Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'll Tell You What I'm NOT Giving Up For Lent... You.

“I’m writing my one hundredth blog today,” I told Cory as I added another cream to my coffee. 

“Hey, that’s a milestone,” he responded with a polite smile. 

Breakfast with Cory at the Cracked Egg is one of those things that just has to happen every once in a while. It’s one of my constants that I rely on. I always know what to expect and it helps me slow down when my brain begins to get ahead of me. 

Like, for instance, when I’m thinking that my one hundredth blog needs to somehow be larger and more profound than anything else I’ve written lately. As if I need to add any additional pressure to myself right now. After all, dropping weight, quitting drinking, running Family Fit Club, getting ready for an upcoming art show, trying to make rent, keeping healthy food within reach, doing my best to be an attentive and loving girlfriend and remembering to clean out Bailey’s litter box is keeping my plate pretty full. 

I thought of this as Cory asked me “So, what other big things do you have coming up?” 

I told him about the art projects I am working on for the upcoming bird show and about the obstacle course/race that Tim and I were going to be participating in together this coming May (www.devildash.com). I told him that I would be scheduling my appointment to get my braces on in the next few weeks and that I am very close to actually admitting that I like my job. I gave him an update on Family Fit Club and how I’m a little annoyed at my brother’s competitive approach to losing weight. And I reviewed all the shows I currently have DVR’d. 

“Basically, my life is pretty boring these days,” I finished as I took a bite of my egg white scramble and dry wheat toast. 

Without missing a beat, he said “Your life isn’t boring as long as you aren’t bored.” 

I let his words sink in for a minute before I smiled at him and said, “Yep. My mind? Blown.” 

I have SUCH a bad habit of waiting. I’m always waiting for something big to happen. I’m waiting for the next opportunity. I’m waiting for things to get better. I’m waiting for the day when I am happy with everything I am and all that I have. I’m waiting for this blog to go viral so my days of being... well... a waiter (okay, waitress) might slowly come to an end. 

I spend so much time waiting for things that I think I want or need that I fail to see how much I am actually doing and what I have already done to give myself a pretty fantastic life. One that is anything but boring. 

I know a lot of it lately is feeling bitter about not being able to go out and drink anymore. But then I quickly remind myself that I am free to do whatever I want. No one is telling me that I can’t drink. It is a conscious choice I made because I want a healthier life, both physically and emotionally. 

I find myself avoiding social situations because I don’t know how I’m going to handle not drinking when everyone else is. Then I think about how much better I’ll feel when I drive home sober and wake up the next morning without a hangover. I think about how proud I’ll be when I’ve gone an entire year without this particular vice and how it makes me stronger as a person because I’ve done something I said I was going to do. 

I think about how I told myself at one time that I would never quit smoking weed... only to find how much happier I am without it. I think about all those cigarettes I smoked and how unattractive they made me. I think of how healthy my lungs must look now compared to only a few years ago and it makes me smile. 

I look at my apartment and think of how hard I’ve worked to create my home. I think of how much more comfortable it must be for Tim to come home to our place instead of the room he was staying in before this and how I helped to create that sense of peace and contentment for him. 

I look at my cat and, even knowing how obnoxious and irritating she can be, can’t believe someone left her in a shelter for two months - after two years as a stray - without taking her in and giving her a home.  

I think about my “grown up” job as a Sales Manager for Hyatt and compare it to my simple job now of waiting on tables. I realize that I now work half the hours I used to, doing something SO much easier and with health benefits that are equally as good, and I make the same amount of money I used to. I always said I didn’t like to work and now, I hardly have to in order to maintain the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. 

I think about my family and how often we get to see each other. I think of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve overcome together. Even my brother’s silly antics now are nothing compared to what we’ve endured with him in the past. I look at my sister-in-law’s belly that is about ready to pop and am excited for the new addition to our family. We aren’t perfect, but we are perfect for each other. I remember spending all those years wanting to be on my own and in the end, I am so happy that I have found my way back to my family. 

I look back at my 99 previous posts and all that I’ve been through since I started this blog. Different boyfriends, different activities, different groups of friends... in every moment, I thought I had found what I was looking for, only to have it change time and time again. However, just like breakfast at the Cracked Egg, there is a constant I see that I hold onto and cherish: my desire and push for my own personal development and growth. And the hope that someone out there can relate to it and not feel so alone in their own struggles. 

I’m not bored with my life. How can I be when there is always something to do? Always something to learn? Always something to be discovered? 

And there will always, always be something to write about. 

Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, emotionless sex, lies, excessive gambling, cheating, running away, hiding, withholding and living as a victim didn’t exactly make my life the kind of “exciting” I was looking for. So without them, how can I think I am missing anything? 

Some of you have read each and every one of my one hundred posts. Some of you skim through the ones that look the most interesting and some of you have just started reading. No matter which person you are, I am humbled and grateful to have you as my audience. It’s not always as easy as I make it seem to put myself out there in the honest and vulnerable way in which I insist on approaching my writing. I’ve taken quite a few nasty hits in the past year and a half but have also been rewarded with loving and supportive feedback. I welcome it all. I hold myself accountable through this blog. And without you to read it, it’s purpose gets a little gray. 

So thank you. Thank you with all of my heart. 

And please... keep reading.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Mayans Better Be Wrong... Sober For The Apocalypse?!?

Stepping on that scale every Saturday morning at my parent’s house has become a bit intimidating over the last month. However, for four consecutive weeks, each one of us has stepped back off of it with a sigh of relief after having seen a loss. Until this past Saturday. 

Just to make sure, I stepped on it for a second time. Unfortunately, the new scale my parents just purchased is not as inconsistent as the last one. The numbers “136” flashed at me three times, as if to say “yes, Tina, we were right the first time.” 

Half a pound? I’m up half a pound? I know it doesn’t sound like a lot... but it did cost me twenty bucks. With obvious frustration, I put the four five dollar bills in their respective owners' “piggy bank” and tried to hold back tears of anger. After all, even after successfully completing the exercise challenge of working out for at least six hours, I knew why I hadn’t lost any weight this week. 

I have adjusted my drinking quite a bit since the beginning of the year. I have always been a pretty healthy eater and exercise is something I enjoy quite a bit. What has always held me back from having the body I want is that I like to drink. All those empty calories take up space in my belly and that last 5 to 10 just don’t shed as quickly as the first. Since I only have about 18 to 20 pounds to lose in total (and have already lost 9) it is time to make certain adjustments in order to really start pounding my way to my goal weight. 

That’s when the spoiled rotten brat in my head comes forward and says “but you love to drink! You can’t give that up!” and I give in, reminding myself that I’ll just work out harder the next day or not eat so much food. As I learned, these tricks only take you so far. 

After the weigh-in, I came home and got ready for work. I had switched my dinner shift for a lunch shift and was looking forward to going out and having some fun with Tim that night. Usually, we have worked hard all week and since we have seven more days until we weigh in again, we tend to cut a little loose on Saturday night. 

When I got home, I was so anxious to have a beer and a shot that I didn’t bother eating anything and we just headed straight to the bar. Forget Michelob Ultra... I went straight to the 9% craft porter they were featuring and chased it with a couple of shots of my beloved Jagermeister. Now it’s time to have some fun, right? 

I don’t even remember what caused the ruckus... but the next morning, I woke up sixty dollars poorer from gambling and alone in my bed as Tim had slept on the couch. Apparently, we had another fight and he didn’t want to be near me. Neither one of us could even remember the next morning what we had argued about. All I remember was having dreams all night of the two of us breaking up. I can also recall thinking how I was going to handle him moving out and wondering how we could be so incompatible as a couple. 

And all I wanted to do was have a few drinks... 

It’s not like I haven’t had plenty of warning signs about my drinking. Having to spend $130.00 out of my savings account (which has been steadily dwindling over the last few months as it is) on a brand new keyboard for my MacBook because of a spilled Margarita didn’t help. 

I have a headful of excuses on why I want to drink. I don’t feel like I can have a good time if there isn’t some alcoholic enhancement to my evening. Then again, I used to think I couldn’t even interact with people unless I was high and I got over that... perhaps it’s time to take this new mountain a little more seriously. 

I worry about being boring in my relationship. Shit, Tim and I met over shots of Jagermeister at a bar. Without alcohol, will we even find each other interesting anymore? Or do you think we could go out, not drink and actually find ourselves happy with each other the following morning? Because this fighting over nonsense thing is getting pretty fucking old. 

I remember my first rule on alcohol... in fact, I went back and reread it. Even then, I wasn’t ready to fully commit. I always wanted to have an out so that if I truly felt like drinking, I could. And eventually, I just slipped right back into drinking whatever I wanted, any time I wanted. 

When I first decided to quite smoking weed, I had told myself that I was only going to do it for a year. After all, smoking had been a very big part of my life for the past ten years and I wasn’t ready to make the decision to stop forever. One year came and went and I realized that I was over it. I know in my heart that the joint I smoked on the night of my 30th birthday is the last joint I will ever have. 

I’m staring at the computer, not even wanting to type this next paragraph... which tells me that it’s definitely time to do so. 

It’s February 6th, 2012. I’m not happy with how alcohol has affected my life. I have no idea what will happen in the future, but I know that, once again, I am ready for something different. I’ve never understood my friends who are “dry” as having a drink every now and then isn’t that bad, right? Yes... until I realize that I drink to get drunk and it is that kind of behavior that doesn’t work for me. I have decided to quit drinking for one year and see the difference it makes in my life. 

I’ve done a lot of difficult things over the years and have come out stronger because of them. I don’t know how this will affect my relationship with Tim and he is finding this out just like the rest of you, by reading this blog... because even our communication is not what it used to be. But I’m sick of all of this. I want the decisions that I make to be ones made from a clear head. I know, deep down, that my relationship with alcohol has been keeping me from creating bigger things in my life. 

I’m scared and I’m nervous. But I’ll take either of those over the feeling of settling for things that are just good enough. That’s not going to cut it anymore. It’s time to take some real responsibility and set an example. This blog is great... but I think we can all agree that actions speak louder than words. 

Tebow would be proud. Now if only he could get me to start praying... 

Perhaps some other time.