Dear Friends,

Please note that I am now blogging over at caronae.com!  The switch has been tricky and has involved me acquiring lots of technical skills I had no idea I was capable of acquiring, but it was worth it!  The site looks a different and I still have some updates to make (anyone have a particular techie that they recommend I consult?).  Please go visit!  I would hate to lose any readers.🙂

xoxo

Caronae

Winter Nature In NYC And a Delicious Meal

A little winter running tour of NYC nature (yes, for anyone feeling snarky, there is nature in this city, although you do have to actively seek it out):

It was nice to break up my running with picture-taking. Confession: I have been majorly bored by running lately. Anyone have any fun workout boredom solutions?

I came back and cooked up a giant meal for myself:

Apple-smoked bacon, two sunny side up eggs, mushroom/sweet potato hash cooked in bacon fat, half a grapefruit, and flax quinoa bread (from WF.  I think I’m in love) with coconut butter.  For some reason this was the only meal I really wanted today.  I had some snacks, but didn’t want anything else substantial.  And I didn’t want any other foods either.  Just this.  Maybe I’m going through a food phase.

I think I like this phase.

I am hoping to migrate my blog to caronae.com tomorrow! Fingers crossed!  I am also hoping to figure out how to design some of my own layout and make it smooth and professional looking. If anyone has any tips, feel free to share.🙂

I just feel like I’m finally ready to move into the “serious” blogging world.  I have this feeling in my center that it’s the right thing to do at this point in time.

See you all tomorrow my loves (hopefully)!

Therapy Thursday

Hello hello!  Sorry for my little absence; I traveled back from Michigan to New York this week. I don’t find traveling itself stressful, per se, but I do have difficulty conceptually transitioning from one place to another.  This means that the weeks before and after I have to switch places are stressful for me, which just prolongs the whole ordeal.

I like new places though!  I like being on my own and figuring out how to navigate a new place.

Are you a travel lover or hater?

Sugar update: The experiment has been going well!  I have been working on consuming less sugar, not zero sugar altogether.  I think a low sugar diet might be best for me (at least low in processed/refined/added sugar).  I have still been enjoying a moderate amount of fruit, tea with stevia, and 1-2 servings of something that has sugar in it (like a protein bar or chocolate) per day.  It has actually felt like I have gotten rid of a burden, somehow.  And I don’t miss it too much, since I still let myself have a moderate amount!

Therapy Thursday

I know I went through a period where I didn’t really want to blog about therapy, and I will probably feel that way again someday, but at the moment, I do want to blog about it.

I feel like it’s a hallmark of my blog; it is, after all, in the title!

It was scary for me to “be on my own” for almost a whole month, without L.  I ended up calling her once or twice, as it was a difficult period for me in a lot of ways (breaking up with USB, dealing with my sometimes crazy family, applying to law school).  But at the same time, I feel like she is always in the background of my life — like I can feel her there, somewhere slightly distant, but not terribly far away, on the whole.  Just knowing that I have this person who exists, who does not judge me, who cares deeply about me is so comforting.

I’m someone who needs a lot of comfort in general.  I told L about one of my particular “rituals” today, which involves taking this tiny wind-up otter toy that I have (his name is Oliver Henry Hudson) on planes with me and winding him up when the plane takes off.  I have lots of little animals — a plushy key chain duck, a small cloth elephant ornament.  I find small animal toys comforting.  I also like to name things.  The elephant is called Leila Emlyn Giovanna and the duck is called Leland.

Maybe it’s odd or childlike, but I think that the way I look for comfort is a little bit heartwarming.  I find objects very meaningful; I cling to things.  I can typically explain when it is from and why it is meaningful.  My mother gave me my first set of measuring spoons for Christmas.  They’re black and silver and the measure amount (e.g., “1 tbsp”, “1 tsp”, etc.) is marked in colorful letters on the handle.

I have a feeling I will still be using them in thirty five years.   And my children will snarl at them and think they are old or ugly or outdated, just as I snarled at the plain blue plastic ones my mother has used since I was a baby.  But it won’t matter.  One day, I hope my children understand the importance if little objects.

I broke down with L; told her how sometimes I feel like such a child.  How this is the way my extended family sees me and I hate it.  I want to be grown-up and mature and kind, but I am afraid to step out of certain boxes I have lived in all of my life (particularly the “bad” box and the “mean” box).  I have always had a little mean streak, wherein I hurt other people’s feelings.  Most often, it is completely unintentional.  I tend to latch onto an idea or a word or a topic and never let go of it, even when it has become hurtful or upsetting or annoying to someone else.

I don’t want to be mean anymore.  But at the same time, I feel like I’m looking out at the world from below the flap of my trusty box and it’s scary — being inside the little box is comforting to me, and I seek out comfort wherever I find it.

I suspect that one day I will suddenly be ready and I will step out of all the boxes that I need to step out of when the time is right.

Until then, I have L.  I have my otter and my elephant and my ducks.  I have stories that I like to read and habits and ways of looking at the world that comfort me.

At the bottom of everything, I simply want to befriend people.  Almost every action that I undertake or every thought that I speak comes from a place inside me wherein I feel deeply lonely and want to make friends.  It’s funny, that I would be “mean” or “bad” and expect to make friends.  But it’s true, in a strange way.  It’s like I’m announcing my flaws and I want to be loved anyway.

Everyone just wants to be loved.

******

FYI: I’m trying to make the blog a wee bit more anonymous at the moment.  If you see a comment on your blog from “Run Write Therapy Life” or “CH”, it’s still me.🙂

Sugar

Dear Sugar,

You know I love you.  I really do — especially in homemade baked goods, cereal, energy/granola bars, ice cream, and chocolate.

But we have to take a break.

I’m seeing someone else.

Okay, that was a lie.  I’m actually seeing three someone else’s: fat, protein, and vegetables.

And sugar, they are so good to me. They’re better for me than you are.  Our relationship has been fraught with violence and abuse: you make me breakout (which is especially bad given my general hormonal issues), you make me overeat (I thought I could just have a little bit of you and be satisfied, but you’re so demanding — you always say “more, more more”!), and you  make me a little lethargic.

It’s time for a change.  I want more energy.  I want a happier, healthier looking face.  I want to feel like my digestive system is squeaky clean (TMI?).

Moreover, I’m an athlete — I thrive off of running, yoga, strength training, and just generally playing/exploring.  And you slow me down.  I know that all the experts say “carbs before and after a workout”, but I just don’t think that it’s working out for me.  See, that means it’s not you, it’s me.

I hope that we can see each other again some day, but only a little bit at a time.  I want my clear skin back.  I want my marathon energy back.  I want to look forward to eating healthy meals and not dread it.

I hope you are understand.  Feel free to call/text/email me anytime.  I hope we can still be friends!

xoxo, Caronae

And so begins a little experiment: seven days sugar-free. At least, refined-sugar free.  Don’t murder me if I use a dash of maple syrup at some point.  But seriously though, I think something has been bothering my tummy, my body, and my energy levels lately, and I have a suspicion that this white powder (no, not the other white powder) is to blame.

I have been focusing more and more on vegetables, a little fruit, proteins (meat, fish, chicken, yogurt, milk, beans, tofu/soy, eggs, cheese) and fats (EVOO, coconut oil, nut butter, plain nuts, low-fat dairy, whole eggs, cheese, butter, avocados) lately and I love it.  I have lost twelve or so of then nagging pounds I’ve had hanging out since the hospital this summer, and would love to lose about five more to be at my happy weight.  I’m fine with the way I am now, to be honest.  I just want to feel like I can finally get a hold of my weight, for once and for all.

And I think sugar (or at least, excessive sugar), is standing in my way.  I am a woman on a mission.  A very determined woman.  Don’t get in my way.😉

-A few notes: my goal is NOT complete sugar elimination, jsut serious reduction

Source

-I will probably use a little stevia and maple syrup

-I am going to reevaluate after seven days.

Good night all!

Do you have a healthy relationship with sugar, or are you one of the many people who struggles with it?

Odds And Ends

Hello there!  Happy Friday night!  I have lots of little odds and ends to share with you today.

1. I have been LOVING on the short and sweet workouts lately.  A few of my favorites:

  • Levels 1 and 3 of the 30 Day Shred.  Takes about 45 minutes; pretty high intensity and a nice combo of strength and cardio.
  • 20 minutes of Yoga Core (from yogadownload.com) + one level of The Shred.
  • 10-15 minutes of abs + 3 miles on the treadmill, with 4 minutes of Tabata Intervals.
Your favorite short (but still intense) workouts?
2. I have changed my mind about homemade salad dressings and balsamic vinegar.  I used to think it was just easier to buy salad dressings, especially since I don’t make salad that often (confession: I’m lazy and hate washing and chopping that many vegetables).  But I’m starting to feel like salads are really cleansing, even in winter.  My favorite: spinach, carrots (thinly sliced), avocado, and grapefruit.  Dressing: 1 tbsp EVOO, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp mustard, sea salt, pepper to taste.  So simple.  So many nutrients and colors!
3. If you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting pictures, it’s because I left my camera transfer cord thingy in New York (I’ve been in Canada and Michigan).  Not that anyone cares that deeply about my blog.  I just felt a need to share.
Source
4. I got my December LSAT score back.  It was a significant improvement over October, and I am now in a position where I have a good shot at getting into some top 25 law schools and a very distant chance at some top 10 schools.   I’m quite thrilled; exuberant actually.  I’m filling out my applications with surprising zeal.  I’m so excited about this next stage of my life.  It sounds cliche, I suppose.  But it’s true.  I have wanted to go to law school since middle school, and now I feel like my dreams are finally going to come true.  Well, I have to get in first, of course.😉
5. It pays to be nice to people.  About twice a year, when I am in Michigan, I get a massage here.  It’s not super fancy, but is really high quality.  I often have the same masseuse, Carl.  I’m always really friendly and chatty with him.  I was talking about law school, and he said that once I get in, he is going to give me a free 60 minute massage.  How nice is that?!?!
6. I know what I want to do this summer.  I want to take a trip from Paris all the way to the other side of Eurasia, partially on the Trans-Siberian railway.  I would love to plan it in stages so that I get to see a lot of different places.  Ideally, it would last about a month.  The views from the train are supposed to be spectacular!  It technically starts  in London, if you want to go about it in the historic way, but I like Paris infinitely more.  So there.
Source
That’s all for tonight I suppose!  Any other college seniors out there?  What are your post-graduation plans?

The Breast Part

Fair warning: This is a post about my boobs.  If you are a relative or coworker or anyone who doesn’t want to hear me talk about this most wonderful body part, you have been warned.

One of the single biggest influences on my body image, whether positive or negative, is my breasts.

It might sound silly, but it is very, very true.  I don’t know if all women are especially conscious of their breasts, but I always have been.  For the longest time, they were too small (or so I thought).  Granted, I was about 14 years old when I thought this, but still, I was hyper-aware.  It is sort of awkward, conceptually, when you think about it: women have these weird mound-like protrusions from their chest.  Obviously, they serve a very important purpose (i.e., breastfeeding). But for the vast majority of our lives, we aren’t breastfeeding.  During these non-nursing times, breasts become something sort of different: sexual objects.  But I think that a lot of the way we see our breasts isn’t determined by men or sex, but by other women.

When I started high school, I remember thinking that I must be the flattest-chested girl in the entire school.  This wasn’t true at all, but my image of breasts did not fit with how I thought they should be.  This says a lot about how girls are primed, even from a young age — I was thirteen years old.  Over high school, my breasts grew at what was probably a painfully normal rate.  I felt happy with their size when I started college at 17.  I was maybe a small C cup at that point.  Since then, they’ve grown about two more sizes.  This is not what I wanted to happen, at all.  I feel like women are constantly made to understand that their bodies can be perfectly controlled, in terms of size and shape.  Breasts are a perfect example of why this is not true.

In the last four years, I have been on and off various hormones.  About two years ago, I finally settled on a birth control pill that worked well (I was only using it to control my period, headaches, acne, etc.).  After having pulmonary emboli, however, hormones are out of my life permanently.  At first I thought this would be nice and cleansing; more authentic to how my body should be.  But after a solid six months hormone-free, I have to say that I am hating it.  I have terrible acne for half the month, awful cramps and headaches, and my moods are not only terrible but unpredictable.  I cannot believe that women lived like this for thousands of years before the invention of the pill.

Whatever.  My point is that the lack of birth control hormones in my system has had another unpleasant side effect: my boobs have been growing like rabid animals.  Ugh.

It’s frustrating to feel like I reached a point where I was satisfied with my breast size and now they’re growing beyond my control.  I despise not being in control.  But that’s just the thing: I have been made to believe, all my life, that my body can be shaped and contorted and dominated like a bonsai tree. This is not the case, and it never will be; there are a million factors that play a role in determining the size and shape of all our various body parts.

So why do I let my boobs affect my self-esteem so much?  I’m constantly aware of their size; I feel like they’re awkward and too big all the time.  My younger high school self thought they were too small, making me somehow un-womanly.   There are, of course, some practical reasons for my current self-consciousness about them: plain and simple, they get in the way.  It would be so much easier to run with smaller boobs.  There are certain yoga poses where I feel like I’m being strangled by a small human sitting on my chest, until I realize that it’s really just my own breasts.

Other times, I feel like I’m being stared at by men.  I don’t think I’m imagining it.  It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing; men ogle.  And I am so tired of it.  I am much more than whatever sexuality my breasts represent.  I think I have a nice face, too.  Is it somehow less important?

It’s a funny conundrum: my breasts are sometimes wonderful, sexual objects and are other times obnoxious, uncomfortable objects.  Depending on which side of this equation they fall on on any given day, my self-esteem is either high or low.  By no means are breasts the only determinant of my (or any other woman’s) self-esteem.  But they are a pretty big factor.  Sometimes I wish they would just go away entirely.

I am going to try to be nicer to my breasts.  After all, they do have an important purpose.  Many women would probably be thrilled to have my boobs.  I guess we want what we can’t have.  And short of a breast reduction, which I don’t think I would really want anyway, my boobs are not going to be changing much.  L (my therapist) is always trying to get me to accept things the way they are, at least in moments like this.  I think that my self-consciousness about my breasts is a moment where I need to just accept myself: that means accepting the good and the bad.  Sometimes it’s nice to get a little attention.  Other times it’s downright obnoxious.  Sometimes they make me feel very womanly.  Other times they feel big and horrible.  Overall, they are a wonderful, albeit confusing, body part over which I don’t really have control.

So be it.

Your feelings on your boobs?  How do they affect your self-esteem?

2011

I feel like a New Year should symbolize something bold and brilliant; it should be some sort of clear signpost aligned with a major life change.  I am graduating from college this May, so I guess that signifies something. But nonetheless, I feel damp; cold; stagnant.  It’s not that I’m not excited about graduating, or that I regret 2010 (quite the opposite; it was a joyful year).  It’s that the overwhelming characteristic of my emotional landscape right now is fear.

I have a tendency towards anxiety in general (I believe it is often associated with depression), but it has never been particularly associated with the changing of years or the passing of time.  As a child and adolescent, I was so unbelievably eager to grow up that sometimes I felt as though I might explode from waiting.  And there are many pleasures of adulthood: romantic love and sex, of course, but also things like living on your own, exploring new places without constraints or boundaries, and choosing the life that you want to live, in terms of education, career, friends, lovers, location, etc.  There is an exhausting number of variables.

More than anything, I felt my childhood crumble away in late 2010.  I had a similar feeling in late winter of 2009, just about two years ago. You can read my essay about that here.  Maybe there are a series of sudden moments or realizations or overcomings that signify the end of childhood.  Maybe this is one of the moments in that series.  But it still feels too sudden, too painful.  From the time I was about 12, I had the skills to take care of myself.  Granted, I was not an emotionally sound adolescent, but I was remarkably good at cooking, getting myself to and from places, and keeping track of events (gymnastics meets, doctor’s appointments, school concerts).  I don’t remember thinking of myself as a kid past the time I was 11 or 12.

And now I’m 21 and I’ll be 22 later this year and it’s too late to go back.  I want to at least stop time, if I can’t go back.  But I’m not allowed to do that either.  For the first time in a decade, I don’t want to grow up.   I want to stay the same.  I want to play outside with my cousins.  I want to catch minnows in the summer in glass jars.  I want to build intricate snowmen in the winter and not worry about how many calories are in the elephant ear I’m eating.  I want my mother to live with me and make me pad thai or spaghetti with meatballs. I don’t want to take planes and trains and buses by myself.

Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but I see 2009 and 2010 as the last years of my childhood.  In May, I will graduate from an Ivy League university with absolutely no clue what I want to do in this world.  I will probably delay the inevitable entrance to the real world by travelling and going to law school.  And maybe I will eventually do something that’s sort of un-adult, like teach kid’s dance lessons or be a nanny.  But my little safe cocoon of late adolescence is peeling away.  Soon, I’m going to have to do things like pay bills and taxes and apply for grown-up jobs.

So that’s the fear and the anxiety that I am feeling.  But as I write this, I’m beginning to feel a spark of some other feeling: it’s not exactly joy or excitement.  Maybe possibility?  Or curiosity?  Or calm?  There are wonderful parts about being a grown up.  And I have a feeling that I will always be the sort of grown up who doesn’t think twice about wearing colorful mittens or sifting for shiny seashells at the beach.  So maybe 2009 and 2010 do signify the terminal point of my childhood.  But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

The very end of this year (the second half of December), which I spent with no less than 27.5 relatives from my mother’s side of the family, was rough.   But I think that it makes sense: I was acting out in ways that a seven year old might.  I alternated between fits of misbehavior and moments of deep, deep sadness.  I think somewhere inside, I knew that this was not just the ending of a year, but the ending of an important segment of my life.  Maybe I was trying to delay the onset of 2011.  I will admit that midnight, January 1, took me by surprise.  I was sitting on a couch with my favorite aunt and uncle.  We didn’t notice until it was about 12:03. We promptly went to bed.

In 2011, I do not want to be a misbehaving girl any more.  I want to be a real woman.  This, of course, is probably dangerously undefined, but that’s how I want it to be.  I think that my transition to womanhood began a long time ago.  USB probably sped things up, and then my 21st year ended and I was nudged over the edge.  In this next year, I wish to move away from the child who had to do everything she could to take care of herself and thus grew up too quickly.  I will never leave her behind; that girl is a big part of who I am and how I am today.  Instead, I want to move closer towards the bright, collected, exuberant young woman that I want to be.

Over the next few days, I will begin to compile a list of ways in which I intend to become such a woman.  If it is blog-appropriate, I will most definitely share.  I am not sure they will be resolutions, per se — I strongly dislike the pressure of a resolution.  More like ideas.  Let’s call them ideas.  Stay tuned!

What did 2010 signify for you?  How will 2011 be different?  What are you favorite parts about being a grown up?  About being a child?

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