seven black dresses (redux)

Photobooth (and Stella), how I love thee.

No matter how much I love my donut pans, and I do, very much, it feels so freaking great to be writing about something else tonight. Last week was a little too crazy, posting five donut pan ideas in a row, although I love them so! Unfortunately I am suddenly feeling mega-achy and hot, and it's almost midnight, and I have a show Tuesday night which I need to get to preparing for. But I really want to share this.

When I wrote this about going to our dear friends' wedding and the same old feelings I had about myself that I always have, I got a lot of great input, even some tough love. Reading the comments, it really sunk in that it was time to do the work while at the same time learning to love (or at least work with) what I've got. It was good to hear from other people who might have their heads screwed on a little better than mine, and also good to know some people shared my feelings (although I wish they weren't feeling them). My go-to-general-walkin'-around-feeling is that I got the short end of the stick, but since I read all those comments I've learned to let go of some of those feelings, or at least stuff them way down, for now!

About a month later I was chosen to speak at Alt Design Summit this coming January. I could not be more thrilled about it. I would like to not have to buy new fun and fabulous clothes for the conference and all the terrific sounding parties when my closet is full of really fun and fabulous clothes. And let's be honest, I am not totally into the acceptance thing yet. That's kind of crazy to some people with me being a burlesque dancer. If I could walk around all day like I do on stage I'd LOVE IT. But there is no overexposed, washed-out-nose, Cybil-Shepard-Vaseline-glow photography at Alt, so I decided it was time for a little help.

The first thing I did, and this is a big ol' confession right here, is I signed up for a program I had seen called "30 Day Social Media Rehab", which is the creation of the effervescent and wise Tiffany Han. I happened to stumble upon it right at the same time I found myself up late at night working on an order of my piƱata eggs and refreshing Facebook and Twitter (which I despise!) every 30 seconds. Seriously, I was treating them like television, hoping they would entertain me. I was driving myself insane. And productivity was way down.

I didn't stick with the program, in that I didn't do the exercises or call in to the group phone calls. BUT, I have to tell you the minute I sent in my sixty bucks for the program I felt like I had PERMISSION to stop being on Facebook. This is ridiculous stuff, I know, but we all have our shit. I was SO FREE! The only thing I grappled with was guilt, that relatives and friends who usually communicate with me there would feel like I was ignoring them and I felt selfish still posting my burlesque and blog updates there without "liking" their photos and links.

I still feel kind of bad about that, and concerned that I'm missing great art openings and performances and other events that I only know about from social media. I'm not sure how to handle that one yet.

I read the emails Tiffany sends every day and gleaned two MAJOR things from them (of the hundreds of bits of great advice she sends along).

  • Life "without the clutter of other people's lives" is wonderful! I care about all of my friends very much, but not knowing what everyone is up to on a Sunday morning is really, really amazing. What a concept. Not to mention what you can get done when it's just you and your thoughts.
  • To prepare to do something big, break down the steps to get there, and then break them down even more. For hyper-productive me, the one big something that is so daunting is to be physically fit. Breaking that down into literally planning the time, getting the running shoes out, even wearing a jogging bra all day so when you are ready to go, YOU'RE READY TO GO! There is more to it than this, but you get the gist. 

We are making reentry into social media in just a few days. I'll be really interested to see what that means and if I will fall back into old habits. I surely hope not. It has been AWESOME. Truly. I might have to go back to the old fashioned phone call after this.

If you're still with me, here's the other thing I did. A few days after I started the rehab program, I paid to talk to a nutritionist. That's nuts! I'm a "healthy eater". But I have a sugar addiction like no one's business, and I have been known to binge every now and then. Not good for me, not good for the kids to be a part of.

Her name is Jennifer Keith, and she is gentle and understanding, and actually taught me things I had never thought of. Above all, her approach is one of baby steps. To not make all the changes at once, but to one at a time replace bad habits with good ones. Jennifer is all about bulking things up and packing them full of nutrition. Replacing bad things with good, without feeling deprived. 

I now have a visual that I need to eat a HALF-GALLON'S WORTH of tamped-down vegetables every day. That every plate of food must be half vegetable (including avocado, thank goodness). I have been eating a sick amount of kale and brussels spouts, that's for sure. I can't tell you what my usual breakfast habit had been up until a two weeks ago because you would be shocked, but now it is coffee and bran cereal with almond milk. That first week I was in colonic territory almost!

She suggested other things like getting sneakers I might actually like to wear and walk further in instead of tromping around in my heels every day like I do. How about putting ONE piece of falafel in a pita instead of three, and just stuffing that thing full of salad and HEY that tastes really good! She took me shopping without charging me and showed me lots of tricks to amplify flavor in vegetables. Around here we usually taste the vegetable. Sometimes that gets old. She had all sorts of tricks for adding the vegetables to some pre-made dishes to spread some different flavor all over.

I've always seen myself as a healthy cook, but after that day I realized that I could try a lot harder. It's one thing to eat vegetables every day, it's another to consciously eat the weight of a small cat in vegetables every day.

It has been an incredible coincidence to me that both women were really posing the same question, "What do I really want right now". Why am I eating that and what can I eat instead? Why am I scrolling through Twitter? Am I bored? What can I do instead? I like to think of life without social media as old fashioned life, and I absolutely love it. Do I still want people to read my blog? Hell yes! I suppose there's some hypocrisy there, but I'll temper that with I don't want everyone to read my blog (as if!).

The scale hasn't changed (only weigh yourself once a week, another tip). I feel so much healthier in the body and mind, so much so that I could see myself being happy with at least feeling better and getting complacent. That's something I'll contend with next. Because we went to a fabulous party Saturday night and the only thing I could fit into was, say it with me now, a black dress.

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