Day 22: Under Pressure

It’s Sunday night, and I’m in a pretty rotten mood, stemming from the combination of a headache and feeling entirely too stressed about money and social obligations. As I wrote and edited the first draft of this post, I realized that I was blaming it on the boyfriend, but that isn’t fair. This is all me, all my hangups. So very many to dig through.

We aren’t from the same world, and I keep getting reminded of that. New Orleans is so different in its expectations. I was raised in a different culture, where you never ask for the things you need, and you always think twice before letting people go out of their way to help you. And if you have even half a backbone, you would never let anyone go out of their way, unless you’re in danger of imminent death/dismemberment (and honestly, probably not then, either). In short, I was raised to feel ashamed if anyone had to lift a finger to help me when I could have figured out a way to do the thing myself. My own mother didn’t get out of bed in the morning to make me breakfast when I was a first grader, for gods’ sakes.

And though I don’t expect people to feel ashamed when I help them, I certainly do not enjoy being at the mercy of others. It always feels like the underlying emotion on their part should be begrudging, at best, but more likely some sort of seething animosity, a criticism of my weakness and pointlessness as a human being. Whenever people do nice things for me, I feel like I’ve pressured them into it. I hate that feeling. I’d rather just not have them go out of their way at all. I’d much rather walk 5 miles to the store than ask a friend for a ride. Or hand wash all of my clothes rather than ask the friend who lives a block away to use her washer now and then.

Anyway, a friend invited us over to watch the series premiere of American Gods, and offered to pick us up from my house. Then when we were there, she bought pizza and fed everyone (no pizza for me – I stuck to the stuffed grape leaves and La Croix that I’d brought). We were the last to leave, since I was waiting on the boyfriend to call an Uber (I couldn’t afford one, or I’d have done it earlier), but then the host offered to give us a ride home, too. I didn’t want her to. It felt like we were putting too much on her plate. Where I’m from, you offer to do something like that, but with the full expectation that the person will tell you no and go on to do the polite thing – find their own damn way home. In the end, we got into her car, the boyfriend handing me the chips and salsa he’d taken from the kitchen. I put them next to me on the seat, and at the first turn, the salsa jar fell over. The lid wasn’t screwed on. To my horror, salsa spread out all over the backseat, the scent permeating the car.

Our host/driver was so gracious about it, but I was incredibly embarrassed. And because the host didn’t seem to take it badly at all, neither did the boyfriend. Given their behavior at the situation, I know I should have been able to follow suit and just let it go. But really, I was so angry at myself for not checking the lid, and annoyed with him for putting me in a position where I’d have to overthink things and go checking lids after him, and also for forcing me to be beholden to our host for the rides to and from her apartment, and then again at myself for being so negative and not being able to take things at face value.

At the same time, I know that had someone spilled an entire jar of salsa in the back of my car, I probably wouldn’t be angry at them. I’d clean it up and move on with my life. And I know that if I offered to give someone a ride somewhere, it would be my prerogative. But I’m having trouble digging myself out of the guilt loop, and feeling like I just ruined our host’s night by putting her through so much trouble, and feeling like I can’t talk to the boyfriend at all about this because it makes me look insane. But I’m pretty sure he’d also see that I’m hurt and he’d be sensitive to that. Holy fuck, my brain hurts.

Also, I used all of my paper towels and my very last clean towel in helping clean out the back of that car, and I just don’t have the money for paper towels or the laundromat right now. I was already in a state over the amount of money I’ve spent this weekend, between getting my hair cut (which was entirely necessary) and a few meals out that I shouldn’t have bought. I did waste too much money on Friday night and then getting breakfast out yesterday and today. I simply do not have a spare penny to spend on anything besides exactly what my budget dictates, and because of this weekend I will be screwed for the rest of the month. I knew that, and I did it anyway. I keep doing this to myself. I hate being poor. I hate being in debt. Now I’m thoroughly wound up. At least I’m too broke to buy too much food; there’s that.

It’s time for bed. Too much to do at work tomorrow morning to keep badgering myself with things that have long since passed.

Day 21: Lazy Saturday

It’s Saturday, and I find there’s little to say. Last night I was at work until after 7pm, and by the time I got home I was absolutely knackered. The boyfriend came over, after all, and I worked on finding a little more energy to go out and get tapas down the street at Mimi’s. Afterwards, we talked about writing and movies and all things creative into the wee hours. It was a perfect night, as all nights are when spent in his company.

Unfortunately, though, since I didn’t go to sleep until around 3:30am, and woke up at 10:30 this morning to get my hair cut, I didn’t get nearly enough sleep. I’m running on empty, and my body and mind are feeling the effects. I had wanted to clean the house today, but I don’t feel cut out for it. I hand washed a couple of small loads of laundry and cleaned the litter boxes out, and then spent my evening window shopping for weird things on Wish.com.

Wow, this was one boring blog post. I’m going to bed.

Today’s Weight: 189.6 Lbs.

 

Day 19: Sleep

TakingOver

I used to be an accomplished sleeper. It was just something I excelled at – staying in bed all day, sleeping deeply, dreaming something exciting. I love to sleep, and I crave it. It’s one of my top favorite activities, and I’d do it more if I could. In fact, I function best on roughly 9.5 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Sadly, that’s just not possible in my life at this point. To counteract this, I aim for a perfectly respectable 8 hours of sleep each night, and track it diligently each day with my FitBit. However, I seldom actually achieve my goal during the week; on average, I tend to get about 6.5 hours a night. Yes, you heard that right: along with 35% of the U.S., I am sleep deprived.

On the weekends, like many people, I endeavor to play catch up. I know from experience that a 10-hour patch of slumber refreshes me without messing up my sleep schedule, so I try to get that much sleep on Friday and Saturday night. That means no late nights out partying, but it also means that I’m somewhat recharged by Monday. But I hate that, too. I want to be fresh and on my game all week long.

So it’s time to start working on getting my sleep numbers up to at least 7 hours a night. I think I’m going to reset my FitBit goal to 7 hours, and see if I can consistently match that for a few weeks, then up the time a little bit to say, 7:10, then eventually start creeping towards a solid 8 hours of sleep. If the FitBit can help me get in 12k steps minimum a day on a consistent basis, I think I can be using it to work on decreasing my sleep debt, too.

Today’s Weight: 191.8 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 12k+ steps, a 9-minute tabata workout via 8Fit, 20 minutes on the elliptical, some foam rolling & a little bit of an ab workout.

Today’s Interactions: I met a guest at the hotel who was looking for a gym to go lift weights, so I walked him over to my gym and got him a free pass for the day. He was a sweet guy. Also talked with Theo at the gym (of course), and stopped by the boyfriend’s job to say hi and give him a hug. That last part wasn’t as positive as I wanted it to be, but I don’t have the energy to work on it right now. Need a shower and so much sleep, stat.

 

Day 18: The Old Job

I picked up a shift at my old job tonight – returning to my hospitality roots, so to speak. Currently standing here at the front desk of a little boutique hotel just outside of the French Quarter, bopping along to a live rendition of “We Got the Funk” being played across the street. Maybe the dancing will help work off the bagel I just ate when I lost all self control and broke into the continental breakfast supplies.

It was a pretty good bagel, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Have I mentioned how much I adore bagels? They’re up there with New England clam chowder on my most desired foods list. When I went to NYC for the first time a few years back, I spent a month obsessively researching bagel joints to make sure that I’d get to try everything worth trying in my short trip. Spoiler alert: I did not even make a dent in my “must try” bagel list during my trip. I love bagels. As in, why did anyone ever bother inventing sliced bread? I think I’m just going to say “the best thing since bagels” from now on.

Anyway, it’s Day 18, and everything’s OK. Didn’t get to hit the gym today, so looking forward to doing that tomorrow. Haven’t had a true binge since I started the blog, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. And it put me in such a wonderful mood to get here to this job this afternoon (after leaving my other job) and feel so welcomed and loved. I really enjoy working the front desk here. So many opportunities to be kind to people, and to really help improve lives in tiny ways. It’s days like this that I remember that I got into hospitality so that I could learn, learn, learn and run my own little albergue one day.

Today’s Weight: 190.6 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: Standing here at the front desk has to have gotten me somewhere, right? My feet are killing me!

Day 17: Graydreaming

You might not know this about me, but I’m terribly prone to flights of fancy. I spend a great deal of my time in fantasy, either retelling stories of my past, imagining possible stories of my future, or just plain writing fiction that has nothing to do with anyone I know. It’s an escape mechanism, and though fun, is not especially helpful in allowing me to cope with my day-to-day, when I encounter it. The key to mindfulness is endeavoring to be completely present in the moment at hand, and I have spent a lifetime endeavoring to not be present at all if possible. It’s a sharp contrast, and a bitter one at times.

The anxiety that I was suffering all weekend dissipated on Sunday afternoon, and I was briefly fine, mentally. But by last night, I felt myself sliding back into depression. I have hovered on the verge of tears since then. I cried myself to sleep last night, after telling myself a story about why I was so sad (a story that might or might not be true – how can I even tell anymore what’s reality and fantasy in my world?) Now I’m eating wasabi peas for dinner, and wishing that I could write the story I feel inside me, fluttering to get out. But I am not in the writing space. Not the fiction writing space, anyway. Assuming that this, by contrast, happens to be nonfiction.

If nothing is real, how can anything I write be truth?

Guess we just have to go on blind faith that certain things are more real than others. And in the meantime, while we wait around to become just another story that someone tells their children (or in my case, barely a blip on the memory map, as I intend to create no progeny), we find things to cling to. For me, it’s beating this binge eating thing, and going hiking a few more times. Today my hip hurts, and it terrifies me for no reason. It’s just a strain. It will be better if I stay off of it.

But I am reminded that I don’t have anyone to hike with. I have no one to fight for. I am always the one to fight, to persist, to march on, but no one follows my banner. No one fights with me in mind. I am lonely today. I’m too focused on the present, and the present is gray and fuzzy.

Today’s Weight: 191.8 Lbs.

Day 16: Paleo Curry Dill Chicken Salad

I had grand plans for today’s blog, but the evening moved on too quickly, and now I’m tuckered out. So instead of talking about deep, important matters, I’ll give you a recipe for a week’s worth of my go-to chicken salad recipe. No photos, since the kitchen is a complete mess. Maybe I’ll add some at a later date. (Don’t hold your breath.)

This is a very simple recipe that I improvised based on a trail meal our guide whipped up one day on my backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon last November. I replaced his precooked chicken-in-a-packet with fresh rotisserie chicken, and added some celery, since it just doesn’t feel like chicken salad without crunchy celery in each bite. The best thing about this salad is that it takes maybe 5 minutes to throw together, and one batch can feed a person at least five or six hearty meals. I serve it on a baked sweet potato, but it’s great with avocado or served on fresh greens.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken (Pick this up pre-made at the grocery store. My local Rouse’s sells them for $5.99, which is far less than it costs to buy and cook my own from any store in walking distance.)*
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries*
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 – 1.5 cups mayonnaise (This depends entirely on how much chicken ended up coming off of the bone, as well as your preferred consistency. I like to stretch the ingredients a bit, so I err on the side of more, rather than less.)*
  • 1 tbsp creole mustard
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground dill
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

The most time-consuming thing about this whole process is the first step: strip all of the chicken meat off of the bones. I tend to refrigerate the chicken overnight, and do this part when it’s already cold. I also like to save the skin and add it to the mix, as well, but I find that people either love chicken skin or hate it. Do as you please. The most important thing is to be very careful to strip out any and all bones, so you don’t kill anyone (like yourself) with your delicious chicken salad.

After you’ve separated out all of the meat, chop it up and put it in a big bowl (Make sure to choose a container that’s large enough to mix this whole mess up in just a bit – you don’t want mayo and chicken all over your kitchen because you were too lazy to wash the correctly sized bowl. Who do you think you are, me?)

Chop up the celery, cranberries, and walnuts. I like to rough chop the celery, and chop the cranberries and walnuts to be a bit more fine. You might like to keep similar consistencies throughout the dish – experiment and do what suits you best. Baby, you’re a star!

Throw the resulting bits into the bowl with the chicken. Add the mayo, mustard, dill, curry, cayenne (if you’re going spicy), and salt & pepper.

Mix it! Taste it! Make your own damn decisions! You need more mayo? Add that shit! Want more kick? Dash in some more cayenne! Suddenly remember you hate dill? That sounds like a personal problem to me. 🙂

Enjoy!

*Note: If you’re paleo or sticking to the Whole30 diet, please make sure to research the items you’re buying and make sure there’s no added sugar or questionable preservatives in the chicken or cranberries. Additionally, you can find Whole30 compliant mayo commercially, but it’s difficult. If you’re being strict, here’s an easy Whole30 mayo recipe that tastes fabulous.

Today’s Weight: 193.6 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 17k steps, including running a mile straight (woot!), 15 minutes on the elliptical, and the Paleo Run workout on 8Fit.

Today’s Interactions: Called my cousin Amy, chatted with Theo at the gym, shared a video of my cat playing fetch with a coworker, and got invited to a concert with another coworker.

Day 15

Anxiety is gripping every word, plucking them back before I can force them out. It was a hard day. I don’t have…whatever it is, the word that I’m looking for. I don’t have it. Not going to force a post when I could barely force myself out of bed.

I did walk to the gym and sit in the sauna with my friend Theo, then went grocery shopping and bought all healthy stuff. I ate a sensible breakfast of scrambled eggs/spinach/mushrooms/salsa, but after a similarly sensible dinner of salad and roasted turkey, I got carried away and ate an entire pineapple (the mysterious pineapple that I found the other night).

I have to go to the doctor tomorrow. The appointment is for 7:20 in the morning, which means I need to take an Uber to get there. I wanted to take the bus, but I don’t have any change, and you can’t buy a transit card with a credit card on the bus, and I forgot to go to Walgreen’s to buy one, so now I can either walk or Uber, and walking would take an hour and a half, but Ubering is going to cost me money I don’t have, so either one is the wrong choice. I should cancel the appointment and reschedule, but then how am I going to get my anxiety meds refilled? But who’s to say that this doctor would refill them, and wouldn’t just make me make another appointment with a different doctor? At which point I’m back to worrying about how expensive it is to get to the doctor’s office, and if I’ll even have that kind of money on hand…omfg, this can’t continue. I can’t live like this, my mind just cycling. But I don’t have any money to tip my Uber driver, either, so I’m going to spend $10 each way to get an Uber to the doctor, but then I won’t be able to tip the driver, and that’s something only a total asshole would do. I guess I could call a cab, instead, so I could tip from my card, but then it’s going to be like twice as expensive.

I’m going to bed. Let’s let 6am Anna worry about this. No use in making 9:30pm Anna any more agitated. Maybe I’ll set the alarm for 5am, and decide then if I’d rather walk it. Even if I only walk half of the way, it will still be a lot cheaper to Uber. I need a car. But then I’d just stress out about car payments and gas and upkeep, so what’s the point.