Support & Appreciation

Look Who Stopped By

Thursday, December 31, 2009

For each and every thing... there is a time...

Today is Thursday, December 31, 2009. The time is 6:46pm.

It has been 3 months since I last blogged.
3 months since I was laid off from my job of 2 years.
3 months since the panic and fear set in that for the first time in my life I might have found myself in a situation I may not be able to find a way out of.

Today I can tell you that much has changed in those 3 months.

I don't start until January 11th, but I did, after submitting my resume to literally over 100 job postings, find a new job. The pay is less, and the benefits aren't free so money is going to be tight, but it's work with a reputable and stable company who instead of laying people off during the recession has consistently and continually hired new employees. It's also a company who has a tuition reimbursement plan and definite room for advancement.

Matthew and I celebrated our 9 month anniversary last week. I'm still not 100% sure he's "the one", but I am sure that with him I can be myself, and with him I can be happy... so only time will tell what that particular part of my future holds.

Matthew and I spent Thanksgiving together with my family and Christmas together with both of our families and I'm happy to say both experiences were really great. Due to me being laid off money was really tight so we didn't do any major gift giving, but we both managed to scrounge up a few dollars each for some small but heartfelt gifts. A gift we both would have happily done without, however, was the sinus infection we both got from my two nieces and sister, who all 3 woke up Christmas morning with runny noses.

I have regained all of the 17lbs I'd managed to lose this year and my health has slightly declined, but I met a great gal who is a personal trainer and as part of a business partnership we've formed, I'm going to do some tech stuff for her and she's going to kick my ass back into shape. As soon as I get over this sinus infection, that is.

One major thing that happened during the last 3 months is something that, while sucked, resulted in helping me take a major look at what I wanted to do with my life and actually take steps to make it happen.

I got a temp job at a company that creates and hosts websites and the day and a half I worked there reminded me how much I love the creative aspect of marketing and web design. I won't go into why I only worked there a day in a half - but I will say - be careful to make sure people aren't overly sensitive before you go correcting their e-mails.

When I lived in Michigan I did freelance work for small business owners, creating forms and brochures, and I really enjoyed the creative license I was able to take and the pride I felt at seeing my finished work being used to represent a company. I even came up with a business name to go at the bottom of all of my work. MJ Graphics & Business Design. Little did I know how handy that would be 4 years later.

So I've changed my major from Leadership & Cultural Studies - which I liked - but really had no idea what I'd do with - to Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. University of Mobile doesn't have a Graphic Design program so I withdrew from there and will be attending the University of South Alabama in the Spring and for the first time since going back to college I'm really excited about it.

I'm nervous about the unknown of course - I know I like creating, and I know graphic design is a field that I can relatively easily turn into a work for myself kind of job - but of course there is much I don't know and where there is the unknown fear is bound to be present. With that being said I plan to make sure my excitement about being in control of my future remains strong enough to out-weigh the fear of the unknown.

I got an email today from one of the OMT girls that mentioned a quote from Nelson Mandela that really hit home with me....
**After some research I found that this quote actually belongs to Marianne Williamson.**

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who am I not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about you shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”. - Marianne Williamson

I've spent 33 years being afraid... not afraid of failing.. but afraid of succeeding. As Peter Parker's Grandpa said "With great power, comes great responsibility", and well, I don't know about you but sometimes knowing that something you do can have a profound effect on many can be daunting. What if you can't hack it? What if you follow your dreams, but then everything falls apart? What if you don't live up to every one's expectations and let them down?

Irony is a funny creature... the last time I ever spoke to my ex-fiance in person I asked him...."What are you so afraid of?" and his answer to me was "I'm afraid I'll fail".

He had the potential to be an incredible person who was a light to everyone he came in contact with but he chose to be a bum and an irresponsible jerk instead and I just didn't understand why. Before I gave him a hug and walked out of his house I told him "The only way you can ever really fail is by never trying at all". Looks like my great advice has come back to kick me in the butt.

Well times are a changin' and this girl is ready to not only try, but to succeed. 2010 is the year I stop talking about how I want to live my life and start living it.

2010 is the year I take action to turn every dream I've had into a reality.

2010 is the year that begins a life of financial stability and abundance.

2010 is the year I will learn to accept the love others give me because I will learn to accept the love I have to give myself.

2010 is the year I let my family know that while we may be drastically different in opinions and frame of mind I DO love them dearly and couldn't imagine my life without them.

2010 is the year I allow every good thing the universe has been storing for me to come my way because I finally believe I deserve it.

2010 is the year my life will be everything I've ever hoped and dreamed it could be because......

2010 is My Year To WIN!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moving Forward by Taking a Step Back

Sometimes a sign of trouble in paradise is really just a
speed bump reminding you to slow down and enjoy the ride. ~Me

Yesterday Matthew and I reached a breaking point.

He'd called me like he does every morning so I can talk him through the drive home from work. He works nights and is often fairly exhausted by the time he gets off around 8:30am, so talking gives him something to focus on so he doesn't nod off while driving.

That call, like most conversations we've had the last few weeks ended up in an argument. It was silly and stupid and over nothing of any importance, which is why it was so upsetting to me. After ten minutes of trying to steer the conversation back to calmer ground I gave in and hung up on him. Sitting at my desk, crying, I realized that the time may have come to make a decision I'd been dreading for weeks, the decision that we really were just not meant to be together, that being in a relationship was killing the beautiful friendship we used to have.

I sent him a text and asked him to please not go to bed yet, that as soon as I finished up some work I was coming home. We needed to talk. He said OK. My boss had stepped out of the office so I dropped him a quick e-mail saying I had an emergency at home and had to go. Not entirely true, but not completely false either. The rest of my life was about to change and that seemed pretty important to me.

During my drive home I thought of all the things Matthew had brought to my life, all the changes I'd made as a person as a result of knowing him. I thought of what it meant to be with him, and what it would mean to be without him and as bad as things had been lately the thought of not having him in my life just took my breath away.

I got home, went into our room and sat on the bed. I'd cried all the way home and was still crying once I got there. He came in and sat next to me and for the next ten minutes that's all we did. Then he pulled me into his arms and I fell apart.

Through sobs and hiccoughs, I told him that as much as I loved him and knew he loved me something had to change. I told him that I thought that it might be best if we went back to just being friends, but I was too selfish to make that decision for us. I told him that having him in my life was the best thing that had ever happened to me, but lately all we did was argue and I just couldn't live that way anymore. I told him that where we once communicated so well, now we could hardly even talk without arguing. I told him that the thought us possibly breaking up was tearing my heart in two, but the way we were going, we'd end up not even being friends and that was just not acceptable.

We talked, we argued, I cried, Matthew sighed and when it was all over we'd finally communicated in a way we'd needed to be doing for months.

He was my best friend before we started dating, and in my inexperience, I expected him to somehow become 'more' when we became a couple. I'd loved him for just who he was before we got together, but when the friendship evolved into a relationship I thought somehow he should change.

Why? I can't really say. I know I sound like a broken record but not having ever been in a normal relationship has really put me at a huge disadvantage and growing up reading Danielle Steel novels has left a very unrealistic image in my head of what a relationship should be like.

And part of the problem was, he did change. He felt that I wanted 'more' from him and it left him feeling like I didn't think he was good enough. So he expended all of his energy trying to become what he thought I wanted from him, and in doing so lost the guy I fell in love with. The more he changed, the less I liked who he was, and the less happy I was the more he tried to change to make me happy. It became a viscous circle of me not being happy, him trying to make me happy, and his changes making me less happy, leaving him feeling more and more like he just wasn't enough, and the more he changed, the more I missed the person he was when we met. This was a monster I created and I didn't even know it.

On top of that we've both been under a great deal more stress the last several weeks than we usually are and without any other type of outlet, we ended up taking it out on each other. Money has been really really tight lately and you don't have to be a genius to know that financial issues are the number one killer of relationships. Add to that taking in the stray cat has left us with not only her, tracking food and litter everywhere, which drives this OCD clean freak insane, but four rambunctious kittens peeing and pooing every where but the litter box and draining finances even more with the increased need for food, litter and cleaning supplies. To make that worse, all of the shelters, kill and no-kill are full and we've had no luck finding new homes for them, so for the indefinite future we're stuck with 5 cats. And as someone who doesn't really like cats and hates fur and litter being everywhere, I can't even begin to tell you the stress that's brought me.

Being stressed, angry, hurt and generally frustrated for so long has taken a drastic tole on our levels of communication. When we first met we would sit and talk for hours about everything under the sun. Now, aside from niceties and required conversation we rarely speak to each other. And again, the mess I mentioned before has also had a lot to do with that.

Before Matthew and I decided to date we'd already planned on him moving in as a roommate. And even though I mean roommate in the literal sense of the word, it really was just going to be two friends living together. We were just going to happen to share a bed because my extra room was already occupied. That may sound odd but he'd already stayed the night a few times - as a friend - with nothing happening but sleeping and it worked great for us.

So we already lived together when we decided to start dating. Now I can imagine some of you going "Oh girl, that was your first mistake", but I don't think so. The real problem with living together and dating, was that the only other time I'd lived with a guy I was in a relationship with, we were engaged, and in every way but paper we lived as a married couple. So when Matthew and I decided to take our friendship to the next level I automatically slipped back into that role. I became Mollie Homemaker with someone who wasn't quite ready to make house.

To make an already long story short, we realized that we moved too fast. Matthew has never lived with anyone he was in a relationship with and I'd only lived with someone I was for all intents and purposes married to, and we didn't take the time to find a middle ground before getting together. So we're not breaking up, but we are backing off. Taking time to find a common ground for both of us where we're together but still living our own separate lives.

School starting back will help because I'll be gone from morning to late evening on days I have class, which will give Matthew some personal time, and help me not miss him so much when we're not together, because I won't be home sitting by myself while he's asleep in the next room. I'll also be doing personal training a few nights a week which will get me out of the house and give me some time to focus on me, which I don't do nearly enough.

It's strange, but once we talked everything through and realized what our problems were and what we needed to do to fix them the air around us just seemed to lighten and the happy couple we started out as found their way back. We spent the rest of the evening laughing and cutting up like we used to do. We were happy.

As for the "something is not right" feeling in my gut, it's abated and now my heart, head and gut are all filled with a warm happiness. What tomorrow will bring remains to be seen, but we know that we love each other and for today, that's enough.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Manage My Muffin Top Monday

Not much new to report on the fight to banish my back fat. I've not lost any more weight lately, nor have I gained it. I've also not really been following any type of eating plan or fitness regime in quite a while.

I did begin eating all raw foods at the beginning of September but finances have been really tight lately and eating pretty much nothing but fruits and veggies can get really really expensive so Matthew and I are thinking maybe the best thing for us right now is to focus on a primarily vegetarian diet and incorporate as many fruits and vegetable as we can.

The main difference with this is, we'll be able to buy a box of whole grain pasta, some marinara, and veggie crumbles that will make an entire "cooked" dinner and have left overs for lunch the next day for less than $10, verses spending $20 on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc that will only make about one meal for each of us.

I am also going to be starting work with a personal trainer soon, so hopefully that will kick start my butt back into a regular and continuous exercise routine that I'll stick with for years to come.

I know that even with Hypothyroid and PCOS, which both cause me to put on weight really easily, exercising WILL work to take the weight off. It takes time and comes off slowly but it does come off. I just have to dig deep and find the discipline to drag my ass off the couch, but I have faith that having someone else to push me will be just the kick in the tush I need.

So look forward to more exciting and productive updates to come.. along with some probable cursing and complaining about being made to work out when I'd rather sit on the sofa and watch Smallville.

Until next time...

Eat healthy and be happy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Half Way Mark

Today is my and Matthew's six month anniversary. We decided to try dating and see if we could evolve our friendship into something more back in January of this year, but it was on March 22nd that we officially decided to become a 'couple'.

I know normally anniversaries are counted in years rather than months, but as someone who's only had one previous boyfriend in her life, each month of being in a new loving committed relationship is a milestone. I told Matthew that we'd honor the day we became a couple each month until the 6th month, then we could move to yearly celebrations.

In light of my recent
conundrum, the half-way mark has dual meanings. It marks six months into a loving healthy relationship, which is a first for me. It's also half way through the year I said I'd give us, give myself to figure out if being with Matthew is really what is right for us, for me.

When Matthew and I first met and started talking as friends, he was really good at giving me an unbiased outside view on my life. If I was stressed out about something he would give me his take on the situation and it usually helped me see things in a way I'd not previously been seeing, and it almost always helped me work through whatever issue I was dealing with. On the way home from Mississippi Saturday night I asked him if he thought he could possibly separate himself from our situation and be able to give me that same insight he did when we first met.

After taking a moment to think about he said yes, that he thought he could. So I asked him why he thought I was having such a hard time with deciding if we should be together or not, if we were together because what we had was 'right' rather than just comfortable.

In typical fashion before letting him answer I butted in and went on to tell him that I was afraid. What if I decided to stay together and spent the next 30 or 40 years loving him but always wishing things were a little bit more?. He is totally happy being together and my feeling that way would be completely unfair to both of us. What if I decided we should just be friends and then later realized that what we had was really what I'd wanted all along and it was too late to go back?

I'd talked to my mom the day before about how I was feeling and she asked me if other than the worrying about if he was 'the right one' or not was I happy, and if so then maybe I should just stop worrying about what I should or shouldn't do and just be happy now. I also shared this with Matthew.

He smiled and said "I think you just answered your own question. If you'd stop for a minute to think before asking, you'd realize that you usually already know the answer" What he asked me next took me aback a little. "Mollie, how much of your life has been happy?"

I just kind of snorted and cocked my eyebrow at him. My life didn't suck, but it hasn't really been that fantastic either. Looking back there are honestly very very few moments in my life that I can truly say were happy. I was a troubled child who hid feeling like an outsider by focusing on school and sports. I never had a close relationship with either of my parents and although we got along well, there was a large enough age gap between my siblings and I that we were never really on the same level. My brother and sister are 3 years apart and were always very close. They still are. I'm 7 years older than my sister and 10 yrs older than my brother so growing up I was more the baby sitter than best friend. I had a few friends in school, but always felt more the confidante than confider.

Matthew then went on to say that it could quite possibly be that worrying about him being the one or not isn't the problem at all, that the idea of being happy is what I'm having so much trouble with. As much as I want to be happy, being unhappy is where my comfort level is, it's what I'm used to, what I've always known. I've never really been truly happy and the idea that actually feeling like my life is finally OK, that I'm OK is out of the realm of possibility.

As with the article in my previous post that made the point that you can either have comfort or blazing passion, but very very rarely does anyone find both, I'd love to say his point made a light bulb of realization go off in my head, but all I feel is more confusion.

I'll fully admit that his theory has merit and is quite possibly part of the problem, just as I'll admit that my unwillingness to believe you have to concede passion for comfort is also a part, but even with those things being realized as issues there is still something else. Something I can't quite grasp hold of. Something that is stopping me from either letting myself go and enjoying what we have, or letting him go and us both move on.

Some people have told me - listen to your gut, it's always right. Some have said listen to your brain - it's more rational. Some have said - listen to your heart - it knows what you truly want. The problem is they all tell me something different.

My heart says - he loves me, and I love him. He treats me well and makes me happy. He makes me laugh and never fails to tell me how wonderful he thinks I am. It says you have passionate moments here and there, even if they're not quite what you'd like them to be. It says maybe those things can truly be enough, that being in love will come... eventually.

My head says - he's a good guy, he's got a steady job, he loves you for who you are. It says you got a good one, now stop being stupid and leave well enough alone. It says you were single for 24 years and spent 3 years being in love with an unstable ass and look what it got you. Then you were alone for 5 years before you finally got the balls to try and date. Do you really want to go through all that again? What if you screw this up and never find anyone who will love you the way he does, who will put up with your OCD issues and control freak crap?

My gut says - something isn't right.

So who do I listen to? Or do I listen to any of them at all?

I wish I knew, but I don't. What I do know is that I cry over this almost daily and something has got to give, and soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manage My Muffin Top Monday

Saturday Matthew and I went to MS to spend the day visiting with my nieces and get a fitting from my mom for our costumes for the Renaissance Faire in November.

We ate pizza at my sisters.

We ate McDonald's on the drive home back to Mobile.

I think you can see where this is going.

We're doing a fine balancing act between eating really healthy, and eating really un-healthy. We've not completely fallen off the wagon, but we can't seem to get back completely on it either.

Maybe this, just like everything else in my life, is something I need to try and find balance in. Being obsessive compulsive means things usually have to be all or nothing for me, but I'm finding that life rarely works that way and some times.... whether you like it or not.... you have to live in shades of grey.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Passion Vs. Comfort: Do You Have to Have Fireworks to Have a Successful Relationship?

A friend who's recently been in a similar situation as the one I mentioned in my last post recommended this article Passion Vs. Comfort: Do You Have to Have Fireworks to Have a Successful Relationship?. It really says a lot and I wish I could say it made a light bulb flash in my head and led me to an instant decision I felt great about but that would be too easy. What I can say is that it's given me a little more to think about and maybe a different perspective to think about it from.

Here's an excerpt - you can click the link above, or below to go to the whole article

Passion vs. Comfort. This is a post you don’t want to miss, inspired by a discussion on my (500) Days of Summer thread. Here’s the gist of it. Reader Lori writes:

I have been with a man who loves me, and has loved me, as close as one can get to unconditionally for over 13 yrs…. I was never totally madly in love with him, but he knew he wanted to marry me the minute he met me. I married him – BECAUSE he was a great guy in so many ways, minus the sky illuminating fireworks. Don’t get me wrong, intimate moments were always adequate…even pretty damn good at times. But never, well, you know…crazy great. Almost fourteen years later, I remain married and faithful, but with an empty space in my heart. And wondering if I aspired to mediocrity and lost out on the amazing feeling most of us have felt at some time, of true selfless love. I love him….but I’m not ‘in love’ with him. And that is what has happened to EACH AND EVERY married friend I have, (male and female) that married simply because of the reasons you mention… many have strayed, the others are simply living there…yet nobody’s home.

Everyone I know that married because the partner seemed a great choice, would be a great dad, etc. ended up divorced or unhappy. The FEW couples I know who are happily married – still love to hold hands AND ‘make-out’ – THEY married someone they felt intense chemistry for & vice versa…and of EVERY one of the divorced friends, several who are dating but have not found love, only ONE tells me she made the wrong choice leaving. The rest say they would rather be alone, than with someone and lonely.

Please know, I am not a cynic. I have SEEN & BELIEVE IN great love & marriage, but it SHOULD NOT BE treated as a business decision – it sounds great in theory – but it just brings way too much misery for way to many down the road – you better be pretty damn sure you wanna come home to this person, sleep with this person, and walk on the beach holding hands with this person 50 yrs later…because divorce.. from what I have seen… hurts. And living in quiet desperation…hurts.

Listen, I’m a 37-year-old dating coach who’s been married for less than a year. As such, I’m not going to sweep Lori’s points under the rug or deny her 13 years of pain. She feels what she feels, she’s seen what she’s seen, and it’s perfectly valid. In fact, it’s very persuasive.

However, without negating Lori’s take on things, I’d like to try to balance it out a bit. Because if you take as gospel what she says – “passion or bust!” – you might have a long and lonely road ahead of you. And I’d rather you have a happy relationship instead....
Page 2

Posted using ShareThis

Hodge Podge

I've said it once and I'm apparently in need of saying it again.

I've been a bad bad blogger.

I realized yesterday that I've not really blogged much lately, and what I have blogged has mostly been the Operation Muffin Top(ple) stuff - re my attempts and failures at losing weight.

There's been a lot going on in my life and I suppose the reason I've not blogged about it is because blogging is kind of like my journal. If I don't write it in my journal (blog about it) then it's not really an issue and I don't have to deal with it.

But you can only escape life for so long so this is going to be a mish mash of catching up on everything that's been going on.

~> Operation Muffin Top(ple)/Raw Diet update - not much to report on this end. Matthew and I totally fell off the wagon last weekend. We had Mexican Friday night, which wouldn't be terribly bad except we ate as much as we would have several weeks ago and that "full" feeling left us feeling sick. Then we had Wendy's Sat and Sunday evening. I realized that your body quickly adapts to eating healthily and quickly lets you know it doesn't like it when you convert back to eating junk, so I had granola cereal with rice milk this morning and am currently eating a lunch of grapes, strawberries, carrots and celery with peanut butter.

~> Family - Nothing terribly exciting on this front either. My mom is currenly sewing costumes for Matthew and I for the upcoming Renaissance Faire in November. It will be the first either of us have gone to and we're pretty excited. My dress is the one on the left in the picture. I'm using different color material though so it will look slightly different.

Matthew's costume is a combination of a few patterns but basically he'll look a little like Aragon in Lord of the Rings. He'll have a tunic, jerkin, wrist cuffs, trousers and boots. Maybe a cape, we'll see.

The nieces are good as always. Paisley is growing so fast and looking more beautiful each time I see her and Marley is still smart as a whip and full of more energy than any one child should have. We're going to MS Friday night to stay over and visit with the girls and check out the progress on our costumes.

~> Kitties - Back in July a stray cat wandered up on the porch of our apartment building and kind of adopted Matthew and me. Against my better judgment we ended up taking her in and she ended up being pregnant. Now we have four 5-week old kittens running amock in the apartment. They've just started eating hard food and are learning to use the litter box. Some of them are doing well with both, some prefer the floor to the box and leave us lovely little piddle puddle surprises to find.

I'm not a cat person. I've never been a cat person and I'm not likely to ever become a cat person. When I lived in Michigan I got talked into adopting two kittens from a lady I went to church with and while I loved those kitties dearly, the stress of dealing with cat hair and scattered litter ended up turning my boys into more of a stress than a joy and I re-homed them both to the same lady. They now live terribly spoiled lives in the lap of kitty luxury.

Matthew wants to keep one of the kittens. I do not. Since bringing in Scathath (the stray) I've pretty much stressed non-stop about the little she spreads everywhere, the smell her poo leaves lingering throughout the apartment (even after scooping!), how she scatters her food all over the kitchen floor when she eats, and the massive amounts of dust and cat hair that seem to be everywhere now. Not to mention the new holes she's put in my leather furniture.

When a pet brings more stress into a home than joy then it's not a good idea to have it. So, as sad as it makes him, Matthew has agreed that it's best to put the mom and all 4 kitties up for adoption. Next week they'll be 6 weeks old and we're taking them to the no-kill shelter.

~> Matthew - now we get to the crux of my blogging avoidance. Not Matthew himself, he's still as wonderful as ever. I mean the guy will go to Dollar Tree with me just so I can play.

The problem is with me. If you've read my blog for any length of time you'll recall that aside from Matthew, I've only ever been in one relationship. From the age of 25-28 I was with the man who I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. We were engaged. Twice. In the end he didn't want to grow up and I didn't want to spend my life raising a grown man so we parted ways.

For the next 5 years I was single. And when I say single I mean SINGLE. No dating, no flirting, no casual sexual encounters. Other than family and co-workers there was absolutely zero male interaction in my life. Last year around July I decided to change that and for the very first time in my 32 years, entered the world of dating. It was a combination of being tired of being alone, and sick of hearing my family ask me when I was going to 'find a good man' that finally prodded me into signing up on a couple of online dating sites. I chatted with a few guys here and there, but none struck my interest enough to actually meet until PT. Long story short, he was young, flirted well, I fell for it, got hurt and he moved to Japan. If you want the long story long - well you can read all about it here.

While the PT debacle was going on I met Matthew. He'd messaged me on OKCupid and seemed like a nice enough guy, if not someone I'd be into dating. We met, went out here and there as friends, but as time went by I found myself wondering what it would be like to be more. Cut to today - we live together and are going to be celebrating our six month anniversary on the 22nd of this month - next Tuesday.

I really can't say enough good things about this man. He's changed my life in ways I didn't know possible. I've become a better, stronger woman as a result of his love and support and for the first time in years started believing dreams were more than just things that disturbed your sleep at night. He's kind, hellishly smart and makes me laugh at least once a day. So what's the problem?

Like I said before - the problem is me. Matthew loves me, and has recently admitted that not only does he love me, but he is falling in love with me. He's asked me my ring size and recently talked about the idea of buying a home together in the future. He treats me better than anyone I've ever known and truly loves and accepts me for who I am. And although it's not as often as I'd like we have a fairly fantastic sex life. Yet in spite of all that I find myself wondering if he's the one. I find myself alternating between feelings of romantic love for him, and the love you'd have for a best friend. I find myself wondering what it would be like to flirt back with guys who flirt with me. I find myself knowing that I love him with all my heart, but being unsure that I'll ever fall in love with him.

We've talked about all of this at length, repeatedly, and of course as with every thing else, he's been wonderful and understanding. He says they're all normal feelings and that I'm only having such a hard time with them is because the one and only other relationship I've ever been in was about as far from normal and healthy as you can get so I don't realize that what I'm feeling is what all people feel when in a new relationship.

When I was with my ex-fiance he was my world. I never had any doubt what-so-ever that I loved him, was in love with him and wanted to be with him forever. I never so much as looked at other guys, much less wondered what it would be like to go on a date with someone else. I was also young and naive, and he was incredibly manipulative. I loved the person I saw on the inside, the person I saw that he could be, were he to actually try and he knew how to take that love and use it to his advantage. He knew how to cater to my insecurities, then use them to keep me under heel. Matthew thinks I was in a word, brain washed. Not like the 'I'm going to kill myself in a mass suicide because God is coming soon' brain washed, but manipulated to the point that I didn't realize things were supposed to be a different way. I don't completely discount that theory, but even knowing how much I let him break me down part of me still would like to think I was strong enough to have known what I was doing and had done so willingly.

So this is where I am - wondering if I'm staying with Matthew because I love what we have and don't want to be alone again, or because I actually love him in the way I'm supposed to. Fearing that I'm hanging on to something I know isn't right to avoid hurting us both and possibly losing the best friend I've ever had, yet afraid to break up because part of me thinks it might just all be my over-active imagination analyzing things into the ground that need no analyzing and that as soon as I end it, I'll realize I truly am in love and then it will be too late.

There are things that I want in a relationship that we don't have, but I don't know if those things are really important. I love music and dancing. Matthew likes music and is so white Carlton from Fresh Prince could learn a thing or two from him. I LOVE sports and going to ball games. Matthew loves sports but only goes to the game because he knows I enjoy it. We have interests that are the same but there are things I'm passionate about that just really aren't his thing and vice verse. He says it's normal, that you don't have to have everything in common, and I partly agree, but the person you spend your life with should be able to understand your deepest passions because they share them too.

Have you ever gone to an event with someone who only went because you asked, then spent the entire time not having as much fun as you could have because you knew they didn't really care to be there? That's the stuff I'm talking about - to know that I'll never dance with the man I love - fluidly - or never have him sit next to me at a game and cheer along with me are things that I'm not sure I can do without. They may seem like small things, but if you're with someone who shares your passion for something, imagine how it would be if they didn't. Imagine how your joy would be tainted because you can't share something you love with the person you love most - because they love it too.

Then there's the other guys thing. Last night we went out to eat and there were two guys in a truck next to us that were trying to flirt with me, and they were cute. Matthew is sitting next to me in the car but some part of me still wished I could have flirted back. Then when we got to the restaurant our waiter was really cute and part of my brain thought 'if I were with someone else I could flirt with him'. Matthew says it's normal to still think other people are attractive - what matters is whether or not you act on it. I think if you're with the person you're supposed to be with the temptation shouldn't even be there. So it makes me wonder.. is it really normal.. or am I with someone who should really just be a friend?

I'm pretty sure I've lost the smooth subject to subject transition this post started out with, but it's just really been something that's been weighing heavily on my heart and mind for some time now and I'm honestly at a loss as to what to do. I told Matthew that I'd give us time to see how things went and I still plan on doing that, but I thought having made a decision on what to do would take away the anxiety of not knowing what to do and it hasn't.

And that he's being so incredibly patient and understanding about all of this makes me feel even worse. He knows he loves me. He knows he wants to be with me. He knows I'm the one he wants. And I'm basically taking all of that love and telling him I'm not sure it's enough. It's not fair to him and I hate it, but I don't know what else to do. So if you've ever been in a situation like this please comment. No matter how your situation turned out or what decision you made, just knowing that this really is all normal and I'm not just a freak who has no idea how to be in a relationship would be a huge relief.

Until next time...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Manage My Muffin Top Monday - Week 1 Raw Food Recap

Sunday marked one week since Matthew and I decided to try out an all (90%) raw food diet and I can honestly say I've had some seriously positive results.

We weighed and measured outselves Sunday morning and decided to re-weigh, measure every Sunday to chart our progress and in the past week I've lost 5lbs. That puts me at a total weight loss of 13 pounds since June, when I started actively trying to lose weight. I'd lost 17 pounds on the first round of Operation Muffin Top(ple) then gained 9 of those back. So with the 5 I lost last week I'm 3 pounds short of the original 17 pounds I'd lost at the start of my weight loss adventure. I've also lost half an inch on my waist in the last week!

Other positives on the raw food diet -

~> I no longer feel full or bloated after eating

~> My body tells me when it's had enough so I don't eat until I feel uncomfortable, I just eat until I feel done eating

~> I'm not starving again a few hours after I eat, which happened often with cooked foods.

~> I've been sleeping like a ROCK, which is possibly a combination of the new diet and this stress tamer tea Matthew bought, that we've started drinking a hot cup of each night before bed. Either way, it's a new improvement that I'm super happy about.

~> This one is gross, but my eliminations are softer and less frequent. For as long as I can remember I've been the poster child for regularity. 3 times a day every day, morning, noon and night. I don't know about you but I just really hate going poo, there's simply nothing enjoyable about the experience. SO being able to go less but not feel backed up is just wonderful to me.

We've been trying to figure out exactly how we want to structure our new eating lifestyle and are bouncing back and forth between all raw, with the exception of fish and brown rice, or just vegetarian with limited cooked foods and I can't speak for Matthew but I had an experience this weekend that pretty much cinched it for me.

Sunday afternoon we were out running errands and decided to go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. I had a taco salad - beans, rice, lettuce, tomato and cheese in a crispy fried flour bowl, and Matthew had a tostada, bean burrito and cheese fajita. All vegetarian friendly except for the cheese - well depending on what kind of vegetarian you are that is - and mostly all raw except for the beans, rice and tortillas, none of which are technically *bad* for you.

The food was fantastic and we stopped eating once we started getting that full feeling, but within minutes of finishing our meal we both felt like crap. Our stomachs felt heavy and bloated and I felt almost instantly fatigued and achy all over. I honestly didn't think eating some rice, beans and a flour tortilla shell would be that bad, but it seems my body adapted really quickly to all fresh raw food and did not like detouring back into it's previous style of eating. Seafood seems to be the one exception my stomach is willing to make to the cooked rule and we had some FABULOUS pre-seasoned boiled shrimp from Winn-Dixie yesterday for lunch.

My next goal is to get a food dehydrator so I can start making some of the incredible looking raw food recipes I've found online. For those of you who are all "OMG I couldn't live without bread, or chips".. well you can make those things yourself with the dehydrator and they're not "cooked" enough to leach out the nutrients and enzymes you get from eating them raw. I found a recipe for home made corn chips and salsa that I can't wait to try!

As for expenses - eating raw really hasn't cost any more than the way we used to eat. Yea fruits and vegetables are expensive, but if that's basically all you're buying then you still have the money you would be spending on meat, bread, and other processed foods so it really kind of evens out.

All this talk about food has made me hungry and it's lunch time so I'm going to eat!

Until next week... Eat Healthy and be Happy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Manage my Muffin Top Monday - You are not the Biggest Loser

It's been 3 weeks since I've blogged and I wish I could say the reason I've not written in so long is because life has just been so full of exciting and wonderful events that I haven't had time, but the truth of the matter is I've just been in a funk I can't seem to pull myself out of. But I've decided to put forth the effort to try and snap out of it and update you wonderful guys and gals on what's been happening in my life lately.

I finally got tired of not knowing and e-mailed one of the casting directors for The Biggest Loser to see if I could get an update and I got the following reply e-mail.


Thank you so much for opening up to our casting team and sharing so much of your life with us. Unfortunately, you were not selected as a finalist for season 9. As you know, in the end the network has the final say in selecting the finalists and cast members.

I encourage you to lose the weight on your own. You CAN do it!!

Thank you for the time you have spent during this process and for all your hard work. We truly appreciate it and wish you the best.

Warm Regards,
Angelic & The Biggest Loser Crew

I can honestly say that I'm not really upset about not getting picked. When I first started the audition process I was excited, anxious and a little nervous, but as time went by the thrill of possibly being on TV waned. Life took over and the idea of being away from Matthew and not seeing my nieces for possibly 4 months made the idea of being on the show less and less appealing, and four months is how long I'd be gone for filming if I made it to the end of the show.

So I'm not really bummed or upset about not being chosen. As for why I didn't get picked.. well they don't tell you that but my best guess would be because I auditioned as an individual and this season's show is for couples. They tell you to audition anyway even if you don't have a friend or family member to try out with you, so maybe they didn't come across another individual they though I'd make a good partner with. Who knows. It was an interesting experience any way.

I kind of wish I was more sad about it though... that would be preferable to this damn apathetic ditch I've somehow managed to fall into.

As for my progress on the weight loss front - I won't tell you what I do weigh but I wills say that I've managed to gain back 10 of the 17 pounds I'd lost in the first round of Operation Muffin Top(ple). I got really sick with some kind of virus on steroids a few weeks ago and just haven't felt like doing much of anything but eating comfort food. So there's been a lot of pizza and ice cream in my house the past few weeks.

All that changed this weekend though. Matthew and I were watching a show on Discovery last week and they were talking to people who were on different kind of extreme diets. There was a couple who lived on the CR Way - CR being calorie restriction. I know, extreme right? Then there was a lady who called herself a freegan, which means she dumpster dived outside of restaurants and grocery stores for all of her food. Sounds disgusting but you'd be surprised at some of the perfectly fine, unused, unopened, unexpired food she found. I don't remember what the third person's diet was but the last one was a raw foodist.

They lived and ate this way full time though so diet isn't really the right word, but one of the people they interviewed caught our eye so after talking about it and doing some research we've decided to convert to an all raw food diet.

By 'all' I mean about 95 percent, and by 'raw' well I mean exactly that - food that hasn't been cooked. Now we're not going to go all crazy and start tearing into raw slabs of beef or chicken. Fish is the only 'meat' we're keeping in our diet and we've decided that even cooked fish is something that really just can't be bad for you, although we will include sushi as well. But other than the fish, and brown rice, which is something else I like too much to give up, we're basically going to eat nothing but raw fruits and veggies. We'll also have legumes (beans) and granola as well as nuts and seeds.

It sounds extreme but the research I did makes sense to me. Cooking food alters the chemical make up and lessens the nutrients you receive from the food you eat. One of the articles I read used this analogy -

Fire kills. What has ever been increased or made 'more' by setting it to flame? If you set your house on fire does it get bigger? Better? No. It's destroyed. Heating food kills it. Period. It really is that simple. So what sense does it make to try and support and sustain a living vessel (your body) by putting dead things in it? It doesn't.

The other thing I read that stood out to me talked about the evolution of man. Animals, plants, every living organism on the planet except for humans live off of raw food in their natural habitat. Tigers don't toss their prey over an open flame before digging in. And as a human I just really can't imagine myself tearing through the woods and taking down an animal to rip it's neck out with my teeth. We're just not built that way.. and we're not built that way for a reason. We're really not meant to eat meat.

As we evolved and people got more curious (and lazy) we started putting crap in our bodies that really didn't need to be there. I say lazy because it's really easy to throw a burger on the grill. It takes work and preparation to make a great salad. And ya know what? I'm ok with that. I don't mind working for my food. I don't mind spending some time cutting lettuce and peppers and tomatoes and whatever other kind of vegetable I decide to eat to properly fuel my body. I enjoy using cool kitchen tools to make melon balls and cut my fruit into fun interesting shapes.

So Friday after I got home from work Matthew and I emptied out the kitchen. Every processed food, every item that needed to be cooked to eat, we loaded up in bags and brought to my sister in MS. When we left to go visit my family the only thing in our kitchen was a half of a head of lettuce, some pineapple, a jar of olives and a box of granola cereal. If the junk isn't in the house - You Can't Eat It.

Saturday night when we got home we went to the store and loaded up on fruits and veggies and haven't looked back. Last night for dinner we had a bowl of watermelon. And you know what? It was great! We ate until we didn't feel the need to eat anymore and we were satisfied without having that 'full' feeling we normally have after eating. This morning I had some granola cereal with rice milk and today for lunch I'll have more watermelon and an orange. Tonight I'll have a piece of lightly baked fish and a huge salad.

I have to say there really is a mind set change that has to happen before you can do something like this. And I'm not sure what triggered mine, but I just got tired of feeling weighed down. Not just by the extra weight I'm carrying but by the food I put in my body. Even eating a piece of baked chicken, which is supposedly sooo healthy, leaves me feeling
heavy afterwards. Well that might be because I've basically put a lump of dead meat in my stomach. It's just not natural.

So I've decided to get back to basics and make eating a means of survival. As the saying goes "You should eat to live, not live to eat". I'll still enjoy what I eat but I won't eat because I feel like I'll just die if I don't have that piece of pizza or bowl of ice cream, I'll eat because my body needs fuel and energy and food is a means of accomplishing that.

At first I was worried about feeling deprived but I really don't think that's going to be an issue. I've found loads of recipes for all raw ice cream using mint and cocoa and almond milk. We haven't drank regular milk in months, so using rice or almond milk will be more normal to us rather than seem like a substitute. Fruit is naturally sweet and works wonders and taking care of a sweet tooth and vegetables are cool and crunchy making not only great meals, but fantastic healthy snacks as well.

The never again eating a nice hot meal thing had me worried for a minute too but something I read tamped down that concern as well. We don't really need hot food to keep us warm. Think about this before you argue with me - it's winter and you get in a nice steaming hot shower to warm up - then you get out and what happens? You freeze your ass off until you can get some clothes on. But have you ever had to take a cold shower? When you get out you feel fresh and invigorated and not. the. slightest. bit. cold.

And I'll leave you to think about that...

Until next time =)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Pitter Patter of Itty Bitty Kitty Feet

No I'm not pregnant.

Matthew and I have become parents though....

Sort of....

A little over 2 months ago a stray tabby cat showed up on the front porch of our apartments and kind of adopted Matthew and me.

She didn't come up to any other people that lived in our buildings, but when either of us walked outside she was fast to twine herself in and out of our legs and express her desire to be fed.

Express may be too mild of a word for what she did.. this was one bossy cat. She basically yelled at us - as if saying Feed Me Now Human! Which of course we did.

After a couple of weeks petting her on our way in and out of the apartment we started to notice a rather large gathering of cats around the apartment. It only took one flick of our little stray's tail to realize she was in heat.

Now Matthew has never owned a cat and has, much like me, never been much of a cat person. We had cats growing up, and I'd been coerced into adopting 2 kittens from a lady I went to church with when I lived in Michigan that I brought with me when I moved south. But when constant sweeping and thwarted potty training attempts resulted in the boys being more of a pain than a pleasure, I eventually rehomed them. They went together to the same new home and from the pictures their new mommy sent me are living it up in a spoiled life of kitty luxury.

Pesca & Blanco as kittens, and all grown up.
They were inseparable!
In their new home - living in the lap of luxury!

I had no interest what-so-ever in getting another cat, but something about this stray called to us and we finally decided to rescue her from the masses of horny tom cats and bring her inside. We'd seen her run from every male cat that got near her for an entire week and felt relatively confident she'd escaped unmolested.

We were wrong.

About 5 weeks after bringing her in I started to notice she was getting a little thick around the middle and her tummy was beginning to feel firm. Matthew brushed it off as her just growing from finally having a steady diet, but after her little ninnies started turning pink even he had to concede we'd soon become parents, er um grandparents? whatever, we'd be having some kittens soon.

I hopped on line and researched how long the gestation period was for cats and from our closest calculation we figured she'd be due about the 1st or 2nd week of August.

The exact same time we were scheduled to go out of town on vacation - oy!

Thankfully we came home to a still pregnant cat and no kittens. Then this morning I woke up to Scathach snuggled up under my arm in bed, which she never does. I didn't think anything of it until I felt her stomach start making funny movements. Let me tell you, I snapped awake in 2.4 seconds. She may have grown on me, but not to the point where I was ok with her giving birth on my comforter!!

We'd spread out a blanket on the floor in the corner of the living room between the ends of the couch and love seat in preparation and I jumped up, grabbed her and ran to the living room to lay her on it. I read that animals will seek an enclosed place to give birth because it feels protected and the space between the ends of both of our couches makes a perfect little square cave.

Delivering the first kitten was rough. She screamed and meowed and hissed, while flipping and flopping all over the blanket trying to find a comfortable position. I felt so bad for her! Women talk about how painful giving birth to one baby is.. imagine spitting out 4.. in less than half an hour!!

We ended up with 4 kittens total and Matthew made it home from work to assist with and watch the last 2 kittens being born. We got them all cleaned up and settled in a box padded with a sheet and towel so they stay safe and warm. Scathach has been feeding them pretty much non-stop since she finished with the delivery.

So now we're parents to a momma cat and 4 kittens until they're about 8 weeks old and can be taken to the Mobile ASPCA to be adopted out. All of Alabama's shelters are guarantee no-kill shelters so we feel safe that they'll all find new homes. I took a couple of really gross - just being born - pictures but I'll spare you the gore and just share the cute fluffy adorableness that they are now!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Manage My Muffin Top Monday

Ok so I'm actually writing this on Wednesday, but Blogger lets me cheat and change the post date of the blogs to whenever I want, and since this is a Manage My Muffin Top Monday post........

Wait a minute... I thought you changed these posts from Operation Muffin Top(ple) to Manage My Fat Monday??

I did.

But the fabulous fatties from
OMT are at it again and I've sucked it up (and in) and joined back in the fight to banish back fat.

@Catherinette has gone all out this time and fashioned us a super fancy website on where we can weigh in - both figuratively and literally as well as check out the weekly challenge; ie adding fruits and/or veggies to every meal, and check out fabulous low fat recipes posted by our fellow fatties!

From June 1st to about mid July I'd lost 17lbs. As of today I've gained 7 of those pounds back. I'm going to totally deny any responsibility and blame going out of town 3 weekends in a row, which resulted in the return of fast food to my formerly healthy eating plan.

Matthew and I had planned on starting a 2nd round of our own 30 Day Challenge of no sweets, no pop and no fast food along with working out 5 days a week the Monday after we got back from vacation, but I ended up getting sick and between coughing and/or sneezing my brains out, it's all I can do to breath, so getting in some cardio is just currently out of the question.

Matthew has been working out though so I've every confidence once I'm fully recovered he'll be back in cheerleader mode encouraging me to get my sweat on (and fat off!).

As for the Biggest Loser - well I've not heard anything back yet, which could be good or bad. Holland said it could be a few weeks before I heard anything, but she also said if they have everything they need from you they may not contact you again until you've been actually chosen to go on the show. This Wednesday is 3 weeks from the date of my 2nd interview so I figure if I don't hear anything by the end of next week, then my road to Biggest Loser stardom has reached its end.

I'm staying positive though and expecting my phone to ring any day. If not, there's always next season!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Fun

This has been one seriously busy month.

Normally I go to Mississippi every other weekend to visit my sister and nieces but July had other ideas.

The weekend of the 4th Matthew and I went over early Saturday morning and hung out with my sister, dad, mom, step-mom, aunt and grandparents and enjoyed a partially sunny day playing in the pool and cooking out, then headed to the beach that night to watch fire works. We stopped by and picked up his 4yr old niece Lexi on our way out of town and brought her with us so she could meet and play with my 3yr old niece Marley and get to see fireworks on the beach.

Of course none of the fireworks pictures came out but here are a few from the day.

Marley, her cousin Lauren & Matthew's niece Lexi
After it started raining they spent the next several hours running around playing with My Little Ponies until it was time to head to the beach for fireworks

We got to the beach early so we could get a good parking spot close to the fire works and while we were waiting my brother-in-law Tarron walked down to the water with the girls. I have no idea what they were digging for but they had fun doing it.

Marley & Lexi

I don't know if my mom caught them by surprise or if Lexi was posing?!
Me & Marley and Mathew & Lexi

Then the next weekend was the casting call for Biggest Loser AND my sister's 27th birthday, so after standing in the blistering hot sun for over 6 hours, we had to run home, shower, change and head to Mississippi again for a surprise birthday dinner for my sister with our family.

Me & the birthday girl / The birthday girl & our mom

Theresa & her husband Tarron / Tarron & his little sister Kayla

Marley & her BFF Sidda / Friends & Family
Matthew, Me & Paisley / Matthew & Me
(he was exhausted by the end of the night)

Then came the e-mail from Biggest Loser saying I'd made it to the next step in the audition process and needed to make a video of me with my family.... which of course you know by now live in Mississippi so once again we hit the road!

After making the trip two Saturdays in a row we decided to drive over Friday night and stretch this one out a bit. It's only an hour drive to Biloxi, but there and back in one day 2 weekends in a row is a lot of driving! Friday night we chilled and played possibly the most fun game I've ever seen. American Idol Karaoke style on the Xbox 360. You can play competition style, or sing duets with a partner and we had a BLAST!

We made it a bit more fun by playing teams, me and my sister against Matthew and Tarron and one team got to pick the songs the other team sang. All things considered I think the guys did a bang up job on Celine Dion. We have some video of that but I'm too nice to post it and risk making your ears bleed.

Saturday afternoon we went to the park for some fun and Biggest Loser Footage. I'm not sure losing a ton of weight would even help me keep up with Marley. Set that girl loose in a park and she'll play for hours!!

We tried to get some pictures of the girls before we got to the park. Taking pictures of Marley at any time takes an act of congress so getting her to actually sit and smile was a miracle!

Me, Marley & Paisley / Sisters times Two!
Like mother............. like daughter

That slide had one serious dip near the end!

She is fearless! Marley climbed up that rock wall like it was nothing!!

I was only supporting her with my hands. She really pulled herself up the rope.
Then Matthew showed her how to use her feet and she sailed up it!

Fierce concentration

I taunted Matthew that he couldn't climb the rope, which he did with no problem.
Once he was up there sliding was the quickest way down!
Then my mom had to get in on the fun too.

There was a birthday part at the park and they had one of blow up space walk things. The dad came around inviting all the kids at the park to come play and Marley ran to take him up on it.

After we were all thoroughly exhausted, well all but Marley we headed back to my sister's for another round of karaoke, then Matthew and I hit the road to come back home to Mobile.

Three weekends in a row effectively wore us out and we've decided to take a few weekends off to relax and recoup! Our next planned event is a mini vacation to New Orleans the 2nd weekend in August and we'll stop back by my sister's to visit the girls on our way home. Then it's back to school for me and the regular every other weekend visits will resume.

So even though July has without a doubt been the busiest month of the year for me, it's been fun and filled with experiences I'll not soon forget!