in which i exhibit symptoms of multiple personalities.

I am envious of people who have lifelong dreams and ambitions. One of my earliest childhood memories is playing with another little girl at recess in elementary school. At her behest, we were pretending to be anthropologists; we decided that an anthill was a heretofore undiscovered civilization that we were studying. She went on to study real-life past civilizations (though to my knowledge, she has yet to discover any new ones) and has spent a lot of time sorting through potsherds south of Mexico.

I wanted to pretend to be horses. I did not, unfortunately, grow up to be a horse. Or a wolf, which was another playground favorite of mine.

There has never been any point in my life at which I had a concrete, sustained idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was very young, for a while I wanted to be a veterinarian, and then I realized how terrible science was. I wanted to be a teacher for a little while after that, but I think I just kind of lost interest. For a little bit in high school I wanted to be a journalist until I actually joined the high school newspaper and realized how awful reporting actually was. Then I wanted to be a teacher for a little while again (I got a little more specific this time and settled on English as a subject, at least), and I think I might have lost interest again, I’m not really sure. I entered college as a declared English major, and then — I am totally serious — looked through the course catalog and realized how many papers I was going to have to write and decided that there was no way in hell I was putting myself through that. I thought for a couple of days about what else I was good at and landed on art, despite not ever having taken a single art class. I feel like it’s pretty obvious how thoroughly I thought that one out, considering that I decided a concentration in studio art would be a good idea.

I stumbled through college with my head blithely stuck in the sand, optimistic that I would find something to do with myself after I graduated, until that last semester of senior year hit (with the capstone class focusing on being a gallery artist), when I realized that being a gallery artist sounded like absolute misery, and so did going to graduate school, and those are pretty much your options with a studio art degree.

After working a few months in fast food, I decided I was going to give going back to school a try to get my teaching certificate. That did not work out because I do not multi-task very well; my grades were very poor and we needed rent more badly than I needed classes at the time. A couple of years later I tried again, this time shooting for English (I don’t learn very quickly), and then the mister enlisted and the house burned down and we moved to California and the final stake got driven into the heart of me even trying anymore.

Don’t get me wrong: ninety-nine percent of the time I love being a homemaker, and I count my lucky stars that I’m able to do that instead of shilling fried food. And the other one percent of the time it isn’t even than I’m unsatisfied with the life I live now; it’s that somewhere inside me still resides that ambitious teenager who applied to Harvard (and even got an interview), who was determined to “make something” of herself, even if she didn’t know what. Adult Laura usually comes back pretty quickly and reminds her of how happy she is now and that success is subjective, but won’t admit to Teenage Laura that she’s actually secretly relieved that she had an excuse not to attend her high school reunion.

Or that at the cusp of thirty, she’s still pretty sure she wants to be a horse.

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a toast (sort of).

I cannot imagine what it must be like to grow up in a world surrounded by people telling you that, because of who you are, you aren’t allowed to have what they have. Because you don’t fit their definition of normal, because they think that you are weird, because you’re a perfectly lovely person, and maybe they even love you, but they have decided that the person you are at your very core isn’t good enough to deserve the same rights and privileges that they never even thought twice about having.

I can’t imagine growing up in a world where people snicker behind your back or look at you sideways because you went into the ladies’ room instead of the men’s, where people call you a pervert (but never to your face), where by being so audacious as to simply walk down the street you draw the ire and disgust of people who profess to love everyone.

I can’t imagine what that is like because I look like a woman; because I dress feminine (usually) and wear make-up (occasionally); because the person I fell in love with happens to have male genitalia. It doesn’t matter that I would have fallen in love with him and decided to spend the rest of my life with him even if he’d happened to have been a woman; what matters to society is that I fit into what they perceive as a “normal,” straight female, so no one ever thinks twice about my life choices.

I did not grow up in that world, but my sister did. I grew up watching her struggle to figure out who she was and how she fit into the world at large. I watched her grow into an amazing, strong woman; I watched her make mistakes and I watched her get unfair retribution for those mistakes simply because her very existence made people uncomfortable. I watched her pick herself back up, dust herself off, give those who judge her a giant middle finger and keep on living her life as she knew she was meant to live it.

Because I watched her do all of these things, as I grew up I found in myself the strength and the courage to be the person I am, and to hell with whether people like it. I discovered I had a voice to tell people who the person is that they think they know, and if it turned out they didn’t like that person so much then I found I had the strength to cut them out of my life.

In my sister I have had someone who has always supported me no matter what, to whom I could talk about absolutely anything in the world and know that she would not judge me. I’ve had someone who is ready to go to bat for me at the drop of a hat and who has gotten fighting, spitting, red-in-the-face, punch-holes-in-the-wall mad when people hurt me. She is a person who loves deeply and fiercely, which is an admirable trait to have hung on to after all those years of people hurting her and not thinking twice about it, sometimes not even knowing that they did. She will drop everything for someone whom she truly loves, and would give them the last penny she had if she knew it would make them happy.

Because of what I’ve seen her go through, it makes me doubly happy that society’s tides seem to be turning; that in over half the country it is finally legal for her to have the same happiness that has been afforded to those who fall in love with the opposite gender. It still isn’t legal in our home state, but it is in some of the neighboring ones, and today in one of those neighboring states she is going to stand with the woman she loves and achieve something that she’s been told her entire life she couldn’t have and didn’t deserve.

And if you can (figuratively speaking) stand up and look me in the eye and tell me that my sister, who is one of the most amazing people I’ve had the privilege to know, doesn’t deserve that happiness because the person she loves is a woman, you can quite frankly go fornicate with yourself, remove yourself from any association of mine, and go find a creative hole in which to shove a tree limb.

To my sister: I love you and your lady both, woman. Congratulations :).

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day #wayoverdue

So I’m something like three weeks late on this update, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone (I mean, honestly). Sorry. I have continued the 21 Day Fix workouts and eating plan, though. At the end of three weeks I’d lost ten pounds and three and a half inches off my waist. I did take a couple of days off the workouts after the first three week cycle due to my body, as a friend put it, “getting back to normal factory settings after [my] custom modifications,” and that is as much detail as I’m going into about that; suffice it to say that I spent two days curled up in my recliner hating the world. After that (and a cheat day which involved way more carbs than I care to remember) I jumped into round two. I’m on day 12 of that now, and am currently down 15 pounds and a little over four inches off my waist.

So — the workouts + eating plan are a win. They’ve definitely been effective, and as much as I still hate getting up off my slowly shrinking derriere to flop around like a beached salmon on my living room floor and pretend that my moves look anything at all like Ms. Bikini Model’s, I’ve managed to make myself do it and am thus far pretty ecstatic with the results.

I did not reorder the Shakeology after I finished off the month’s supply sent to me with the challenge pack, mostly because I only get four carbs a day and losing one of them to make the shake drinkable just wasn’t worth it. When it comes down to a tortilla in a breakfast burrito or eight ounces of almond milk in a shake, the tortilla will win every time. Plus, y’know, $130 a month.  I could get a cavity filled for every month I ordered it. The only difference I really noticed was that it did actually help a lot with curbing my munchies later in the day, but after the first week or so those weren’t too noticeable anymore anyway.

I’m still not posting my real before and afters yet, but for the time being:

Untitled

I know, different angles, different shirts, candid vs. selfie, etc., etc., but you get the idea. I should also note that this is actually a difference of about 20 pounds, because I’d lost about five pounds on my own before ordering the program.

This pretty much wraps up this series of posts. I’ll likely update periodically on my weight loss, but this will probably be the last post dedicated solely to it until I hit my ultimate goal, at which point I’ll probably be blabbing about it on every platform I can get my hands on. In the meantime, we’re back to your regularly scheduled sporadic posts about whatever happens to cross my mind.

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ack.

Guys, Hensleyitis is having a stroke. I don’t know what the hell I did. Bear with me.

Edit: Jesus jumping jehosephat christ. At least it’s readable now. I hope. I just wanted to freshen things up a little, geez. I am not a fan of this particular theme, but I’m kind of afraid to mess with anything.

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day 14 and my giant mutant calves.

Doing good! I’m eight pounds down and two inches off my waist, which I figure is not bad for two weeks in. I’ve graduated from my two pound light weights up to five pounds, though I’m hanging on to the eight pounders as my heavy weights for now since I’m not really able to use them as much as I’m supposed to be doing without my arms screaming for mercy. There’s honestly not a whole lot to say about the workouts, since it’s just repeating the same seven from week one, albeit a little more efficiently.

Diet is going well, slipped up a little this week on my salt consumption, though. I’ve got to get that stuff out of the house. It calls to me like a siren who loves me and wants nothing more than for me to retain water weight and have high blood pressure, as if that’s so terribly much to ask. So today it’s all getting washed down the drain. Really. I swear.

So for the most part, I’m building muscle, and I’m happy with most of it. I’m seeing little changes where my fat is changing shape to conform to the muscle beneath it. The only thing that is not cool about this is the elephantitis (that almost-typo was fun) which has inflicted itself upon my poor calves.

Seriously. I’ve always had pretty good muscle in my calves, as a result of being significantly overweight for practically my entire life. They had to either adapt or die. But these workouts that I’ve been doing, they work every muscle, including my calves, which very much do not need to be any larger. I mean, I’m sure they’ll slim down some as I lose more weight, but seriously, guys, this is not like my baby bicep or my baby ab situation where there’s a substantial layer of fat on top. I honestly don’t know if they’re going to get any smaller, and I’m a little concerned about exactly how big they’re going to get.

In case you don’t believe me, here is the closest thing you’ll get to a before picture, at least until I hit my total goal and don’t look anything like the before picture anymore:

20140921_115910 (270x500) 20140921_120116 (267x500)

Look at that. That is not natural. That is never going to fit into sexy knee-high boots. I mean, I have no illusions that I will someday be this tiny, svelte little thing (my wrists are seven inches around, y’all, there was never any hope in the known universe of my being svelte), but I would at least like to have normal proportions that don’t include hulk calves.

The mister, for the record, called them “impressive.” My calf muscles are bigger around than his head, and they’re “impressive.” I guess I’ll take what I can get.

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more on this health thing.

So, I’ll start off with the nitty gritty which is, I’m sure, what you all want to know most: On day 8, I have lost a total of 5.5 pounds and one inch off my waist :D. I’m even starting to feel and see a few muscles.

I keep going back and forth with being impressed about the shakes, and right now I’m back to not terribly impressed. It didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference to my energy level after the first day, and I’ve yet to find a flavor/texture combination that actually tastes good. I mean, it’s all right, but not great, you know? So my plan is to finish out the supply I have, and then not drink them for a month, and see if there’s a noticeable difference in energy and/or weight loss.

The food part of the equation hasn’t been overall too difficult, either, though a little frustrating with trying to find different ways to prepare vegetables that doesn’t involve smothering them in butter, salt, and/or cheese. I’ve managed to come up with some tasty concoctions, though, and I’ve even gotten the mister to grin and bear it through his broccoli and carrots.

The workouts are getting progressively easier for me to do, which would be expected, I would think. I like that they work out a different group of muscles every day. I have discovered, though, that I utterly and completely despise ab workouts. I suppose that once I have a little less fluff in the general abdominal area, I’ll be able to do a crunch without popping blood vessels in my head. Until then I’ll just resort to doing a few crunches and then just repeatedly lifting my legs/hips up off the floor, which seems to work out the same muscles without trying to dislocate any vertebrae.

The absolute most annoying and frustrating part of this whole program, though, are the damned fruit flies. When you don’t really keep any fruit in your house, you don’t tend to have too many issues with them, but this past week they have invaded my space with abandon. What is it that works for them? Apple cider vinegar and dish soap? Anyone have a wading pool I can set up in my living room?

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i haven’t started throwing DVDs yet, so there’s that.

I really, truly, honestly thought I’d be making a post today about how much I wanted to die.

But in all honesty, it hasn’t been too bad. The food part of it has actually been almost easy.

Instead of my usual morning coffee with an obscene amount of creamer and sugar, I just mixed it with one of the chocolate Shakeology shakes, and that was breakfast. And, honestly, I’m a little reluctantly impressed with the shakes. It did taste a little like Slim Fast, but better (after the first couple of sips), and while it wasn’t exactly delicious, it was pretty good. I didn’t add anything else to it this morning because I wanted to judge the energy level it gave me on its own merit, but starting tomorrow I’ll experiment with different fruits and see how it goes. Now, to be clear, I need my morning cup of coffee to achieve any level of functionality higher than an angry, mentally challenged orangutan. It doesn’t give me any extra boost of energy. So I’m attributing the extra energy boost to the shake, and it was pretty impressive. We’ll see if the trend continues for the rest of the month.

Lunch was a salad with a chopped up chicken thigh (minus the skin) leftover from night before last’s dinner. Dinner was a baked pork chop with apple slices on top, peas and corn on the cob (I’m on a diet?). I had a boiled egg for a snack (tentatively; I don’t want to talk about my love-hate relationship with eggs) and I just finished off a peach-pineapple-banana smoothie with coconut oil, which was a little reminiscent of a sex on the beach and amazing. I actually have enough various servings left over to make up another meal, but I’ll probably just have a banana or something in a couple of hours to keep my stomach from being growly when I go to bed.

The biggest food-related issue today was denying the craving for a Dr Pepper and not adding extra salt to anything. (Okay, I cheated a little and had salt on the boiled egg. I practically never have eggs, so I gave myself a little leeway there. But trust me, that being the only thing I actually added salt to all day was a hell of an accomplishment. I treat bouillon cubes like hard candy, for heaven’s sake.)

All right, so the food thing, I’ve got that down. I even got the mister on board with me, minus the shakes, because while I might be willing to spend $130 a month (maybe) on them, there is no way in hell that’s bumping up to $260.

I started the workout today with “Total Body Cardio Fix”, which was definitely not easy. I had to follow the modified version for a lot of it, and there is one move which involves getting down on your knees and getting back up again that I’m pretty sure actually caused my knees to start throwing tea bags into the harbor. Also, I am not good at crunches. But I did finish the full thirty minutes, and I did keep moving through the whole thing, so I feel like I deserve a gold star for that, at least. And the ankle I’ve been having problems with isn’t even bothering me too much, thanks to the preemptive strike I took involving an ankle brace.

Now, that being said, I am in a pretty good amount of pain at the moment, mostly in my inner thighs, and I have definitely been getting up and down like a 70-year-old woman for the majority of the day. But tomorrow is “Upper Fix”, so that should hopefully give my legs a rest, and I can moan and groan about my abs and my shoulders all day tomorrow.

All in all, considering that I had been completely sedentary and eating crap up until now, I feel pretty good about today. And I’m fairly optimistic about just about everything right now except for actually getting up the stairs to go to bed.

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