Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Candida Diaries: Doin' it and doin' it and doin' it (wow)


Yesterday began the new (restart? phase? redo?) Candida treatment for me. It's fitting that it happened on July 15th, since I started the original treatment back on January 15th - there's something to the 15th with stuff like this - the 1st feels like too much pressure, but the 15th, man...it feels like you're just kind of slipping into it, like sliding across a hardwood floor on woolen socks.

I saw my doctor and we did testing for Candida Overgrowth, and even though we haven't gotten my results back yet, we both agreed that going on a modified version of it for now is the way to go. It's been super fun to kind of break all the rules and flirt with my old food loves - ice cream, frappucinos, pasta, gourmet cheese, etc - but at the end of the day, it's kind of been the same as making out with a guy you know is absolutely no good for you - super fun in the moment, but the next morning you wake up feeling like crap. Physically and mentally, I just haven't felt like myself these past two months. My old food addiction stuff returned with a vengeance, too - I found myself looking to food to make me happy again after a long day, and started feeling like good things (like Real Housewives) just weren't as much fun if I wasn't eating an ice cream bar at the same time. It kind of bums me out to know that no matter how much work I do on the health side, that stuff might never go away - that it's more an issue of reconfiguring patterns and eliminating triggers, since exorcising it totally from my brain will probably never happen - but on the bright side it's good to have an awareness of it so that I know that those things are stumbling blocks for me, and probably always will be.

So we're back. The difference with this time is that my doctor wants me to sliiide into treatment gradually, vs. the all or nothing approach I took back in January. Even though I constantly battle with my tendency to want to go full-frontal on everything, I know that she's right about this: It will help cut down on the detox bullshit that I went through in January (lots of naps, tons of crankiness (and self-pity), and some headaches) and make it that much easier to commit to the process as a whole if I feel like I can gradually eliminate stuff instead of having it all taken away from me at once.

Her guidelines were as follows:

Apple Cider Vinegar shot every morning... if I can stand it and it works into my schedule, before every meal is ideal.

Drink lots and lots and lots of water. 

Eight hours of sleep, minimum. (I laughed when she told me this - I've seriously been clocking in 9-11 hours of sleep every night this summer)

Take a probiotic supplement. She gave me a recommend on some good ones out there, and I have a couple that I'm looking into. I'll update you on what I decide on next week.

Think about Kombucha. I told her that I would think about it - every time I buy Kombucha, it ends up sitting in my fridge past the due date. I'm a little scared to try the Kombucha, friends. I know there are friends of mine who love and swear by it - Dave, Erin, Erica - but I can't quite make myself do it yet.

Week One: Eliminate what I would call "Carby-carbs" - bread, crust, crackers, buns, etc. Basically, anything with lots of flour and yeast in it. These are the biggest culprits to my treatment (but oddly, also the easiest for me to say goodbye to).

Week Two: Eliminate dairy (except Greek Yogurt, which is really good for candida treatment and has only a trace amount of lactose). Ain't no thing - I still barely do any dairy, besides cheese.

Week Three: Eliminate simple and processed sugars. Natural sugars (like fruit - YAY!) and raw (not processed) dark chocolate are still okay - on an occasional basis - for now. If I find myself craving this stuff more than once a day, though, I gotta cut it out - because then that means my body (and brain) still can't handle even the smallest amount of sugar without going sugar-fiend crazy.

Week Four: Eliminate caffeine. (This is one will be easy-peasy, since I almost never drink caffeine anymore, anyway)

Week Four: Testing week. This is a week of eating carb, dairy, and sugar-free, at the end of which I'll analyze how I'm feeling and how my body's responding. If I'm feeling better, my body's responding well, and I've started to shed a majority of candida-related symptoms, then I can keep going with natural sugars and raw dark chocolate and consider myself in lifetime maintenance mode. If my body is slow to make progress and the symptoms are still showing up, then I move into Week Five...

Week Five: Eliminate natural sugars and raw dark chocolate (sad face).

Week Six: Full blown candida diet in effect.

She also had some strong words about my alcohol usage (whoops). I will admit that I have been drinking a lot, even for me...but it's summer! I told her. I'm out with my friends, doing summer stuff! I whined. She basically called me a moron and pointed out that drinking tons of alcohol was one of the worst things I could do to my body, which...both are true. While she did begrudgingly celebrate with me over the fact that I can now drink a beer (or three) without feeling like I'm getting a cold, she put the kibosh on making it a regular habit. Since I was totally, brutally honest with her about the fact that there was no way I could go drinks-free for the rest of the summer, we compromised: Four drinks a week, with six being the absolute maximum (my rule, not hers - who are these people who only have two drinks on a Friday or Saturday night?!). And I gotta stick to drinks like gin and tonic or light white wine. If I want something fruity (always my downfall in the summa), I can (sparingly) add cranberry juice to the gin and tonic. I can have two beers every other week, but the moment I notice symptoms - including feeling bloated - I have to stop drinking beer and switch to something else.

AND, if I hit Week Four and my body is still sluggish in its response to treatment, then I gotta eliminate alcohol during Weeks Five and Week Six.

At the end of Week Six, I'll check back in with my doctor and we'll review my progress. The big hope right now is that Week Four is a success. If it is, then after Week Six I can start testing things like quinoa, oatmeal, smoothies, etc, and just basically work toward having a more well-rounded diet.

So I feel good about stuff. Yesterday and today were super easy - it's weird how bread stuff is the hardest on my system but easiest for me to eliminate - and I know this week will be a breeze. It feels weird to eliminate bread but still be able to have sugar...and don't get me wrong, I'm totally, totally enjoying an extra week of being able to have a soy mocha or a piece of chocolate (Bucket List for this week: Ice cream at West Dairy. I've literally lived here off and on for more than a decade and have never had it. Crazytown), but it almost feels even more forbidden to be able to have sugar and not bread than to just go cold turkey off both.

Also, since I won't have to deal with so much detox shiz, I am fully planning on upping the fitness component of my life. A couple weeks ago, this girl walked into the place where I sling beer for cash and I stopped dead in my tracks - her arms weren't big, but they were CUT. I was like, "WHOA. I WANTS." My body has always had some pretty decent muscle tone - underneath the flab, my arms are actually pretty dec when it comes to their strength, and my legs continue to be my favorite body part - but I want to ramp it up a bit. I actually have a program that I did last winter that I loved, but haven't blogged about yet because I wanted to write about it while I'm actually doing it, so I'm probs going to pick that up and then tell you all about it. I also need to look into shaking up my yoga routine with poses that actually challenge my strength...my focus this past year has been on building flexibility, which has been awesome, but it's also allowed me to be kind of a wuss when it comes to my routines. So if anyone out there knows of any great online videos/tutorials for yoga routines that will help build some serious strength, please let me know about them in the comments!

And on that note - thanks to everyone who has been following along with the Candida Diaries! When I first started writing about it, I figured that it would be something that would be important for me to write about as a way to keep myself accountable to....myself...and a great way to vent, but that it would be way boring for everyone else to read. The amount of great, positive feedback and cheering on that I've received since starting this series was totally unexpected but also totally, super awesome. The Candida Diaries has catapulted me on a journey that I'm excited to continue and build on...beyond the restart of my treatment, there are some other really fun and exciting things in the works that totally jive with this year's mission to feel great inside my own body, and I'm excited to share it all with you guys in the next few weeks!

Stay tuned... ;)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Candida Diaries: According to morosophic on Snapchat, it's all just beds and cats with me. And FOOD, morosophic. AND FOOD.

New morning reading/writing/coffee drinking nook.
The first couple of weeks in a new place always seem a little like a vacation, or suspended reality - like you should be excused from all obligations and other established routines, because hey, you just moved and you need to unpack and get settled in and figure out what your routine should be. 

Or maybe that's just me, using it as an excuse to do nothing but rearrange my closet and desk and shuffle a bunch of paperwork from one place to another while simultaneously feeling oddly productive. 

So hey, I just moved, I'm all unpacked (secret? It took me, like, a day to unpack, but I suuuper enjoyed using that excuse for an entire week to get out of stuff), and I'm finally settling into a routine at the new place).

New bed. (a.k.a., magic portal to heaven). I told my friend Megan that more guys should sleep with me just so they can experience my comfy bed making. #thiscouldbeus #butyouplayin
When I first decided to move in with Jen's, I had this sort of vision of what the rest of my summer would be like - yoga in the backyard in the morning; long, meandering walks to the post office, coffeeshop, and/or grocery store around noon; afternoons at my desk in my sunny bedroom; starry nights around the campfire in the backyard. 

This is the new backyard in which I (sometimes) do yoga.
And it's kind of been like that...one thing I've noticed about myself, however, is that when I move, when my environment is disrupted, my habits are disrupted, too. I love structure but I hate routine, so it's been a bit of a challenge, getting back into the daily schedule of things. 

Meditation space/altar and book nook (I'm liking the word "nook" lately, kay? Leave it alone!)
It also doesn't help that I'm in the testing phase of my Candida treatment right now. Basically, to catch everyone up, I was given permission by my doctor to go a little lax on my treatment the past few weeks so we can retest and see how much actual progress has been made. Which, in all honesty, has been GREAT - I haven't been going crazy with it, but it's been really nice to go out and order something and not have to think twice about whether or not I can have this or that. I already know that I'm going to have to restart some semblance of my treatment soon - my eyes still get blurry when I have too much sugar, I still fall into a coma after simple carbs, I can tell that my moods are still severely affected by both sugar and carby stuff, and my skin is less glowy - but the best discovery from this phase? I CAN NOW HAVE BEER. And more than one - multiples, even - with feeling like I'm getting a cold! I cannot tell you guys how much this absolutely delights me - I can drink beer like a normal, cool, totally awesome beer-drinking person again!!! My gut may never like carbs ever again, and my body definitely cannot handle sugar, but probably the best thing to come out of this treatment (other than the weight loss and the glowy skin) is that it's healed my gut enough that I can drink a beer around a campfire, just in time for summer. 

Creative corner. I am inspired by famous faces of fitness, a smartass baby, a speaking award masquerading as a Twilight meme, and outakes from a decades-old modeling gig where I was supposed to look cool but messed everything up with my dorkiness.
My one big hope from retesting is that I really want to reintroduce fruits back into my diet. Especially now that it's summer, it's really hard to think of passing up fruits like blueberries or strawberries or even blackberries because my body can't handle even the natural sugars in them. I used to crave strawberries the way drunk sorority chicks crave Taco Bell...and then I would literally devour them because  my body would respond to the sugar in them the way a hipster responds to the sound of a PBR being cracked open. But there's just something about having fruits in my daily diet that just makes me feel healthier, so I'm hoping that my gut has healed enough that I can have fruits in moderation. 

Took myself out to breakfast today because I love myself, and also stuffed French Toast.
That being said, while I've thoroughly enjoyed being in this lax phase, I'm actually kind of excited to get back to treatment. I just feel better, both mentally and physically, when I'm on it...and even though it was such a freaking struggle when I first started, I think I've actually grown to like the structure and the restriction of it. Whether this is good or bad, I don't know (and don't really care) but I've learned that when there are many choices, it's so much more fun for me to pick the bad ones. It's like I'm giving myself a dare..."So, you *could* have the scrambled eggs and lean turkey, but I DARE YOU TO HAVE THE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST."

It's just how my mind works. And I know myself well enough by now than to know better than to fight it. 

So next week (it was supposed to be a couple weeks ago, but like I said: I had to get SETTLED! I was MOVING! And also I needed to have stuffed French Toast JUST ONE LAST TIME) I'll be going in for retesting, and then from there we'll have a clearer picture of what my lifetime maintenance is going to look like...a.ka., what are the things that I can still have in moderation, what are the things that I should just stay away from for the rest of my life, and what are the things that I can start adding in and testing? ALL WILL BE REVEALED NEXT WEEK. 

And until then, please enjoy this photo of my new cat roommate, Chandler: 


Chandler is Jen's cat, and today I realized that he's basically the male version of the late Deloris Pookerton Carter (miss you, Pooks!): He never shuts up, he can't just mind his own business, and nothing is ever good enough for him. For instance, I love how HE'S annoyed with ME for taking a photo of him while he's laying on and messing up MY bed. 

So of course, I'm already half-way in love with him. 

Beds, cats, and food, people.

IT'S WHAT GREAT BLOGS LIKE THIS ONE IS MADE OF.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Movin' on up (or maybe just over three or four blocks).

WHEW.

Stuff is happening, friends.

(I could have been blogging all about it when said stuff was happening, but then that would have been super easy and practical and that's, like, so the opposite of my style)

So first:

On Wednesday I said a fond farewell to the apartment I've lived in and lovingly called The Penthouse for the past year and a half.


You can follow me on Instagram if you want. You don't have to. But you can. If you want to. 
I was so, so lucky to land there when I did...it was the biggest blessing after a huge heartbreak, and it was the source of so much goddamn inspiration that I'm still working on how to hatch all the plans and ideas and dreams that were created there. You know those horror stories about houses that ruin the lives of all the people who live there? This place is the opposite - there's something about it that makes it a launching pad and a creative catalyst. And that's not changing - my girl Meg and her husband, Erik, who took over half of the space last November and turned it into their photography studio (Emenee Studios), are taking over my half of the lease and making the apartment their full-time residence. I'm so, so excited to see what it looks like once they get all settled in and unpacked!

My new, current dwelling is at my friend Jen's house, a few blocks up my old place. It's a lateral move, but an effective one - instead of staying locked into my Penthouse lease until November 2015, I'm now in a month-to-month sitch so I'm free to fly away when/if I want to. I've been staying there since Wednesday night, and tomorrow is my official moving day - I'll post photos of the new space (my bedroom has a SKYLIGHT) once I get all settled in.

While I hate packing/moving (it's so freaking stressful in ways that it just should not be), I love the fresh new beginning that the actual move creates. This particular move feels a bit odd, since it's really just a holding pattern until I figure out where I'm going next (back to Minneapolis for a bit? San Diego forever? TBD), but I'm psyched to spend some time with my pal Jen before we both embark on new adventures (she's also planning on leaving the Northwoods for city life in the near future) and craft/create/finalize new plans and dreams in a dreamy new space...like UNDER MY NEW FREAKING SKYLIGHT.

Did I mention that my new bedroom has a skylight? IT HAS A SKYLIGHT, EVERYBODY.  IN MY BEDROOM. INSIDE MY BEDROOM, YOU WILL FIND A SKYLIGHT, RIGHT OVER MY BED IN THE BEDROOM THAT HAS A SKYLIGHT.

And yes, I will be posting photos of the skylight.

The other new thing happening is that this little corner of the internet is also going to be changing/moving/growing. In September, An Amber-Colored Life will turn ten (TEN!). Nothing is set in stone yet (there are actually a billion things that I've been/will be working on this summer that I can't wait to tell you about but can't/won't until they're set in stone), but I've got a couple of things I'm working to both grow and change this silly internet home that has been my pride and joy for the past decade. The first phase of the plan is to start transitioning the personal blog musings (a.k.a., the ridiculous clap-trap about boys and movies and other shiz) to my Amber-Colored Life Tumblr space. Blogspot has been good to me in the past ten years and I'm still a huge fan of how easy/intuitive the publishing platform is, but I feel like it's time for a change. I don't exactly know yet what that change will look like come September, but much like my actual living space move, this is an easy lateral move that will get the blog ready for its next big adventure. Since I know that change is hard for some of you guys (Kevin), you can start following me there now so you're on the up and up when the final/complete changeover takes place. Instead of posting here and then reposting to there like I've done in the past, from here on out I'll be doing the opposite - you still won't miss anything here (promise! At least until September...), but if you want to get my ultra-important and complex thoughts on why putting KCCO in your Tinder profile automatically disqualifies you in the minds of so many smart girls the minute that it's posted, then you're gonna wanna bookmark (do we still do that? Bookmark stuff?) that space and check it first.

Get it? Check it if you wanna check it, but even if you forget it, you won't wreck it.

#raps

#rapsuperstar

#rapping

#Ididathingthatwasarap

#didyouseethatrapupthereIdidthatrap

Monday, June 16, 2014

Whenever my self-esteem is low, I can always count on my baby brother to bring it lower.


Tether. (Part Three)

Don’t think about it too much. I took a step back and glanced over to the other side of the partition of the bar, which divided the bar area from the ice cream/restaurant area. I was standing on one side, he was sitting on the other. Just go up to him and say hi. Be an adult.

I had spotted him as soon as I had arrived at Treelands that morning, with my little nanny charge in tow. He was working, though, so there was no chance to have a casual, “Oh hey, you’re here!” faux-surprised conversation. Which was totally okay, I reminded myself. My worst fear, for myself, was that I hadn’t wanted to get excited about seeing him again and let myself think about what could happen and what I wanted to happen, which would then put me back into that phase where it’s really important that those things happened, and exactly the way I wanted them to. That old middle school dramatics phase where, if I don’t get asked to slow dance by Chris Carlson to “More Than Words” at this dance tonight, my life is going to feel empty and meaningless for the rest of my life. So I tried really hard not to romanticize it, telling myself that I had to let go of my dumb fantasies of how I wanted the run-in to happen - the sun is shining. I’m looking amazing: Confident and blowy and nonchalant about it all at once. He sees me, but I don’t see him. Slowly, he makes his way towards me. When his hot face draws near, I look up, surprised, and then slowly, I smile at him. “Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes,” he would say, and then pull me tightly to him. “I missed you. I don’t care what happened before. I’m so glad you came to the Challenge. Let’s try this again.” And then we kiss and bluebirds fly out of the trees while a symphony orchestra starts playing in the distance somewhere  -  and just concentrate on having it happen, of biting the bullet, getting it out of the way, even if I had to orchestrate the entire thing. 

So the kid (that I was nannying for) and I spent the morning on the playground, waiting for Meg to arrive.Then the kid decided she wanted to watch the casting contest, which he was judging. Picking a spot just a few feet away from him, she had implored me to sit on the grass with her so we could watch the kids cast their lure towards the hula hoop in the water. He and I both had sunglasses on, so when he looked our way, I couldn’t quite tell if he was looking at me or just in our general direction, and it didn’t really matter, anyway. It wasn’t like he’s going to interrupt his judging to come over and say hi, I told myself. 

Later, after Meg had arrived and we finished our coverage of the event, we decided to go inside to get out the sun. My heart jumped into my chest as I walked into the bar area to find him sitting on the other side of the partition that divided that bar from the restaurant. I tried to play it cool, act like I hadn’t seen him. Which always works out so well, right? Guys love it when they know you’ve seen them but you act like you haven’t. 

You’ll hate yourself if you let the opportunity slip away and you didn’t do anything. I took a deep breath in and grabbed my drink from off the bar. “I’ll be right back,” I told Meg. 

Here was the inner dialogue during the span of maybe a 20 second conversation:
Whoa. I totally did forget just how hot he is, especially up close. 
Hmm. He doesn’t really seem that happy to see me. Better make this quick. 
He can’t seem to look at me head on. What’s up with the side-eye? Is he nervous? Or is he just feeling awkward because he’s wishing he wasn’t talking to me?
Why is he asking what I’m drinking? 
This is awkward. 
I should go now. Say goodbye, put him out of his misery. 
“Will I be around later?” What does that mean? He could barely look at me and now he wants to know if I’ll be around later? Is that good? 

“I mean, I rarely ever ask someone if they’re going to be around later if I *don’t* want to see them,” I pointed out to my friend Larkin over Twitter DM later that afternoon. Larkin is of those one guy friends who will always give it to me straight - the cold hard truth, whether I want it or not, every time. So naturally, he was the first person I went to with my, “What does a guy mean when he asks, “Will you be around later?”…?” Does that mean that he’s hoping to talk to me later, or that he just wants to know when and where to avoid me?
“I would go with your gut,” he replied. 
Yeah, but my gut sucks, I wanted to whine. 

Later that night, around 7, Lacy and I showed up at Treelands, ready for our Girls Night. This had also been planned for weeks: A babysitter had been arranged for the kid, and Meg was going to meet us out there later. So we sat outside with our drinks until it grew cold, then settled in at the bar. We hadn’t been in our bar stools for more than ten minutes before he came in. And sat down next to me at the bar. I could feel my hopes actually lift in my chest. We would get to talk now. We would get to catch up, I could figure out what might still be here, and what might not be. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tether. (Part Two)

“What, to you, is the best possible outcome of seeing him again?” Meg asked.

It had been planned for months. Looking at the calendar back in January, Meg and I had decided that it would be one of the events we would make a point to cover this year. When, a couple months later, someone mentioned that he would be back for it, I was careful to keep my expression placid, my reaction neutral.

“Part of me is hoping that he got totally fat and ugly so I don’t have to think about him anymore,” I joked. 
Meg laughed. 
“And, I really kind of hope that he doesn’t have a girlfriend,” I admitted, growing serious again. “I know it’s totally not fair of me to want that, because when we ended things, I wanted him to go back to school and date a bunch of girls, experience things, learn stuff. Have a full year and all of that. But now, when I think about it…the thought of him coming back with a girlfriend…it really bothers me.”
“If he didn’t have a girlfriend, would you want to start things up again?” 
I looked out the window and sighed, mostly to myself. “I don’t know.” 

Only a half a year ago, I had been riding my bike down that same slope-y road on a September morning after closing the book for the first time on him, on us. The sense of lack, then, was different…it was more persistent, more troubling. That hallow space inside, that I kept expecting someone else - him - to fill. Until I realized that it hadn’t really been about him, it had been about me. About figuring out what it was that I felt was lacking inside, and what I could do, on my own, to fill it. It was the reason why I was happy when no one else was around and so scattered when they were…because they magnified it. I didn’t have to think about it when I was just concentrating on myself, but then he blew in “with his hot face and awesome body and smart words and fucked it all up for me,” I had joked in an email to a friend, at one point. 

And I wanted to believe that I was getting better at this..that even though I don’t always perceive my own best interests, I knew enough to know when it’s time to call it quits. I really liked him - really, really liked him - and was grateful for the time we spent together and what I learned from him, but it just didn’t feel like it was the right time for us. I still had a hard battle to do with my own heart, and I liked it him enough where I knew I had to do it on my own, instead of making him endure those particular brands of bullshit. And I had already started to see that I was sending it over to him - naggy, dumb texts over stupid things that bewildered him and embarrassed me. So when fall came around, we said goodbye, wished each other well. Thanks for the all the memories, have a good year at school, maybe I’ll see you next summer. 

And it was good for me, to be alone this year. I worked really hard to fill that void, to figure out how to love myself more than anyone could, more than I could expect anyone else to. It’s odd to me, how this comes so easily for other people. It feels like such a revelation, to me. 

But it also felt fragile, when confronted with the idea of putting it all into practice… and it had gotten harder, the more opportunity there had been for him to come back into my life. I had to make a decision, a few months ago, of whether or not I wanted to open that door again. In the end I did the right thing, the professional thing, the hey-my-heart-is-elastic-and-I’m-cool thing (That should go on my next resume: “Is able to move past the faults of failed romantic relationships for the sake of mutual professional advancement and community gain.”), but it bothered me, how much it made me think about him. 

“I’d like to see if there was at least potential. For maybe starting over, trying something new.” I told Meg, as I stirred my drink with my straw. “Do things differently this time.” Sighing, I stared out the window. “But what if he totally doesn’t even want to see me again? What if he just blows me off?”
“He’s not going to do that,” Meg reassured me. “I bet he’ll be just as excited to see you as you are to see him.” 
“Yeah, maybe,” I replied, stirring my drink with my straw. “But maybe not.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tether. (Part One)

Riding my bike down the long slope-y road, I tilted my head to the sun and closed my eyes for just a minute. I know I should wear a helmet, but sometimes I just need to feel the wind blow through my hair, rush past my ears. I haven’t felt this in a long time, I found myself thinking. There’s a particular sense of lack, a type of longing…I’ve written about it before, but the best way I can describe it is that it’s a warm breeze out of nowhere. For just a moment, the clouds will break and the sun will shine, and I’ll close my eyes and remember everything good about it, about him. And then it’s gone again, like it was never there at all. 

We had a summer and I ruined it. That is what I would catch myself thinking, sometimes. We had a summer and I ruined it. And I know I wasn’t ready, that he probably wasn’t either, and I know it wasn’t just all me (if you would have asked me in September, I probably would have told you that it wasn’t me at all) but. Sometimes I really wanted to try again. I wanted it back, I wanted to see if it could be different. And then…I didn’t want to try at all. I’ve read all the books that Greg Behrendt has written…no matter what we might have said before, I’m old enough to know now, and by heart, that a break is really a break-up. And that you can’t actually break up if you weren’t actually ever officially together. We weren’t on hold, and I didn’t want to be, when we talked about it. I wanted to take my year and write, learn how to love myself more, take care of my own goddamn heart. I wanted him to take his year and finish school, do whatever it was that he felt he needed to do.

But as the season drew near, I found myself wondering about it. Another summer. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that there’s never any point in waiting for a new one with an old flame. But then I would think about it, and I would think about him, and even just telling myself that…it made me feel a little like crying. Let down. Like standing ready at the door for your prom date, only to have your mom finally break it to you that they weren’t coming.

Part Two -->

Monday, June 09, 2014

Consecration.

I hadn't felt that way in a long time...broken apart, split open, like an egg. Because it's either one or the other, I told myself, later. Either it's simple physical procurement, or it's feelings without the consecration. 

You could tell I didn't want to, earlier. That I wasn't ready. I wanted to, but I just...didn't. I've only really felt that way one other time before. Not the wanting-to-wait part...but the dread that comes from knowing that if I do this, if I let you, it will change everything. That instead of keeping you, it may only toss you out into the wind, cause you to disappear into the ether. Because this might mean more to me than to you. Because I don't really believe you, anymore, when you say that you adore me. Because we are not friends, and have never been, really, and so what do we really have? Afternoon hangouts with auxiliary pals. Late nights of wishing you would tell me how this should feel. Mornings when you hold me close to you and I have to tell myself not to sink into it, not to let this be something that I'll miss later. Long days of wondering what to do, with you, now. 


I am not the bonder. I don't wait, and I'm almost always ready. I don’t do this often, but when I do, it’s without regret. That’s something that you might not know about me. If you asked me in a honest moment, I would tell you that I just don't see the point in it. I am greedy to just have all of you, right then, because then I won't feel like missed out, later. That's what this – all of that, before – taught me. It's foolish to relax in the knowledge that someone is always going to be around, the next day and then the next, so what's the point in waiting. Isn't it better, then, to hurtle ourselves toward the end, gain as much as we can, of them, while they are still here, while they still exist, right in front of us and beyond. 


You are sweet with me, when it counts. I like the way you smooth the hair back from my forehead when we are in bed, and the way you pull me into a dark room to kiss me when we are not. But those things can make me feel awful after you've gone and I have to still remember them later. Because I want more than this, and I don’t know how to say that to you. That I want a date, as silly and small as that sounds. I want you to put on a clean shirt and drive to a restaurant and then sit at the table and wait. I want to put on a soft dress and walk in and feel that small thrill that I feel in the pit of my stomach whenever I see you. I want to sit down across from you and I want to talk to you, the way I want to do, all the time, and not just until a polite enough time has passed and we can sneak away from our friends. I want to feel safe with you, and all the time, and I want you to like me, all the time. And then I think about it and I feel crazy, because I don’t say anything, and I just expect you to know. Wish that you did. Tuck everything away in the text messages I don’t send in the morning, think too much about the ones that you send me. 


You have seen a Me that I don’t think I’ve shown anyone. The softer kind, the one who is quiet in the morning and gentle in the night. The one who will let you brush my hair back from my forehead, who will move in closer when you want to hold me tight to your chest. And I show you this because I see more in you than I thought I would. I knew who you were – or at least, I thought I did - the moment I met you. You have never wanted for female attention, so you were probably shallow. Conceited. Maybe not all that smart, because you've never really had to be. So I expected that maybe I would get to make out with you, and then maybe that would be it. And then one brilliant fall morning, I swirled my Bloody Mary with my straw and brazenly asked you the questions that you didn’t expect me to ask. And when you gave me your answers, I found myself losing my breath. What if you are the opposite of everything I assumed you were? I didn't expect that I might actually like you, or that you might actually tell me that you liked me. And that sounds so sixth grade, doesn’t it? "You said that you liked me!" But you did. And I didn't expect it. And so I guess it meant more, that way, when you said it. It all did…the way that we could lock eyes and hold the gaze, the way I could wrap my arms around you on the sidewalk and you would kiss me, long and slow, both of us doing so without a second thought. 


And so I adore you, and it makes me feel awful. Because I want you happiest all the time, no matter what, and I will pull myself away from you if I feel like what I want to say or do could make you unhappy. And I feel like this could. I feel like this could change it all, could change me, cause it all to slide away, and I am scared of that, and so I am also scared of you. 


And so I didn’t want to, last night. I did, but I just…didn’t. And you could tell, and in a small, soft moment as your body hovered over mine, we locked eyes and held our breaths and I knew that this was where I would lose you. That I could do this to try to keep you, but that it wouldn’t really make you stay, not really. That maybe this is what you had been waiting for, and when it was over, you would have gotten all you wanted, and wouldn’t want anymore. And I felt myself break apart as you glided your hand down the side of my face and told me that it was okay, that we didn’t have to, that we could wait. I wondered what we were waiting for, but I couldn’t seem to make those words float from my mouth to your ears from across the dark. And so I simply decided that I didn’t want to miss out on you, and so I will take these feelings that will have no consecration, and give to you the physical procurement. And in the morning I will be quiet when you wake me, holding me close to you, and I will spend the long day wondering, long after you have left my bed empty, what to do with me, now. 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

This will probably be the most important thing you read all day. Probably.

Okay, so I know I owe you guys, like, five Candida Diaries posts and three Bachelorette Recaps, but I have something that I want to talk about right now that's a little more important.

My boobs have fallen in love with a sports bra, and it's become a revelation.

Being a rather busty gal, I've spent most of my adult life strapping those babies into thick, structured, tight, and molded bras. Because you gotta - having those big balloons bouncing around with every step is not only slightly obscene - think of the children, you guys - but it's also kind of painful. In the past few years, I've also taken to sleeping with some kind of support - super soft cami's with the built-in shelf bras are choice - because there are few things more uncomfortable than having those things flopping all around when you're trying to drift into dreamland.

Basically, when other girls talk about the joy of taking their bra off at the end of the day, I have no idea what they mean. My girls basically live their life in a perma-bra existence.

But this past winter, I started wearing yoga clothes more often so I could drop onto the mat in the middle of the day or slid into my meditation chair whenever I needed to refocus (it became a whole, awesome thing, and it was largely responsible for helping me to quit smoking back in November). But I resisted the thought of wearing a sports bra because my entire life's experience has taught me that sports bras are ultra uncomfortable - if you've got a healthy rack, you're usually stuck with ones with thick straps and tight material, which cut into your shoulders and make your neck ache after a hour or two of wearing them. But wearing a normal bra while doing downward dog...it doesn't really work (or it does, but only if someone of the male gender is around to appreciate it).

So I decided to give two super soft, stretchy sports bras a try. One was neon orange with the usually wide straps, and the other one was a soft black one with thin straps. I was a little worried about the black one, thinking that thinner straps would only cut into my shoulders more and would be less supportive.

But oh holy wow, you guys. The orange one is actually pretty great, but the black one...it feels like my boobs are being gently held up by a SOFT YET TOTALLY SUPPORTIVE CLOUD.

This is what all you other girls are talking about, when you talk about the beauty of not wearing a bra, isn't it?!? Like...freedom. I don't have anything cutting into my sides, I'm not bouncing around all the time, my chest feels like it's being given a friendly-but-things-could-also-get-romantic-if-we're-both-feeling-that-we-might-want-to-go-there hug all day, and I can actually wear the thing in public without feeling like I'm tuning into Tokyo*.

Also, it makes my boobs look great. I can show cleav' in public without feeling obscene, because I'm all like, "You can tell from the sporting of this sports bra that I obviously work out and do yoga, so this is functional cleavage."


Me, rocking the sports bra in public. (Photo courtesy of my pal Erik, who thought he was just taking a photo of me being, "hey, me!" and not "hey, boobs!") 
I'm probably never taking this thing off. I mean, I will, when I have to shower and stuff, but I'm ordering one in every color to coordinate with every outfit. It's like...I never knew it could feel this good. I never knew a bra could feel this way, and so now I never want to lose this feeling.

Also, I'm probably not going to be making out with anyone for another 12 months, so I guess these babies gotta get their kicks in somehow, right?

When makeout land is in the middle of a drought, just get yourself a sweet and fancy sports bra, ladies!**


*Please refer to one of the greatest movies of all time, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt, for the meaning of this phrase.

** For more great life advice, please stay tuned for my upcoming book entitled, "He Doesn't Like You That Way: The Amber L. Carter Story"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

(The Candida Diaries) Winning The All-Important Daily Battle Against Those Goddamn Totino's Party Pizzas

This is the face of triumph.
I'm sitting in the living room of the house where I've been nannying this past week, waiting for the parents to get home.

I don't mean to be cocky, but...I AM NOW A MASTER OF MY TREATMENT, EVERYBODY, SOMEONE GIVE ME A MEDAL, BECAUSE I FLIPPIN' OWNED THIS GIG ALL WEEK LONG!

No slip-ups, not even when Totino's Party Pizza was being made.

Not even when there was chocolate all over the place.

 Not even when I was stomach-monster-growling hungry and had to make chicken nuggets and french fries and stare at mini-cupcakes the whole time while I was doing it.

Not even when I was at Treelands this weekend - on Friday I had a bloody mary with Meg (treatment approved), and on Saturday, even though I wanted a beer so bad, I had two gin & tonics, and the rest of the time I had tonic water with lime (and funny thing? I actually preferred the tonic water with lime).

I took my vinegar shot every day, did yoga, got my probiotics in, and overall, I felt great. I felt like I had it on lock, in fact. A big motivation was the fact that, even though I haven't weighed myself in probably two months, I could tell that I was looking better. And I could feel it, too...I just felt lighter. And every day that I didn't slip, it just made it easier to keep going on through the next day.

The big challenge this week is my baby niece's birthday party and baptism. I'll be staying in Chicago with my brother and sister-in-law over the weekend, and it looks to be a weekend filled with lots of people, lots of food, family, fun, etc.

i.e., cake, chocolate and wine.

The wine I'm okay with - thanks to my father's foresight (thanks, Dad!), there should be plenty of white available, and I'll probably bring some tonic water and limes just as a safety net. The cake and chocolate...I was thinking about it today, and I kind of told myself the thing that I always do when faced with stuff like this: For the rest of my life, I can have cake whenever I want. There will never be a time, in the foreseeable future, when I won't have access to cake. Keeping that in mind makes it that much easier to stick to my treatment and pass up the cake until I hit my goal (i.e., when my gut is fully healed and/or my body's finally at a place where a piece of cake isn't going throw it into total and complete wack).

The only other thing that I'm apprehensive of is not being in control of what's available. The thing about these eating modifications is that they kind of make you feel like an asshole. I dread going to a restaurant now and asking for a zillion modifications to my meal, much less going to someone's home and being all, "Yeah, thanks for taking the time to make this thing that I can't actually eat." Since I've been doing it since January, my family's pretty well up-to-speed on the whole candida thing, so I know they kind of get it, but there's also the fun part of having to deal with other people's questions and unsolicited advice and jokes when they notice that I'm being a "picky" eater or am not having cake like everyone else. There's some weird human thing that makes people really uncomfortable when everyone else is drinking but you're not, or when everyone else is eating ice cream but you're not. Which makes it super sucktown to be that person who's not.

So yeah. It will be fun (?) to work at navigating that stuff, but for the most part, I'm just excited to hang with my family and see my baby niece and celebrate with everyone who loves her.

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