Losing Weight and Self-Esteem

A few months ago, I notice that my jeans were baggy. This was good. I’d lost weight. I wasn’t trying, but I had made a few changes in my eating habits, and a few pounds lost was nice. The bad part that it meant I needed new clothes, and I REALLY didn’t want to have to shop. Not only is that experience terrible (crowded mall, lots of people, terrible parking, bad lighting. I can go on.), but having to try on a new, smaller size was terrifying. So, instead of going to the mall and nervously trying on new jeans, sweating in the dressing room, and lowing my self-esteem, I bought a few pairs online. Clearance ones. Because of course they wouldn’t fit, and I did not want to waste any more money than necessary on this doomed-to-fail experiment.

Turned out, the pants fit. They were a little tight, but damn it, they got on. They buttoned. I could sit down and even do squats in them. Hell yeah. I was a size 6! The lowest I’ve ever been. This meant…something. Progress? Validation that my workouts were working? Something about me being a better person because I was thinner?

But something really weird happened when I started wearing a size 6 (in addition to the clearance pants I bought, I got a couple more because, hell yeah! I’m a size 6!!). After going down a size, I started to really lose some self-esteem. I started feeling really fat. The thing was, yeah, the pants were a little tight, but not by much. Some of the pairs were a little tighter. You know what guys, not all size 6s are the same.

The weird was happening in my head. Wearing smaller pants that were slightly tight made me feel fat, like, the size of a house. I started to judge my body again. I started to analyze my actions.

I realized that I hadn’t been doing intense workouts lately. It wasn’t like I had stopping being physical. I was running, but that wasn’t the same intensity as my previous workouts. I’m still doing kenpo, but that doesn’t always get my sweat pouring, especially if I’m learning a new defense, focusing on visualizing my target and moving more mechanically rather than moving with force and speed.

Even though I’ve been active, I wasn’t gargling my heart. I wasn’t killing myself through every workout. I wasn’t pushing myself so hard I was exhausted for the rest of the day.

My previous workouts were tough. They were only 30 minutes, but they would wipe me out. I never really thought of them as that rough because they were only 30 minutes! Plus, I liked pushing myself that hard. It made me feel badass. Well, it made me feel badass when I was able to do the actual workouts. Often they would make me feel bad about myself when I couldn’t do the moves (you know what, fuck spider pushups).

I never really thought of those workouts as potentially too much for me, mostly because those were what I did. I did high intensity circuit workouts. Since about 2011, I started regularly doing Jillian Michaels. High intensity is her jam. She’s known for being tough. I’ve done nearly all of her workouts. I loved the convenience of working out in my home (gyms are gross). I loved the short, 30-minute workouts. I loved the feeling that the time was spent doing something worthwhile. I never thought that brutal workouts like JM would be bad for me in a way. But they were.

The way that I mean is that once I stopped doing them I lost so much self-esteem. I felt bad about my body because I was “only” doing kenpo and not doing suicide squat burpies or something. I felt bad because I was getting comfortable doing easy runs rather than single-legged, weighted sprints (those things don’t actually exist as far as I know).

Getting away from the high intensity work made me feel like a big, fat loser. I felt like a cow. I felt like my cool new size 6s were a big, fat lie, and I was the big, fat liar wearing them. I felt like the only way I could truly be thin was if I stayed doing intense training regularly and not settle for anything that didn’t get my heart pumping (oh my god, I’ve been stockhomled).

This post has been very hard for me to write. If you guys are paying attention (all three of you), you may have noticed that I haven’t written a post in three weeks. Part of this has been because I’ve been busy. Then an unexpected bout of depression overcame me and I decided to binge watch Scream the MTV show to help get over it (you guys, it’s so good).

But this post has also been challenging because it’s uncomfortable thinking about this stuff. I’m struggling to write sentences about hating my body. I hate writing about feeling fat.

I’ve always felt fat. Only within the past three years did I actually start to feel pretty good in my body (that’s also when I went fully vegan…just saying. #goveg). I grew up fat. Or chubby. Or something. I oscillated between being chubby and not-so-chubby my whole life. It sucks. It’s weird. I’ve had mega body issues. I’ve always been jealous of skinny girls. Showing your midriff is terrifying for me. Young women in clothing catalogues effortlessly looking great and comfortable in low-rise jeans or tight tees made me feel like a giant (do any of you remember those dELIA*S clothing? It was super popular in the 90s. Did you know it still exists!?!).

Three years ago, I finally got pretty okay with my body. I was relatively thin. It was no longer challenging for me to keep weight off. I felt like I finally got some part of life figured out. Losing a few pounds, dropping a size, showed me that maybe I don’t exactly. Mentally I’m still that fat girl in high school who is so sure everyone is judging her body, looking at her stomach and fat thighs, realizing that she’s always the biggest girl in the room even though that’s never the case.


Be Negative, But Don’t Make That Your Home

A while back, maybe 6 months or more now, I spoke to a woman about a problem she was having. I tried to help her. I thought I could help. But things are rarely simple. It turned out, that there was much more to the situation, and I couldn’t help her in the way that she wanted.

A few weeks after that, I spoke to that woman again. There was another problem. Once again, I tried to help. She was upset about another problem. She seemed rooted there. She couldn’t see anything outside of the situtation. So I tried to create space between her and that problem. I tried to refocus her. It seemed to work, but I was wrong.

Recently I spoke to this woman. There were a few new problems. Some of the old ones were still around. Some of these problems were very minor. They were not at all important. Some were reasonable, and I tried to work with her and listen to her. But the problems were not ending. She seemed determined to be upset about something, anything, or possibly even everything.

I realized shortly after the last time that I spoke with her that I have never heard her say anything positive. It’s always a problem. Always a complaint. Always an issue.

I know another person who also tends to lean more negative. Things are frequently bad. She never has time to do all the work that she needs to get done. There are always roadblocks. There are always new issues coming up. I’ve know this person for years now, and I’ve heard a lot of these types of issues. I’ve also heard a lot of positives. I’ve heard her laugh. I’ve heard her sing. I’ve seen her stressed out, and I’ve seen her relaxed. I’ve seen her moved by touching stories to the point of tears. I’ve seen her in many different situations with many different emotions. She’s complex, mostly because people are complex.

While she can be negative, that’s okay with me. We all can be negative because sometimes everything sucks. It’s good to get those feelings out. Sometimes it’s necessary.

I tend to be a positive person. I see the bright side of things. I love to laugh. I’m goofy as hell. I sing throughout the day about random topics: what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, if I feel hungry, if my dog does something cute, and on and on. I also love to dance silly. I use funny voices when I talk sometimes. I pretend to speak to my pets and that my pets are responding.

I also tend to be very optimistic. While everything sucks, things will work out in the end. While things may be difficult, they won’t be difficult forever. That’s my headspace. That’s where I live. I try to get perspective. I try to get context. I try to think big picture.

I realize that everyone can’t easily adopt this positive mindset. Some people genuinely have shitty things going on for them, and that’s why I think it’s absolutely fine to be negative. It’s not good to try to paint a positive picture when the world around you is crumbling. By accepting the negative, it can help to get it out.

Without getting into detail (only because it’s definitely way boring to everyone but me), the other day at work I was hella negative. Someone did something that threw my whole day off. I was pissed. At one point, I literally stomped around the office because I was upset and making the noise made me feel a little better. Then I got over it. I got the emotion out. I stomped around and burned off the extra energy. And I felt better.

The problem I have is when people make that negativity their home. It becomes their default setting. They’re constantly upset. There’s always a complaint. Like the woman I mentioned at the start of this post, there is never anything positive coming from them. Maybe for her, it started with one bad day, but it’s been months and years from what I can gather, and she still holding on to something.

(Without intending to get this song stuck in your head) sometimes, you have to simply let it go. Let it go! Be upset. Stomp around. Then move on.

If someone were to ask me what my motto is (which is such a weird thing to ask a person, but I guess it happens) I would say it’s: “Forward Focus.” Everyone is going to have a bad day. Things are going to suck. You’re allowed to get negative. It’s okay to get upset. But don’t stay there.

I wrote recently about gratitude (HERE and HERE). I like to think about all of the things that didn’t go wrong in a day. I like to recognize successes. I also acknowledge and evaluate opportunities for improvement. I recognize my failures and try to learn. I think about how I can apply what I’ve learned to get better. Rather than staying in the past, I think about the future. That’s the point of forward focus.

So people, you’re allowed time. I’d say a day, but take a week. Take a year if you have to. But try to gain perspective. Be negative. Use it to get whatever emotions you have out. But don’t make that space your home.

My First 10K

Let me tell you guys about the time I signed up for a 10K during my busiest season at work, didn’t train, but ran it anyway. It sucked. Here’s the story.

Some time ago (February. It was February) I got excited about the idea of running more. Something in my brain began craving all things running. I wanted to listen to running podcast and running audio books. I wanted to read about running form. I even picked up a running novel, Once a Runner, that I couldn’t really get into because of some fat shaming language in the first chapter (doodes, I know it was written in, like, the 70s, but come on. Get with it).

I hadn’t been running much. Over the summer, I had been running more, but I’d gotten really into kenpo. That was new and shinny and fun (it still is). But running took a back seat. And then it was winter, and guys, I HATE to be cold. Once the time changed, I couldn’t bring myself to get up before the sun and go for a run. So, I just didn’t run.

But once the weather started getting a little nicer, my body and my brain wanted to get back into it. Part of that was a desire to sign up for a race. With a quick search on the internet, I found the Moreno Valley Mother’s Day 5K/10K race organized by the Moreno Valley Road Runners (which I seriously didn’t even know existed). This was exciting: a race in my neighborhood! In the past, I’ve had to get up super early to drive out to the race location. Or I’ve skipped cool races all together because the spot was just too damn far. But Moreno Valley. I could do that.

After registering for the 10K option, I looked into training plans. I’d only ever “raced” a 5K, and my average mileage for my runs is two or three miles. I don’t run far. I don’t run fast. But I got it in my head that not only could I do a 10K, but I could crush a 10K. I’d train. Then I’d run it hella fast. And it would be easy.

You guys, I was so dumb. I got busy. Work got bananas. I had every intention on running on a regular schedule. I even bought Matt Fitzgerald’s book 80/20 Running, which I’ve mentioned before. I started reading it, but I didn’t even get too far into it before work threw me off track.

I got so off track that at one point I thought I would just skip the race. It would be easy to forget about it. I hadn’t really told many people that I was going to do it, so what would it matter if I didn’t go? Thankfully be awesome sister-in-law, with her enthusiasm and support, unknowingly persuaded me to stay with it. She even signed up to do it with me! After that, I was so pumped.

That enthusiasm did not last long into the actual race. I started off pretty excited. I was excited when I woke up. I was excited getting into the park, getting out of the car, and simply being near other runners. It was a Mother’s Day event, so there were lots of kids and people that I assume where their mothers. There was a LOT of pink. They even had finishers medals laid out on a table that were so pink they practically were glowing.

It was a small group of runners that day (maybe 50 people, but I honestly don’t know. I’m terrible at gauging a crowd). I was pumped and ready to go. When we started racing, I remember thinking how awesome it was to run in a group. I was feeling the energy of the crowd. At mile one I thought, “Only five more to go. I got this!”

Guys, I was not prepared for hills. I was not prepared for wind. And it wasn’t even windy. It was just a slight breeze that made it feel like I was being pushed backward. In a word, it was super hard. I hated running nearly the whole thing. I wanted to give up. I wanted to duck out with the 5K group rather than continuing on to do the full 10K. I wanted to walk those damn hills. I wanted to hitch a ride to the finish line with every car that drove by.

But I didn’t (okay. I walked a part of the race, but only a small part. And it wasn’t really up to me. It was a pretty steep hill, and my body literally just stopping running. It was like something pulled me back. I allowed myself to finish that hill walking, and then I didn’t stop running until I crossed the finish line).

I ran the rest of the race thinking, “Why did I decide to do this. This sucks.” I truly hated every minute of last half of that 10K. I kept thinking about how I should have trained more. I thought that if I could just lose a few pounds it would be easier for me to run. I thought about the few miles that I did put in on my treadmill and how I should have done them outside. I thought about how I should have done hill work because it was pretty clear that the course would have hills. I thought all of these negative things and only occasionally forced myself to look around me at the beautiful landscape that I was getting to run in.

I finished the run in 1 hour and 10 minutes. I was pretty pleased with that. As I was nearing the finish, I wanted to walk so badly. But I forced myself to finish strong, and I finished with a smile. My legs hurt. My feet hurt. I was thirsty, and I wanted to just sit down.

My sister-in-law finished ten minutes after me. I walked out to meet her and run the last stretch with her. My legs were aching badly, but I really wanted to be with her to finish it. I thought that it must have been torture for her to run the 10K too, and I figured I was offering support by being with her for the last steps of the awful experience. It turns out, she enjoyed the flipping thing.

She told me how when she felt like she needed to walk, she walk. She told me how she allowed herself to experience the scenery. It was a lovely morning, not too hot. We had some beautiful clouds. She didn’t stress over running the entire thing or making a certain time. She just did the 10K.

Honestly, that blew me away. It hadn’t occurred to me that by pushing myself so hard I was missing out on the experience of the 10K (and engaging in some pretty negative self talk). I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the feeling of running or connecting with the people around me. I missed out on the scenery and the smells of nature. All I could think about was how I wanted to quit, and how I couldn’t wait for the damn thing to be over.

Here’s the lesson: it’s okay to slow down. It okay to not be perfect or live up to whatever ideal experience you’ve build up in your head. In fact, it’s good to stop sometimes or go slow. By going fast (or kind of fast in my case) you miss out of so much of the experience.

And: BE NICER TO YOURSELF. Damn it, evie. Enough with the negative self talk. You’re pretty awesome. You finished your first 10K, and you did it smiling!! To be fair, I was mostly smiling because Johnny lovely was there supporting me at the finish line. That was awesome. But it also felt good to finish. I was happy.

After I stopped running, it hit me: the 10K was awesome. It hurt. It got lonely when most of the runners veered off to the 5K course while a few runners and I kept going for the longer option. Those hills were tough. My calves were already cramping before I got to the finish line. But damn, I’d do it again. The Road Runners even have a Valentine’s Day run that I’m planning on doing.

So, I messed up my training plan. Oh well. I could have guessed that it wouldn’t have gone perfectly. It’s literally peak season for me at work. I shouldn’t expect to be perfect. It’s awesome that I did a 10K. I’m going to try to keep it up. I’d like to race again and try to get under an hour. I’d like to build up my miles and eventually run a half marathon. I’ll get there, and when I do, I’ll try to slow down and allow myself to enjoy the experience.



Practicing Gratitude

All right guys. Last week, I wrote about how I was grateful that my nephew was okay after he was rushed to the hospital the week before because he had stopped breathing, turned blue, and was having seizures. Nothing is wrong. He’s fine. He’ll continue to be fine. We don’t have to worry.

But all too often, I forget that things will be fine. Because, daily, things tend to really suck.

“The world is a garbage fire.”

“Everything sucks.”

“Fuck everyone.”

These are things I sometimes (I’m not going to admit how often) think in my brain. Why? Because things are hard. People make then hard(er). Things pile on. Things get worse. And I (we) forget that things will be fine.

(Okay, I’m going to pause right quick and note that some things will NOT be fine. I used to think: “things always turn out fine in the end.” Dooodes, I was SO wrong. Sometimes, everything sucks. Bad things happen that profoundly change your world forever in a bad way. I learned this when my aunt died after battling cancer for a little over four months. It was the longest four months of my life. It was drawn out and excruciating. Those four months were a blur. It was so sudden. So, sometimes, things do not turn out fine. Barring this type of situation though, lots of stuff does turn out fine in the end.)

What I want to think about (and that’s what I’m doing by writing this blog: thinking things through for myself to learn hoping that you guys like it and think a little too) is how I can take a step back and learn to deal when things are tough. Normal tough though, like work being difficult, people being difficult, or run of the mill stuff that we have to deal with on the regular.

I think one answer can be to practice gratitude more often.

Right now y’all, birds are chirping outside. It’s a beautiful day here in sunny California. I got to sleep in. I played with my cat, Molly, and my dog. Betty (Marco, my other cat, was being a bit of a handful so I told him to go take a nap). And I’m WRITING! I LOVE to write. It feels good and natural and hard and lots of other super cheesy things.

I can easily bitch right now. I can list a bunch of stuff that sucks. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole of negativity. I want to stay positive right now.

So, here’s what I propose: let’s practice gratitude daily. Let’s not get swept up in the garbage fire of daily life. Let’s pause. Let’s reflect on how things aren’t all bad. And let’s acknowledge that some stuff is pretty okay.

Here are a few ways I want to start:

  1. Three Things.

Here’s how this one works: every day express three things that you’re grateful for. I’ve heard that some people do this at the dinner table with their families. I’m not going to assume that you all eat dinner together with a family. Maybe you don’t have one. Maybe you don’t eat together. I don’t know you.

Find a way to acknowledge three things. If can be to someone, like a family member or a friend. I can be on Twitter or Facebook or some other online social tool you use (#3things). Or it can be in private. Write it down somewhere. Or simply stop, think about three things, and let them sink in.

  1. Say “thank you” more.

This one’s simple you guys. Be nice. Be polite. Tell someone that did something nice for you that you appreciate it. I can be a quick comment or a text. Whatever works. And do it for all kinds of things. If someone helps you at work, take a moment and let that person know that you recognize their help. If someone takes you out to dinner or makes you food, say “thank you.” It took time for them to do that. Don’t take that action for granted. They may stop if you do.

2a. Do a Big Thank You.

I’m making this a subcategory because I’m building off of the previous idea. We can express gratitude more often, but it can become more of a gesture and less sincere very quickly. Try, when applicable, to do a Big Thank You. This is when you take a quick minute to express in a little more detail exactly what a person did for you that was awesome. If someone helped you with a project you were working on, send them an email. Don’t make it too long. Note one or two details about the work they helped with and why their help mattered. This takes so little time, but it makes a BIG impact. That’s why it’s called the Big Thank you.

  1. Do something nice for someone.

Putting nice things out into the world for other people feels good. I don’t believe in karma or anything like that. But doing nice things feels nice, and sometimes people return the favor. Recently, I had a co-worker who was stressing out over a big project she was working on. I took some time to help her. I did a few things that made a big impact on her mood. It helped get the project done. And it didn’t take much effort on my part to make a big impact on her.

Do more nice things. Rub someone’s back. Get them a glass of water. Help them with a project. Big or small, these things matter.

3a. Do something nice for yourself.

I’ve heard people say before something like, “I wish someone would                for me.” I dunno what the blank is. Something nice. “buy me flowers” or “take me somewhere.” My thought has always been, “Why don’t you do it for yourself?”

Recently, I bought myself flowers because I was having a bad day. People were making things harder than they needed to be. So, while I was at the store, I bought flowers because when I looked at them, they made me smile. I posted online how I had done this, and some people were shocked that I bought flowers for myself. Why? Why aren’t more people doing this?

If you’re stressed out, tired, upset, or whatever, do something nice for yourself. It can be flowers. It can be a cup of coffee. Take yourself to the movies or sit at home and watch a movie on your own. Take care of yourself more often (rather than hoping someone will do it for you.)

That’s where I’m going to start. I’m going to try to be more mindful this week and practice being more grateful for others and myself. I’m going to be honest. It may be difficult. But I’m gonna try. Please try with me.


On Sunday night of last week, I started writing down all of the things that I accomplished that weekend. The list was LONG. Doodes, I was hella productive. I was feeling really good about the start of my week, and I was planning to take that momentum with me all of the way till Friday.

But, life happened.

On Tuesday morning, I received a group text from my sister-in-law. Not really thinking much about it (my family does group texts a lot. We love each other you guys, no big deal), I started reading what she sent, and my heart dropped.

“Just to let you guys know I had to call 911 yesterday. Avram stopped breathing and his mouth was blue…”

The text continued in a long paragraph with details on what happened and what they experienced. But I couldn’t really comprehend what my sister-in-law wrote. Avram, my sweet, goofy, little 8-year-old nephew, stopped breathing. He was rushed to the hospital. Something was seriously wrong.

Immediately, my family started responding. I sat on the couch and read the responses, too shocked to wrap my head around the situation.

“We’d like to come by and see him.”

“Me too! I’ll come by during lunch.”

“If he gets out earlier, we could do something together outside of the hospital.”

Finally, more than ten minutes later, I began to barely, kind of understand what was happening, and I wrote: “Is he sleeping? Is he okay? I want to give him a big hug. Are you okay?”

This was me restrained. I wanted to scream: “What the FUCK! What happened!?!?! How did this happened?!?! What’s going on!!!!??”

I didn’t want to freak my family out. I didn’t want to freak my sister-in-law out. Watching your son turn blue, having to call 911, rushing with him to a hospital in an ambulance, watching him get stuck with a bunch of needles, waiting for test results, talking to so many doctors, and STILL not fully knowing why your son stopped breathing and turned blue must have been scary enough. I knew I needed to keep it together.

I eventually left work early to go sit in the hospital with my sister-in-law and nephew. We were soon accompanied by my parents and another nephew. Then my other brother showed up with his wife and three kids. Then my sister came. We all crammed into a hospital room and talked. The kids played and laughed and made lots of noise. In a way, it was great. It was terrible that what brought us together that day was this shitty situation with my nephew in the hospital with an IV and machines hooked up to him. It sucked beyond belief to watch him take gross medicine. It sucked knowing he was uncomfortable and confused on how, let alone why, he was in a hospital.

But it was nice that I was able to see almost my entire family (on, coincidentally, my sister’s birthday). It was so cool knowing that everyone, without hesitation, came to the hospital to just be together.

It also was nice that we knew (with almost 100% certainty at that point) that my nephew was going to be fine. He didn’t have a tumor pressing on his brain. He didn’t have an infection. He simply has seizures now. That it. Seriously. They call it Sudden Onset Disorder, or something like that. Apparently it’s pretty common. We have it on both sides of the family. No big deal. He’ll take medicine to control the seizures for as long as needed, which could be the rest of his life, or not.

I’ll spare you all the details about this situation because I realize that my experiences at a hospital are probably boring. They’re incredibly interesting to me, like how I had to wait in a long ass line to get food, and then got hella frustrated because people were taking their damn time deciding between tacos and lasagna, so opted for the salad bar instead. Or how parking was a nightmare. Or how I spent $50 in the gift shop on three things because that kid deserved a teddy bear, and a dinosaur game, and a deck of cards, and anything else he might want t have because he was in a damn hospital.

What I will say though, is I’m so grateful that it’s something as simple as taking medicine. Okay, it may not be super simple. Come summer, he’ll have to navigate swimming, and driving may be a whole situation when he gets older. He may never be a pilot or an astronaut or some other profession that he may or may not even want to be. There are details like that which will probably come up and may hinder his life. But oh well. We can figure those out. Or he can. He’ll be a grown-ass adult by then. It won’t be my problem.

My point is, it could have been worst. It could have been life threatening. It could have been devastatingly scary. Heads up, the lips turning blue thing wasn’t a big deal. His brain sucked up all the oxygen, and he would have started breathing again (most likely). If he were along or if this happened in the middle of the night, he wouldn’t have died.

The reason I started reflecting on gratitude was my sister-in-law said something in the hospital about how we can handle this. We can handle onset seizures. And we are. Granted, most of it is her and my brother because it’s there kid. But we’re there for them. We were there for Avram in the hospital. We were there when he got to go home. We’ll continue to be there because that’s what we do, and that’s awesome.

That week, the hospital week, I didn’t stay on track with my productivity. I ate fast food. I didn’t run. I didn’t write. Oh well.

But I did think a lot about gratitude. Apparently, there’s science behind it. There are techniques where practicing gratitude can make you happier. By practicing gratitude, by integrating it into your daily life, you can become more authentically happy. I dunno. That’s probably true. I like that idea. But sometimes life happens. Life, like that text we all got that morning, pull you away from any sense of happiness.

And that’s okay too. We don’t always have to be grateful, because life is going to happen. Let’s not try to sugar coat everything and pretend that it’s all great. I’m a pretty optimistic person, but I frequently think to myself “everything sucks!” And I mean everything. Work. Chores. Going to the grocery store. Paying your bills. Getting texts like that.

But, as a super smart dude explains: “Yes, there are bad things in my life, and it’s OK to feel bad about them. But it’s also important to remember the rest of my life, and to remember that even the bad things make life as complex and interesting as it is. Life would be boring without challenges!”

While I don’t fully agree with Leo Babauta (he’s the smart dude I quoted above if you didn’t catch that) on the idea that bad stuff makes life interesting (doode, I would LOVE for life to be hella easy), I like that he notes that you’re allowed to feel shitty sometimes. You’re allowed to get scared or frustrated. You’re allowed to have a bad day.

But let’s also thing about the pretty okay parts of the day. Let’s reflect on some of the great things we (hopefully) have in our lives. Yeah, we were in a hospital, but we were handling it. Yeah, the kid’s gotta take medicine for (potentially) the rest of his life. But we’ve got each other. We’ve got this.

So let’s do this gratitude thing.


evie on turning 30

I mentioned on my first blog post that I wanted to start this blog months ago. I had started writing, but I hadn’t set up any way of getting it out to the world. Here is a piece I wrote on the last day I was 29 years old. Warning: there are a lot of F words.

Sometimes, everything sucks. This is me talking about that.

I’m going to be honest, and you may not like it. I’m pretty okay with that. But then again, maybe you will like it, or love it, or really relate to it. That would be awesome (well, maybe not awesome. I’m going to be talking about some pretty unhappy shit. If you relate to it, well, that will suck. But it will be good to know that you’re not alone, and I’m not alone. That’s awesome).

Turning 30

Tomorrow I turn thirty. That means, today is the last day I am in my twenties. That’s pretty significant, in a lot of ways, for a lot of people. It’s sad. It’s a loss. It means you’re old. For them. Not for me. I’m fucking stoked.

Well, I’m just okay. I’m rarely stoked. Unless there’s a new dinosaur movie, or if they ever decide to make Rise of the Guardians II: Grrrl Guardians, that’s when I get stoked. For thirty, I’m okay.

I remember a few years ago thinking that getting old means getting more of your shit together. I thought, “I’ll have more stuff figured out.” That’s what I wanted: stuff figured out. I’m a smart person. I got degrees. I’ve accomplished shit, academically. But I didn’t feel like I had my shit together (and I still kinda don’t). I worried about traffic routes and traffic. I stressed over getting to places, and then stressed over what to do once I got there. I did well with minor things. I had a job (a kickass job at a bookstore), and I did that shit well. But with other things, life things, paying your bills, and cleaning, and getting out of bed in the morning, I was a fucking mess.

As a kid, I felt like an idiot. Life was confusing. I’m not going to get into it now (maybe/probably one day), but I grew up with a man (my lovely dad) who was bipolar, borderline schizophrenic, who had obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and who was undiagnosed and un-medicated my entire childhood. He finally went in to talk to someone when I was 18 years old (and yes, I judgmentally said finally. He was, and is, a father. As an adult who has children who depend on you and need you to have your shit together, you really do NEED to get your brain fucking balanced. Please.), which means that he was not medicated, not balanced, and not fucking okay my entire fucking childhood (side note: I really don’t want kids, and I’m kinda starting to think that this is where that started). After he figured his shit out, I moved out of my parents’ house and officially became an adult (sort of).

As a result of an unbalanced dad (and probably a whole hell of a lot more), childhood was pretty fucking scary. It was confusing, and frustrating, and not something that I would ever want to relive. So, by default, my adulthood has been better (heads up, it’s still fucking scary, and confusing, and frustrating, and weird, and difficult, and shitty at times. Most people’s adulthood is that way. I’m working on dealing). But, as a result of a shitty childhood and a pretty abrupt entry into adulthood, I haven’t stressed out on aging. I think it’s pretty cool. I like to get older. Maybe one day that’ll change. I hear that when a woman gets to a certain age, like 40 or so, she becomes pretty invisible to the rest of the world. As an introvert who doesn’t like people or attention, I feel like that might be really fucking nice. But, time will tell.

For now, right now, I’m 29 years old (which sounds so different from 30, but visually, on my screen, is pretty much the same). For now, today, I keep thinking, “Am I where I thought I’d be by 30?” For the most part, yeah. I’ve managed to get a job. That’s awesome (in theory. In practice, it kinda sucks). It means I have a steady income, which is fucking fantastic. It’s a job in non-profit, which is awesome (in theory. There are better ones out there that are more life-affirming and rewarding and don’t make you hate your life).

I’ve managed to figure out how to stay pretty healthy. I eat my vegetables. Just now, I paused writing to make breakfast. I made a smoothie with kale in it. Fucking kale. I’m crushing it at eating my veggies. Also, I’m vegan, but that doesn’t make me healthier by default, but it was something that I wanted for a long while. Then, one day, I did it. I’ve worked on being healthy. It took me years to sort out. I grew up eating frozen burritos and fast food. Now I eat fresh burritos and fucking kale in the morning! I used to think splenda was good for you and drink diet soda all the fucking time (and other horrible shit that I’ve choose to ignore). Now I drink water!

I’ve managed to figure out how to have pretty clear skin. This used to drive me nuts! I’d read all these things about eating clean and detoxing and how the junk I put in by body is clogging my pores. Okay, I just admitted that I ate garbage food and drank shitty, artificially sweetened soda, but I stopped that shit a long time ago. I eat kale now, and I still have breakouts. I’ve learned that there are things I can do to clear my skin and that sometimes, so what, I breakout. I’m human. I’ve accepted it.

I also run. I love to run. When I was in high school (chubby evie with her awkward everything), I wanted to be a runner. I figured it out as an adult. It took me years to figure out what it meant to be a runner. It was intimidating as hell. I thought, as a runner, you had to be fast or be able to run for a really long time or be able to run nonstop. Now I know that running means you run. You, sometimes, whenever you feel like it, get up and run. It can be outdoors. It can be around a track. It can be on a treadmill. It can be daily. You can take weeks or months off and still start up again and be a runner. Now, I sometimes wake up and go for a quick two or three mile run before work (damn, that sounds like I’m hella crushing it!)

Also, I’m in an awesome relationship. I’ve been with John for nearly TWELVE years you guys. That’s nuts to me. Mostly because it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, and mostly because it’s so awesome. I didn’t realize that relationships can last this long and still be pretty great (now, I’m being pretty sappy here, but just give me this one). I also have one awesome cat who bit-kisses you, and one awesome dog who loves everything and everyone. I have a pretty great relationship with my parents. My sister is my best friend. I’m pretty close with my brothers. I have 5 nieces and 5 nephews. I love them and look forward to them growing up and being awesome human beings.

Okay, so these are all the things that I’m doing fairly well with. But there’s a fuck load where I’m crashing. I have anxiety. Most days I feel like I can’t breathe. Yesterday, I tried to think of a good way to explain this feeling. While it feels like I can’t breathe, I am breathing and pretty much getting enough oxygen to keep myself alive. But it FEELS like I can’t breathe. It feels like I take in air for two seconds, pause, and then exhale. Try to do that. Breathe in for two seconds. Pause. Then exhale. Keep doing that for like, a minute. That’s the way I feel for hours at a time. I practiced this yesterday. It was a rare day that I was feeling good and could breathe. I wanted to make sure I had an accurate description of this feeling (just in case I ever try to explain it to some professional type person who can, maybe help me feel better). I did this breathing for about three seconds and had to stop because I felt like I was going to induce a panic attach (which I get from time to time). It gave me anxiety for the next few hours. Fuck.

Speaking of anxiety, I get panic attacks. I had one the other day at the idea of going to my partner’s pod cast’s one-year anniversary. It was at an awesome brewery in Rancho Cucamonga. The people there are super nice. They make great beer. I like nice people and great beer. But the last time I was at this brewery I experienced such anxiety that I had to leave, quick. It was crowded. Not good. It was loud. Not good. And there were people playing games, specifically cards and Jenga. For some reason, the card-playing people kept tapping their cards against the table. It was part of the game, but it made my bones ache. And then, like it does, the Jenga game would fall over and crash to the table. I felt a jolt of panic in my body every time it happened. And, apparently those people were fucking terrible at the god damn game because it happened, like, three times in the roughly ten minutes we were there. What the fuck people? Get better at playing Jenga!

All of this combined resulted in us (my partner and me) leaving and getting into a fight. He didn’t know what my problem was. I thought he was being insensitive because clearly that place was a fucking war zone, and I was going to die! But I didn’t communicate that to him AT ALL. We just left. We fought most of the way home, and then I broke down crying in his arms once there. Then, weeks later, at the idea of going back there, I broke down again. I started crying at the thought of being back in that environment with potentially more people. I had been frustrated all day. I don’t remember what, but I’m pretty sure it was anxiety building up in my body over the whole anniversary party. I told him that I was having anxiety about going. He, like the wonderful human being that he is, told me that I don’t have to go. I thought that I would. I figured I could at least stop by, stay as long as I was comfortable, and then leave when I needed to, but later, at the thought of leaving the house, I just couldn’t go. Instead, I stayed home, watched the entire 7th season of Parks and Recreation, had a fucking blast doing that, and then felt guilt later for not going. Fuck.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I still don’t have everything figured out. Yeah, I eat kale for breakfast (some days). I run. I brush and floss and adult well most days. But I still have some shit to figure out. I’m pretty confident I will. Maybe by 40 I’ll be a balanced, fully functional human being.

Stop Shoulding on Yourself

I should run more.

I should wake up earlier.

I should go to bed sooner.

I should meditate.

I should stop eating junk food.

I should be eating more salads.

I should write more.

I should read more non-fiction.

I should stop wasting time on my phone.

I should clean out the hall closet.

I should organize my office.

I should be saving more money.

Someone really smart (okay. I can’t lie to you guys. It was my therapist) told me recently that I need to stop shoulding on myself. Not only is this hilarious, but it’s sound advice.

I’ve heard many times over the years that you shouldn’t talk negatively to yourself (once more with the shoulds!). I never really understood that. I mean, I do understand it. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t internally say stuff to yourself like “you’re fat,” “you shouldn’t wear that outfit,” or “you’re a loser.” You wouldn’t say those things to someone else, so why are you saying them to yourself (and if you would say them to someone else, then we’re not friends. Stop reading this. Please).

There are people who speak that negatively to themselves. And that’s sad, and heartbreaking, and terrible, and I wish they wouldn’t. I wish they had stronger self-esteem. I wish they saw value in themselves and understood that they are wonderful and beautiful and smart and capable.

But I didn’t realize that all of those shoulds are also negative talk. It’s a way to bring myself down. All of those thoughts are heavy, and make my brain feel dead.

So I’m working on not shoulding on myself.

First thing: I’m going to give myself a break. In all honestly, life is fucking hard. No one warned me. No one told me that life was a big ball of stress and reports and deadlines and shitty people and being tired and worrying that you’re not good enough. I’m not unique with these feelings. Everyone has them.

But movies made me think that being a grownup meant lots of sex, and friends, and money, and sex, and vacations, and sex.

So when real life is stress, I’m going to be more flexible. If I’m too tired to wake up early to run, then I’ll sleep in and not run that day. Or I’ll work to fit a run into a later part of my day if I can. If not, then oh well. There’s always the next day.

If I’m too busy to go to the store to buy fresh veggies, then oh flipping well. Maybe I’m gonna eat fast food once (or twice) a week. That doesn’t make me a monster. Or fat. Or gross. Or ugly. Or any of the other things eating junk makes me feel.

If I just can’t bear to read a non-fiction book, then I read a fiction one. I’ll read another awful Buffy novel, or a classic children’s book that I somehow missed as a kid, or a spicy murder mystery. Maybe I’ll listen to the groundbreaking non-fiction as an audio book. That seems to be the only way I can get through those since grad school. At least I’m still reading something, even if it isn’t award-winning literature.

And If I don’t get around to cleaning out my closet, then who cares? It’s been messy for a while now. What are a few more weeks (or months or a year)?

BUT, I am still going to work on the things I want for myself. I want to run more. So I am. I’ve committed to running at least three times a week. I don’t need to run fast. In fact, Matt Fitzgerald, author of 80/20 Running: Run Strong and Race Faster by Training Slower, straight up told me I can run slow (Okay, he didn’t so much as tell me, but rather wrote a book about it, but I’m reading it as if he’s speaking directly to me because that doode gets me!).

And I am going to try to eat better. I’m working of cutting out oil from my cooking (if I’m eating out, whatever). I’m trying to bring raw fruits and veggies to snack on during the day. I can only think of carrots and a raw veggie options. I tried eating cucumbers, but then I was honest with myself and stopped buying them because cucumbers are gross you guys, and I don’t want to eat them! I also tried celery (meh) and radishes (big nopers). I guess raw lettuces and leafy greens count, so good on me every time I eat a flipping salad. But when the inevitable day come when I’m stressed, and late, and running around with a million things to do, I may go through a drive-thru. Big deal. I’ll work to plan ahead and avoid those pitfalls, but I’m only human.

There are more things that I can work on, but for right now, those are my two. Well, I guess this blog is three. I’m going to write. I’m going to write a post at least once a week, maybe twice. I’ll keep you lovelies up to date on my physical and mental health. So I’ll eat, and run, and write, and I’ll give my self a break on the rest of those other shoulds for now.

It’s Not Bad News, but it still Made Me Cry.

When I was a kid, I watched ALL of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. All of them (I still do). And the movie. And I read the graphic novels and the terrible novelizations. Why? Because she rocks. Buffy. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Kristy Swanson. Even Faith/Eliza Dushku pre- and post-her being evil, and Willow/Alyson Hannigan pre- and post-her being evil (why were practically all of the women on that show evil at some point? I’m going to have to get into that later).

My point: it was awesome watching ladies kick ass. It made me want to be able to do it, too. I wanted to be able to do the things Buffy did. I wanted to be able to do flips or jump off stuff and kick people. I wanted to be able to do single-arm hand stands flawlessly. I wanted to rock killer outfits with great hair and clear skin and perfect makeup. I wanted to fight bad guys and save the world and look great while doing it.

Whatever. I don’t know if it was from watching those badass women fight people, but I wanted to be a badass woman who fought people. Well, not really. Mostly I’ve wanted to simply kick box. Nix the whole actually fighting people, but I wanted to be able to fight people. I wanted to be strong as shit.

But I never got into it. For years, I wanted to take kickboxing classes, but I was always too intimidated to go to any of them. I’d see the big punching bag, but I’d be too nervous to even get close to it. I’d see martial arts school and get curious about what was inside. Some of my friends would tell me how they were taking karate classes or something else like that, and I’d get jealous. But I didn’t take the next step of doing it myself until I turned 30.

I turned 30 last summer, and that night I called a martial arts school to start taking classes. A few weeks prior, I took a class at a different school with a great reputation. I took a 45-minute Muy Thai kickboxing class, and I was bored as hell. I didn’t even start to sweat. We did simple drills, barely moving our bodies, for forty-five fucking minutes. Honestly, if that’s what Muy Thai is about, then I want nothing to do with it. (Heads up, it’s not. It was just a weird class. Or maybe just that day was weird. I dunno.)

After that first weird class, I got really discouraged. I thought martial arts just weren’t my thing. But I kept looking. I thought maybe I should try jujitsu or something. I looked into other schools. I googled other places. It was really confusing, because I honestly don’t know the differences between all the different kinds of martial arts. Should I try Tai Kwan Do or join a boxing gym? The reasons why I tried Muy Thai:

  1. I heard that it was the best type of kickboxing.
  2. They offered a free one-week trial.
  3. They had a ladies only class, which, at the time, made it seem more accessible for me. (Turns out, fighting dudes is really fun).

When that school didn’t work out, I didn’t know where to turn next.

Then I found my school.

On their website, they had a bunch of pictures of people fighting and taking classes. They had pictures showing people who had passed their belt tests. Serious looking dudes stood in what I now know is horse stance with their fists raised like they are permanently ready to fight a wall. It all seemed a little silly to me (and, honestly, it still is. And, full disclosure, I’ve totally had my picture taken doing that pose. I could barely keep a straight face). So, I decided to try this place.

The first thing I did was go inside. I went on a Saturday with my partner, Johnny Lovely, to just look at it. I wanted to see what it offered. I was not super impressed. It’s a small school. The first school I went to is huge in comparison. But the guy who showed me around was cool. He used to be a trainer at a big chain gym where I used to go, so that gave me a sense of familiarity. I’d never talked to him before, but the familiar face was nice. And he was nice. And he told me two cool things: before I could start taking classes, I’d have to take an introductory course of 4 or 5 one-on-one sessions to make sure I liked the school, and, if I decided I wanted to join the school, I could come in anytime I wanted, take a small training room to myself, and shut the door. Privacy. YAS.

Side note: I’m a solo person. I hated the gym because there are too many people. I don’t like going to the park near my house because there are too many people. I love to run because you can do it all alone. Alone is the best. The idea of being able to practice martial arts alone was beautiful to hear.

After doing that walk-through of the school, I decided I’d try it out. I loved the idea that I’d get to do a one-on-one introduction to the school before committing to anything. And then I promptly forgot that they required that. Which is why, on the 30th birthday, I called to see if I could come in for a class. Mark #2, the guy who answered the phone when a called, not Mark #1 who did the walk-through of the school with me (yes, they’re both named Mark. And that’s not even the weirdest part of that story), told me that I couldn’t come in on my birthday. Instead, we scheduled a one-on-one, and that’s how Mark #2 became my coach.

Two weeks later, I got my first introduction to Kenpo. It was basic. Mark #2 was nice. The next week he introduced me to boxing basics. That’s when I fell in love. I was boxing you guys! I got to hit stuff! It was great. Soon, I finished my intro sessions, and I began to take classes.

Second side note: I have hella anxiety. As I explained in a previous post, I get panic attacks. I get scared easily. I’m super sensitive to my surroundings—noise mostly. It’s sometimes really difficult and really shitty being me. This anxiety is one huge reason why I’ve never taken a martial arts class before. The idea of it really freaked me out. The only group classes I’ve ever done were Zumba, and the only reason I did those was because I was with my sister. She’s like my real-life safety blanket. I can be brave when she’s around. Alone? Nopers.

This is to say that the idea of group classes at my school really freaked me out. Honestly, walking into the school for my private lessons freaked me out. Every time Mark #2 and I started my private lessons it freaked me out.

It was more than just anxiety, though. It was sadness, or a profound sense of being alone. Third side note: I have depression. Turns out, lots of people have anxiety and depression together. It’s super common. So, on any given day, I’m either freaking out or barely able to function. I also have ADHD. I get distracting very easily. I can’t sit still. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff (it’s what I affectionately call my bad brain). Once again, really shitty being be. I’ve found out that staying active helps me feel better. But just walking into school gave me anxiety. Once I got there, I felt so lonely I wanted to cry and run away.

Why the fuck did I feel lonely? I have no idea. I felt weird. I felt alone. I felt like I didn’t belong. I’d get a pain in my chest every time I walked to the front door of the school. I’d feel like crying while waiting for my class. Then I’d get in class, and I’d feel great. I felt strong. I felt like I was learning. And martial arts are tough, guys. I really struggled at first. I don’t do well with struggling. Usually I don’t do hard things, but I stuck with kenpo.

In fact, as alluded to above, I passed my fricking belt test! I’m an orange belt now. With the help of Mark #2, and my dope skills, I learned new stuff. I learned and improved my kicks and punches and blocks. And I learned cool moves like the Sumo and Striking Asp and other ones that I can’t remember what they’re called. I also learned Kata 1, the Four Shields. I hate katas guys. They’re hard. Whatever. Moving on.

Martial arts or kenpo or my school or Mark #2. They all helped me with my anxiety. I still have anxiety, but walking through the door isn’t as hard anymore. I attribute a lot of this to Mark #2. He’s helped me when I was feeling weird. He’s told me (many times) that I don’t have to be perfect. I’m just starting with this new practice, so I’m going to mess up. I’m going to get it wrong. I’m going to fall over or not get a move right. But I’ll get better if I keep it up. It’s been a big boost for me.

Which is why it seriously sucked when I learned that he was moving. It has something to do with his wife being awesome and getting a new job. There’s more to it, but bottom line, he’s no longer my coach. The way he phrased it: it’s not bad news, but…it sucks.

Really, it’s cool. His wife getting a new job is rad. Blah blah blah. I don’t care. I miss that goofy guy. I felt a sincere sense of support from him. I felt like he understood my bad brain. He was pretty patient when I’d get too in my own head. He knows, even in a small way, my struggles with anxiety. And he’s super supportive.

When I found out he was leaving, I wanted to cry. I wanted to leave the school before my private lesson. I’d gotten there early to warm up, and instead I was freaking out in my head. In our lesson, I couldn’t think. I even talk at first. I didn’t know what to say. I only started to loosen up when we got to some boxing drills.

On my way home, I tried to be okay with it. I made it a few minutes. Then I started crying. I didn’t sob or anything, but I let some of my shit out. I understood that, in addition to simply missing Mark #2 because he’s a cool guy, and honestly being upset because I just met him and now was he’s leaving, I felt like I was losing the person who helped me with my anxiety. Even if it’s just to small degree, I’m a better person. I can walk into my school and not feel totally overwhelmed. I still feel weird and lonely sometimes when I’m inside, but I’m working through that. Now I’ll have to do it without him.

Now I get to practice with Mark #1. It’s great. He tells great, sometimes long-winded, stories and is supportive. Hopefully, he’ll continue to push me to continue to work through kenpo and my bad brain. Maybe it’ll be good for me. So, I guess it’s not bad news, but…damn, it made me cry.


Okay, you guys. Here’s the deal. I’m been putting this off for well over a month now. Really, since last summer.

I’ve got a lot of stuff in my brain. There are things I’m trying to work through. There are things I’m trying to understand about myself and the world. There are things about myself that I’m trying to improve or accept.

Thing blog is the space where I’m going to work it out.

So, who am I? My name is Yvonne, but you can call me evie. I’m 30 now. I have ADHD. I struggle with depression and anxiety, especially social anxiety. I’m sensitive. I have a lot of emotions, but I’m also highly sensitive to noises and light and other weird things like that.

All of these things (except my age) make me feel really bad about myself. They make me feel flawed and different, but I bet a lot more people have these things, or a combination of these things, than I realize.

Other things about myself: I like to run. I do kenpo. I’m currently an orange belt in White Tiger Kenpo (honestly, I don’t really know what the whole white tiger part is about). I’m vegan. I love that about myself. I love animals. I currently have two cats and a dog—all either rescued or adopted. I love to cook. I’m in a relationship with a man, Johnny Lovely. We’ve been together for nearly 13 years. He’s pretty great.

I work for a non-profit, but my education isn’t geared for that specifically. I wanted to teach at a college level. I have two bachelor’s degrees (English and History) and a Master’s Degree in American Studies. I felt like a fraud there. I went into non-profit. I love it, but I feel under prepared for the field. That’s something I need to work out.

Over the years (and it may be work induced), my anxiety has gotten worst. I’ve always had anxiety, but I was having more and more panic attacks. Those are not fun. I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember—maybe since I was 15 years old or something. I think at first I thought I was just hitting that part of being a teenager where everything sucks. Well, I’m 30, and I still often think that everything sucks.

I’m in therapy. And I run and do kenpo to help my brain. Physical stuff helps keep my ADHD from getting too bad. Medicine has been helping my depression. My anxiety is not too much in check.

Simply writing this is giving me anxiety. What will you think of me? Am I being too open? Well guess what! No one is reading this, so who the flip cares?

So let’s do this!