Thursday, September 30, 2010

... the Sounds of Silence ...

Sorry I haven't updated all week. Haven't had the mental energy to do much more than read a handful of blogs while I swig my morning cuppa before falling over into the shower and heading for the office. Hopefully the dust'll settle soon at work and I can get back on a normal schedule again. Still plugging away at the diet, despite the extreme stress and ridiculous hours, and the scale's still creeping down an ounce at a time.

Pffft, at this point as long as it's not going up I'm good with it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One day more ...

One day to a new beginning
Raise the flag of freedom high.
Every man will be a king.
Every man will be a king.
There's a new world for the winning.
There's a new world to be won.

One good day.
One more day.
One day more!

(Paraphrased from Les Miserables - One Day More)

Yeah. One good day. One more good day. Yesterday was a good day (despite gulping wayyyy too much coffee). Today will be a good day because I came home last night and roasted a turkey. No excuses to get junk when I have a fridge full of  a huge, yummy, tasty turkey!

Ended up leaving work an hour early yesterday 'cause I was so tired I was literally stuttering and staggering. Had gone in early yesterday morning in hopes of getting some work done before drama interruptus. It was a great fantasy. In the end I think I got in an hour (maybe!) of useful work between eruptions of chaos and (ugh) unnecessary meetings.

Planning to work all weekend, but at least I'll get some work done. I absolutely have to finish a set of software documentation this weekend. I know part of the team is planning to show up today, but hopefully not until I have one of the docs done at least, and tomorrow I'll be the only one there. Yeah, I've got a big cheezy grin goin' on here at THAT thought!

The new scale arrived earlier this week and it's lovely. Especially since it's showing me a pound down since Tuesday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

True Confessions

My mom had a huge stack of those old True Confessions magazines hidden away in the basement when I was a kid. Of course, being a kid, they didn't stay hidden for long (yeah, I was a nosy brat) and I'd sneak down there and read 'em ... and giggle at the silly women between those pages, "Married to a Liar, Deathbed Revelation!", "I Had My Baby in an Abandoned Coal Mine!" (Yeah, I was a freaky kid, too.)

Of course, stacked up against that example, my own True Confessions are really kinda boring: "I Haven't Been Exercising!" "I'm Eating Too Many Calories!" 

The stress at work is just strangling my interest in anything else, dragging my energy down to the point where all I'm doing right now is get up, stare at the computer and drink coffee, shower, go to work, work, come home, stare at the computer and drool on myself, eat supper, try to sleep. I'm sticking more or less to the low-carb thing but wayyyy too many calories, not sleeping enough, and not getting any exercise or drinking anything like enough water. Funnily enough, my weight hasn't budged in two weeks.

I know it's just a pile of excuses. I know that. But they're bloody easy to make right now. I keep telling myself that the fiscal year will be over in a couple of weeks and we'll all be able to breathe. The level of drama will die down. I can get back to working normal hours. I keep telling myself that I'll get back with the program when that happens.

Yeah, I know I'm being silly. I know that.

Okay, today ... just today ... I'll eat properly, I'll drink 3 liters of water, and I'll hop on the bike when I get home, even if it's just for a few minutes. I promise.

I promise myself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still alive and kickin'

Much drama at work, long hours trying to survive the end of the fiscal year with my insanity intact here, very little mental or emotional energy for anything else.

Scale is broken (when it insists on measuring a range of up to 8 pounds within 15 minutes, that qualifies as "broken"), new scale will arrive tomorrow afternoon, so in the meantime I have no idea what my weight is doing. Clothing says I'm losing inches, at least, and still staying on track (mostly).

New doctor wanted me to try Ambien for sleep. Tried it last week. Didn't sleep. DID have massive, almost uncontrollable cravings, to the point that I found myself sitting at my computer Friday night with the Pizza Hut site open, literally arguing with myself. A slice of pizza or two probably wouldn't have been that bad, but I know myself ... it would have been a whole pizza and an order of breaded parmesan wings and I'd have gorged myself all weekend on that. Finally grabbed my car keys and ran to McD's as a compromise: At least it was a controlled cheat ... a burger and small fry and off to bed. Seemed to do the trick and kill the craving.

Anyway, that's really all that's going on over here right now ... work, sleep, drink coffee, boil eggs, cuss at the cat  ... lather, rinse, repeat ... planning to take a couple of days off in early October and catch my breath (and clean my damn house).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scale, Energy, Mood - All Up

Ye gods, what gives here? The scale's still five pounds up (water water water) but my energy level was higher yesterday, all day, than I've seen it in a very long time and my mood stayed up and positive despite some altercations at work. Odd. But kinda fun, too. Not worrying about what the scale's doing at the moment, really. Just enjoying the extra energy.

Really don't know what my body was doing - I know I didn't have that much caffeine, but even when my brain was exhausted last night I couldn't shut my body down. Ended up tossing and turning in bed for an hour, my muscles just so tight they were singing, almost painfully so, and finally got up and took an extra sleeping pill.


I'm getting way more assertive at work (and a chorus from most of my team of ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME). I've never been a terribly assertive person anyway, one of those pathetic people who just wants everyone to be happy and get along, you know what I mean? Ten years of my ex pretty much knocked any latent assertiveness out of me, to the point of not just avoiding pushing back at people but actually unable to stand up for myself.

Now I'm working in a space where, if I want to survive, I absolutely have to. The only other option is to go find another job, and I'd rather not. I've worked with most of this team for over a decade. They're my family. They're not just coworkers: They really ARE my family. These are the people who stood by me, held on and refused to let go, wrapped their hearts around me, when the ex was trying to destroy me. These are the people who took care of me and kept me sane last year when I had an appendectomy that went horribly wrong. We've worked, played, laughed, and cried with each other for more than 10 years. I don't wanna leave 'em.

For three years now we've had to deal with a few other people, one new team member and two others in actual positions of authority over us, that have difficulty with that whole "grown-ups" thing. We're trying to stick together, keep each other standing, and get our jobs done in the face of people who think that shouting is a management skill and have no clue what it is we actually do.

On the one hand, for me it's good practice. This has forced me to sprout a backbone and push back in order to get my job done and protect others on the team (as well as myself). On the other hand, I hate what it's done to me. I don't shout at people. I don't lose my temper at work.

Yeah, I guess I do now.

Anyway, just rambling here. Trying to work out what was going on in my brain yesterday.

I did raise my voice to team-mate in a meeting ... the queen of fallacious arguments that she uses to steam-roll everyone else trotted out the whole "well, obviously NOBODY'S going to listen to ME so obviously you all think I'm STUPID so I'll just shut up and you guys can do whatever YOU like."

We're all just blinking at her, having spent the last ten minutes trying to address her concerns, and I snapped back "Whoa, sunshine ... how in THEE HELL did you get THAT out of this conversation?! You're the one not listening to US here TRYING to understand and address your points! Now KNOCK THAT OFF and work WITH us, dammit! (The rest of the team nods firmly.)

She did settle down after that and we had a productive meeting. Whew!

The thing that strikes me odd about all this is ... normally that would have left me shaking and off-center for the rest of the day, but yesterday ... not so much. Blew it off and kept going, kept smiling, was actually in a pretty good mood the rest of the day. Strange.

But it occurs to me ... maybe that's what was going on in my hyper-active muscles last night? Left-over tension I didn't recognize? Hmmm ...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coffee and Pork Rinds

Okay, did I eat a naughty and way too big lunch on Friday? Yes, yes I did.

Did I drink enough water over the weekend? No, have to admit I didn't.

Have I been munching on pork rinds since Friday?  Yes, indeed I have. Deep-fried salt, yeppers.

Have I spent the time on the spinner I should have since Friday? Well, no.

Did I have another naughty lunch yesterday? Yeah, if I'm honest.

Have I been basically inhaling sodium and not washing it out? Yeppers.

Gosh, why's that scale up 5 freakin' pounds this morning from Saturday? Hmmm, no clue. *wry grin*

I'm finding work to be a bit of a challenge, honestly (like that's uncommon). "Hey Kestrel, let's go get some coffee! Let's go get some lunch! Look, I brought you fancy chocolates from Texas!" (That was yesterday, and they're still sitting on my desk. Think I'll quietly give them away when nobody's looking.)

I start out with good intentions and enough food to carry me through the day (well, except for Friday, that was planned and I don't feel too terribly guilty about it), but the coffee especially kills me 'cause I can't just drink black coffee, noooooo, it has to have stuff in it. *inner child stamps foot and nods firmly*

I did find out yesterday that Starbucks keeps heavy whipping cream behind the counter and they're happy to drop a splash into my unsweetened iced coffee, yay! That'll help a LOT with keeping the carbs down and still being able to gulp coffee. Having said that, I really need to get a good travel mug and start taking my own to work with me.

NOT having coffee is really not an option right now. Yeah, I probably could stop drinking coffee, but honestly ... not gonna. This is fiscal year end, I'm working upwards of 12 hours a day plus several hours on weekends. Got two software projects that have to be in production by the 30th and they're not even in testing yet. Dodging political bullets and people who think that shouting and temper tantrums are appropriate communication skills (I find that sort of behavior absolutely appalling, personally, being naturally a pretty quiet and mild sort of personality).

Feeling like coffee is pretty essential for more than one reason, honestly: The caffeine boost is good, but also the sitting back, taking a sip, and letting the brain just be quiet for just a moment.

The pork rinds, however, have got to go.


And a huge THANK YOU to Jack Sh*t for the comment you left me yesterday. I was feeling rather worn and discouraged when I sat down and saw that ... almost cried ... it was exactly what I needed to hear last night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Have Such a Pretty Face

Yes, the one phrase I hated the most as a kid. "You have such a pretty face."  Always followed by, "You should lose weight so people can see it!"  What does that even mean to a kid, eh? My mental translation was you'd be pretty if you weren't so fat and I'd wonder how they could tell it was pretty if I was so fat that they couldn't see my pretty face ... meh, kid logic.

Have I got a pretty face? Dunno, really. I've never really seen it. Yep, always been fat. Fat baby, fat teenager, fat old lady. Thinking it's time to find out.

Ooooh, a bit emo today, me. Time to get that back under the hat!

Little triumphs: 20 pounds down today, and I have to dig out my smaller (heh) cycling shorts 'cause the ones I've been using are creeping up into places they ought not!  Also, was able to move around a bit more on the bike today ... even let go of the handlebars and sit up to pedal for a bit!  20 minutes felt easy - will add another 5 on the next round.

Sorry I've been so quiet all weekend ... haven't slept worth a damn the last several nights and had to go in to the office yesterday and today. I'm still here, still plugging away, still peeling off an ounce at a time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Aaaaand ... Happy Dance!

Whew, survived the doctor yesterday and was actually pleasantly surprised! He started right off about my weight and I held up one hand and said, "Stop, please, and look at the difference between my last visit and today." He did and his eyebrows flew up into his hairline! *grin* 16 pounds down in six weeks!

Suddenly the whole tone of our conversation changed and we actually did have a good conversation. He asked how I was doing it, turns out he's a big believer in low-carb. He listened carefully when I told him I needed a little assistance, explained about my physical challenges (back, knee, sciatica) and how they interfere with my need for exercise, and asked him about a better/safer anti-inflammatory than Aleve, then smiled and nodded and gave me a prescription for something (will tell you the name tomorrow, just dropped off the prescription yesterday without looking too closely at it).

The only thing that troubled me at all about that visit was that he kept gently plugging his clinic's weight-loss program, but it wasn't a big deal. He didn't push too hard, but did say several times, "You'll stall. You'll stop losing weight. This one really keeps that from happening. You have to stay under 1200 calories to really lose weight, you know."

Meh. Stalling happens on any diet. We all know weight loss isn't linear. Medical research is learning that it's not necessarily tied to a specific number of calories, either. I know that at this stage if I dip below around 1400 calories my body will lock up and refuse to let go of the weight. I also know that, because of my food issues (more on those as time goes on), if I start feeling like I'm deprived I'm gonna lose control and gorge.

I did go have a look at the website for this diet, "Ideal Protein." Near as I can tell it's basically high/protein/low-carb-ish/low calorie but you have to buy all their products. I don't think it's necessarily a bad diet. I bet it works, but lots of diets work.

For now I'll happily stick to stuffing my face with low carb/high-fat/moderate protein chicken and eggs and getting some damn exercise. For now it's working very well. S'all I really need to know, innit?

Oh, and 289.6 this morning!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Insert Clever Title Here

My brain's all over the place this morning, and not in a very happy way. Got hit with a sudden headache last night (and I'm not prone to headaches like this) that kept me awake for hours. Finally got to sleep to be awakened by the cat shouting at me around 2am (bloody fur-toddler). Head still hurts, although not quite as bad. Aching all over, though, and feeling like I'm coming down with something. Gotta get in the shower and get to work, though. Damn.

Also dreading going to see the doctor tomorrow morning. The last time I saw this one was two years ago, when I was just starting to look for a new one (long story). It was my third visit to him, and I'd gone in because I'd had sciatica so bad, for over a month, that I could hardly function for the pain. I tried to tell him look, it's been over a month, there's something wrong here, I need your help, and the old prescription for Flexeril that I've been slowly working through isn't even touching it.

He looked at me, very seriously, all sad-eyed, and said "Of course it hurts. You're fat. Come back in another month if it's not better," and proceeded to write me another prescription for the same drug I'd just told him wasn't working! At this point I was in tears, literally, of anger and frustration and shock. I took the prescription and walked out, swearing I'd never go back to him again.

I went to see a chiropractor the next day, who said "Of course it hurts. Look how far out of alignment your hip is!" He poked, prodded, bent, and twisted and I was walking and sitting comfortably that day!

Anyway, I went through a couple of other doctors and found myself back in his practice but seeing his P.A, who I really liked ... and now his P.A. has gone off to greener pastures and I'm back to trying this guy again.

Hopefully I can be a bit more assertive this time and not just sit there and cry helplessly like a big baby. I'm seriously dreading this.

On the bright side, though ... and it's a major bright side ... 291.5 this morning!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I miss my bike ... my REAL bike!

Y'know, it wasn't many years ago (five, maybe) I was riding my road bike a lot. Rode it to work and home most days (~8 miles each way, 10 if I went around the long way and hit Starbucks (yes, I do have a coffee cup holder on my handlebar)). Longer rides on weekends. I was averaging 100 miles every week and loving it. Starting to do long organized rides. The longest single-day ride I did was 56 miles, and I was training for my first century (100 miles).

I had started riding as a way to get fit and have something I could do with my (now ex) husband, an avid cyclist his entire life. Started out on a cheap hybrid that I felt "safe" on, as it had been a good 20+ years since I'd even been ON a bike, but soon caught the riding bug and graduated to a steel-frame touring bike. He was the "bike expert" so I bought the bikes that he insisted were the best for me, and I struggled for a long time trying to make them fit my body on frames that were, in hindsight, wayyyy too small for me ... even down to having a custom frame built but letting him measure me for it ... I ended up giving that frame to his sister. She's 5" shorter than me and it fit her perfectly.

I finally woke up to the real problem, put my foot down, and picked out my own bike without his influence. It fit me like a glove and I loved it. His only comment when I brought it home: "I would never have dreamed of putting you on a frame that big ... but you were right!" (I think that was the only time in our 10-year marriage that he admitted that I was right about anything! *grin*)

I absolutely loved riding that bike. It felt like a dream! But I had only put around 300 miles on it before I suddenly started having problems with my joints, directly related to a medication I'd taken for a number of years, and had to stop riding. It took two years to get that med completely out of my system and my joints to start settling down enough that I could try riding again, and then every time I did something else would happen that would stop me. Seemed like every time I'd sling my leg over the saddle I'd wind up hurting myself in a completely unrelated way within just a few days.

I still have that bike, still love that bike, wish I could actually ride that bike. It sits in my living room, mocking me. I can see it when I'm on the spinning bike. I can hear it calling me, "Isn't that booooring? Wouldn't you rather be out there on meeeee?" I pedal that spinning bike a little faster and daydream about hearing the pavement sing under my tires.

I keep spinning and make promises to my bike: "Soon, bike. I promise. Soon. I'll do what it takes, whatever it takes. You and me, we'll be back out there very soon. I swear."

We will. I promise.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back In the Saddle Agaaaiiiinnn ...

... out where a friend is a  ... wait! Hold yer horses, mister Gene Autry! I don't EVAH wanna be THAT intimate with my saddle, thankyouVERYmuch!

*embarrassed cough*

Bike saddle, that is. Ermm, yeah. Lordy. Thought I'd try swapping saddles for a while 'cause my arse is getting bruises from having to hold all my (considerable) weight on my sit bones. Unfortunately I obviously didn't adjust it quite right 'cause, while it was easier on my butt, I kept sliding down it while I pedaled until I was FAR more friendly than I ever care to be with an inanimate object.

Well, with a bike saddle, at least. *innocent blink*

Anyway, made it fifteen minutes ... although I had to stop every three or four and pick the damn saddle out of embarrassing places. Had a good look at it after the ride and realized that I've got the nose pointed a bit down there, which explains much. Nothing like trying to stay in one position on a Slip 'n Slide for that long; my hands feel bruised from trying to hold myself on the back of the bloody thing.

Will take a break, drink some water, and adjust it for tomorrow's ride. Maybe see if I can get another ten minutes on it today 'cause I'm feeling energetic. Aaaand I'm looking at my 100 mile goal for this month and feeling a bit nervous 'cause I'm at a whopping six and a half.

Not really a subject change, but kinda: In the past I've had a bad habit of pushing myself too hard with the exercise and hurting myself so that I can't exercise for several days (sing out if this sounds familiar). I'm a bit over-thinking this, I know, but mentally fussing because I feel like I want to ride more but afraid that if I do then I won't be able to ride tomorrow. Does that make any sense at all?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do ...

... do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe

Yeah, that quote is on my home-office wall now, a reminder that it's me who's holding myself back here. Nobody and nothing but me not dreaming, not doing, not being bold enough to do what I so badly want to do.

Bleah, enough seriousness for a Sunday morning. Time for a little celebration!

The fur-toddler saw the vet again yesterday and was pronounced healing ... I'll be able to take that Cone of Shame and Misery off her head tomorrow. Just as well, 'cause she's obviously feeling much better and is driving me nuts with her boredom!

15 minutes on the spinning bike this morning, the longest yet!  The only thing I'm struggling with there is that I'm putting so much weight on the saddle that my arse is getting bruised. Might swap out the saddle today for a softer one just for a little while.

Aaaaaand my scale finally, FINALLY!, dropped down below 295! (Okay, 294.5 counts, dammit!)


I'm experimenting a little with my diet here, trying to knock out of the stall ... basically going Very Low Carb for a little while, what the Low-Carbers call the Meat and Eggs Life Program. Seriously, seriously low-carb (yes, I'm taking my vitamins and gulping water). All the eggs and meat you can eat, but no veggies or grains and very little cheese or dairy. Right around 5 total carbs a day.

The most obvious advantage is that it absolutely kills my appetite. I started it two days ago and was a little concerned about how my body would feel, but so far I feel pretty good and reasonably energetic on it.

It's not a long-term diet plan, I don't think, but just something to kick my body awake again and help it break out of this very frustrating stall. Cross your fingers for me, eh?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wishful Shrinking

So I found myself laying in bed this morning having a think and talking to myself, an activity I frequently partake in. I also talk to inanimate objects and the cat. I like to think of myself as mildly eccentric. "Insane" is such a negative word, don't'cha think?

Anyway, "Self," I says, "do we really think we're doing everything we can to lose weight?"

"Of course we are, " I reply, "we're watching what we eat and getting some exercise." Self looks kinda smug at this point, not seeing where this conversation is going yet.

"But, Self, are we really doing everything we CAN to lose it?" Self is starting to look a bit worried and mutters something under my breath here but doesn't reply. "Seriously, Self, how badly do we want to dump the weight?"

Oooh, Self is starting to sound a bit defensive here: "Very badly! You know we do, dammit!"

"Well then, Self, we know we're not doing everything, don't we?"

"Well yeah, we are! We're watching what we eat and getting some exercise, aren't we?"

"Sure, sure." A soothing tone, calming my prey before leaping for the throat. "We feel like we're working hard at it, Self. We know. But let's be honest with each other for a moment, can we? We're not doing everything we could be doing, are we? There's a lot we could be doing that we're not, isn't there?"

"Whaddya mean?!"

"Well, Self-my-dear, let's start with water."

Self exclaims, "But we're drinking water!"

"Yes, yes, we are. But enough water? No, I don't think so. Most days, sure, we're drinking 3 liters or more. Days that we're at work. But we're letting life and laziness get in the way, aren't we? C'mon now and think: How much water did we have yesterday? One glass? Is that really the best we can do?"

A long sigh from Self, "No, I suppose not."

"And what about exercise, Self?"

"But ... but ... ", came Self's sputtering reply, "but we DID exercise all weekend! We're still sore from that!"

"Oh really. Indeed we did get a lot of exercise over last weekend and yes, we're still a bit sore, but does that mean we get a free pass from exercising all week? It's Friday, FFS, Self. We've done nothing all week! Are we seriously using a bit of soreness as an excuse to not exercise at all?"

"Okay, yeah, I suppose it's an excuse."

"Yeah, we know it is. Anyway, what about the food? And shush, we both know what we're about to say there! No, we haven't been as good as we could be. What about the Thai restaurant on Tuesday where we wolfed down Pad Thai and chocolate/chocolate/chocolate cake? Or the other Thai restaurant on Thursday when we sucked down two big plates of food like we were fresh from Ethiopia?"

Self looks down and sighs but doesn't say a word.

"Now look, Self, we both know we want to shed this fat suit but neither of us are really doing everything we could be to make that happen. Time to suck it up, buttercup, and get on with what we both know we need to be getting on with, innit? We CAN do this, we ARE doing it, we just need to keep our collective eyes on the road in front of us and get it done."

"Oh, stop sniveling, Self. It's not a big deal. We're not a great big fat failure, honest, we just need to keep evaluating and re-evaluating what we're doing to make sure we're doing what we can. Here, have a pork rind."

*sounds of contented munching*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hmmm, will threatening the scale work?

Argh! The scale's been bouncing up and down the same five pounds for two-plus weeks now! I keep telling myself that a) my muscles are sore, so there's water retention there, b) I'm on the verge of TOM so there's water retention there, c) my clothing is fitting looser and looser, so something's happening to the fat, d) patience, grasshopper, you've gotta get some ... but it's not helping. I'm impatient. I want to see numbers move! Dammit!

I know that, with the exception of Tuesday's birthday lunch where I gave myself permission to misbehave within reason (and kept it within reason) I've been pretty consistently keeping my carbs under 20 net. I feel like my calories are a bit high, typically between 2000 and 2500, but that's still low enough for the weight to be creeping off. Supposedly. I've been pretty active, although not as much as I could be (here comes excuse: by the time I get home from work I'm so tired all I want is supper and zzZZZzzzz).

But damn you, evil scale of evilness! Move! Noooo, not THAT way! The OTHER way! Now!

(Why yes, I AM obsessing. Again. Or, well, still. *sheepish grin*)

In other news, the cat is still deeply unhappy with her cone of shame, but acting like she's feeling quite a lot better. I had to chase the pill bottle top across the room today after pushing the antibiotic down her throat (hey, exercise!) and she managed to reboot my computer in the process.

She's like a little furry toddler, she is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To be or not to be - that's not even a question

My best friend tells me that I'm channeling my inner lesbian. Threatening to buy me flannel shirts. Cheering me on like only he can do, being one of the sweetest men I've ever met (damn shame he's gay, he'd be in soooo much trouble otherwise). I tell him there'd better be a lesbian in those flannel shirts 'cause I need a wife! It'd be bloody marvelous to come home to a clean house and a meal, and between work, exercise, and power tools, the housework is suffering even more than usual.

Not that I wasn't a total failure as a housewife already. Heh.

I feel like I'm reinventing myself here. Well, perhaps not reinventing ... becoming the person I always secretly thought I wanted to be anyway. I was a seriously tomboy kid who hated dressing up, despised anything pink, and just wanted to wear jeans and climb trees. Drove my mother, who desperately wanted a girlie girl in pink ruffles, absolutely to distraction. Somewhere out there is a photo of me at around five years old ... long blond hair in ring curls, a pink gingham dress, looking seriously disgruntled. She'd send me to school in dresses and tights (always pink or white tights, blech!) and then cry, literally cry, when I'd come home with holes in the knees, mud on the skirt, and scuffs on my (gods, I hated those things) brown and white saddle shoes.

I wanted jeans, dammit! I wanted to play on the monkey bars and grub around in the dirt with the rest of the kids!  I was born without the "stay clean and tidy" gene, I'm pretty certain ... one of those kids who had to be stood on a chair to wait for church 'cause I couldn't move without getting grime on my dress ... and quite frankly that hasn't changed with age. *sigh*  My day hasn't properly started 'til I'm wearing my coffee, at minimum. *grin*

As a young adult, the moment I was out of mom's hands I was into jeans, ratty tennies, and t-shirts. Another thing that hasn't changed with age, 'cept my shoes aren't ratty anymore. Usually a bit scuffed and dirty, yeah, but at least they're not ragged. I still wear pretty much nothing but jeans and t-shirts.

I realized at some point in this last month that the person I think I am, the person who I've always seen myself as, is an Ellen DeGeneres sorta woman: Casually comfortable, strong and confident, self-defined. Not spending a lot of time and energy on what our culture says a woman should be, if that makes sense? 

I LIKE wearing jeans and t-shirts and comfortable shoes. I DON'T like, and refuse to, spend time and money on make-up and fancy hairstyles that demand a lot of time in the morning. I DON'T enjoy spending a lot of time and mental energy on my clothing. I HATE shopping, especially that part where you have to go to stores and deal with crowds while trying on a bunch of clothing (okay, part of that's my weight, I know). I would enjoy being able to wear "cute" shoes and nicer shirts, but they'd still be on the very-casual side because that's who I AM. Even when I'm slender and fit I'll be wearing jeans and t-shirts because I LIKE wearing them. 

So back to the whole point here: It's finally dawned on me that I can BE who I see myself as. All it will take to BE that person is some time and a bit of effort. I just turned 44. I can BE myself by the time I hit 45. All I have to do is start being ME right now. 

This whole train of thought was initially triggered a few months back by a conversation with office-mate. She's a very girlie girl, and nothing wrong with that, but she's also a very ...hmmm ... what's the right word here? "Judgemental" might be a bit too strong, but there's definitely a connotation of that. Anyway, one day out of the blue she says, "You know, you really should dress up more like a girl. Do your hair and wear some make-up." 

My first, knee-jerk, response was, "Why?" 

"Well, because you just should. You're a girl, you know."

"What is this "should" you speak of, office-mate? Who says? Who GETS to say I "should" wear a certain style of clothing or waste time in the bathroom painting my face and styling my hair every day? Just remember that I'm a software engineer and be thankful I wear clean clothes and take a shower every day, mmkay?"

She dropped it there, smart woman, but of course I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. And deciding that I'm right, at least where I'm concerned: The only "should" here is what I decide for myself. 

And I "should" be me. Just me. This is who I am, and I like me.