Friday, April 20, 2012

It's a Small World After All...and you can't play in it.

This blog was started because I was accepted into the Closing Ceremonies as a performer for the London 2012 Olympics.  Joy all around.  A few weeks ago I received a letter from the Olympics reminding us of Home Office requirements, which stated that for non-EU nationals, all of their paperwork must be have an expiration date of at least November 8th.  Problem, as my marriage visa ends September, and while I will renew it in August, my paperwork would obviously show that it expired before November.  (WHY is it a November cutoff, when the damn games are done in August?  Who knows).  So I contact my team leader and explain that I'm married, with a kid and a mortgage and all that, I'm not some dodgy dodge person, can I squeak through?

Today I got the call.  I can't.  


I cannot apply for a ILR (the next level of visa) until 28 days before the one I have is due to expire.  I called the Home Office, they said the same thing.  So, yeah.  I'm out.

I will take one good thing from this shitty day - when you see those gorgeous dancers and jugglers and stilt walkers and people bouncing around, I want you to remember - my fat ass was supposed to be there.  I performed well enough to dance and shimmy and jazz handed my way next to them, and it is just through bureaucratic nonsense that I didn't get to be standing in that stadium. Sure, I may be watching it with the other 8000 people who applied and didn't get in, but I DID get in, and I can take comfort in that.

Cold comfort is still comfort.   


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Right to Gripe, or when first world problems go wrong


So I belong to this online forum for women only (not Mumsnet, you all are lovely!), which is about 10% informative, 60% boring, and 30% car crash.  I stick around for the information, and car crashes.  Today's first world problem was a woman who has younger colleagues that complain about getting older.  She believes this is the height of rudeness.  Mind you, they aren't talking about her being older, they aren't even talking *to* her, she is simply overhearing their conversation and getting upset.  And of course, as it always seems to with women, the argument turned to weight, with much back and forth, resuming in what I can only say is the most jaw-dropping concept I have heard of in a long time:  If a skinny person complains about gaining weight within ear shot of a fat person, the skinny person is rude, and has no right to call themselves fat or whatever when they aren't, because it denigrates the fatty.  At the same time, a fat person can (kind of sort of) raise themselves up by pulling skinny people down (ie, Big is Beautiful!, which intimates that not big is not beautiful), then that's okay, because fat people don't have privilege in society, so they can get away with it.


First off, if a skinny person is talking about how fat they are when they drank a full fat latte and I happen to be in ear shot, several things happen.  Actually, one thing happens.  No, wait, I meant to say nothing happens.  Why?  Because:

They are talking about themselves, not me,
Their body image is their own, and has nothing to do with my body image,
I do not co-opt someone else's pain about their body, and
OMG who listens in on peoples' conversations and then has the gall to get upset about it?

That's Ridiculousness #1.  Ridiculousness #2 is when I think that I can get away with being bitchy about a skinny person, and then hide behind some invisible shield of 'But they are the privileged group, I'm just standing up for myself!' bullshit.  No, you're just trying to get away with something, Mean Girls style.  Cut it out.

Let me tell you a story: When I met my birthing group, they were all, pregnant, smaller than me when I was my regular weight. As they were complaining about puffing up and tight clothes, I could have thrown a strop and pointed out that they were still smaller than me, and were therefore inferring that I was super de duper gross if they were gross for having stretch marks and puffy ankles. But instead, I realized that behind everyone's eyes (skinny, fat, black, white, gay, straight, etc), are their own battles, and are on their own journeys, and appreciated that they were struggling right now, and tried to be a supportive friend. Our kids are a year now, and all of them are back to their gorgeous size 2 selves, and I am my lovely size 22 self, and we just appreciate each other for who we are.  And even if they ate a giant muffin and then complained about being sooooo fat, I honestly would not care, because THEIR BODY IMAGE ISSUES ARE NOT MINE.  I HAVE ENOUGH OF MY OWN, I DO NOT NEED TO CO-OPT ANYONE ELSE'S BULLSHIT.  As has been pointed out numerous times on this blog, my feelings and opinions about my body are my own. If you have so little to do that you have time in the day to be offended on my behalf, then I wish I had your leisure time, but I just don't care.  I also don't care about other peoples' journeys or thoughts on their own weight - it has nothing to do with me.  You may be a size 2, and think you are fat.  I don't care.  You may be a size 30, and think only Real Women Have Curves.  Don't care.  Doesn't concern me.  And how others perceive themselves shouldn't concern you personally, either.  Just get the fuck on with your life.  


Friday, April 13, 2012

Bucket List

I've never been fond of the concept of a bucket list - that list of things you really want to do before you die.  I figure, just do them now instead of writing them down, saves time and paper.  But I am a fan of prioritizing, putting down in black and white what truly matters, and letting the little stuff slide.  For my MBA course right now I am doing pre-work exercises, designed to help you figure out your day, and what you can trim down while you shoehorn in your education.  Ironically, it's stuff like this - blogging - that I could easily cut out.  Writing takes a lot of time.  Editing takes time.  Finding get the idea.  But blogging helps keep me same, so for now, blogging stays.  Facebook and LJ can go, and quickly.  So that will free up some chunks of time.  My favorite websites can fall to the wayside for the time being - Financial Times and Harvard Business Review will be my go-to URLs for the foreseeable future.  The same needs to be said for getting healthy - you have to figure out what goals are important, and which aren't, and tailor your regimen to that concept.

I think the reason so many diets/health plans/whatever you call them fail is that people fail to prioritize their goals - they say to themselves "I want to look like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City, in the next 90 days!".  People, puh-leaze.  It takes SJP a couple of hours in the hair and makeup chair to look like SJP in SITC, you think YOU are going to pull it off in 12 weeks?  No.  Pick a realistic goal, like "I hope to walk up 3 flights of stairs without getting winded" or "I want to walk 3 miles".  If you shoot too high when you are just starting out, you'll get frustrated and more than likely give up.  Set immediate, smaller goals for yourself along the way, while keeping your eye on the larger prize.  

For now, my IMMEDIATE goal is to get healthy enough to run around in the Closing Ceremonies without looking (and feeling!) like I am going to die.  My long term, possibly by the age of 40 goal is to wear a tankini at the beach.  But within my immediate goal, I have smaller sub goals.  Right now, I need to focus on weight loss, and increasing lung capacity, then I'll work on longer cardiac pushing exercises, and the like.  So I'm working on food choices as well as increasing aerobic activity.  Putting on muscle isn't the largest issue right now, it's getting the fat off first, so my muscles can actually work the way they are supposed to.

This weekend, my mini goal is to enjoy my birthday, have lots of love and cuddles with my husband and kid, and then start again on Monday.  Little goals, added up, equal great things.  "From little acorns..." and all that.  Have a good weekend, folks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

I apologize for the lack of posts, life is very quickly gearing up to explode in May.  Baby is starting nursery 2 afternoons a week so I can

- Get house organized
- Get study area set

Meanwhile, the Olympics rehearsals start at the exact same time, which means crosschecking schedules with babysitter and husband, and wondering if I have the strength to make it to August 12th without resorting to buying pep pills from dodgy online sellers.

The seedlings for my garden are doing brilliantly though, and baby is over halfway done with teething and has actually let us sleep through the night the last week or so (HUSSAH!), so to be fair, life is pretty damn great.  I'm eating pretty well, I just need to massively get my ass in gear to help create that sustainable muscle mass that all the bone structures just love to nestle into.  (I mean my bone structure, not my husbands.  Heh.  'Bone'.)

This week, I need to:

Find a new pair of walking shoes
Get my Kindle sorted to 'read' out many of my MBA texts so I can push baby while listening
Keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Listen to your gut

I was walking baby Alex in the garden when our neighbor came out and was making funny faces with him, and mentioned he didn't look his peak - he's a step father to two, and a grandfather to one, he knows that look of a poorly kid in a heartbeat.  Alex has just gotten over an awful bug that saw us heading to the hospital at one point because we couldn't get the fever down.  We were on the phone all day with NHS Direct*, but I wasn't quite satisfied with their answers, so off we went, and surprise surprise, he was BEYOND feverish.

I love NHS Direct, but there is one thing they always do that bugs the crap out of me.  When they are assessing my kid, they always invariably ask, "Is he your first?", and when you say yes, there is always the same sad little sigh on the other end, as if to say, "Oh, you're an idiot first time mother, I can see you are probably freaking out over nothing".  Now, it is true I am a first time mother and overall, I am an idiot, but I do still have some faculties about me.  When my child wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, with a body temperature that feels like I put him in the microwave to dry him off after his bath, then I know, first time mum or not, that there is a feckin' problem.  Pushing a child out of my vagina for the first time does not actually make me less able to sense heat fluctuations in the skin.  It also has not made me incapable of saying that there is a problem and I am going to damn well do something about it. Turns out the massive bug he had triggered a huge ear infection, which was causing the fever.  I may be a first time mum, but I still have a gut, and I listen to it.

And yet, I don't listen to my gut in so many other ways.  I know, for instance, that Cornettos (ice cream comes) hurt my tummy.  I know that pasta will make my brain go quite angry about 30 minutes later (I think it has something to do with the massive influx of carbs hitting me all at once).  Yet, I eat these things.  And why?  Because...because I love my kid more than myself.  I'd walk to the end of the earth if it meant he'd smile at me, but I won't cross the street to save my own life.  You can pretty that up and say it's a mother's love, but it's also a girl's ingrained hatred for herself.  That's tough to admit, but true.

I haven't weighed myself since I started this journey.  I guess I need to today.  I haven't been worried about what I was eating, because I was moving more, but I have to remember, it's a total process.  You can't just starve and then loaf about, and you can't just walk more and then eat a cake.  You have to be willing to walk to the end of the earth for YOURSELF, because YOU are worth it.

Sorry this ended on a down note.  Here's a video of a jester telling Henry VIII that his wife is cheating on him.

*US people, think of it like Urgent Care, but instead of going in you just call them and a nurse assesses you over the phone and then makes a recommendation as to whether you come in or not.  Yes, the UK health care system does kick the ass of the US, why do you ask?.