By now most of you have probably heard of the 21 Day Fix, Insanity, P90X, and other Team Beachbody programs.
Well my friend Nadia has had amazing results using the 21 Day Fix and is now coaching others to stay motivated and fit, and I’m just helping to spread the word. I’ve done blocks of Insanity and I’ve never hurt so good in my life.
So please, if you’re interested in any of the Beachbody programs, give Nadia’s personal page a look, and contact her for more information.
What does it all mean, the dips and grooves in our bodies? How do they define us? Some see stretch marks as beautiful scars of battle; others view them as embarrassing reminders of weight struggle, laziness, unattractiveness. Who is really to say what is most beautiful? Our personal definitions of beauty reach both ends of the spectrum, and some never can get a grasp on what they think they should be, and instead spend every morning in the mirror, bouncing helplessly between confidence and self-loathing.
I never recognized my weight until we were forced into the nurse’s office in the eighth grade. I was “chunky”, sure – so were several other classmates, thirteen and awkward in size, overindulging in candy and ice cream and still watching cartoons. We were a year away from high school and still ignorant to a world of tight skirts, sex and pure vanity.
I don’t remember the number, but I do remember the look of concern on the nurse’s face, and the warm tears that rolled down my face that afternoon as I drank Mountain Dew and buried my face in my mother’s shoulder. I had just been introduced to body image, and from the start I knew it’d be a disastrous relationship.
The summer between eighth grade and freshman year I ate cupcakes and pizza at sleepovers, drank my favorite soda and spent afternoons in the pool or on the trampoline. With no apparent reason other than some sort of growth spurt, I dropped about twenty pounds and was suddenly sharing jeans with my – previously – much thinner best friend. The weight had melted off of me so fast I looked tired and pale, but either way I was happy to be approaching fourteen a size three. Then my grandmother cornered me at a family BBQ in late August.
“Are you anorexic?” She was lucky I knew what the word meant.
I can’t remember my answer, although I can only guess it was “no” between bites of a hotdog.
As freshman year began I made plenty of new friends, who later confessed between giggles that they thought I was bulimic. The thought still twists my insides into a constrictor knot. Large or small, I found it impossible to escape from the judgment, both internal and external. From there the bedroom mirror became my best friend and my worst enemy, and with each morning came the unpredictability of how I’d view myself for the day. While I struggled, I remained somewhat of a social butterfly (even involved in chorus and theater), and had two boyfriends while in high school. My first told me my bra made my breasts look saggy. The second never judged my appearance. We lasted a bit beyond senior year.
In those four years I went from super thin back to plump, and in the beginnings of college I remained that way, camouflaging the insecurities with lots of black clothing and lots of piercings. (I still love black clothing and piercings, but my reasons for that love have somewhat evolved.) I weaved my way through a string of insignificant relationships that temporarily made me feel better about myself. Typical, is all I could, and do, think.
When I met my husband I was still thick, and while I worked my confidence in my own sexual prowess I was still scared and insecure. I knew he found me attractive, but as always I was terrified that with the first argument or the first pass from another woman, he’d be gone. The worst part of my own self-judgment is the thought that my own physical imperfections somehow make me intellectually inferior to others. I have managed to convince myself that my opinion is never quite the best, that my voice could never be heard over the voices of everyone else when I’mthe girl in the corner with the chocolate in her hand; that without the perfect hourglass, there will always be someone better, no matter what someone sees in me. Ridiculous? Maybe. But never for a second will I think I’m the only one.
I’ve gotten better since, despite events in my life that completely tore down remnants of confidence I had to force myself to regain. A few years ago I joined a gym and unearthed a love of running, and while every day is a struggle, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I eat pretty well with the occasional indulgence. I drink too much. I scold myself for both. The mornings are still unpredictable, and sometimes I still want to smash that mirror to bits. But in the twelve years since thirteen year old me came face to face with a lifelong enemy, I’ve discovered ways to keep the beast at bay. But don’t ask me for pictures; I’d like to keep the past in the past.
Who has the right to judge us, but us? Let’s spend every day trying to feel good about who we are.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Anorexia or Bulimia, there is help.
How does a minute suddenly become an hour? Two? Three? An entire day? A week? Blah. I do believe my blogging hiatus has gone on long enough. I could blame it on the four opening shifts I did this week (seriously draining), or just being busier than normal, or the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol….but let’s face it, I’ve just been lazy. That and my mind has just felt empty this past week. Totally devoid of anything I felt was worth telling you fine people about.
But it’s time to get the ball rolling once again. So, for those of you curious about what else has been occupying my time while I’ve been away, here is the past week, brought to you by my iPhone.
Mother came over and with her she brought this gem. I’d still rock this outfit. Look at that style, that class, that scrunchy! This was way before I got fat.
At some point we did this to the dog and laughed. A lot. We also took a lot of pictures. She loves us. ❤
Lova and I ran 16 miles in Philly!!! It was awesome. No, seriously, there was only a small chunk of time during which I felt like death, and for me that’s a serious accomplishment. Updates to come on my other blog.
I laughed at – and took pictures of – the mattress man while sitting in afternoon traffic.
At some point I tried to take a picture of me, Charlie, and the eyelashes but he kept making funny faces.
Then the cat turned into a zombie!
Then the dog turned into a zombie too. She likes to sit on my lap whenever she pleases. Brat.
And then I bought a fancy new laptop! (And that bottle of wine in the background.) And so this is where I am now, getting updated on all my favorites, and nipping the laziness in the bud. I hope you missed me. Did you miss me?!?!?!?! ::cries::
We’re gathered here today to remember a daughter, a friend, a fiance, a writer, a runner.
Nicole Marie may have spent too much time taking meaningless pictures of herself, or hitting the bottle, but we won’t remember her simply for her narcissism or her alcoholism; no, Nicole Marie will also be remembered, not always fondly, for her love of serial killers, video games, and procrastination.
When she set a goal for herself, Nicole Marie (usually) followed through. She began work on her first novel years ago, and after several struggles to stay motivated was very close to a finished manuscript. It’s really too bad she croaked before delivering it to the agent lady. I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for her. But at least she managed to get her name out there one time before leaving us forever.
Nicole Marie also had plans to run her first full marathon, a huge fitness goal she’d been looking forward to after years of struggling with body image. This was it, this was the goal of all goals, a mental and physical challenge she couldn’t wait to rip to shreds. She was only two weeks into training when it happened. Ah, well.
Her blog had finally started to gain speed, thanks to a mysterious clown and his blogging superpowers; she was so excited, so honored to be making so many amazing blogging friends (she’d even gained a second mom and dad), and spent most of her days sharing her blogging excitement with her wonderful fiance, Joe AKA Charlie. But now her blog will stand still for the rest of eternity – unless she is bad ass enough to figure out how to post from the other side. In which case, I’m sure she will take several dumb pictures of herself drinking good beer in a hot tub. And we all wanna see that.
Our thoughts are with her friends and family, who have lost one of the greatest human beings ever to grace this earth. It’s too bad she didn’t get off her ass and accomplish more during her short time with us. She could have been something truly great. Her fiance, Joe, is especially sad, since she will no longer be there to obsessively vacuum the dog’s hair off of the couch.
Her will was simple: Don’t bother donating my liver. It’s no good. But have someone skin me for my tattoos and use them as artwork above their fireplace. That’d be awesome. Oh, and question the creepy neighbor about my death. He knows. See ya!
Rest easy, Nicole Marie. We hope you’re drinking that big Paisano in the sky (or, you know…down there).
The holidays are over! We survived. I suppose that’s kind of a crappy way to look at it, isn’t it? We all hold our breath those weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, praying things go smoothly when the family is here, digging through the leftover last-minute wrapping paper at Super Walmart, scraping our last two pennies together because we couldn’t give that cousin a lousy $20 gift card, it had to be $40, because $20 is cheap and disgraceful, and you won’t see them again until that obscure family BBQ in August.
But hey, secretly we know there’s more to it than spending a bunch of money we don’t have. And while we are all breathing a sigh of relief this week, I had a wonderful holiday with some wonderful people I cherish.
And now Joe and I get to relax, and really enjoy our new home, together. No presents to buy. Nothing to rush to the store for (besides groceries and cleaning products). I gave the entire house a scrub down yesterday and plopped my ass on the couch for dinner and a movie afterward, my best friend and my kitty cat lounging beside me.
By the way, meet Jewel. She’s 9, and Joe and I inherited her from my best friend’s aunt, who really wanted her to go to a loving home since her daughter went away to school. Jewel enjoys begging like a dog, throwing up on our new area rug, and drinking out of faucets. I love her to death.
In two weeks time Joe and I will also be welcoming another addition to the family, a 2 year old Beagle/Hound mix named Nevada. She is the sweetest little doggie and I’m praying Jewel isn’t too pissed off about it. (A few more piles of puke on my area rug should suffice. She always seems to bypass the hardwood floor and aim directly for the rug. I think this is a conscious decision.)
While I don’t really believe in making New Years Resolutions, I did make a pretty huge decision for the New Year. Sort of a birthday present to myself (as this will happen just 3 weeks before my 25th), an accomplishment I will hold near and dear to me for a lifetime, one this lady has already achieved and given me some seriously crazy inspiration. (Seriously, that is a must-read. It brought tears to my eyes.)
My friends, this Monday I begin training for my first marathon.
I’m terrified. I’m excited. I’m confident. I’m a mess. Can I really do this? I did finish a half. Maybe I can do this. No, I WILL do this. Even if my body falls to pieces and I’m dragging my sorry ass across the finish line.
And so to document my adventures, I’ll be keeping a side blog, which I will link on this one. When I make it. At some point before/on Monday. I’m going to need tons of motivation for this one. Thank you in advance.
Another sort-of-sort-of-not resolution is getting back to some personal writing. Like, novel writing. I’ve slacked off many a time, but I have to pick myself back up and get back in there. I mean, moving into a brand new home one day before Thanksgiving counts as a solid distraction, amIright?
So I’ve been a little MIA from my blogging duties this past week. Not that I’m a post-every-single-day kinda gal anyway, but I’ve been especially neglectful lately. But in my defense, a whole lot has been happening! Aside from me trying to make that moo-lah with lame 5 AM shifts and long weekend shifts (leaving no time for anything except a glass of wine or two…maybe three… before bed!), Joe and I make settlement on our home this Wednesday! So I’ve been tossing everything I own neatly packing my belongings into boxes andtotally breaking the tape gun knowing exactly what I’m doing while I tape each one shut. (I also just tried to be cool with the strike-through and can’t figure out how to turn the font black like the rest of my post. *Le sigh*)
Meanwhile, Joe is stressing and drinking way too much coffee and buying plastic bins because his books are too good for cardboard boxes (kidding, the plastic bins are convenient) and I feel like I have no idea what’s going on and I’m supposed to be moving everything I own into our new place on Wednesday. My stomach is in knots. Like those crazy boating knots. So in a few weeks time my future in-laws are visiting from Florida for the holidays, and our belongings must be packed neatly away so Joe we (there I go again) can hang Christmas lights! Hooray! Totally stoked about having my own little writing getaway as well.
On another exciting note, after weeks of whoring around my short story, “Sirens Underwater”, it has been accepted for publication by Philadelphia’s Apiary Magazine!!!! The issue will be released December 7th, and will be available in bookstores in the Philadelphia area. I’m hoping it will also appear online, so I can link it up all over the place. This is my first publishing gig and I’m stoked. I’ve also been invited to the issue’s release party on December 7th. Time to plan my sophisticated writer outfit.
With all this (happy) stress I’ve been neglecting my love for running! But today, the best friend and I went for a great 4 mile run. I can’t wait to have a space to hang all of my running bibs, too!
But, as busy as life gets, I could never ever neglect the most important part of every Monday: Romantic Monday, that is, hosted by the suave Edward Hotspur. I’ll be posting mine shortly. I encourage everyone to participate, and read some of the other fantastic posts that have been popping up over the last few weeks. So, blog yours and link it up at Edward’s page!
Welcome!! This is my offering for the first official RomanticMonday, freshly founded by the one and only Edward Hotspur. Click here to read his romantically romantic post. Please don’t judge me too badly as you watch this little introduction I’ve thrown together. But do enjoy the background music and the beautiful face of my very best friend. (And just a reminder…it’s New Jersey, not New Joizey.)
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way….
Here is our list of everything we adore that makes us romantically connected in the most non-homosexual way (for the most part) ever.
1.) Blood does not run through our veins. Cabernet Sav-ing-yong (in that voice from the video) does. This proves we are blood related.
2.) We always end up having the same clothes, like the same pair of leopard print draws from Walmart. (Don’t judge me….clearance…) As we got changed one afternoon, we both pointed to each other’s asses and yelled, “HEY!!!!”. This has gone on for quite a few years now. Jeans, shirts, all by mistake. This demonstrates our amazing – and identical – fashion sense.
3.) What is usually every man’s fantasy – but is Joe’s nightmare – the other Nicole (on those really, really drunk nights) will sometimes sneak into our bed. She’s the teaspoon, I’m the big spoon, Joe is the salad serving spoon. On these nights he remains fully clothed, jeans and all – studded belt, too – to avoid awkwardness. I feel bad for him as we talk in “the voice” before we fall into a deep slumber. That poor, poor man. (He enjoys calling us “dumb broads”.) This proves, as the big spoon, that I am the man in the relationship. *sigh*
4.) As more proof that we are non-sexual soul-mates, Romantic Monday falls on our official “day of play”; every Monday is full of drunken debauchery and cooking some amazingly yummy food. Of course, it’s always after a 3-10 mile run. As the other Nicole’s pop would say, “It’s all about balance, baby!” “hahaha” – the other Nicole.
This man is 58 years old and runs every. single. day. And loves his beer maybe more than we do. 😉
5.) Our passion for fun music gets our shoulders shakin’ and our booties movin’. Oh, yesh (video voice).
Even as we were posting this, we had to stop to sing, “DARKNESS, DARKNESS DARKNESS.”
6.) We are foooooo-deez. We make margarita pizza, and tilapia, and artichoke spinach dip, and more pizza, and chicken, and more pizza, and delicious, blush, vodka sauce, yummy, delicious, pasta…..and we top everything with cheese. (Healthy cheese.) 😉
We couldn’t help but dig in before we took the picture.
7.) We share a mutual love of tattoos….so we just had to get one two-gethaaaaaa.
8.) We love Halloween, and we love dead things, and haunted walk-throughs, and every year – instead of letting the breasts and booties hang out – we like to look like someone just ran us over. Lots of blood.
9.) This one doesn’t necessarily connect us, but the other Nicole is one talented “lova” (nickname…video voice). Ch-ch-check it out. Click here, seriously. DO IT. Amazing things happening there. Everything completely handmade. I own 3 purses.
My love for running is shared by my best friend. “YEY!” – the other Nicole. (She likes to spell “YEY” that way. I do not.) So, basically, back in the day, the other Nicole’s running father forced us to run and we almost died. But now, we are running beasts! She has completed a ten miler, and I recently finished my first half marathon. But by far….the Color Run is the funnest, most epic run we’ve ever completed (we’ve done it twice).
We completed another Color Run about 2 months ago, and our mutual love of fun music was clearly demonstrated……
My non-homo girlfriend, my partner in crime, my let’s-forget-the-world-and-get-tipsy lova, the one (besides Joe) who reads my mind when I shoot her a look. We tell it like it is, we hold nothing back, she’s a pain in my ass, I’m a pain in hers, we love and laugh and hug and fuel each other creatively and laugh again. She is amazing enough to be my first Romantic Monday post.
Last year’s Push to Publish conference was a roaring success, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to attend again this year! Tonight, I will once again be on the beautiful campus of Rosemont College for the Philadelphia Stories awards dinner, where the 2012 winning author will be presented with a big fat check and plenty of food! Hooray!
Then tomorrow I’ll put on my cutest outfit and my shiny new boots and hopefully make another good impression on the agent who showed interest in my novel last year. The first draft isn’t too far from the finish line this time around, so I can only hope I can once again spark her interest. Fingers crossed, friends!
I’ll be sure to post here tomorrow night, with all of the useful information I plan on picking up and scribbling down in my pink notebook.
On a side note: I ran 7 miles in 1 hour, 5 minutes yesterday evening! My best time yet. It’s time to put that same effort into my writing. Lots of last minute ends to tie!