It’s not just a scale conversation.

January 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve always struggled with my weight. I don’t have any qualms with saying that.

I think it’s unfortunate that 1/3 of Americans are overweight, yet we have these ridiculous expectations of beauty (thanks, Adobe Photoshop). We eat too much and yet think we need to be really thin. The worst part, though, is that nobody ever wants to talk about it, especially with the people they love. Being healthy is important, and we talk about it, but yet it’s not polite to comment on someone’s weight, even if it’s positive encouragement. For example, before I started actively trying to take responsibility for my health, my mother would talk to me about her concerns in terms of my eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. I would take it so offensively. Why is this the conversation? How can we rectify this?

I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I have never been ‘skinny’ (and I never will be) but I always exercised a lot and ate decently. I was (and looked) healthy. After my last swim season ended, in November 2009, I basically stopped exercising, besides walking my dog once in awhile. When I came home from my first year of college in June 2011 I could kind of tell that I had gained weight, but I didn’t really think about it. Before I left for my sophomore year I went to the doctor, and realized I had effectively gained 40 pounds since the middle of my senior year.

How in the hell had that happened? How did I not notice? Well, it’s obvious, I had barely exercised at school and ate garbage constantly. I had a boyfriend who showered me with affection and never commented on my weight. My mother wasn’t around. I also didn’t want to weigh myself because I was afraid of what the scale might say. I didn’t want to notice.

Since January 2012, I’ve lost 30 of those pounds. I was lucky to have my father to support me as he made a weight loss journey of his own (he’s lost at least 50 and looks amazing, seriously). I learned how to eat well. I trained for a 5K and ran it. I took control of my body.

Once my fall semester started I exercised less. I was able to maintain my weight, but I stopped losing. I was satisfied with this at first, until I went to my doctor in December and got on the scale. She was visibly impressed with my much lower number than the last time I had been in her office and congratulated me, told me to keep doing what I was doing. That was it. It was cool for a few minutes, and then after we moved down the chart I realized it wasn’t enough. I asked her to calculate my BMI. I was still 18 pounds over where I should be for my height. She wouldn’t have told me if I hadn’t asked, probably to spare my feelings.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor. But SHE IS MY DOCTOR. Was she trying to spare my feelings? Maybe she figured that I knew I needed to lose more and didn’t need to tell me. But what if I didn’t? She wouldn’t spare my feelings if I had cancer, or an STD. But because I’m a little chubby she needs to spare my feelings. This is ridiculous. I’m lucky I’m smart and in control of my life. But what if I was genuinely oblivious about health and wellness? What if I had nobody to talk to me, not even my family, and apparently not my doctor? What would happen to me? Would I blimp up to 400 pounds and die at age 45 due to 12 clogged arteries? Why are we not having this conversation!?!

I am not afraid of what I weigh. That does not mean I’m satisfied with it, but I’m not afraid of the number. It’s mine. I can own it. I can make it lower if I want to. I need to lose 18 more pounds to be at the healthiest BMI. I will lose that weight. I just hope that everyone that’s in my situation has the tools, knowledge and support to take on these tasks themselves. This has never been about vanity. I was cute at my smallest, I was cute at my heaviest, and I’m still cute now. My life is at stake here. Maybe not today, maybe not ten years from now, maybe not even twenty. But whatever I die from, I want it to be something that was out of my control – not something I could have changed easily at age 20 by running a few times a week.

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Oscars: Who Should and Who Will

January 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

For those of you who do not know, I am CRAZY about awards season. Yeah, I know that they are controlled by money, possibly totally bullshit, good stuff gets forgotten, etc. Doesn’t mean I don’t get to be excited about them. As one of the most opinionated, stubborn people I know, I am going to give you my Oscar picks for the big categories, as well as what I think will win regardless of what deserves to.

Disclaimer, I have not seen Zero Dark Thirty yet, I am going tomorrow evening. Don’t jump down my throat, I have read countless reviews and I will take other critic’s opinions into consideration. I also have not seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, but it doesn’t sound like it’s a major contender when compared to the films it’s up against.

Also, this awards season is a whole new ball game. Bypassing Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper for best director is quite the shake-up, especially in favor of David O. Russell and the Beasts of the Southern Wild guy (I know his last name is Zeitlin, but he’s not a big name and frankly, the twenty minutes I’ve seen of that movie were good, not great).

I will only comment when I have seen at least 80% of the movies nominated, so I will not discuss all the categories. Let’s begin. There is only one thing that I believe is absolutely for sure, so we’ll start with Best Actor.

Who Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Who Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Why: Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix, and Hugh Jackman were marvelous in Silver Linings Playbook, the Master, and Les Miserables respectively. Joaquin is good in everything he’s in, but his mocking of awards season in the past will not be received well by critics. Hugh Jackman was marvelous, but Richard Gere didn’t win for Chicago, either (though it did win Best Picture…) I have not seen Flight, but Denzel has been similarly well-received. No one is denying that all of them are fantastic actors. But none of that matters, because the Academy loves DDL. The people love DDL. He becomes the character, and Lincoln is not only a picture that I believe was truly well-done, but it gives the people exactly what they want to see. Yes, Lincoln was a complex man, and the film gives us that. However, it doesn’t reveal him to be too complex that he’s alienating, the film skates over the fact that Lincoln made racist jokes and used the ‘n’ word. The half-true historical figure we idealize, that many people believe to be ‘the best president in American history,’ is on the screen. The Academy eats up this kind of stuff. He’ll win.

Best Actress

Who Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Why: Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to give her an Oscar. GIVE HER THE OSCAR! Critics have said Jessica Chastain could come out swinging and surprise us, but I think the real dark horse in this race is Emmanuelle Riva. It’d be like when Marion Cotillard came out of nowhere and won for La Vie en Rose in 2007. Then again, the competition was nowhere as steep as it is this year. I digress, so I’ll repeat it again. GIVE J LAWR THE OSCAR!

Best Supporting Actor

Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained
Who Will Win: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Why: I know, I know, Leo wasn’t even nominated. But his performance as sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie was both mesmerizing and horrifying. I’ve never seen something so powerful on screen. Yes, Christoph Waltz was great, and he’s won before for a Tarantino movie. He’ll win again. Only De Niro in Silver Linings is as deserving, but seriously, WHO IGNORED LEO? Probably the same moron who nominated Alan Arkin for Argo. I guess I shouldn’t ignore Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master or Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln but I’m going to. Yawn.

Best Supporting Actress

Who Should Win: Does it really matter?
Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Why: I read an article that said Hathaway started practicing her acceptance speech the first day of Les Mis rehearsals. I know they were kidding…but they weren’t. She will dominate. Also some other people were maybe nominated…I think? Moving on.

Best Director:

Who Should Win: Quentin Tarantino or Kathryn Bigelow, but neither of them were nominated
Who Will Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Why: I saw all of these films before they were nominated, because I anticipated them as such. (Excuse me while I take a bow for my intuitiveness.) I was not surprised that Ang Lee was nominated for Life of Pi, and I knew Spielberg would be nominated (and probably win) for for best director. But David O. Russell? Seriously? The acting and script was what made Silver Linings a great movie. I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty but I’ve heard Bigelow’s work is a masterpiece. And ignoring Tarantino? Are you FUCKING kidding me? Django was the best movie he’s made so far (yeah, better than Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, you heard me) and ignoring this movie in favor of Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild just bums me out.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Who Should Win: David O’Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Who Will Win: I really have no idea.
Why: All of these contenders could go any way: Lincoln, Argo, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild were all really good movies with really great scripts. As someone who has read the source material for only Life of Pi, I’m a little cloudy on this category. I thought Silver Linings was great. The reality is Lincoln will probably win in all categories that have no clear front-runner, unless this ceremony goes the way it went for Hugo last time around.

Best Original Screenplay:

Who Should Win: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Who Will Win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom
Why: Flight, Amour, and Zero Dark Thirty were all great movies. Django Unchained was better. But the Academy loves Wes Anderson, and everybody loved Moonrise Kingdom. I can’t really make a more articulate argument. Just give Tarantino all the Oscars!!!!

and finally, the biggie…
BEST PICTURE

Who Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained
Who Will Win: Lincoln or Les Miserables
Why: ZDT and Django were both ignored in other categories, and will probably lose in the ones they have been nominated. How good these movies were needs to be recognized. Unfortunately that shit never happens. I really don’t know who will win between Lincoln or Les Miserables: the Academy loves both of that kinds of stuff. We’ll see how this plays out.

Please comment on my Facebook post and let me know if you disagree or agree. However, as always, I’m the best and I know everything.

My grandmother is much smarter than I am. This is not a surprise. She’s old.

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

because it is her birthday. That classy broad turned 26 and a few extra years today.

Anyway, my grandma is really cool, for someone from Fond du Lac, anyway. After we talked about all the cool stuff she’d found on sale lately and I promised her I was only eating whole grain carbs, and only before 3 pm, she asked how I’d been doing lately with other stuff. I won’t be specific but let me make it very clear that my grandma knows me very well, and she’s very good at pulling information out of me that I don’t want to share, even better than my own mother. I guess that makes sense my grandma she gave birth to her.

She listened patiently as I whined about all the stupid stuff I’d done (this week, anyway) and then when she asked what I was going to do to fix it, I was silent.

I could feel her disappointment through the phone as she sighed and basically said what Robyn has told me before:

“You can run like a baby or you can own it, my girl.” Since my grandma has two other granddaughters and she calls me “her” girl frequently it makes me feel like I’m the favorite. (Apparently she does this to Katie and Sydney, too, but whatever, I don’t need to hear about it.) “Stop making excuses and don’t be telling lies and just be honest about your choices. And your feelings. People can tell when you are saying things you don’t mean or hiding how you feel. You make people happy when you’re not trying so hard to make them like you. Nobody smiles like you, and you make everyone laugh when you laugh. Keep doing that instead.”

I think I will spend the rest of the day smiling. Thanks for that wisdom drop, Manya.

I am unbelievably excited!

January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

and no, not just because the new One Direction video comes out today. I may be 12 years old, but even I wouldn’t write a post about that.

No, the reason I am on the verge of giddy today is because I have finally finished storyboarding my collection of essays and have made a clear schedule of timelines/deadlines/etc! I might even actually finish them on time! (Okay, that’d be a miracle.) I have been talking about this project for the past seven months and I’m finally making headway.

For those of you who don’t know, or couldn’t figure it out, I have never been much of a fiction writer. I get wildly impatient with characters that I don’t understand, so I prefer to write about myself. Vain, you say? WRONG. I am simply more interesting. And by interesting I mean messy, crazy, vulgar, and great source material.

I am not the first person to do this, and I don’t know if it will be any good. I hope I don’t have a Hannah Horvath complex. I’m going to take the most shameful moments of my life and draw humor and inspiration from them, with a few (thousand) embellishments added.

When I post this to Facebook, I urge you to comment with a favorite story or memory of me you’d be interested in seeing me write about/reflect on. While I have the general topics picked, I’m open to suggestions, and I’d really like to hear what my friends think of me. 

SUCK IT, CHELSEA HANDLER. My book will be funnier than yours!
Okay, it probably won’t. But whatever.

I saw Les Miserables today…

January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

…and I sobbed like a little bitch. Everyone who knows me is not surprised. In fact, I can see Mindy Rosen rolling her eyes 76 miles away. Whatever, Melinda. That movie was emotionally exhausting, and to quote my favorite scene in Mean Girls, I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.

A few lessons and points of interest from my Les Mis experience:

1. No matter how hard-hearted I try to be, I am a sappy, hopeless, drooling, pathetic romantic.
2. Whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself I say things like “Ugh, I’m always Eponine, never Cosette.” I need to stop doing this, since Eponine was not only raised by terrible people and my parents are hardworking, honest folk, but she is literally ass in love with an oblivious d-bag that encompasses her entire existence, and I just tend to mildly crush on multiple people that are semi-unaccessible to me. Also I never took a bullet for anyone.
3. The sickening crunching noise that was made when Russell Crowe killed himself made me vomit up my slushie a little bit.
4. I no longer have any interest in going to France. It’s dirty there, bro.
5. How was piling up some furniture and hiding behind it a well-thought-out plan for a revolution? Yeah, let’s hide twenty guys with shitty weaponry behind a piano and hope the French Army doesn’t rip our asses to pieces. SPOILER ALERT: they did.
6. No matter how many times I’d listened to the soundtrack, I was wildly unprepared to watch Eponine die. I may have let out a small scream of grief.
7. This movie has scared me straight into always being honest with my feelings, but also probably will keep me from ever falling in love. Otherwise I’ll end up taking a bullet for someone who barely noticed I was alive, and used me as their errand girl in their weird love affair with someone they met five minutes ago.
8. I’m now afraid that if I ever take a stand on something, all of the people I will love will die fighting for my cause.
9. No matter how hard I work to improve myself and put my past behind me, Javert will find me and take me back to prison and my past indiscretions will never be forgiven!
10. They told me to “LOOK DOWN, since this is where I’ll to die.” I DO NOT WANT TO DIE IN 1004. Or in a weird boat jail in France.
11. When all the hot young Frenchmen are singing Red and Black, all I could think was “I’d like to red YOUR black.” Yeah, I’m gross.

The worst part is, that all that bitching aside, I think I still believe “that to love another person is to see the face of God.”
Goddammit, Jean Valjean.

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