Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life, Love and Lard (Part 2): The First Year

The First Year:

When you are between the ages of about 21-ohhh well it never really ends, especially when you are a female, it seems like everyone around you is searching for their “soul mate” or a reasonable facsimile, to grow old with. So, within about 5 minutes (or 2.5 weeksish in real time) of hanging out with my friends, most of which were couples, I lost my “Screw dating, I’m going to just have fun attitude,” and replaced it with, “…BUT I WANT ONE TOO!” So here I was, newly 21, extremely confident, with my life ahead of me, and a pretty decent body for someone who had just given birth, back out on the prowl. By prowl, I mean, who is marriage material prowl. Not who is a good one night stand prowl. I was looking at every male that passed like they could be my future husband and baby daddy. Well, the response was definitely more than I planned.

I found a lot of guys, but one was pretty awesome. We had a great time together. I will always remember our “firsts.” The first time he walked me home and I found a giant pink bouncy ball to play with (which I believe he still has,) our first kiss (which was in the rain in an alley,) and a whole lot of other firsts, including how he was first supposed to be a one night stand.

You may be asking, if you were out searching for a husband and you found this awesome guy, why would you want a one night stand? Well, I didn’t really “want” a one night stand, but knowing my track record I figured it was pretty much a given. Well, I was wrong and he called and we were pretty much inseparable for the next year. We literally spent one night apart in our first, alcohol induced haze, year.
For the first year, we were partying usually a good 4-5 nights a week. By partying I don’t mean a few drinks with friends, I mean hard core drinking until the wee morning hours, getting up and doing it all again. It leaves a lot of time for great conversation doesn’t it?

I’ll keep this short, and leave out a lot of gory details, but since I had been used to being treated poorly by guys, I found his treatment of me to be amazing. Which, I mean, wasn’t completely untrue by any means, but we definitely had issues I was willing to ignore because I was in love and so was he. What I didn’t realize until late last year, is that the person that he was in love with wasn’t me, it was the role I was playing to make him love me.

I think intrinsically we all have the capability to have a number of ways of relating to people and situations as a coping mechanism. We really have such varied personalities that we can be just about anyone, but what was different in this situation is that I was afraid that he wouldn’t want the real me. I was playing a role for this part, and I think in a way, I was acting for myself just as much as him. Convincing myself I was ok being a small town girl, just getting through school, living on a farm, staying at home a lot, yada yada yada. Yeah right. Anyone who knows me now (or the “real” me knows that’s completely untrue.) Another thing I never realized was that hiding the real me mentally and emotionally was causing me to hide the real me physically.

During this first year, I stopped playing sports and exercising (which were a huge part of my life,) I started cooking all the time (since my mom taught me that the way to a guys heart is through his stomach) and I started a new form of birth control (which any woman reading this knows this is the death of their figure) and throughout this year, I gained 35ish lbs.

So by the end of year one, I was living in denial. Denial of the real me, denial that I had gained weight and was getting pudgy, denial that I had no real clue what my future held. All I knew is that I had a man who loved me, and that’s all that mattered.
Or so I thought…. (Part 3 tomorrow)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life, Love and Lard (part 1)

… I must leave this harbor for the sea, I’m too young to settle down and make a home, but I don’t know where I’m wanting to be, I just know I have to be there alone… “Gathering Dust” – David Gray
I love music. It’s something that’s been a part of me since I was barely able to talk and my dad would begin planting bands/singers/songwriters into my head (which proved useful years later for trivia!) What’s more important to me than the music itself, are the lyrics. I will listen to any type of music, as long as the lyrics have some sort of depth and the singer/band is passionate about them. So when I rediscovered the lyrics above, they made me reflect on them. When I first heard this song, many years ago, I hadn’t thought anything of it. That is until I was living it. A lot of time we can’t relate to ourselves, or reflect until we are out of a situation. So I started reflecting on the situation that led me to make these lyrics so personal. How it changed me, how it brought me to “wearing lard colored glasses.”
The next few days of blog entries are a series. My main focus of the blog has been to discover how different it is to “live life through lard colored glasses,” and has kind of evolved into my own little random world. Each of these entries will, briefly and personally, cover a year in the life of getting fat, mainly just in the terms of my long term relationship which led to a gain of about 90lbs. So here it goes:

A Little Background to Begin With:
Three or four months ago, things were rough, but I thought I had it all figured out. LSAT in June, entering my super-senior year at KSU in August, getting married on 10.10.10, graduate in May and commute to law school in the fall of 2011 all while building a home and a family in the country with my long time fiancé.
I had it all, or so it seemed; a plan, a future, someone who loved me. What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t truly happy. I gained the bulk of my weight (a little over 90lbs) during the course of my long-term relationship. The slow gain started after relocating back to Kansas after living in L.A. (and the city life) for six months during for the birth of my daughter, which is another story all together.
After leaving L.A., I returned to Kansas with a renewed sense of myself. Full of confidence, ideas and a spring in my step I hadn’t experienced in years. A situation like the one I had just left gave me the opportunity to find myself. I was a “new” me, or more accurately, I found the “real” me. The one I had hid in a bleak effort to fit into the small town Kansas way of life, and to adapt to everyone else’s expectations of me. It was nice to be me.

For about five minutes… (Part 2 tomorrow)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dedicated to what was meant to be

Heads up, this one was a tear jerker for me.

Relationships. Something many of us strive to understand, think we understand or have given up understanding. That is until something comes along and hits us over the head and makes us realize… oh crap. Why didn’t I see that when I was in it? This weekend that hammer over the head came along in the form of the movie, 500 Days of Summer. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the ending and get out there and see it. Male or female! In the movie there were a lot of parallels to my relationship of 4.5 years that has ended semi-recently and it was really weird seeing many of the nuances and relationship issues he and I encountered. More than anything though, there was one quote in particular that really got me thinking more about relationships than anything else (Ok, I lied… SPOILER ALERT!!!)
“Well, you know, I guess it's 'cause I was sitting in a deli and reading Dorian Gray and a guy comes up to me and asks me about it and… now he’s my husband… So, what if I'd gone to the movies? What if I had gone somewhere else for lunch? What if I'd gotten there 10 minutes later? It was - it was meant to be. And... I just kept thinking... Tom was right… It just wasn't me that you were right about.”
So, are our relationships just some great cosmic lineup that brings two of us together at just the right time and the right place for just the right amount of time that we bring something into each other’s lives that is missing? Or is it all something that we dissect to the point of attributing any relationship we are in into some cosmic reasoning as to why it happened?
This quote hit me… and hit me hard when I read it as I’ve probably been dissecting my semi-recently ended engagement pretty closely, and not really coming up as to any answers other than we grew apart. When I wonder, how we could grow apart when essentially we were the same people we were 4.5 years ago when we started dating? I continue to look back and question at times, for reasons that may or may not be revealed in another post, why I stayed with him to begin with? Then it starts to come together.
Using the quote as a reference point, I think back to what I gained from this. The best and most apparent, are some of the best girlfriends I could ever have in my life. In particular, two of my very best friends Anna and Katie (Renee is the third… but we knew each other previously.) Without my ex, K, and I being together I never would have met them. Before I met these two, I had lots of friends, girls and guys alike, but I had never really known the value of true friends. I mean, we would be there for each other when it was convenient for the other, but it was never like this.
We’ll start off with Katie for example. Katie had grown up with K, they went to high school, ran in the same group of friends, etc. So she was “his” friend going into things. After the first time she and I met though, we knew it was magic. It was a chance thing that she happened to be at K’s best friend’s house, where I was often the only female. She and I sat and talked by default, but by the end of the night, I knew that Katie was someone who would be there forever and ever. What if I hadn’t gone over there that night? What if? Just like the Dorian Gray book, us being the only females brought us together as one. She was there beside me holding my sister and my hands as they carried my mom off after one of her suicide attempts. After a huge fight between K and I where I was left broken hearted, she was there to pick the pieces off the ground and help me to begin gluing them back together. When she moved away, I was devastated, when she came back, I jumped for joy. I just keep thinking, if it wasn’t for me being with K, at that exact moment in time, would our bond ever be as strong as this? So thank you Katie.
Then there is Anna, who I haven’t known quite as long as Katie, but will forever be a part of my life and my heart as well. Again, we met by chance, at a place I wouldn’t be without K. It was a birthday party for one of K’s friends that a bunch of our mutual friends were attending. This dark haired girl walked in with a friend I had known for years, we’ll call him Jared, and I exclaimed in my state, “So this is the flavor of the week (or something equally derogatory.)” As he paraded her around, I tried to talk for a bit, but kept my distance as I knew she would be leaving soon, and honestly… I had no idea who this girl was. She was some random girl and I never really thought of her again… That is until that June when I was spending a lot of time with her ex-roommates at her former house. See, K was gone for almost a full year off and on last year, and I was alone in Manhattan. I had known two of her former roommates for a very long time, and longed for the escape from Manhattan for the chill environment of Lawrence. Now, I knew that she lived there again, but I still didn’t know much about her. That was until the night that I just happened to be in the basement until 3am, mainly because I was too tired to drive home, and she pranced into the room and sat on the arm of the chair next to me and whispered, “Shhh.. don’t tell anyone, but I’m a stripper.” It was from that point on we bonded. It was almost instant trust that she shared with me, and I shared with her all of our secrets. There was something, where all the stars aligned and it just worked, because honestly, in almost any other universe, I probably wouldn’t have given her a chance (not for being a stripper…!) This almost instant bond has continued for over a year now, and she’s probably the closest to me of all my friends. We’ve shared each other’s ups and downs and I know that she has completely motivated me to where I am today. She’s the friend who has been there pushing me in all my endeavors, from school, to losing weight, to being financially responsible and culminating in the latest which is getting me out of the relationship that had grown emotionally dangerous for me and being my rock to cry to. Even at 5am after a fight, she would answer her phone and say get over here and cry. She took me out to celebrate the culmination of my LSAT and to celebrate me receiving a mediocre score despite everything I’ve been through. Somehow, this pint-size ray of sunshine just happened to be there at the right place/right time for us to build this relationship. (Ok… seriously… in tears right now.) So thank you Anna.
So as I sit here, and try to over analyze what went wrong with K and I, I am lucky enough to look at what went right. If it wasn’t for that moment in time that everything lined up just perfectly with K, that we thought we had a shot at the rest of our lives together. Maybe we missed it by a millisecond, maybe it’s not the way the universe works. No matter what the case, the stars lined up perfectly that even though what I thought was supposed to be the most fulfilling relationship in my life, my marriage to a man I loved dearly, and will always have a place in my heart for, has ended. I somehow out of this, gained two of the three brightest stars in my life. Without these amazing ladies, I don’t know where I’d be.
Was it meant to be? Who knows. Think about it, in ten minutes, ten hours, ten days or years from now, someone may waltz into your life and you have no reason or idea why. Just remember, life works in funny ways. Some relationships have to end, to have another one begin. Also, give a few chances... if that person hasn’t done anything blatantly wrong, maybe the stars are getting ready to align to provide you with something amazing you wouldn’t have known without it, or after a few chances... maybe it is just a dud :) What I do know, is that if I’m asked, do I believe sometimes things are just meant to be... I'll say absolutely.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My rant.

I’ve rewritten this story something like 87 times to try and make it sound like I am being less of a bitch. I’ve developed it with flowery language and a background story, and I’ve tried to omit names but the truth is: it just sounded fake. So here it is honest and straightforward as I sit here and wonder. Why people have to question people who may live their lives different from their own?

When visiting UMKC on a grad school visit last week I had quite the up and down reaction. I liked the campus, I liked some of the program offerings, but I wasn’t a huge fan of a few of the people. Much of that came from their ability to not keep their mouths shut. I am compulsive about researching a place before I come visit or choose it as an option to apply to. With UMKC, it was no different. I’d talked to people who had affiliations directly with, or had friends who had attended UMKC. I’d talked to professors in regards to the program offerings, and I had driven around the campus and city for hours trying to get an idea on whether or not I could see myself there. The truth is, I knew from the first time I saw it, I could see myself there. I think from a far, Kansas City has always been a place that seemed so far away, yet so close. So when I went to visit UMKC, I was more than disappointed by the questioning comments I received about how I was choosing to live once I moved to Kansas City.

As anyone who knows anything about grad school knows, it’s expensive. So I knew that I would be living on a budget, depending on what program I chose. Also, I’ve lived the past few years in dive-y places, and I don’t want to do that again. If I am going to spend money, I’d rather spend it on a nice place, where I can entertain and feel comfortable inviting people over opposed to spending money on gas/sundries. So a huge choice I made when deciding where to move is that it has to be a place where I don’t have to commute. I want to be able to walk/bike/ride the bus to class and live in a moderately place NICE apartment. I want to start my finally “adult” life, right. So, to me, Kansas City seemed like the perfect choice. 2 hours from “all” my homes (Omaha, NE; Creston, IA; Manhattan, KS; etc.,) a thriving nightlife, lots of friends, seemingly great public transportation, and a combination of the program options I wanted.

So here, I was sitting in the grad school I planned on attending hearing that this wasn’t feasible? My first contact was with my middle-aged tour guide who commutes from JoCo because of a family. That’s fine, that’s the choice you made, but please DO NOT TRY AND PRESS YOUR SUBURBAN LIFESTYLE ON ME! I answered her questions regarding where I wanted to live pretty easily, “I’d like to live downtown, in a nice place and commute back and forth via bus/walking/bike/running to make more efficient use of my time and to take some of my transportation budget and place it into housing.” Her response was more condescending than I had imagined, answering with, “So… you won’t have a car? You won’t drive.” I explained that I planned to keep a car, and park it because I do have family out of state, but I would try not to drive on a regular basis, especially if gas prices achieved the $7.00 mark that was predicted. Her response was as if I told her that little green people were beginning to inhabit the Earth. She sat, almost with her jaw dropped a little, just staring. Her persuasion techniques included talking about the car pools, how taxes were supposedly cheaper in JoCo (which about made me lose it with laughter) and that there is lovely housing right across the street from campus if I NEED to live in Missouri, but mainly so I don’t have to ride the bus. I explained, I apologize, I’m not in the mood to live in campus residences because I’m a little old for that. Plus, I liked riding the bus. The fact that I liked riding the bus seemed to be her breaking point. I apologize that I can jump on a bus and read/relax for about 15 minutes instead of setting my blood pressure sky rocketing with bumper to bumper traffic on the commute. Also, one of my favorite past times is people watching and making up stories, so what better place than the bus for that! It was pretty obvious she wasn’t understanding where I was coming from so I just began to nod and smile and look at my phone for the time that I would finally be free from there. She escorted me out, we said our goodbyes and boy was I glad to be out of that situation.

That was until I started talking to the makeshift receptionist. She was a VERY sweet lady, just clueless. The first question out of her mouth was, “So where are you going to live?” *deep breath* I explained everything again. Her answer, “Oh no honey, you don’t want to live downtown and walk or run! It’s a long way, and there are areas that just aren’t safe!” Ok… well, I’ve looked at crime statistics and know there are areas that may not be the world’s safest, I also know that the downtown area has a crime rate that has dropped considerably since they began the “clean-up” or whatever it’s called. I told her I wasn’t too worried because I could handle myself and I used to go explore areas like North Omaha on my own when I was a naïve sixteen year old girl.

At this point, though, I was sick of explaining myself to everyone. Why was I being questioned for my choices repeatedly at a place that is supposed to be persuading me to spend a large sum of money with them? Why were their choices supposed to be my choices? I’d be curious to know if this was their reaction to everyone, or just to a girl from an area that could be classified as “The Country.” Analyzing it a little further, with our country’s supposed push to be more “fiscally responsible” because of the “recession” why aren’t we commending people who make these choices? Why with looking at the BP oil spill, increased environmental awareness, etc. are places not pleased to advertise they have other options in close proximity? I guess I don’t get that one federally funded institution (UMKC) encouraging their students to support another federally funded institution (public transit.) I’ve thought about writing letters, but feel it would probably be better to wait until if/when I get admitted, but it definitely has left a bad taste in mouth and the want to go up and prove to them how it can be done.

Anyway, I guess the whole point of this is to state, why is one person’s opinion expected to be that of others. Why don’t we appreciate and accept others opinions? I won’t question someone driving their car a lot, since I do now. I just know in the future, I’d like to have at least a few years where I don’t have to rely on something that may not be available to me ten years from now, with the rate of consumption our nation participates in. Why not educate on all levels, instead of just the most convenient and the one you participate in. Sorry for the randomness of this rant, I just wanted to get it out there!