I Resolve Not to Turn Thirty

I love New Years Resolutions lists. I pretty much do them every year. And every year there is always some version of get my body right on my list.

My first resolve is not to give two solid fucks about my weight this year. And maybe for the rest of my life, but we’ll see how that pans out. I initially thought maybe I wouldn’t weigh myself in 2016. But that already proved too difficult and I had to weigh myself to see what the post-Christmas damage was and how depressed I ought to be for the whole of January.

In all actuality it wasn’t as grim as I anticipated and I was blue about the scale number for maybe a day. Then I put on a dress and a cowboy hat and felt as hot as one can feel with slightly thinning hair and cellulite aplenty and strutted my stuff about the West anyway.

But moreover when it comes to weight and my body my main resolve is just to be kind to myself. That’s all. Be real kind. And being kind to my body definitely means not filling it with chicken fingers and sugar only to then lie around and watch an HGTV marathon. It means maybe running a marathon (okay, obviously I need to work my way back up to that one) and reacquainting myself with vegetables.

This quote sums things up rather nicely:

You don’t have to be young. You don’t have to be thin. You don’t have to be “hot” in a way that some dumbfuckedly narrow mind-set has construed that word. You don’t have to have taut flesh or a tight ass or an eternally upright set of tits. You have to find a way to inhabit your body while enacting your deepest desires. You have to be brave enough to build the intimacy you deserve. You have to take off all your clothes and say, I’m right here.
-Cheryl Strayed

I don’t want to be perpetually obsessed with being thin, especially when I like myself a lot, even with copious amounts of cellulite. But it’s really rather unfair to base anything on cellulite. I can still run and hike and take photos and cook and write and kiss just fine with cellulite. All my favorite things are still possible. So, what’s the prob, man? No problem actually. There is no absolutely no freakin’ problem. If my biggest problem is having cellulite then I really have a rather grandiose life.

Moving on.

I also resolve to shut up about writing my novel and just write the son of a bitch. Maybe I should also resolve to wash my mouth out with soap, but uh, I’m feelin a wee bit feisty in the new year.

I also happen to be turning thirty this year as I am sure none of you have heard, because I never bring it up. I kid. I haven’t shut up about it for the whole of being twenty-nine. And it is actually so tired to freak out about turning thirty. Everyone has a dozen conniptions about the number thirty. And I really have resolved not to be one of them and yet I have been. Which is so unlike me because I have never been the kind of gal who freaks over her age, or lies about it, or bemoans wanting back my fleeting youth. Nah. I know I am getting better with age. Are ya kidding me?! Twenty-three year old me was such a ninny. So insecure and unsure; and while that time needed to be, I am glad that time has passed.

But this is what I do resolve for impending thirty.
A. To not piss and moan about turning thirty.
B. Not to say thirty is the new twenty. No it’s not. It’s just thirty and what’s so wrong with thirty anyway? Some gal once said I want to be thirty, flirty and thriving, though I am not going to say that either… okay I might say that, because that does sound rather nice actually.
And lastly.
C. To embrace this number as a benchmark for achieving the goals I have set for myself. I am already very goal-oriented as is, and since this number has felt like a big to-do in my mind, I may as well use it in much the same way I used The Biggest Loser. As a humungo wake-up call to my life and my yearnings. It pushed me in a way that nothing else had pushed me before. And I feel that way about turning thirty. I feel it pushing me to be better and greater and make something of myself that aligns somewhere in the vicinity of what I know I am meant to be. Something that doesn’t involve asking someone what side they want with their hamburger: fries, sweet potato fries, chips, coleslaw or potato salad?

And while I am talking french fries, I also resolve to never be a waitress again. But I still have five days in 2016 to live that out before I can really bid adieu to bad tips and fingers caked with syrup and/or dried out from sanitizer water. But goodbye, friend, I wish I could say it’s been fun, but as Kia and I were kidding about putting laxative drops in our problem customers drinks the other day, I think it is time I hung up my apron as I am dangerously near breaking down in the towns of Bitter and Burned Out.

And lastly on my list of resolutions, I have resolved to be better with budgeting the money I do make and maybe make this the year that I do not overdraw my checking account. I did that this year already, but technically I am not counting it as I still have five months before I turn thirty and then I really can’t do it anymore. That would be so un-adult and uncouth of me and I will have nipped it in the bud by then. Besides, Bank of America is probably delighting way too much in the lofty amounts of money they get from me in overdraft fees, and they definitely don’t need all those $35’s as much as I do. Sorry Bank of America, you’ll have to get my money in some other sneaky fat cat way from here on out that doesn’t prey on my wild incompetency to budget my money properly.

So anyhow. Yeah. That’s about it. Maybe it’s not all that exciting if I am not touting lists of resolutions that include workouts worthy of Michelle Obama’s arms, but um, I actually think her arms are a little intense and mannish, so I will stick with my solid and simple list of five ways to be tops.

Happy 2016 kiddos!

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Why Hello Rock Bottom

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
J.K. Rowling

This has been my mantra for the past few weeks. Mostly because things keep seeming to spiral out of my control and I have to chuckle (alright fine when I am not having smallish panic attacks, brutalizing myself in the gym for the endorphin rush, or clutching a novel to my chest while staring at the stars repeating this other mantra of

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus)

because that is my approach to life. Make everything funny. Always. I have to make it funny otherwise my life would just be a tragedy and I cannot stand for that. It has always been and always will be a comedy. Or in this case a tragic comedy, but still. Comedy. Long live the laughter. Lucille Ball would understand.

Here are the tragedies I have been trying to re-work. They are in no order of importance.

I remember a few years back seeing my mom pluck a hair from her chin with tweezers and shuddering (sorry mom). I thought, this is the end of the line man. When hair decides to grow from your chin. I thought I’d have until I was at least forty before facing that certain fate. Nah. It’s happening now. Not cool, body, seriously not cool. I already have cellulite, so you’d think I would’ve caught a break on all other forms of horrifying body problems, but alas, I now have to tweeze my chin hair too. I am not exactly sure how to make this funny other than sharing my shame, so, please, I hope your Tuesday is better knowing you don’t have chin hair… yet. It’s coming for all the rest of you beasts! I swear it.

I applied for a job at Country Living thinking it was a total shot in the dark. I actually heard back from a recruiter. She wanted to see my work. Then the editor-in-chief emailed me and asked me to do some pitches for the magazine. Suffice it to say, all my hopeful dream writing job eggs were thrown into that basket immediately. I was all but putting down a deposit on an apartment in Birmingham when I got the notice that I did not get the job. I was planking at the gym at the time. I had to calmly finish my plank and walk out to my car so I could snivel like a baby in the privacy of my vehicle. Crying while planking would have just made me look like I couldn’t handle a plank, and please. I can plank all day.

Okay it’s all cool, guys. So I have rogue chin hairs and I didn’t get a great magazine job on my 70th (or is it my 700th) try. I am so much tougher than crying over broken dream eggs. Seriously don’t even worry about me.

Except…

I got an email from my current editor a few days ago telling me they were discontinuing my health blog as they were going in a different direction. Clearly my having chin hair and cellulite and being 28 living with my parents in my mom’s Etsy room in a bed with no sheets, (because honestly I can’t even find the energy to bother and that actually happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves) was not rock bottom. This had to be it, I realized with an almost palpable relief. I am finally at rock bottom, so I can stop worrying about my body and my career and my errant hair, or the lack thereof on my head. Now I am in the deepest bowels and every idiot knows this place of utter wretched manure* is where the real growth begins. In the midst of my quaking panic, I clung to the idea that my life was now akin to Detroit, a phoenix just waiting to rise from the ashes. This was good. It was all good. I kept panic at bay with a toothpick and though my head wobbled from the effort, I held it high anyway.

*“They say the seeds of what we do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life, the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”
-Ernest Hemingway (sent to me so thoughtfully this morn by one Mr. Amazing Hulz)

But wait…

I know, I know, if I had a puppy, right now would be the time for a villainous ruffian to come by and kick it for shits. But no, I don’t have a puppy, but I do have this love…

And I had one too many cocktails in my beloved Detroit city on Saturday and thought it’d be wise to send him a nice message. I thought it was just pleasant drunken banter. Sure with maybe some undertones of my love for him, but he already knows I love him, as we say it to each other all the time, so it seemed harmless enough. Nope. The next morning I awoke to questions from him, followed by a painfully uncomfortable phone call. I refused to clarify exactly what my drunken ramblings meant and he didn’t press the issue very hard. I think neither of us truly wanted to go down that road, because we’ve been down it once before and it didn’t end well last time and it won’t end well this time. So we’re both in denial. Or maybe he isn’t. Or maybe I am. But either way, I think those cocktails unlocked Pandora’s box and what was inside can’t be shoved back in, even for the good of humanity, or for salvaging what he have. If he was unclear on the depths of my love for him, this wildly confessional blog ought to really tidy that up. (And I am sorry for that sir. If I could actually be sorry for loving someone such as yourself, which in fact I could not). But now… now I am officially at rock bottom, but a little scared to say so, because I am fearful that one of my legs might fall off for good measure.

Here are the swell facts, however, because in the mire that is my life at the moment, there is always room for a wee bit of swell. I have never been so scared, which also makes me very bold and perhaps bordering right back around to fearless, because now I don’t feel I have all that much to lose. Plans are being put into action with more attention to detail than I reserve for shaving my legs when I have a date.

I am going to seize the day. And do some very, very uncomfortable things like sell my beloved belongings, which I already started to part with today. Insert emotional upheaval here. And head West, which after all, was the plan all along. And yeah, yeah, some might say I am just a runaway and maybe I ought to stay and face the music. But I faced the music today, that music being Gregory Alan Isakov and this lyric in particular:

I picked up all the arrowheads off buffalo trails of the Indians
the Oklahoma sky was cutting through
along the tracks with the Runaway
he just talks and talks and talks
honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you

I choked back sobs not on the word runaway, but on the words Oklahoma sky, knowing without a shadow of a doubt, that yes I will go West because I am a runaway and at 28 I am just as comfortable with this knowledge as I am with having thighs that will always touch. Also, this wouldn’t be the first time G.A.I has brought me to tears. During his concert which I attended a few weeks back, this same song struck a chord within me, on the words, “honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you.”

And those words have never been more true of anything in my life. Honey (meaning the mountains, the sea, God, my grand love, goats, a farm, babies, a writing career, and maybe gaining back one or two of my vintage trunks) I am just trying to find my way to you. Always. I am always trying to find my way to you.

If You’ve Got Worries

I worry constantly. If worrying were a payable endeavor, I would give Bill Gates a run for his money. I don’t enjoy this little facet of my persona. In fact I worry about the long term effects on my health. So then I try and combat the worry with yoga, deep breathing, regular chats with God, and good-vibe mantras, like chill the fuck out, you’ve got this. I recently saw that one on a greeting card which I promptly sent to my best friend who enjoys the F word as much as I do.

Currently I am an almost 29 year old who lives with her parents and babysits for a living. Okay to be fair, I also teach the children writing while I’m there and I freelance for a magazine, but still. I work three days a week and TurboTax has definitely classified me as poor. Okay, fine, they didn’t say it outright, but they ever-so-helpfully hinted at certain tax breaks I can receive for being below the poverty line. I appreciate that TurboTax. Way to have my back.

At any rate, my artsy soul is constantly conflicted with a deep desire to be true to my art and not have my soul ripped out by The Man and then uh, being an actual adult who pays her bills and has health insurance and can afford her penchant for almond butter and fancy coffee but has to have her soul ripped out by The Man, because that’s the way to afford almond butter and bills. It is very disconcerting all this warring back and forth, between soul and The Man.

As any starving (though I never starve, I could never allow that. Not because of prolonging my life reasons, though that’s of course important, but because I genuinely am mad crazy over food) artist would tell you, being a slave to your art is not for the easily discouraged.

Right now, however I am at an impasse. I just regretfully watched a Ted Talk video on why your 30’s are not the new 20’s (I never believed that anyway) but the video made me very uncomfortable. Why haven’t I figured my shit out yet? What is wrong with me? The speaker gives all these examples of 20-somethings making their big life decisions. Getting careers and finding love and paving the way for their 30’s. And I don’t have any of that figured out.

Sure I know I want to be a writer as much as I want my next sip of expensive coffee followed by a bite of chocolate, but making it as a writer who also has a 401K and can eat for good measure… that’s the big times.

My best friend just turned 30 and while I heartily enjoyed picking out a card mocking her last days of youth and leaving her messages reminding her that she’s old, it was all in good fun and truthfully I envy her. She pointed out to me that a whole bunch of her major life decisions were made in her 20’s and how great that was (the speaker in the Ted Talk points this out as well). She went to school, settled on a career, got a job in that career field, found her husband, bought a house, brought home a dog. By society’s standards and turning 30 standards, she’s fucking killin’ it.

And there’s me who has one year and a handful of months left in my 20’s to make some semblance of it count and all I can do is worry. Here in no particular order are all my worries right now:

Why don’t magazines want to hire me? Is it because I’m sort of chubby? Wait, they can’t profile like that. Don’t be absurd. But maybe… Or worse is it because I’m untalented? No. Take that one back. I’d rather be sort of chubby and know it, rather than believe myself to lack any real talent.
Am I unlovable? Also, is it the sort of chubby thing?
Seriously when will I be gainfully employed by someone who doesn’t make me memorize the new french fry menu, or isn’t paying me under the table? (We’ll talk about that next year TurboTax).
Why can’t I finish my blasted book already?
Will I even write a bestseller? Of course I will. Don’t be an idiot.
Am I an idiot? Could be… the other day I was mildly unclear on the rules of communism and had to look it up on Wikipedia.
Why do other almost 29 year olds have pensions, houses, dogs and love lives, or have already invented a new billion dollar website? Where is my motivation? Where is my drive? Where is my love life?
It’d probably be easier if I was a singer. Then I could just go on the The Voice and…
Wait how would life be any easier if I was a struggling singer instead of a struggling writer? I don’t know, but it might be. At least they have open mic nights.
Maybe I should start reading my writing aloud on street corners. Could I be discovered in that way?
Why hasn’t anyone discovered me yet?
Seriously have I been negligent in the love department? Was I supposed to set my intentions and look for my mate? But I always hear it happens when you’re not looking. Should I be looking or not looking? Coy or aggressive? Coy is better right? Always be coy. Except I am not coy. I am super obvious and out there. Dammit! Why didn’t God make me coy?! All the coy girls are the ones finding their life partner. Instead I am failing at my 20’s.
Do I eat too much peanut butter? It has protein, but it’s also fatty.
Where do people find cowboys? I mean, more appropriately, where are women finding cowboys who are interested in marrying them? Why haven’t I landed a cowboy and how come life is so unfair? I have so much cellulite and no cowboy. I mean shouldn’t there be a cellulite cowboy trade-off? It only seems right. I did my time with the cellulite now I should be rewarded with a man who rides horses and then rides… the rails you pervert. Gosh, any good cowboy obviously has to take the train sometimes for business.

Ughhhh. There are so many more worries. I am worried I’ve forgotten some of the best ones. Sometimes I find myself utterly at peace and content and I suddenly start, like when you’re falling asleep and think you’re falling out of bed. I think, what were you just worrying about ten minutes ago… I can’t recall, so I backtrack, oh thank God, there you are worry, finances, you were worrying about finances. Oh that one’s a doozy, we could be here all day with this one. Alright, let’s get started.

Honestly writing this post in some ways has inflamed my anxiety to the point where I am having fantasies of dancing Xanax, but in others I realize how truly absurd most of my worries are. Also the fiery optimist in me is seriously chagrined by all this worrisome talk. Hence why this post got written. She was not having any of it and every time worrisome me mused to the universe at large that maybe it’s impossible for someone to love me, really love me as in also want to take off my clothes at some point and acknowledge my cellulite while still maintaining that love, she battled back with ferocity saying, of course it’s possible you ninny! You are fully worthy of love, and not just love but great love, cellulite and all! And any cowboy worth his beard and boots would be lucky to have you. Also you’ll get a job and sell your book.

She’s nice, the fiery optimist. I ought to talk to her more often and maybe have her stronghold the worrier and lock her up in a closet under a staircase, Harry Potter style. Yeah, that’ll shut her up. Anyway I have a homemade almond peanut butter cup with my name on it. And nothing says drowning my worries like chocolate and almond butter, so I’m going to get to that. Besides. I am only an almost 29 year old. I have one full year and some odd months to get my 20’s right. I am not worried… Ish.