Fat and Lazy

Today it took me more than five minutes to zip up one of my favorite dresses. And after all that, I ended up not even wearing it (another five minutes to UNZIP) because it was so tight that I was afraid I might pass out at work.

I wish I could say this is the first time that’s happened…

I’m not fat. I’m fatTER than I used to be (by almost 20 pounds actually), but I was so freakishly small for most of my life that these extra 20 pounds have really only pushed me into the “average” category. The problem is that I love food. The bigger problem is that my husband ALSO loves food. The biggest problem is that I work a sedentary job. And the elephant (no pun intended) in the room  is that I’m lazy.

Seriously, I am. Most things have come relatively easy to me. For the better part of my life, I didn’t have to try very hard to do things well, and consequently, I never learned how to try. The sad part is that it took 23 years and a mega exam to bring light to this matter. And that’s the story of how I failed my first and second attempts at the CPA exam.

I never learned how to study. I learned how to go to class, write down all the necessary information without retaining anything, type up my notes the night before the exam, memorize my notes, and pass the test with a reasonably high grade. This was my process for 18 years, kindergarten through grad school. When it came to studying for the CPA exam, I didn’t even know how to start. And so I never really did start. I half-heartedly attempted to study for two months, failed the first exam I took, and basically gave up. When it came time for the second attempt, I didn’t study at all. I spent the night before the exam watching a marathon of Joan of Arcadia and feeling sorry for myself. Surprisingly, that only resulted in a bigger fail than the first time…

This is the same story with me and exercise. I played soccer and ran track all through high school. In fact, I LOVED running. I hate saying that in the past tense, because there’s a part of me that will always be a runner and I do still enjoy it when I get around to it, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not nearly as enjoyable when you’re not good at it. I used to be good at running. My not-so-humble side would say that I was GREAT at running. My not-so-humble side would also take this opportunity to shamelessly gloat about the five school records I broke, including the 400 meter dash record which still stands today over seven years later.

This would a great moment for my humble side to talk, but sadly, my humble side barely exists. I was a youngest child; I like pointing out my accomplishments. Sue me.

Back to being lazy. I loved running in high school because I was great at it. I worked at it and definitely wasn’t what most people would consider lazy, but it still came easily to me. If I had been less athletic and hadn’t seen such quick results from my hard work, I’m certain I would have given it up. That’s exactly what I did with bowling, and tennis, and volleyball, and handwriting. That’s right, handwriting. If I work hard enough at it, I can have somewhat legible penmanship. But even when I put in the effort, it’s a mediocre result at best, so I don’t even bother trying.

Now that I don’t play sports or run year round, I’m embarrassingly out of shape. And any time I try to get BACK into shape, I measure myself against my past accomplishments and get fed up before I start seeing any kind of results. And so I just don’t exercise. And I sit at a computer all day. And I eat ALL my feelings, whether I’m sad, happy, or bored, I eat. The only time I don’t eat is when I’m incredibly upset and as those moments have been few and far between (and since I don’t feel like repeating any of them), more often than not, I eat.

The thing is, about half the time I look in the mirror, I like how I look (I consider half to be a pretty great percentage, considering the fact that I’m a woman and, by nature, pretty much always hate how I look. If I like what I see in the mirror half the time, I consider that a win). When I was younger, I always joked that I had a boy’s body. I was flat-chested and had zero curves. To top it off, I had a baby face (still sort of do to this day), so from far away and even from relatively close up, I looked like a ten year old boy. And I liked that, because that’s the reason I was a great runner. Boobs get in the way when you run, ask any busty girl. If I had been a C cup instead of an A, there’s no way I would’ve ran a quarter mile in under a minute. Three times…

I went on the pill my freshmen year of college and immediately developed hips and SOME boobs. Now, to a lot of people, I still probably looked like a boy. But to me, the little bit of extra curve that I acquired was very significant. And it made me feel sexy. After I graduated college and started my desk job, I gained even more curves, most of which I was not so excited about. With bigger boobs and larger hips also comes a gut, and it’s sadly the largest and most pronounced curve I currently have. And it’s also the reason I couldn’t zip up my dress this morning, although I like to think the boobs might have had a little bit to do with that (though I’m sure they didn’t).

I feel very bi-polar when it comes to my body. I always worry about how “fat” I’ve gotten, but it’s mostly about what OTHER people will think. Will people who knew me in high school see me and silently smile about the weight I’ve gained? All of my fears come from that measuring stick against what I USED to be, how I USED to look. I’m pretty sure most people who only know me as I currently am don’t think I’m fat.

So I think this is a good moment to OWN my fat and laziness. I’m a healthy weight. I work hard in many areas of my life. I have a marriage that I’m very happy with and a husband who, honestly, wishes I was a little fatter. I’m doing pretty good right now.

I encourage you to own yourself as well! And to forget about what the OTHERS will say. When it’s just me and my husband, I nearly always feel comfortable about my body. But the second I step outside the door, all that doubt and fear rises up in me. It’s a constant battle and I don’t see it going anywhere, but I’m trying.

So here’s me trying. And here’s to being happy with myself. Fat and lazy, and proud of it.

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The Best (And Worst) of Christmas

I love Christmas. Not in the listening-to-Christmas-carols-constantly or decorating-every-inch-of-my-house-with-reindeer kind of way. In fact, my current Christmas decorations, besides the tree and its ornaments, consist solely of an owl with a scarf and a battery-operated Santa Claus with large glasses who dances to “Party Rock” (this was a gift from my father-in-law who, sadly and wonderfully, shares the same sense of humor as my husband).

Even though I love Christmas, this doesn’t exempt me from having strong opinions regarding the holiday. In fact, nothing exempts me from having strong opinions. I was a youngest child. I like hearing myself talk.

Thus, I have come up with the best and worst aspects of the Christmas holidays. Feel free to add or subtract from my list as you please. It is in no way an all-consuming list.  Actually, it’s not even a list; just a mishmash of rants and ramblings. Here goes.

The WORST of Christmas:

My optimistic side felt that it would be best to end the post on a positive note. That, or my cynical side just couldn’t wait any longer to come out. One of those two.

I hate radio stations that play only Christmas music for the entire month of December. Don’t get me wrong, I like the occasional Christmas song, especially while I’m decorating the tree or wrapping presents. And I’ll be honest, the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas CD is easily my favorite album of all time. But seriously, there are only like seven GOOD Christmas songs out there beyond Denny (see what I did there?). The rest are mostly crap. Anyone who even remotely understands music would tell you that. I don’t want to have to change my radio presets just because what used to be a good station decided to play 24 hours of mediocre music for 31 days straight.

I also hate Black Friday. It’s ridiculous, chaotic, and downright dangerous. There is even a website solely devoted to counting the injuries/deaths that occur on this horror of a day. If that website (and this one) are believed to be accurate, then more people died during Black Friday this year than from the Boston Marathon bombing. Why does this not upset more people? Seriously.

Snow before Christmas. Now being from the Midwest, I actually quite enjoy snow. It looks pretty, I can ski down it or build a snowman with it, and I love waking up on Christmas day to a beautiful white blanket of the stuff. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me without snow. But snow before Christmas sucks, especially when people, like me, have to travel in the days preceding the holiday. Similar to Black Friday, it’s downright dangerous (although at least in this case, I’m risking my life to be see my family, not so I can get a great deal on a Nokia Lumia 1020). Weather gods: please hold off until I am safely home; after that, snow all you want.

The BEST of Christmas:

It should be no surprise that my favorite part of Christmas is seeing family. If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you know how important family is to me. The thing I’m most looking forward to this year is seeing my niece do anything. Literally, everything she does is beautiful and hilarious and perfect. I’m counting down the days until I see that wonderful face.

A close second to family is PRESENTS. I love the gift-giving part of Christmas. Not because I’m a fan of consumerism (I’m really not) or because I need more STUFF in my apartment. No, I love the entire process involved in exchanging gifts. I love scouring the internet to find that perfect ornament for my sister. I love walking around Kohl’s for an hour and a half trying to find that perfect holiday decoration for my mother-in-law. I love wrapping presents (HATE gift bags). I love OPENING presents. I love seeing the excitement in kid’s eyes as they unwrap that new doll they’ve been wanting for months. I love it all.

Lastly, I love the message of Christmas. Not the consumerist message that is subtly pushed to the forefront more and more each year (and not so subtly brought up in nearly every paragraph of this post). No, I love the idea of using Christmas to help people. The Muppet Christmas Carol is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. There, I said it. The story is such a great look into what Christmas is all about: putting others first. It’s about looking beyond your current situation and seeing what you can do to help someone else.

“With an open smile and with open doors, I will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours. With a glass raised to toast your health. And a promise to share the wealth. I will sail a friendly course. File a friendly chart. On a sea of love and a thankful heart.” – Thankful Heart, from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Seriously, is that not an awesome song? This soundtrack may actually rival the aforementioned Denny favorite…

What are your thoughts about Christmas? What are you most (and least) looking forward to this holiday season?

Long Distance – Part 2

I feel like the last few years of my life have been lived long distance. I know I said that in Part 1, but I felt it needed repeating.

Back to where I left off.

In May of that year, my now husband (then boyfriend) graduated with his second bachelor’s degree and commissioned into the United State Air Force. At this point, we had been dating for nine months, and we had spent the majority of those nine months in each others company. We literally spent almost every day together. Him leaving was like quitting cold turkey. I went from seeing him every day to seeing him once every 4-6 weeks. Needless to say, it was a huge adjustment, and a very unenjoyable one.

In August, I graduated with my master’s and started working in the city about an hour from where I grew up. I was living closer to my parents than I had been in five years, and I saw them frequently. My sister and her husband had just bought a house five minutes from my parents, so I saw them frequently, as well. Over the next twelve months, I enjoyed more quality time with my family than I’d had in years. In fact, it was the most time I had spent with all of them since my freshmen year of high school, when my sister and I were still under the same roof as my parents. That November, my niece was born, and it was an enormouse blessing being so close to all the people I loved.

All the people I loved, minus one. My then boyfriend/fiance (now husband) and I spent a total of 16 months living in separate states, only seeing each other once a month. Our entire engagement was spent living apart. I came home to an empty apartment each day after work and felt so lonely. Granted, I had friends in the city, and I already mentioned family close by, but I missed him like crazy. It was incredibly hard to have a relationship under such unnatural circumstances. We would get one weekend a month together, usually less than 48 hours, to try to get in four weeks worth of coupledom (Yes, coupledom. I’m aware it’s not a word. But you understand what I mean by it, right? This is how words start). I always felt like our weekends together were completely unnatural, as though we were on hyper speed trying to accomplish as much as possible in less than two days. I know I already used “unnatural” earlier in this paragraph, but it bears repeating. Living long distance is unnatural.

Then we got married and I moved to the South to be with him. If I thought it was an adjustment switching TO long distance, then it was a gigantic, monstrous, larger than life adjustment switching FROM long distance. We had both become accustomed to living alone and living apart. It was like we had forgotten how to be in the same space. We eventually remembered, but it took some time.

So here I was, here I still am, finally in the same location as the love of my life. But I’m still living long distance from someone I love. In fact, I’m living long distance from many people I love. It’s different, but ultimately feels the same. When I go back to visit my family, I feel the hyper speed all over again. I feel like I have to get in every possible minute of quality time I can before I have to leave again. So much so that sometimes I don’t even tell my friends I’m going to be in town, because I don’t want to be distracted from my family. Which just creates more long distance with my friends. It’s a never-ending cycle. No matter where I am, I’m still living long distance. And it’s unnatural. At least it is to me.

I know that a lot of people live long distance. In fact, many military families like mine will experience extended periods of long distance. I may experience that myself someday soon. And I know that many people move to different states after they graduate and it’s great for diversification and expanding your horizons and blah blah blah. But I still think that everyone I love should forever live within my home state’s boundaries. And I feel like that’s a legitimate request that should be fulfilled.

No, I don’t, actually. I know why people move away and I know the good in it. I’m just exhausted with long distance. And the holidays simultaneously make it less and more difficult to deal with.

What experiences have you had with long distance? Do you, like me, find it unnatural? Or do you find it welcoming? I know that some forms of long distance have definitely been welcome for me, namely going “away” to college (I use quotations here because my idea of “away” was about two hours from where I grew up). So if you like long distance, I somewhat get where you’re coming from. Feel free to try to persuade me to your ways; I’m up for anything that makes it easier to deal with.

Long Distance – Part 1

My apologies for the long delay. The holidays kept me away from my keyboard. And sparked this post.

I feel like the last few years of my life have been lived long distance.

My husband and I met in college. I was finishing my master’s and he was finishing his second bachelor’s. When he initially decided to go back to school, he had wanted to get a master’s, but then he realized that he wanted to join the Air Force. And apparently, if you want to commission as an officer, you have to get an undergraduate degree. So that’s what he did.

We worked in the same office on campus that summer. He was one of only two male student workers, whereas there were at least six of us females. All the girls were trying to get him and I together and they constantly told me that we should date. But I wasn’t interested. Because he was in the military.

Not that I’ve ever had a problem with the military. It’s just that, well, I never wanted to be a military wife. As a youngest child, I’ve been pretty selfish for most of my life. I’m very strong willed and stubborn, and those are simultaneously my best and worst qualities. Unsurprisingly (considering my line of work), I’m also very scheduled. I decided at the age of sixteen that I wanted to work in accounting, and I’ve been on that path ever since. I used to tell my college boyfriend that I was like an arrow: very focused and to the point; I could see my target and I shot right to it. He, on the other hand, was more of a boomerang, although that’s another story for another day.

Being the scheduler that I am, I had my life plan very well orchestrated. Start working in public accounting, get married, have kids and switch to corporate accounting. Live in the same state my whole life. Clean, simple, perfect. Being a military wife did not exactly yield the comfortable life that I was shooting for.

Despite that fact that my now husband and I ate lunch in the conference room together every day and talked almost constantly at work, I was oblivious to my feelings for him. I was so focused on the fact that I didn’t want the future he wanted that I refused to admit even to myself that I liked him. Then one day he was on an errand and missed our lunch, and in that moment I realized how much I had been enjoying spending time with him. I imagine my brain was screaming in protest, but I followed my heart and starting dating him anyway.

Before we even started dating, I knew that he would be moving after graduation. He already had his orders and he was stationed in the South. And I knew I didn’t want to move. And yet I continued dating him.

After we had been dating about seven months, he brought up marriage. It completely freaked me out. First of all, if you remember from this post, I’ve had my share of long-term relationships. And three of those relationships had been longer than the seven months we had been dating. This was not the way things worked out. It wasn’t rational. Who talks about marriage when you’ve only been dating seven months? Crazy people, that’s who.

And yet I was considering it. Even though I knew he was moving in two months. Even though I knew that I had already accepted a job with my DREAM company (that did not involve moving to another state). Even though he was in the military. This was all kinds of complexity that I had been trying to avoid. And yet I went through with it all.

I realize that I titled this post “Long Distance” and have yet to discuss it. Sorry about that. If you’re going to continue to read this blog, you’ll have to get used to my long-windedness. And my made up words…

Because I care about you and your well-being, I’m going to end this post here. I’ve already carried on far too long and I haven’t even gotten to the long distance part. But I promise I’ll be back soon with Part 2. I’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seat until then…