Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Glad I'm Not A Model

For SO MANY reasons, lol!
When I was a kid I was taller than most of the other kids my age. (Yeah, school dances were FUN!) A lot of people (read: EVERYONE AND THEIR FRICKIN" AUNT GLADYS!) commented on my height, and some suggested I consider becoming a model. Which was nice. Until the inevitable follow-up comment, "But you'd really have to watch what you eat." [Apply sound of needle scratching record here.]
Talk about a back-handed compliment!
And, let me say straight out, I was NOT heavy as a kid. (And even if I was, it's just rude!) I was VERY active. I rode my bike/skateboard everywhere, swam for hours in the summer, took tennis lessons every Saturday (although most of the exercise there came from my kicking, screaming, and begging not to have to go), took dance and drama, and just plain played for hours on end. I even attempted Little League baseball. Unsuccessfully. Ahem.
Then came the 80's. Olivia Newton John released "Physical," and I exercised in my room every night while listening to the entire album. Then, miracle of miracles, we got a VCR and a Jane Fonda workout tape and, let me tell, ya, I ROCKED those legwarmers!
And, to go along with all this, I ate. Food. Real food. The low-fat revolution was just getting underway, so this was before I and everyone else loaded up the shopping cart with chemically-laden fake food. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't blase about my diet. I had TONS of Irish-Catholic/Jewish guilt mixed in with my meals. From the time I was 5 or 6 I heard "You're not fat yet, but you have to be careful." (Meanwhile my gangly, skinny brother heard "Eat! you're so skinny! You're a growing boy, you need the nutrients!" 'Cause, y'know, growing girls don't need nutrients, they need to be put on diets and taught about disordered eating. Tradition, tradition! And skinny boys need to CONSTANTLY hear just how skinny they are!)
So, anyway, I grew up hearing messages about how I was tall and pretty, but not quite pretty enough. Not "model" pretty, because I actually ingested my food. And at times when I would actually GAIN WEIGHT (gasp!) like, during PUBERTY (the horror!), MAN, would I hear it! Even my high school drama teacher would make negative comments about my weight (um, inappropriate, much?) until said Jane Fonda tapes came along I and lost weight. Then all would be well. At least for a little while.
But I'd gotten the message. Thin=good, fat=bad. Person. I was not a good person if I put on weight. No one would love me. Hell, no one would LIKE me much. Weight is EVIL!!!!!!! And even during my thin times, I'd been through puberty and now had hips and boobs, so modeling was out! I'd NEVER be a model now!
From that moment on, I envied the smaller-busted girls. The ones with narrow figures. The ones who didn't have to worry about boys pointing and laughing at her bouncing boobs in gym class, and who didn't get hit on in the subway by guys 20 years older who thought she was in her 20's and not 14. Who maybe weren't leered at as much by creepy men on the street. Who didn't have to worry about their weight as much.
Who had boyfriends, and were asked to parties, and asked to slow dance at the school dances.

Tomorrow I will turn 39. It occurred to me last night, as I was teaching my SIXTEENTH Pilates class in a week, that if i HAD been blessed with the kind of figure I'd wanted, I probably would have had a very different life. I'd certainly have had different hangups. ("Why are my boobs so small? Why can't I look more 'feminine?'" Because small breasts=masculine, right? Because GOD FORBID we be female and HAPPY with our bodies!) But it was through my EDs and all my body image issues that I finally have come to a place of semi-acceptance. I'm not saying that having bulimia, borderline anorexia, and over-exercising were GOOD things, but I can say that I have FINALLY learned to take care of myself. To eat good, healthy, tasty food and ENJOY it. To exercise because of how it makes me feel, and not because I need to work off the pasta I ate. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm closer than I've been since I started getting all those negative messages a s a young girl.
And teaching 16 classes in a week? Yeah. Not gonna happen again. (I was subbing a lot, as well as teaching my own.) One thing I'm going to learn from this new apprenticeship is when to join in the class, and when to step aside and observe.
But it's nice to know I can teach 16 (actually, 17, as I have a mat class tonight) in a row and not keel over,lol!
So I'm not a model. I'm not an actress anymore. I don't have to worry about whitening my teeth, doing my nails, plucking my eyebrows (youch!), counting calories, getting older, my stretchmarks, my less-than-perfect abs, waxing, getting pedicures, styling my hair, applying makeup, or any of the other million "maintenance" things that I used to have to do just to walk into an audition. I don't have to spend $300 for professional headshots, and another $150 to get them re-touched (to get rid of the "flaws.") I don't have to feel like one of a million desperate women sitting in the waiting room going over my script, only to be dismissed as too old, too fat, or too ugly the minute I walk into the room, before I even open my mouth.

I don't feel like a failure anymore. And that's the first time in over 3o years that I can say that.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You Don't have To Read This; I'm Just Feeling Anxious

And need to write it down so I can CALM DOWN!!!!!!!
(I always love it when people yell at someone to calm down, lol! Like that's gonna help!)

I'm about to start my apprenticeship and my boss, who is a wonderful, sweet woman, is also a bit forgetful. (She has signed me up for a couple of time slots that I'm not available for, not checking the schedule first.) And it's not a huge deal. But I'm still feeling guilty for a whole bunch of things: not being available to sub as many classes as I could before, not being home with the kids as much, not being superwoman, not being able to be in 5 places at once, having a messy house and car, yada yada yada.

I just need to get over it. Once I start on Wednesday, I'll be fine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Unexpected Thing Happened In Burlingame

I went in for an interview this morning at a pilates studio in Burlingame, near where we live, for a Stott training program. (Stott is one of the biggest training programs for pilates in North America.) And came out with a PAID APPRENTICESHIP!!!!!! For the foreseeable future, I'll be teaching, taking classes, and observing (as well as being mentored by) other instructors, along with teaching my regular classes.
I also may have another class at Equinox.

My husband and in-laws are really helping me out, as far as taking care of the kids.
And it's funny; I've sent the past 7 years being a SAHM, and now I'll be working about 25 hours a week.
I've run a gamut of emotions; panic, joy, fear, guilt, anxiety, you name it. But it's a great opportunity, and I'm going to learn a heck of a lot!!!!!!

And I start Wednesday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Covered In Bodily Fluids (And Not The Good Kind!)

BOTH kids are sick. My daughter started sneezing and sniffling a couple of days ago. Then along came the fever, the copious amounts of nasal drainage, and the tears (which just kill me! Her little lower lip comes out and the tears start streaming and Mommy's heart just shatters). But after a long nap on Tuesday afternoon, and a good sleep that night, she was on the mend. Still snotty, but that we can deal with.
Last night, my son started the sniffling and sneezing. And a bit of crying (more heartbreak, as he's not a cryer!) And he couldn't sleep. Which meant Mommy and Daddy couldn't sleep. And then he threw up. On Daddy and the dog.
He finally fell asleep at about 4:45 am, and I had to get up at 5 to sub a 6 AM pilates class. Taught it, came home, and daughter started SOBBING! For 45 minutes! And clinging to me! I couldn't figure out what was going on! So Daddy took over while I crashed face-first on our son's bed (son was still sleeping in ours), and when I awoke, daughter had a nice BIG present for me in her pull-up. Poor thing had been constipated! So I cleaned her up and, MAN, was she happy! (And I don't blame her!)
Then her brother woke up and vomited again. It's funny, he's so calm while he pukes! Like, "Oh dear, here we go again. Ah well! BLAAAAGGHHHHHH!!!!!!"
(Side note: daughter just came over, plopped in my lap, threw her arms around me and rubbed her forehead against my face. How much do I LOVE that?!?!)
So, I'm off to sub another class. I'm taking over another teacher's classes while she's away, plus my own. She teaches, like, 12 classes a week! I have NO IDEA how she does it!!!!!!!! She could probably bench-press my minivan. With all of us inside it. Never mind that she weighs about 90 pounds soaking wet.
But I digress.
So, here's hoping my childrens' amazing little bodies push out all the crap in the next couple of days. And that Daddy and I can avoid the crap altogether. And we can start taking walks again after dinner, 'cause that's just plain FUN!!!!!
Have a great night, everyone!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That Crushing Sound You Hear is Just My Ego.

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days! Yesterday I subbed a reformer class. I asked the students how much experience they had, and was greeted with a chorus of "Oh, we're good, we've been at this a long time," etc. So, great! I figured I'd give them a more challenging class (as opposed to the version I teach my beginning students). Well, they did NOT seem happy. I kept saying "Is everyone OK? How are the springs? Are they too heavy?" And no one said anything. But the grunts, groans, and glares in my direction spoke volumes. So I eased up. But they were still unhappy. And, when I handed out the Magic Circles to work with, most of them had never used one before. So I introduced them to it. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I don't think they enjoyed the class. Which is a bummer, 'cause one of the great things about subbing is to subliminally advertise one's own classes. A "Hey, you like this? Well, I have a regular class on Fridays. Come check it out!" sort of thing.
Then I met the new group fitness director, who is very nice. But she told me that the club has a new policy when it comes to group reformer classes. Instead of a flat fee, we will now be paid according to the number of students we have. Which kinda sucks, because I've only had 1 or 2 students lately in my reformer class.
So, fast-forward to this morning, and I get an email from a different gym. I had subbed a class for 2 weeks, as they asked, and then figured the regular teacher would come back. Because that's what I was told. Well, it turns out I'M the regular teacher, except no one bothered to mention it! Apparently a bunch of people showed up for class last night, and there was no teacher! And I get an angry email from my boss telling me how disappointed the members were, that from now on I'll be teaching on a month-to-month "trial" basis, and that there are a lot of classes competing for space, and maybe there SHOULDN'T be a pilates class in that time slot, etc. So I sent an email back, containing her original request to SUB FOR TWO WEEKS.
Oy. (BTW, it even says that on the schedule: "Alyssa subbing.")
I understand that miscommunication happens. I also understand that this woman is REALLY BUSY, running the group exercise programs for two gyms, and probably thought she had given me the info. But I REALLY don't appreciate being made to feel unprofessional or flaky for something that was not at all my doing.
Finally, this afternoon, I was scheduled to sub another class (at the same gym where I subbed yesterday, for the same teacher), and NO ONE SHOWED. In my paranoid mind, I'm thinking that, somehow, the students yesterday told today's students not to show up 'cause I suck. I know that probably didn't happen, but, well, there's only so much one insecure-to-begin-with, brand-new pilates teacher can take, lol!
I'm just going to continue to go along my merry way, assuming that everything will turn out the way it should. The fact is, I get more and more folks in my mat classes (which, unlike reformer, don't cost extra) every week. All of the feedback that has gotten back to me has been extremely positive.
So there. take that, paranoia! Ththththppphhhttttttt!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Guilty, Depressed and a Failure?

No, none of the above. But I was talking this morning (OK, with my therapist), and we were exploring my feelings about my weight gain. I said it makes me feel like I have failed. So I thought I'd come online and figure out what that's all about.
I've been reading a bunch of blogs this morning, and they have all dealt with body image issues. And I just saw a commercial in which a woman's thick, gooey mascara makes her a social outcast. It seems that, as women, if we are less than "perfect," we are failures. While watching the Miss Universe pageant (yes, I got sucked in! Ironically, I was watching "Hellboy" on cable at the same time!) I got to thinking about how much upkeep is involved for those poor girls! The hair, makeup, teeth whitening, nails, workouts, lack of food, walking practice, rehearsal, prepping, etc., etc., etc. And now poor Miss USA is being razzed for tripping on stage, because everyone who's pointing and laughing have, of course, NEVER made a mistake!
Why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel like a failure? I have a wonderful family. I'm raising two kids with Autism and, if I say so myself, doing a pretty good job so far. I have a job I love. I take care of myself and my family. I'm a nice person. I don't lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, or fall out of limos while not wearing underwear. Am I a failure because I don't have 6-pack abs after 2 kids? Or because I get pimples during PMS? Would having a "perfect" body make me a better person? Because, frankly, I look at some of these women who are "perfect"-looking, and I wouldn't switch places with them for anything. (*cough* Paris Hilton *cough*.)
Are we going to continue to let the bullies in our society dictate how we feel about ourselves (and each other)? For those of us who have graduated high school (some of us recently had 20-year reunions! Um, that we didn't go to. 'Cause they were in Massachusetts in November, and we live in California, and even if we could have afforded it and wanted to go, who the hell wants to leave California and go to Massachusetts in NOVEMBER?!?!?!), isn't it time we stand up and tell those bullies to fuck off? Finally? Maybe even with a good swift kick in their non-existent rear-ends?
So, anyone who tells me (or thinks) that I'm less worthy because of how I look can go screw themselves. They might as well; karmically, they're screwed anyway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's His Birthday! (July 14)

My son's, that is. He's 7 years old today, which is completely hard to believe! Wasn't he just a little guy, crawling around on the floor? Now he has a little sister (who will turn 5 in November?!?!) and is going into second grade.
We're having a "Finding Nemo" themed party for him tonight, but this morning it's just the two of us, and I'm going to take him swimming.
I just have to say, he and his sister are two of the sweetest kids I know, and that's not just me being biased. He is so respectful of her (most of the time), and she loves everyone and they make everyone around them so happy

They're both so smart, and so funny and cute and such characters! I'm a lucky girl!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trying To Walk The Walk (And Getting Ready to Ride!)

Tomorrow is the LiveStrong Challenge in San Jose. I suppose I should be nervous about finishing the course, but I'm actually more nervous about the logistics: getting there on time (7:00 am-ugh!), parking, signing in, water, restrooms, and not getting lost at any point during the day. For someone with ZERO sense of direction, that's a biggie. (I get lost going to the bathroom.) Luckily, I have GPS on my new cell phone!
OK, so I'm working on the whole body-acceptance thing, and have been trying to take care of myself, eat better stuff, etc. I started including vegetarian, vegan and raw foods, but then PMS hit and out came the carnivore. Which is OK! Part of this whole process (I refuse to say "journey." Oh wait, I just said it.) is to allow myself to eat whatever I'm craving, as long as it is a physical craving and not an emotional one.
But, there's the whole weight gain (see post below). It's making me a little NUTS!!!!!! Which, I guess, is a little weird, because I believe in the Fat Acceptance movement, and I strongly believe that judging ourselves and other people based on how much we weigh and what we look like is incredibly damaging. I suppose I'm more accepting of others' than I am of myself. No, I'm not that generous, I'm just neurotic.
Finally, I tried a new anti-depressant, and went back to the old one after a few days of horrifying side-effects. When they say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," maybe I should LISTEN!
OK, I'm off to listen to my new Journey CD.
( Dammit, I said it again!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's been a busy few days. Lots of subbing classes, lots of taking the kids to the pool (thank G-d we have one here!), lots of sweating. Another triple-digit heatwave, which is not helping the firefighters. Kinda makes a person feel helpless.
But the main thing is that my SIL is getting married a week from Saturday!!!!!!! We had her shower this past Sunday, and it was fun (and hot). There was a woman there who used to be a nurse, and worked with a lot of Autistic patients. She was really taken with my daughter (my son, smart guy that he is, saw all the women heading into the house, grabbed his favorite DVD, and went upstairs to hang out with his grandad). But the way she interacted with my little girl, and the things she said, made me believe that there is hope.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a gloomy-gus about my kids' futures. I'm actually quite optimistic. But to meet someone who believes my kids are truly special and not just "special" means a lot. She understood my daughter in a soul-bonding kind of way (not to get too woo-woo) and my daughter really connected with her. This woman recognizes the almost psychic bond we have because my daughter doesn't speak yet (but she definitely communicates!), and she said that she, like me, always wonders what profound things are going on in their minds.
I'm probably not explaining this very well, but I think my point is that most of the time Autism and other developmental disabilities are seen as a huge burden, and I wish we could adjust our thinking to see them as merely different. My kids are different. They develop differently, and they play and interact differently, and we will do everything in our power to mainstream them, but they will, most likely, always have Autism.
And that's OK. It's just another aspect of who they are.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Journey's journey (And More "Dr. Who." 'Cause I'm Obsessed.)

OK, tokaiangel, this is for you! And anyone else who likes the band Journey.
You may know that they've been through a number of lead singers since Steve Perry left (including a brief period in the 90's when Steve Perry came back, then left again). So, they were sans a singer AGAIN, but still working on new material. One night, Neal Schon, who is a founding member and lead guitarist, was looking at (listening to?) singers on YouTube. He came across a band from the Philippines called "The Zoo." The band did a lot of Journey songs, and the lead singer, Arnel Pineda, sounded almost EXACTLY like Steve Perry! So Schon called the rest of the band, and their managers, and flew Pineda and a few other guys out to audition. Pineda ended up recording in the studio with the band for 3 days, and they asked him to be their new singer.
So, the band has a new 3-disc CD/DVD of new material, re-recorded hits, and concert footage. (When I first heard their new song on the radio I thought "Wait! Is Steve Perry back with the band?!") They're sounding like classic, 80's Journey, and it's awesome! You can check them out on YouTube.

And speaking of YouTube, I went on yesterday to watch the season finale of "Dr. Who," which won't be shown here until early August. I know, I know, it's not THAT long to wait, but, as I mention in the title, I'm obsessed with the show. Have been ever since I was a kid. And it's so smart, and so good, and so well written and acted, and they brought back so many characters for the finale,I just couldn't wait!

But it was SO F***ing SAD!!!!!!!!! If anyone here watches it, I don't want to spoil it for you. But let me just say, I really wish I could jet over to London this summer and see David Tennant (who plays The Doctor) play Hamlet and Berowne (in "Loves' Labours Lost") at the Royal Shakespeare Company, because he is flippin' BRILLIANT!!!!! (And Patrick Stewart is playing Claudius in "Hamlet." How cool is that?)
And I will totally be watching it again in August, and I'll probably cry again. See, this is what parenthood does to you! Turns you into a snivelling mess!
'Cause I also cried my eyes out watching that 9 year-old Autistic boy sing on "America's Got Talent."
And I cry at "Rescue Vets" on Animal Planet.