ve also started my very first blogger campaign and it includes a bunch of giveaways. I’m keeping tabs if you want to enter…

And without further ado, the not-so-exciting things I’ve been up to: the day to day whatever with a few adorable pictures thrown in for good measure.


Shrug It Off. Or Not.

Manners. It’s one of those things I wish I cared about less than I actually do. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think of myself as a laid-back person even though I often seem that way to other people. My Mom was first and foremost the person who made me care about manners. She knew every rule and let me know what they were. I was a rule-follower by nature and I took to it naturally. I read Miss Manners books and columns. For fun. (I still do.)

As an urban dweller I’ve had to shrug off manners a lot because here in the Northeast people tend to be a bit brusque, plenty brash, and not exactly readers of Emily Post. We’re all smushed together and sometimes you just have to stop caring.

I’m not always successful. Which is one of the reasons why going back to a rush hour commute is the biggest downside of going back to work. I try to drown it out, I try not to care about the lack of courtesy, but it’s an effort.

Lately, though, I’ve had a string of worse than usual encounters with bad manners. Not just having everybody stand at the front of the bus instead of moving back (ARGH!), not just people cutting me off in traffic (GRR!) but in-your-face rudeness.

Two of them were about exactly the same thing. Apparently to some people “sorry” is a lesser word than “excuse me.” While I care about courtesy, to me it’s the thought that counts. I don’t care if you say “I’m sorry” or “pardon me” or whatever you choose. But in Target when I saw a pair of tights on clearance and reached for them, then realized they were the wrong size and reached for the pair next to them before I saw that I would be sticking my hand across another woman’s line of sight, I let out a quick “Sorry!” snatched the tights and got out of her way as fast as I could.

For this I received a tongue-lashing in the middle of a crowded Target on a Saturday because didn’t I have any manners and know how to say “Excuse me”? 

But here’s the thing that makes me crazy when this kind of thing happens. It is bad manners to correct or call out someone’s bad manners. I mean, I’d be willing to make a case that it’s okay if it’s your kid since you’ll want to direct them to apologize for their behavior to the aggrieved party. But if it’s an adult, even if it’s a family member or someone you know very well, if you’re going to let them know they did something impolite, you do it quietly and privately and kindly. 

So yeah, this was a double whammy. Someone I didn’t know called me out for bad manners when I’d already apologized for my bad manners. I wish I could recover from this kind of stuff and shrug it off, but I haven’t yet developed that skill. When someone flips me off while driving I feel angry and frustrated for a good hour or so afterwards. And this was no different. All afternoon I felt annoyed and angry because I’d been treated badly even when I’d already tried to make it right.

It happened again last week on the bus. To avoid making a woman with a baby stroller move from her spot in the aisle, I had to squeeze my way through a packed aisle to get to the other exit. As I walked I said, “Excuse me … sorry … excuse me … pardon me …” but one woman yelled at me after I walked by and said “sorry,” angry that I hadn’t said “Excuse me.” This time I was happy that another man nearby took up my cause. “She SAID ‘Excuse me,’” he called out. Even though he was showing just as bad of manners as she was (correcting someone else’s behavior in public) at least he was trying to look out for someone.

One thing I’ve learned from those experiences, coming in such close succession, is that to avoid them in the future–the only way I can really help myself is to avoid them–is to say “Excuse me” loudly whenever I get in anyone’s way.

Another lesson learned: no more trips to the Cinema Pub, a movie theater with food in a Boston suburb. I was there this weekend with a friend seeing Her, and I admit the audience didn’t quite look like I would’ve expected for a decidedly quirky and unusual film with a rather small audience. Sure enough, they were a raucous and rude group. I can’t help but think the setup–which felt more restaurant than theater–contributed to the atmosphere. 

I did my best to hold myself back. While it’s impolite to call out bad behavior, there are times when it’s okay. Like, for example, when you’re in a place like a theater where quiet is expected and a manager could be summoned to remove people for impolite behavior. I kept my mouth shut as a few groups of them chuckled through serious scenes and giggled like children during sexy scenes. 

But I lost it when they started making wisecracks about halfway through, joking during the dialogue and laughing in response so loudly I couldn’t hear the movie anymore. I looked over and gave the glare. When that didn’t do anything, I shushed. I shushed maybe 2 or 3 times over the course of half an hour. Yeah, it didn’t matter much. They could’ve cared less.

And yeah, it made my blood boil. I wish it didn’t bother me so much. I wish it hadn’t pulled me out of the movie and lessened my experience (I, for one, loved the movie). More than that, I wish I could shrug things off, just move forward, not hold a grudge. 

That’s just how it is, I guess. There’s a lot of things that have changed in my life and in my personality. I have become more relaxed, more laid back. I worry less. I don’t spend so much time focusing on the future, I live day to day. There are just some things I won’t ever shake. 

There are worse things.