Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Operation Dislodge-Head-From-Backside Kickoff Day

I’m done with my work obligations by noon, so I have the rest of the day to make the most out of my resort and spa experience. I decide to start by having a leisurely brunch at the top of the ‘tower’ while gazing down at Lake Michigan. I dined on various varieties of smoked fish from the Northern Pacific, an array of cheeses, fancy artisan breads, tangy pasta salad, succulent prime rib and chocolate hazelnut tortes, washed down with buzz-inducing Mimosas. As you can see, my diet is not what my focus was on today. Baby steps, remember?

I follow that with a long walk around the premises in search of the lake’s shore, which I never do find. I think the concierge lied to me about it being in walking distance, but at least I get some exercise. I enjoy the cool, fall weather although it’s making my nose run like a faucet. I kick around a golf ball that I found in the woods which in retrospect may have belonged to those guys a few feet away in the golf cart. I find pine cones, chickadees, lots of colored leaves, several small ponds, and those fuzzy seed things that you make a wish on then blow on and watch the wind carry it away. I stopped periodically and took deep breaths, put my face in the sun, and enjoyed living in the moment. It was a good walk even though I never did find the stupid lake.

Next I sign up for my spa treatments. So much to choose from! From haircuts to manicures, to Brazillian waxes, to bamboo massages…I decide on getting a deep tissue massage to try and get rid of some of the knots in my back and a pedicure since my feet haven’t seen daylight since 2008.

All this stuff is pretty new to me. I have had massages in physical therapy but they were nothing like this one. I have to take off my clothes and wear one of their robes which freaks me out a little. Plus I am rather uncomfortable with being touched by strangers. I’ve only had one other pedicure in my life and it was anything but enjoyable. I felt like they were ripping off my cuticles and they massaged my calves so hard that they caused cramping. So I was a little apprehensive about getting another one.

First I get the massage. I knew I chose the one that was going to hurt, but I was going for a more therapeutic one than a relaxing one. Within no time she is digging her elbows into the entire length of my back. I could feel every time she got stuck on a knot because she would stop for a few seconds. Then she’d go back and do it again. I said, is that a knot? She said well, most of the time people have individual knots here and there but it seems as though your whole back is twisted into one big solid one. Later she tells me it gets even worse the closer she gets to my neck. Great. This doesn’t exactly come as a shock to me, though. I know I have a bad back. I’ve tried several chiropractors, physical therapy, acupuncture, some pain management procedure where they injected cortisone into my back, and some quack guy that claimed he can make pain go away with just a touch of his palm. Nothing seems to work. I don’t make things better by choosing to do activities all day every day which require me to look down and hunch over like drawing, painting, pottery, reading etc. The fact that I sit at a computer all day for work isn’t extremely helpful either. But without this stuff in my life I would die, so I can’t change it. I can, however, pay more attention to my posture, do exercises for my back, get more of these massages (at the cheapie place because if I got them at a fancy place like this on a regular basis I’d have to get a second job which would add more stress and make bigger knots and overall defeat the purpose), and do backbends over my exercise ball every day.

So I endure the massage and try not to cry because I know it’s good for me. Aside from the elbows it was actually quite relaxing. So what if I can barely get out of bed tomorrow? My entire back feels like a ginormous bruise but soon the pain will fade and I will probably get another one.

Next I have my pedicure. I don’t know how most women find this fun and relaxing. I get to sit in a massage chair with a roller that goes up and down, which feels great on my already throbbing back. I decide to order a cocktail to distress about what is about to happen to me. I get my toenails trimmed, cuticles ripped off (I’m sorry but that shit hurts! I would have bet money that if I looked down I would have seen blood), and the bottoms of my feet sanded down. Then she starts globbing all these different icky things all over me. One looked like sugar crystals in oil (I couldn’t even watch her use this stuff because anything greasy or oily gives me serious heebee jeebees (unless, of course I am eating food cooked in it. Then it’s okay )), one looked like guacamole, and one looked like lotion but smelled so strongly that I almost gagged. She didn’t even rub it all in so it got all over my pants and I caught whiffs of it throughout the rest of the day. Finally it’s over and I have to admit that my feet do look awfully pretty. And that dried up blister on the bottom of my big toe is finally gone! All that for $60. Can’t beat that!

I stumble to the front desk with the flimsy flip flops they gave me to wear and paid my bill. Including the drink and gratuity it came to a mere $220. I try to reason with myself that I normally don’t spend a lot of money on personal grooming (I like to think that I’m naturally beautiful….), so I can get away with it this time. I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that I did something completely stupid by spending all that money on something so ridiculous and I feel the knots in my back start to tighten back up. I try to let it go…take it as a learning experience and give myself an A for having the guts to try something new.

After that I go back to my room and lay on the glorious king size, dog free bed and close my eyes. I want to get under the covers but I can’t because my toenails are still wet, so I manage to wrap the rest of myself up in a blanket and take one of the greatest naps I’ve ever had.  And I dream of going home so I can do laundry and get that stinky lotion smell out of my pants!

Monday, October 29, 2012

In The Beginning....

I had my epiphany on October 25, 2012. I found myself in the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, Michigan for work. I was surrounded by all this stuff that was available to do to pamper myself….refresh and rejuvenate as they called it. It all sounded like a great idea, but after looking at the price list for the different treatments I could get I decided it would make more sense to stay stale and old. I did make it to a gentle yoga class that day (for only $10) and was amazed at how good I felt after I was done. I know this feeling. It’s a great one, but unfortunately not great enough to get me off the couch to go on a regular basis. I’ve even stocked my TV cabinet with tons of Yoga DVD’s, have two yoga mats, an exercise ball, Wii Fit and two Zumba games, and tons of other accessories to get fit and trim in the comfort of my own living room. Still can’t get off the couch though.

The next morning, I read the horoscope on my iPhone as I do every morning and once again was amazed at how spot on it was. You see, I pretty much live my life based on what my horoscope tells me to do. I’ve been doing it for about 2 years and it hasn’t let me down yet. I think it’s because I believe my dad is writing it somewhere from the afterlife. No, I’m not crazy (at least not in the bad way), but it has just been way too eerily accurate for it to just be a coincidence. Plus if he’s watching over me, he knows I can really use some help and guidance and this is his way of giving it to me. But I digress.

My horoscope that day said that there was a relationship that I wasn’t pouring my heart and soul into and that I needed to reassess what I was doing and change my course if I wanted it to be successful. It took me awhile to figure out what relationship it was talking about, but soon realized that it meant my relationship with myself. You will hear me talk about wanting to get healthy, eat better, exercise more, go exploring with my dogs on weekends, finish unpacking, decorating my house, and situating my studio, finish my art projects and begin new ones, fill up my Etsy shop, get rubber stamps manufactured out of my own designs….the list goes on and on….until I’m blue in the face. The last thing I am doing, however, is pouring my heart and soul into it to make any of it happen. Sad, but so very true.

So here I find myself in the middle of this resort and spa with my horoscope telling me to get my head out of my ass, and who am I not to listen? I decided that on my last day of my trip (when I finally had a good chunk of free time), I was going splurge (translation: spend half my mortgage payment) on refreshing and rejuvenating so I can kick start operation dislodge-head-from-backside. And so the adventure begins…

Enough is Enough!

Once upon a time, about 6 years ago, I was a happy, healthy, mentally sane, and content person.  Sometime between then and now, it all went to hell in a handbasket.

Back then I exercised, ate relatively healthy, practiced yoga, bought my first home which was a great little house where I lived with my cats, spent every spare moment that I had in the pottery class I was taking, and was just loving life. It was a pleasure to be me! For the first time in my life I was happy with who I was, didn’t feel the need to have a man in my life to complete me, and lived my life the way I chose. It was a great place to be. While it lasted, that is.

Soon after, I became distracted. I entered into a very difficult relationship that lasted 5 years (4.5 years too long). I switched jobs and felt the need to get a bigger house now that I was making more money. I became a landlord. Things were getting complicated. The exercise became less frequent and consuming large amounts of crap food happened more often than not. The only thing my new BF and I liked to do together was go out for appetizers and beer. Other than that we had absolutely nothing in common which turned out to be a recipe for disaster. But for some reason we stayed together and things just got worse.

The new house we lived in was a nightmare. Most of the bad things that ever happened in my life happened at this house. I got laid off. My dad died. My tenant trashed my awesome little first house that I was renting out, which I later foreclosed on. Several pets died for no good reason. I had to short sale the house, but only after the air conditioner backed up, created a waterfall in my living room and eventually made the ceiling fall down in the middle of the floor. Miraculously someone wanted to buy it that way or I would have foreclosed on that one too.

Luckily things eventually started getting better. The BF and I finally broke up. I flushed the toxic people out of my life and began to have more peace of mind. All my hard work paid off and I got a fantastic new job that revolves around art. I moved to Fresno California for a fresh new start. I made some great friends and met fabulous people. I started traveling to amazing places like NYC, Seattle, Austin, Germany and England. I began straightening out my finances and was able to buy an awesome house that has everything I need for the fleabags and I. I am really beginning to like who I am and am relatively comfortable being myself. But I still feel like something is missing. I want to be completely and utterly happy and for that to happen something else has got to change. I want to LOVE myself. You know what they say...you can't expect other people to love you if you don't love yourself.

I need to find the person inside of me that was so prominent 6 years ago, back when I was healthy and content. I’ve tried so many times to find her, but she keeps slipping away. I’ve made so many attempts at eating well and promises to myself that I am going to start exercising more, but for some reason I can’t stick to it. I’ll eat well for a few weeks and lose a few pounds, then travel for work and eat like shit for a week. By the time I get home I’m back to where I started. I feel like crap and I am so lazy. I nap as often as I can and when I’m home and awake I sit in front of the TV instead of doing all the things I say I’m going to do when I have free time. I have hundreds of unfinished art projects waiting to be worked on. I have been living in my house for 4 months and have yet to unpack and decorate. I haven’t taken the dogs on a walk anywhere since last spring. I’ve done Zumba three times since I’ve moved to Fresno, which was almost a year ago. It’s been so long since I’ve done yoga that I can barely touch my toes anymore.

I always have an excuse as to why I act this way…it’s either too hot, I’m too depressed, I’m too tired from working all week, I have a headache…..all valid excuses but I’m tired of hearing myself use them. Life can be so much more than what I’m making of it, and since I am not getting any younger I need to get my act in gear before it all passes me by. Enough is enough. Things are going to change, right here, right now. And YOU will get to hear all about my journey, and keep me accountable for everything I say I’m going to do!

Welcome to my new blog. I haven’t decided what to call it yet, but I can tell you what you can expect to read about. After so many failed attempts at long term diet and exercise programs, I’ve decided to try something new. I am making a promise to myself to consciously do one thing a day that is good for either my body, my mind or my soul. I’ll start small and take one step at a time. This way I can make it a part of life; something I can do every day without it feeling like a chore. As time goes on, hopefully I will get to a place where I can do more than one thing without even having to think twice about it. We’ll see how it goes.

I promise I will give you witty tales of my trials and errors, which will most likely be dripping with the sarcasm I know and love so very much. I will try to keep my usage of 4 letter words to a minimum. I apologize in advance if any entry falls under the label of ‘TMI’. I will try not to whine or complain too much. I’ll keep the content positive and uplifting for the most part, but not to the point where you want to choke me for being too damn cheerful (you know the type). I will not preach. I will not try to convert you to a new religion. My sole purpose is to tell you about my adventure and hope you can relate to some of it and/or find it somewhat entertaining. At the very least, I need you to witness that I am actually doing what I say I’m going to do and come kick my ass if I don’t.

Here I go! Wish me luck.