Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Lea was controlling the music in the car. Lea is always controlling the music in the car. It's fine. I realize that the things that make me smile or sing along or tap out the rhythm on the steering wheel or bang my head at stop lights ceased to be relevant decades ago.

"I love this song!" she says, turning up the volume. I'm going to need to turn that down after she gets out of the car, I remind myself, or it's going to be really shocking the next time I turn the key.

Ah. 1985. When is this stupid song going to stop feeling so relatable? I might change a few of the specific references, but the gist sure is uncomfortably accurate.


I was in grad school in Texas at the beginning of 1985 -- thousands of miles from home -- still feeling the sting of a broken engagement. MTV was on 24/7. My roommate and I knew every ladies' night and beer special in town and we were out pretty much every night. I had started up a rebound romance that was as doomed as rebound romance generally are. When they make the movie, the part of the rebound boyfriend will be played by John Cusack. Hopefully he moved on to someone who treated him much nicer than I did. He wasn't a bad guy, it was just a bad time. I wasn't a bad girl, it was just -- oh, who am I kidding? I sucked. I was a lousy girlfriend and a lousy roommate. My shit was definitely not what you might want to call pulled together in the early months of 1985.

Late winter turned into spring and spring turned into summer and summer saw me moving briefly back home, then to Maryland where I got to be a lousy roommate again -- this time to two of my friends instead of one. I met Evil Tom before the year was out and began a spiral I needed to actually be rescued from.


But I've made it sound awful!

It wasn't!

I mean -- parts of it were. I DID end one bad romance and begin another all before I'd gotten over mourning the one from before... I DID find out that the one from before had gotten married -- because I called -- I never called him because I knew it was stupid and there was always someone around and I didn't want to look stupid in front of anyone, but one weekend my roommates left me unsupervised and I called and his dad said he couldn't come to the phone because he was on his honeymoon and I lost my shit in the most epic meltdown you can possibly begin to imagine. And I WAS a bad girlfriend to a good boyfriend, and a bad roommate, and a good girlfriend to a bad boyfriend -- all of that is true -- but there was more.

There was -- Springsteen, Madonna...

There was all this potential -- life could've taken me anywhere.

Now I've got two kids in high school (to tell me that I'm not cool). My dishwasher is broken. I wash dishes an average of 4 times a day. Between errands. In the SUV. Which isn't yellow, but it IS an SUV. And this is my life. I don't know that I ever aspired to shake my ass on the hood of Whitesnake's car -- but I sure never envisioned this.

Not in 1985.

But again, I've made it sound worse than it is. Not that I love doing dishes and driving. Because I'd be hard pressed to come up with two things I like less. Pretentious people, I guess. I like pretentious people less. And inequality. That's something I really can't get behind. But I've digressed.

I have stability.

It isn't as exciting as unlimited potential.

But it is warm and comfortable and sweet. It is deep and real and good.

I would never trade it for 1985.


I remember an evening, in the late summer of 1985, drinking wine with my roommates and discussing our married friends and wondering, somewhat wistfully, if we'd ever have that. We longed for someone to love -- and for someone to love us -- and for a house to keep.

No, I wouldn't trade even a moment of what I have now for what I had in 1985.

But I reserve the right to indulge, from time to time, in a little preoccupation.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I Set My Sights on Monday

I have been hearing the opening verse of America's Sister Golden Hair in my head for almost a week now.

Well I tried to make it someday, but I got so damn depressed, that I set my sights on Monday...


Except the actual lyric is I tried to make it Sunday, which essentially renders my whole interpretation invalid. So -- for the purposes of this post -- let's go with the perceived lyric rather than the actual one.  You can call me out on this if and only if you have never misheard a lyric yourself. I'm not expecting much flack -- not from honest people, anyway.

I don't make New Years resolutions. But I get them. We like to start new things at the beginning. The first of the year, the first of the month, the first of the week -- all good days to get started on a new goal or a new endeavor. I've always liked to start things on Monday. 

I set my sights on Monday.

I tried to make it someday. 

It has been clear for months that I need to get my shit together. I took hits last year that I only recovered from in a superficial manner. I needed to pull things together for real. While I continue to believe in the concept of Health at Every Size, I had stopped being healthy. I could whine about how hard it is to eat right and exercise and stay big -- I've whined about it before and, frankly, I think it's a pretty legitimate reason to whine. It's unfair and it sucks. I don't look much different now -- as an unfit fat woman -- than I did nine months ago as a fit fat woman. In the appearance-oriented society that we live in, that is not exactly a huge motivator. I can look like this and work out every day and give up the food and the drinks (oh, God, the drinks) that I love-- or I can look like this and indulge in anything I want. 


That doesn't seem like a hard choice.

Except that I feel yucky now, and I felt confident and -- well -- healthy then.

And I'm tired of feeling yucky.

I sure have enjoyed the nine month carb-fest, though. Not gonna lie.

But it's time to crawl out of myself. If I allow myself to continue to wallow in self-pity and depression over what looks like the coldest winter in recent history, I might never make it out. This is not entirely melodrama. It is a danger that was becoming more real every day.

So I set my sights on Monday.


Now I remember reading once that if you are setting a start date -- and waiting for that date to start a lifestyle change -- that you are not ready to change. When you're ready -- when it's real -- you'll start right that minute. No making it someday. No setting your sights on Monday. Just do it.

I disagree.

I think a few days to celebrate those indulgences -- whether they be carbs or cigarettes or booze or whatever you love but know you'd be better off without -- is a good thing. Experience them. Enjoy them. Treat each instance of indulgence like it may be your last. Like it WILL be your last. Then hit that date -- set your sights on Monday -- and let it go. Someday is over.

I had set my sights on Monday.

I had a plan.

I have a plan.

I'm tired of feeling yucky. I'm tired of looking yucky, too, but that is something I just need to accept. Feeling yucky is not.

So it's Monday.

Record low temperatures don't make going to the gym too enticing. Heck, they don't make going to my home gym in the basement too enticing.  Y'know what is enticing in this weather? Hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls and intermittent naps under a warm blanket on the sofa.

I mean -- it's cold. And I think I might be getting sick. Again. And everyone else is huddled under blankets. Too cold for school. Too cold for work. Too cold. And there's always next Monday...

But that sounds a lot like someday. And someday isn't a valid goal. 

I set my sights on Monday. 

Today is Monday. 

Let's roll.