I Love You, I’m Proud of You… Now Shut Up

I am fat. I have been, to varying degrees, for a significant period of my adult life. I have always struggled with my weight, so it’s never far from my mind.

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In turn, I struggle with my self-image quite a bit as well. I place way too much emphasis on the correlation between size and happiness. That’s not to say I don’t need to lose weight to be happier – at this point, I certainly do. I’ve had multiple ankle surgeries and had limited mobility for the last couple years, so being more active and losing some of the weight I’ve gained is important to me, for my own personal happiness.

I’ll never be a size 6, and that’s fine. I don’t need to be. But I do need to be healthier and more active to start really feeling like me again, regardless of the number on the scale. In the meantime though, I need to really work on loving myself in spite of the fact that I’m not where I want to be right now.

One of the people who has been most instrumental in helping me do this is Gil. He is the most supportive partner I could ever ask for. He loves me no matter what, and he tells me how beautiful I am every single day, and how attracted he is to me. He tells me and shows me in a million ways how much he appreciates everything about me, including my body.

He is also very much supportive of me wanting to make changes, which is another point in the “wonderful boyfriend” column. He himself has made a ton of positive changes in the last year and a half. He cut out regular soda, fast food, most sugar, and he got a job as a coach working with kids, so he is literally active all day long. And recently he has even taken up running and is getting even more serious about getting in shape. He’s lost over 40 pounds and counting. It’s incredible.

And I hate it. I mean, I love him and I’m proud of him, and it’s amazing. But I HATE IT.

I say that with as much love in my heart as possible. But we are both people who have struggled with our weight over the years, and for him to be making such drastic progress when I’m not is extremely challenging. Don’t get me wrong, I AM proud of him. But when he comes into the living room and complains that there is no way he’ll be able to eat all of his allotted calories on MyFitnessPal for the day, or how he lost another 3 pounds, I want to stab him in the eye with a fork. And then use that fork to finish a giant bowl of pasta.

My mom works for Weight Watchers and she sees this all the time. Couples come in together, and almost immediately the man starts losing weight faster than the woman (because biology SUCKS), and she inevitably gets frustrated. It’s one of the biggest challenges my mom sees her members having, when their spouse is losing and they aren’t.

When Gil and I started dating, we went the way of many couples. Lots of dinners out, weekend trips, and nights ordering in, not watching what we were eating at all. If he had a third piece of pizza, so did I. If he was going to sit and each chips and salsa, so was I.  And surprise, surprise, I gained at least 20 or 30 pounds in the first year of our relationship. Him? Probably none.

I’m not blaming him by any means. I did it to myself – it’s easy to give yourself so much leeway in the beginning of a relationship, and most of the women I know have fallen into this trap at one time or another. And if you struggle with weight and your relationship with food the way I do, it can become this weird free pass to do all the things you know are going to take you to the dark side. The side where nothing in your closet fits even though you JUST caved in and bought things a size up to get you through last season.

My mom always tells me how she would be struggling to diet and lose weight when she was dating my dad, and he would just announce one day that he planned to lose 10 pounds that week. AND HE WOULD. How he lived to father 2 children, I’m not sure.

When Gil needed to make some changes to his diet for medical reasons, I was all over it and helped get us stocked up on my healthy go-to’s. Gil wasn’t even trying to lose weight that first year – it just happened. I have never, in my entire life, known a woman who just “accidentally” lost weight.

And now that he’s actually actively working on getting in shape and really trying to watch his diet more, I can only imagine how successful he will be. And even if it makes me a horrible person for saying it, that’s really hard for me.

I have gone through so many attempts to “get started” on my fitness goals over the years, whether it was with MyFitnessPal or Weight Watchers, or whatever, but it is a daily struggle for me and it’s very slow going. There are a million reasons why, but none of that really matters. All that matters is that I am struggling to make the changes I so desperately want to make, and the opposite is true for my partner.

And I am completely terrified of being the fat girlfriend with a fit boyfriend.

It was different when we were both big – it was just part of our charm as a couple. Big people, big personalities. But now I feel this pressure that if I don’t lose a bunch of weight with him, that I’m failing in some way. That people will judge. That he might decide he wants someone who can keep up with him.

It’s a terrible feeling, but one I’m going to have to come to terms with. Because I want him to share his successes with me. When he is excited about losing another 5 pounds, I want him to feel like he can celebrate that with me. I don’t want to be threatened by his progress. But today, I still am. There is still a little part of me that can’t stand hearing how well he is doing, when I am still struggling to get on track. But that’s OK – I am giving myself permission to feel that way.

Because I’ll get there. Whether or not I actually lose as much weight as he does is not the point. I’ll get to a point where I can fully accept myself. Maybe that involves losing a bunch of weight, and maybe it doesn’t. All I know is that I want us to be able to fully support each other no matter what. And even if I get struck with the occasional urge to hurl heavy objects at his head when he announces that none of his pants fit anymore, or that he COULDN’T POSSIBLY have one more bite as I’m cleaning my plate… well, I’m only human.

I’m A Ball Woman

I met up with 2 of my favorite people last week for a girls’ night. Six years ago, this would have involved low cut tops, tight pants, boozy nights out, and battle cries of “Let’s get slutty!!” reverberating off the walls. Now, it means we get together and order take-out, look at pictures of Melanie’s new baby, and Natasha turns into Martha Stewart and bakes decadent desserts. Like Bob Dylan said, the times they are a-changin’.

One thing that never changes though – the conversation always turns to sex. It seems inevitable when the 3 of us get together that we wind up in detailed conversation about the craziest shit. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank god Melanie isn’t one of those people who can only talk about her baby, and our conversations haven’t been toned down in any way. (Neither has she for that matter, and for that we are all grateful.)

But I digress – we were talking about sex.

Screw the stereotype that men talk about sex more than women or the antiquated idea of “locker room talk” – most of the women I know love to talk about their sex lives more than any of the men I know. And I have news for you, guys – we share detailed information with each other. Detailed. Information. We’re in the trust tree, and if you can’t talk to your best girlfriends about nipple clamps or sex-induced UTI’s  or what went wrong the last time you attempted anal, who CAN you talk to?

So I was asking about Melanie’s sex life after the baby and the conversation turned to our partners’ specific preferences. Melanie has never been lacking in the boob department, but now that she’s breastfeeding her cups runneth over. Like, a lot. They’re huge. And she was saying how her husband has always been “a boob man” and now that she puts Pamela Anderson to shame, he’s enjoying them even more. That’s his “thing” – the visual of her tits just does it for him.

This of course led into me sharing that it’s the reverse in my house. Gil appreciates my G cups, sure. They never want for attention. But he is “an ass man” through and through. He can’t get enough of my butt. And can I just say, there is plenty of it to go around. But for him, that’s the visual. That’s the thing that really revs his engine. I would even tell you that if I could get a silicone replica of my butt made for him to snuggle with (or whatever) when I’m gone, he would be all over it, pun definitely intended.

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It got me thinking though, it’s so common for us women to categorize our male partners as either “ass men” or “boob men” because so many of them really have a distinct hot button, but there is no equivalent the other way around.

It’s not like Gil is sitting around with his friends saying, “Yeah man, Courtney appreciates my dick but she really can’t get enough of my balls. She’s totally a ball woman.”

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I AM a ball woman. But I’m also an ass woman, a lip woman, a tongue woman, a strong hands woman and a deep brown eyes woman. There is not one aspect of him that turns me on above everything else. It’s all a package deal.

When Natasha or Melanie are talking about their hottest sexual encounters, they’re not telling me things like, “Oh, I was in heaven with his balls just bouncing above my face. I almost came just looking at them.” I mean, good on ya if that’s what does it for you; whatever gets you to the big O is a win and not something I would judge – trust tree, remember? And the sight of our men does certainly turn us on. But I don’t think it’s the same for us in a visual sense when it comes to one specific body part, which is really interesting to me.

I know it’s different for every person and every couple, but it’s the term, “He’s a _____ man” that has become such common vernacular in our society. When Melanie tells me her husband is a boob man, I don’t bat an eye and I immediately understand what she’s talking about. If her husband turned to one of his friends and commented that she was totally a scrotum woman, I think he’d definitely get some very confused looks and a thorough grilling.

Some would definitely argue that it’s a sign of how much women are objectified and looked at as “things”, while the same is not really true of men. And I suppose I would agree with that to a certain extent. But for me, at the end of the day it is so nice to have a partner who is so vocally and physically expressive of his appreciation for my body, I don’t mind it one bit. I guess I don’t find that kind of objectification to be a problem if it’s coming from the person I love. Quite the opposite actually – I revel in it.

I’m fortunate enough to have a partner who is constantly telling me how beautiful I am, and how much he loves my body. One who walks into the kitchen just to grab my ass, or try to slide down my yoga pants if he can get away with it (he totally can). As someone who has really struggled with my weight over the last few years and who is still at odds with my own body and self-acceptance, I could not ask for anything more.

So maybe I should be objectifying HIM a little more, and start commenting more on how good his butt looks in his pants, or reaching over and giving his balls a little squeeze when no one’s watching and reminding him how much they drive me wild. If it’s as much of a confidence boost for him as it is for me, then shame on me for not doing more of it sooner.

I feel an experiment coming on…

I’m Not Here To Make Friends

I spent my 2 hour commute home yesterday obsessing over an email I had sent to a co-worker right before I left the office. It had been a hectic day, and I was a little stressed and noticed something had been sent to a customer that shouldn’t have been, so I shot out an email asking about it and then packed my shit and hit the road. And then commenced a rather unhealthy obsession over whether or not I had come across as a total bitch.

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Which, in reflection 24 hours later, is completely ridiculous because A) I had done nothing wrong in the situation in question with the customer and B) The email itself wasn’t rude. Concise? Sure. To the point? Yes. A little cold? Maybe. But since when is that grounds to lose one’s shit for an entire evening??

Part of me wants to say it’s the struggle of being an assertive, vocal woman in sales who is constantly trying to find the balance between having a voice and wanting to be liked, but that would an unfair, completely oversimplified generalization. Plus in this case, I don’t think it had anything to do with being a woman, but more to do with the fact that I’ve been struggling with anxiety pretty heavily recently, and this was just something I happened to fixate on.

And in case you’re all wondering, the issue was resolved this morning – there was no fall-out. The entire office didn’t start whispering about me, and I wasn’t forced to bear a scarlet “B” to repent for my crimes.

But, it did get me thinking. Well, more accurately it got me talking, and I forced Gil to entertain the fact that people might think I’m a complete monster at work and hate me with the fire of a thousand burning suns. OK, he didn’t really entertain that idea, but he did challenge me to consider what kind of vibe I might be putting out there, and to make changes if that’s something that is important to me.

On a side note, can I just say, it’s INFURIATING sometimes to have a partner who is so calm and rational and logical and exists so solidly in reality. I live on emotions and rainbows and panic attacks and FEELINGS. So. Many. Feelings.

Regardless, his rational response to my wildly irrational meltdown got me thinking about how people perceive me at work, and whether it’s something that really matters to me.

On some level, of course it matters. It matters to all of us who have chosen to enter the professional workforce. We enter into an unspoken agreement to be generally palatable to the rest of the people we interact with and to shower on a fairly regular basis. Beyond that, there is really no obligation to be liked or make friends with those you work with, although countless studies will tell you that a big part of job satisfaction has to do with having friendships at work.

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And I work at a tech company in the Silicon Valley – a place where culture reigns supreme. There’s been countless resources and energy directed towards creating a workplace where people are encouraged to be very social, from lawn game Olympics to regular happy hours and karaoke nights, to company trips.

I think that’s fantastic, and I feel incredibly lucky to work for a company like that. I have realized however, that I’m a bit of an odd man out, as my general feeling when I go to work is that I’m there to make money, not friends.

Some of it has to do with the fact that I work in sales, and I make a good chunk of my salary on commission – which is to say, if I don’t close deals, I don’t get paid. So for me, work has always been more of a hustle, and less focused on the social aspect of it. Sales is not exactly a team sport.

And sales can be brutal, man. I’ve worked in other organizations where they purposely pitted sales people against each other, and we were encouraged to screw each other over. I’ve had managers spread lies to my coworkers about things I never said. Somewhere along the way in my sales career, I was taught that relationships at work were a liability. So I tend to be a bit more reserved and cautious about forming those friendships now.

But it’s also about the fact that I’m in a different place in my life than most of my coworkers (I feel so old just typing that). I’m in my early thirties now, and many of my coworkers are just a year or two out of college. My current company has created this kind of fabulous extension of the same kind of social interactions from college that allow people to blur the lines of their social and professional lives until they don’t really exist anymore. They WANT to go to the bars with the people they spend so much time with,  to cut loose and talk about things they can’t share in the confines of the office. They WANT to catch up on Monday mornings about all the crazy shenanigans they got into over the weekend. Hell, they want to live with each other and commute to work together. I get it. I think when I was in my early twenties I would have wanted all that too.

But here’s the thing. I don’t want that now. I want to come home and take my pants off. I want to come home after work and hang out with my boyfriend. I want to have dinner with my friends and meet their their new baby. I want to come home and ice my ankle because I am an old busted down lady now who has permanent arthritis due to an injury.

Is there anything wrong with this? Nope, not at all. Is it actually pretty common in most professional situations? Probably. Am I acutely aware of how I am perceived, in such a culture-focused Silicon Valley tech company? You betcha. I struggle with it.

And I don’t think I’m alone. Especially here in the Valley, your assimilation into the culture is a huge part of your success at work and something you are formally evaluated on in many cases.

And last night, Gil very logically, objectively, and INFURIATINGLY, forced me to look at things a little closer and strive to find a better balance. The last thing I want is to be like the cliche girl on “The Biggest Bachelorette Survivor Housewives of Whatever” defiantly shouting at the camera, “I didn’t come here to make friends, bitches!!”

Images via GiphyGiphy

I’m In A Relationship With A Ninja… It’s Serious

When I tell you I’m in a serious relationship with a Ninja, I hope you’re picturing exactly what I’m picturing… a stealthy, pajama clad warrior wearing all black doing flips around my condo. I actually don’t think Gil would stand for that. And I’m pretty sure shotgun > nunchucks. No, this Ninja came in a box from Amazon, which is where I do basically all my shopping now (I love you Amazon Prime).

I recently bought a Nutri Ninja Pro, specifically so that I could make smoothies in smoothie blender travel cups that I could take in the car on the way to work. All because I read an article somewhere about all these very professional women who were more successful than me, talking about their morning routines. Hey, if I can’t have their careers, I can at least have their goddamn breakfast and their secrets to 5 minute makeup!

I’m sure there was some sage career advice sprinkled in there, but the article was mainly focused on the awesome ways they started their awesome days. I skipped through any of them that advocated starting your day before 6 AM, because they must be monsters. Pass.

So the main takeaway I was left with was one of them commenting that she starts her day with a green smoothie. That way, if she gets too busy for lunch and doesn’t get enough vegetables in that day, she knows she at least started the day with some greens and that’s an accomplishment no matter how the rest of her day goes.

Well first of all, I’m pretty sure I can always find time for lunch. If you’re one of those people who says they just “forgot” to eat, I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends. Second of all, if I don’t get all my veggies in for the day, it’s not because I was too busy… unless you count ordering pizza and having a Netflix marathon as being too busy. In which case, yes I actually was too busy.

Either way, it stuck with me. So I did the only logical thing I could do, which was go on Amazon, read a total of 2 reviews and promptly buy myself a new toy. BEST TOY EVER. Actually, that’s a lie – I’ve bought better electric toys on Amazon… but we can talk about that later.

This one ranks up there though, and it’s almost as good a mood booster as the other one.

And it really is true… I start my day feeling like I made a healthy choice, and not to sound gross and preachy, but it DOES wind up motivating me to make more healthy choices throughout the day. Plus I feel better about the chocolate I inhale about 2 hours after lunch (I said MORE healthy choices, not ALL healthy choices).

Incidentally, it is also very convenient for making milkshakes, as I discovered when Gil was recovering from some nasty dental work recently.

Gil isn’t as jealous as if it were a real Ninja man I was obsessed with, but I can tell he’s tired of hearing about it. He told me the other day I should give up the tech sales racket and start selling Ninjas. When I paused to think about it he just sighed and walked away.

Behold, my new Ninja boyfriend:

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I have high hopes that my new Ninja boyfriend and I will work out. I’ve had similar relationships in the past, but I don’t think I was ready to commit.

That time with the juicer was just a fling… I saw a friend with hers and just got jealous, so went out and picked up the first one I could find. I didn’t think it through. And now it sits alone in my kitchen, taking up valuable counter space because it’s too big for the cabinet and part of me believes if I keep staring at it every day, I’ll finally feel guilty enough to rekindle what we started.

The truth is it will probably wind up at my parents’ house like the very expensive treadmill I bought 6 years ago when I was living at home. The best workout I ever got from that thing was helping my dad lug it up the stairs and holding all the parts in place to put it together. It’s in that room forever now. When they move, they’re going to have to sell it with the house.

But that was 6 years ago. I’m older now, and wiser. I make better decisions.

Actually, that’s probably only true when it comes to actual men. I’m still an impulse buyer everywhere else. I still jump in too fast sometimes and have a hard time making it last. I’m on Realtor.com right now looking for houses with more storage. Thank god they don’t sell homes on Amazon or we might really have a problem.

Truly Madly Deeply

I don’t know for certain, but I have a feeling that not everyone gets to experience earth-shattering love in their lifetime. I know there was a time in my life (not too long ago, in the grand scheme of things) that I thought I was going to be one of those people. And while it was kind of a bummer thought, I didn’t really know what I was missing so I wasn’t all that concerned with it.

I was having semi-regular orgasms and was pretty pleased with where my life was headed. And then one day some drunk groomsman at a wedding started aggressively making out with me on the dance floor, and everything changed.

I mean, I’m not trying to brag (she types as she’s clearly getting ready to brag) but I am the LUCKIEST girl in the world. I met someone I fell madly in love with, and who I keep falling madly in love with every day. Like truly, madly, deeply. (sigh…. remember Savage Garden??)

Anyway, it’s what prompts me to write emails like this for no reason:

I hope you know how much I love you. It’s probably not even healthy. I love you so much your farts don’t even really bother me that much even though I pretend like they do.

I love you so much that I don’t even care if my career falls apart, because you know what? I’d still have you, and you’re so supportive and encouraging that I’d figure a new career out. 

I love you so much that even if you lost your dick in a tragic logging accident, I would still want to be with you. Because you have a wildly talented tongue and fingers like a god. And you’d still have a smile that melts my heart. And I’d still have a vibrator, so we’d be ok.

I love you so much that if I had to choose between ever having a Diet Coke EVER AGAIN IN THE HISTORY OF MY LIFE and you, I would always totally choose you.

I love you so much that sometimes I just sit around and think about how much I love you. How I actually feel like a more complete person since I met you. More daring, more beautiful, more alive.

I love you so much because my life and my future got so much richer once you showed up.

I really hope that everyone gets to experience that kind of ridiculous, overwhelming, shout from the rooftops, life-changing kind of love at least once in their lifetime, but I don’t think everyone does.

So on days when he leaves out the tortilla chips AGAIN and I bite into a stale one, or when he’s blasting his YouTube videos while I’m  trying to work, or when I’m in a particularly irritable, bitchy mood for no reason at all (shocking, I know) I always remember that. Not everyone gets that kind of love. And I stumbled into it somehow, on a dance floor. In a bar. After a wedding. Go figure.

So I guess that means the suffocating farts and his affinity for hyper-gory, terrible movies (think “Hobo With A Shotgun”…  yes it’s real, and yes, I’ve seen it) are just a small price to pay. I’ll take that deal every day of the week.