Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I practiced being brave and went to my first ever pilates class on Sunday afternoon. It was more of an open house, so that I could get an idea of what the studio was like, what the class entails, and get a feel for the instructor. I loved it while I was doing it, and it turns out, it's not only Trainer Mike that thinks I am strong for a girl, which is great!
Except that something I did during that class has rendered me useless. I am currently leaning like the Tower of Pisa, and walking like Sophia Petrillo. More of a shuffle, really.
And I am none to happy about this turn of events, either. This is my first week doing a 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. shift at work, and I was BEYOND excited to get to go to the gym everyday after work, and even had 2 appointments with Trainer Mike scheduled. And now?!
Now I am stoned on muscle relaxers, trying to get through half a day at work, wearing fake eyeglasses to hide the fact that I don't have any make-up on, and I'm exhausted.
On the upside though...I have officially sold my house and can now start condo shopping, I am flying home to Newfoundland on Friday, and I am still able to smile and laugh through this aggravation.
I hope that your day is awesome!!!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Here is the link to the book: http://1000awesomethings.com/
And here is a link that my weight watchers leader sent to me about how to be awesome.
I hope that you enjoy both, and of course, that you have an awesome day!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I know what it's like to live in ignorant bliss and keep eating, and keep sweeping stuff under the proverbial rug. It can be easier to stay in an unhappy relationship than it is to leave it - I know, because I have done it. And it can be easier to convince yourself that you are indeed happy, without ever uncovering what is holding you back from the very best that life has to offer - I know, because I have done that, too.
It was very obvious to the world that my coping method of choice was food. That's the thing about choosing food as your therapy, though. Some people turn to alcohol, others to drugs or sex, and nobody is the wiser for it. But if your tendency is to turn to food? You're kind of wearing your own Scarlett Letter for all to see because you grow to be so much larger than the rest of the average population.
I had gone through my whole life feeling and knowing that there was a problem - that I had a big problem - but I was never able to articulate what it was from an emotional standpoint, although I had always logically known where it stemmed from.
And then I happened to find the book Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. I got to page 6, where the following statement is made:
"...I've been abandoned and betrayed by who and what really matters and what I've got left is food"
When I read that, I put the book down and bawled my eyes out. You know, the kind of cry that leaves snot and mascara stains on your pillow and your body heaving for air.
That is exactly how I felt when I was a little girl. And a teenager. And a young woman.
Abandoned and betrayed.
With my mom as my primary caregiver, I have grown to have a great deal of respect for her and I cherish the life lessons I learned from her, but there are definitely some things I feel that I missed out on.
I will not go into any further details, nor will I diss either of my parents in this post for the choices that they made, as I have to trust that they did the best they could with what they had at the time. However inadequate I may deem them to be, they weren't my choices to make, and at the end of the day, I'd like to think I'm no worse for the wear.
Plus, I have to forgive if I expect to be forgiven.
That's when I have to stop for awhile, feel my way through it, and figure it out.
I am 33 years old, and I am just now starting to really feel feelings. And it's weird.
Honestly, I cannot think of a better word to describe it to you. It is weird, weird, weird to feel anger, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and stress - not to mention all the physical side effects of those emotions - without stuffing them back down inside myself with pizza, chips, and chocolate.
My trainer asked me the other day if I had been happy all those years, and I still believe that I was. People would have generally described me as a happy-go-lucky girl... but now!? I am able to physically feel happiness going right through my core at a whole new level. It fills me up to the point that I sometimes feel like I could burst, and I can often be found spilling over with tears because I am just. so. happy.
Simply being in the company of someone I cherish, the first bite of an amazing homemade meal, going to a concert and having the artist sing my favourite song of theirs, my own two feet pounding the pavement and beating my own goals, and watching parents openly love their kids unconditionally - all of these simple things bring me to tears lately because they fill me up.
The simplest everyday moments bring me crazy amounts of joy.
So, learning to identify the issues that were driving me to food, and letting go of those same issues have all brought me to this heightened place of peace, love, and happiness. And it was really freaking hard work. It still is. But at the end of the day, what matters most is how well you lived, loved, and learned to let go.
I hope that you have an awesome day!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Let me start by saying that as often as I possibly can, I practice being nice. I try to do what I can for the people I love, and I have an undying blind faith in those same people - I trust that they won't mistreat me, or abuse our friendship or my kindness.
My therapist once said to me: "Jennifer, I think it's really lovely that you always want to see the best in people. You are always there to defend them, give them the benefit of the doubt, and give them a shoulder when they need it. But sometimes it's important to practice being realistic. And the harsh reality is that not everyone deserves your trust, and not everyone is worthy of your endless second chances."
Man alive was she ever right! But when do you know enough is enough? How do you determine where the point of no return even is? Better yet, when will I learn to determine that place on my own?
For me, it usually only starts to happen when someone begins to show their truest nasty colours, or when it has become blindingly obvious that that person truly doesn't care how I feel, or they don't value our friendship much at all.
And since I am usually so terrible at seeing things for how they really are, I have to rely on my guardian girlfriends to snap me back into reality when these things happen.
(side note: THANK YOU LADIES!!!)
It has just recently dawned on me that a friend of 20+ years really only has his own interests at heart and little to no regard for me or mine. He really hasn't paid any attention to the hurtful things he has said to me, nor seen the insanity of the things he has asked me to endure as part of that friendship (see 'fairweather friend' definition), and most recently the insanity of his new girlfriends request to speak with me about his and my history.
She apparently thinks I am in love with him and views me as a "threat". And in the wise words of my beautiful friend Vice: "You don't actually have to be a threat, to be considered a threat, darling."
What's beyond hilarious about this perceived threat? Is that I live 2500 kilometres away.
What's beyond hurtful about this issue, is that my lifelong friend fully expects me to get involved in his co-dependant relationship to somehow 'make his girlfriend feel better', and he cannot even begin to see why this doesn't concern me, or why I am not at all interested in rehashing our long-since-forgotten escapades of last year. He also doesn't seem to feel the need to take a stand against this lunatic behaviour, or even try to understand why some of his words have been dismissive of my feelings and our friendship.
Wow. Can we say self-involved and immature, boys and girls? Oh, and let's not forget dramatic and arrogant while we're at it.
Although in fairness, I am used to this. For the entire span of our 20+ year friendship, every single last one of his girlfriends has taken issue with me and ensured that he and I were not friends during their relationship.
But right now, the real question is this - why in God's name should I make him a priority in my life, or make them a priority in my upcoming trip home to Newfoundland, when I have only ever been made an option in his life?
The answer is this: I'm not.
I always have a hard time letting go of friends and connections with people who I love dearly, but sometimes for my own sanity, boundaries have to be explored, and in other more extreme cases, I just have to cut my losses and run.
Or in this case? His loss.
I hope that you are having an awesome day!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Ummm...not so much.
It took me the better part of an hour to finish that route, and it was reasonably awful while I was doing it. Not only did I get horrendous blisters on the bottom of my feet, my body ached, and I was in tears for a great portion of it.
When I met my girlfriends TPZ and KA at the end of the 2009 5km route, I had a complete meltdown - I was overcome with the emotion of having seen and passed injured soldiers who have fought for our country. I was really angry with myself, and even ashamed, for having allowed myself to get to such an incredibly unhealthy size and weight. I had control over what I was doing to myself, yet those soldiers were doing noble work, and had no choice but to live with their new bodies and limitations.
I already knew at that point that I had to make changes, and I was just starting out on my path towards betterment, but I was still incredibly filled with doubt about my own abilities. Despite shooting my mouth off and saying that I would run that same 5km in September of 2010, I didn't honestly believe that I could do it.
And so in May of 2010, I started to really take it seriously. I shot my fat face off in 2009 and said I was going to run it in 2010...so I had to. If I say I am going to do it, I will do it. Or die trying.
According to Feathers handy-dandy iPhone app, on June 9th 2010, our average kilometre took us 10:21 minutes. And on August 29th!?!? Our average kilometre took us only 7:35 minutes. Check that shit out! Almost 3 minutes shaved off our average km in less than 3 months!!!
Our hard work was paying off!!! Feather and I were scheduling in 2-3 runs a week together, and slowly coming into our own - discovering our own pace, and figuring out what worked best for each of us. I came to discover that I like listening to music while I run - in one ear only, and I also started listening to my body, which was a completely foreign concept to me prior to this new lifestyle change.
And that brings us to race day. Once again, up at 5:30, gettin' all glamorous n' shit and even putting a 2nd coat of polish on my nails (there are cameras there, after all), before heading downtown to meet friends at 7:30.
The injured soldiers start their race at 7:45, and our Cannon Start shot off at 8. Knowing that I wouldn't be crossing the finish line with my girlfriends, I made Feather, Dolce and GiGi hold hands with me as we started the race. We then broke off into our own strides, and carved out our own space amid the masses.
I should note here that when I first signed up for this race, I placed myself in the 40-45 minute category. Way back then, those are the numbers I was pulling, so I had no idea what to expect while I was training. How could I? It's not like I have ever run before.
Suffice it to say, during training for this 5km, I beat my stretch 40 minute goal, and set my sights on a 35 minute finish time.
And guess frigging what!?!?!?!? I finished in 35:33. I! Jennifer Mae Bennett! ran my own race (Thanks, Vice!) and finished a 5km race in 35 minutes and 33 freaking seconds!!!
Not bad considering the average person these days couldn't run around the block.
"Proud" can hardly begin to cover how I felt when I was done.
This past year, I have had so many people tell me that they are proud of me, and I have typically blown it off like it wasn't a big deal at all. My biggest supporters were more excited about my journey than I was.
Until September 19th, 2010, that is.
And now? I am so fricking proud of myself that I can only think of one thing to do...
Sign up for a 10km race.
I need to thank my girlfriends, Trainer Mike, I.R.R. and his daughter A.M. for being there with me and for me on Race Day. I know I am a mushy gushy freak sometimes, but your friendship, support, and knowledge has literally helped me to change my life. Change. My. Life. That's Huge. HUGE. And I hope that you fully understand the power behind what you have each done for me.
I love you. Like, love, love, love you.
I hope that you are having an awesome day!
Monday, September 13, 2010
Ugh! I admit it. There is a chance that I have seen too many movies. I can't help it! I get so caught up in the darkness of the theatre, the booming of the surround speakers, the popcorn that I only share with especially cute dates, and the freaking dialogue. Oh Jesus, the dialogue. *sigh*
Show me the strongest and toughest single chick you know, and I will still show you a chick who would love to experience one of those stars-and-tears-in-your-eyes movie moments brought to us by the likes of Rob Reiner, Penny Marshall and John Hughes.
I am only mildly ashamed to admit this here, but I am one of those chicks, too.
I remember for my 30th birthday, my now-ex asked me what I wanted for my special day. My response to him? I didn't want a gift, or anything elaborate or fancy. I wanted a nice card, with some genuine sweet and sincere words written inside. For lack of a better term, I wanted a love letter...even if he did get some help from Hallmark.
What did I get? A not-even-all-that-funny card about being a cat lover. Wtf?!? I should have known then that we were facing bigger problems... but it took me 5 more months to figure out that he was cheating on me.
As usual, I digress.
Head's up boys! Even the strongest and most self-assured women want to know why their men have chosen them over all the other chickens flaunting their goods in your face.
The last guy I dated? (remember now, it's been way over a year) Well, it became apparent to me pretty early on (because I had gotten so much smarter) that he really didn't care who was beside him, so long as he had a warm body. And after a lot of reflection, and chipping away at only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, I decided that that wasn't enough for me anymore.
Surely to God I deserve better than that!? Surely to God I can't be expected to try and build an honest-to-goodness relationship with someone who would settle for just any old broad beside him, can I? Hell no!
Side note: this self-induced policy of requiring more for myself is only applicable when dealing with someone with whom I may want an actual relationship...not someone with whom I am scratching an itch or serving a purpose, so to speak... Not that I would sleep with just anyone - NO WAY! But do I need to... oh whatever. You catch my drift here, no?
The point is that the movie industry has left me, and millions of other fabulous single gals standing around fluffing our hair, flaunting our assets, and engaging in witty banter...just waiting for Will Effing Hunting to finally figure out that he has a truly extraordinary girl standing right in front of him.
And having said all of that, I can't begin to imagine how some men must feel. Having to compete with the likes of some fictional character played by Richard Gere who puts proposals like this into our heads: "Look, I guarantee there'll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you're the only one for me." *swoon*
Here's the thing that I often have to remind myself though: Reality can't be found at the moving picture show. It's way too easy to get caught up in some fairy tale story of Boy meets girl, Boy realizes how amazing girl is right before he's about to lose her, and Boy moves heaven and earth to be with girl.
It's all well and good to want those things, but how realistic is it? I find myself thinking about it lately because I am working my way through a lonely patch...not a place I am very familiar with navigating without copious portions of potato chips and chocolate.
For now, I will just make friends with the occasional lonely moment, I will occupy my time as constructively as I am able, and I will keep myself busy with the same things that always fill my days - amazing friends, work, and the gym.
Bottom line is this - I am trying to feel my way through this without gaining 15 freaking pounds...so I am blogging it out.
Lucky you! ;)
Have an awesome day!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
My Christ people are MEAN to each other, aren't they? I cannot wrap my head around what makes one person feel that they have the right to be so horrible to another human being (ESPECIALLY if it's a parent to a child), but I largely believe it boils down to them needing to feel better about themselves. It is their ego needing to prove that their way, their thoughts, their belief system are all better than yours.
Or maybe even in some cases, as I have experienced personally, some people want to control you. And so they break you down slowly by chipping away at whatever self esteem you may have had to begin with.
And it's heartbreaking to think of all the incredible people out there, like myself and Dolce, who are beautiful, intelligent, surrounded and loved... and we don't know it because other people have drilled it into us that we aren't worth it, we aren't beautiful, we aren't intelligent and we can't attain the things in life that we want for ourselves.
Here is the great thing that I noticed during that conversation with Dolce though... I used to be able to recall with great ease all the horrible things that people had said to me my whole life. As soon as one thought came into my head, say.... "nobody will ever love you because you're fat" for example... all the rest would flood in faster than a man with his ass on fire looks for water.
I could hear the voices of the people who said those things, I could see their faces, and I really did believe that they were right. Like Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, "the bad stuff is easier to believe."
I am not quite sure how, or when exactly, but something has changed within me. I would harbour a guess and say that it maybe occurred when I became single again about 3 years ago... I decided that I would never again let anyone treat me badly or abuse me in any way. Granted, people will always say and do unkind things to me, but whether or not I give those words and actions the power to hurt me is my choice. And it is definitely my choice over whether or not I let the treatment continue.
I am choosing positive over negative.
I can definitely still conjure up the worst of the worst memories if I want to, but why would I want to do that? Why would I practice emotional masochism?!
And the other stuff? Meh. I'd have to think long and freaking hard to come up with those petty bullshit comments, too. That's what they are, you know. Absolute bullshit.
I might still need tinfoil on my head to keep those voices out on very rare occasions, but it is about a zillion times better in this head space than it ever was with my head buried under the covers for days at a time, with only Ruffles to console me.
If this is something you struggle with, for the love of God, grab the tinfoil, and keep on truckin'.
And have an awesome day!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It's an old habit, and as they say - it dies hard.
I plan my life, and I make plans with (and for) other peoples lives, too. I know what I am doing, where I am going, what time, many days (and sometimes weeks) in advance. I try as hard as I can to juggle a few different groups of friends, amongst the varied activities we all enjoy.
I am a busy girl, with a very busy social calendar.
Lately however, I find myself slowly trying to let that go. It's weird and foreign. And thoroughly enjoyable! Who knew that flying by the seat of your pants could be so fun!?!
I have miraculously managed to let go of my old school day planner where I wrote things in manually, (you know, like with a pen) and I have started using my blackberry calendar application. I have also started scheduling things in for myself. Whole evenings! And days! where I do what I want to do!!! And lately? I am spending more time with the people who I want to spend time with... who want to spend time with me!
My friend I.R.R. pointed out to me last week... Wouldn't you rather spend time with someone knowing they wanted to spend time with you?
Yes, as a matter of fact I would rather that, thank you very much.
What I am coming to discover though, is that because I was the designated social coordinator for so many of my friends, there are less and less plans being made these days since I have backed off from that role. And I could be wrong here, but I might even sense some irritation and distance from some of those friends.
Here's the thing though... like most things in life, it's a two-way street. I still live in the same house (because it hasn't freaking sold yet), my phone numbers are the same, as are my email addresses, and failing all of that.... we still have Facebook.
If we haven't seen each other in awhile, and you miss me, tell you what... Why don't you plan something? Why don't you come over to my house? Or maybe plan a group outing for us all to enjoy? I'm a wee bit done with this one-dimensional role I had boxed myself in to.
Have an awesome day!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk (White 2009). A person's personality can be described by his or her comfort zones. Highly successful persons may routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish. A comfort zone is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security. Like inertia, a person who has established a comfort zone in a particular axis of his or her life, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it. To step outside a person's comfort zone, they must experiment with new and different behaviours, and then experience the new and different responses that then occur within their environment.
There should also be a picture of me next to that definition. An old picture though, because the most recent 6-8 months have been spent (at first cautiously, and more recently with less hesitation - albeit only slightly less), venturing outside my existing comfort zones, my existing safe and secure social networks, my preconceived notions and my limiting beliefs about myself.
I recently commented to my new friend Vice, about this exact thing, and while we don't know each other terribly well yet, she was able to sum it up pretty freaking perfectly for me: "Not surprised that it's happening lots - once you take one step, you're pretty much out there so lots more opportunities keep popping up! Go for it. Inside the comfort zone there is only mac and cheese."
Yes. Yes. Yes. I love it! Despite my sometimes (okay, often) being afraid to try new things, push myself further, go new places, and make new friends...the other option is to go back to mac & cheese and all those other comfort foods, habits, and perceived securities behind those proverbial walls. And I am not gonna lie, it was sometimes lonely back there....
So you may from time to time (or all the damn time if I'm being honest) hear me say "I'm afraid" or "I'm shy" or "I'm nervous".... but I am practicing clenching my teeth, maybe squeezing your hand a little bit too tightly, and going for it anyways - 'it' being anything from running 5km, to riding the Super Loop, attending Boyz Night, biking 80km, openly flirting with men, to attending a 'Golden Ticket' Party in Montreal...
Even this blog for example - to me, this feels brave. I am not just touching on fluffy topics like new shoes n' shit yo'. Some of this stuff is pretty raw for me - even when I do gloss over it, and even when I only vaguely expose it for anyone (or no one) to read. The fact that I am spending the time thinking about it, tossing it around inside my head, feeling my way through it, and putting it out there means that I am addressing it and I am letting it go - and that is what is both brutally difficult, and immeasurably rewarding for me.
My social circle is forever expanding, and the more people I meet, the more profoundly I am stirred awake and educated by their stories, affected and inspired by their advice, and stimulated by their energy.
I receive invitations to new places, I meet fascinating people, and I am thankfully accepted with open arms. (side note: have I ever mentioned how much I love hugs, cuddles and open arms?)
I still have boundaries that feel safe for me, but I can't really recall a time in my life that has ever felt so exciting, or that I have laughed so often so hard.
Opening up, deeply and unconditionally loving everyone who surrounds me, letting people in, and moving forward have all worked together to bring me here.
At this point? I love what Vice said, and I agree! Frig the mac. And the damn cheese for that matter. And to quote my other girlfriend, Feather: "KD makes you sterile and tastes like plastic pool liner". So frig the fake shit too while I'm at it.
Have an awesome day!