Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Shameless Eating

One goal I've been really avoiding is the first on my list- weight loss.  I've avoided writing about it and avoided it physically.  Mentally it's been quite pervasive.  Really I haven't written about it because, unless your succeeding, it's rather embarrassing to talk about. So far I've defined this goal in two different ways: to lose as much as possible and to lose 10 pounds by the time I got to Portland.  Neither of these has exactly been accomplished.  But, like I said, I have been thinking a lot about this goal, which is the first step to integrating it physically... right? But I should explain what exactly I've been thinking about.
I've been thinking- I kind of like myself, you know, just the way I am.  It's odd to say that out loud, or rather, type it determinedly.  When I set that goal, all I felt was guilt.  Guilt that I ran two miles instead of three.  Guilt that I ate more than I should have.  Guilt that I wasn't fitting into an unrealistic size or image I had set for myself.  But now I have this new found reverence for my body- the way it heals itself, the way it knows just what i needs to be at its best.  I'm learning to listen to it and take queues from  within myself to know what the true meaning of "healthy" is.  
Since moving to Portland I've had a flux of emotions over the issue.  There are a lot of healthy people here.  And I mean, a lot.  And that can be intimidating and sometimes soul crushing.  There are also a lot of really really really good places to eat.  And that can be hard to avoid or deny.  And to round it out, generally the people around this town are happy- they walk around with this glowing contentedness.  And I've been thinking a lot about what makes someone happy and healthy.  Is it a number?  Is it a notch on your belt?  Or is it found in an ice cream carton?  Really, it's found in none of these.  It's from a sense of enjoyment and a fulfilling life.  And I'm sorry, but if I'm killing myself over a number on a scale, forcing myself to run so far I throw up, I am not enjoying myself.  Just like I'm not feeling fulfilled after I eat a bunch of junk filled with sugar, chemicals and preservatives.  It's a balance found between being able to enjoy really good food living a life not defined by what I ingest.
A dear friend was in town the past week and it was then I started to really consider my relationship with food and my body's health.  We ate.  Oh how we ate.  But generally the center of those meals wasn't the food.  Everywhere we went was delicious, don't get me wrong, but the main object of those meals, seated across from each other, forks in hand, was conversation, bonding and creating a moment in time that could be remembered.  Remembered for the relationship being cultivated as well as the wonderfully crafted and delicious items going into our mouths. Had I been worried about calories or whether or not I'd be able to work that brie and toast off the next day, I would have missed out on some really beautiful moments we had together.  One of my favorite moments was at a French bakery.  When our server asked if I'd like the wheat toast or the butter croissant with my eggs, we both looked at each other- the server and I- as if to say, "Is that even a question?  Of course I'll have the butter croissant.  And the dark chocolate mousse to follow.  And a mimosa while you're at it."  Being at that patisserie has got to be one of my best memories with my friend.  We drank our mimosas, ate our croissants and cake and deliciously hand crafted egg dishes and then toasted to the best cup of americanos we'd ever had (and yes, we used real  cream and real sugar).  And in the middle, we talked about our futures and what scared us, laughed about shared secrets only true friendships breed, and grew closer than ever.  That is what makes a meal.  Calories be damned, I regret nothing.
But let's not forget the "healthy" part of the equation.  In a real world we can't all go around eating butter croissants, justifying them because we had a good time doing it.  No no, my arteries would not appreciate that.  If I'm going to indulge, I'll indulge- and that's the fact of the matter.  But it's not going to be on a bag of generic brand chocolate chips or a carton of cheap ice cream.  It's going to be on the good stuff- made of pure ingredients and put together in an artful and deliberate way.  And yes, those things are usually expensive, which means it probably won't happen that often.  But when it does, oooh mamma, I won't be holding back.  Because, as it turns out, Weight Watchers was wrong- LOTS of things taste better than skinny feels.  (And shame on them for creating such a damaging and limiting mantra).
Exercise is something to be considered as well, of course.  And that too should be as good for the soul as it is for the body.  I love yoga.  I really really do.  I think it's worth the investment because it is so wholesome for your body and heart.  I have never felt like I did when I was going to yoga three or four times a week.  I plan on getting back into that.  I may be done running for a while. I only did it because it was the fastest way to my weight-loss goals.  But, generally, I hated ever mile of it.  I'm determined to exercise in ways that make me happy.  Because, seriously, what's the point otherwise?  I bought a Groupon for a pilates-yoga-arobic studio that I'll be checking out soon.  After I've used that up I'll be taking ballroom dancing lessons!  It may not be the high-impact, get-thin-quick route to go, but I can pretty much guarantee I'll be enjoying myself.
So, basically I've decided to not drive myself crazy with this weight thing.  Is there a bit more of me then there used be?  Well yes, but I'd like to believe a little more Sarah Van Wyke in the world isn't such a bad thing.  Does that mean I have an ass, curves and a bit of a belly?  Well, it's still a little embarrassing to say so, but yes.  Yes I do.  And instead of longing for the days when everything will lie flat like the body of a jr. high boy, I'll just use what I've got- love on it, embrace it, and flaunt it in the most flattering and classy ways.
I'll leave you with a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love.  I feel like it applies to my own adventure here in the Pacific Northwest.  Just replace "Italy" with "Portland" and you've got what I'm trying to say in a nutshell.
"I did not know yet what I deserved.  I still maybe don't fully know what I deserve.  But I do know that I have collected myself of late- through the enjoyment of harmless pleasure- into somebody much more intact.  The easiest, most fundamentally human ways to say it is that I have put on weight.  I exist more now than I did four months ago.  I will leave Italy noticeably bigger than when I arrived here.  And leave with the hope that the expansion of one person- the magnification of one life- is indeed an act of worth in this world.  Even if that life, just this one time, happens to be nobody's but my own.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jackie - Silent September

I decided to try somewhat of an experiment this month. I called it: Silent September.

Here's what it entails: no tv and no music... ok, some music, but only classical, ambient and music I'm working on for school.

The idea was tri-fold. [Is that how you say two-fold +1?]

First, I finally got a schedule worked out... you know, that one I was talking about where I wasn't scheduled for 12 hours a day in hopes of engaging the things I actually want to make my life about? That whole scheduling issue at school threw a little wrench in things, but I have a schedule with considerably more wiggle room than I've had in the last year and I don't want to get in the habit of wasting this extra time watching tv... which is really, really tempting. [As a side note, I'm so glad they cut the school's budget, raised tuition and spent millions of dollars on a new registration system that is horrible and does things like arbitrarily change course information to list it at the wrong time.]

Second, I've had a lot of stuff happen in the past few months. A lot. And most of it pretty craptastic. And at the same time, I've bee so go-go-go that my thinking and processing have gotten back logged. And this back-log is causing stress and anxiety like I've never had before. [I apologize to any one with anxiety that I've ever misunderstood -- this is horrible.] That was the main cause of the no music rule. What it really means is that I'm taking all the time I spend in the car and instead of passing the time, letting the tunes entertain me, I'm engaging the time to let my mind sort some stuff out.

Third, I am attempting to exercise more and tv tends to get in the way. That's all I'll say about that at the moment.

Oh, and side reason... Donald Miller gave up tv, so I figured... erm... I should stop here before I say something embarrassing.

So far it's been amazing! I've taken to working on one project per evening when I'm at home instead of watching tv. I'm caught up on my school reading [which is a lifetime first], I fixed an antique dresser, I have done a ton of cleaning up and cleaning out, AND I finally started going through my box [+ bag + pile] of papers and other things I've never known what to do with. That's right, turning off the tv has helped me attempt Goal 9:: Clean out my box. And my car time has definitely become good thinkin' time

But don't be misinformed and think I've been perfect. I definitely finished Season 3 of "30 Rock" and watched the first disc of "My So Called Life." But I have also been housesitting for my aunt with a super big tv and a million channels and I'm proud to say I haven't turned it on once.

Also... in other news.
Finances: I think I've taken a major, huge, catastrphic set-back because I'm having trouble with my financial aid at school. I'll update on this when I know more. 

52 Posts: There are 52 weeks in a year and I committed to posting every week. We're half way through and it turns out I missed a few weeks. Don't be surprised if you hear from me a couple extra times this half of the year as I'm determined to have 52 things to post about.

Until next week...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Being Fragile

It's been a while, I know.  But, instead of presenting you a list of reasons why I've been so aloof (moving, adjusting, laziness, etc), I'll just say "sorry" and jump right back into it.

I finished Pride and Prejudice a few days ago.  I've been trying to think of what to say about this story that hasn't been said yet.  While reading it, I was trying to think of the characters as if they had been written about today.  Because a lot of the issues, character flaws, and circumstances are still timely.

Elizabeth is strong willed, a quick wit, intelligent and fun loving.  To put it in a more current light- she's that girl that shares at least 30 mutual friends with you on Facebook.  And I'm sorry for the cliche, but she's beautiful inside and out.  You want to hate her, you really really do.  She's lovely and talented and well loved by everyone.  But the more you see her at parties, you just can't help but want to be her friend because she's so genuine.  Try as you might, you love this girl and can't wait to go get coffee together.  However, she's not perfect- thank God.  In Elizabeth's case, she's quick to judge- but, in keeping with her genuine sort of character, it's never totally without warrant. In many instances, it seems she makes snap judgements out of self preservation.

Darcy is stoic, to put it pleasantly.  Really he's emotionally cut off from almost everyone.  He's the guy that doesn't even have a facebook.  Or if he does, he's got like, one photo album of his sister's piano recital and has never posted a status.  He's mysterious, to be sure, but also kind of an ass.  If you were to send him a friend request, he'd definitely click ignore if he thinks he doesn't know you well enough.  Darcy's insecure and shy- two qualities that usually present themselves as aloof and and "judgey."  He is pretty judgmental about Elizabeth's mom being a nutter and her sisters being flighty, empty headed and boy crazy.  He's that guy that grew up under the stifling label of "old money" and closed himself off after being only pursued because of his wealth.  Again, self preservation.

The last post I wrote about Jane Austen was about self preservation as well- being the mistress of yourself and being quiet and reserved enough to protect the joy and volume with which you live your life.  But this is a slightly different take on it.  I think she might be saying that when you guard yourself too closely you tend to judge too harshly.  Elizabeth overhears Darcy say one snarky thing about her and from then on she can only see the nastiness in him.   She already had it in her head that because she was poor and her mom was crazy that no man of any sort of value (both monetarily and otherwise) would ever want her.  The insult she overhears from Darcy only adds to that insecurity and makes her shut him out.

Darcy's no saint either.  Like I said, he's incredibly guarded.  Like I said, he's spent his entire life being surrounded by people only wanting him for his money.  He can't function in social situations and falls back on being pompous because that's easier than opening up to people.  It was only when the two of them were vulnerable with one another that they were able to soften their hearts and open up a bit more, and eventually fall in love.

We've all been like this.  Being judgmental seems to have been encoded in us from birth.  Let's be honest, putting people into boxes makes us feel better about ourself.  But even worse, I'm guilty of searching for the bad in someone and fixating on it because I'm scared of liking them too much.  This can be true of friendships or romantic relationships.  They send up one red flag and that's all I need to call it quits.  Or I see them talk to another girl and throw in the towel because "I don't compete."  It's easier to give up in the beginning than be disappointed down the road.  And there's something to be said for that- the self preservation I talked about last time.  But there's also something really beautiful when you're open and are vulnerable with someone- when you take the risk to trust someone enough to place your honest and delicate confessions in their hands.  I'd like to say that Jane has inspired me to put myself out there completely with the strangers I'm meeting on a daily basis in my new home.  But honestly, I'm not in a place right now where I want to be so fragile.  Moving across the country, away from everything familiar, and being rather uncomfortable everyday is enough of a challenge.

For now I'll just keep my eye out for potential Darcy's- people who are more than meets the eye- and try to stay as open as I can.  And if they say things like "thither," "bewitched," and "I ardently admire and love you," I may be open to a possible courtship.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Take Some Creative Control, Genevieve

I've been at my current job for almost a year now, which is crazy to write. I started everything with no clue on how long I wanted to stay or what I was going to gain from it. I only had the idea that this would be a great starting point and ultimately a stepping stone in my music business career. But 11 months later and with about 200 shows under my belt, I'm just now starting to realize my potential.

The first few months of a job, obviously, is a learning curve of trying to understand the process thoroughly and proving yourself to your new surroundings. It took me a good six months to have everything down to the point that I could do it with my eyes closed. And then the summer hit with in-house shows, a summer concert series at the Botanic Gardens and music festivals galore. It was full of 15 hour days, lots of lifting and crazy artists. But I must say it was a great learning experience and I've confirmed the fact that I never want to be in the production side of the industry full time. A bit of it here and there will suffice.

Now we've hit the lull of fall and I am finally beginning to catch my breath. I'm discovering some creative aspects to my job that I never had the chance to before and am loving it. As I stated for goal #1 under my career goals, "I want to be an irreplaceable asset for my company, not a commodity. And ultimately learn deeper facets of the industry." I've been learning that I need to not only be in charge of events and organizing them, but creating them and running with the marketing side of my brain as well. I'm booking a new series of shows in our cafe and feel inspired to present artists that I'm passionate about and that I know the Denver music scene needs to hear more of. I am making something of my own and taking responsibility for it. It's all so refreshing. There were so many times within the past year that I almost threw in the towel, but I'm glad I didn't. I think this is where I was supposed to end up. I have this assurance I'm heading towards exciting new horizons.

Jackie - Mexican Monday

Mexican Monday was something Sarah and I instituted when we first started living together. It was our own play on Taco Tuesday... except on Monday. I think we only celebrated Mexican Monday once [maybe twice], so I thought I'd bring it back for another hurrah.

And not only that, but I actually worked on a goal at the same time. Shocking, I know.

Last Monday, I went and had some Mexican food with Paul. I think I've known Paul as long as I have been alive. Or, at least as long as he's been alive since I'm a little bit older. We grew up in the same church so I saw him on the weekend and at major functions and our parents played softball together. Sometime around high school we drifted apart. Then one crazy day as I was serving dinner at the Denver Rescue Mission with some of my girls, it happened that Paul was among the other group we were paired with to volunteer for the night. So we started keeping in loose touch and got together one other time about a year ago.

It's at this part of the story where I am a little bit embarrassed. I'm pretty sure Paul contacted me about hanging out again sometime during the spring -- that's before summer, back before all the trees had bloomed. And if it wasn't for the fact that he kept emailing me and texting me even when I didn't respond, I'm not sure it ever would have happened. Turns out, I pretty much stink at making plans to get together with people. =/ I'm glad Paul and I know each other well enough that he felt comfortable pestering me over and over again.

Dinner was really fun. We caught up on life and such, but it wasn't one of those awkward conversations where I'm running down a mental checklist of all the things we should make sure to talk about. It was very relaxed; relaxed in a way that only happens when two people have known each other for their entire lives. We caught up on life - school plans, living situations and how the fam is doing. We talked a little bit about religion while we walked to a nearby park, discussing the likes and dislikes. And parted ways.

It was nice spending time with someone who's known me through my awkward phases. It felt like a little bit of home.

Here's to actually accomplishing something, goal #3:: reconnect and chips and salsa!

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Should Have Some Fun and Spend Some Money, Genevieve

Well, well, well, what do you know. I'm actually holding true to my word of posting regularly again:) I decided to make this a focus for me and am now riding my 1 speed around the corner to a cute little neighborhood coffee shop every Friday morning and blogging. I'm so hip. I'm so trendy. Not really. At all.

After a pretty emotional past three weeks, I've finally gained a sense of reassurance. I'm not saying I have it all figured out or that every day is perfectly happy all the time, but I think that I'm coming out on the other side (famous last words). Every morning I wake up, I feel aware and raw, but stronger, and that's an eye opening realization for me. And then it hit me a few days back... I need to get out there! I need to have fun! And this subsequently led to me buying a lot of things and I will continue that streak today (with my mother's credit card not mine;)

So here is a list of things I've bought in the last week::
1. A ticket to dance the night away with the Local Natives, September 28th at The Fox.
2. Two tickets for a roomie date night on October 2nd to Jimmy Eat World.
3. 5 cups of iced coffee
4. Tickets to watch a newly aquired musical favorite of mine, Foals, October 12th at The Larimer.
5. Tickets for Apples In Stereo, October 22nd, which happens to be the day after my birthday, SO if you're a friend of mine and you're reading this, you better buy yourself a ticket and help me fill the Bluebird with my favorite people to celebrate my 24th year of life (bleeehhhh, I'm getting old).
6. A PLANE TICKET TO PORTLAND (this fulfills #3 under my personal goals) - Sarah and I will be buying big hats and rampaging the city for Halloween. Costume ideas??
7. A new haircut, complete with dark red color and blunt cut bangs. Shazam.
8. A new business casual wardrobe - My mother and I are hitting the mall this afternoon and I have a serious plan of attack.

And there you have it... I'm slowly getting back into the groove of life. Come join me:)