Airing Dirty Laundry

for all the world wide web to see

Anymore November 6, 2008

Filed under: blogging,life lessons,me being a whiney brat,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:09 pm

I don’t envy the “popular” bloggers.  If I was one of them, I think I’d eventually find myself in fear of the written word.  One hateful or overly-critical comment/email too many and I’d hightail it out of the blogosphere immediately.

As it is, I feel like I limit what I say write.  I would only write in specific detail about a friend if I had his or her permission to do so.  I mask the names of my family members to a certain extent.  I don’t write certain posts that are brewing in my head because I feel like I’d be sharing too much.  Things that maybe certain people would take offense to.  My original intention was to have this be a totally anonymous blog, but over time I added a link to it on my Goodreads profile.  And then my Facebook profile.  So now it’s not-so-anonymous and there’s a chance that if I bitch about someone in particular, one of my real-life friends may be able to figure out who that person is . . .and, well, my reason for this blog is not to start some snarky war where people’s feelings get hurt (whether intentional or not).

Today, I said “screw it.”  This is MY blog.  It’s for ME.  It’s ABOUT me.  My life.  And when something happens in MY LIFE that weighs on my mind for a week and I feel like I’m holding it in because I’m afraid of singling out one specific person . . . .screw it.

That’s when I have to remind myself that this is my journal, what will one day be my history.  And if something’s affecting me to the point that THIS THING is affecting me, I need to let it out.  So here goes.

Last week I played bunco with a fairly large group of people.  All women.  Some I know really well, some are just “casual friends”–we know each other’s names and can have a “Hi, how ya doin’?”-type conversation but don’t just call each other and chat.  When we were broken into groups, one of the women (a casual friend) said to a good friend of mine in front of two other people (I wasn’t in the group), “I guess she (meaning ME) isn’t pregnant anymore, since she’s drinking.”

We’ll call this casual friend Elaine.  I’d like to give Elaine the benefit of the doubt.  I’d like to think that maybe it somehow just slipped out of her mouth and she regretted it instantly.  But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that that wasn’t the case.

I’m a fairly laid-back person.  With so many things, I feel that I can forgive and forget and move on.  But I’ve been thinking about this for over a week now, so apparently I’m not moving on.

Earlier this week on my way home from work, I saw Elaine standing in a neighbor’s yard, about 15 feet from my car as I stopped at a stop sign.  I couldn’t meet her eyes.  I couldn’t even wave.  Tears welled up that I fought back, and I continued on my way.

What she said hurt me.  First of all, I had never told her that I was pregnant, so obviously I had never told her that I miscarried.  And it’s not as if she took me aside and said “I knew you were pregnant earlier this year, so something happened, and I want to make sure you’re doing OK and see if you wanted to talk to somebody about it.”  There was no compassion, no concern.  Instead, it was “I guess she’s not pregnant anymore.”  In front of a group of people.

I hide my struggle with fertility/miscarriage a lot.  I joke about it, my favorite defense mechanism after sleeping it off (which didn’t work in this case).  We named our kitten Forrest because that’s the boy name that Mike loved and I would never agree to it when we were discussing baby names.  So we named the cat Forrest the Cat, Not the Kid–Forrest the Cat for short.

But each day as I dutifully chart my BBT, each month when I get my period, I get a little bit . . .sadder.  I remember my disbelief at the positive pregnancy tests in April, and I want that disbelieving/hopeful/too-good-to-be-true feeling back.  That overwhelming sense of awe that two people can create another one.  That I could be a MOTHER.

I don’t need reminders from people I barely know that I’m not pregnant anymore.   If Elaine really wanted the scoop about my situation without asking me directly, she could have least waited until I wasn’t in same house as her to ask someone else.  And she could have done it a hell of a lot more delicately.  Does she really not understand that every morning when I take my temperature, I recognize that I’m not pregnant anymore?  Or when I called the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to discuss fertility medication, I was pretty aware that I wasn’t pregnant anymore?   Or as I flip the pages of the calendar, ever closer to what was my December 25th due date, that I think about not being pregnant anymore?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

On a related note, I found out on Halloween that three of my neighbors are pregnant.  I guess there’s hope that there’s something in the water and it’s working it’s way up the street to me. . . .

 

Forget about the VP debate, let’s talk about eyebrows October 3, 2008

Filed under: hair,life lessons,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 1:03 pm

I remember being a pre-pubescent girl and wishing fervently to “become a woman.”  At the time, I thought that meant getting my period, and, well, that was about it. 

I read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” for the first time in third grade at the insistence of two much-older neighbors who rode the bus with me.  We were the only 3 kids from our part of town who went to the Catholic school and due to the different start/end times of our school vs. the public school, the three of us were the only kids on the bus for a large portion of the time.  I got quite an education on that bus.

I willed myself into puberty, threw myself headlong into it, thoughtlessly leaving my childhood behind.  At age 10, I stole a pink Daisy razor from Mom and started shaving my legs.  I had seen her do it, and she was a woman, so in order to become a woman myself, I needed to shave.  So I shaved my legs.  And then my armpits.  And then, what the hell, my arms.  All without any kind of shaving cream or soap, by the way.  I must have been one big razor burn.  And then I hid the razor in my bottom dresser drawer, where I hid all of my secret stuff so that no one would find it.

In 4th grade, I begged for a bra.  I plotted and schemed for weeks–possibly even months– about how to convince her that I needed it, you know, since I didn’t have any boobage anything to put in it at the time.  I eventually came up with an indesputible rationale.  My school uniform was a white button-down shirt with a Peter Pan collar and a plaid jumper (with knee socks and saddle shoes, of course.  It’s no wonder that to this day I have absolutely zero fashion sense).  I told my mother that because my shirts were so thin and worn, the boys could see too much through them and I needed a bra.  Basically her options were to buy me new higher-quality dress shirts (“like the Lacoste shirts that the rich ALL the other girls are wearing,” I suggested), or to buy me a bra.  So off we went to JC Penney’s to get me my AAA-sized training bra. 

Years later I look back at my desire to shave and to wear a bra and wonder what the hell I was thinking.  Shaving my legs and armpits and other unmentionable regions and stuffing myself into a bra each day are almost a chore.  Did I really look forward to doing–DREAM about–this twenty-some years ago? 

The one part of my body that I’ve never had to pay much attention to–until now–was my eyebrows.  I have fair skin.  I usually call my skintone “pale”, but “fair” seems much more complimentary, so let’s go with that.  I have dyed blonde light brown hair with blonde highlights, and my eyebrows were even lighter than my *ahem* chemically-enhanced hair color.  They were thin in shape and fine in texture.  For years they were almost invisible, or at least barely noticeable.  In my world, you don’t fix what ain’t broke, so I never touched my eyebrows.  Not once.  No plucking, tweezing, waxing, shaving.  Nothing.

A few years ago, I felt that even though you couldn’t see them, maybe they needed more shape to them.  Knowing that I have extremely sensitive skin where even the smallest pimple is a huge glaring red blemish, I didn’t even consider waxing.  Instead, I opted for a small battery-powered Avon trimmer, and every few months I would zip-zip around the edges, use one of the tools to cut the remaining hair shorter, and that was it.

In March, on a whim, I asked the girl who cuts my hair (she’s 10 years younger than me, so yes, she’s still a “girl”) to do my eyebrows.  She had been cutting my hair for 6 months at the time, so I trusted her.  I warned her about my sensitive skin.  I also made it a condition of my “procedure” that she not do anything drastic–the last thing I wanted was to have to pencil my eyebrows back on until they grew in.  She did a great job, I was red for about an hour or so, and life went on.

In the time since then, my eyebrows morphed into two woolly bear caterpillars trying to meet in the middle.  If they were any indcation of how severe this winter is going to be, boy, we’re in for a doozy.  They got thicker.  And darker.  And BIGGER.  My little Avon trimmer choked on them and eventually died.  Plus, I would shake so much just looking at them that trimming was a sketchy process.  I decided to leave it to the professionals.

So last night I was getting my hair did and I asked if she’d have time to do my eyebrows.  This time I didn’t preface it with a 500-word essay on just how sensitive my skin is and how I didn’t want much taken off.   After the first rrr–iiiiippppp, I realized my error but it was too late to turn back.  Once the swelling goes down and the redness goes away, I’m sure they’ll look nice.   But so far it’s been 16 hours and I still look like a Neanderthal with my (red) forehead jutting out–minus the hair, of course.

Where did that hair come from?  Why did it wait until now to sprout?  Will my brows come back in full force again, or was that some kind of one-time hormonal aberration?  Will I have to get this done every three months?  Every six weeks?  EVERY MONTH?  Will I have to schedule my brow waxing on a Friday night, go home immediately, and stay in my house with an icepack on my forehead for 2 days until I’m not embarrassed to be out in public?  And where will hair start to sprout next?  Maybe I’ll end up looking like the Neanderthal after all.

If only I would have known 25 years ago what “womanhood” REALLY was . . . .

 

210 April 11, 2008

Filed under: hungryhungryhippo,life lessons — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:50 pm

Remember boot camp?  Did you think I gave it up by now?  Hell, no!  I love it!  I go twice a week–Monday nights and Saturday mornings.  I have missed some classes here and there for various reasons, but lately I’ve been there pretty regularly. 

I’ve known Andi since college, and maybe it’s the comfort level I have with her and the others that take the class too (one is also a friend from college and one is a friend from our neighborhood) that keep me interested in going.  It’s fun–we gossip, talk about hairstyles and clothes, bitch about whatever’s bothering us–but we also get a good workout.  It’s like therapy with some added health benefits.

I’m ready to take it one step further.  Tuesday starts my twice-weekly personal training sessions with Andi.  So in addition to my 45-60 minutes of cardio in the morning and boot camp twice a week, I’ll have 2 hours of intense one-on-one training.  Also, I’ve been concentrating on my nutrition and tracking what I eat each day on FitDay so that I have an accurate picture of what’s going into my body.

I’m tired of being fat.  I’m tired of continually buying bigger clothes.  I’m tired of putting something on that I fit into just a few months ago and having it not even come close to fitting now.  I’m tired of feeling self-conscious.  I’m tired of being the “big girl”.

I’ve been reading a fertility book that I borrowed from a friend, and there was just a passing mention that some women who are obese have more trouble conceiving, more trouble during pregnancy, more trouble during childbirth, and are slow to bounce back afterwards.  All of this, combined with concerns for my health in general, are forcing me to make some big changes.  I have to.

I still struggle with the word “obese”, since what comes to mind is 400+ lbs, but I think I need to finally recognize that I am technically an obese person.  Wow, is that depressing.

I am 5’6″ tall and 210 lbs.  Did I just type that?  On my blog?  For the whole freakin’ world to see?  Deep breath.  In. Out. In. Out.

I am a size 16 (although sometimes a 14!).  I recently bought clothes at Lane Bryant, a store I had never set foot in previously.  Because I always thought it was for fat people.  Hello, now I am one of those fat people.

It hurts to reveal my weight.  I’m ashamed of it.  But if I have to be shamed into dropping some of it, then so be it.

I had created a FitDay account in the past, but never really used it.  When I logged in earlier this week to start tracking my nutrition, I saw that my weight was listed as 178.  I went back in time and found that 178 was my weight when I originally created my account–2 1/2 years ago.  I’m now 32 lbs heavier (for those of you that are too lazy to do the math).  Even if I could get back to 178 , it would be a drastic improvement.  According to my internet research, 150 would be my ideal weight.  Sixty pounds.  SIXTY. 

WHAT have I done to my body over the years?  Take-out, fast food, mounds and mounds of pasta, cookies, chocolate, alcohol.  What took me minutes to eat is going to take me hours to take off.  It’s going to be quite a battle–that I assure you.

I sent Mike an email this morning once Andi and I worked out the timing for my personal training sessions.  I told him how excited I am to do this, but my only concern is that I’m going to have to be really organized in planning meals ahead of time.  I get up at 4:45-5:00 each morning to get on the elliptical or the treadmill, then eat breakfast and pack my lunch, jump in the shower, get ready for work, play “beat the clock” on my way there, get home at 5:30-5:45 (if I don’t have any errands to run), and THEN figure out what we’re having for dinner.  With boot camp on Mondays, dinner doesn’t happen until 7:30-7:45, and only if Mike called in an order to the pizza place down the street while I was gone.  Now with Tuesdays and Thursdays added in to the mix, it’s even more important that I figure out what we’re having for dinner in advance.  Thank goodness summer is coming and we can use the grill a lot for quick-but-healthy meals–I’m sure that will help.

Mike’s response to my email was that he’s here to support me in any way and I just need to let him know what help I need.  THAT right there is my motivation.  His support means the world to me.

 

Perspective April 3, 2008

Filed under: family,life lessons — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:15 am

My mother would have turned 55 today.  Even though the anniversary of her death is a sad time, I’ve always struggled more with her birthday.

My mother died on September 10, 2001 after a year-long battle with cancer.   The US was in turmoil 12 hours after she passed.  Each year as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity that my mother is gone.  So many people lost loved ones–suddenly, tragically, without warning.  I was at least fortunate to have the time to say goodbye to my mother.  I realize that that was a luxury that those who lost their loved ones because of 9/11 didn’t have.

But her birthday hasn’t failed to jolt me each of the past 7 years.  It’s almost spring.  The days are a little longer, the weather’s a little nicer.  Some years it’s almost Easter.  It’s a time of birth and re-birth.  And the woman that gave birth to me is not here.

When she was the age that I am now, she had a bratty 13 year-old and a troubled 7 year-old.  When she was the age that I am now, her life was almost three-quarters of the way complete.

It’s thoughts like that that give me perspective.    

 

Winners, whiners, and a long-ago cross country team December 6, 2007

Filed under: life lessons — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:48 pm

I just read OMSH’s post about her daughter’s Turkey Trot, and commented that I was glad the coach didn’t give the “everybody’s a winner” speech.  Because really, you can’t win all the time.  And you need to learn that early on in life or else you become a whiney spoiled brat and EXPECT to win.  And then the disappointment when you DON’T is just unbearable (for those around you, especially!).

In high school I ran on a very competitive cross-country team.  There were 50 girls, a lot of talent, and a lot of competition.  We had an awesome coach, a man named Tim Cook. 

Mr. Cook spent a lot of time with each of the “good” runners–those who could run a 20:00 or less 5k.  Those who could keep pace with a competitor and then “kick it in” at the most critical point and come out on top.  Those who could scale the portion of our home course that we called “the wall” as if they were running downhill instead of up.

But he always spent a lot of time with the “not-so-good” runners, of which I was a part.  We were the ones who were prone to injury, who struggled through the practices.  The ones whose “kick it in” was barely discernible from just plain running, and by that point in the race was sometimes SLOWER than usual.  The ones who sometimes had to take walk breaks.  Or couldn’t finish.

If I had been involved in more of a group sport–basketball, field hockey, etc.–I would have been cut from the team.  Or never had the guts to try out.  But cross-country took EVERYONE, so I never had to deal with the rejection of being cut.  And I was secure in the knowledge that while my performace wasn’t really helping the team, it wasn’t HURTING it, either.

I was not an athlete.  I was not a fierce competitor.  But I learned so much about myself and what I was capable of during those few years on the cross-country team, and Mr. Cook was the reason.  After each meet, he would go over the results and single out people who had improved their times, even if it was the last-place person who had improved their time by 30 seconds.  He realized that it only took five girls from a team to win a cross-country meet, and those five KNEW they did well.  He would of course recognize their achievements, but he would speak to the remaining 45 of us and tell us how important we were to the team.  He never stammered or had to struggle to come up with anything to say.  He spoke quietly, succintly, and from the heart.

After a race, if I did the best that I thought I could do, I was happy with my performance.  But if I didn’t do what I considered to be my best and talked myself into thinking that my time didn’t matter anyhow, I ended up feeling that I had let Mr. Cook down.  That I had let my team down.  It took me a long time to realize that I was also letting myself down. 

He never led us to believe that we would all be winners, because, well, we just wouldn’t.  But as long as each of us walked away from a race knowing that we did the best we possibly could, that’s all that really mattered.  At the time, as teenagers, we snickered and whispered to the girl next to us, “Whatever!  It’s WINNING that matters!”  It took me years to realize what an effect Mr. Cook’s coaching had on me.  Sometimes I think back to those days–more than 15 years ago now!–and wish I could remember more.  I wish that I had saved all of the booklets of statistics that he pain-stakingly put together for us.  For our banquet each year, he would write a paragraph about each girl and her achievements from the year.  Each girl.  FIFTY of us.  Some of us slower than molasses  and who couldn’t even call ourselves a “runner” with all the walk breaks we took.  But each of us was important to him and each of us had a strength that he was proud to showcase–even if that strength was to be a cheerleader for our teammates.

 Mr. Cook and his wife were killed in a car accident five years ago next week.  They were both 49.  The whole town was in shock  We all said that it wasn’t their time to go, but apparently God thought that it was.  The service had to be held at the high school because there was no venue in town that could accommodate the masses of people that showed up to grieve.  With Mr. Cook’s tragic passing, the town lost a role model, an athlete, a great teacher, and an excellent coach. 

After his death, I thought back to all of the times that I DIDN’T do my best during a cross country meet.  Of all of the excuses I came up with–it was cold; it was muddy; I’m tired; my Achilles hurts.  I started running again and signed up for a half marathon in Virginia Beach the summer of 2003.  During my training, I thought a lot about Mr. Cook, and in a way I felt that I was doing it for him.  My initial goal was just to finish–13.1 miles after years of not running consistently wouldn’t be easy for me and I knew it.  But as time went on, I had it in the back of my head that I could do it in under 3 hours. 

That day it was hot and humid, even early in the morning.  But I was excited and I was prepared.  The half-marathon itself–I don’t remember.  I was in a daze the whole time and was just thinking about each foot going in front of the other and getting across the finish line.  I did it in 2 hours and 57 minutes.  Sure, I’ll never set any kind of record with that time, but I finished.  And as much as I did it for Mr. Cook, I did it for me.  There may have been thousands of people crossing that line ahead of me, but I was a winner–thanks to Mr. Cook.