Tag Archives: Hannah

I’m Too Sexy For My Outfit

Dansk: Juice af appelsin, æble, gulerod, rødbe...

Delicious Beverage? Or, Unintended Biological Weapon?

I love Mondays. Most Mondays are reserved for homework and house projects. I make it a point not to leave the house. Or, rather, I don’t force myself to leave the house (except to go running in the mornings!). Usually I throw on my only pair of jeans that fit and my old AC/DC Tshirt, but I never actually got dressed today. I have on the clothes I slept in and left on under warmer running clothes this morning. I did throw on a spectacularly bright, short, silky pink robe, with someone else’s initials embroidered on it, at some point today. It looks so hot with my grey and black sweats.

It has been an especially glamorous day!

It’s a good thing I dressed up for it, too.

After my run, I went into the kitchen to make smoothies for everyone in the house. Everyone was in a good mood. The teenagers were gearing up to haul bins full of items for the Greatest Yard Sale of Time and All Eternity to the garage and move some furniture around inside for me.

I made the smoothies and everyone loved them. Apple, banana, blueberries, strawberries, coconut water and bee pollen! I was feeling like pretty hot shit until Hannah pointed out that I’d apparently poisoned her boyfriend. I’ve never seen hives like the ones he was covered in today. It was terrible. He threw up three times. One time all over the bathroom. Each time, I was pretty sure Hannah was going to throw up, too.

The only “un”common denominator in the smoothies was the bee pollen. I called Hannah’s “Otha Motha,” (also known as her step-mom) to see if she thought I should take him to the hospital (It’s handy having a nurse in the family!). She said, among other things, that as long as he was breathing, he was okay. I think that’s a pretty fair statement about teenagers in general — As long as they’re breathing, they’re okay.

Today’s efforts to cull the crap were thwarted, but all homework went as planned. I have felt a sense of ease all day, despite the accidental poisoning. I feel like it’s a “win.” After all, that’s what this whole Excess Emancipation project is about — letting go of enough stuff so I feel freer to roll with the punches. I guess I’ve made more progress than I realized.

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Going Raw

I Have Had [Food] Issues

When I was 5-years-old I was acutely aware that my stomach “went straight down,” (translation: that I was thin) and that if I wanted it to stay that way, I couldn’t eat too much. I have one memory, in particular, where I can almost hear my voice say to my sister, “My stomach goes straight down.” I didn’t have a grasp of the proper nomenclature, yet, but looking back, that was the beginning of a very painful journey for me.

Growing up, I was aware that some of us were “skinny” and some of us weren’t. I am number 7 out of 10 kids. There are 8 girls and 2 boys. I have always thought I was “lucky number 7,” because I have not had to deal with many of the health-related issues my siblings have. I have perfect eyesight. I do not have diabetes. I have very low blood pressure. I do not have celiac disease. I have a healthy gall bladder. I am not allergic to anything but black mold and sometimes pollen. Until a few years ago, I had never broken a bone. Nor had I ever gotten stitches. I am not afraid of people or social situations. I do not have asthma. And I have almost always been within a normal weight range.

(That doesn’t mean I’m not a hot mess in many other ways.)

I still believe I simply lucked out when they were doling out alleles. Because I grew up in a family that struggles with weight, I know, for sure, that there is something biologically different about me. I was spared the battle with obesity, but I had my own dragons to slay.

My Mother is the most intelligent, sophisticated, creative and pure soul I have ever met. There is not a single ounce of meanness inside her. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t afraid. She was afraid. She gave birth to, and raised, more kids than her body probably wanted to. I think she started to gain weight after I was born, but by the time I was of cognitive thought, I knew my mother thought she was fat. And she hated it. She hoped to help all her kids escape the same fate. But fear has a way of seeping through the cracks, and it rubbed off on me.

Mormon Culture is largely centered around food. I suppose one might argue that American Culture is centered around food, but Mormons take it to new levels. Mormons don’t go to coffee shops. They generally don’t meet for tea and nosh on cucumber sandwiches. They don’t sip aperitifs and they don’t skimp on the fat. They even have their own cuisine! “Funeral Potatoes” are very popular as well as assorted jellos and mayonnaise-themed salads. When Mormons get together there is ALWAYS food. It is customary, in every situation, to prepare and bring large amounts of food with you to most events to share. Family gatherings center around food. Church meetings almost always have refreshments afterward.

They are also obsessed with sex. I promise I am not picking on Mormons! I love Mormons. I had an idyllic childhood, full of adventure and unconditional love from my family. But I am also determined to speak what is the truth for me. Growing up in Mormon Idaho was a little like growing up at a special camp where every day you are reminded of sex and not ever to have it. I didn’t have any idea what it was, and I felt guilty about it at 8 years old. On Sundays, we were regaled by stories of girls who had, or had not, remained morally “clean.” My young mind heard that my worth was completely tied to how chaste I was. I was told repeatedly that my worth was only valid in relation to a man. In fact, I didn’t have to make any decisions at all! My husband would be held accountable for our actions and be wholly responsible for my passage to heaven.

An onslaught of lessons were delivered on: not having sex; not dressing in a way that might “turn on” a boy; using disgusting associative imagery to discourage masturbation; terrible consequences of small indiscretions; and (it bears repeating) our worth, as women, being tied directly to our chastity. Psychologists have known for many years that the BEST way to encourage someone to think about something, is to tell them not to think about it. By CONSTANTLY telling us not to think about sex, we all thought about it constantly. I was a spectacularly good kid, and I felt more shame and guilt, on a daily basis, than any kid should have to bear.

(Again, this is only my experience. I am positive there are many women out there who had very different experiences.) For me, growing up in that context, a repressive and anti-feminist community, and within a family who was gripped by the fear of food and gaining weight was… tricky.

I know my sweet mother felt shame about her weight, which transferred to feeling shame every time she ate anything. And I could see it in some of my sister’s eyes as well. This shame felt like the same shame I felt when I had any thoughts of a sexual nature. This tied food, sex, weight and shame all together in a neat little bow for me.

Most of my life I didn’t really have to worry too much about weight. Besides the luck of the draw, there is one other reason for this, and that reason is named, Nan. My sister, Nanette was 7 years my senior, and without a doubt, my hero. I remember vividly that day in 1978 when she brought me in to the parlor to teach me how to do a cartwheel. I was 5-years-old. By then I had already decided that Nan pretty much ruled. She was only ever nice to me. I can not remember one single incident where she brushed me off, or made me feel sad. One time, she decided she was running away. I think she was 11-years old, so I would’ve been 2 or almost 3. She packed a suitcase for herself and one for me, and we set off to make our way.

I remember that day so clearly. I was a little confused as to why we didn’t have sticks with bandanas tied to them carrying our loot (like the hobos in cartoons) but I knew she had probably thought that through. We walked to the end of the lane that stretched from our house, past the big oak tree, the corral and the horses and sat down on some hay bales lying near the main haystack. I wasn’t even tired. I felt like we should keep walking. Imagine my bewilderment when it started to get dark and we returned home. In my mind, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea to run away. Nan and I, off to see the world.

So when she showed me the magical wonders of a cartwheel, I was hooked. I went directly outside and said to myself, “I am not going back inside until I do this cartwheel perfectly.” It took a long time that night, as I recall, but I did it. Thus began a mutual obsession that, for the next 10 years, would provide 75% of our entertainment. We lived and breathed gymnastics. We played “add-on” constantly. For the uninitiated, add-on is an awesome game that requires its players to remember and perform a growing number of “tricks,” in the order they were introduced. When done so accurately, that player then “adds-on” a “trick” (which could be anything from a handstand to a dance move) and it’s the next player’s job to remember and replicate the series.

We did cartwheels down the hall, tumbling runs in the living room, back handsprings in parades and layouts on the trampoline. Constantly.

By the time I was a sophomore in high school, she was married and we moved away. I basically stopped doing gymnastics. I came back to Idaho to go to finish high school and we hung out all the time, but then during my junior year she moved to Oklahoma City. I was so sad about it that I blocked her from my mind for a time. About that same time, I started to gain weight. I was gaining it fast. I had always weighed around 105 pounds, but suddenly I was 125.

I started throwing up. I had hoped that by getting rid of the food I’d eaten, I’d get rid of the weight and shame I had. The throwing up reinforced the shame, however, and on top of that, I was a TEENAGER and wanted to make-out with boys constantly. More shame.

I starved myself that summer and returned to school back at 105 pounds. I would constantly vacillate between starving and/or binging and purging. I would run for miles and miles. I did EVERYTHING I could to keep from having sex with the boys I went out with. I was SUCH a good girl, but despite my efforts, I was still pretty sure I was going to hell. I knew I wasn’t being good enough. I would confess every tiny transgression to my bishop. He finally told me to quit coming to see him. In hindsight, I can see that he was a smart guy who knew I was a good kid and wanted me to relax. I, of course, just thought I had tricked him into thinking I was a good kid. Ridiculous!

There was a community dust-up at the end of my senior year that knocked us all off balance and by that summer I had decided that trying to be all the things my church leaders said I should be was literally killing me. I moved in with some friends and we proceeded to rabble rouse. We drank beer, dated sailors and swore openly! When ALL of your morals are tied to a religion, and the religion betrays you, the danger is that the proverbial baby gets chucked out with the bathwater. It was a big time of sifting for answers to questions like, why black people couldn’t hold the priesthood before 1979; why the church is so anti-feminist; why the church had lied to us about J. Smith being 14 years old when he went into the sacred grove, etc. etc. etc… these discrepancies fueled our disillusionment and we just tried our best to help each other get through it.

I felt like I was just getting my footing when a friend of ours from Ricks College stopped by. An hour later, my virginity taken from me, all the shame I had been breaking away from came flooding back, triple-fold. I was totally unprepared and felt wholly responsible. I ramped up the throwing up to every time I had a single bit of food and I quit eating altogether about 8 months after that. By Christmas, 1992, I was down to only 87 pounds. I hated food. I was scared of men.

I hated to talk about food, think about food or listen to people eat food. I felt the EXACT SAME WAY about food as I felt about sex. It was dirty, bad, gross and to be avoided at all times. This crossover of disgust and shame about food and sex carried over to my young marriage and was probably, ultimately, it’s demise.

Enter Jenny. My sister Jenny is about 9 or 10 years older than me. She was enough older than me, that I don’t have a lot of memories of her from when I was little. I also think she hid out in her room with her guitar, trying to find some peace! But after Nan moved away (my junior year) Jenny really stepped in to be my surrogate mama. She was putting herself through college, as a single mom, and was poor. It was a trial for her to find the gas money to come up from Pocatello to Rexburg and support me in my plays and concerts. I spent vacation time with her in her tiny one-bedroom apartment and we had a great time. Jenny has such a calming affect on me. I usually fall asleep within an hour of walking into her house. It’s one of the few places in the world I feel completely safe in. My sister, Sarah, also tried her best to include me in on her life as well as my brother, Dave. My sister, Melinda, was there when she could be. She was at BYU being exceptionally brilliant.

But it was Jenny that first saw signs of an eating disorder. And it was Jenny who lit the fire inside the family that led them to finally getting me some help. My mother drove me twice a week, an hour each way, for individual and group therapy for about two solid years. It helped. A ton. Having Hannah helped me the most. But my war had only just begun.

Over the last 20 years my struggle to rid myself of the crushing shame I have always felt surrounding all things sex has been more successful than my fight to accept food as something other than my enemy and my body, no matter what size, as my ally. I have waffled between 100 lbs and 149 lbs over and over again. My answer to the scale reaching the 140s? Starve. Quit eating. Quick. The initial disgust reaction I have had to food makes it relatively easy for me to do so. But when I feel sad, or lonely, I just want to eat. I haven’t made myself throw up in years, but I do still have periods of binging and over-eating. After my second divorce, I just wanted to numb out and food provided that outlet for me.

The divorce-induced dining and drinking resulted in the aforementioned 149 lbs. I stepped on the scale and saw that number (the same number I saw the day I gave birth!) and knew I had to change. I also knew I had to change in a better way than I used to. I knew I had destroyed my metabolism and that my body couldn’t take another starvation year. So I meditated. I meditated my way into a miracle.

Every day for 4 or 5 months I mediated for hours in a state of gratitude. Specifically gratitude that I had a body with such a spectacular metabolism that I could eat anything and not gain weight. I made myself believe that I always maintained a perfect, healthy weight. And suddenly, I was thin again. You can ask Hannah. Seemingly overnight, I let go of the weight and felt free.

Unfortunately, this liberation coincided with the market crashing and me no longer being able to support myself through the foundation I had started. The fear started to seep in and by the time the end of 2009 came around, I was in a state of terror again about food. I lived off of diet soda and pretzels. I was tired, worn out and week.

The year I spent as an insurance agent harkened in another saga into a less dramatic, but very real, emotional eating period. And then the next year, when I found out my sweet daughter had tried on being a smoker, I thought to myself, “Well. You’ve already fucked it all up.” I started smoking again (after many years of abstaining) and the emotional eating got worse, as well as an obsession with the TV. I was in the business of keeping it together. I studied, spent time with Hannah and put one step in front of the other. (We also managed to fit in a lot of fun.)

And then Hannah and I went to Outlook Development’s Power of Choice Seminar. My friend, Doug, gave a presentation on falling in love with our bodies. I silently groaned. I thought the word, “gross” in my mind and prepared myself for what I was sure to be another icky display of someone telling me to love my body. But he said some things that triggered the dam and somewhere in the middle of his presentation I just started sobbing.

I realized, suddenly, what an ungrateful BRAT I have been for the last 30 years. My body is awesome. It is my greatest ally. It has allowed me to dip my toes into 7 seas, climb through jungles, play the guitar, sing, dance, skydive, play the piano, smell the spices of Morocco, run, do backflips, feel the heat of Costa Rica, sweat my ass off in Indonesia, basque in the sun in Turkey and more. I have climbed tall mountains with this body. I have truly loved a man (or two). I have given BIRTH to my beautiful daughter. I have played roller derby, taken up kick boxing, died my hair a million times and performed in front of hundreds of people. I have over 200,000 road trip miles under my belt and many more to come.

My body has done all this for me, and I have treated it like shit. I walked out of that meeting determined to change my ways and haven’t touched a cigarette since. I never will again.

The next week I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” It was so inspiring. It motivated me to add a 10-day juice fast in to the project I had developed for the ongoing Outlook Development program Hannah and I were planning to do. The “Excess Emancipation” project, at that point, was just to get rid of 50% of my shit. It has become so much more. As I prepared to do the juice fast, I started thinking about other times in my life when I have successfully stuck to a healthier way of eating. The time I went vegan came to mind. I got SO SICK of bean burritos. I was beginning to think the juice fast would be enough of change when I started researching raw food diets.

The accounts from devotees about their entire outlook changing along with their overall health were amazing to me. I decided I’d commit to a 90% all raw-food diet until March 21st.

It was a difficult transition. Really difficult. I went through a listless period with NO energy. But about two weeks after beginning, I was on cloud 9. The benefits of going all raw were already showing. I began to have more energy and mental clarity than I ever have before. I realized at about week 3 that I was enjoying myself in the kitchen. That was astonishing. Then I noticed I was willing to talk about the food I was preparing. And then I realized I was savoring each bite. I have been anti-savoring my whole life, it felt dirty and gross to discuss it, let alone do it. And then last week I had the biggest breakthrough, yet.

I started an all-green smoothies 10-day plan on Dec 27. After that I moved into an all raw foods diet. The day of the great epiphany was January 27. Exactly one month after beginning this 101 day journey. I was at Omar’s Rawtopia in Sugarhouse. I was doing a little writing and musing over all the changes in my life. I was laughing about how earlier that day I caught myself chatting up the dude in the raw food isle of Whole Foods.

My first food picture!

And then. And then the waitress brought me my dessert. It looked so pretty. It was a cashew, lemon and raspberry “cheese”cake. I took a bite and laughed out loud! It was so good! And it was pretty. And suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to take a picture of it! I can not tell you what a crazy move that was for me. I would liken it to me wanting to walk around the house naked… unfathomable. And yet, here it is.

I have a theory that because I now KNOW that the things I am eating are good for me, there is no way for my mind to twist it into something ugly. In my life, I had expected to get over the old “sex is dirty” script. I wasn’t even all that surprised when I realized that I DO love my body (thanks, pal!). But me getting excited about shopping for food, researching recipes, chatting with strangers about flax seeds and getting so excited about a dessert that I take its picture has been, by far, the greatest present of this 101 day journey thus far.

Thank you, Doug Phillips. Thank you Hannah!

And to my sisters in food and body loathing: Get ready, suit up, it’s going to get all foodie up in here!

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Freeing the Fat, Going Raw, Moving On

When in doubt, eat something.

I am tired.

I let myself get so tired, in fact, that my brain stopped functioning today. I know that in order to have energy, I should eat. But when I’m tired, I often miss the obvious. It has been over a week since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep and until about an hour ago, I’d probably only eaten 300 calories in 48 hours.

I am NOT into torturing myself by starving. I am also not into going without sleep. But I AM determined to become a morning person. For realsies. So I have been greeting each day at dawn in hopes my body will believe me that I’m serious about falling asleep earlier.

But today was a straight-up nightmare. I woke up at 5 AM per usual and meditated for a half an hour before waking up to write for a couple of hours. I was anxious because I knew that at 9 AM I had to be at the school to confront a professor about a grade. I have never had to do that before and was really nervous. I was also angry. Outraged, actually. By my estimation, there is no possible way I deserved a ‘B’ in that class.

So I forgot to make a smoothie before school. I also forgot to throw a macadamia/cacoa energy ball in my bag. I also neglected to consider that I had only had about 24 ounces of raw juices and soup the day before. I figured I’d pick up an apple and a banana at the school cafeteria, along with some green tea and all would be well. But the “conversation” I had with my professor was very upsetting and before I knew it, I was still choking back tears halfway through my critical theory class (which I love).

I hid my droopy, tired red eyes with my Ray-Bans and somehow made it through music theory and a history lecture. Next, I drove my daughter down to Draper (It may as well have been Mexico) and took a nap in the parking lot of Outlook Development. My back was not pleased with the arrangement (My sister, Nan, jokes that we have “ancient gymnast syndrome!”). So I took some big, deep breaths and drove back toward downtown.

I took the 1300 South exit so I could stop by the health food store to pick up some more Flackers. I was wicked hungry and too tired to make dinner, so I figured I’d polish off the avocado and pine nut hummus I’d made two days prior with an entire box of a few Flackers. I walked in the door and was immediately heart sick. “This is not a health food store,” I grumbled to myself, “this is just a stupid restaurant.”

I turned around to leave, my head hung low, believing I was probably just going to starve to death, when the woman behind the register asked me if I was looking for the market. I said I was, and expressed my confusion. And then she said some glorious words. They were a little jumbled up, but I caught fragments of “All” and “Raw” and I swear I heard the angels singing when I looked back over my shoulder at what I had assumed was a salad bar. But this was no salad bar. This was a buffet of gorgeous, thoughtfully prepared, all raw food dishes.

It was glorious! They had Raw Pizza, Zucchini Noodles, Vegan Sushi, Raw Lasagna, Curried Kale, Smashed Cauliflower, home made Flackers and more! I was like a wild animal. I am laughing out loud, by myself, in my living room right now at how crazy I must have seemed to the nice organic hippy ladies.

After wolfing down the comfort food, I came up for air long enough to appreciate the cute, quaint diner space. I especially liked that they had books laying out on every table ranging from the sensible to the “far out.” The address is 329 W. 1700 S.  I think it was called “Manic Organic” or some such thing. I’ll definitely go back again.

After letting my stomach settle, I had a surge of… energy! I was still tired, but now fully functioning again. I realized I could’ve saved myself a lot of misery today by being just a little more prepared.

Next time I feel like I may actually be starting to die in the middle of a class, I will use my head and go buy a banana (or seven). Divorcing the drama, to me, means more than just staying out of negative conversations and relationships, it means planning ahead so days like today don’t happen.

I can hear Doug’s voice, “Everything happens for you, not to you, Rebecca.”

and mine replying, “Can it, Byron.”

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Freeing the Fat, Going Raw

How do I detatch?

Hannah in 2009

I have a daughter whose spirit looks like a big, pink rose. She is so kind and creative. She embodies beauty, loyalty, conviction and love.

I am a ruiner. If something needs to be ruined, I can help you out with that. In general, I am a stomper, a thorn in your side and a walking catalyst for change — good or bad. I have the ability to enter a seemingly swell situation and accidentally turn it on its ear. I don’t mean to cause a ruckus. But once the ruiner in me comes out, it feels like I am a runaway train of destruction.

Tonight I managed to basically communicate to my daughter that she isn’t good enough, doesn’t try hard enough and is generally deficient in her ability to love and be loved. I promise you that that was not my intention.

What I was trying to do was let her know that I know who she is. I was TRYING to say that if she feels like she doesn’t finish stuff, she should remember that kid who always finished stuff. I was TRYING to remind her of that 7th grader who put her whole heart into a scrapbook-style history report. I was TRYING to help her remember how creative and industrious she is.

What I actually did, I think, was let her know that she should edit herself more when she’s around me.

Hannah and I are an unconventional duo. We have had a ton of fun. We’ve had some great adventures. And she’s had a rough couple of years. But I am now starting to see that me trying to be or do anything beyond being an available sounding board is counter-productive. My attachment to her clouds our interactions. She needs a rational adult to skillfully guide her and I am more like Lennie, accidentally smothering the puppy with his giant, clumsy hands.

A big part of my road to Excess Emancipation is to sort through my feelings about losing my little girl. If I’m really honest with myself, the “cloudiness” comes from that. I am devastated that she has grown up and her idea of a good time is no longer snuggling in bed with a movie or having me paint her nails. I knew this day was coming. I knew she wasn’t “mine” to begin with — but its still a bitter pill.

My hope for now is to come to terms with my obsolescence. I am seeking out a new plane from which to be her best mom. I can’t keep scooping her up every time she scrapes a knee. I am, at this point, hurting her by not allowing her to clean herself up. Or at the very least, allowing her to choose whether she would like my help or not.

My friend, Sonya, advised me the other day to “visualize myself sending her light and love” each time my worry wheel started whirring. I like the idea. What I know for sure is that this knot in my stomach doesn’t help anyone.

This week I am committed to listening more; keeping my mouth shut more; staying calm; and replacing the angst inside with light and love. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Moving On

I want to live on a boat…

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Could Aunt Anna's Piano fit and survive on a boat?

I have always wanted to live on a boat.

As I move further into simplification mode, the more my desire to live on a boat, or in an RV grows. Really, apart from money, my biggest obstacle to mobile living quarters is the lack of enough room for my Great Aunt Anna’s piano.

My simplicity has its boundaries. I love my piano. It’s the piano I learned to play on. The action on the keys is very light — too light, actually — but I LOVE it. It’s small and cute and a dark yellow color.

I have a short list of must-haves. They include my piano; my guitar; an ipad and iphone; a super-soft feather pillow; my Aunt Zelma’s quilts; my Dad’s original company jacket; my Mother’s poetry; and my daughter’s photography.

I suppose my interest in aquatic accommodations has been growing in parallel to the likelihood of pulling it off. I wonder if Hannah will be opposed to trading in a two-bedroom apartment for a two-bunk bed boat?

Cool blogs and stuff on the subject:

Living On A Boat – One Woman’s Transition To Living Onboard A Boat.

Amazon.com: The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat.

Living on a Boat.

Liveaboard Life: Minimalism in a Tiny Home at Sea – Sailing, Simplicity, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We Live On A Boat.

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Dreams, Purging Possessions

“Buddy” Calls

I was really very surprised last night that I had actually accomplished my goal of getting at least one more bin full of priced and tagged items ready for the yard sale. I woke up pretty stuck. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about the living room. Then I had my daily buddy call and I was revived.

A “buddy” call could not be more different that its cousin, the “booty” call. It is a daily prescription from the Outlook Development folks. When I first heard about buddy calls I was completely horrified. You see, I hate the phone. I truly do not believe there is a man, woman or child on earth who loathes the phone more completely than I. Intellectually I am very grateful for all things of modern convenience, and the cell phone has been there for me when I needed to find Hannah, or get help because I ran out of gas, etc. But I miss the 80s.

Remember the 80’s before everyone had cell phones? Remember the anticipation you would feel as you walked in the door, after having spent the day running errands, and checked to see if that red light was blinking on your answering machine? That was awesome. It was fun, back then, to get messages. I think getting messages all day long has taken some of the fun out of it.

And then there’s the part that where it used to be you could spend a day (or even two!) away from the phone and when you finally returned all your calls, no one was mad at you. You would simply say, “I was running errands all day yesterday.” Or, “Hannah and I drove out into the desert and decided to stay in this hilarious motel we found.” And the person on the other end would say, “Oh, did you have fun?”

In addition, I firmly believe that but for those people who live far away, the phone should be used as a tool for planning to meet up in person to discuss the minutia of the moment. As soon as someone wants to discuss in detail the nuances of another negative experience I simply shut down. Not ever with the real stuff, but always with the drama.

This is, in part, due to my awesomely, unconventional brain which doesn’t process audio as well as video. My brain shares some qualities with those of the ADD brain. (I hate it when people own a diagnosis by saying things like, “My ADD…”) I have a difficult time staying engaged in a phone conversation and tend to drift off. I understand things I read and people I can see MUCH better than I understand things I only hear. For instance, when playing trivial pursuit, the odds of me being able to access the answer to a question goes up exponentially if I’m allowed to read it.

Nowadays I often take “Phone Vacations,” where I’ll put the phone on airplane mode to have a whole day (or more! gasp!) when I am actually unplugged from outside stimuli. And my subconscious does me favors like leaving my phone in my purse or the car or at home or what-have-you. The universe is on my side. Most of the time I wind up with a phone that shuts off the ringer on its own in my purse when I’m not looking.

On the whole, this has lowered my stress level about the phone. But there are days when it just. doesn’t. stop. ringing. and this aversion, or what I like to think of as “this boundary,” has gotten me into trouble. I’ve missed many a communique from people that I love who really needed someone to talk to. I’m not worried about the doctor’s calls I’ve missed, or the phone calls from my father’s industry folk, or even those from school-mates and work. But I hate not being there for those who matter most. And it’s so much worse now than the 80s because, no matter what you say about your phone habits, people tend to think you’re dodging calls. And when someone is in need of a shoulder to cry on, they are especially prone to believing you’re dodging their calls…

Luckily, my sisters, brothers, CRH, Mom, Dad, and a few others who know me really well, don’t take offense when a text message may take days to be returned, and a phone call sometimes over a week. They know that my phone phobia is not personal. They know that as much as I love everyone, I have a daily threshold of electronic chatter I don’t force myself to cross.

But I digress.

Rewind to four weeks ago when Doug announced that we were all assigned a “buddy” for the duration of the Power-90 program. I was gripped with horror. How could I possibly manage ANOTHER demand on my phone time? And then. And then. And then, I ended up in a group of three! Yikes! The only thing that kept me from refusing entirely was that I love the women I was put with.

A buddy call is a phone call that happens five days a week. It is an opportunity to re-state your goals and be accountable for the baby steps you’ve committed to for that week or even that day. Some last 30 minutes, others much longer.

I know that once I’m on the call, I love it. I seriously love my buddies. But, I have been through every emotion about this. I went through denial (lost my phone for a couple days); bargaining (maybe I can just text them every day); anger (why am I being bullied?); and now acceptance (how did I get so lucky?).

I have turned out to be the biggest offender of over-chatting in our gang. I get so much of a lift from my ladies and partners in positive power. Which brings us back to this morning. I was stuck in the space of what I call, “the feeling of impending doom,” about purging my possessions. Then one of my buddies reminded me that I am JUST tagging and bagging stuff for a yard sale. She reminded me that I would have another chance to veto selling some shit. This completely took the pressure off of my day and I was able to accomplish my goal and a little bit more.

So here’s a shout out to my buddies: Karen and Sheri, I love you both and feel so blessed to be on this journey with you. Thank you for being patient with me and not having our calls at dawn when I can’t speak, but only write. You’re unconditional acceptance of me and the strength of purpose you demonstrate daily is a gift. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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A Lesson I Wish I Had Learned Earlier

Piano

I wish I had learned so many things earlier in life. I could’ve been saved a lot of trouble if I had known a few practical things like that you need to check and change your oil. I wish I would’ve listened more and talked less. I wish I would’ve learned that living with people ruins friendships. I wish I would’ve learned to stay calm and not act so impulsively. I wish I would’ve realized sooner that my body is just an innocent bystander and does not deserve to be poisoned and/or beat up. I wish I would’ve known when I was a teenager that I was a somewhat talented pianist.

But I don’t have many regrets. I have a handful of big ones that have to do with me hurting other people and letting Hannah watch so much TV as a little girl, but on the whole my impulsiveness and big mouth have gotten me into and out of many great adventures.

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