Here’s a thing, internet.
I’m becoming a person who runs. On purpose, even. I have no idea how this happened. One minute, I was trying to run a mile in the least athletic way possible, the next minute, I have a gym membership (!!!) and I use it to run many multiple miles several times a week. I’m even starting to crave running. I look forward to my next run. I even went running with my boyfriend like one of those couples who does cute couple-y things together that everyone else secretly hates.
Also, I’m really obsessed with my nail color right now. I realized that doesn’t have to do with anything, but it keeps catching my eye as I type this and I can’t not mention it, you guys.
Anyways, I run now kinda. So I feel like I have enough experience to tell you how to do it, right?
SEVEN THINGS I LEARNED WHILE RUNNING:
1. Running is really boring. It never stops being boring. A runner’s high is just zoning out of the fact that you are really, really bored.
2. There is no amount of deodorant or dry shampoo that will make you feel clean and dry after running on your lunch break and going back to work. You just gotta embrace the gross. And sit farther away from your coworkers.
3. Running outside means stepping in goose poop and getting yelled it by creepy strangers. Running inside means creepy strangers pretend they haven’t been staring at your ass, which is at least marginally better.
4. Speaking of poop, don’t eat a salad or drink coffee directly before a run. Your gastrointestinal tract will… protest. Eating like crap either makes your run feel like crap or will make you have to crap.
5. The treadmills at Planet Fitness are too far away from the TVs to read the subtitles. Don’t kid yourself.
6. Running in underwear that doesn’t have a strong elastic band is a poor choice. Those suckers will fall down.
7. Running is secretly kind of awesome.
I have never once claimed to have gotten my job using any sort of skill, talent, or ingenious tactic. Or particularly trying at all, really. In fact, I bungled my job interview so badly that it’s incredible I got any sort of job at the company I’m in, and to this day I feel like I owe some sort of apology to the peers of mine that did the hard time and logged the hours calling, filling out useless papers, and interviewing at hundreds of companies to land the positions they have.
However, although the job that I got landed in my lap almost by accident, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m earning the right to have it.
Let me briefly explain:
I got degrees in Art and English (with a completely useless and frankly GPA-killing French minor, just for fun-zies). After aimlessly wandering around for a year applying and being rejected from multiple graduate programs, I applied for a Marketing position a yoga clint of mine suggested I try out for.
I then told my interviewer I’d rather go to grad school than take the job.
(STUPID. STUPID DUMB PAST ME.)
Miraculously (likely charmed by my naïve nature and Golden Retriever like optimism), they hired me for a part-time position working the front desk. After a while the overworked social team gave me an endless barrage of kinda-sorta-cheating marketing-ish work to do until the position I’d applied for opened back up and they promoted me into the marketing gig. Almost exactly 9 months after I blundered my way through the original interview, incidentally.
Yes, I was incredibly lucky – because frankly, if they’d had better interviewees, there’s no way in heck I’ve have landed any job. I’d probably still be stuck in Job Hell with the rest of my Millennial buddies (hang in there, Millennial Buddies).
To be completely honest, when I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I felt like I hadn’t earned it, and that I wasn’t qualified, and that I wasn’t capable enough.
Yet in spite of my skepticism towards my own capability, I’ve noticed that my friends are become nurses and technicians and teachers with the same sense of doubt in themselves. All of them, no matter how proud they are of their jobs or how “important” their positions are, are becoming specialists in subjects I will never fully engage with, and they are doing it well, and they can’t see for themselves that they’re doing well.
I can’t catalogue a library full of books or prepare a meal for a hundred people in one night. I can’t even cook a meal for myself half the time, so I’m enamored and jealous of those of my friends who can. However, they see the next person on the ladder ahead of them, who is competing at a whole different level. They can’t step outside of themselves enough to see how well they’re actually doing.
It took me a painfully long time to realize the same rules apply to me as well. I’m becoming a specialist. Maybe I’m not a professional magician or a police officer, but I’m becoming adept at writing press releases and putting together itineraries and explaining what a URL bar is to old people over the phone (hint – it’s NOT the Google search bar). Maybe I can’t put together a Google AdWords Campaign with my eyes closed like my supervisor can, but I know what it means and what the components are, and within the year I’ll likely be putting them together myself, moaning about the fact that I can’t yet competently do the next biggest thing on the list
What does it mean to be worthy of a job? Does it mean having all the requirements on the checklist and working overtime and never screwing up? It might. But I’m realizing it’s just as important to be willing to learn, to know your strengths, and to always want to improve. To become a specialist in a field that matters to you, or at the very least, matters to somebody, even if you’re not aware that you’re gaining skills inch by painful inch. To push past that crippling sense of doubt and fear that says you’re not doing good enough.
Did I work hard to get this job? Maybe not, but I’m working hard to keep it, and most importantly, to deserve it. And hey, I think I’m maybe even doing a decent job.
You may be wondering how I’m doing with that whole “lose ten pounds” challenge.
Welllll…… Not great.
I’ve always thought of myself as a physically fit person. Not a skinny person. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly skinny. Thin maybe once for a week or two, but definitely fit. I’m fairly active, if by active I mean I get an average of an hour or two of exercise a week. When I was in high school, I used to get an average of an hour or two of exercise a day and I was never skinny, so maybe skinny isn’t a realistic goal for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my body most of the time. I love that I’m curvy and that I don’t have sharp hip bones and that I have a large perky ass that you can (scientifically proven!) rest a beer can on, but yeah, I could stand to lose 10 (okay, 15) pounds.
However, I’ve been dotting the i’s and crossing all the t’s and that goddamn scale will not budge.
Have I upped my exercise? For the past month, I’ve been taken four power yoga or barre classes a week.
Is my diet healthy? Brussel sprouts, arugula, eggs, quinoa, barely any bread, no sweets. Yes, I’ve had a few indulgences, but nothing that should break the bank.
So clearly, I need to do something different. I do yoga all the time. Maybe my body is bored, I thought. Maybe I need to do something radical.
That’s how this whole running debacle happened.
Okay, well first I went and bought a cute new pair of shoes, and then the running debacle happened.
I’ve been in previous situations where I’ve run about 3 miles and my legs wanted to murder me the next day, so I figured I’d start small. I plotted out a mile long route around my neighbourhood, figured I’d be back in ten minutes or so, and went out. One mile. No problem, right?
It took about a block for me to want to die. One block. Singular. One huffing, puffing, wheezing, cramping block. Lungs burning, nostrils snorting, pretend-I-have-a-rock-in-my-shoe-so-that-other-runner-doesn’t-judge-me dying. One I could still turn around and pretend this never happened block. And no, I wasn’t sprinting. I was jogging so slow a mailtruck could have kept pace with me mid-route.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?
I can do a power yoga class no problem, and no, not that nancy-pants stretchy yoga, but the 90 degrees, open-a-can-of-whoop-on-your-ass kind. I can carry a miniature fridge up 3 flights of stairs.
I. Am. Not. Out. Of. Shape. I’m fit, aren’t I?
Except that I can’t run a mile. I can barely jog-walk 37 steps.
I guess that means this is the new project I’ve been looking for.
I, Cassandra, Vow to run/walk/crawl everyday until I can comfortably run a mile.
Because seriously, girl, that panting thing is not cute.
Internet, lately I’ve been feeling the exact opposite of young and carefree.
In the past year or so, I’ve almost completely stopped going out to bars and hanging out. In fact, I feel so disconnected from the person I was when I used to go to bars and and hang out that I have no idea what the point of going out to bars even is anymore. I barely drink. I go to bed early so I can get up early and have eaten brussels sprouts everyday for the past week.
Not to mention the job, the 401 K, and the crushing realization that my knees will probably just hurt all the time now because my joints suck and there’s nothing I can really do about it.
Yeah, yeah, I know I’m 24 and I have nothing to complain about, but lately I just feel dull. And boring. And old.
At least until I heard this new song on the radio – Animals by Martin Garrix – and danced my ass off in my car in the parking lot outside my job, some punky techno song that has this one part that kept playing that makes me go ughhh yes play that one part song I love that one part. You know, the part that feels like the music is right in your bloodstream.
(The part starts at 1:30)
And then I calmly got out of my car and went back to work like a real person.
I guess the moral of the story is that oldness is what you make of it, and that lately I’ve been too stressed out and overworked to realize I can still go out and have fun like the idiotic, carefree young thang I still am, and that everyone has a song that will make them dance like they’re still 18.
So go out there and dance, internet. Because you aren’t old until you tell yourself you’re old.
Grief is a weird thing. First of all, it’s a weird word. Grief. Grief grief grief. It sounds like a grunt noise, like something that would accidentally come out of your mouth if you hit the ground at a funny angle or something.
Secondly, it hits you at really bizarre times.
Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of the day my best friend Miks died. Which is horrifically morbid, but also something you don’t tend to forget. I’ll spare you all the gory details, except to say that she died of leukemia, and that her illness and her death were a defining point in my life that ultimately changed me forever. Probably for the better or whatever. Yet I digress.
My friend Kimchi and I had dinner (pork chops and quinoa) and drank Miks’ favorite booze (lambic) and it was all well and good and not even particularly sad. In fact, apart from a little sad tingle at seeing all the pictures of Miks floating around on Facebook, I actually managed to have a pretty good day yesterday.
That’s not to say that I’m not still grieving though. I still dream about her all the time. Constantly. Randomly, too. Like I’ll be at a dance in alternate China trying to stop a walrus from bathing in the punch (true story) and she’ll be there passing out cookies or dancing with a giraffe or singing in the background. Then I’ll wake up and experience that awful jolt of remembering she’s dead.
For the first year or so, I kept trying to call her. That was the worst, I think. I know I texted her at least twice about a month after she died. Or I’d find a song or a Youtube video I’d want to share with her and just about post it to her Facebook.
Birthdays are the worst. For obvious reasons.
Like I said, grief is weird and random, and it hits you hard when you you least expect it. Kind of like if a complete stranger hits you in the stomach when you’re walking down the street. It’s not really something you can control. You can’t decide when you get mad or offended or sick or sad, you can only manage how you deal with those feelings.
For right now, I guess pork chops and booze is a good way to go.
Recently, a family member of mine told me I should lose 15 pounds.
We’ll get back to that in a moment.
I am a normal girl. Well, okay, I’m not normal. I’m super weird and dorky and I don’t like dolphins and I’m not a huge fan of cake and I also am fairly indifferent to Beyoncé (don’t kill me).
However, I am a normal girl in that sometimes, I get a little obsessive over my appearance.
Aspects, anyways. For instance, I am a compulsive eyebrow over-plucker (there, I said it). I struggle to go for two or three days at a stretch without plucking my eyebrows. Two weeks ago I basically went on an eyebrow plucking frenzy and I’m still recovering from it.
Other than that, however, I like to pride myself on having a decently high sense of self esteem. I love my body, most days. I’m not a stick figure, but I’m strong and I’m healthy, and my salad-to-candy ratio for someone my age is extremely well balanced (although my sugar-to-tea ratio… let’s not get into it). I don’t feel the particular need to wear makeup on a daily basis. Nice work clothes, scrubby loungewear, no makeup, nice nails, generally good hair. I take care of my skin, I color coordinate, but that’s about it.
At least, before a certain family member of mine told me I should lose 15 pounds.
Now, I should clarify that I’m aware that this person was not intending to be malicious, and had only my best interests at heart. Even still, my immediate first reaction was anger. Extreme anger. Self righteousness. Pride. No, I do not need to lose any weight, thank you.
It’s funny how fast that changed.
In fact, within a matter of hours, I called her back and said I’d be willing to lose 10 pounds.
Self esteem, it turns out, is a fragile thing. I have, at times, felt good-looking. Maybe even pretty. Once or twice on a special occasion, I’ve even felt beautiful.
All of the sudden, I just feel fat. It’s not just that I look in the mirror and I see fat where before I just saw smooth, clean, sexy curves. I feel fat. I feel my flesh pinching under the same jeans that felt fine last week. I feel obligated to pinch my stomach to try to evaluate how much flesh is there. It is an all-encompassing, all-consuming thought – that I Am Not Thin Enough.
My feelings on this are conflicted. Part of me is ready to lose ten pounds so that I can love who I see in the mirror again. Part of me is scared that I won’t.
Mostly, I wish I could go back to ignorance, or bliss, or whatever you want to call it.
What are your thoughts, internet?
1. Know your hiding spots to get away from annoying relatives when necessary.
2. Rest when you can.
3. Plaster a huge grin on your face for anyone you see. Or just be really, really happy to see them.
4. Don’t be afraid to make fresh tracks.
5. But be ready to follow the leader when you need to.
6. Examine your surroundings.
8. And run.
9. And run.
10 Make snow angels.
12. And do what you have to do to get the best treats.