Monthly Archives: March 2010

Black and white

That’s me.  Very little gray area from my perspective, all one way or another. For this computer geek (and the others of you in hiding out there), I think of things in a very binary way.

And I’ve really been like this most of my life, though even more defined the older I get.  Of course, being a little slow on the uptake, it wasn’t until I took this quiz from The Happiness Project about whether you were an Abstainer or a Moderator that I figured this all out.

And I am TOTALLY an abstainer.  Without a doubt.  I can see it most clearly in my dealings with food:  I can’t say that I’m going to “just have one” or otherwise allow myself a small portion of what I’m trying to quit.  I need to completely give it up.  This is how things go in my house:  Go to the store and buy ice cream, promising myself I will just have a small portion each night.  Then I go home and have a small portion.  And another.  And then decide that I need to eat the rest of it to get it out of the house so I won’t be tempted anymore.  And when I’m shopping next?  I muse, “Hmmm… I think I’m out of ice cream…I should get some more…”.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Create ice cream scoop hips.

So, I need to have a house that is utterly devoid of the food I can’t eat if I’m trying to lose weight.  I just can’t stop myself at a little bit.  Last year, I gave up sugar and all artificial sweeteners for a month.  Truth be told, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  I allowed myself fruit and that satisfied my raging sweet tooth.  And because I was giving it ALL up, it was easy to resist temptation.  Nothing to make a “ruling” on, whether it was allowed or not.  I just couldn’t eat it.  Period.

And once that month was up?  And I was allowed to eat sugar again?  I went into it headlong, like a starved person who hadn’t seen food in weeks.  And never looked back.  All.  Or nothing.  That’s just the way I operate.

I would love to be a moderator.  To still have chocolate in the house.  To be able to say that I’m only going to have one piece of chocolate a night to satisfy my chocolate urges (because lord knows, my unfulfilled chocolate urges can make me a big ol’ crankypants) and then actually have only one piece a night. The idea astounds and amazes me.  And people who exhibit this kind of self-control?  I bow before them.

You should go take the quiz.  Like, now.  It’s easy and painless!  And fun!  And who knows – you just might learn a thing or two (but I promise it won’t hurt).

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Just one someone

After watching West Virginia make it to their first Final Four in, like, forever, I was flipping channels and caught the tail end of Sleepless in Seattle — a movie I’ve seen more times than I care to admit to.

But what caught my ear was the Jimmy Durante song being played as they walked hand in hand off the Empire State Building’s observation deck, happily ever after:

Where’s the real stuff in life to cling to?
Love is the answer,
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you’ve found her, build your world around her.

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy,
And you will be happy, too.

“Make just one someone happy, and you will be happy, too”.  So, perhaps this put a tear in my eye.  Just maybe I was bawling like a baby.  Or, something like that.

I’m generally pretty happy with my life.  Before I came out last year, I didn’t have a whole lot of luck putting together a long-term relationship.  Funny how me and boys didn’t seem to get along for too long before I got the hell out.  And since I’ve come out, I’ve done some online dating (with not much success) and have otherwise kind of waited for someone to come along.  You know, and find me… sitting in my chair… in my family room… isn’t that how magic happens?

But sometimes I’ll see how things are supposed to be (don’t bring me down by suggesting that movies and songs AREN’T the way real life works), and it strikes such a melancholy chord within me (one time, it was an episode of Full House that almost literally made my ovaries hurt) that I can’t but help to feel like I’m a little lost in life.  Sure, I’ve got great friends, and it’s not like I spend my nights at home by myself (unless I choose to), but one of these days I’d like to meet that someone special.

I feel like there’s a hole in my life, just a spot that I’ve been keeping open, waiting for that one girl to come along. Just like another well-known movie line, I want to say to someone:  “You complete me.”

Happy Friday #4: Downtime

(on Fridays around these parts, I take a little time to make sure that all the happy things happening in my life get a shout out)

It’s been an odd sort of week for me.  I’m usually a pretty scheduled person – it suits me, it suits my lifestyle.  And plus, I find that unscheduled time routinely devolves into me playing mindless Facebook games for hours on end (really, how much Bejeweled Blitz can one person play?  Don’t answer that…).

This week, though, my personal trainer — whom I usually see 3 days a week — was on vacation.  And so my normal day-to-day was all shot to hell with extra time that I had no idea what to do with.

I thought it was be an intensive swim/bike/run kind of week (I’m a triathlete of sorts).  I love my strength training (mostly because I *heart* my trainer) but it does make it more difficult to get my triathlon training in, both time-wise and because sometimes I’ll be sore from lifting in a way that compromises the swim/bike/run.  So, I figured this week would be a smörgåsbord of  runs and bike rides and the occasional swim (swimming is not my most favorite of activities) without strength training to get in the way.

Instead, this week has turned into one big rest/recovery week.  I haven’t seen the inside of the gym (not even to do the strength training homework that I was given) and have barely done anything else, either.  I’ve napped.  Worked on a getting a few things done on the computer.  Rationalized why it wouldn’t be prudent for me to actually do Ironman Wisconsin this fall.  All sorts of fun things.

And honestly?  I’ve enjoyed the downtime.  Not that I’m over-trained (to be “over” trained, one must train to begin with, right?), but I’ve been doing this for long enough now (around 6 years) that I think I might be ready for something new.

So, this week has been about doing some thinking on what I want to be when I grow up.  Or at least what I want to try to do as I attempt to grow up.

And I still haven’t come to any conclusions.  I know I need to remain active — to not be physically active for me is a sentence of depression and crankiness and unhappiness.  I’m a much nicer person to be around when I sweat on a regular basis.  But, perhaps I don’t need to do triathlons?  I really don’t like swimming all that much.  Maybe duathlons (which are just run-bike-run)?  Or something completely different?  My trainer had mentioned the idea of power-lifting competitions.  Interesting concept…

So, what am I happy about this week?  Having the time to come to the realization that I’m an adult and can therefore make all sorts of decisions about what I do and how I spend my time.  Aside from job responsibilities and such, there’s very little that I have to do.  I know!  Very forward-thinking concept!

Need some zzzz’s

Once again I’m spending a Wednesday pointing you in the direction of Communicatrix.  Seems like sometimes she’s actually reading my mind.  Or perhaps she’s rented out a room in my head.  It’s all good, if just a touch creepy.

She talks about the addiction recovery strategy HALT:  Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  It’s a method to stop a relapse by first stopping (“halting”) and then seeing if all your basic needs are being met.  Go through the checklist.  Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?  If so, then address that need rather than falling back into the addiction.

This works with addictions of all types, really.  Food, alcohol, drugs, or whatever else is your flavor of the month.

For me, I’ve got two addictionlets (not full-on addictions, just mini addictions) that I need to keep an eye on.  The first is my need to stuff my face with pizza, ice cream, chocolate, pasta (or really anything vaguely bad for you) to calm my nerves or ease my pain or manage my stress or fit in at a party.  Or, really, any excuse.

The second is my tendency to allow myself to wallow in emotions and – occasionally – be a bitch.  On a side note, how many people list “be a bitch” as an addiction?  But, I put it under the “destructive behavior” column, so there ya have it.

My main trigger is brought to you by the letter ‘T’ — Tired.  I don’t ever get nearly enough sleep.  And the past couple of weeks?  I’ve been lucky to be getting 5 hours a night during the week.  And let me tell you, I just don’t function on 5 hours a night.  Given a normal bedtime and no alarm clock to wake up to?  I’ll sleep for 8-10 hours every time. Sometimes after a few days of vacation where I get sleep like that?  Yea, I walk around with this stupid grin on my face thinking, “This is what normal people must feel like ALL THE TIME.”  And I’m amazed.  And a little sad because I’ll only get that on the weekends — and that’s only if I have a moratorium on all late-night social activities in place.  And by ‘late-night’ I mean anything that gets me home past 9pm.

And so by the end of the week, I’m sleep-deprived.  I’m snapping at people and losing patience.  And hunger is often not really hunger – it’s just me wanting something to soothe my nerves.  But sometimes I’m too tired (heh) to notice the cues, to notice that the impatience and snack attacks aren’t because of outside circumstances, but because of just not having gotten enough sleep.

Just the recognition of this is huge for me.  I mean, I’ve known that I’m not at my best when I need some zzz’s, but I hadn’t really put together how that caused an avalanche of other bad decisions and behaviors.  And how that had long term effects — longer term than just the time it took to get home and take a nap.

So, the next time the addiction rears its ugly head, do a check:  am I hungry? angry? lonely? tired?  If so, then maybe I just to need to address that basic need first.  Get something to eat or take a nap or go visit a friend.  That might be all I need to stay on track.

For more information on HALT.

Typical

For over a month now, I’ve been trying to write a post about what was my first kind of “out loud” gay experience — way back in high school.  Of course, that experience not only caused me to slink back into the closet, but padlock the door and bury myself in the pile of dirty laundry, hoping no one would find me there.

But it’s been difficult to write.  I’ve told two people two different sections of this story, but never the full thing all at once. And it’s one of those stories that over the years, I managed to almost forget.  I put in a corner of my mind where the light never shone, so I wouldn’t have to feel ashamed and embarrassed and utterly appalled at what I almost did to myself, all because I was sad and hurt and young and stupid.

It’s your typical story:  girl meets girl.  Girl likes girl.  Girls become BFF’s.  One beer-goggled (actually, screwdriver-goggled) night there was something that happened… not much, not even a kiss.  But something more than just nothing. And then recriminations in the painful light of day.

And after that?  Well, the rest of the story will remain in draft-form until it reads true, no matter how much it makes me cringe and wonder how I even made it through my teenage years.

I feel like I need to tell it, need to get it out there along with all the other garbage from my past.  Turns out that when you expose secrets to the light of day they start losing their power over you.  And this is something that’s held a lot of power over the years.  It’s been the monster I’ve been afraid to face, wondering how broken it might mean that I am.  And it seems rather silly to allow my 17-year old self to run the ship.  I mean, I wouldn’t even have trusted my 17-year old self with my car keys.

So, soon.  And when it does post, I imagine I’ll hit the “Publish” button and then run and hide and peek out occasionally to see if the secret’s taken on a life of its own, or whether it can now die a natural death so I can move on.

Happy Friday #3: Meet-ups

(on Fridays around these parts, I take a little time to make sure that all the happy things happening in my life get a shout out)

This past weekend was chock full of get togethers!

Friday started it with my cousin from California dropping into town unexpectedly — I met up with her and we sat at Panera for hours, just catching up with each others’ lives.  It was the best kind of medicine for what had been a rough week.  We don’t see each other often (though, I should really visit her more – she’s the one with the great weather year round!), but whenever we do get together, it’s like opening a book right where we left off, picking up as if no time had passed.

And then a Mexican dinner with a small group of close friends.  Nothing heavy, nothing intense, just fun and laughter and guacamole.  What more is there?

Of course, the answer to what more there is …. SUSHI!  A friend turned sister-in-law turned ex-sister-in-law turned ex-friend turned close friend once again came out to visit.  I took her out for sushi, and we talked, our long history allowing us to skip the formalities. And like we had always been able to, we shared our hopes and issues and successes and everything that was troubling us.  My heart alternately broke for her and soared for her.  As hers did for me. So gratifying.

This trio of get togethers made me oh-so-happy, each for different reasons. And just highlights how lucky I am to have such quality people in my life.

Onward!

Over at Communicatrix, Thursdays are Poetry Thursdays.  And while poetry hasn’t always been my thing, her poems always seem to hit home in a way that others don’t.

This past Thursday, the poem was “South To True North” and I interpreted it to be all about how sometimes you have to bust out of your daily life and venture into some uncomfortable places to really grow and learn and live. That by always retreating into your routine you isolate yourself from experiences and life-changing events.  And how true this is!

Having decided to come out of the closet in my late 30’s, I’m well aware of the walls that I built, both to keep people from guessing the truth about me and to allow myself to not have to deal with the pain and awkwardness of being honest about my sexual orientation with my friends and family.  I spent a whole lot of my life taking the easy way out.  Funny, though, how the easy way out isn’t always the road to a satisfying existence.

And now that I’ve made the first steps by telling people about me, I’ve got more issues that I need to figure out and push through, new things that need to be resolved.  Time to walk the walk, just not talk the talk again.  Get moving.  Break down those electric fences (this damn collar!).  Onward!

Not so funny

It was meant as a joke, I know that.  I use humor and sarcasm with the best of them.  But, whether I’m over-reacting or not, this hurt.

I’m trying to plan a trip to Vegas.  With everything that’s been going on coupled with me not having had a proper vacation in awhile, I thought it’d be fun to get away for a quick weekend.  I’ve got tax refund money to spend, and where better than Vegas, right?

And now, I don’t ask a lot from my friends on a regular basis — I’m a supporter, a giver, the one who provides rather than asks for help (we won’t debate how healthy of me that is right now) — but this time, I needed something.  Rather, someone.  I wanted a travel partner.  I don’t mind going places on my own — and in fact, sometimes I prefer it that way — but this time I wanted company.  They didn’t need to be joined at the hip with me or anything, but someone there to have dinner with, to sit at a blackjack table with occasionally.  You know, things like that.

Now, I realize that because a lot of my friends are married (and some have kids), that they don’t have the flexibility in their scheduling that I do.  Or, even, the flexibility in their finances that I do.  But – regardless of that –  I put out an S.O.S. to my closest friends, entreating at least one of them to find the time to come with me, and that I’d even pick up a good chunk of the price tag (my “fun” thing to do with some of my tax refund).

And even still, I got a bunch of rejections.  A lot of “I’d LOVE to, but…” with some sort of excuse. This hurt, but I guess I expected it.  There was one email, though – probably something scrawled in a minute between meetings or without even thinking – that really caught me off guard:  “If I start vacationing with you, people are going to start thinking I’m gay, that we’re an item or something…  Wouldn’t want that!”

I don’t know why this struck me wrong.  Struck me as hurtful.  I understand that she meant it as a joke, as something funny to say.  She even followed it up with the universal email sign for “I’m kidding”….   the sideways smiley :).

Maybe I’m hormonal (okay, no “maybe” there), perhaps it’s the lack of sleep this past night.  Or maybe I’m just being a little thin-skinned.  This is one of my closest friends.  One of my first straight friends that I came out to, in fact. She’s always been supportive, though always a little, I dunno, quiet about it, if you know what I mean.  Like she understands that this is simply the way things are, that I’m not a threat to her and she wouldn’t want to change me, but that there’s still the smallest piece of her that’s uncomfortable with the reality of me being gay.

I need to talk about this to her — but not over email.  Not where things can get misconstrued even more.  Tell her how her comment, however meaningless to her, made me feel.

And yet, I feel like I’m making this a much bigger deal than it needs to be.  I’ve almost got the sense that I’ve lost perspective on this a little bit.

What I want to know is this:  when does this all get easier?

Administrative crap

Since I started this blog (you know, all of like 6 weeks ago), I’ve been posting every week day.

Which is good.  And I enjoy.  But I’m thinking that perhaps my boss doesn’t think it’s such a great idea, since I do a fair portion of my writing during work days.

So, I’ve started thinking about how to organize/structure this blog.  I want a schedule — I do best when things are laid out for me like that.  And along with that, I’m going to give two days a purpose:  Wednesdays will be a post about something I’ve found on the big bad interwebz that I want to comment on.  Fridays will continue to be Happy Fridays, where I make sure that the good stuff in my life gets a shout out.

And I’ll do Mondays as my third day, where I’ll just pick something out of thin air, probably related to this whole process with coming out within the past year and what trials, tribulations and successes I’m going through.

Of course, I reserve the right to post more if I’ve got words in my head that need to be spewed somewhere.  Just so’s ya know.

Everyone okay with this?  Just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page, and everything.

Happy Friday #2: Spring!

(on Fridays around these parts, I take a little time to make sure that the happy things get a shout out)

Okay, okay… officially Spring isn’t here for another week or so.  But still – here in the Midwest, we’re looking at temps in the 50’s (and 60’s!), the sun’s (occasionally) out and the snow has (mostly) melted.  Does it get any better than this?

I don’t think so!

Despite my near-perpetual whining about the weather, I probably will never leave.  I mean, it’s home and all.  And… it’s SPRING.  Which makes everything else forgivable.  The interminable winter, with it’s never-ending snow and such. The sweat-soaked summer. All wiped from memory.

The whole Spring being the season of rebirth and rejuvenation and such?  Yea, I totally buy into it.  Somehow I think that the awesomeness of finally coming out of winter into Spring totally makes up for the weather the other 90% of the year.

So, that’s what I’m happy about this Friday.  Yay, sun! Yay, warmth! YAY SPRING!