My Body Image Epiphany

Whenever my mom and I talk on the phone, she always asks me the same question: “Have you lost weight?”

The answer is always the same: “I’m working on it, Mom.”

As a 29-year-old woman, I’ve approached my battle with my body image every way possible. I’ve started and stopped diets. I’ve started working out. I’ve caved in and bought my favorite pair of jeans in a larger size. I’ve cried about it, and I’ve lashed out to others due to my own insecurities.

My body issues didn’t begin with my weight gain after I turned 24. When I hit puberty, my mom suggested that we begin bleaching my arm hairs because no one would like a girl with hairy arms. She had fine, light hairs you can’t even tell are there. I was blessed with the gift of darker hair from my dad’s side of the family. There were days I would look down and see a gorilla arm where mine should be. These were the days I was almost tempted to, but never actually followed my mom’s advice. Let’s not even talk about the hairs on my chiny-chin-chin. Look — I’m Turkish. It happens. Read more My Body Image Epiphany

Nanu Nanu. Rest in Peace, Robin.

dead-poets-society-04

I was in my car when I read the news about Robin Williams passing away, which is appropriate since his words kept me company during so many hours spent in the car commuting to school and work. I automatically did what I always do and posted about it. But I think I was in shock. I don’t usually get affected by the death of celebrities. I mourn the loss of a human being, and great talent, sure, but never does it hit so close. Never do I get stunned, with a heavy feeling in my heart.

Today, I did. I am. I barely made it back home without crying.

While he’s known for his comedy and sharing his light with the world, I think of Robin Williams as John Keating from Dead Poets Society. He’s Patch Adams. He’s Chris Nielsen. He’s Adrian Cronauer. He didn’t just make me laugh. His words, whether through his characters or his own heart, inspired me to find my passion. Robin Williams had a huge, remarkable impact on who I am – from Mork to Simon Roberts.

I know that he’d been battling depression for years. I know that it’s possible that he took his own life. It’s a cruel reality that those who make our world brighter with their humor are often fighting their own dark demons behind the scenes. The pain of depression is real – the battles are real, and while it’s instinct to just say “Talk to someone,” it’s never that easy. When you’re drowning in your own pain, unable to see anything but darkness, reaching out can be the hardest thing to do.

So, if you’re fighting right now and you feel alone, reach out. Reach out to me, reach out to someone you love, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK.

If you need the reminder that you’re not alone, this is it. You aren’t. Depression is a cruel liar. You are not alone. We all have our battles that we fight every day.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Rest in Peace, Robin. Thank you for sharing your light and love with the world. We won’t forget you.

If We Keep This Up, We’ll Feel Guilty for Being Alive

I want to talk to you about this thing we do.

We all do it. I’ve been doing it an awful lot lately, and I think that over the last few years, it’s really had an impact on how I approach life.

So, this thing that we do – the way we feel guilty about feeling happy because there are shitty things happening to people in our lives. It’s not that we’re going around bragging and that’s why we feel guilty.

We have guilt for feeling happy. We feel guilty because something good has happened in our life, and in that exact moment, something negative happens to be happening in the lives of many people that we love.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine called me. This friend is one of the few people whose call I actually take even though I hate talking on the phone. She called me to tell me something but she didn’t want to make me feel upset.

I knew what the news was. I knew exactly why she called.

“He proposed?” I asked, with a huge smile on my face.

You may be wondering why she thought the news might make me upset. Because she’d spent a good part of the last year being my support for my own relationship coming to an end.

I’m glad she called me. I was flattered that she called me, because in this day and age, there are only a handful of people we call and tell individually before announcing to the world that we’re engaged with a relationship update on Facebook or an Instagram of our ring.

Her happiness gave me hope. Her happiness made me happy.

This is one of the scenarios when it was OK. She wasn’t bragging. She wanted to share her happiness, and guys, that’s a good thing. We shouldn’t feel guilty for being happy. We shouldn’t feel guilty that something is going right in our lives. We shouldn’t feel guilty for the little things that make us happy.

Should we share every single tiny thing that makes us happy with the world ALL THE TIME? Probably not. Especially if you’re me and are easily entertained by little things.

We should cherish and appreciate the good.

On the flip side…

Can we stop feeling guilty for being upset because something went wrong in our lives because we somehow feel the need to compare it to something that may seem worse in another life?

Shit happens. People in our lives get hurt. Our loved ones hurt.  Our loved ones lose their loved ones unexpectedly.

World keeps turning.

Your world doesn’t stop turning because someone you love is having something really awful in his/her life. We sympathize. We empathize. We let them know we are there but sometimes, there isn’t anything else we can do.

In the meantime, your life keeps moving forward.

You know what happens during your day? Good things, bad things and sometimes, unfortunately shitty things.

We have a tendency to feel guilt because we’re upset about something that happened in our lives. Why? Because if you compare it to something that is relatively worse in a friend/loved one’s life, we really shouldn’t complain because it could be worse.

As long as you are breathing, it could always be worse. 

I’m not saying complain about every little thing, but if you are upset because an event you were looking forward to got canceled, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Maybe that event was the one good thing you were looking forward to for weeks.

If we continue to constantly compare our feelings to everyone’s else, how are we supposed to feel? How are we supposed to process happiness, sadness, anger, and fear if we experience guilt for simply feeling? How can we process guilt as a pure emotion if we are constantly plagued by it due to this never ending comparison?

You guys, if we keep this up, pretty soon, we’re all going to start feeling guilty for being alive.

If we keep this up, we'll feel guilty for being alive

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How to Avoid Secretary Butt*

When I mentioned ‘Secretary Butt’ to LiLu on GChat yesterday, I was surprised to find out she hadn’t heard of it.  I thought of the best way to explain it and this is what I came up with:

“Like a goldfish that grows to the size of its bowl, it’s when your butt grows to the size of your chair.”

This is a common term that’s been used in my house since I started working in offices 7 years ago.

“Now don’t you get secretary butt” my parents tell me.

It’s an epidemic and it’s more common than we might think. The problem with office work and being in a society where we drive and/or take the metro everywhere is that we are sitting more than we are moving. Before you know it, your butt is so big, you can set a glass on it.

We don’t want that now, do we?

I try to be very careful, especially with my already genetically big butt and it’s always been a concern for me.

Some glutes exercies that I picked up:

Begin in a wide squat. Push off the ball of your right foot and squeeze and contract your entire leg and gluteal (rear end) region. Hold for four seconds. Repeat on the left side.

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your glutes as tightly as you can for four seconds.

hand on it for support, if needed. Lift your right foot toward your rear for a hamstring curl. Hold the contraction for four seconds. Repeat on the left side.

Start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Lift your right leg behind you at a 45-degree angle about six inches off the floor and point your toe. Squeeze your glutes for four seconds. Repeat on the left side.

Since we can’t all quit our jobs, it’s important to make sure we stay on top of our health even when we’re at the office.  The exercises above can be done at your desk and only takes about 10 minutes.

What exercise tips do you have that have worked for you? (For your butt especially)

For more tips on exercising while at work, check out this link.

Remember, booty is good. Secretary butt is not.

*This is now being added to the PQ Dictionary

I Don’t Want to Lose Me

I’ve denied it for years. YEARS.

“It won’t happen to me. I’ll be careful. I’m not the same.”

I blamed it on stress. Anxiety. Things being tense at home.

“It’s not so bad. It’s not that bad. I’m OK.”

Fact of the matter is, I’m not OK. My mood swings have gotten impossible lately and worse as I’ve gotten older. Lucky me, I drew the mental illness lottery for my genes. My grandmother, my mother and my aunts…all have symptoms of mental illness. My dad told me that, as long as he’s known my mom, she’s always had the signs…it just got worse over the years as the stress added on and she grew older. Because if an illness goes untreated, it doesn’t just go away.

It festers.

My mom was 22 when she met my dad. I’m 24…almost 25.

It’s not just my mom’s side, though, god bless ’em, they’ve hit the jackpot when it comes to this. My dad’s older sister has been in and out of hospitals basically her whole life…but it was her dad that really fucked her up when she was younger. The fact remains: She needs medication.

The fact I’ve been denying…

I need treatment.

I’ve never been more terrified of anything in my life. For the past few years, I’ve told myself that I don’t need treatment…I’ll be OK…I can handle this.

I can’t. I haven’t. I just get worse.

I don’t want to lose ‘me’. I’m terrified of treatment not helping, or getting the wrong treatment that leaves behind a piece of me without me even realizing.

There is so much I want to accomplish in my life. I have to learn to live with this if I want to do that. I have to find out my options and stop denying myself a normal life.

Unfortunately, receiving medication doesn’t alter my genes so the chances of me having my own child is slim to none…because there is no way I’ll be responsible for passing this on.

I might take you along this journey because this blog? My friends? My lifelines?

You are the only thing that reminds me, everyday, of who I am. And who I want to remain.

I don’t want to lose me…which is why I have to do this.

Shred: 10 Day Progress Report

Level 1, Day 10: Complete

As you guys know, I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred for 10 days now…Since it has 3 levels, I decided that I would do each level for 10 days. (I KNOW MATH!). The first couple of days, it killed me…I hadn’t done a serious work out like that in years. I was surprised that I kept with it. Even if it was after midnight when I got home, the Shred got DONE.



Level 1:

The way Jillian Michaels has her workout set up is on 3-2-1 system. 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs. She has two other trainers working out with her…One to do the ‘advanced’ level of the moves and if there is a modified version, the other shows you that…so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Not all moves have modifications though so be ready to push yourself! The video starts out with dynamic stretches to get your body warmed up, including a little bit of cardio. Then the workout begins.

Have your hand weights ready!

Cardio: Jumping jacks, butt kicks, jump rope & punches (complete with squats!)
Strength: Push-ups, Squat & press, Dumbbell row, Static lunge with a bicep curl, chest flies, side lunges with a shoulder raise
Abs: Regular crunches, reverse crunches, cross crunches & bicycle crunches

You have to pay attention to the way that the moves are made so that you do NOT hurt yourself…Especially if you haven’t worked with a personal trainer before. Jillian does an excellent job of talking you through each exercise, every circuit…You don’t get to rest but with a 20 minute exercise, you can’t afford to rest.

I’ll be honest. There were a couple of days when my legs were shaking and my arms (that are already weak) couldn’t handle it but I pushed through…Maybe I did a couple of less push-ups but TRUST…I pushed through the pain.

Do everything in the order Jillian tells you, as long as you’re supposed to but do NOT push yourself.

It’s only been 10 days and I’ve already seen a huge change…I will do a follow up in 10 days when I’m done with Level 2…But the pictures won’t come until the end!!

Remember that it is NOT just exercise…I’ve started a new diet regiment…Not that I’m starving myself but I have made some changes.

Eating Special K for breakfast.
Counting calories.
Cut out alcohol & sodas.
Eating more fruit & veggies.
No Starbucks unless I’m treating myself.
Eating snacks throughout the day but only 100 calories, max. Or just veggies, straight up.

Sure, sometimes I slip up but for my first serious diet & exercise plan…On my own…I think I’m handling it pretty well!

I do encourage everyone to try out the 30 Day Shred if you are looking for a serious work out.

Oh and be ready to take a shower…as soon as the video is done. Trust me. You’ll be DRIPPING with sweat.

Level 2…Here I come!