Archive for the ‘Body’ Category

I had a Jerry Maguire moment today

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I want to preface this by saying that I love my job. My manager is wonderful, and the really is a sense of community between my coworkers. It’s difficult and often frustrating, but I feel that I rise to the challenge and I am doing my part to positively influence people’s lives. I wasn’t this content when I worked at Gymboree, and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Awesome job.

I had a woman come in today, but not to buy a membership. She wanted to see if she could have a trainer show her how to work out at home. I ignored that statement for two reasons: one, because we don’t allow guests to use our resources without paying for them; two, because why in the hell would you come to a gym to look for a home workout? Crazy talk. So I press her for information, politely, of course, and she tells me her story. She is clearly obese, has sciatica and diabetes, and and she informs me that her husband and son are obese as well. She and her husband were members years ago, but they stopped coming after a couple months because they weren’t seeing results and got discouraged.

That was my first red flag. You can’t be 100 pounds overweight and expect to see results in a few months. You didn’t gain the weight in a few months; why would it come off that quickly? This tidbit tells me that she has no idea how to work out or what reasonable expectations look like.

So we’re on the tour, and this woman is excited about everything I show her. I’m pushing personal training harder that I usually do, not because I get commission, but because she clearly needs it. She has admitted to me that she needs help, she acknowledges her ignorance and her need for consistency. The personal trainer is going to be the only thing that will keep her going and that will give her the help she needs. I tell her this a few times, and she agrees. I ask her more about the “doing it at home” plan. She and her husband walk, sometimes, and they have a bunch of exercise machines and dvds that just collect dust. She also loves to swim, and they don’t have the pool. She’s a perfect person for our gym and we both know it.

By the time we get back to my desk, she’s told me about all her health problems, her medications, and how she still has so much life to live. I show her the prices, and everything goes to hell. She tells me that her husband would never agree to $45 a month, and he’d say they can do it at home. I tell her that I appreciate how expensive it looks on paper, but clearly, the at-home approach is not working. Her response: “I know”. It’s in that embarrassed, apologetic voice. I tell her I understand what a huge step it is, coming in here and making this choice, and that we can offer her all the support she wants. “I know”. Your diabetes is reversible. You back problems are reversible. You won’t have worry about those medications if you make a commitment to helping yourself. “I know.” At the end of the day, she decided, it was too much money. She left. After an hour of discussing her wants and needs and fears, she walked out.

This has happened a few times, and I want to shake the guest every time. When they tell me that they want to live a long life, but they don’t have the money, what I want to say is “Obviously, you don’t want to live that badly. By doing nothing, you are killing yourself.” How much money do these people spend on machines they never use, on diet pills, on quick fixes? But when it comes to doing the hard work, it’s too much money. It’s $1.50 a day. $1.50 a day for a new life. Are you kidding me? I can help you. Help me help you. Help ME help YOU. The way these people get in their own way just astounds me, and it makes me want to scream. YOU ARE DYING FASTER BECAUSE YOU ARE FAT. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO FIX IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.

I am not for a second saying that making a life change isn’t hard. I cannot begin to comprehend the amount of dedication that takes, because I’ve never had to lose a large amount of weight. That’s why we have trainers. That’s why we provide a support system, a record of member’s successes, nutritional plans, everything. They know how hard it is, and they don’t want anyone to go on that journey alone. So there’s no excuse. There’s laziness, there’s weakness, but there are absolutely no excuses.

I’m so jealous of Jillian Michaels. She gets to say all this stuff to people’s faces. Where can I sign up for that job?

I know that I’m not fat

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I’ve been trying to lose 10 to 15 pounds. I have been trying to do this for a while, half-assed, but I’m really getting into it now. Honest. Cardio every day. If I mention this, however, it seems to illicit certain responses. More often than not, if I mention to a friend that I feel out of shape or I would like to lose weight, these are the responses I’m met with :

“But you’re SO SKINNY!”
“You don’t NEED to lose weight!”
“I wish I were your size.”

I do appreciate the intentions behind these comments. I know they are not meant to make me feel awkward or guilty or misguided. That being said, I would like to clarify my feelings on the subject.

I’m well aware that I don’t NEED to lose weight. As of today, I’m exactly 129.7 lbs. With a height of 5’3″ (and a half), that puts me in the ‘ideal’ body weight and BMI category. If I mention that I’m watching my weight, no one needs to reassure me that I’m not fat. I appreciate it, but I’m aware. Thank you.

I am, however, out of shape. Very much so. Not out of shape for the average American, but for a dancer. Having a dancer’s body is what makes me comfortable, it is what makes me happy and confident. I liked it when my stomach was a little concave and when that half inch where my thighs meet my butt didn’t have any stretch marks or cellulite. This goal of mine will probably be a while coming, because the high desert doesn’t believe in $12 drop-in ballet classes, and forget about pole studios. But I have made it clear to J that, once we have expendable income, part of that will be going towards pole classes (as well as his kickboxing classes).

I would like to say that this is entirely about my health and in no way superficial. That, however, would be a lie, and I’m sorry if this next bit offends anyone. There was a time where I was convinced that I was fat and I employed very unhealthy methods to appease my self-loathing. My immediate family is incredibly slim. My mother is obsessed with aerobics and has been since her pregnancy. I was rarely allowed sugary cereal, and fast food was a treat, not a daily meal. I was doing laundry with her on Saturday, and as I grabbed a third slice of cheese, she reminded me of my cholesterol. I’m in no way blaming her for my adolescent issues with weight and image; eating disorders are very much mental blocks that are not picked up or dropped on a whim. My relationship with food is something I work on daily, but I would be either lying or stupid to say that the environment I grew up in had no impact on my lifestyle.

Now, I made sure to title this “I know that I’m not fat” because this is a true statement. Logically, I know that I am not in any way overweight or unhealthy. However, when I look at myself in the mirror, I am still hyper aware of the cellulite and the rolls and anything that jiggles, even if it’s supposed to jiggle. Like it is impossible for a man to ignore the presence of a beautiful woman, it is impossible for me to ignore my fat. This has been true since middle school. It is part of my identity. At the same time, I am constantly comparing myself to other women, and I know that, of my friends, I am one of the smallest. Since grade school, I have been one of, if not the, smallest. At this point, being the smallest is a part of who I am, it is a key part of my identity. Right now, a lot of my female friends are losing a lot of weight, and I am so SO happy for them. I know they are putting in a lot of work and are making an effort to be healthier people, and that is absolutely wonderful. I will never say otherwise. At the same time, though, a part of me is afraid that I’m going to lose this part of my identity. So I need to work my ass off to keep it. Which means I need to lose weight too.

I’m not proud of any of that. It’s incredibly lame and obnoxious and superficial, but it’s the truth. I enjoy being small. Note that there is a HUGE difference between me wanting to be small and wanting the rest of my friends to be fat. That latter part is not the case, I promise.

The only part about this that ever annoys me is when people attribute my size to my allergy. Any time someone new finds out about my celiac, they are bound to respond with “Oh, no wonder you’re so skinny.” I’d like to clear this up: I eat as many carbs as people who can process gluten. I eat rice, and bread, and pasta, and cake. I know that anti-carb diets are still pretty popular, but that’s not what I’m doing. I look the way I look because, even though I eat all those things, I don’t (generally) eat all the bread or cake ever. Moderation is key in every diet, not just gluten-free ones. At the same time, a very common question about my allergy is “Can you eat potatoes?”, so I suppose I can forgive that transgression. I am a pretty benevolent dictator.

So, where I am now….After two weeks, I’m down from 133 to 129. When J and I started dating, I was 126, and I had wanted to lose some at that point. By the first of June, if I keep going at two pounds per week, I should weigh 120. If I’m happy there, awesome. If not…well, I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.

Sex symbol I am not.

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

There’s this thing I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve always been too afraid to try. I’ve been working out with Carmen Electra’s fit-to-strip dvds, I absolutely love them, but I’ve shied away from the striptease workouts to focus on the muscle toning and hip hop. I’ve done this for the same reason that I would never look at myself in the mirror when I took pole dancing lessons: I don’t know how to feel sexy. I don’t. Truly. That slow cat craw makes me feel like an idiot. I blush when I toss my hair, and when I swing my leg up over a chair, I only notice cellulite and the way stockings make my thighs pucker. It’s like a little girl putting on her mother’s makeup and, when she goes to show off how pretty she is, is told that she’s done it all wrong. I’m not smoky or sultry or whatever the heck you have to be to be a sex symbol. I figure that if I try to be those things, it’ll be a pretty transparent act…laughable, in all probability. Not really my area.

Anyway. This thing I wanted to try…I always thought it would be super fun to do a lap dance/tease for a boyfriend. Fun if I were someone else, of course. But the Carmen Electra dvds have a pretty simple one, so, this morning, I ignored that I’m not the aforementioned adjectives, and learned the thing. Had my little costume, practiced a few times without the dvd before I sat J down.

It started out well. Very well, actually. But then I got nervous, because the tie wouldn’t come off right. I lost my count, got it back, and it was going well again. Near the end of the routine, I sat on J’s lap and leaned over him, creating a sleek perpendicular line, flicked my fedora off, and sat back up with all the grace that my ballet training has granted me.

That was what was supposed to happen, anyway.

In reality, I leaned back, used his shoulder for support instead of the chair, and lost my balance completely. I flailed, trying to correct myself, did a half somersault off my boyfriend, and landed in a very un-sexy heap. I wanted to laugh, and J started to giggle, but I just couldn’t, because it’s exactly what I thought would happen if I ever tried to be something other than plain old me. Big steaming pile of fail. But then, right before I lost it completely, my fantastic boyfriend yelled “No! No, don’t be upset, I’m so turned on!” So….yeah. I picked myself up, said “Choreography is overrated anyway” and finished what I started. Not the way I planned, but I went through with it.

Afterwards, Jason mentioned (without any prompting from yours truly) that it was a bit of a relief that I screwed it up. That strippers never do anything for him because they look too planned, and I looked like a real person. Klutzy dorky me. And, as it turns out, boys laugh when they’re bashful, which is apparently something that happens when girls they like take their clothes off. They get nervous and have little girl giggles too! Who knew? Next you’ll tell me something really outrageous, like boys have emotions or something.

No, I’m not Megan Fox or Jessica Alba or whatever. I am a dork. I run into the same shelves and doorjams every day. I don’t have flickable hair or a poochless stomach. But that’s okay. It works for me. As it turns out, it works for Jason too…I’ll just have to try for a better dismount, next time.

Bring on the controversy

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Every couple weeks, I tune into Momversation, a video blog featuring a group of well-known Mommy Bloggers. The topics are usually pretty easy, like What Movies Do Your Kids Watch? or Balancing Parenting and Work. Okay, those topics aren’t ‘easy’, but I don’t think they’re exceedingly emotional. Today’s, however, dealt with the very sensitive issue of miscarriage.

I know quite a few women who have lost a child, and I am so, so sorry that they had to endure that pain. I’m terrified that I will miscarry, and given how common it is, I probably will at some point. I can’t imagine knowing that there is a child growing inside me, only to have it taken away from me before we get to properly meet. In a discussion of miscarriage, no one ever acts as thought anything less than tragic has happened. In that situation, even when the fetus was only in the first trimester, it is always considered to be the loss of a life.

So why, then, is a first trimester aborted fetus not considered to be living as well?

I don’t mean to be offensive here, but I honestly can’t see a difference. Two weeks or twelve, if I knew I was pregnant and then I suddenly wasn’t anymore, I would feel like I lost a child…I think many women would feel the same way. But some of those women might be pro-choice, and would then argue that a woman who has an abortion in the first trimester isn’t killing a child. It has died, it has died unnaturally, but it wasn’t killed? Because it wasn’t a fully formed baby yet? But it would have been considered to be a baby if she wanted to keep the child and it died all on it’s own?


I think legislation should stay away from the human body, so I’m not taking a stance as politically Pro Life or Pro Choice. Morally, though, I have a serious problem with this double standard, especially when there are so many safe haven and adoption options.

I would really like to hear some other opinions on this, especially from women who have dealt with any aspect of this. Male perspectives are welcome, too….pregnancy affects everyone, in one way or another.

Not cake OR death….cake, sadly, is death

Monday, October 19th, 2009

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before, but I am fed up with it to the point of wanting to maim.

Most people who read this are aware that I have a condition called celiac disease. It’s am autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that is caused by my body’s inability handle gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. When gluten is in my body, it wears away at the villi in my small intestine, which makes it harder for them to absorb nutrients. I have had it since I was born, but wasn’t diagnosed in high school, because I am mostly asymptomatic. There is no treatment or cure; the only thing I can do is stay the hell away from gluten.

Now, usually, I’m very good about that. I check labels at the grocery store. I have my own special bottle of soy sauce. If we’re all going somewhere where options are limited, I’ll get a salad. There are times, though, when I forget that I don’t have symptoms of my disease, and I’ll eat things without even thinking about what they contain. Like…Panda Express. All I wanted for two days was Panda. It’s one of my favorite places, and I thought I was being safe with sticking to the chicken and mushrooms and mixed veggies and steamed rice. So for two days, J got to listen to me whine about needing Chinese. I was finally on my way out to get some, but then worked called and asked me to come in early. So no Panda for Andi.

He had some waiting for me when I got home. Exactly what I had been craving, it was so sweet, and all was right in the world again. And I posted it on my facebook status, because I thought it was a freaking adorable gesture. It was because of that post that a fellow-celiac friend brought to my attention that there is NOTHING I can eat on the Panda Express menu. After a five second Google search, I discovered that everything there is cooked with soy sauce (oh, and not for vegetarians, the mixed veggies are cooked in chicken stock. Yeah).

This might not seem like a big deal, but it really does make my want to cry. I am so tired of dealing with this. I hate checking every label at the grocery store. I hate having to spend way more money on my food because it’s ‘special’. I hate having to research a restaurant before I can eat there. I hate being an inconvenience. I want to have a freaking pizza and beer, some ramen, and a slice of bread that actually tastes and feels and looks like real bread. And then an enormous cake with bright pink frosting. But having those things might mean that I get cancer in my small intestine someday. Or that I’ll become infertile. Fun stuff like that.

I thought I was doing well, but I guess I’ve just been careless. Time to crackdown. Again.

More than a few parentheses

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

My finals are over and I am finally allowed to be sick .

I’ll probably still be an idiot and go to the gym tonight, because a sore throat has nothing to do with weight lifting, but we’ll see.

I have planned and mickey-moused and wormed my way through every last inch of the Cal State LA schedule of classes, and I have finally found a sure-fire way to get my last eight classes in so I can graduate at the end of Spring Quarter (for anyone who remembers that I have a list of 43 things on the right side bar, that means #4 could be checked off the list). This seems reasonable. Two years in a junior college, two at a university, exactly how I wanted it to be.

Until, of course, they decide to change everything.

They might not. And unicorns that poop glitter might live in the clouds, too.

I wouldn’t be so concerned about it, except now, CSULA has this amazing thing going on called furloughs (all the flyers on campus spell it ‘furlows’. Remove head from sphincter, then type.) Six days of unpaid leave for all faculty members. Most of my classes are two days a week. That equals seven weeks of instruction instead of the standard ten. For the couple classes I need that are once a week? Who knows if anyone will even bother teaching them.

So, we, as students, are losing (presumably) valuable weeks of instruction, which means we’re literally paying more for a hell of a lot less. Student fees went up yet again, 25%, I believe.

Santa, I’ve been very good this year. For Christmas, please bring California a halfway decent education budget?

Anyway. J has been taking very good care of me while I’ve been sick and gross. He makes me tea and doesn’t take my kills on Gears of War 2. Who could ask for anything more?

Oh, if anyone else is sick and gross too, I swear by the night-time Tylenol cold multi-symptom, the new-ish one that has the little honey stick and says ‘warming’. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I watched 10 Things I Hate About You, wrote a couple songs, and then remembered that I have some of that wonderful concoction in our medicine cabinet. Four tablespoons of that (yes, that is two too many) and I was out like a very warm and happy light. Fair warning for those crawling over significant others to get back to your designated sleeping place: you might get elbowed/kneed in the face. Just sayin.

Total left turn. On a more somber note, a boy I knew passed away this week. The details on the how are still fuzzy. I can’t really call him a boy, he was 30 when I met him, but he never really struck me as an adult. We met last year when I was in Massachusetts for my eldest niece’s high school graduation. We went out a couple times around Boston and had a little fling…it was fairly innocent and very sweet. When he took my to the train station the last time, he asked me to call when I got back to the west coast. I said I would. I never intended to. I liked what we had that one week, and it would have never been anything more than that. I feared that if we had tried to maintain a friendship, it would become awkward and strained. I do no regret that decision at all. It ensured that all of my memories of Lucas would be very fond ones. I only hope that he didn’t feel slighted by my decision, because that certainly wasn’t my intention….though considering he never called me either, I think it might be safe to assume that we had the same mind about the situation.

Don’t want to end on that note. One facebook click led to another, and Sins o’ the Flesh, the Los Angeles Rocky Horror cast, has a new Trixie. (Aside, a couple things about SotF. Good cast. Awesome cast, in fact, these people are frigging accurate and, more importantly, funny. The security team rocks my socks, too. I’ll never go back there [except maybe for Clue, because I've still never seen that with a shadow-cast] but if you’ve never been to a live Rocky Horror Picture Show, SotF is the cast to see. Just don’t date them. The single ones are single for very good reasons. Except maybe for Wynn. He’s pretty cool. End of aside.) I mention this only because back in the day, when I was a regular attendee, the role of Trixie was still open, and I was seriously considering auditioning. There are brief moments where I wish I had gone through with it, because I think it would have gone a long way towards improving how I perceive my body. But then I remember that stripping in front of people who have already seen me somewhat naked (I was a ‘sheet slut’ one night, no I didn’t sleep with the whole freaking cast. Geez.) is much different than stripping every other weekend for Rocky-obsessed tards, which includes subgroups such as: pre-pubescent tards, over-30 tards, and female tards that are into other female tards only when intoxicated. I remember this, and the world makes sense once again.

I mentioned my 43 list earlier, and I’m on my way to accomplishing one more thing: #5–lose ten pounds. Last Monday, I was 135. Yesterday morning, I weighed in at 132. At that rate, provided I get better by tomorrow (I will, I will!), I’ll make 125 in a little over three weeks. I don’t intend to lose any more after that; I could and still be healthy, but then I would have to say goodbye to certain girl-parts that I’m very fond of. Yay for reaching goals! As of today, I’m also starting on #35–meditate daily. I think this will be very good for me. I’m hoping to get J in on it as well.

That’s all for now. I’d like to go work out (carefully) tonight or tomorrow morning, so I’m going to take a much needed nap.

Sexting wanted an encore

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Girls are being criminally prosecuted now? Are you KIDDING ME.

Apparently, some people have decided to set a precedent by classifying sexting as a sexual offense.

So…if an underage girl snaps a naked photo of herself to send to her boyfriend, or doesn’t intend it to be sent at all, but kids will be kids (and sometimes kids will be assholes who will steal a person’s phone and send out pictures en masse)….the girl can be charged with producing and distributing kiddie porn?

The girls in the article? They produced naked pictures of themselves, in their bedroom, just for kicks. That’s not a crime. The dicks who sent the pictures out, they distributed…however, it’s hard to determine whether or not the intent was for others to become sexually aroused, or just to humiliate the girls. Douchebaggery isn’t a crime either. And if it turns out ther girls showed the whole school their chonies just because, well. They probably need therapy, not jail time.

Dear Legal System: Please pull your head out of your ass and catch up. Laws need to start paying more attention to changing society and technology.

Dear Parents: Talk to your daughters and figure out why they’re doing this. Honestly, things could be a lot worse. Just in case, please give them sex ed. Or if your child is one of those who take other people’s pictures and distribute them without any kind of consent, hit them upside the head and make them understand that what they’re doing is unacceptable and flat-out RUDE.

You know it’s important when they combine two words to make a snazzy new phrase

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Sex, plus texting, equals…anyone? Buller?


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, sexting. It sounds juvenile. It is juvenile.

Except, no, wait. A girl in Ohio hanged herself because her ‘sexting’ made her the target of abuse and ridicule.

To sum up: Eighteen-year-old Jessi uses her camera phone to take and send a nude picture to her boyfriend. A year later, they break up. The ex-boyfriend forwards the photo to hundreds of people…people at their school, who begin to torment the girl, calling her a whore. Eventually, it becomes too much, and Jessi hangs herself in her closet.

The story breaks, and everyone’s talking about what a tragedy it is and the dangers of ‘sexting’. Yes, it is a tragedy. It is always a crime for such a young life to come to a sudden and unnecessary halt. It’s also sad and awful when something like this sweeps the evening news with a bunch of specials and experts, warning parents against the dangers of cell phones and promiscuity.

This is not about cell phones or promiscuity.

Here’s the thing. The majority of the response has been along the lines of “this is why teenagers shouldn’t have cell phones”, or “this is why parents suck at monitoring”. Oh, she didn’t think ahead, she didn’t think about the consequences of her actions. I want to know why everyone cares so much. She was 18, she sent a picture to her boyfriend. Why is that wrong? Why isn’t anyone criticizing her peers for calling her a whore, when there is nothing whorish about it? Why is all the flack landing on a dead girl, instead of the immature boy who decided to make a spectacle out of something supposed to be private and sweet? Instead, it turned into this puritanical bullshit about privacy and nudity instead of what it should be about–teenagers (and legal adults, in this case) being cruel.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but Jessi doesn’t deserve any of it. She did nothing wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I have given a naked picture to a guy I was with (sorry, Dad). It was fun, it was sexy, and it’s no better or worse than actually sleeping with the person. If I misjudged his character, and he turned out to be the kind of person who would share that picture with the whole world….the fault wouldn’t be mine. I don’t think so. And I don’t think it was Jessi’s. And it’s not technology’s fault, and her parents weren’t irresponsible or negligent. This isn’t a social commentary. It’s about people being mean. End of story.

I hope she found peace.

Dance between raindrops

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

When does art become dangerous? At what point do we say that the consequences of self-expression outweigh the expression itself?

Controversy is not generally something that concerns me. I support using art as a forum for political discourse. When I choose a scene or a monologue, I generally look for what’s most likely to make someone cringe. Many of my poems and paintings are fairly graphic. I like to shake people out of the norm. Which is why I feel like such a hypocrite when I say that I’m uncomfortable with something like “Thirty-Two Kilos”, a new art exhibit at the Goethe-Institut Washington.

There’s nothing wrong with the exhibit, per se. All of the photographs are digitally altered. I do have concerns about the pro ana/mia audience, though. It doesn’t matter that the girls in the pictures don’t actually look that way, that the photographs don’t represent reality. They stand as a new example of what these girls want to be. And it’s so easy to fall into that trap. A few years back, I wrote a paper on the ana/mia online community. Even though I had my diet well under control by that time, I found myself getting sucked back in, just from reading the blog posts. I have never had the frame of someone like Gabrielle Anwar. No matter how much I wish otherwise, it is physically impossible for me to be that skinny. But after a few days of my…I guess it would be considered research…I was back to kicking myself for having a piece of cheese. I still have my old thin-spo collage hanging on my door. I understand that “Thirty-Two Kilos” is supposed to be a negative representation on the fashion industry, but what it’s really doing is giving more fuel to a physically and mentally unhealthy movement, and possibly acting as a trigger for girls (and boys; ED males are rare, but they certainly exist) who are trying to heal.

So, what’s to be done? I don’t think censorship is the answer, but it has to be made clear that these images are not something we should strive to be.

….if it were my exhibit, I’d probably just smear “EAT A CHEESEBURGER” over the photos in bright red paint.