Thursday, December 1, 2011

A mushy note on friends (Thank YOU Percocet)!

The following was written on November 18th, my third day recovering at my mother’s, having developed a relationship with laziness (recovery) and rest (freedom of commitment). After re-reading, I can immediately tell my voice is different here than in other posts. I'm more open about my love for others, more vulnerable and eager to share my feelings. Yep! It was definitely the Percocet. Nonetheless, I will share my true post. Enjoy!

I can’t help but sit here on my old bed in my old room and reflect, just a little. It’s been 8 years since I moved out on my own, and am amazed at all that has happened since I left. For the last few days, due to recovery, I have been forced  (lol) to completely do nothing, and feel at ease. No anxiety, no stress, no insane “HOLY FUCK I have to do a MILLION and ONE things within the next five minutes” body surge. Just sitting here, with a feeling of relief. Not only relief from my back, but relief in my chest, my stomach, relief in my head.

Surgery is over. Do I have things to do? Of course. Will I always have things to do? Possibly so. And that is great. A perpetual To-do list means I am living a life . I do not have to do it all within an insane time frame that leads to sabotage and  the well known, “I suck because I can’t mutl-task during my sleep” thought process. I have opportunity and a will to try everything and anything. I’m very very blessed.

However, it’s nice to not have anything to do but watch TV, brush my teeth, and chew the food.

As I sit here and enjoy this break from the zaniness of life, I've been really thinking about the last three years, and how much life I have lived. Yep, my life completely altered three years ago, for the better (more on that later), and each year has been an amazing adventure, with some painful choices having to be made.

My first year, an 8-year relationship had to die to ensure my survival. The second year, I had to break out of a shell of protection that was stalling my goals. And finally, within the last year, I had to break-up with a BUTT load of people that were no longer viable and positive friends. Three examples of loss that, while completely painful and scary, challenging and heartbreaking, emotional and draining, had to happen for the betterment of Claudia. Kind of like losing weight (Full-circle, how lovely to see you!).

Within the last year, I’ve encountered some painful realizations when it comes to friendships. Friendships with many people that were draining, one-sided, and hurtful. To me, the word friendship is a positive term. A word that I could easily see living on a pretty fluffy cloud as it floats around a blue sky, an image belonging in an Eric Carle book. This year, though, the word seemed to reside within the pits of a port-a-potty alongside a marathon route.

I essentially broke up with a good amount of people, either by growing a pair and telling them it’s over, or, my favorite method of facing conflict, passive aggressively pretending you don’t exist. Not the healthiest method (or the most mature) but one that sort of helped me weed out the invaders of my happy place.

Please don’t get me wrong. I adore those that have a place in my life, and I have a high tolerance for inconsideration. One of the many residual characteristics of not feeling completely worthy to have unconditional love from others. However, as I’ve gotten older, and with life experience, I managed to morph the reason why to something positive. I have a high tolerance for people’s crap because I have the patience of a velicorapter. Now, who doesn’t love a patient veliocorapter?

This blog just made a wrong turn.

Anywho, while I have a high tolerance for those I love, this year, I just saw many people cross a line. It could have been that the these guys were two-stepping along this line for years, but this was the first time I acknowledged said line's existence, and the first time I realized I deserved way better than being a punching bag, second-hand therapist, or my favorite, flake-friend magnet.

I recognize the gift that I have (or a mannerism inherited by my momma, who raised me right): my ability to listen. I humbly can say that I am a great listener and know how to lift others up and motivate. It is such a pleasure and, quite frankly, an honor, when others come to me for solace, for guidance, and trust me with their insides.

However, there’s a difference between being a part of a functioning friendship and being used. The latter was a hard reality for me to face. 

I'll give you guys a minute.

The day it became very clear was a beautiful toasty September morning. I had a big run that day, the Tunnel to Towers run. I had been wanted to do this run for so long, and to finally do it made something inside of me soar. Something we low-self esteemers like to call “Self-worth,” which for many of us, is quite a myth. But, the second I crossed that finish line, I felt the juices of accomplishment merge with the endorphins zooming through my veins, a feeling that brewed all the way to my inner belly. It was amazing. It was a goal fulfilled.

And a final straw.

My dear friend, Kay, was there to greet me at the finish line! And she made this gal smile!

However, though, all the other friends I invited were nowhere to be found. A select few had great reasons not to be there, whether they were away, not living in tri-state area or ill. Shoot, I’m not an unreasonable brat who has to get her way (well, not usually). So I understood that. But a good amount of people just did not show or admitted to not wanting to come. I was flabbergasted. And completely hurt. And I let this realization overshadow and sucker punch the amazing accomplishment that I had just experienced. I ran a 5k in honor of someone heroic, being greeted by thousands at the finish line, thousands of uniform men and women supporting me, all of us, THE RUNNERS! And all I could do was sulk.

The latter part was completely my fault, that I let others ruin this for me. And that’s when I realized, it was time to clean house. And clean (and scrub) I did.

After Kay took me for pancakes and coffee, I embraced my goal and kept on moving, leaving behind the pity party and a good amount of friendships that I had no room in my life for. And, along with endorphins, I felt a load-off and could breathe in deep for the first time since before I took my first step along the race.

I also had to change my perspective a little. Focusing on those that don’t instead of those that, when they do, they do it 1000%, seemed to be a waste of time and an unnecessary reality. I started to really appreciate those that are always there for me, give me tough love, take my tantrums with patience and pleasantries, and love me for no reason, just because I’m Claudia. My signature peeps that made this gal feel completely loved.

It’s another great example of reframing. The glass is half full. Turn that frown upside down. All that crap. A positive umbrella to remind you that the rain doesn’t have to completely throw you off.  I have an amazing group of loved ones, and I couldn’t be any luckier.

This was really shown in full force the days approaching, during, and after BS 2011.  It all began the weekend before surgery. My bff, Jay, came and spent the whole weekend with me. She left her cozy suburbian home in Virginia, her hubby and adorable daughter, to spend the weekend with me! A weekend of me distracting myself with laundry, some final projects at work, cleaning the apartment, and driving myself crazy. And Jay did it all with me, holding my hand, and making sure I was ok (and that I didn’t cancel the surgery. After 25 years, the girl knows me so well). On Sunday, she surprised me with a Broadway show (I almost chose work over this. Luckily, she also knows my bffb—best friend forever behavior, and, more importantly, knows how to call me out on it to get me to do what she wants).  Later that evening, she also talked me off the ledge of uncertainty and fear, as I had the only break down in my apartment. Having her there though, made the surgery seem completely possible and that all was going to be ok.

That weekend set the tone for the weeks to come.

Between all the phone calls, texts, cards, emails, and flowers, I was blown away at everybody who was concerned about my surgery and who thought about me and took the time to send such love and support. I had some amazing lovelies watching my felines (which, anybody who knows me, knows how much my babies mean to me). I had visitors, motivators, and alleviators (and I don’t mean the Percocet. Well, JUST the Percocet :) ). So much love that would make even the most saddest person ever so happy.

And happy I am!!

While I had to make some tough decisions about friendships this year, decisions that terribly hurt, it allowed me to see the hidden diamonds that were being overshadowed by some deceptive cubic zirconium. That's the thing about painful experience. It always leads to a positive outcome. 

I can humbly admit that I give the impression that I can take care of myself. I realized something about that, though. Whether it's true or not, the impression is completely irrelevant. I  don't have to take care of myself. I can depend on my amazing loved ones, my concrete foundation, a family that God has blessed me with, and that has made this year all the more worth it. 

Love you guys--you know who you are!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BS 2011

Firstly, it goes without saying that I have had a torrid love affair with M.I.A. for the last few months, so forgive me for ignoring you all. I have been bombarded with a severe case of writers block catalyzed by a promotion, a pending surgery, and a whole lot of laundry that really REALLY doesn’t do itself. But I am back!

Secondly, so I know this blog began as a weight loss blog, but I realize it has more to do with general loss, and reflection. Loss has such a bad rap, but it can be a great thing, such as a new start, and/or a new clothing size. The last three years have been monumental, for so many reasons, amazingly great because of some sort of loss, so I think it’s time to start opening up about it, on the internet, for the select two of you (hi mom) that read this thing (and thank you to mysterio number 2, whoever you are).

A little over a week ago, I had back surgery. A surgery that inevitably had to happen, either now, or in 10 years, and conditions were getting worse. So, with some research, prayer, and tears, I decided to have the lower lumbar procedure done that would knock me off my feet for a week. Yep, I would be A-ok in just a week!

That was the plan anyway.

The doctor made it clear that, while I am a perfect candidate to be back (totally welcomed pun) in action in a week, he said that, in order for me to really make an 100% recovery, I am to stay away from the following:

1-Nicotine (I don’t smoke. Easy enough)
2-Sex (-_-)
3-Alcohol (does he know I am staying with my mother, who will never entertain the sinners of the cooking network who use wine in their dishes?)

“Que que?!? No ambition? That’s going to be a hard one,” I thought as he kept talking about bone fusion, blah blah blah.

I live for being busy. I have three jobs, work out three times a week, volunteer in a few places, and have a social life. Not to mention freelancing gigs, running a business, and still trying to maintain consistent flossing!

I was hell-bent on getting back on my feet in a week. However, the body, well, the body had different plans. And I had to listen. Case in point, same day of surgery, probably 7 hours later (I really cannot attest to the truth of timing. After 9:47am that Monday, right before surgery prep, I lost all sense of time until Tuesday around lunchtime, when my love returned for me. My appetite). Anyway, some time WAY later after I got the first drops of anesthesia, I decided it was time to do something! I refused to just lay there, in bed, like a victim, like someone who just had major back surgery. So I decided to go for a walk to the bathroom to be a decent young lady and make a polite tinkle.

That was the plan anyway.

Said plan went out the window when, in order to get to the bathroom, I needed 4 people, a dire case of humility, and very intimidate introductions with all the lovely nursing aids that held either one of my arms or legs. I will leave it at that, as I am still reeling from the aftermath of my attempt to RSVP yes to the polite tinkle. Luckily, the best place to be the anti-polite tinkle gal is the hospital.

It was after that, that I decided to just take it easy, to really recover. The drugs were AMAZING for that, but anybody who knows me knows I do not like taking any pills. But during my time at the hospital, I could not do without. I was there for three days, and even had a quick cocktail of Morphine, which was a bit too strong for me, but the body wanted it. And, for the week following, I definitely was my body’s bitch.

I came to my mom’s place Wednesday evening, after enduring Manhattan rush hour traffic and my brother trying to make me laugh and succeeding, only with every drug-infested giggle came excruciating pain. Of course, that only makes you laugh even more. I clutched my bottle of percocets and valium and prayed for a cozy bed, a monotonous Chelsea Handler stand-up routine and a glass of water.

The first few days I did sleep a lot, but also did some walking around the block. I even got this cool cane, not so much that I needed it, but to give my fellow rude New Yorkers a visual that I was walking slow due to a medical condition, not because I was being a pretentious hipster who thought owning Astoria came with daddy's trust fund.

My mom made the best of dishes for me, dishes that really do taste better because they are made by momma, and I caught up on some horrible TV, including, but not limited to Ghost Whisperer, Braxton Family Values, Bridezillas, Syndicated Sex and the City (bleh!), and possibly a documentary on sharks (during commercial breaks of The Big Bang Theory). Truth is, I don’t have cable, so it was like giving a diabetic some gold ole Starburst. I couldn’t get enough! I also broke up with Percocet 2 days after leaving the hospital and stuck to advil. Now I take it when needed. So no Colombian stereotype needed here, my friends.

A week came and went, and it was decided that I needed another week to recuperate. I had a breakdown Sunday night, the Monday before the week-a-versary of BS 2011 (back surgery 2011), and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I really wanted to go back to work, to get back to normalcy, to feel like I was contributing to society and not to the ratings of Jerseylicious. With the new promotion and major changes rapidly approaching, I felt like I had to be at work. But my body. Well, the bitch wanted something else.


After being talked off the ledge from my Bff, Jay, and from Yoda (not to mention a life threatening promise not to leave Astoria or I'd be cut by my dear friend, Mel), I decided it was best to stay home another week, and I humbly obliged and have been resting ever since. 

Today, Wednesday November 17, 2011, over a week since my life went “STOPP!!!!!!!!!!”, and  I have been listening, and within the last few days I have been feeling like my old self! I’m feeling ready to move back home, which will be a trying mission not to have fresh dishes, my mom's daily presence (which really helped this 30 years old get better, I can't emphasize enough)  and bad reality TV.  But I miss my felines and my cable-less tv (ie: brain cells), and being able to just take a walk on my own. I know I can do all this soon. Just waiting for my body to decide when she is ready.

Any day now, bitch.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Running for Purpose - Part 1: A mission

It's been over a month since I have posted a blog. I have actually been trying to write this one particular blog for this whole time. Truth is, the following has been one of the hardest experiences I have had to write about. For so many reasons. Partly due to accomplishing a goal and it's overwhelming, partly due to all the emotions it stirs up. Partly due to the sadness I had to face head on as I prepared for this race. Nonetheless, here's part 1 of my journey. Enjoy :)

I have never been a fan of running. At all. Unless it meant running to the train because I'm late, which I often am. And even then, I power walk. A lot of my apprehension comes from being overweight for most of my life. Pre weight-loss, the idea of this fat girl running was completely inconceivable. Besides the fact that I would instantly start to wheeze for dear life, I would feel all love handles, arm jiggle, and thigh thunder make themselves ever so present. I was a "hot mess," as my lovely friend Mel loves to say (as in, it's her saying, not that she said I was a hot mess).

Ever since the attacks on September 11th occurred, I embraced an instant mission to never ever forget. I'm often asked if I lost someone that day, and I never know how to answer that. While I was blessed enough not to lose an immediate family member or loved one, I can say without a doubt that something was definitely lost. A loss that has yet to be filled, but one that you learn to live with. In my own ways, I try and honor the loss of beautiful life every year. However, for the last eight years, I have always wanted to pay my respects and remember by participating in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers run.

In a nut shell, this run is dedicated to Stephen Siller, a firefighter who was off-duty on September 11th, 2001. Just like a true firefighter, when he got word of the catastrophe that occurred in lower Manhattan, he picked up his gear, packed up his car and headed for the very dark cloud that, not only invaded the skyline we all love, but the very dark cloud 95% of New Yorkers were desperately trying to run away from.

The idea of these firefighters running TO the disaster zone, without flinching, makes me reconsider the adult tantrum I can throw when asked to deal with the designs of a book. I've got nothing to bitch about.

When Siller got to the Brooklyn Battery tunnel, he was greeted by a closed entrance. Nobody was being allowed into the city. So, he put on 50 lbs of gear and ran from Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers. Without flinching, he ran three miles and proceeded to save lives and help his fellow brothers. Sadly, he was one of the 343 firefighters we lost that day.

When I heard his story some 8 years ago, I became immediately moved. Who wouldn't? Besides the amazing heroism and complete selflessness of it all, the concept of running with 50 pounds of gear on a relatively warm and sunny September morning impresses me beyond belief. I knew then and there I was going to run in this race.

My first attempt at training was back in 2008. At the time, some of my colleagues were avid runners, so I asked them for help with training and we made a date to go to Central Park. I was about 195 lbs. and hadn't done cardio since earlier in the week, when the bloody 7 train decided to come a earlier than usual, and I ran for dear life to catch it. It turns out, the stupid train hung out at my station for 4 minutes, the exact time it took me to capture normal human breathing and turn from a blood red to my usual pale-self.

That late afternoon in Central Parl, when we began running, I was completely miserable. I remember wearing sweat pants and my boyfriend at the time's xxl t-shirt (insert: hot mess). Not only that, but I could not talk and run at the same time. It was an awful attempt of running the lower loop of the park (approximately 1.7 miles). After that run, I completely gave up.

Until 2011. While I had been at a normal weight for almost 3 years, it was the first year I felt like I could really run a 5k. I was such an inexperienced runner, that "5k" wouldn't instantly signal the number "5,000" in my brain, said signal being a catalyst that would transmit messages of dread to the pit of my stomach, dreadful messages telling me that I would in fact be running five THOUSAND miles. In my defense, this insane process would occur within seconds. Logically it was 3 miles. However, my brain (and a certain fat girl within) sure loved to play a mind fuck on me.

I decided to train 5 weeks before the race. I was feeling very optimistic, as some lovely friends of mine who are amazing runners and just about the best motivators ever, convinced me that I could do it. 

My first step was purchasing running sneakers, not the usual "What's on sale and will not get dirty easily" mentality that decided what sneakers I'd wear for the year. My friend Pinky took me to an actual running store. I admit completely that I had NO idea those places existed. But they do. And it was there I purchased my first pair of running shoes.

Stay Tuned for: Running for Purpose - Part 2: Orthotics-all the cool kids are using them

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Get a job, ovaries!

One of the many perks of being a woman is the ability to get knocked up and give birth to a baby, or so I have been told. Sure, the idea of having a little mini-me perpetuates the narcissistic strand we all have in our veins. And some of these infants are rather adorable. However, the idea of painfully pushing one out, only to have the little whipper snapper suck the life out of you, and then grow up to be an ungrateful twit makes me wanna say, "Hey! Where do I sign up?"

In all seriousness,  I see what children have done to my friends, ie: their parents, and it's pretty magical. Based on that, I certainly wouldn't mind a baby or two at some point.

However, up until 26 months ago, I did not think it was possible.

It all started some 18 years back when I awoke to discover that I was now a woman. Well, at least a girl who had to start wearing Genovese brand diapers, or what my older sister called, pads. At the ripe ole age of 12, I had gotten my first period. It was no surprise what was happening, as I was fully prepared on what a period was, thanks to my two older sisters and Blossom.

Anywho, I remember getting it for the first time and expecting some sort of party. I mean, that's what happened to Blossom when she got it. Her father took her out to dinner. I don't really remember anything special acknowledging said event. Not even cupcakes!

What I do remember though, is that, as the years went by,  my cycle would never mirror those of my friends. While they would talk about getting cramps, having to work around the 28 day waiting game of hell, and making embarrassing purchases at the drug store, I would observe and listen. Simply because, I could not relate. You see, between the ages of  12 and 28, I had roughly seven periods. Seven. Seven in 16 years. That's, on average, one every 2.2857143 years. I had missed out on approximately 185 visits from evil Aunt Flo. And I was pretty ok with this. I mean, there were times that I felt left out, wanting to have legitimate reasons to eat chocolate, yell at boys, and cry during the "Snuggles" fabric softener commericals (all which I did anyway, but it would have been nice to blame it on 'that time of the month' as oppose to my overall girlieness).

The lack of monthly reminders of my baby making skills didn't start to scare me until I was in my mid twenties. Me and my long-term boyfriend at the time had entertained serious ideas about having a baby. At the time, the idea of procreating with the one you love, all the while not having any real game plan (or financial means for that matter) seemed completely feasible, yet, objectively speaking, made just as much sense as wearing stilettos over a sidewalk grate: tip toe all you want, your gonna fuck something up, either your ankle or the shoe.

However, thanks to outside influences:

I was convinced that love could in fact pay the rent and beat the odds! I was also convinced "love" would also be able to raise a baby while I slept in on Saturdays.

Clear indicators that I was MORE than ready to be a mom.

In any case, I decided to make an appointment with a good ole gynocologist, to figure out what was going on and what I needed to do to have a baby. It was a cool February afternoon in 2006, and I felt incredibly optimistic about the meeting.

After all the testing, poking and prodding, it became apparent that I had something called polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is essentially a hormonal disorder that causes infrequent cycles. And, apparently, chin hair. Basically it means that ones hormones are completely out of wack that it becomes impossible for ovulation to occur.

PS--All I heard from the doc's mouth is that I was infertile.

How the HELL is that possible? My hispanic mother has 6 kids and the woman claims she got knocked up by exchanging glances with my dad. In fact, plants of all kinds flourished in the tenement apartment where I grew up, and, rumor has it, it was all due to my mother's fertile aura. So how the heck can I be infertile?

Gyno McKill-Joy proceeded to throw scientific mumbo-jumbo at me, while I zoned her out and kept dwelling on the inadequacies that made up the productive system currently taking up space in my lower abdomen. After she stopped speaking, we sat silently for a few seconds.

I went into panic mode, which, for this blogger, means I start to plan. I mean "bat-shit crazy, excel spreadsheet, laminate the gmail calendar" plan.  I began with questions.

Me: "What are my options?"

GMKJ:"In-vitro. That has proven to be successful when it works."

WHEN it works? 

GMKJ:"It's about $12,000 for the procedure."


I should point I was just staring aimlessly at her at this point. I did not know what to say. Where to begin? How is this possible? I also started to see panic in her face, which was a clear indicator that she thought I was about to either cry, laugh, or stop breathing. Or all of the above.

GMKJ:"You know, you could try dropping some weight. Studies show that extra weight also throws off hormonal level. At least we could assess the severity of the syndrome once you are at a healthy bmi."


Not only had the woman just told me that my ovaries were acting as freeloading squatters with useless capabilities and that I probably would have to sell one of them (and possibly a kidney) to fund future baby of love, but NOW she was saying I was fat.

Oh joy.

I so desperately wanted to run into the arms of my heart's desire.

Oh wait. You thought I meant my future "mixed and seasoned in a pietri-dish" baby daddy? Then you obviously have missed the whole point of the blog.

I came home after the appointment holding on to my 38 DD's a little tighter (much to the delight of the Mariachi band on the uptown R train). I just needed to remind myself I was still very much a woman. I broke the news to my boyfriend, who took it rather well. I don't really remember what he said, as my mind was haunted with the voices that were calling me a fat, sterile disappointment. I decided to put it aside and keep moving.

Some years later, Future Pietri-dish baby daddy and I parted ways. So I was somewhat grateful my ovaries had become meaningless parasites, as I'd probably have 5 kids right now asking me for ovaltine and making me put away this blog (and the hot toddy I am enjoying). It was after this departure that I decided to lose weight.

It took me about 9 months to lose 50 pounds. And, I kid you not, the month after I lost 50 (July 2009), I got a period. I chalked it up as Aunt Flo making a rare appearance, kinda like the chupacabra, and didn't really give it much thought. I noticed a few things, though. It was a pretty short and uneventful visit. Usually, like said chupacabra, the rare period would come in with a vengeance and would stick around for at least 2 weeks. I would do my loved ones a favor and hide out in my bedroom with enough food to survive, and enough Alanis Morrisette to entertain the rage against the male species that brewed within.

This time, though, I was a very proper and pleasant "Emily post" for period model. And then, something amazing occurred. 28 days later, I got another. And a month later, another. And another! And another!

I don't know what I was more surprised of. That my ovaries decided to get off unemployment, or at the price of femenine products! Duane Reade was making a killing!

I gave it 4 months before I called Good Ol' Gyno. I updated her on my life and all the changes of the last year, including the purging of 50 pounds of fat and 260 pounds of boyfriend. I also told her about the monthly visits I was getting. She had me come in, and ran some tests. After the exam, I sat across from her in her office waiting to hear the prognosis. She had this rather annoying grin on her face. It sort of said:

to which, I replied with a passive aggressive face that said:

Her smugness was warranted. All tests came back proving her correct. Thanks to the great weight loss and healthy insides, I was now as fertile as can be! I realized, at that moment, that weight was more than just fitting into a pair of jeans, sitting comfortably in between two strap-hangers on the N train, or being ridiculed by a child when ordering two slices of pizza at Frank's. All very important components of feeling good about yourself, of course. But health never ever occurred to me. Ever. I thrived more with the visual satisfaction that stared back at me from my mirror than with what was actually happening to me within my organs and veins.

I sat in her office silent, once again. Just staring back. This time, though, she didn't look panicked, nor did she look smug. She looked very happy for me. And I finally exhaled.

Since then, over two years ago, I have had a pretty regular cycle. And I feel really lucky. I will say, I don't know how you gals do this! Between the mood swings, the food cravings, the crying over "Cars-For-Kids" commercials, and the physical symptoms that make you want to hide under a blanket with a bottle of scotch and a heating pad, I almost wanted to run back into the arms of a past love to make it all better:

But I only feel this manic desire for 5-7 days a month. I eventually snap out of said moment of weakness and realize it just isn't worth looking back. Keep it moving, one healthy (and ovulating) step at a time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It Is Not Lady-Like to Drool on the R train

Interestingly enough, my weight has maintained in light of a the craziness of the last week. Between a hurricane, PMS, and the usual shenanigans of being a 30 year-old stress eater who uses brownies as a means to maintain blood pressure, I'd say I'm pretty proud of myself.

Still 157.6
Still 5'5 (I secretly hope I will grow a few inches before the age of osteo shrinkage kicks in, so that said weight becomes more tolerable. A girl can dream.)

Today I showed someone my "before" picture. It's that picture that you constantly reference when remembering just how far you've come. It acts as a reminder that you are no longer a size 14/16, as mirrors don't always do the trick. Mine certainly fool me all the time. Additionally, it's also the picture you reference when you are deciding between a banana or a pack of oreos:

Usually the banana gets the square if I have this handy.

If I had to put a visual to said "fat girl within," this would be it. And although I do not look like this anymore, not a day goes by that I don't have a "fat girl" moment. Hence why I still go to a WeightWatcher meeting every week. I need to be able to vent about my struggle and how I sometimes find myself making poor choices. I also need to share with the world that "she" sometimes controls me and leads me to do the most INSANEST things, like how I blatantly wanted to school a random stranger on the R train on the proper methods of eating an oreo. True story.

It was last week Tuesday. I was so proud of myself as I went to the gym at 9:30pm that night, after working with a client. However, it was no easy feet to get there. I was feeling tired, drained, and in desperate need of my couch and the NetFlix DVD that awaited me. Nothing like Arrested Development to make you forget how un-f*cked up your life really is :)

I had planned to make a late night visit to the gym when I was getting ready for work early that day, so I had packed and taken my workout gear with me. However, the optimistic crazy that stared at me from my mirror that morning was now a crabby yenta who could remotely feel the nook on my super soft loveseat, created by my left butt-cheek and lower torso.

Something like this. Come on. You all know EXACTLY what I am taking about.

It was 9:15pm and I was wrapping up the organizing session with my client. She and I were making plans for the next session, something about helping her organize her closets, when she stopped what she was saying to proclaim the following:  "Claudia, you look great. Have you lost some weight?"

After my giggle fiasco, I thanked her and told her that I had in fact dropped some weight. That little reminder that hard work pays off (because above BEFORE picture apparently isn't enough sometimes) was the itty bitty adrenaline that I needed to get my butt to the gym at 9:30pm!

And indeed I went. I burned over 300 calories on the elliptical and did some weights. It felt so great to see that I had moved on from 10 lb weights and was now on 12.5 lb weights. Hey, I'm no body builder and for someone who had started at 5 lbs a few years ago (and had to revisit them back in July), I was uber proud of myself. I was also happy to see the wattle fat start to dissipate.

Allow me to explain. I call this wattle fat:

Not the under arm fat that we all battle in some way. I mean the bizarre bulge between the arm pit and bra cup/ strap. It reminds me of the wattle we see on our friend, the chicken:

I can't figure it out and no matter how toned my arms get, I am very aware that this obnoxious repercussion of one too many cheese fries is present.

However, that night, I noticed that the wattles were withering away! And I was thrilled!

I left the gym on a cloud like no other. I took a ten block walk to the R train, as it was now 10:30pm and the express train near the gym had stopped running. It was a lovely cool-down for my over worked muscles. The breeze was refreshing along Lexington Avenue and the mood was very much alive. I felt immortal.

The R train pulled up a few minutes after I had arrived to the station. I chose one of the yellow three-seater spots that were placed against the wall of the train. There was nobody sitting on the other two seats, nor the two-seater that's perpendicular to the trio I now sat on:

The whole section was mine. And I sat there planning the next amazing adrenaline driven task I would take on for the following day.

I was so caught up in my plan of epic endorphin proportion, that I hadn't noticed the young lady sitting on one of the perpendicular seats. She must have come on a stop or two after my arrival. The paranoid New Yorker in me instantly snapped out of my deep thought and made sure I got a good look at her. She was a young girl captivated by her book. Fair skin, straight black hair in a neat pony tail with long bangs adorning her fore head, effortlessly pretty and, without a doubt, a size 2. I breathed a little sigh of relief, thinking that my newly pumped arms, calorie burning calves, and dissipating wattles could take her down should she decide she wants to steal my gym bag.

I was about to turn away when something else caught my eye.

Freakin eyes. They ALWAYS get me in trouble.

Within her fair hands lived what appeared to be a familiar item. What appeared to be my kryptonite.

Instantly, the beads of sweat formed on my forehead. Slowly, but oh so surely, I was bumped off cloud nine and landed on familiar, yet unchartered territory. And, just to make matters worse, I decided to give Pavlou's dog some competition. My mouth started to water, and, like a classy lady of the millennium, I proceeded to drool:

It was an Oreo. A perfectly put together double stuffed oreo. I knew at this point I was staring intensely at the cookie. However,  had Bangy McTwiggy decided to look up from her tantalizing novel, I suspect she would have gotten up and ran for dear life from the sweaty, drooly woman who was blatantly gawking with no plan on stopping.

I decided I was better than this. So I snapped out of my trance, took a sip of water to, not only have a "reason" to wipe the drool of the side of my lips, but to also remind my palette that water does a body good, NOT an OREO.

This of course only activated my peripheral vision and as I stared aimlessly at the "Manhattan Storage" advertisement across from me, I was admiring the f*cking cookie.

Said admiration came to a crashing halt when I realized that Bangy was still eating the same cookie I had initially noticed. It had easily been 60 seconds since my eyes first saw its double stuffed goodness. A full minute. In a full minute, I have been known to inhale, in no particular order, a croissant, cheese sandwich, a failure for a side salad at Sizzlers, or a slice of pizza, still quite hot. And yet, she was still on her FIRST oreo.

I was now intrigued. How does one maintain such control? And then I saw her method when she went for her second cookie, at least a FULL 30 seconds later. She separated the OREO ever so delicately, placing one of the parts BACK in the packaging. She then focused on the part in her hand, and instead of shoving it in her mouth, used her fingers to break a piece off and then elegantly place said piece in her mouth. She easily made 6 pieces out of that PART of the oreo. It took her 4 train stops to get through half of it.

WHAT THE HELL?!?!?  It wasn't a delicate lilac that needed to be treated with exquisite grace. It was an OREO! A cookie made to take on the dangers of dunkable milk, the jaws of eager children, and the desires of PMSing women throughout the world. And this girl was treating it like a fragile crystal that carried the secret to world peace.

Rage. I was suddenly filled with rage.

May I add this was the most emotionally driven train ride I had experienced in some time? Not since taking the 7 train with a butt load of arrogant Yankee fans some months prior had I felt such homicidal anger.

It wasn't geared towards Bangy, though. I mean, sure, I wanted to grab the mutilated oreo out of her hand and show her how it was done! But the anger I was feeling was geared towards me. See, she was a healthy size 2 and I could see why. She enjoyed the cookie and wasn't treating it as a solution to her heartbreak, career stress, or family disfunction. She wasn't using it as a way to make up for not eating all day because her toosh was glued to her cubicle. She wasn't treating it as a partner in the artful dance of self sabotage.

The girl was simply enjoying the pleasures of an Oreo.

I caught a glimpse of my reflection from the "Manhattan Storage" advertisement. Endorphin Annie was not looking back. Instead, it was just me, a perplexed look on my face, a look that exemplified the mental conflict I had just had with the fat girl within.

Bangy left the train one stop before mine. By the time I exited the subway, I had cooled off and even laughed off the sitcom that just played in my head. It was funny. I was about to commit a felony over a cookie.

Yet it was also a reminder that "she" is still very much inside of me and that, no matter what, I can't deny it. I just have to face it, rather, "her" head on. For while I can break down and dissolve the waddle with time, I can not dissolve the fat girl within. I can, however, tame her, and, occasionally throw her a bone every once in a while.

Even if said bone comes in the form of a beautifully put together cookie with frosting that marries two chocolate disks of heaven.

(ok, I didn't write that last line. "She" did.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guess what?!?!?

My size 4's came out today, and I am wearing them!! I mean, I sort of feel like this:

But it doesn't matter! Because I feel like this:

All the way from Cloud 9,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So this girl walks into a bakery . . .

I've had a very intense few weeks. So much is happening with my career and major decisions have to be made. I'm feeling slight paralysis due to it all and it has heightened the desires of my palette.

Adding to this anxiety is the inevitable surgery I am going to have to face oh so soon, something related to my hip injury. I honestly won't know until the end of the month, but the anxiety of being cut into to fix a fracture is really driving me to second guess just about everything. Now listen, I know I will be fine, that it's a simple surgery that will better my life, and (the best news ever), my doc said that my recovery will be super quick because I am in good shape! So, I am really happy to hear that!

However, with all these things happening, it's been enough to throw me off of my healthy eating habits and also to make me second guess my working out. Last week I did not work out much at all, partly because I was dealing with a stomach ailment, partly because I was beyond exhausted from being so stressed, and partly because I was throwing a tantrum and did not want to do what would inevitably help me feel better. Yep, makes perfect sense :/

See, part of this process is recognizing behavior. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you continue eating two snicker bars a day that one will probably gain some weight. That isn't what this journey is about. It's about figuring out the "why". Why does one need two snicker bars a day when stress is heightened?

I'll let you know just as soon as I figure it out.

With all this happening in my environment and feeling like I am somehow losing control (or so it seems that way), it was nice to see that I still do have some power over my actions. It all became apparent this evening. I had a lovely late dinner with two dear friends who live in the neighborhood, both WeightWatcher ladies who inspire me every time I see them. It's always nice to catch up with them, to be inspired by them, and to also be reminded that it's ok to let out a good cry some times. I mean, it's been one of those months where crying is inevitable and necessary to keep going. And, now that I think about it, I haven't cried in a long time.

Actually, not true. I cried last Sunday when Daniel Murphy got hurt during the Met game. It's partly because he started crying. I can not resist a grown man crying.

It's kinda like seeing someone vomit. Chances are, you will vomit as well. The domino effect is inevitable.

Anyway, besides this, I don't think I have cried in a long time. And I am such a crier, and proud of it! I feel it helps release the stress that loves to imperialize the area between my heart and collarbone. And it makes it much better to face the obstacles presented to us on a daily basis.

So as I was venting to them about how I felt like I was drowning, I noticed one of them was on the verge of tears. And she opened up on how she has been feeling stressed as of late and all she wanted was a brownie. All of a sudden, I felt myself get into WeightWatchers mode, trying to talk her through this and trying to figure out what does that brownie represent. And all the while, I was secretly fantasizing about having a three way with said brownie and dark chocolate fudge.

We all talked out our issues over sushi and then walked over to a bakery to get some coffee. I had compromised with my friend and told her we could all split a brownie at said bakery. The three of us were in accordance with this idea, and I was AWFULLY proud of myself for suggesting such a brilliant notion. Not that long ago, I would have ensured that I'd have gotten my own brownie (and rainbow cookie).

One thing I knew for sure. I was gonna get me a coffee.

Ahhh Coffee.

I'm Colombian and am perpetually sleep deprived.  The photo says it all.

As we sat down at the bakery, my dear friend with the brownie craving received an important phone call and had to unexpectedly run out. She gave us big hugs and ran out just when the waitress came over. I ordered my cappuccino with skim milk and my other friend ordered a latte. When the waitress asked us if we wanted any dessert, my friend and I locked eyes and stared for a bit at each other, sort of trying to figure out what we should do: should we have the brownie in honor of our other friend, who couldn't be there? Sort of like pouring out a 40 onto an urban street, in honor of someone? Or should we do our bodies justice and save the calories for a nice big breakfast? The dilemma was upon us and I can see my friend was watching me, waiting for me to answer. And, all of a sudden, it all became very clear on what should be done.

"Nope. Just the coffees, please. Thanks."-Claudia Martinez

What the HELL did I just say?!?!  I turned down a BROWNIE! I, Claudia Martinez, turned down on a brownie. After having a very stressful Monday, I said NO to a brownie. Who the hell was I?!?!?

My dear friend just about applauded me and commented on how amazing my self control was. I was still in awe about what I just did. However, not wanting to dwell on the achievement at hand, we continued to talk about life and the happenings that make it worth living.

As I headed home after coffee, I felt like the cavity housing stress between my heart and collarbone got a bit airier. It could've been the airing out of my feelings, the cool breezy "after rain" air that danced around my torso, or the relieving pride of making a decision to say no to food, when it was to be used as a means to temporarily feel better.

Whatever the reason, it sure was a lovely change to feel OK :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekly Weigh-in: Hell Hath no Fury Like Forgotten Food

I have been trying to decide just how personal I would get on this blog. I mean, sure, weight loss and the raw true grit of it all is pretty personal. But when it comes to the components that make up my very blessed (and zany) life, I often feel like biting my tongue. That could simply be due to my oral fixation issues, or, as I call it, breathing. Or it could just be that I am shy and would hate to admit to the world that I am far from perfect.

It's true ladies and gents. I am with flaws.

There. I said it. That wasn't so bad.

This week has been the quintessential example of how far from perfect I am. I have spent the last few months eating pretty good. Salads, lots of protein, fruits, skim milk, complete cut down of alcoholic beverages, the avoidance of anything resembling a snickers bar, and eating 3-4 times a day. My body was finally becoming a well-oiled vehicle!

Last weekend, though, I decided to drag race this well-oiled vehicle off the road right into the sea of sabotage. And I can't swim. You can imagine it's quite a freakin miracle I am actually here to talk about it. In any event, here's what happened:

Last Friday around mid-day, I had a curve ball thrown at me. Prior to said ball, I had a great morning. I had worked out at 6am with AJ and had a pretty crazy, chaotic but productive few hours at work. I was kinda feelin pumped. Then, just like a douchy pitcher who had to prove a point, the curve ball came and hit me right in my head. I had found out some pretty disturbing news at work. News from unreliable sources that were potential rumors that could have been nothing more than speculations derived from a typo in an email from some intern in a different department. Therefore, it MUST be true, right?

I certainly thought it was. And I instantly became enraged. I sat in my cube for a good 60 minutes trying to figure out where life went wrong and why the hell I hadn't seen this curve ball coming my way. I was contemplating going to my second work out of the day (yep, I had scheduled two work outs that day because I was feeling motivated and excited the night before and because secretly I am perpetually on trial against my pansy self trying to prove to her that I have badass tendencies). Right away, however, the desire to go to workout went out the window. But I knew that, not only would I lose my deposit for the class, but I didn't want to let some stupid piece of information throw off my routine (and the deposit was $35 bucks. So, ok, it was more about the deposit than anything, but whatever. P.S.:I went to the class).

I had never worked out so hard in my life. I mean I made sure everybody in that class knew I was pissed. I felt like smoke was coming out of my nostrils and the flare that was brewing could not compare to any irate / overly abused bull in the obviously bored country of Spain (seriously, they can't entertain themselves with reality TV or something? Why the bull thing?!?)

After an hour of complete physical torture and cardio craziness, I left the class feeling somewhat less angry, and in a full on sweat. But I was still very perturbed. Additionally, I was now disoriented, light headed and somewhat clammy. Could anger have really driven me to this physical state of misery?

And then it occurred to me.  I quickly looked at my cell phone for the time: 2:08pm. TWO OH EIGHT P.M.!!!! And I hadn't had any food that day. I had completely forgotten to eat. All day. I hadn't so much as had a piece of gum. With all the chaos of that morning and then finding out what I did, I let my body pay for my feelings of rage and had worked out NOT once, but twice. The fact that I was standing upright and not collapsed in front of the Duane Reade on the corner of 57th and 6th was an outright act of the Good Lord.

I quickly ran home (as I had a half day of work) and had me a light salad with some strawberries. Of course that wasn't enough since it was now about 3:30pm and all I had was greens, air, and a handful of fruit. My body would have bitched slapped me with a stiletto if she could have. Instead, I felt it was just the solution I needed. I went about the rest of the day taking a long nap. It's usually what I do when I am dealing with the blues.

I awoke around 7-ish to meet some friends for dinner. I remember distinctly not being very hungry, however, the moment when one of my pals suggested pizza, my mood went from this:

to this:

All of a sudden, it's all I wanted. It was as if Food was punishing me for forgetting our special bond, and now was gonna, not only make me pay for it, but was gonna make sure I would never ever forget her again. I got dressed with a haste and ran out to meet the crew. We all ended up walking over to Singa's pizza, which is like crack for the Carbohydrate addicts that can never say NO to enriched flour. Never.

I had me a regular (8 mini slices all to myself) plain pie with pineapple and spinach (because the canned fruit and two leaves of spinach make this VERY ok!!) and a Coke ZERO!! Um, now WHY isn't this healthy?!?!?

After dinner we caught the movie, "Horrible Bosses" and it was exactly what I needed to relieve the tension I had built up over finding out what I did at work. I decided I would have to commit homicide to make everything ok. I mean, the movie made it look funny, so obviously this is OK, right??

After the movie, we all decided to walk home, which was a good 25 minutes. It was a lovely night and the walk did me well. When I got home,  I felt great because I now had a full tummy, a brewing plan of action involving wishful thinking and a potential class-A felony, and had done some cardio. All was ok.

Or so I thought.

My body treated the pizza indulgence just like the natives would treat an invading country threatening imperialism. Without welcome and with tremendous violent warfare.

I'll let the metaphor speak for itself.

Suffice it to say I didn't sleep much that night. Or for the rest of the weekend. I essentially spent the weekend and all through Tuesday recovering from my rendition of the War of 1812. And believe you me, Food ABSOLUTELY made her point.

This story sort of has a happy ending. As just like in any war, while they are horrendous moments, sad ramifications, and outright tears, there are also positive outcomes. I lost 2.6 pounds in what seemed like 5 minutes.

Weekly weigh-in: 157 lb.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Accountability and Confession

I'm saying this now, because I fear hormones and flutters may compromise the objective perspective I presently have, but . . .

I've met a boy. And it threw off my workout regimen. I was suppose to go to the gym last night. Instead I had a spontaneous date in a chic basement wine bar in the west side until 1am. I was also suppose to go to the gym this morning at 7:30am. Because my bed time was pushed out 3 hours due to said date, that did not happen, either.

More on the boy later.

For now, I must tell the world this because, boy or not, I'm a girl on a mission. And I can not stop and become a air head high school kid because of a boy.

Even if he's dreamy and funny.

Even if he's tall and sarcastic.

Even if I am convinced his dimples house the Holy grail.

Nope! I am a girl on a mission.

Wait. What was my mission again?

I think I need to see Yoda, STAT!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I step all over you . . . Yet you own me?!?!?

The fantasy of a love affair is enough to make any girl with self esteem issues lose all realm of reason. It sounds so fantastical, so passionate, so chemical. Emotions, intimacy, and desire all drive where said affair will go, how long it will last, and when the blinders come off, and the parties involve realize that the fact that homey doesn't have a job, lives with his momma, and thinks flossing is an option can completely diminish any idea of him being prince charming.

While not so "Notebook/John Sparks"-ish, my love affair does hold true to these characteristics.  There is definitely emotion involved, moments of complete glee, absolute rage, utter denial, none-stop tears, and/or false proclamations of "I don't give a crap." 

There, too is intimacy. I share private and vulnerable "Claudia", often being very nude and raw. Quite frankly, there can be no lies on my part. It's impossible, and believe me, I have tried. But he clearly shows me the truth, every time, and no matter the excuses, he lays before me the consequence of my decisions. No feelings are spared. And this hard-core lack of tact just keeps me coming back for more and makes my desire grow.  Such a cliche!

Desire. Don't get me started on desire. I yearn to feel him every morning and every night. If I am home for the day, I will go to him at least 4-5 times. It's an addiction of massive proportions, and I am at his beck and call.

Just like all love affairs, the only way for it to simmer down and fizzle is for it to be exposed to the public. It all becomes real and, when others are involved, all of a sudden accountability seems like a factor that should have been considered well before the wall (and under-roos) came down!

So, now it is my time to expose myself.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, my lover:

My red and pink WeightWatchers scale. See, we've had a on-going on-again, off-again understanding for quite some time. We were oh so off-again for the first 7 months of this year. Now, we are on again. At first, it was quite an adjustment. You know how it is. When you are so used to being on your own, doing your thing, and eating a third donut from the pantry at work, to have to then accommodate this entity, who, at one point held a very important place in your life, but now, had to be re-introduced to your life, is a tremendous challenge. This was confirmed when I took my first step on the scale in 7 months, and had to come head to head and digest (without barfing) the hard truth.

June 15th, 2011: 169.7 pounds
I held my breath for 10 seconds. I just couldn't believe it. Granted, I had just returned from an all-inclusive vacation from the Dominican republic, but I had put on 20 pounds in 7 months. That's like 3 babies, or 2 cats (at least my cats), or 20-lbs worth of cheesecake! 

Suffice it to say, I was not a happy camper, and, again, while I had been a "pro" (no such thing, by the way) at this weight loss crap, and while I should know better, a nice and toasty snickers bar was looking mighty good the morning of my first weigh-in.

Never mind.

Anyway, with all that said and done, I knew the scale was a major tool in losing the weight. It just had to be in a more controlled and healthy way. On my terms, and for my benefit. 

Therefore, today marks the day that I will record my weekly weigh-in for the world (because it's news-worthy, kind of up there with J-Lo's divorce, the Kardashian butt-cheek, and this little national debt-ceiling side bar thingamajibby).

So here goes:

August 2nd, 2011: 159.6

In the course of 6 weeks, I've lost 10 pounds. And I am elated. And I am giddy. And I am grateful for my scale. 

It doesn't have to be a dysfunctional relationship. This time around, I want to treat it as a place to celebrate. Even if one week I don't lose, or, dare I say it, gain something. Because that means I am human and I have a pulse and I am alive. Hey, that's always worth celebrating!!

So I propose the notion of continuing this love affair, but knowing that it is healthy and that I have control. That I step on you, Scale, when I want. And that, ultimately, I realize my happiness is in my hands, not in the 3 x 4 digital box on the red and white device that goes so nicely with my dressing room wall color.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Incentive of a Waterbug

It's been a while since my last post, but the week has been full of some hefty news, crazy work days, and a sick kitty.

But now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Last Thursday I returned from a mini-vacay in Virginia. I had been on a week long hiatus from working out, as I had been visiting my BFF. And visiting my Jay is such a treat. She feeds me actual food (not the morning star chik patties and salad in a bag concoction I am always so proud of. She uses ingredients like sun dried tomatoes and basil. I don't think my kitchen has seen anything fancier than Kashi cereal, and that was a complete accident. The box semi-resembled CHEERIOS, and I didn't realize it until checkout, and was too embarrassed to tell the cashier I had made an error in picking cereal). Also, when I am in Virginia visiting her, I don't do anything. NOTHING. I sleep, scratch, and blend in with her couch. We make a ritualistic trip to Walmart where I pick up some items, always leaving the joint cursing that I didn't bring a bigger piece of luggage.  As you can see, though, my activity level goes from being constant and challenging here in the city, to virtually immobile and completely lazy in the great state of passive Virginia.

So the morning after I got back to New York, I knew I had to get right back into being active, or else I would have to shrink wrap a gurdle onto my ever growing torso. I was up early, ready to get back into the swing things. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't exactly throwing a party when I woke up at 4:45am Thursday morning. In fact, I was trying to convince myself (although not much convincing had to happen) that after being off for a week, exercising is bad for my knees (my knees are completely fine, by the way. In my haze of sleep, I had forgotten that in fact, it was my injured hip that had been the culprit of the 7 months of no activity). But, alas, I knew I had to get right back on that horse.

I had already fed the felines and gotten dressed in my workout get-up, when I noticed how completely zany Gracie was being. It was 5am. Usually those little twirps are well into the REM cycle, while they mold themselves into MY spot on the bed after indulging in their breakfast.

They always look so happy and peaceful when I leave for work, which makes me want to throw cold water at them for not having to worry about responsibility.

I should state that I am not a morning person.

Anywho, my little gray short haired fur ball was going ape-shit near the window, like she was playing paddy-cake and/or beating the absolute shit out of her shadow.

"Gracie, deja la vaina!" Translation: Gracie, cut it out (they are bilingual. I just know it!)

However, even after implementing discipline using the artful methods of my own dear mother and her ability to scare the crap out of me with the romantic language of Spanish, the cat still kept putting up her dukes against the window. I was semi-distracted, as I was also trying to pack an outfit for the day that was not sweat pants and an oversized college shirt, as that is ALL anybody wants to wear and can only imagine wearing at 5am in the morning, although not dress-code appropriate. I decided, though to put down the clothing and walk over and see what was crawling up my feline's butt.

Turns out, nothing was crawling up her kitty ass, BUT there was a 3" waterbug happy crawling around on the outer portion of my window. Yep, waterbug. A roach on steroids, hormones, and wonder bread. I would attempt to put a picture up for all you fine folks to see, but the thought of looking at a screen shot of a waterbug makes me shiver and would probably make me run from the laptop and leave this posting unfinished.

Pun totally intended.

While the insect version of satan was OUTSIDE my window, and while said window was sealed closed, and while I knew that Gracie would destroy the sucker in less than 2 seconds, I felt the blood in my face head south into my feet. I froze and just stared for a good 5 seconds. Then, all of a sudden, I had this adrenaline that would probably come in the form of 3 large cappuccinos. I threw some outfit in my gym bag, grabbed my toiletries, and hoped to God that I had packed my underpants, and ran out of that apartment. I proceeded to run out of the building faster than the speed of freakin light because, in my mind, those awful critters were now falling from the skies. How the hell else would one be chilling outside my 2nd story window?!?!?!

I will be completely honest. At around 4:58am, I was considering calling Jason and canceling on him. I was so tired from being lazy all week (really! It's tiring not to do anything) and I had the motivation of a slug. Luckily, at 5am, Willy the Waterbug made his appearance, and with his arrival, he decided for me that, not only would I NOT be canceling, but I would also be going commando that day, and that my cell phone would be participating in the 3-kitty slumber party on my bed  (as I left it in my haste).

All before 6am. Sheesh.

And the cell phone. The one morning I could have actually used it, as oppose to just using it as a medium to read Facebook statuses of people hating mornings, their jobs, and the MTA. Instead, it would enjoy a day off. And also take all my messages for me until I would get home at 9pm. One said messages would be from AJ.

I got to the gym at 6:01am to find out that AJ had taken a sick day. I knew it wasn't like him to do so, so I was somewhat concerned. But the manager at 24 hour fitness assured me he was ok. After said assurance, I had a 10 second innocent and "happy place"like fantasy of returning home and getting right back to bed.

And then . . . Willy. I remember Willy. And instantly, said fantasy was crushed and stomped on, kind of what I wished I could have done to the stupid roach.

I sighed heavily, scratched my arm and made my way into the work out area of the gym. I dragged my feet, cursed under my breath, and decided that I was moving to Antarctica, where waterbugs simply can not live . . . right?

And I got on the elliptical, for 40 minutes. And I worked off my fear, my bff's basil and sundried tomato cream cheese, and my morning fuzzies of hating the world. And, according to the dashboard, I also burned off 300 calories.

As I headed to the locker room to shower up and get ready for work, I let out a giggle. That morning, it wasn't about my love handles, my lack of energy, my size 4s, or the 6-pack of abs that I know are somewhere beneath this torso of mine. It wasn't about the slutty top I secretly want to wear one day, or the look on some people's faces who are in awe of my impressive weight loss, or the great satisfaction that I've changed my body. It was certainly not about making my insides just as healthy as my outsides, or living the "mind over matter" way of life, or proving to myself that I am stronger than I think.

That morning, it was about a waterbug.

My hats off to the evil little bastard.