Let’s talk about Ed baby

Let’s talk about Ed baby

Please tell me you read that title and at least THOUGHT about Salt-n-Pepa’s song Let’s Talk About Sex. I linked it, so you can have it stuck in your head too. Coincidentally, I probably should have called this post “Could there be any more links in one post?!” You’ll see why, but back to the point….the big long drawn out point. Yes, this will be a long one, and it may not be worth reading, but then again, it might, because a few weeks ago, I did something that really should have terrified me. It definitely pushed me right the hell out of my comfort zone, and it was worth every single second of it. But first, the backstory.

When I was in 6th grade, I met my new best friend on the first day of school when I dropped my pencil in Mr. Hall’s math class, and rather than tapping the shoulder of the girl in front of me to ask her to pick it up, painfully shy me instead chose to lean over as far as humanly possible to try to inconspicuously reach it myself. Well, that didn’t work, because I reached too far, tipped my desk over, right on to the foot of the cute boy next to me, turned 50 shades of red as the ENTIRE class watched me pick up my desk, (I mean how could you miss it), and then the girl in front of me, who I should have just asked for help in the first place handed me that stupid pencil. We’ve been friends ever since. Actually, I think if I could have lived at her house, I would have in a second, at any time during our childhood. (OK, let’s be honest, I’d move in with her now.)

We were pretty much inseparable during the weekends and summer. Our favorite activity? Riding bikes or walking to the Saloon/convenience store (it’s a Mexican restaurant now) about a mile away from her house to get snacks, and then going back to her house to make mix tapes. We certainly got our fill of that during the summer after 6th grade, which was good, because during the beginning of the next school year, my dad dropped a bombshell on us. We were moving to an island with 14 miles of state road in Southeast Alaska. RUDE! Try as I may, I couldn’t convince my family to just let me stay with my new BFF. I had to move with the family. Double rude! I mean, I ended up loving the place we moved, because there’s really nothing to not love about Sitka, or the people in it, but that’s beside the point.

I was always active when I was a kid. We worked and played outside all the time. I played basketball, volleyball, softball, and we swam all summer long and ice skated all winter. We didn’t eat a lot of fast food as a family; my mom cooked almost every meal we ever ate. We never thought of food as either good or bad, we just had food, and sometimes we had treats. But when we were moving, my dad said something to me that forever changed the way I viewed everything. “It’s good we’re leaving,” he said, “because you’re developing bad habits with your friend on the weekends.” The bad habits he spoke of? Convenience store donuts. Our favorite treat at the convenience store that we WALKED to was those mini powdered hostess donuts that you can buy in a package of like 6 or 8. We each bought one. We each ate one, and that apparently warranted worry. It wasn’t long after that, that I realized my mom was using the good old Slim Fast, shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, healthy dinner routine a few times a year to lose weight I didn’t even notice she needed to lose.

I was 13 years old the first time I made myself throw up. I’d just finished a very in depth report on anorexia and bulimia for my 7th grade English class. I was sure I needed to break those bad habits my dad had mentioned, and if my mom was always dieting, surely I could stand to lose some weight too. Besides, my legs were way bigger than the other girls I played sports with, and 13 year old me absolutely couldn’t fathom that this was because they were solid muscle from all of the sports I was involved in, and the way that my body is built. I couldn’t simply not eat, because we had family dinner every night. I couldn’t pick and choose what to eat, because that is certainly not the way it worked, so to be more like the other girls, to be more like the beautiful girls, I just threw up whenever I couldn’t stand the thought of all of the calories in the meal we had just eaten, when I needed to be skinny like the other girls.

I managed to hide this for 2 years before my sister caught me and told my parents. They made me go to a doctor, but I had this thing under control, so I told her what she needed to hear so I could just be done with it. Nobody understood that this was the only thing I felt like I could control. Besides, it’s not like I did it all the time, just when I NEEDED to. And it’s not like I had the self control to just quit eating, so I was still getting nutrition that I needed….until that time my senior year, when I really needed to feel like I had some control over something…anything, so I just quit eating, because if I couldn’t control what was happening in my life, at least I could control what went in to my body, and what stayed there.

The world we live in feeds insecurity. The world we live in makes it SO easy to develop eating disorders. How? Well, because the world we live in focuses SO much energy on physical appearance. When I quit eating, it took about a week before I had a noticeable loss of weight. One week until the comments of “You’re looking good” started coming in. And if I looked good at one week, just imagine what 2 did, and then 3. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I consumed MAYBE 10,000 calories over the course of 3 1/2 weeks before I decided I really needed to stop that. And I did, but not before “Wow, you look great” was just about all anyone could say. I weighed 110 pounds, and on my frame I didn’t look great. I looked sick, and I hid it with baggy clothes and makeup.

For 25 years now, I’ve had to fight an eating disorder mentality every single day of my life. I had a friend living with me once that understood this struggle completely. We decided one day that we were going to call our eating disorders Ed. Ed is a bastard, but it was comforting having someone else who got it. Someone else who we could just say “Hey, Ed is really difficult today,” and without saying another word, we knew that we just needed to be a support to each other.

Ed is an asshole, a constant, unforgiving asshole. I mean, I clearly beat the anorexia side of Ed, but I struggle with the rest of it ALL the time. If someone compliments my appearance, I will assume they need their vision prescription checked. Thanks Ed. If I eat something that isn’t healthy, I want it out of my body, like now. Sometimes I can fight that, but still to this day sometimes I can’t. Thanks Ed. I look in the mirror and see someone who is at least twice the size I am, even though my rational brain knows that’s not the case. Thanks Ed. If I don’t work out today, Ed helps facilitate all kinds of negative self talk.

I have amazing people in my life, who tell me things all the time that are contrary to what Ed and I believe about myself. I ALWAYS brush them off (internally) as “they’re just being kind because they’re my friend” but a few weeks ago, I stepped in to a beautiful studio in Jensen America and had some Ed therapy in the most unexpected of ways. The girl that hides from the camera because she isn’t happy with what she looks like, the girl that layers clothing so nobody can see anything she doesn’t want them to see stripped down to almost nothing, and pranced around the studio while the most amazingly talented photographer took the most amazing pictures I have ever seen. It was a 1-2 punch to Ed, because for the first time in my life, I looked at pictures of myself and didn’t immediately pick them apart. Mindy Gale and Ali Dudley (linked, so you can check them out on insta) worked magic; Mindy with the hair and makeup, somehow managing to make it look like I had slept more than 20 hours in the week leading up to the photo shoot, and Ali with the wicked photography skills. The hour or so that we took pictures for went by SO fast, and as I left the studio and went home looking and feeling absolutely amazing, I felt a peace with myself that I don’t remember feeling ever.

About an hour after my photo shoot, Ali sent me a sneak peek of a couple of images. I literally sat on my floor and cried, because she did something I honestly didn’t believe anyone could do ever. She took pictures of me that I loved. Yes, I still struggle with not being where I want to be, and I still wish I was as fat as I was the first time I thought I was fat, but Ed is far easier to deal with now than he has been in the past quarter of a century, and all it took was stepping way the hell out of my comfort zone, and in front of a camera.

A friend of mine once told me “I don’t know why any woman wouldn’t want to pose for Playboy. They are the best pictures you will ever have taken of you in your entire life.” He may have been on to something, but while every woman won’t have the opportunity to pose for Playboy, every woman should take the opportunity to strip down their insecurities, and their clothes, and do a boudoir session. And before you start to stress about boudoir now that I’ve thrown in the Playboy reference, it’s not about the sexy pictures. It’s not about the sexy clothes; you can keep all of your clothes on if that’s how you’re comfortable. It’s not even about getting those pictures taken for someone else, because Lord knows, if I waited until I had someone to have them done for, they’d never get done! It’s about the confidence you’ll find, because if I can find confidence in a picture, anybody can. Just do it for yourself. You’ll be so glad you did. As for me, I’m pretty sure Ed is pissed about losing some of his power, but I for one, am so relieved that a sweet blonde with a camera and her hair and makeup magician could take that asshole down a few notches.

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Bee stings in the burbs

Bee stings in the burbs

Have you ever met someone and you clicked instantly?  Like, sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another, or you’re in love, or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest of circumstances, and they help you feel alive.

I feel pretty lucky to have a few of these people in my life. Most recently, the one I met 3 years ago. He’s one of my best friends. Sometimes he has girlfriends who don’t mind it, sometimes they go batshit crazy because someone who he considers to be his best friend isn’t standing to pee like he does. I wish I knew if this was just a crazy girl thing, but I don’t really date, so I don’t know if guys would be chill with me having a BFF with different parts in the pants than I do or not. I mean, I’m sure the right one wouldn’t have an issue, but there are probably just as many fragile male egos as there are batshit crazy girls. Fortunately he isn’t one of those assholes who can only be friends with me when his girlfriend likes me, which probably makes them even more angry about this whole friendship, and again, makes him even cooler in my book for not just saying “Sorry…it’s just not worth the drama at home.”

The problem with having best friends who live 3 hours away is that you don’t get to see them anywhere nearly often enough, so you take advantage of any opportunity you manage to grab. This weekend, I was in Salt Lake, and only 20 minutes away from him for meetings. He had his kids, so we met at a park about 3 minutes away from his place so they could play and we could chat for a minute. The problem: his place is clear TF out in the suburbs southwest of SLC, in a place I like to “affectionately” call Almost Utah County. You can ALMOST feel the Utah County pretentiousness right there in Riverton. I hate the suburbs. I am a downtown girl. I know, it makes no sense considering where I live in rural UT, but whatever. I’m allowed to hate the burbs, and I do. BUT, I love those kids of his….he’s not so bad either, so it was worth the trip.

Do you have any idea how heart exploding cool it is to see someone’s kid jump out of the car, yell your name, and RUN to you to give you a hug when they see you? Kids and dogs…I’m telling you, they can sense evil, so when kids have this kind of excited reaction to seeing you, you know you’re doing something right with your life, no matter what some people think. Two hours of being the coolest person in the world (Yeah….even cooler than their dad for a little bit) was good for my soul.

Playing with kids who get that excited to see you is THE best therapy in the world. Even if that therapy includes getting stung by a bee for what I think may have been the first time in my entire life, and finding out I’m a little more than mildly allergic to them. Bee stings in the burbs….make that one more reason why I hate suburbia. Also, holy mother forking shirtballs…. bee stings hurt like a son of a B! Seriously, that little black and yellow asshole must have stung right on a nerve or something, because that STILL hurts more than 24 hours later. It’s also super sensitive to cold, and by sensitive, I mean washing my hands in anything short of water that is so hot it probably came from the depths of hell, where that bee was likely sent from, sends shooting pain from my thumb, all the way up to my elbow. In addition to that, there’s a nice area of red swelling that I decided needed to be traced in black pen so I can track any expansion and decide if I need to pay a visit to my doctor. Here’s the fun part of that. The redness goes up my thumb and has a bit of an awkward oval shape at the bottom of it, extending in to my palm. Yeah….it looks like I have a crudely drawn male appendage on my hand, so thank God there aren’t small children at my house to explain that one to.

Bee stings in the burbs, proximity to Utah County, and somehow staying conscious enough to drive 3 hours after taking Benadryl….they’re all risks worth taking for a couple of hours with 2 of the sweetest little guys around. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that as I got in my car to go home, as turned the volume up, I was greeted with some POD just as this song was ending to hear “Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away). Now that I see you (I could never look away). I feel so alive for the very first time, And I think I can fly. ”  (And truthfully, I’ve taken enough Benadryl in the last 24 hours, and had enough caffeine in an attempt to negate the “you can’t have an allergic reaction if you’re unconscious” promise of that little pink and white pill, that I feel like I just may be flying…in my head anyway.)

It’s my anniversary yo

It’s my anniversary yo

Today I’m celebrating the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. You’re confused aren’t you? You probably should be. I’m not married, and my longest relationship lasted WAY longer than it should have, but still had a 7 year expiration date. I guess technically, I’ve been in a “relationship” with the day job for over 18 years at this point, but I don’t really like that, so I’m not counting it. I’m talking about my relationship with Lil’ Red.

Ten years ago, on 8/8/08, I was on my way to Salt Lake City to attend a wedding. On my way out, I received a phone call from a salesman at my favorite car dealership. He said the car I had been in love with since the mock-up of it as a concept car had been released 2 years prior was just pulled off the truck in the color I wanted. Did I still want the car? Like there was even a question. Of course I wanted the car, but I also wasn’t going to be that asshole who blew off the wedding to buy my midlife crisis car. $500 paid over the phone was enough to hold it until the wedding was over, and make me the envy of every University of Utah professor that also wanted my midlife crisis car, the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L with the V6 engine in San Marino Red, school colors at the U. Sorry boys, that 28-year-old beat you to the car you wanted….

Lil’ Red and I have had quite the relationship over the past decade. She’s been my therapist through countless miles of fast driving, mountain curves, fast driving on mountain curves, and loud music. She inspired the paint color for 3 different classic car remodels in 2008 alone. She’s the reason a complete stranger followed me for over a year before he asked if he could drive her and then ended up buying her ugly brown step-sister after I refused multiple offers to sell her. (Really though….Tiger Eye Pearl was not the best Honda paint color). She’s been the fancy ride that has been to Homecoming and Prom more times than I ever did (not like that was a hard number to beat!) with the cousins who begged to drive her to impress their dates. She’s taken the kid and I on several nice long road trips. She’s been on the road from Vernal to Salt Lake so often she could probably do it without me, so take that Tesla self driving cars. She survived teaching the 16-year-old how to drive, although, I’m sure she was pretty grateful that I never let him take her himself. She’s happy to oblige when tiny humans ask me to fly balloons out of the sun roof, or go faster because it’s fun, and she was even happier when teenage boys in Challengers tried to race her and lost miserably….three lights in a row.

She’s getting up there in age though, kind of like her owner. I mean…she’s still awesome AF, and appears to have it all together, but she’s a total Monet. Once you get up close, you start seeing all of the imperfections. I suppose she takes after her owner a bit on that one. I’m not looking forward to the day Lil’ Red has to retire, because she can’t really be replaced. (Seriously, they quit making that car in 2017, there was no deeper meaning there.)

So yeah, it’s probably the only 10 year anniversary I’ll ever celebrate. As for the couple from the 8/8/08 wedding, I texted them this morning, like I do every year, telling them Happy Anniversary, and was thanked with the response “You always remember. Thank you!” I never have the heart to tell her that I remember her anniversary, because it’s also the same day I bought Lil’ Red, but I don’t think it would matter. 8/8/08 was a great day for both of us, and while I’m sure she’ll be celebrating with the modern 10 year anniversary gift of diamonds, I may have to go with the traditional gift, crack open an aluminum can of some sort of cold beverage, and celebrate the day I bought the only car I’ve kept for longer than 3 or 4 years. Or maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to go buy myself those diamond earrings I’ve been looking at, because Treat. Yo. Self. (Someone’s got to do it right?)

You’re like the white Olivia Pope

You’re like the white Olivia Pope

To say I follow politics would be an understatement. I’m completely immersed in and fascinated by politics. I always have been. I hate party politics though. I take the “I side with”  quiz in its entirety, expanding and weighing importance on each question, at least once a year, and definitely during election years, so I can remove the partisan bullshit and just focus on the actual issues. The results are always rather eye-opening, and often end with me realizing I have a fairly different opinion politically than a good portion of my friends and acquaintances.

This political difference isn’t a new thing for me. In 1988, my 3rd grade teacher (Mrs. Moon) held a mock election so we could get in on the fun. I remember her telling us that usually whoever wins in our class election is who wins in our state voting. I remember thinking that was so cool. Of course looking back on it now, I realize “Duh! We are 8 and 9 years old, so our opinion is going to be the same as our voting parent/guardian’s opinion, so obviously the class election and state election will be similar.” While all of my classmates were voting for Bush/Quayle, I was one of few who chose Dukakis/Bensten, not because I had any strong opinions about either candidate, and certainly not because my parents liked Dukakis; I grew up in a Republican household. Why not Bush/Quayle with the rest of the class then? Well, because the week before, while riding my bike to school, some quail ran out of a bush and across the road in front of me, and I didn’t like it, so voting Bush/Quayle wasn’t going to happen. And not that it matters, but that’s where my refusal to “go with the norm” started.

The other day, I was having a political discussion with someone. Our opinions were vastly differing, but it was an actual discussion, not the name calling toddler style garbage that is prevalent in most partisan political discussions. Then the conversation ended like this:
Them: You’re like the white Olivia Pope.
Me: Thank you.
Them: That wasn’t a compliment.
Me: There is no world where that isn’t a compliment.
Them: Well it wasn’t.
Me: Ok.
Them: I mean, you’re like Command Olivia, not OPA Olivia.
Me: STILL not an insult.
Them: Whatever. I don’t even like Scandal.
Me: Yet you know there’s a difference between Command Olivia Pope and OPA Olivia Pope?
Them: Whatever. It just wasn’t a compliment.
Me: Ok, well if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go home, have a glass of wine, and start binge watching all 7 seasons of Scandal again.

To quote the writers that created the powerful gladiator herself, “I am many things, stupid is not one of them,” so I will never not be anything less than 100% ok with someone telling me I remind them of Olivia Pope, because Olivia Pope is a total bad ass.

 

 

Things that give life a purpose

Things that give life a purpose

I don’t know where in the actual hell summer went this year. I’m sitting in my office at this exact moment wearing a beanie and a sleeveless shirt, refusing to believe it’s over. Not that I REALLY need the beanie…but I haven’t remedied the eyebrow issue I’ve been avoiding since last week, and I’m having a bad hair day anyway, so it’s the beanie to the rescue! I mean, I know exactly what happened to summer this year for me. Basically it was this Rihanna song….work, work, work, work, work, and you can’t really understand the rest of it.

So, I was sitting around feeling a little sorry for myself when I decided to take a peek at my Facebook memories for the day. That’s when I came across the memory that changed my entire day. The memory that reminded me, that maybe it feels like all I do is work, because between 2 jobs and some volunteer work, it literally is all I do. But holy crap is the volunteer work worth it or what?! wp-1507847392924..jpg

Two years ago, I was at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Salt Lake City. We were talking to thousands of people about health care legislation that would affect the lives of people with cancer. It was great, but I remember really just wanting the walk to be over, and the thousands of people attending it to leave, so I could take a private tour of the Hope Lodge before it opened a few days later. You see, during the 2 years prior to that, I had been anxiously awaiting the opening of the Hope Lodge in Salt Lake City. It’s dormitory style, short-term housing for people who don’t live in Salt Lake City, but are being treated for cancer in Salt Lake City hospitals. It’s free, and it serves people from all over the country! It’s one of my favorite programs offered by the American Cancer Society, and it’s something a whole lot of us had been a part of fundraising like crazy for.

As we were wrapping up at Strides, we met a woman who was talking to us about her journey with breast cancer. In talking to her, we found out she was in Salt Lake City being treated, but she lived in North Dakota. We also found out she was living in her car, because she couldn’t afford treatment AND housing.

And… queue the tears, from all of us.

This woman was receiving chemotherapy and radiation while living in a freaking car…in Northern Utah…heading in to the freaking winter. I don’t know about you, but I am THE biggest damn baby when I don’t feel well. I want someone to rub my back, make me lemon tea, and just hold me so I can go to sleep. Then I remember I’m a “strong, independent woman” and the only person doing that crap for me is me. The point is, I at least get to go home to a comfy bed, and it doesn’t last forever. This woman was dealing with that and more EVERY day, while living in her mf’n car. Unacceptable!

We talked to this woman for close to an hour about the help available to her through the American Cancer Society. We gave her the number to call to access services (1-800-ACS-2345) so she could get some assistance with a hotel for a couple of days, and then get in to the Hope Lodge when it opened.

Seeing this picture in my memories today brought that memory in its entirety back. The feelings, the sounds, the tiredness, the emotions….all of it flooding back. Maybe in the sense of missing vacations because I worked every single day from Memorial Day to half way through July, and then only had a day or 2 free in the next 2 months, summer was a failure. But if even one more person didn’t have to sleep in a car while being treated for cancer, or have to wonder how they were going to pay for their next treatment, or wonder why some suit in Washington DC thinks they shouldn’t have health insurance, or worry how they’ll afford it if their insurance gets taken away, if even 1 more person didn’t have to worry about things like that, it was worth it.