Thursday, December 29, 2011

Episode 50: A Review

Wow.. has it been 50 posts so far?  Ok. I admit, I have been really lax at posting for the last week or so, mostly because of my complete lack of internet connection.  I am currently sitting and soaking up the warmth, the coffee and the ambiance of Noah's bagels... and stealing their internet.  I won't get mine back until the seventh.

I didn't weigh in this week (mostly because they were closed on Christmas day), so I don't know my current weight loss situation, but I have lost over 15 pounds so far, but that isn't far enough, and I'm pretty sure with the holiday gluttony I have probably gained some back.  I have to get back on track for a few reasons.  I may  have a fairly strong heart, but I want to give it as much of a chance as I can to live and be strong.  I want to be the girl that I see when think of myself in fantasy.  I also just want to be healthier.  So, that is what I'm going to do.

When I think of 15 pounds in the grand scheme of how much I have to lose, it doesn't seem like a whole lot, but at least it's a step in the right direction.  If I put three bags of sugar together, that's how much weight I've lost. I've lost 15 packs of butter from my body.  I've lost 32 8oz filet mignons.. and I'm only bound to lose more. When I put it like that.. it makes me feel like I can do anything!

In the week without internet, I have moved into a new apartment and started a new life.  I'm spending today finishing cleaning out the old apartment and getting everything out of it, even if it kills me.  I know I can do this. I am strong enough to do this. It requires that I clean out my car first, and throw away some of the boxes that I have in my current apartment to make room for the stuff coming in.  I'm almost done packing and I'm only going to give the old place a sort of cursory cleaning, hoping to get my deposit back.  As I have my rent paid up for next month, and a few other things, I may take a small part of that deposit and get my bass guitar kit and then put the rest on the credit card to pay back the exorbitant amount of money that I put on it in the moving expenses.

This new year will be a new start for me.  I think back on my last few years, and I think about EH and AM and everything that has come and gone from my life this year.  My family and my friends all say that the divorce was a long time coming and probably should have been done sooner.  I guess I just needed a catalyst.  I regret hurting my husband, who has taken care of me in the past, but in taking care of me, he stunted me as well.  I am 35 and I'm just learning how to balance a check book, how to pay attention and pay my bills and how to eat correctly and healthfully.  These are all things I should have been doing my entire adult life, but that I have neglected because I thought that someone else would take care of me.

Now, as I begin to grow up, I eat my vegetables (Brussel sprouts ARE palatable when roasted with garlic and olive oil!), I pay my bills, I have my own place and I am rediscovering my creativity again.  I am rededicating myself to The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and I am hoping to rediscover my creative self and finish a damned novel.  I only have 283 days left to get it finished and I hope.. publishable. I start on Sunday... a new year.. a finished novel... a new love.. a new life... all in my new apartment.

I have to become a better teacher too, but with living on my own and everything, I think I will have plenty of time to work on grading and lesson planning and being the best teacher and writer and poet and singer and artist (and bass player) that I can be.

Anyway, I have about a mile to walk back home (it's .91 miles from home to Noah's), and then unpack and clean out my car and go move everything in my old life in order to start my new.  I hate moving.  I hate looking at the old memories.  I think back to the good times, and I know that I will miss them, but I also know that I am making the right choice for myself.  I can't go on living like I did, because I just kept getting more and more miserable.  I have been posting my emocubes (or emorbs as the case may be) on Facebook. I've been tracking those for about six months now.  My little emo chart had been going steadily down, with a few up spikes every once in a while for a while.  Once I made the decision to change my life.. the line on the chart has been going steadily up, with a few little dips here and there.

I know that I can make it on my own.  I know that I am strong enough to do this, and that my life can be anything I want it to be.  Life is what you make of it.  Today, I am making it my own.

Love, hugs.. and Chiiiii


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Episode 49: What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet, so Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes."
Juliet said it best.  A name is just a marker that is chosen for us at birth, something that our parents choose for us, something that we don't really think about, because we think it is out of our control. If I change my name, I will still be the same perfect person that I am. And so, as Juliet requests of Romeo, I may doff my name.

As we grow up, we identify with our names, we become attached to them, for the most part. As a woman gets married, in subservience to her husband, she changes her name to his, allowing him to dominate her nomenclature and taking away a part of her orginal identity, melding herself with him. He does not take her name, and stays the same person, not allowing himself to be subjugated, but instead becoming dominant.  It's been this way in our society for at least a thousand years, and women have put up with it. Hell, I've put up with it.  I changed my name when I got married. I thought it would bring me closer to my husband.  Things change.

I've been thinking a lot about my name, and posted a bit to Facebook about a possible name change, which prompted this post.

Now that I am divorcing, I have a chance to go back to my original name. Actually, it's even drawn up in my divorce papers that I will return to Victoria H----, but I'm not sure about this.  My name has become sort of a sticking point for me for as long as I can remember.

I was born Victoria H---- over 35 years ago.  My parents decided to call me Vicky, which changed to Vicki when I got to kindergarten and was asked which way I would like to spell my name.  (I think I simply asked which letter comes first in the alphabet and decided that was how I would spell my name.)  I was Vicki H--- from kindergarten until my sophomore year of high school.  As Vicki H----, I was mostly subservient, quiet, kind, polite, not much of a troublemaker... for the most part.  I had my fits of teenaged rebellion, but Vicki H---- was who I remained for a very very long time.

In my sophomore year of high school, I grew very rebellious and changed quite a bit.  This new identity that I created, this rebellious teenager who wouldn't take shit from anybody was called Tory.  When I moved in with my grandmother briefly during my sophomore year, when asked what I would like to be called (Victoria was too formal), I told the teacher's Tory, and for three months, Tory went to Menlo-Atherton high school.  Tory H----- was kind of a no nonsense kind of girl. I liked her.

I returned to Stockton and my name, changing it just a little bit to Vicky H----. The addition of the Y did little to change me and I returned to the girl I was. When I became interested in computers, my computer handle was Vixen, or sometimes Vixen Vipere, after a old device that my boyfriend and I had used in our writing. It was short for Vixantrayil, a name that I played with like a toy, a character I had created for a book that we had written together. 

When I got married, I took my husband's last name as was tradition and was Vicky L---.  We got married in 1998 and I stayed Vicky L--- for at least 7 years. Everybody still called me Vicky, at least family and friends, but I was in college and Vicky just seemed too..childish.  Vicky, in my mind, was a cheerleader, a sorority sister, a little girl with pigtails and just wasn't who I was anymore.  I attempted to get people to call me Victoria, which seemed much more professional and was the name that was put on all of my degrees. But my friends and family insisted on calling me Vicky... except one person. 

With one person, I confident and powerful and I didn't take shit. He made me feel strong.  For this person, I was Tory again.  He called me Tory for a good five years, and I loved him for the confidence that he seemed to give me.  A false confidence, I am sorry to say, for when he pushed me away, all of that confidence broke. 

With a little time and healing, I knew that I could not go back to being Vicky again and Victoria didn't quite fit right. It felt a bit big for me, so I took the name Tory back and made it my own. I grew confident, I added my middle name to it and became ToryLynn online (although everybody still called me Tory).  I grew into ToryLynn and became strong. I felt confident, I felt powerful, and I felt good finally being who I really wanted to be.  I joined writing groups, I became a big part of the writing community on Second Life for a while, and I felt like a better person. I had found my power. 

Unfortunately, as I gained my power as ToryLynn, Vicky was being left far behind with my husband.  I grew apart from him as I pursued my creativity and my power.  I feel bad about doing that, especially today.  Now, I am leaving him. It's not like I suddenly stopped loving. It is that I grew up and became a different person.

So, now this new person needs a new name.  In some societies, you are given a child name, something that your parents and family call you which is a personal name just for them.  When you grow up in this society, you are given a new name by an elder, or are asked to choose your own, something that represents you.  This new stage in my life is giving me a chance to choose my name and become a new person. The strong, confident, beautiful woman that I know I can be am.

I am reluctant to return to H----- as I don't want to be the child that I was before I got married, and I don't want to keep my husband's last name, since I have outgrown that as well.  I consider changing it to McGregor and becoming Victoria McGregor, which would look good on a book jacket, and Tory McGregor, which sounds awesome, and very ethnic to me.  Back to my Scottish ancestors, honoring my blood.  Another option is Victoria French, my grandmother's last name. Both are options which I find interesting, which I think are good. 

I will try on both for the next five months, and make my decision once my divorce is final.   I will give it a lot of thought.

Until next time, I am just


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Episode 48: Adulthood

He asked me today what was my proudest moment.  I answered without hesitation that it was the day that I got my BA.  I continued, volunteering that my second proudest moment was the day that I stood in front of my own classroom for the first time.  He still tells me every day, in one way or another, that he is proud of me, but most importantly, I am becoming proud of myself.

So, you know how, when you're a kid you often have to have an adult tell you to "eat your vegetables"?  I think I need an adult in my life now.  I haven't really eaten a lot of vegetables in recent years. In fact, I pretty much hate vegetables.  I realize that I'm an adult myself, I realize that I have a lot of really great things going for me right now, but I still hate eating vegetables.  It may be that I haven't yet found a vegetable that I like particularly well.  I'm willing to try some.  I'm willing to try a few, actually. For instance, today I bought some brussel sprouts.  Brussel sprouts have been my most maligned vegetable ever. The first time I tried to eat them, they had been boiled and they nearly made me gag.  I have had many people tell me that brussel sprouts are actually pretty good, so I am willing to give them another try. Now I need to find some recipes that may make brussel sprouts palatable.  I've heard a few.. fry them in butter and garlic, roast them with garlic, roast them with onions... If you have any suggestions, let me know. The bag I got from TraderJoe's says to microwave them within the bag and I'm kinda icked out by the idea.

I'm taking more pride in who I am.  When asked about my proudest moments, I have quite a few.  College graduation, becoming a teacher, and now, kind of.. getting out on my own and being my own person.  I'm not looking to anybody to support me and I can take care of myself.  I have worked hard for a lot of my victories.  I studied, I read, I planned on ways to help myself become successful.  My success is not only my own. Others have helped me along the way, and have supported me, and while I appreciate all of their help, I was the one who got the degree, I was the one who became a teacher.  I know this sounds selfish and prideful, and perhaps it is. I worked hard to get where I am today.  What I'm going through lately, with my divorce and my weight loss, is also going to take a lot of work and a lot of time to get through.  I know that I am not alone. I know that I have friends and family who will be there to back me up and support me, but I also know that I have hard work that only I can do.  I have to start planning out what I eat, making plans, sticking to them, in order to be successful in weight loss.  I have to start planning out a budget and sticking to it in order to be successful in my finances.

I've never been much of a planner. In the words of Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman", "I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl".  EH (changed now, for Ex-Husband) was always the planner.  He made elaborate itineraries, booked hotels, figured out what we were doing for vacations, for work, for life.  It was his job, and so I let him do it in our lives as well.  Now, I'm on my own to do those sorts of things, and I'm finding it difficult.  I have to plan out meals, make grocery lists, take care of the cats (which, I feel, are sadly neglected) and learn to finally be an adult.

It is strange to finally take care of myself.  Much of my family has said to me in the past that EH was good for me because he "took good care of me".  Not to impugn EH, but.. if he took such good care of me, how is it that I nearly had a nervous breakdown a few years ago? How is it that I came to weigh over 300 pounds? Why is it that I'm struggling to pay down the massive credit card debt that we have gotten into over our 9 year marriage, and I have no assets to show for it?  Don't get me wrong. I am not angry at him. I am angry at myself for allowing myself to be treated like a child and not taking care of - or much interest in - things like my health and my finances before.  Much of what I am going through right now could have been avoided if I had taken better care of myself in the past.  Thirty-five is kind of late in the game to be finally growing up and becoming an adult, but here I am, throwing my hat in the ring of adulthood and hoping that I find myself in the process.

I guess part of that adulthood is that I learn to eat vegetables. Blech...

Got any good recipes?

With love and laughter...


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Episode 47: Taking Care of Myself

I talk about change a lot here, but that is because I feel like I'm changing.. and I am.

I used to be a slob.  Ok.. well.. I'm a little bit of a slob still, but I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be.  I can actually see the carpet in my apartment, I can actually move around without tripping over something.  But, I have also noticed that my slovenly ways are receding from my personal self too.

Showers and long hot baths are something that I have always enjoyed immensely.  I used to just jump out, grab my clothes (whatever I was wearing that day) and get dressed quickly and be out the door.  My morning routine is beginning to take a bit of a longer time, and I think it is because I'm beginning to respect myself more. Now, when I get out of the shower, I put lotion on, to keep my skin soft.  I like the feel of it on newly shaved legs, and the way that the cloth of my pants sort of slides over this newly treated skin.  It feels good on my arms and the rest of my body as well, but I notice it most on newly shaved legs.  I LOVE Bath and Body Works Sensual Amber. It is my favorite scent (even though today I found an old container of Chocolate Body Butter, so I smell like a chocolate bar yay!) and I have the body wash and the lotion and the triple hydrating body cream as well.  So, that makes me smell good.

I used to just throw my hair up in a bun, wet or not, and let it dry that way. It made for some interesting curls.. or very damp hair, when I finally took out the bun at the end of the day.  Now, after putting on my lotion, I take the towel off of my hair and actually use the blow dryer.  It makes my hair soft and shiny and while it doesn't add any curl (my hair is really really naturally straight) it does give it a lot of shine and a lot less of that horrible fuzziness.

I tend towards comfortable clothes.. jeans and t-shirts, rather than stylish or overly professional, but even with this, as I put on my clothes, I am finding that I choose them much more carefully.  I look over what I plan to wear, I pick it out and feel good about my choices.  It may not be perfect or what is the most latest or modern thing, but I feel good getting dressed in the morning.  I can't wait to weigh a LOT less so that when I do put on clothes, they fit really well, and look stylish.  Even in Second Life, where my body is perfect, I tend towards jeans and sweaters.  It's just my style (unless I'm being cute, and then it's mini-skirts and thigh high stockings and sweaters... and maybe I'll wear more of that if I get myself down to a good 130 pounds or so. LOL)

Anyway, the gist is that...I feel better about myself.  I am respecting myself more and I feel that I am worth taking care of.  The wrinkles that are coming in on my face from age are all laugh lines, my body is beginning to be in the best shape I've been in for at least five years, and I feel that with time and effort, I can do just about anything.

On a side note, just a little one, this new self respect.. is making me not want to take shit from my students anymore so I'm really getting annoyed at disrespectful behavior.  Looks like I have some behavior modifications to do in my classroom as well.

Off for a glorious day watching movies with my students! (Premonition is a great follow up to irony and ambiguity!)

Have a glorious day!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Episode 46: What is Healthy?

Can't post long.  I have to take a shower and get to work.

So, I lost my five percent.  My next goal is to get to 10%, which doesn't seem all that far off. But after that, what is my weight goal?  According to Weight Watchers, in order to reach life time membership, I should weight between 106 and 132.  I don't think I've weighed 132 since I was in grade school. That doesn't mean I wasn't healthy though.  Around 150, I think was when I was "fit" and "healthy".  I may have had a few pounds, but I felt like I wasn't doing too bad for myself.  I've always had broad shoulders and wide hips (makes for a nice hourglass shape), but I can say that at 150, I was healthy.  Getting down to 132, which would be more than losing half of who I am now, would be.. well.. amazing, but weird for me.

Through right now, I'm not feeling too healthy.  I have, I think, developed a cold, and a splitting migraine.  My eyes have gone all wonky and if it wasn't the week before finals, I probably wouldn't be going to school.  I wish I could throw on a movie and just let them learn something that way, but it wouldn't be fair to them. The students do need to learn something.

So, I am off for a long hot shower and a day of teaching poetry!  Fortunately, poetry is one of my favorite things (as well as raindrops on roses and warn woolen mittens).

I hope you have a glorious Tuesday.  I want to go back to bed...


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Episode 45: Yogi Barely

It is time to start moving!  So, I am trying, very hard, to do that. :)

AM suggested this book called Richard Hittleman's 28 day yoga. I like books, I like it when people suggest books to me, and so I bought it!  I'm on day 3 now, with having skipped a day just out of sheer stubbornness.

It's actually not too bad.  I hear my bones in my back popping more than I like, but I am definitely increasing my flexibility, even after three days.  When I am done, I feel better.  Much more stretched out and calmer (although today I have a bit of a headache, but I think I woke up with that.. or it's just my caffeine addiction kicking in).  The book recommends doing the exercises in the afternoon or the evening, but I find that after a day spent chasing high school students around, I really just don't have the energy to be rolling around on my floor. I exercise in the morning.  I'm hoping to make a bit of a routine of it.. like this blog, and get into a type of habit.  The book says you can skip a day once in a while, but try not to skip more than one day at a time, and take it sloooooowly.

Anyway, people who study and practice Yoga are Yogis.  I don't consider myself a Yogi yet, but it's an interesting program. I flipped forward a few weeks, just to see what is in store for me... and some of them look a little bit impossible.  Of course, it really doesn't help that the model that is used is incredibly thin and lithe and I just can't picture myself like that at all.  Especially doing the head stand. That looks SO painful and I can't imagine putting my fat ass over my head.  It's just a matter of gravity and neck compression!

Anyway, my ten minutes for blogging is up.  Have a great day everybody and remember to breathe!

Love and happiness,


Weighing in on: Division in our country

 I know that I started this as a weight loss/health blog, but I think it's just going to become my blog. Just me and my random-ass thoug...