Sunday, July 29, 2012

You Say "NO" to Drugs... Not Toppings.

So that dreaded moment has arrived when I decide: I'm going to go on my first date since the epic breakup 4 months ago with Mr. Big. (Why do I still refer to him as Mr. Big you ask? Because if I use his real name, even though the secret is out of the bag as to who he is, I may punch the computer screen. And I'm too poor to replace that. So hence, "Mr. Big.") 

I'm a simple girl, looking for a simple guy. I don't want a lot of drama. I don't want someone who gets a manicure or carries a man purse. I also don't want someone who is missing most of their teeth and thinks a trip to the Piggly Wiggly for pickled pig hooves is a date. I want someone who loves country music, long drives through the country, has an education, enjoys baseball, is Irish, has a southern accent, perhaps has a Ronald Reagan photo framed in his office, and believes World War II documentaries are fabulous entertainment as well as Monster's Inc.. See, that's not too much to ask for right? I'm not picky. My friend argues the contrary though. She says, "Kristen, if they don't like country music it's not that big of a deal." Really? In comparison, given my job and my passion, that is the equivalent of an emergency room doctor dating someone who doesn't believe in modern medicine. Just saying.

So I find someone to go on my first date with. We will call him Michael. Why? Because that's his real name. Why else? So because I'm looking for a southern country boy I decide to go on a date with an Italian guy from Brooklyn. Makes sense, right? He seemed like a decent guy. The New York thing threw me for a loop but perhaps we are creatures of habit and we go where we feel most comfortable. Perhaps I resorted back to "little Kristen" and wanted a little New York back in my life. Unfortunately, I think my mind was looking for pizza and cannellonis, not an Italian Brooklyn guy.

Our first date was at a frozen yogurt place in the afternoon. My favorite place too. They have a lot of flavors and a toppings bar that will make you physically have to wipe up drool. Do you want Cinnamon Toast Crunch on your cake batter yogurt with a side of cheesecake chunks and sprinkles with a swirl (or six) or whipped cream? You do. Well, then we've got something in common. But this visit to the happy fro-yo paradise was different. My "date" went straight for the vanilla lever- never once taking the time to look at the other flavors in the beautiful dispensers. And then, much to my horror, he walked right past the toppings bar. He didn't even blink.

Now, let me say this once and for all. I skipped breakfast for that damn toppings bar. I was ready for my "Kristen Concoction." I politely asked, "Did you see all these toppings here? Are you going to just have it plain [you psycho mutant freak]?" He responded, "Have you ever just had yogurt without messing it up with toppings and extra calories?" WHAT?!? Have I WHAT?!? You don't simply "mess yogurt up" with toppings. You make something beautiful. You make a masterpiece. You make something that warms your heart and reminds you that God actually does exist. I knew if I put my toppings inside my bowl he would find the nearest "Over-Eaters Anonymous" meeting for me and our date would be over. So I threw one strawberry in the bowl, and whispered to the other toppings that I loved them, it was nothing personal and I would be back for them later. I then went up to the counter where Sargent Vanilla was paying for our order (perhaps with a pout).

I should have walked away then. I should have just seen that the guy had gotten a bowl of plain vanilla frozen yogurt and was satisfied. What did that say about him exactly? What did that say about the guy I had chosen to go on a date with? Frankly, no New Yorker in general would pass up a freakin' sprinkle, so who is this guy and what does he want with me? I started to worry a little bit. He was shifty obviously and without a doubt, I could not trust him. I don't trust people who don't believe in sugar.

My fear of being murdered on a first date goes back many, many years. That's why I always leave a note for the cops to find should I disappear. I leave some of my hair for DNA. I had impressions made of my teeth for dental identification. And I leave a little extra cat food out just in case. As I sat across the table listening to a man go on and on about his love for break dancing (yep, I know how to pick them), I started thinking about that note on the counter. Did I describe my outfit enough? Should I bite this guy's arm so that my teeth impressions are there? Should I pull out pieces of my hair and throw them on him so that my DNA is there too? The moral of the story is simple: if a man can pass up a toppings bar, he can't be trusted and is capable of anything. I've watched "Dates From Hell." This was one of them. When the date was over and I had practically lied about everything I did for living, where I lived, and who I am in general, I walked to my car knowing I had dodged a bullet (or some other form of an untimely death at the hands of Mr. No-Toppings).

So, as if my list of "must haves" for a man isn't long enough, let's add: Must Love Sugar. Any man that does not, in my opinion, is twisted and capable of just about anything. If they can pass up Fruity Pebbles on Cake Batter ice cream, they can make your skin into a suit. I'm just throwing that out there.

Bring on contestant Number 2 please. And he better have a freaking cavity... or two.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fat Bottom Girls... Relative?

The girl on your left? FAT. The girl on your right? FAT.

Today, according to "SkinnyGossip" (simply put- a site by a cacomorphic girl with way too much time on her hands), Kate Upton is fat. The article states that Upton has: “Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition — she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are "striving" for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!” 

Why yes kids, this is the same Upton that was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The same Upton that has been in Vogue and the face of Guess. I bet you didn't know that when you picked up the swimsuit issue of SI that you were actually looking at the "plus-sized edition" did you? Above you will see a photo of Ms. Upton. She's the one in the green bikini. Please, despite what you have read about her appearance, do not confuse her with the other woman. She is NOT the girl on the right who is striking the same pose. It's hard to tell the difference- I know. But the one on the right is Suzanne Eman. And like all women in America, Eman has a dream to finally make her body what she wants it to be. To look the way she thinks she should look.

Eman is trying to win the title of the Guiness Book of World Record's "Fattest Woman." (In her defense, I am a firm supporter of women with goals and aspirations. This one is just a little odd to me as I try to go the opposite direction on the scale every waking minute of the day.) At 728 pounds, 32-year old Eman is not impressed. She wants to weigh an even ton.  If you do the math, that means that she is trying to gain 1600 pounds. Well hell, here I was complaining about needing to lose 100 pounds. I thought I had it rough. I read what her daily caloric intake consists of... let's just say the words "pan of ___" and "bags of ____" were used. If you must see for yourself, (she did have a salad... I will give her that!)

So what is the point of this article you ask? Well, I'm pretty sure you may ask that every time you read this thing. Here's the deal. You have Upton who is a healthy weight, exercises, models, and isn't about to die of a massive coronary in the next 15 minutes. Then you have Eman who is literally killing herself to be the heaviest woman in the world. One woman is unjustly being labeled as "fat" while another is going out of her way to earn the title. And then some.

There has always been a concerted societal effort to regulate a woman's appearance and specifically, her weight. Little girls are taught from a young age they need to look a certain way, talk a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way and BE a certain way. Unattainable, photoshopped models are shoved down the throats of girls all over this country. While the images are shoved down, food doesn't have a chance to enter the equation. Girls today are plagued with eating disorders and distorted body images. And why? Because they are told that women who are healthy and happy... Are Fat. They are lied to. They are deceived. And they continue the cycle for the next generation in line. The days of Twiggy and Brooke Shields are long gone. Emaciation and depression are all that lie ahead of us now.

Not a day goes by that I don't struggle with my weight. Am I trying to gain 1600 pounds? Not intentionally. Am I going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Not in this lifetime. But trying to find a balance between fat and skinny; obese and thin; "squishy brick" and "brick...HOUSE"- it shouldn't be so hard. I think I need to figure out a way to get the Skinny Gossip blogger alone in a room for 10 minutes. With me. Her "starvation tip for the day" better be one that helps her take on a 5'3" plus size Irish girl with a Yankee temper. Her hatred for fat people and personal insecurities will only add to her weakness against me.

I'm not Upton. I'm not Eman. I'm Kristen. Did I sit and eat a bag of trailmix while writing this? You bet your ass I did. Do I hate myself for it? Not on your life. I'm single... and I'm hoping that there is a man out there who looks past what society labels "fat" and "thin" because the line is growing increasingly blurred and out of focus. I have a Masters Degree and a million dollar smile (literally, the orthodontist now owns 4 houses thanks to these chompers). And I wake up every day knowing that someone will find flaws with me no matter what. And you know what? You can be a SI model and be accused of being fat... or you can spend your life trying to be fattest you can be. At the end of the day- you can't please them all.  

This trail mix on the other hand... :) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

10 things I learned while being 27:

10) The person you were in high school is not the person you will be when you are a “grown-up.” The 10 years that pass from wearing that cap and gown to your 10 year reunion are filled with lessons that could never have been taught in a classroom. It’s called LIFE and that is what makes you who you are. (By the way, you’ll never fit into American Eagle again, so throw that whole “I’m the same as I was in high school” idea out the window.)

9) That no matter how far away you are from home, a piece of you is still there. In a time of tragedy you are a part of that community and you feel the pain that they feel. Our time here on Earth is precious and short. Love those around you and make sure that they know they are loved. Follow your gut in any situation and if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Love those who need it the most. And know that “Love Wins.” Thank you for that very important lesson Melissa… I will never forget it.

8)  Miles and time zones can separate you from your best friends but with one laugh and one hug you pick up right where you left off. 1.5 years of not being together in the same room and we never skipped a beat. Boys have come into our lives and hearts have been broken. Dreams have come true and some have been let go of. But no matter what- we’re always the Brunettes and a reunion of the four of us is just a beautiful disaster.

7) If you think you’re being lied to you… you probably are. Let those who you don’t love go and let those who break your heart go as well. Hopefully the door will hit them on the way out but know that the door won’t open again. No matter how much you loved him, how much he was a part of your life or how happy you thought he made you: let him go. Any man that breaks your heart isn’t worth a moment of your time. It leads to the more exciting prospect that you haven’t met “the one” yet and he is still out there. Now the map to finding him would be a bit helpful in this case…

6)  I can finish grad school. Every time I called my parents in tears saying, “This is too much. I can’t do this. There just isn’t enough time. I’m not like the other students and it’s just too hard” was just fuel in the fire. Hearing the words, “I can’t” come out of my mouth and then hearing the words “You can’t” come of the mouths of others was all it took. If you want something bad enough go get it. Don’t let what you think “makes you different” hold you back. Work harder. Stand taller. And get it done. No questions or debate.

5) Volunteering is my passion. I never really thought I would find so much joy in helping others but apparently I found one of the little pieces that was missing inside me. Sleepless nights, chaotic fires, comforting broken hearts while standing in the rubble of what was once a community, and handing a little girl a Red Cross teddy bear which she clings to because she has nothing left to hold onto except hope… those are the moments that shape my soul.

4)  That old song “Make new friends but keep the old” is a little skewed. I have been blessed to have made some incredible friends this past year and to watch some friendships develop into something truly beautiful. Surrounding myself with those who bring positivity to my life meant saying goodbye to some friends from the past. But sometimes in order to move forward you have to stop looking back. And sometimes old neighbors can be replaced with new ones- even ones you meet knee high in mud and wearing a mask at one of the scariest moments of your life.

3)  The scale is not your friend. Now I learned this lesson years ago but my preoccupation with losing weight this past year showed me that what really matters is not the number I see (Lord knows it’s never what I want to see) but it’s how I feel. It’s taking the time to look in the mirror and compliment myself that matters the most. It’s giving it my all (and then some) and living with no regrets. If I do my best and come in last in the 5K- at least I did the 5K (even better if paramedics aren’t called). If I slip and fall off the “wagon” by eating a bowl of funfetti batter- I’m not a bad person. I’m human. And I have a lot of people who love me… love handles and all.

2) Healing is never a completed process but there comes a time when you can face your fears headfirst and say: “I’m not afraid of you anymore.” My trip to New York for the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was a trip that I truly thought I would be too scared to take. With my Dad on my right and my Mom on my left I stood in front of those beautiful waterfall footprints- my feet planted firmly on hallowed ground. I ran my hand over their names and took my time to reflect. Precious moments to surround myself with the beauty of the area around me- no longer filled with billowing smoke and destruction. All the while the Island was slowly flooding. It was as if those above knew, “If you’re going to face this fear, you might as well face them all.” And I did. And my gratitude for my parents for walking me through the gates to that sacred place can never be truly expressed to the fullest.  

1)  I’ve made it almost 10 years living on my own in Nashville. From that teenager who hung out for hours in a horse farm hayloft in Peacham, Vermont listening to country music and dreaming of Nashville to that 28 year old sitting in her office at the Grand Ole Opry... Things have changed. I live in a tiny apartment, I can barely pay the bills and I truly believe peanut butter and jelly is an acceptable meal… but in the end I “made it.” I’m calling Nashville home and watching my dreams come true more and more. In the words of the Sara Evans song I wore out years ago on those bales of hay, I was “born to fly.”

Now... what to call the blog since "27 and Perhaps a Little Crazy" is outdated. :)