Tag Archives: being real

Why I Won’t Weigh Myself

Anyone in my life kinda knows I’ve kinda gone cardio-crazy.

With anywhere from 6 to 12 hours of moderate-plus activity in any given week,  I’m working on it. Most of it’s because I’m cycling for commuting. Dialing in between 100 to 150 km of cycling per week on average, yeah, it’s becoming a “lifestyle” and not just exercise.

At first, it sucked, but then I started to feel Strong and Powerful, almost feeling like a “Jock” for the first time in my life, and I feel like that’s kinda hot for a girl who used to push the 300-pound mark.

It’s kinda awesome, actually, just from an inside-my-head perspective, never mind what others may think.

But I have food issues. I always have. I still do. I have this “thing” for bread. And, have we talked about butter? Oh, sweet baby. Buttah. Mm, butter it. Indeed.

So there’s that. There’s those, even. I’ve been off the charts with bread lately, so it’s a mindset I’m battling.

And it’s 25-plus years of habit-forming issues. Bad shit, man. Like a voodoo thang.

But I’m working on it and I keep improving, and my knowledge keeps growing, but the emotional issues reside. They’re there. It’s just my reality. I’ll probably always have a difficult time negotiating The World of Food without danger. Especially when life’s forcing my hand, or sure feels like it.

So, you know, shit happens. Not a lot of shit happens now, not as often. Maybe that’s just age, and the “been-there-done-that” mentality that comes from going around the block way too often.

This isn’t really about size or anything. It’s not about weight. It’s about me having an idea of the diet I want to be eating, just because I define it as truly “healthy”, and I’m not eating it. I’m eating better than I have for 90%+ of my life, and yet. Not quite there. Maybe I never will be, since, as a foodie, I refuse to give up some passions. Moderation. But indulgence follows close behind moderation, you know. Like a shadow, always looming. One step too far, you get swallowed up in it.

Exercise, I’ve got mostly down, and YAY me for doing so, ‘cos it ain’t no walk in the park. So, it’s part of the journey.

For me, it’s about achieving both. It’s not about “size 4” or 6 or 8 . It’s not about appeasing the fashion gods or being off-the-rack-approved.

Fuck hot. Fuck cool. Fuck role model. Fuck it all.

THIS is about being healthy. This is about me doing this just for me, about how I feel 3 minutes after I’ve woken up, or the satisfaction I have when I hit the bed at night.

It’s about not having heart disease or diabetes, like my dad, or dying of cancer, like my mom and other family. It’s about not rolling over and playing dead for all my past injuries & fuck-ups. Not now, not at age 36. Not yet. Not soon. Not.

It’s about feeling strong, powerful, and healthy. It’s about me, not media, not conformity. Not you.

I can do better, and I will.

Until I’ve got BOTH in the same direction, a weigh-in isn’t happening. Because if I have success today, when I feel like I’m eating badly, it will permissively encourage me to eat just as badly in the future.

I don’t want to be skinny-fat and die anyways. What’s the fucking point of all this work, then?

Cholesterol counts. Qi counts. And a million other things all count.

I’ll weigh myself when I know food’s on page. Why? Because I know I’ve lost weight. I feel it everywhere I touch myself. My belly’s never had this kind of tone before. My thighs? Yowza.

Soon, everything will be on page. Soon, I can say I truly believe I’ve accomplished something great.

But right now I’m phoning it in and lucking out.

That’s not good enough.

My lifespan depends on it.

A Sly Smile Kinda Morning

The sky is an iridescent grey, at once inspiring and eerie.

My day is stretched before me with a loose idea of all the things I have to do, mostly of the meetings-and-appointments sort. A murky mess sits at the bottom of a mug I wish was filled with fresh black coffee. I just shrug at its emptiness and type on.

Inside, calmness has settled in. A calmness I probably haven’t felt in a number of years.

It began yesterday morning with a kind of prescient feeling about how much I could or would get done during the day. I blew that out of the water and settled my to-do list with great authority, meeting and beating all aspirations for the day.

At the end, I decided I’d finally take a look at my finances. For the first month of my unemployment I’ve applied the Ostirich Approach to my situation — only after I’d taken a hard look at the bottom line of what I would need to live on each month, and had the vague notion I might be okay until June. Then, I buried my head, spent as little as possible, and just did my shit, with the assumption that Spending Almost Nothing was all I needed to do.

Much of what I did spend was covered by “found” money — gifts from a couple kind people. (You fucking rock.)

I knew when the month started it would be tight and was 95% sure I would either be deferring my loan payment or telling my landlord I needed an extra week to pay the rent. I mean, the reality is, the first month of unemployment is ALWAYS the hardest.

I was in the situation of having had a bad-spending winter, followed by the Olympics crushing my savings, and had NO idea that a complete lay-off loomed. I thought I’d lose a day of work a week — I was praying for it — as we’d applied for the Workshare program (spreading a lay-off throughout the company, with the government paying 55% of the one day a week each employee gives up).

I never thought I’d be laid off entirely this year. And after a year spent rehabbing a back injury and two years of having to replace entire wardrobes with every season due to weight-loss, and that I’ve been making lower-middle-class income in one of the world’s most expensive cities… well, yeah, no savings either.

But…

But I managed to get enough ducks in a row as soon as the “OMG, lay-offs might be coming” fear that hit around March 24th, before finding out on the 25th that I would be entirely laid off, likely the next day, that I sort of had a fighting chance.

I was also insistent with my employer that the additional 3 days of work at the end of March would make the difference between me surviving until June at least.

And it did.

I finally scrounged up everything I had last night — not including a little emergency money I’ve set aside or what’s on my Visa — and know I can pay rent AND groceries until the middle of the month, without even receiving my government employment insurance benefit. AND I keep what little safety net I have intact.

That changes everything.

I feel like it’s the stamp of approval. “Go forth, Steff,” it says. “All will be well.”

I know, I’m supposed to be all embarrassed that my money’s this tight.

I’m supposed to be ashamed.

Wealth is a sign of success and position and talent and brains, isn’t it?

Fuck you.

Fuck ANYONE who thinks I need to be ashamed that things have been so close.

I’ve NEVER been irresponsible with money. All I’ve been guilty of is being average with money. At my income, spending an additional 10% every month cripples you in a hurry.

I am NOT my adversity. FUCK that.

Try losing 70 pounds and having to buy new wardrobes every three months, or getting so severely injured you spend a month laying on a floor and for months have to take cabs and pay 20% more in groceries  just for the convenience, because you’re in too much pain to bus from a further, cheaper store.

That I’m even paying rent tomorrow without any interceding forces makes me more proud than you’ll ever fucking know.

Fuck anyone who thinks money and whether someone gets through a jam financially is a reflection at all of that person’s intelligence, ability, talent, or resilience. Money is as much about luck and selective adversity as it is savings abilities.

Some people just have more things to overcome. In my life, money was always the villain. That line between getting by and barely surviving is thinner than most people might realize.

For once, money doesn’t feel like my villain anymore.

I’ve got rent, baby. And food. And I’m gonna buy me some wine and a steak tonight to celebrate.

[shaking head]

Yeah. I don’t know… I feel like I have to say more:

So many of you need to feel what kissing poverty is like. You need to feel how much it hurts inside when you’re terrified about paying the rent or you’re sure you’ve got to resort to drastic measures to get by. You need to know what it’s like to think hope is too expensive a luxury for your position. You need to imagine what that fear’s like when it’s not just you it affects.

You need to know how hard it is when money’s not within your grasp. Everyone needs to feel that.

I hope I never feel it again. And I hope I always remember that pain. I hope I always have the empathy I wish more people had shown me earlier — but so many are showing me, even showering me with, now.

Today is a day of gratitude, goodness, and calm. For me, at least. You? You can choose that, too.

Take a minute to think about what you really have, and pray you never come close to losing it.

Some fears aren’t fit for anyone. But gratitude is one-size-fits-all.

Beyond the talk of money? My future’s looking great. What a ride this summer will be. Stay tuned.

PS: Methinks unemployment might’ve been the best thing that ever happened to me. Wait’ll you get a load of me, baby.

Hanging Up on Hang-ups

Funny how we get so hung up on our hang-ups we sometimes don’t even notice when they’ve disappeared.*

I was fucking floored Thursday night when I realized the varicose veins I’d been loathing for the last year had suddenly vanished in the last couple months, thanks to my awesome new fitness regime. Poof, gone.

Ironically, I’d already bought some spring clothes last month — and no shorts shorter than knee-length. For what mighta been something that didn’t even need hiding. Silly, silly.

It makes me wonder how often we get stuck in our insecurities, fears, loathings, all out of habit, rather than reality. Is it as bad as we fear? Are we merely choosing to dwell in shadows rather than turn the light on and see what we’re really judging? Continue reading

Revisiting: "You Can Make Me Come, But…"

I’ve not been in my right mind this week, literally. So, I’m about to do something I don’t often do, which is to qualify and revisit an opinion piece; the one I posted in response to an anonymous question yesterday.

I’m human and flawed at the best of times, but this week I’ve been plagued with migraines, sleeplessness, and a few other symptoms as a result of an acute sinus infection. I’m beginning to get well, thank god, but it’s made me irritable, angry, unpleasant, and really, really bleak for the last few days, and I think it’s been showing a little too readily in some of my writing, and in this piece in particular.

First off, I’m not doing a 180 here, okay? The reader asked if I thought she was a hypocrite for doing everything but sex. No, not for that reason. I think honesty’s the most important facet of any relationship – be it with a parent, lover, friend…honesty’s EVERYTHING.

If you’re not sleeping with someone because you’re nervous, because you think you want to wait, or whatever your flavour is, then be honest. Say that sex is a really, really huge step for you, and you make no promises, and you may even wait until marriage, but that you really don’t know what your sexual future holds for now, and they can’t have any expectations of it, no matter how much you might be enjoying playing with them as you head down the road together. And if it’s confusing for them, tell them it’s far more confusing for you, because you know that’s the truth.

Don’t take the easy way out, don’t choose some simple pat answer like, “I’m waiting until marriage,” when you know deep down inside that’s not what it’s about.

Besides, you’re selling a lot of guys short. No, they may well not wait until marriage, because marriage is a huge, huge thing, but they might wait one hell of a long time for you, and you’re not giving them that opportunity to honestly consider what it is they would or wouldn’t do for you.

It’s such a hard topic, that of when sex is the right move to make. I have no qualms with abstinence until marriage, but whatever the reasons you’re choosing not to have sex, you need to be honest about them. You need to be honest about every aspect of your life, and I truly believe that.

Honesty shouldn’t be some lost virtue, or something we pull out when it’s convenient to us. It’s hard to be honest about our fears and our emotions, and sometimes being honest about them leads to hard places and difficult roads to travel because it can be so damned confusing to admit what lies behind our poker faces, but the cliché of it being the best policy is true for a reason.

It’s only through that honesty with each other that we can face challenges and adversities. If you’re being dishonest, even about something that’s “kind of” true, like waiting for the right person, you’re setting the groundwork for yourself to tell little white lies when it makes things a little easier for you to process.

I disagree with that to the very core of who I am.

Did I handle the question well? No. I’ve been in a really dark place this week and I’ve not been comfortable facing it. I’ve been dealing with things somewhat passive-aggressively, it turns out, and while I have reasoning for it, it doesn’t really excuse it.

And while you have reasoning for stretching the truth, it never excuses it, either. These are the simple truisms behind living a good life, and you are trying to choose how you want to live. Don’t commit one transgression to stave off another. Clearly, by asking the question as you did, you’re already somewhat uncomfortable with how you’re handling the situation, so maybe it’s time to reconsider.

As for abstinence – feeling guilty about it, questioning it… Abstinence is a hard, hard road to choose. You’ll have weak moments. You’ll feel pressured. You’ll feel like you’re alone in a big, sexy world. And if abstinence is really important to you, then you need to be strong and hold your position. Don’t compromise just because of all those pressures out there in that big, scary world. Do it when it’s right for you, because it’s not something you’ll ever get a chance to revisit.

Personally, I thought I waited for the right guy. In the end, we stayed together too long because I didn’t want to admit he wasn’t the right one after all. You need to be aware that waiting for rightness doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made the right choice, and it may still go wrong, and you may eventually realize you made a mistake, and if/when that should happen, you can’t hold it against yourself. The majority of our relationships are bound to end, and many of those will end badly, and that’s why they say that all is fair in love and war; because sometimes love is war. Sometimes it’s wrong. So, if you’re holding out, be realistic, and know that your intentions are what counts, not the end result of your actions… if that makes any sense.

Anyhow. I wanted to edit that piece as soon as I posted it, but my mindset had gone to a darker place and I couldn’t conjure the genuine sentiment I needed to do the job right. I hope I have now. For whatever it’s worth, sorry it was harsh. I still agree with some of what I said, but I wish I’d said it better.

Q & A: “You Can Make Me Come, But We Can’t Fuck”

I was sent the following question in a comment this morning, and yes, they were right, it is an interesting topic to write about. Time’s not on my side today, so this is a quick take on the question… a question that could unleash some interesting discussion, and I hope it does.

I decided that I want to wait until marriage to have sex, but I’m still a chronic masturbator and ok with doing stuff with guys that doesn’t involve penis-in-vagina sex. I guess I just don’t really trust anyone enough to go “all the way” with them. Do you think I’m a hypocrite?

You want the short answer? Yep, I do think you’re a hypocrite, more or less. Thanks for putting words in my mouth.

There is nothing that makes me snicker more than religious types (which I don’t know if you are one or not) who tell me they’re abstaining from sex until marriage, but that they’ve done nearly everything except things involving penetration.

It’s the same reason why Bill Clinton was lambasted for claiming he “did not have sexual relations with that woman!” I mean, come on. You’ll get them off, they’ll get you off, but when it comes to insertion, you’re gonna play the morality card? What the fuck is that?

Oral sex, manually-induced orgasms, it’s all intimacy, and it’s all banned off primetime TV, all right? It ain’t for the kiddies and the after-school special, y’know?

If you’re not comfortable having sex for one reason or another, fine, but be honest about why you’re not. Don’t claim you’re some sanctimonious person waiting for the right person or whatever. Admit that you’re scared. Admit you have trust issues (which you have done here).

It’s all right be to scared, but don’t cover it up with some vow of chastity. Don’t run from the situation just because you haven’t got the sack to ante up and face it. I think it’s dishonest to be chronically masturbating, allowing men to get you off, trading favours, but then claiming you’re “abstaining” from sex. Why? What’s the point? You’re already doing all the intimate things a person can do. You’re already investing in carnal pleasures. You’re already sinning in the eyes of most religions.

It’s the sexual equivalent of someone being issued a restraining order for not going within 100 metres of X person/place, and instead of just staying the fuck away, they stand day in and day out at a distance of 101 metres, toying with the allowed limits. How is that possibly honouring the spirit of the situation? It’s not. It’s a crock, is what it is.

I could be all nice and say, “Oh, I understand the ambivalence of not having sex,” and all that, but honestly, you’re already feeling guilty and like you’re breaking some code, or else YOU wouldn’t have asked if you’re being a hypocrite. If you have to ask, then you are. Pretty simple.

If you were abstaining from sex and not letting men finger you, not masturbating, not exploring oral, then you would not be a hypocrite.

But, you, honey, are a hypocrite, any way you slice it. I’m sorry if the truth hurts, but it is what it is.

You’re scared of intimacy, you’re hoping like hell you’re being Just Good Enough to be virtuous, and you know, deep down inside, that you wish you could be fucked silly, but you don’t have the courage or the backbone to go there, because you’re scared that once you give them what they’re really wanting, that they’ll walk right on out on you.

And maybe, just maybe, they will. And maybe, just maybe, those fears are valid.

When it comes to morality, religion doesn’t tend to offer shades of grey. Things are sins, or they are not, and you don’t get to have the decoder ring to decide just how much of one particular action equates a sin. It doesn’t work that way. So, if you’re toying with it anyhow, why not just fucking buy the full-meal deal and get on with it? You’ve not started to go up in flames with the fires of Hell licking all around you yet, so what are you so scared of?

Again, I don’t know if religion plays a part in your decision, so the “you” in regards to anything religious is rhetorical, not specifically YOU.

I just wish people were more honest about their actions, and this duplicitous “well, you can get me off, but you can’t come inside of me” behaviour is symptomatic of all the hypocrisy that surrounds us. I grow tired of it, that’s all.

(Feeling that I may have sounded a little harsh in this post, I decided to revisit it, as I know there are some “virgins” out there who are trepidatious about their sexuality, and I don’t want to add too much fuel to that fire. Check out my second take here.)

Beyond Fat Girls

Labbie wrote a piece about weight and self-image recently. I enjoyed it. Then, later the same morning, I was watching my previously-taped episode of “Rescue Me” in which firefighters, Probie Mike and Sean, are making their way up the stairs to the flame-filled fifth floor, talking about a recent date, which ended in the Probie getting laid with this apparently model-thin chick.

“It was like her hips were cutting into me,” he said, continuing, “I’m afraid to get on top of her. It’s like I hear this cracking sound or something.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m part of the bonus-lover plan. Yeah, I’m carrying extra, for sure. I’m told “I wear it well” and for the first time, I believe them, most of the time. But I do know I’m cute, at the very least. I’ve got punky short light hair and green eyes with a sly grin, and I’m pretty comfortable with myself when I put an effort into lookin’ like a cutie. And hey, I even get a little approval streetside.

I’ve written before about overcoming insecurities in order to love yourself for who you are. It’s been a long road for me. I was always very sexual, but I never really believed it about myself until the past three or so years. This year, though, has been the year of the my greatest emergence. I am what I am now, and I know it. The journey has been a long and interesting one, the journey of becoming sexual, not just seeming sexual. It’s fabulous.

My weight always held me back. I always tried to say the right things. I always tried to toe the line and be the proper chick, so I wouldn’t offend too many people. I played it safe. One day, I realized that I felt like a fake, and I started saying exactly what was on my mind. I stopped appeasing everyone. I slowly started to work on my self-image. Simple things, like trying a new kind of clothing, pushing myself in physical exercise, losing a little of the weight, talking to someone seemingly out of my league. There are days I forget how to be the Better Steff, days I forget about being the strong, proud, sassy chick I know I am. It happens. But it always passes, too. I suspect, however, that there’s something universal about that.

The biggest part of my transformation came from finally accepting myself for what I am, but more importantly, realizing that my faults and weaknesses weren’t nearly as sizeable as I had feared. I learned to look at myself as someone on the street might; if I met that woman, how would I judge her? Not nearly so harshly, I thought.

In finally being open enough to talk about my body image with the guys I have seen or considered in that way, I realized that the men I’d found seemed to nurture a very different impression about weight on a woman. They felt exactly as Mike the Probie would — that a woman with a few extra pounds was someone you could play a little more roughly with, someone you didn’t have to worry about harming if things might escalate a bit between you.

Soon, I realized something great: The thing that I always thought held me back in the bedroom was the thing bringing me exactly the kind of physicality I enjoyed — sometimes rough, always unrestrained.

It’s interesting how perspective can alter your enjoyment of something, but there’s an incredible shift that occurs when you really begin to embrace yourself in your lover’s presence.

I think this is part of the dilemma that lays behind the number one complaint I hear from women — their inability to orgasm at all, or the difficulties faced when eventually achieving one. We’re so wrapped up in our body images, trapped in our insecurities, concerned with public perception, and inundated with the pressure to come, that we just can’t enjoy sex. It takes years for women to get past this shit, and I personally believe that it’s why we do not peak sexually until the average age of 32.

I happen to now be 32. If any of my friends had known the kind of sex I was already having in my early 20s, their perception of me would have been wildly different. In that regard, I was definitely advanced for my age.

I began having bondage with sex at the relatively young age of 19. I had sex in very, very public places the first time at the age of 18. By the age of 21, I had no qualms having sex in a semi-public private room where anyone could walk in without warning (but I’m secretly glad they never did). Voyeurism, for me, was a two-way street, and I liked to travel on it. All that said, though, and I still never really embraced my sexuality until this year, my 32nd.

Sex, for me now, is better than it has ever been — and not because of my lovers, but because of the roles I’m willing to play, the brazenness I bring to the bedroom, because of my changed perspective. My god, had I even begun to suspect it would be like this, I’d have ditched those insecurities years ago.

The rewards of youth aren’t nearly as great as we’ve all been led to believe. Sex improves with age, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry spends to make you believe otherwise. Sex isn’t just about hard cocks and screaming orgasms. It’s the one language that transcends geography. It’s an otherworldy experience you can share where you need nothing but skin and sweat and stamina. We’re so hung up on needing to be hard, needing to come, that we’ve forgotten everything that happens in between — the places in which our mouths can linger and toy; the dexterity and flexibility of the hand; the thrill of warm, sweaty skin against our own; the scores of peaks and valleys found in that symphony of gasps and moans.

With age and maturity and realism, we’re able to begin letting go of those hang-ups. When we allow ourselves the freedom of being beautiful to that one person, we find ourselves experiencing things we never thought we’d feel. And that, that’s the ultimate goal to have in any sexual relationship: the absolute ability to lose all apprehensions and fear, the evolution of trust and willingness.

If only it were that easy. It’s hard. Very. But the reward is worth the struggle. Oh, so very.