Thursday, January 31, 2008

Resentment

This is a topic that comes up time and again – rollergirls at one time or another resenting roller derby. Now, for those of you out there who aren’t in derby, I think you can pretty much read this blog and substitute “roller derby” with whatever your hobby is. We all do it.

Last night I was talking with some ladies, some very new and some semi-new to our league, who each expressed a loss of momentum. Some sort of setback that made derby “no longer fun.” In our league, you have a training program that advances you into being able to participate more fully in practices, scrimmaging, and eventually bouting.

One league mate expressed her concern over the fact that she didn’t “pass” on to the next level when she was assessed. She stopped skating 4-6 times a week, the momentum slowed to a halt, and she now somewhat resents derby because of this “little failure.” I’m calling it a failure, but it really isn’t.

Another league mate who is still on the long road to total recovery after a bad break expressed her frustration at it taking her so long to get back to the level she was at before the injury. Her endurance is down, and she is impatient to get to a place where she could be ready to scrimmage or bout. She, too, is somewhat resentful.

As I was talking to each of these ladies, I wanted so badly to be able to say that things would get better and once they overcame this current problem they were having it would be smooth sailing, but that’s simply not true. There’s always something that’s going to make you feel like shit – a new drill you just can’t complete, a move you can’t master, or a position you want to play that you just aren’t good at. Roller derby is a constant mental and physical struggle, just as is the rest of life – and anything worth it.

You look up to people in your league who are better than you – people who you assume find derby “easy.” Yet, a new girl who is just starting may look up to you and think the same about you, and the people you look up to are surely feeling the same way about people they look up to who are on other leagues. The bottom line is that someone will always be better than you at pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean that you should sabotage your fun because you can’t be #1 (out of thousands of women, no less).

The opportunities to resent your hobby, in my case derby, won’t pass you by. But, as anything else, you have to find a balance in your life.

The person who only felt “on top” of her game by skating 4-6 days a week was, in my opinion, being somewhat unrealistic with the amount of time she dedicated to skating. It’s great if you can and want to keep up that intense schedule, but you have to live too – work, grocery shop, hang out with friends and significant others, and just chill.

I was asked on Monday by a television reporter why I decided to do derby. I answered that the “why” had changed from when I was first introduced to it until now. I started doing it because it sounded cool and new and fun – like a great way to exercise. Now I do it for a totally different reason: because I’m not naturally good at it.

I think people unconsciously pick the things they do because they are good at them (at least on some level), so doing whatever that is is rewarding to them – and easily rewarding at that. Roller derby is hard for me. I’m not naturally good at it. I’m big, I’m slow, and I’m not too agile, but it’s fun for me to test myself – and extremely rewarding when I do something well.

Roller derby is my “fun thing” – it’s my hobby, my outlet, whatever you want to call it, and I don’t want to set myself up to resent something I love. Not doing that takes a conscious, active decision not to, but I really think it’s worth it.

When you find what it is that you love to do, don’t sabotage yourself. Think through the issue and know that it too will pass (even if more are to come). It will make you a better person.

Postscript: The CCRG television interview/segment will air on WBAL at 5:00pm, EST, on Friday, February 8, 2008.

It’s Great to Have Supportive Females when Your Female Parts Need Support

I was so upset yesterday afternoon that I couldn’t write. I didn’t want to take my frustrations out on you all, so I decided to keep my mouth shut and fingers off the keyboard.

Had the GYN visit yesterday morning and found none of it to be good news. It’s looking like I may have endometriosis or an IUD problem. Basically, my doc is humoring me by letting me get another sonogram (we meet again, Mr. Wand…) to make sure it isn’t a cyst problem (which she – and I now too – doesn’t think it is) before having my IUD removed and a laparoscopy in my lady bits.

I felt so defeated. I know this is a problem I couldn’t have seen coming, isn’t my fault, and is in no way preventable, but I just felt so totally and utterly defeated. After the exam (whilst having my period) yesterday, they tried to get me to go have the sonogram immediately after, but I passed. I HAVE MY PERIOD. Now, I know this is “no big deal” for “medical professionals,” but I already feel bloated and like my junk could fall out at any second, aside from the fact that I’m bleeding, so no, I don’t want the wand experience today. I decided to wait till Monday and instead take the pain pills until then.

After all the aforementioned bullshit, I really didn’t want to go to roller derby practice, but I did. And I’m glad I did. My girls could tell something was wrong as soon as I walked in there, and they asked. I told them about my day, and the amazing thing was that several people overhearing my conversation were like, “Endometriosis? I have that!” and “If you do have it, we can have matching scars!” As stupid as it sounds, it was really comforting to know I’m not alone and that someone was excited about having matching scars with me. Insert big sigh of relief here.

As an aside, I’m absolutely amazed at what I’ve learned regarding the female reproductive organs in the past month or so that I had no idea about before. For instance, did you know that each month a cyst forms on one of your ovaries? I had always thought, “Ok, egg is released by the ovary, travels through the fallopian tube, yadda, yadda…” I assumed the fallopian tube was attached to the ovary, and the eggs just lined up and came out when it was their turn. Not the case. Each month an ovary develops a “follicle,” a fluid-filled sac, that contains the egg that is to be released. It bursts and the egg makes the trek to the fallopian tube. If the follicle doesn’t burst, it’s then called a cyst. Huh. Never knew that. It’s things like these that make me slightly disappointed in the sex education classes of my youth. I truly had a very brief and simplified explanation of my lady bits, and as a near 30-year-old I’m embarrassed that I truly don’t know the actual inner workings of my sex organs.

New blog not about lady bits to come later this afternoon. The topic? Resenting what you’re suppose to love. Discuss! (over some coffee and with a Jewish lady who resembles Mike Myers, of course)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sometimes You Feel Like #2, Sometimes You Don't

After a very fun evening of roller derby practice last night I should be in a good place, but instead I’m sitting in my office wondering when the pain will go away. Surprisingly, the pain has nothing to do with a derby injury, but instead it has everything to do with a very painful ovarian cyst that has been causing me recurring problems, including a severe dull pain on my left side that is somehow connected to my sciatic nerve, thus sending shooting sharp pain down my ass, and sometimes my leg.

I finally made the connection between the sciatica and the cyst today (although, I’ve contemplated it for a while). Whenever I get my period, the cyst and my left side hurt and the sciatica gets way worse. I feel like I’m constantly falling apart – having to go to the doctor for this or that. I swallowed my pride though, and have a GYN appt tomorrow. It really sucks having something like this, that you have no control over, rule how you feel all the time. Alas, I will now follow the orders on my dog’s favorite tee shirt – “No Whining” (although last time he wore it he peed all over it, and I’m kind of feeling similar sentiments about whining now).

As for last night, I got “stuck” playing Pivot twice in a row (I usually play Blocker 2 – outside blocker). I’ve never wanted to play Pivot because of the helmet panties – they keep air from flowing freely through your helmet vents, and my head sweats like James Gandolfini in a sauna with his lawyer and the self-proclaimed “biggest fan” he attacked yesterday (okay, I can’t give up TMZ.com quite yet…). And I can’t concentrate when I’m that hot.

Somehow I managed to get past the panties last night, and I actually pivoted pretty well! One of my home team captains was in my second jam as Pivot with me and asked me afterwards if I’ve ever considered playing Pivot more frequently.

“No,” I said, “But after that, I think I may want to.”

After all, regardless of my position in the pack, I’m always running my mouth and telling my teammates where to go – Drop back! Get up here! Behind you! And that’s part of what a pivot’s suppose to do. I wonder if they make mesh panties (Ick! Immediate thoughts of Borat’s mesh tighty-whiteys after typing that!)? I think I can get over the excess head sweat for a position I’m actually intrigued about.

This Friday at 7pm I’m captaining Team PBR, an expo team that will be bouting another CCRG expo team at Saint Francis Academy in Baltimore (E. Chase St.). If you’re in the area, come by and watch us poison the minds of schoolchildren whilst wearing PBR tees (kidding, they hand out beer in the cafeteria! [double kidding, their coach said the tees were fine]). You may even get to see my play Pivot and sweat in my panties. And for the record, that would be both sets of panties!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Eternal Happiness Via Text Message

I get the following message from Betty Beatdown at 1:15am Sunday morning:

“You got no legs but you’re running thru my mind.”

At first I was confused, but then I started laughing hysterically. This was a lyric to a song by our old college band, The X-Girlfriends. I had totally forgotten about the song that was titled the same as the text message. The rest went like this:

“You got no legs but you’re running through my mind.
Mark, Mark, Mark, oh would you please be mine?
I must seem so pathetic
To dig a guy with two prosthetics.
Hey! Hey! Hey!
Don’t you run away from me!”

It’s funny how things like that sit in the back of your mind. If you had asked me to name our old songs, I honestly would have forgotten that one, but it’s one of the best (and funniest) in my opinion.

We took a trip to the American Visionary Art Museum this weekend, which is featuring an exhibit on religion. My favorite series on display was several hundred postcards an artist had solicited from strangers. He must have asked people to discuss their joys, fears, expectations, and questions about their religion or lack thereof. It was wonderful, because there were so many things listed on these postcards that I think about regularly – it was nice to know the questions and feelings I have are universal to some extent. As egocentric as it is, part of me thought I was the only person who thought these thoughts.

One such thought was something to the extent of: “I’m afraid no matter what I do in this life that in the end it will not matter, and anything important that I did will not be remembered. I’m afraid that when I die there won’t be an afterlife, I’ll lose who I am, and I’ll cease to exist in any form.”

It must be a human thing to place such importance on longevity of the self (at least in our culture). We become so attached to who we are that we become afraid that all will be lost when we die, and that strips some of us of purpose in life.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when I die, but I am somewhat concerned that the part of me that’s me will be lost forever. I like who I am. Yet, I always come to the conclusion that there’s no fighting whatever it is that happens or doesn’t happen, since I don’t have a say in it anyhow. I conclude to just do my best to be happy and respectful and help others even though the not knowing really bothers me.

So, then, I started thinking about the song lyric Betty had texted me. It existed somewhere in my mind, but I had totally forgotten about it. Yet, it made me so happy when she texted the lyric to me. I texted her back the next line of the song, “Mark, Mark, Mark, oh would you please be mine?”

I’m now thinking that maybe it doesn’t matter if anyone remembers me or anything I do in this life. What’s rad, instead, is my remembering it, just like the song I had forgotten. That one text message generated so much happiness, one of my main goals in life. I’ve always hated the notion of doing something in this life to gain happiness after it. I want the happiness now, and I seem to be getting it, so that, in turn, also makes me happy. I suppose I’m doing an okay job.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Roots

My mom called me last night and told me the following two things: we’re Jewish and my great, great, great grandparents’ names were Mary and Joseph.

Being Jewish doesn’t come as a big surprise to me. For my entire life I’ve had strangers asking me if I’m Jewish. Now, I suppose, I can finally say “yes.” It is, however a bit odd that this little nugget of heritage that so many other people consider very important to them was lost completely not so long ago.

My grandmother has always told me stories of my great, great grandparents – the first generation to come to America. Her grandmother (my great, great) was German, living in Baltimore, and her grandfather was Irish – a stowaway. They met, got married, and opened the very first bar in Fells Point (now, The Horse They Rode In On). For those of you not from Baltimore, Fells Point is the bar district. It’s on the harbor, it’s where Poe got that last intoxicating drink that caused him to fall down and die in an alley on the way back to his house. I digress.

My grandmother has told me wonderful stories of her grandparents. Her German grandmother was over 6 feet tall, while her husband was barely 5 feet. When the drunks at the bar got too rowdy, it was her grandmother’s job to sling the men over her shoulder, deposit them on the back porch, and call the cops. They also had a parrot that sat on the edge of the bar that they taught to say, “Have another beer! Have another beer!”

It was my grandmother’s job to walk to the bar each night to meet her grandmother and walk her home, and, as I deduce, it was her grandmother that was the last one to consider herself Jewish. I can only assume her Irish Catholic husband insisted the kids be raised Catholic (they lived in a large Irish Catholic neighborhood), and that was the last anyone spoke of the Jewish heritage. Really, it’s no different than what happens today when people of two faiths get married and have kids.

For me, finding out I’m Jewish has only confused things. I was baptized Christian as a kid, grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family (against my own free will), and now more closely identify with Eastern religious ideas, but I surely don’t identify myself as anything. I got ordained over the internet to marry some friends of mine in a few months, and I selected “Buddhism,” because it seemed to be the best of the worst listed on the drop-down menu, and I had to select something. So now, I’m the Jewish Reverend Tara Gebhardt, ordained Buddhist Priestess, baptized by the Baptists. I can only take solace in the notion that my amalgamation of identities is indicative of the majority of the population of the rest of the world.

Really, we’re all just mutts. I may be American, German, and Jewish, but further back I was African, like we all were when we learned to walk upright. At which point is it “correct” to assume your identity? My situation is further complicated by the large respect Jewish people have for their Jewish heritage (although my great, great grandmother was apparently a bad Jew for renouncing this). Part of me thinks this is just “popular.” In BC times, were Jewish people saying or identifying themselves with some other heritage that came before them? Totally confusing.

I talked to my friend, Mike, last night who put me through the wringer of questions to determine if I really am Jewish or not. Ultimately, according to Mike, because I’m only part Jew, but because the Jewish was passed down on my mother’s side (and through the mothers leading back to the 100% German Jewish relatives), I am technically Jewish now. Well, I pretty much always was – I just never knew it.

Part of my wants to find out more about this part of me that was lost, but the other part of me isn’t too pressed to do so. As it is now, I only know what I’ve learned from my Jewish friends. I know I can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery because of my tattoos, which doesn’t bother me since I don’t want to be buried anyhow. Alas, there’s much more to know than that.

My friend, Mike, welcomed me to the club last night and told me the only requirement was to start feeling like everyone is out to get me. Check.

I’m sure you’ll see some more blogs about this in the near future, since I still can’t seem to wrap my head around the implications of what I’ve just found out. Perhaps I’m confusing myself for no good reason. Perhaps this is an opportunity to learn more about history. Perhaps it’s a time where my mind and sense of self is liberated from labels and things I’ve always been told I am. Just about the only thing I can deduce that means anything is that you are who you are based on who you are in your lifetime, not someone else’s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Z-List Celebrity Status

Last night I was in Giant doing some after-work grocery shopping when I thought I heard my name: Cindy Lop-her.

“OMG, I have a fan,” I thought, which was immediately followed by, “What the hell am I thinking? I’m hearing what I want to hear. No one knows who I am, especially no one in this neighborhood. Stop being so self centered.” I was embarrassed that I thought someone actually recognized me. Lame. Then, following this internal diatribe, I hear the following exchange:

“That IS her. I told you!”

“What?”

“That’s Cindy Lop-her – I know it is!”

By this time the exchange is really loud. I’m in the center of an aisle, and these people are outside the aisle by the meat.

“Why don’t you go up and introduce yourself to her?”

“Because I don’t want her to think I’m crazy! That’s her! That’s her!”

At this point, I was extremely uncomfortable. I think I would have been okay if someone had just tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Cindy Lop-her. Instead, this couple was having a very loud argument in front of the meat, and I had gotten what I needed from that aisle, my cart directed away from them. I panicked. I had not let on during the very brief but loud discussion that I knew they were talking about me, so I continued shopping – flustered as hell.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been recognized outside the rink or a derby event. I’ve had people come up to me at the lake, the gym, and at parties or bars. I just never thought the grocery store.

So, here’s the part where I reveal another embarrassing guilty pleasure of mine that I’m now rethinking after last night: reading gossip columns. That’s right. As an editor by day, I read for practically 8 hours, so when I get home, I usually don’t want to pick up a book. Instead, I’ll go to one of my favorite celebrity websites: TMZ.com, perezhilton.com, or gofugyourself.com. And if I’m home early enough, I’ll watch TMZ followed by E! News and The Daily 10. I’m straight up addicted. I follow Lindsay Lohan’s “Legging Watch 2008,” Gummi Bear, and all the Britney drama. I’m the reason why celebrities have no privacy.

It’s easy to hide behind my computer or TV screen, and it’s not like my encounter last night was IN ANY WAY bad or threatening or unwanted. In fact, I’m totally cool with strangers coming up to me and talking about Cindy Lop-her, because it means they like and are interested in derby, and ultimately, it’s the fans that will determine derby’s longevity. But, if my overhearing this couple’s argument made me forget half the items on my list that was right in front of me, then I can only imagine what 20 paparazzi following you down the street, from your car to the store, can do to you.

I use to think that celebrities “asked for it,” but how different is that from someone saying or thinking that a woman was asking to be raped because of what she was wearing? Celebrities can change jobs (to a normal profession) just like a woman could put on a parka and leggings (!), but what’s the point? It’s a free country, and I think I should respect celebrities just as much as I do my coworkers, friends, and anyone else I see on the street. It’s gonna be hard to kick this gossip column addiction, but I’m willing to give it a try.

As for Cindy Lop-her, she'll be sure to keep a Sharpie on hand at all times for autographs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Talked (and CCRG Won)

As you may remember, I’ve been pretty fucking geeked preparing for my role as “announcer” at the Charm City vs. Dallas bout. I special ordered an “announcing dress” from Angela at Mode Merr, and it rocked so hard that the dress itself was my sole introduction to the audience by fellow announcer, Dirty Marty.

The dress matched our players uniforms exactly. Angela took the time to match up the yellow of our jerseys with the satin of my dress. It was yellow satin up top, black pencil skirt down below, and 4-and-a-half-inch red patent leather Jessica Simpson heels with matching (red, not patent leather) legwarmers – I looked fucking hot.

Knowing I looked good made me less self conscious about being up there in front of 1,000 fans. It’s weird, I have NO PROBLEM being the center of attention in skates and booty shorts, but I feel awkward in a dress and heels – go figure. It was a whirlwind. I announced and thanked my follow announcers and the crowd, and then I introduced the referees – the whole time having an out-of-body experience.

I’m going to let you in on something you may not know (and that I’m kind of embarrassed about). I used to do drama in high school, and I was the lead in several plays. Every single time I was on the stage, both in rehearsal and at actual performances, I would have the same out-of-body experience. It’s like I went on autopilot – I was physically there saying the words and doing the correct blocking (stage talk for moving around), but I could view myself doing it. Whatever part of me was acting was completely separate from my mind, and at times I would have freak outs as I thought to myself “how is this happening?” while I was performing. It was like that on Sunday.

It happened so fast, and before I knew it, it was over. Our ladies won 117 to Dallas’ 89. After it was all said and done, I think I made some witty remarks, chimed in at appropriate times, and gave a good player perspective.

Yes, being an announcer softened the blow of being at a bout where my league was bouting and I was not playing, but I still felt awkward. Any derby player will tell you, it’s SO HARD to sit on the sidelines and know there’s nothing you can do to help – you can’t jump in there, because you’re a spectator. It’s the same when you’re injured or pregnant on the sidelines with your team as it is when you’re just not on the team playing, and this was my 1st time being at but not skating in a CCRG bout (sans injury). It was hard, and if anything, it solidified the fact that I’m in no way ready to retire from roller derby. I want to skate.

Luckily, I’m captaining a team that’s playing an expo bout at St. Frances Academy on Friday, February 1: Team PBR!!! I love my beautiful dress, and I love to talk, but hell, I really fucking love to skate!


Photo courtesy epmd_derby.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's Next?

I remember a time when my coworkers were appalled that they had to pay a monthly fee to park at the lot adjacent to our office building. Sure, the corporate lemmings tried to make us feel better about it by letting us know that it would be deducted from our pay “pretax,” so we would actually be saving money, but really, paying to attend work? We’re all pretty use to that now – at least in Baltimore, where parking lots and garages abound, while almost no company has their own employee lot. Fine, I’ve accepted that many people pay to park where they work, but what’s next?

It’s always cold in my office and especially so on Mondays. In order to save money, the building management doesn’t turn the heat on until 6am on Mondays (it’s off all day Saturday and Sunday). I knew it was going to be cold today, so I put on a thermal shirt under my turtleneck and leggings under my pants. When I came in at 8:30am the office manager was wearing her winter coat, hat, and gloves. When my boss came in at 9:30am she wrapped herself in her scarf and a blanket and has kept them on ever since. Me? I had my space heater plugged in and sitting right next to my leg, and I drank about 3 cups of hot tea just trying to get warm. Then, around 11:00am, my power goes out.

Building management was called, and I come back from the bathroom to find the building manager and owner of my company in my office. The manager asks if this is my office. I say yes.

“See this here? This space heater?” he says to the owner, “She can’t have this in here. It trips the circuit.”

“Can you rearrange your office furniture to maximize the heat from the heater and no longer use the space heater?” I’m asked.

“Fine. Will do.”

What else could I say?

Finally the power comes back on, and I’m now in the middle of moving a desk and a lateral filing cabinet. You’d think that would warm me up, but no. It’s now 1:45pm, and I swear to god, it’s still only 45 degrees in here. I’m sitting here with a blanket wrapped around me, and I’m still cold. Granted, I should be thankful I’m inside, because my boyfriend is an Ironworker and has had to be outside in 17 degrees all day today, but then again, I didn’t choose an outside profession.

This has gotten me thinking. Building management is so freaking cheap that I wouldn’t put it past them to start charging us for utilities, and you know that would trickle down into my paycheck – pretax, albeit. WTF?

I’m just so mad that I’m still sitting here freezing. Today’s blog was going to about my first time announcing at last night’s bout against Dallas. I suppose it will have to wait till tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Music is the Soundtrack to Your Life

I really think it’s true that music is the soundtrack of your life. I can listen to a CD (or even tape) and know exactly what was going on in my life when I bought it or first listened to a song on it – I remember the season, who I was dating, what I was doing, and what I was thinking.

For instance, Gwen Stephanie’s “Holla Back Girl” played all spring and summer long when our league first formed. This was a time before we actually played roller derby, before we had closed practices, and this song played at the rink every night for “ladies skate.” I wouldn’t typically listen to Gwen, I don’t own anything by her or No Doubt, but I’ll always crank up the volume if Holla Back Girl comes on in the car.

When I was in high school I remember listening to Fugazi’s In On the Kill Taker. It was spring time, and there was a lot of rain that year. I remember listening to it during thunderstorms with my bedroom window open, drops of water splashing in through the window screen, and the smell of fresh-cut grass wafting in with the breeze. I felt like I was anticipating something. It was a great time in my life.

When I was a kid, I remember listening to Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual in the car with my dad. We would be on our way to picking up my girl-scout uniform or just making a trip to the store, and we’d sing along to every song on that album. We lived in Columbus, Georgia then, and I can even remember the scenery I saw driving along a certain road while we listened to that album. I remember looking at the cover of the tape – it was so colorful, and Cyndi Lauper seemed so cool to me! I wanted to dress just like her.

The problem is, I’ve been spending the last year listening to much of the same music – music from the past. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I could use something new. This morning on the way into work I was scrolling through my iPod and couldn’t find anything I wanted to listen to. I think I settled on an old Pixies album and then gave up after 3 songs and hit “shuffle.” I heard some Dead Milkmen, Ween, Twilight Singers, and Flaming Lips. Too bad none of them have any new albums out. Still, I want something new.

So, I’m thinking about how I got introduced to most of the music I have listened to in the past, because it’s not usually something I hear on the radio. I suppose most of it was word-of-mouth or a band I saw who opened for another band. Now I’m old and go to maybe 4 shows a year, and I don’t feel like any of my friend have the same taste in music as I do anymore.

So, readers, please. Is there an album you would recommend to me, and why? Help a sister out. I’m dying to recapture the exhilarating feeling you can get from finding something new and wonderful.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Confession

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been 29 years since my last confession. These are my sins:

I ate 4 pieces of cake yesterday. Granted, the cake was made from scratch – a lovely yellow cake covered with real chocolate frosting and lightly sprinkled with green sprinkles. The cake was so moist and dense that I could not help myself. And really, it’s better to eat a home-made cake than a store-bought cake, right?

In the past 48 hours I have been calling fellow drivers names: asshole, stupid bitch, idiot, and dumb cunt are some of the names I can remember off the top of my head. I have been trying really hard to be mindful while driving. I try and leave ahead of time so I don’t need to rush or get anxious if I’m behind a slow driver or an idiot, but for the past few days, my road rage has gotten the best of me. I truly am the dumb cunt who lacks patience and understanding. However, I have not given anyone the finger. That’s good, right?

I spent $35 on Listerine Dissolving Whitening Strips, because I like to whiten my teeth after I get a professional cleaning. I’m supposed to put the strips on twice a day. Lately, however, I have been slacking, and I have only been using them once a day. I truly am wasteful. In my defense, they are really a pain in the butt. Sure, they “dissolve,” so you don’t need to remove them, but they don’t really, truly dissolve, so after having them on it looks like I have chicken stuck between all my front teeth. Is this what keeps me from wearing them twice a day? No, it’s laziness, and for that I am sorry. I realize that some poor kid in Ethiopia is currently doing without Listerine Dissolving Whitening Strips, and I should be grateful and use the strips according to the directions. I will try and do better.

I have recently become obsessed with over-the-knee socks. I love the way they look, especially with booty shorts and roller skates. However, my legs are too chunky to allow me to wear over-the-knee socks, and I am jealous of the girls I see wearing them. Why can’t I wear them? If I could wear them, I bet I would rock them. Damn, American Apparel, making their sizes two sizes smaller than they actually should be! I want to wear over-the-knee socks so badly.

Last week my announcing dress arrived – it’s made in the colors of the Maryland flag, and I cannot stop trying it on. It is a little too big in the hips, so I’ll need to take it in before Sunday. Aside from that, I look hot in this dress – yes, that’s hot with two “t”s. My boobs look great, wrapped in the yellow satin, but my waist looks even better and is accentuated my by bootylicious hips and ass. I love this dress. I know it is wrong to love an object this much, but it makes me feel good about myself, so my love for it cannot possibly be that unwarranted and evil, right?

Ever since Monday I cannot stop boasting about my wonderful and amazing performance in the snake drills. Immediately after completing this feat, I told everyone in my vicinity about my accomplishment. I told J about it when I got home that night, and the next day I told all my friends at work about it and even blogged about it. Last night at practice I reiterated it to people whom I had already told on Monday, and I shared it with two of my friends who had not yet heard it. I’m talking about it again now, and not really because I’m ashamed of it, but because I just want to keep bragging. It’s like when you buy something really expensive, show it off to people, and then say, “I really shouldn’t have bought it! It was WAY too expensive!” It’s kind of like that.

Last, but not least, I took six bout posters from practice on Monday, and I have only posted two – one on my refrigerator at home and one on the door of my office. I said I would post them at businesses near my office, but I have yet to do so. Really, I collect the bout posters and just wanted to make sure I got one. Instead, I took five too many. I suppose I could go out during my lunch break today and post them in the neighborhood, but it’s cold and I’m wearing thin gaucho pants and fishnets. Still, I feel guilty whenever I enter my office and see the pile of posters just lying there, away from our adoring public. Perhaps I will suck it up and venture out later after all, because really, if I don’t, they will just remain here, hoarded in my office or in the trunk of my car.

I am truly sorry for these and for all of my sins.

My readers, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good
I have sinned against you,
Whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help,
to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

Hugs and Kisses,

Cindy Lop-her

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Because I Like to Talk

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Live from Putty Hill Skateland, I will make my debut as Charm City Roller Girls’ special guest announcer in our first CCRG All Stars home bout of the season against the Dallas Derby Devils.

I’ve been doing derby for 3 years now, and I decided to take a break (ha!). Okay, the only real part of it being a “break” is my decision to not try out for the travel team, the CCRG All Stars. Instead, I will be guest announcing our home games with the lovely Dirty Marty. This is wonderful because I like to talk – big surprise, huh?

So, come show me some love – and the CCRG All Stars too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"A Snake Deserves No Pity" - Yiddish Proverb

Last night I accomplish a long-time personal goal of mine – I finished a snake drill without having to stop to stretch my back. Actually, I finished not only one snake drill, but two back-to-back.

For those of you who know me, you know the snake drill has been my nemesis for the last 3 years. For those of you who don’t know me or don’t know roller derby that well, a snake drill is a drill we do at derby practice that requires a lot of stamina. You’re skating the perimeter of the track in a single-file line and you can be no more than one arms length away from the person ahead of you. The coach blows a whistle and the person at the end of the line sprints up and weaves in and out of the people in line ahead of her. Now, there’s many different types of snake drills you can do; you can just weave, weave and block others in line, weave by getting whips from others in line, or weave with a partner and offensively block others in line for your partner, who’s acting as the jammer. Last night we did the last two types of snakes I described.

I usually have to stop in the middle of a snake drill to stretch out my lower back. The repetition of skating in one direction, in one position, for such an extended period of time (20-30 minutes) causes even the most fit girls’ backs to cramp up. The key is managing the pain and working through it to finish the drill, something I’ve had little success with until now. In my early days of derby, I would get so cramped up that I would lose sensation and control of my legs. If I didn’t make it over to the sidelines to sit and stretch, my legs would literally give out and I would collapse right there – no matter how bad my brain wanted me to remain upright. In the past year, things slowly got better; I wouldn’t reach the point of collapsing, but I would reach an excruciatingly unbearable point where I would have to briefly stop and stretch once or twice during a snake drill.

I don’t know what to chalk my success up to. In all honestly, I was shocked that I was able to complete these two snake drills last night, of all nights, because I haven’t skated in nearly 3 weeks with the holiday time off and having been sick last week. I expected to suck air, but that wasn’t the case. Is it the extra exercise I’ve been doing outside of derby? The pain medication I took for my sciatic nerve earlier in the day? The soda I said no to all day yesterday? Sheer will? Something else?

Accomplishing things like this – physical things – is extremely hard for me. It’s much easier for me to problem-solve the abstract. I work better and connect more with ideas and business than I do with my own body. So, even though I’m elated to have completed the drills last night, I’m also extremely fearful that lightning won’t strike twice.

It’s weird, I’m kind of looking at the result, my finishing a snake drill, as something that isn’t up to me – something that’s out of my control. Part of me feels this way, since I can’t pinpoint why I could finally complete it. Part of me because I guess I still don’t believe in myself – in my own physical capacity. If this were something else, say a sponsorship deal I negotiated, I would have no problem celebrating that success and using it to launch other successful sponsorship deals. I would think “Ok, I’ve done it. I can do it now, so I can do it again,” which is contrary to how I feel about completing the snake drill.

I suppose I need to work on changing my mindset. It’s hard, but I know it will be worth it. Instead of looking at each practice as a chance to fail at a snake drill, I should look at it as a chance to succeed. Hopefully that change of perception will help me replicate my success.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bad Case of the Mondays

Today has sucked from the moment I awoke in the middle of the night to hear J getting sick in the bathroom. It all started with last night, really, when J came home with a bucket of the new KFC Hot Wings. It’s true, we were both suckered into buying them after watching the commercial – a wing without hot sauce that is still hot AND crunchy? We had to try it.

I was suppose to be Flexing this week, which means that I work an extra hour each morning and get to leave at noon on Friday, but that went out the window as soon as the wings made their encore for me at 6am. I usually get to work at 8:30am, so I should have been there at 7:30am, but instead I was there at 9am due to the inability to get off of the toilet to get ready for work.

I finally get my shit together (no pun intended) and make it downstairs to take my vitamins and let the dog out when I realize I forgot to pick up my antidepressant prescription yesterday. Insert long sigh here. At least I made lunch last night. But where’s the coffee? Why isn’t there coffee (not like I need it with the current state of my bowels)? Crap. I assumed the coffee pot was clean because it was in place and not on the sink. Wrong. It’s dirty, and J mustn’t have had time to wash and prepare the coffee. Boo, no coffee.

I make it out the door, and it’s drizzling outside. Whatever, I have a short walk to the car and an umbrella in my trunk for my walk into work from the garage. I’m already late, so I might as well stop by Giant and pick up my meds. God knows things will be even worse if I miss a dose! The only good thing so far is that I’m fairly sure we were able to fix the problem my car has been having – the random hesitation and sometimes inability to “go” even when I’ve got my foot on the gas.

Have you ever had one of those moments in the car where you realize you’re further along than you remember being, and you wonder if you accidentally blew any red lights or stop signs because you really haven’t been paying attention for the last 5 minutes that you’ve been driving? I was almost at Giant this morning when I was like, “How the fuck did I get here?”

I made it to Giant, got a spot right up front, and beat an old man to be the first in line at the pharmacy (beat, as in “raced him to the counter and won,” not as in “beat the hell out of him”). I got my meds, left, got to my garage, parked, popped open the trunk to get out my water and umbrella, but there was no umbrella. THERE WAS NO UMBRELLA! Luckily I was wearing a hat.

As I’m walking from the garage to my building I’m thinking about how bad I have to poop again. “If the handicapped bathroom is open when I get upstairs, I’m going right in there,” I thought. “Oh, god. Clench. Clench. Clench.” And then I’m thinking about that one episode of Torchwood where the Asian chick gets a necklace from the lesbian alien she’s been screwing that allows her to hear other people’s thoughts. And I’m glad that no one actually has that technology, because I would be really embarrassed to have someone know I was planning my next episode of explosive diarrhea and rushing at that. Well, I guess I wouldn’t be too embarrassed, because I’m obviously posting it here for all the world to see. It happens to us all at one point or another, right?

As I walk into my office building, I see this guy who looks familiar. Who is he? then it hit me. "Hello!" I shout at him as we pass each other. It's the semi-creepy guy I met at a party this past summer who told me he "knew me" because we park in the same garage - told me he had "watched me," that he knew my car (and all the stickers on it and had apparently formed some sort of idea of who I was based on that). When he realized who I was this morning he stopped and turned around to talk to me, but I couldn't do it, and I couldn't even be nice about it. I just hit the "elevator close" button and pretended I didn't see him turn around. Really, I'm too nice of a person.

I get off the elevator and the handicapped bathroom (the only “single” stalled bathroom at my work) is in use. I rush in to put my stuff down, take off my coat, and make it to the regular bathroom where I could care less at this point. When it’s between shitting your pants at work and having others hear you poop in the toilet, I’ll opt for #2. Enter our office manager. I’m now trapped in my office. I’m holding on for dear life as we discuss our weekends and how she’s feeling somewhat better from her cold, but still not all the way better. I make it to the bathroom, and luckily I’m alone.

For the next 3 hours I’m in the bathroom more than I’m at my desk. J calls. He couldn’t handle being at work in his condition of distress (and it had started to rain), so he went home where he now has the comforts of a clean, private toilet that is available any time he wants it. I’m jealous.

It’s now 1pm, and the handicapped bathroom is STILL in use, and I’m beginning to think someone just accidentally locked us all out of it. Great day for that to happen. I may have just tempted fate by eating the sandwich I brought for lunch, but damn it, I was hungry!

Yep, it’s Monday, alright. And I can’t wait for it to be over.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough

I’d like to say that I’m the type of person who immediately goes into problem-solving mode when the going gets tough, but the truth is that I have a personal freak-out period before I’m able to do anything. I freeze up. I’m paralyzed. And that’s scary as hell to me.

The worst type of news to receive is news that’s both bad and unexpected. The kind that you have to take immediate action on and the kind that has completely blindsided you at the same time – the kind that you’ve never even considered to be a possibility, so coming up with a solution is completely outside of your realm of comfort.

A year and a half ago my dad died unexpectedly. There were many factors that contributed to his death, but all were accidental, so I feel completely comfortable saying that his passing was 100% unexpected. It turned my life upside down. My dad was always the primary breadwinner in our house, and this was no exception up until his death. My mom works, but it’s not nearly enough to live off of. When we got the call that he had died, I think I grieved for all of 20 minutes before I started having the practical freak outs. What were we going to do? How would we pay for the funeral? How was my mom going to live? Where was she going to live? Was she going to have to live with J and me? Oh, fuck. FUCK.

I was paralyzed with all these thoughts swimming around in my head. On top of it, my mom was relying on me to come up with a plan. Not only did she have absolutely no idea how her own household was run, but also she was completely overwhelmed with the idea of having to learn how to run it and do it herself. I was completely freaked out trying to figure out how I was going to piece it all together. It’s hard enough learning something new with instruction, but having to search and dig for clues in a foreign environment is ridiculously hard.

The months following my dad’s passing were filled with visits to the bank, the lawyer, and the social security office. We went to court, spent hours on the phone, dug through piles of paperwork, and followed an endless amount of bureaucratic processes. I lived each day not knowing if the plan I had made was going to work. What if I missed something? I tried to be conservative with all my estimates. If I failed, I had no one to blame but myself, but my mom was the one who would suffer the consequences.

I think I instantly grew up the day my dad died. I no longer had a place to go if my own life didn’t work out. My safety net was gone, and now the roles were reversed and I was providing that for my mom. There was no room for failure, because at the very least I needed to be able to provide a sense of security – a secure, safe, comfortable home – for my mom. She’d already been through so much. She needed to know that things, on a practical level, were going to be all right.

Only time provided feedback for me. Luckily, I got it right. Well, I got enough of it right that nothing completely disastrous happened. My mom has been able to stay in her house, pay her bills, and continue working her job. The emotional impact of my dad’s death is a completely different story that isn’t reflected here.

This blog, posted out-of-cycle on a Sunday, is more for me than it is for you. I’m in the middle of another tough situation, albeit a drop in the bucket compared to my life a year and a half ago. Still, I’m writing this to try and gain perspective. To rid me of the paralysis I’m currently feeling. I know if I can make it through helping to get my mom’s life back in order, I can handle what I’m facing now. I can do this.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Alter Egos

As I walk through the customer service department at my work, I’m greeted with “Hi, Keisha.” At derby, it’s “Cindy” or “Ms. Lop-her.” When I’m with some old college buddies, it’s “Bone” (or sometimes “T-Bone the Meat Inspector”), and at home it’s just “Tara.” It’s fun to be called so many different names in the course of a day or a week. But who am I really?

Yesterday I was sitting in a coworker’s office, and she referred to our fellow coworker, Kevin, as “Special K,” which I thought was funny because the guy is somewhat “special” – just yesterday he said in an e-mail that he wanted to “crawl in a whole and hide.” Misuse of the word “whole,” instead of “hole” could be commonplace in other companies, but we work for a publisher. As I started to joke my coworker about Kevin being “special,” indeed, she informed me that “Special K” was his “cereal name,” and hadn’t they given me a cereal name? Unfortunately, I missed that memo. I don’t have a cereal name. I do, however, have a “ghetto name”: Keisha Champale (it’s funny, because I’m white). Sometimes they throw in a middle name to make it Keisha Shabooty Champale, because I have a “ghetto booty.”

It took me a while to get used to “Cindy.” For a long time I wouldn’t even realize people were talking to me, but I’m accustomed to it now. I always fall into a conundrum though when communicating to derby vendors or potential sponsors – do I use “Cindy Lop-her” or “Tara Gebhardt”? Part of me feels strange conducting business and not giving people my real name, but the other part of me feels odd about not using my derby name when, in fact, I’m conducting derby business. Ultimately, I sign things “Cindy Lop-her (aka, Tara Gebhardt),” and if they start addressing me as “Tara,” I start signing “Tara.” It always makes for good conversation, however, because everyone I come into contact with on behalf of derby wants their own derby name and seems to have fun dreaming up what it would be. That’s not too much of a stretch though – why wouldn’t you want to rename yourself?

Being able to assume your own alter ego is somewhat empowering. Okay, scratch “somewhat,” it IS empowering. It’s the one time you get to redefine how others see you. Do you want to be tough? Cute? Sexy? Funny? You decide.

I think we sometimes fall into playing these roles that other people assign us. I’ve talked about this before, in a previous blog, but I think it warrants revisiting. The problem is that we sometimes get stuck in these roles, and then time passes and we don’t know who we are anymore, we seem to have lost our way, or we no longer like ourselves. So why not reinvent yourself with an alter ego? You don’t need to be in derby to do it. Heck, people actually do this all the time, just on a smaller scale. Remember that series of commercials for Vegas where the vacationers use fake names – a different one each night? Or the women who switch wigs in the bathroom?

It’s fun to get away from yourself for a bit – whether you’re a racecar-driving lawyer while vacationing in Vegas, a rollergirl, or a person taking dance or pottery classes. I think this need to get away from ourselves is indicative of how complex we are as people. We crave change and betterment. Your name may not be Monet, but you may be an artist twice a week when you attend a drawing class. Broading your horizons enriches who you are, and eventually that person you want to be actually becomes part of you.

So, if you’re bored with the everyday, change it. Take control, and assign your own identity. Like the old farts who wrote the CSI theme songs wrote, “Who are you?”. And, yes, I do realize The Who was a band way before CSI took over all US cities and timeslots on network TV.

So, who am I? I'm all of the above and perhaps then some, and it's fun.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stuck in a Wall

Every week day at 10:43am I hear the faint sound of an alarm going off inside my office. It’s stuck in the wall. Two years ago my office was the end of our formal conference room, but since they needed more office space they put a wall up to divide the conference room in two, and one half of it is now my office. The construction was shoddy, the walls are thin, and some of them don’t even extend up to the ceiling properly. I suspect that someone’s watch came off during construction and made its way into the wall.

When I was in high school I worked during the summers for a summer camp, a western “Ranch”, as a Store Girl. This meant that I ran the gift shops and snack bar for the campers. Our living quarters were on the second story above the shops, but the bathroom was on the first floor next to the supply room where we kept the stock of food. One summer there was a smell. It was a faint smell at fist – like sour milk – but it quickly became more potent as the weeks passed and the summer heat grew (there was no A/C). It got to a point where we were taking 3-minute showers and holding our pee to avoid the stench. Finally, someone came to check it out, and we were told that it was a decaying rat… that couldn’t be retrieved. Surely it could be retrieved, but for whatever reason it wasn’t worth it. Just like the watch in the wall.

This has got me thinking about why people give up on things. Surely, “worth” is only one excuse for giving up. Other excuses include: “because I can’t,” “it’s too hard,” and “I got bored with it.” But when are these really the case, and when are they just excuses?

As a kid, my dad use to tell me that it wasn’t good to lie, not necessarily because it is fundamentally wrong, but because the more you do it, the more you start to believe your lies. My dad was very practical in his parenting, and looking back, I’m happy about that.

How does this fit in? Well, if you make excuses for yourself that aren’t true, and if you do this enough, you may not only sabotage your future efforts, but you also lose a piece of yourself. You start to actually believe you’re weak, and then it’s you who you’ve trapped in a wall.

I’ve been trying really hard lately to be 100% honest with myself – to not make excuses. It’s hard, because at some point I became a victim – I made myself a victim – and I made it okay in my mind to excuse myself. I now realize you can accomplish little by doing this, so I’m on a journey to be genuine to myself and others, and part of that is not making excuses and not lying to myself. I’ll take it one day at a time, and at least on weekdays, I’ll have an alarm to remind me to do so.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Embracing my Ass

My ass has been called many names over the years. “Bubble-butt” and “ba-dunk-a-dunk” are among the most creative, while “enormous” or “huge” have been used by the less ingenious. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my ass. For instance, its size bodes well for booty blocking in roller derby, and I almost never complain about “my butt hurting” after sitting on a wooden chair or other non-cushioned surface. Yet, I hate that I have to buy pants one or more sizes bigger than my bottom would otherwise need if it weren’t for my ass.

Lately, however, I’ve began to enjoy my biggest asset. The days of “too much booty in the pants” are passing, and I’m finally beginning to embrace my ass. It all started one day in August when I made a trip to Marshall’s, looking for something to wear on my birthday. I’m cheap as hell, so here I am picking through the racks, looking at dress after dress after dress. They’re all either too tight in the bust or the ass, made of material that has absolutely no stretch to it. Then I came upon what I now call my “booty dress.”

“It’s way too short,” I thought. “And it tapers back in at the bottom! No way. Too much ass.”

But, for lack of anything else, I tried it on anyway. It was a far stretch from my usual A-lines and other cuts that distract from the sheer size of the trunk overstuffed with my junk, but to my surprise I looked kind of hot! Now, I’m NEVER one to show my ass, let alone my legs. No matter my size, I have thunder thighs. But, I decided I could get away with it, short or not, and I bought the dress – the best $20 I’ve ever spent.

I’ve worn it twice since my birthday – once to a coworker’s party and also to a party this past New Year’s Eve. The feedback after my coworker’s party was amazing. Everyone was commenting on my ass, which would normally make me self conscious, but these comments were all positive! Shit, I stuck it out even further after my friend’s husband ask me to model the dress for him, as embarrassing as that exchange was. Even J heard about my ass than night. “I can see you’ve got your hands full with her,” one man said to him. I love a good double entendre.

Okay. Maybe that night was a fluke. Maybe unbeknownst to me I somehow dropped 20 pounds that day, and the party goers were actually seeing a much smaller, svelter ass. Maybe they all took ecstasy before the party. Maybe they were hallucinating.

Then came our annual Charm City Roller Girls end-of-year Banquet this past Saturday. I love derby parties because everyone who attends dresses so wild. I’m usually a stick in the mud. I show up wearing pretty but tame outfits, but because of the recent ass feedback, I decided to go all out. My best friend, Betty Beatdown, comes to my house so we can go to the banquet together. She’s wearing a “nice” outfit with a low-cut shirt, pants, and heels. Whatever, I surely won’t be the only ridiculously dressed one there. WRONG. We walk in the door, and everyone is wearing nice semiformal clothes – dresses and suits. Then there’s me. Did I mention I was emceeing the awards on stage that night? Holy crap.

I take off my winter coat and instantly feel exposed. I’m wearing a black spandex slip/slimmer-type thing with fishnets, green legwarmers, and four-and-a-half inch heels. Hahahahha! Well, the best I can do at this point is to hold my head high, and pretend I don’t feel nearly as awkward as I actually do. I can do this.

Then the comments came. My wife, Flo Shizzle, said I looked hot. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so naked! Then Steaknife, one of our refs, asked me what I do exercise wise to get such a great ass. She even said I made her stop mid sentence when I bent over on stage.

“I know I shouldn’t be looking at Cindy’s ass like that, but damn!”

All this focus on my rump has certainly boosted my self esteem, especially in an area that I was lacking it so much. Perhaps it would have been better if I had embraced my ass on my own terms, and not because of what others think or say, but I don’t really care what the vehicle was that has allowed me to come to terms with and enjoy my big ass. I’m just happy I can now consider my ass a great asset!

Alass, no good ass pix yet, but here's a fun one of us dancing at the Ottobar after the banquet. I'm in the green necklace and leg warmers. Photo courtesy of Rebel Yellow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Impatience is a Virtue

I think I’ve been on a spiritual journey for the past several months. Maybe spiritual is the wrong word here, but I’ve been really focusing on removing the clutter from my mind and figuring out what I need to do to know myself better, make myself happier, and succeed. I feel as if I’m on the right track, but with one flaw: impatience.

The non-immediate gratification is torturous, because I just want to be in a situation where I’m not overextending myself to get ahead or work toward a personal goal. Right now I’m embarking on setting up a structure and procedures for soliciting sponsorship on behalf of WFTDA – for both sets of 2008 regional championships and the national 2008 championship, in October and November, respectively.

I really have a passion for derby (have I not mentioned this here?), and I think we can catapult the sport to be nationally recognized (or internationally, aka, Olympically recognized), but it’s going to take work. Luckily, I find the work of business fun, especially when I believe in the cause, and I don’t know if I believe in anything more than I believe in derby. Someone said to me the other day, “It’s great that people are working to get roller derby recognized, but it’s not like it’s going to happen at any time that we’re actually involved in it.” My heart sank. Yes, derby has snowballed in the last 5 years, and yes, derby revivals have failed before, but I really feel like my participation in the sponsorship capacity will help derby achieve that lofty goal sooner rather than later.

And I know that it could really happen sooner if I could dedicate myself to it fully – if it were my job. Realistically, though, this cannot and will not happen. I will continue to conduct derby business in my car on my way to work, on my lunch break, and in the evenings when I get home, as I do now. I do it because I care about it and I’m obviously getting something out of it. I want to see the sport succeed. I want to see the fearless DIY attitude and camaraderie continue and spread throughout the world. And if I can help that happen by soliciting sponsorship, then I want to be able to contribute in that manner.

I suppose I’m just jaded, like every other working member of society – in the 9 to 5 I working toward someone else’s greater good instead of my own. True, I work for a great independent company, and I can be proud of the results our books have with children and people with disabilities, but that’s not necessarily MY dream.

I want it all, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’m only going to live once, so why not try for what I want? All of it? At this point in my daydreaming I get bitch-slapped in the face by reality and bills. So, here I am at the far end of the road, and I can barely make out what lies at the end of it. I’m broke, and it looks like I’m going to have to do odd jobs on my way to pay for the gas to get me where I’m going. I’m guess I’m fine with that. I just need a pair of binoculars to remind me of where I’m going every now and again.

“You’re Gonna Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to…”

Over the holidays I began to read this book about getting rid of addictions, not because I have a silly new year’s resolution, but because I know (and have known) I’m addicted to food, shopping, and excess. I’m sick of blowing all my money on food, wine, and chotchkies. Okay, so maybe not chotchkies, but you get my drift – it’s all crap that I don’t need and that makes me feel guilty after I eat it or buy it – or buy it then eat it.

I’ve noticed though, I’m not the only one with addictions. My 13-year-old car has taken to Chevron gas, and when it doesn’t get Chevron gas, it runs funny. Just like a junkie, in the mornings it sputters and hesitates to go – even though my foot’s on the gas. I’m afraid it’s going to die from this affliction, and I wonder what is in the Chevron gas that keeps it going – is it the Techron? I’ve thought about getting Texaco gas, because it also has Techron in it, but I really don’t want to risk it. Chevron it is.

The book I read was less than satisfying – it talked about restricting meat, nuts, and dairy from your diet and ingesting oils 4 times a day to help rid you of your affliction. That plan sounds like too much for me. How the hell am I suppose to focus on stopping a bad habit AND being a hippie at the same time? I may start requiring Techron too if I was made to do that.

One thing that I did get out of the book was one simple statement about how you view changing your addictive behavior: it’s better to go into ridding an addiction by honestly and sincerely wanting to do something else, or not do it, than it is to have the mindset of “I’m not allowed” or “can’t” do it. Totally true for me. I’m a rebel. Okay, I’m as much of a rebel as a control freak can be, but I don’t like being told I can’t or aren’t allowed to do something. It makes me want it more. So, I’m trying to really evaluate my quality of life and honestly say:

1. I want more money in the bank, so I don’t want to shop as much.
2. I want to be healthy/feel good/look svelte, so I don’t want to consume in excess.

It’s hard to remember these things when I’m presented with wine and cookies or a pair of shoes marked down 70% in my size, but I’m going to try and do it.

As for my car, too bad it can’t think for itself and decide it wants whatever gas is cheapest. It would certainly help me out.