Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A disturbing paradox

I have something I want to get off my chest. It’s something I have pondered for a few days now, and I finally want to say something about it.

As I was getting ready for bed a few weeks ago, I got on the floor to do my nightly sit-ups. As I started to do the crunches, I was very aware of the way my stomach bulged up every time I did the crunch, then flattened out as I relaxed. I thought to myself, “Don’t worry about that roll of fat you’re seeing- it will go away once you do enough sit ups.” Mind you, that “roll of fat” is in no way visible when I am standing, sitting, or doing anything but sit-ups, but the idea that I looked this way right now upset me to the point that I had to make an immediate mental plan for getting rid of it. I felt horrible, unattractive, and depressed.

A few days ago I was putting lotion on after a shower and noticed that if I put a certain type of pressure on the back of my upper thighs, a slight cellulite affect appeared. I was absolutely horrified, and I was so upset my eyes actually started to tear up. My physical self image, which at that point was pretty good, immediately fell through the floor. A few days before, I had rejoiced with the fact that the weather was warm enough to wear shorts and cute mini-skirts. Now, every time I see those shorts I want to cry. I walk by a mirror and see a girl with fat thighs and a bulbous stomach and it seems insurmountable.

After these two incidents, I have become increasingly aware of how my body feels inside my clothing- constantly wondering if my clothes are too tight for me. I am aware of every bite of food I take, concerned that maybe moving to New York has made me gain too much weight and I will never be able to lose it. I went out to buy skin firming cream, and have cut meat out of my diet again. I felt sexy and desirable a few weeks ago and now I feel fat and unattractive. I have become obsessed with making sure I am exercising every day, and if I don’t, or if I eat something decadent, I can’t fully enjoy it. I am concerned about everything I am doing wrong.

And I am a size 4.

Here’s my beef:

Why is it that we are so able and willing to accept our emotional idiosyncrasies but are utterly incapable of accepting our physical idiosyncrasies?

Over the years and through many long term relationships, I have come to know my emotional idiosyncrasies very well. I know that when I get mad, I just need 3 minutes of not having to explain myself and after that 3 minutes, I will become my usual, easy-going self again. I know that I have a tendency to get scared when I become vulnerable, but that this vulnerability can be one of the more endearing qualities about me. I know that I don’t like human chewing sounds, any type of condiment besides ketchup and tabasco, and I love to eat candy slowly, letting the treat melt in my mouth which can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes to finish. These are all things I don’t try to fix or apologize for. These are things that make me... well, Me.

So, why can’t we feel this way about our physical idiosyncrasies? Why can’t we just chuckle at ourselves and say, “Well, that’s the way I am, and I am comfortable with myself. I am healthy, I am dating a great guy who finds me attractive, and I am capable of doing anything I want without physical limitation.” Why can’t I see myself for the wonderful physical attributes I do have instead of lambasting myself for what I am lacking (or have too much of?) The thoughts are driving me insane, and I just marvel at the vast difference between our physical and emotional self-images. Does society do this to us? Do we do it to ourselves? Wouldn’t we cut someone out of our lives if they were as critical of us as we are of ourselves? Why do we poison ourselves?

I don’t really have any answers. I think some of what I am feeling is because of my move to New York, my lack of routine and the enormous amount of time on my hands. But I just started a new job and will have less time to think about how my body looks in a mirror. But more importantly, I am slowly becoming aware that my physical attributes are what make me Me. And being Me can be a very cool thing.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Peanuts... Cracker Jacks, Here!

One of the things that I have noticed about New York which is very different than Southern California is the number of people legally and illegally soliciting on the streets. Now, I don’t mean like homeless people who are asking for change, though there is a lot of that too. I am talking about people who set up tables and actively sell brand name knock offs or pirated DVDs & CDs. Not only is that amazing to me, but the age range of the folks is what really surprises me. I mean, people who are in their 60s and 70s, who should be basking the in the joy of retired life, are out on street corners peddling knock off purses, sunglasses and keychains. Or, they are going into restaurants, cafes, or subway cars trying to get you to buy what they are selling. Even further, almost every street corner will have someone standing with a stack of flyers, trying to get you to patronize their establishment. They stand at the entrance to the subway stairwell to catch commuters when they are traveling. And these people are all well into their middle age, if not older (it's hard to tell, and I try not to stare).

This morning while at a Greek diner, a woman in her 50s came in with a yellow plastic bag, and went to the table next to us and pulled out a stack of DVDs which were in plastics sleeves. I could see that they are copies of movies that are currently in the theatres, so they could not possibly be out on DVD yet. The person behind the counter thought that this person wanted a table, so when the DVD lady was approached by the employee, she acted very nervous, immediately putting the DVDs back into her back and fleeing the restaurant. I sat fascinated by this transaction. This type of soliciting is similar to what I have seen in downtown San Diego, except in San Diego, it is someone with a bucket of flowers, and they approach couples and try to force the man to buy a flower for the lady. Many a man has gotten in trouble with his woman when he has said no...

Another thing that fascinates me is the varied ethnicity of the people doing these tasks. This is where you may think I have gone too far in my musings, but I am merely expressing observations and am certainly not casting any type of judgement. Southern CA is fairly homogenized, but it seems that there is a class system with regard to this type of work. The homeless people you see are caucasian or African American. The people selling flowers are Mexican. And the people who are on street corners handing out flyers or spinning advertisement signs are skinny, 16 year old caucasian boys who are impervious to sunburns. That’s it, end of story. But in New York, anything goes! The lady who came into our restaurant today was Asian, and there was a Native American man well into his 70s on the street corner handing out coupons for a fitness club that had just opened up down the road.

I gotta say, I am fascinated.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off To Work I Go

In response to being seduced by the need to buy winter clothes and expensive wine, I have been claimed by the gods of slavery and extortion. I have been... hired.

It’s really not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it’s pretty good. I am working as an office/technical manager at a two person company (me and the owner). It is a event marketing company that hires out musicians/groups to local real estate corporations and businesses who want live music on their property or at their events. My boss needed to hire someone who could help organize her office and computerize some of the paperwork- lots of data entry and importing music into the computer and then outputting it onto demo CDs. I will also be taking over the maintenance of their website to help streamline a lot of their marketing efforts. It is part time, flexible, and my boss is really, really cool. My first day at work was Friday and so far, so good!

Now I just have to learn how to wean myself off of “The West Wing“ weekdays at noon and staying up until 4am.

Let’s say it together: ”Theatrdiva, you are not on San Diego time“ ...

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