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Stop talking to people about their lunch (and dinner, and afternoon snack, and…)

January 21, 2014

I don’t know if I’m the only one with this problem.

I get really, really uncomfortable when people around me fixate on food. Not their own food, my food. The food I am eating, the food I do not want to eat, food I could be eating, food I am thinking about eating.

“What are you eating?”
“That looks good.”
“Something smells good.”
“How did you make that?”
“Did you buy that?”
“What are you having for lunch today?”
“Laura’s lunch looks good today.”

Every. Day. From someone I have no choice but to see every day. And who also does a lot of other inconsiderate things, but that’s another story. It’s not just me. Everyone’s snacks or lunch are up for scrutiny and endless discussion. Is it not rude to crane your neck to look over at the person sitting next to you eating almonds or jelly beans or whatever and simply ask, “what is it?” as if what you or anyone else eats is for everyone to know all the time? I don’t know. My mama taught me better than to stick my nose in other people’s business and snacks, but maybe things are different where we’re from? That or I’m pretty sure it’s just rude.

All of this would be annoying enough for a regular person, but when you have food issues, it’s an absolute nightmare.

Today this person went from just talking to making a judgmental comment. That I claim to count calories and yet she always sees me eating something. I said nothing, because I don’t want to into trouble or whatever, but I am still livid about it, hours later.

I’ve written about my food issues here before. Anyone who has read this blog or spoken to me about this stuff knows my deal. The thing with the weight is that it’s sometimes a defense mechanism and sometimes it’s just a way to treat yourself badly because you think that’s what you deserve, for reasons that you are working on and that aren’t really things you ever want to share. And food is not like alcohol, or cigarettes, or drugs, or whatever else your self-hate manifests itself in. Food is not something you can quit, so your only choice, really, is to improve your relationship with it.

Which is a daily struggle. I would say I have a healthy relationship with food maybe 50 per cent of the time, which is better than zero per cent of the time where it used to be, but it’s something I have to work hard at every single day. Food and I are working things out.

But it’s nobody’s business but mine, and people talking about it and judging my choices brings all of the food shame back and sets me back. Just like you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past this person), comment on someone’s relationship struggles with a spouse or family member, you really shouldn’t talk about someone’s relationship struggles with food or their body.

I had so many horrible things I wanted to say, but in the interest of not being a shitty person and also not being a shitty coworker, I went out on break and did that rage tears thing instead. What I really should have done was what my friend Vinny suggested and smugly asked her how many half marathons she has run.


2013, the self-acceptance project, and what I learned

December 31, 2013

So one of my resolutions for 2013 was a thing I called the self-acceptance project.

I had been unhappy with myself for as long as I could remember. I’ve always thought that had to do with my looks. The plan was to write in a journal, and do things that scared me, and all kinds of inspirational things, and try to like what I look like more.

I haven’t really made peace with my looks or my body, mind you, but I think that’s going to happen soon enough anyway, because the self-acceptance project turned out to be about something else entirely. It turned out to be about what I should have set out to do in the first place.

I have had a very good year. It hasn’t been perfect – the more I like myself, the more I hate my job and the more it makes me miserable, and the last few weeks have been very stressful on my family, but in general, 2013 has been my best year.

Because I have been happy. I had never truly been happy before. Happy moments, for sure, but I had never been really, truly, unquestionably happy. I know that sounds sad, but I promise you it isn’t. There are tons of people who go through their entire lives without ever being happy. I only went until age 30.

So this is a thing I have learned to tell myself this year:

You will always, always, always, without exception, fail to meet other people’s expectations. And it doesn’t matter. Other people’s expectations are usually unreasonable and about them, not you. And just because someone loves you, it doesn’t give them the right to impose unreasonable expectations on you, and you shouldn’t care about failing to meet their expectations for you, and if they make you feel even a tiny little bit bad about it, they don’t love you as much as they claim to. If they want to feel bad about it, that’s up to them, but you are under no obligation to feel bad.

The only person whose expectations you are obligated to meet (and surpass) are your own. Turn out however you want. As long as you work hard and you’re kind, you are a successful person, and don’t let anyone else tell you any different. I’ve said this before on this blog (I borrowed it from a Conan commencement speech, at Dartmouth I think) but I believe it:  if you work hard and you are kind, amazing things will happen. Nobody is going to dump a bunch of money in your lap or rescue you from your shitty job, don’t get me wrong, but you know. Just be a non-shitty, non-entitled, non-deadbeat human, and you’ll be happy, no matter what other people think you should do.

So that’s a thing I have been telling myself. You don’t have to borrow it, but you can if you want.

It’s worked for me. I like myself a whole lot more than I did a year ago. In that I actually like who I am, finally. And I think the making peace with your looks thing follows from that, right?

One more thing since I am being all cheesy and ridiculous:  I am incredibly thankful to have my family and friends in my life. I am surrounded by amazing people and I love you all.

I have two resolutions for 2014: To write more (about whatever I want), and to find an awesome job. Maybe the two will be related.

Happy New Year, everybody! Don’t drink and drive. Ever.

Sports Road Trip Diary: Boston

October 14, 2013

I had this idea for a trip I wanted to do last year, in the fall. I was going to drive to Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington DC and see friends and hockey games in each city. Then the lockout happened, and I ended up flying to DC and just hanging out with awesome people instead.

I was determined to do it this year to make up for it, but my budget both in terms of time and in terms of money forced me to postpone the New York/New Jersey part for a bit, although I still want to go see my friends there because it’s been too long.

Anyway. The plan turned into Boston, Philadelphia, DC, home for a week, Detroit, back home, and a collapse from exhaustion.

Two cool things I didn’t know when I first started planning this trip: that there was a BAA half-marathon the weekend I would be in Boston, and that instead of being a basement team as had been predicted, the Red Sox would be playing in the ALCS. I was just going to come for a hockey game, but it turned into so much more.

First, the half:

This is one of the more stupid things I have done in my life. My right knee has been bothering me ever since I danced all night on it at an amazing wedding a few weeks ago. It had been getting better to the point where I was running on it, but given that I was in the taper phase of my training, I hadn’t been running as much. Anyway. It took me almost ten hours to get from Montreal to Boston Friday night because of holiday traffic, and my knee was sore again on Saturday. But when I woke up the day of the half marathon, I felt fine, even though I probably hadn’t slept enough. I figured I could totally handle it.

Well… Uhhhh… No, I couldn’t. I was in pain by the fourth mile. I nearly quit four times. I wanted so badly to drop out of the race I cried. And then I cried because I didn’t want to be a quitter. I was so mad at myself and I felt like I was failing. It was dumb. I probably shouldn’t have tried to finish, but I did finish, thanks to a wonderful person I met on the course named Erica and the EMS folks who wouldn’t leave us. Honestly, I would say that a major chunk of the run felt awful but the finish line when you’re last is an amazing experience. I would have never planned to be there but now that I have been there I feel like I should tell everyone to finish last at least once in their lives.

And also, I have to say: the course was beautiful and I would highly recommend it, but also, the BAA, the volunteers, the medical staff, the police and the city of Boston were just amazing. I’m so grateful to have experienced a race in Boston.

And I have now finished two out of two half-marathons that I have attempted.


Now let’s talk about our Red Sox feelings:

Yeah so ALCS Game 2. A playoff game at Fenway. Which sounds pretty cool on its own, but then you add in what happened at the game and it was the best baseball game I have ever been to and one of the best sports experiences I have ever had.

You can’t really compare a baseball playoff game atmosphere to a hockey playoff game atmosphere because they are both incredible, just in different ways. But loud is the same in every sport. I still can’t believe I was there for that.

And finally, the hockey game:

Detroit beat Boston, which used to be a good thing, but now that they’re in the Flortheast division, it’s not so satisfying to watch anymore. But as much as I hate the Bruins, I love, love, LOVE games at TD Garden. The game staff do such a great job with music and amping up the crowd and it’s always a good time. I’ve been to two matinee games in a row where the Bruins have lost and the crowd was amazing anyway. So, yeah, hate the Bruins, but go to a game here.

So this is long enough already and I have to sleep. Philadelphia is next. It’s going to be really hard to beat Boston though. Thank you so much, Boston friends. I had an amazing time in your city. I love you all.

I can’t think of a title

September 18, 2013

Sometimes people are on their way to work, like you and I are every weekday, and they don’t make it there.

Sometimes they’re at work, and they don’t make it home. This one is hard to read.

Life can be really fucked up sometimes. I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about this, but, do the people you care about know that you care about them? Do you tell them that a lot, or enough, or at all?

On the milestone birthday and what happened to The List

August 8, 2013
The best thing I did this year.

The best thing I did this year.

So this day that I’ve been alternately looking forward to and dreading finally came and I am now in my 30s. This time last year, I wrote that people kept telling me that your 30th birthday is a good one, because you finally know who you are and what you want from life. People have been telling me my 30s will be awesome, better than my 20s, even.

I bet they’re right. I wouldn’t change my 20s for anything, but they were pretty awful. They were really, really hard, and some awful things happened and I had to Deal With My Shit, which sucked. At the same time, I am pretty grateful for them. Because even though I feel like I’m really behind on all the important life stuff because of them, I think I’m going to do better at all the important life stuff because of them, too. And I’ll probably appreciate them more.

I was talking to a good friend of mine about what the perfect age was, and while I think there’s no such thing, 30 is pretty close. I’m old enough to know who I am, which is the most important thing. I never really have moments of not knowing what I want in terms of work, or relationships, or life goals (remember being 23? Yeah). I do have issues going after things, especially career-related, because I’ve never really been assertive or good at asking people for big favours and things like that, but I’m hoping I’ve gotten much better at that and hopefully, this time next year I won’t be taking the day off work because I didn’t want to be crying on my birthday.

As far as the List of 30 things I wanted to do before turning 30 goes… I did not finish it. One thing I am really bad at right now is sleeping enough and having enough time to do things. I haven’t tossed the list though, I’m still working on getting these things done, partly because some of them are actual challenges and they are changing my life, and partly because some of them are fun, and I’m really starting to appreciate doing things with the single goal of having fun. Which is something I should have been doing at 23, probably, but hey, at least it’s not too late.

If you’re curious, I’ve got about half of them done, with another few in the works. I’m still going to finish this list, although it might take me a few more months to do it. Let me know, and I’ll start posting them.

So anyway. I am 30. I had a really horrible lonely moment at midnight last night where I started crying a little but then I went to bed and woke up to like 40 million texts and tweets and emails and messages and gifts. I don’t know what the tears where about, probably because of the whole “behind on important life things” stuff, but the one thing I know I win at is having the right people in my life. So thank you for being in it.

Now I’m off to spend some time with my nephew, which is basically the best way I could have spent my birthday.

I am having an epic freakout

July 25, 2013

Okay so my 30th birthday is in two weeks and any delusions I had that I was going to deal with it well have all flown off into the sunset.

I’m not handling this very well.

In fact, I am freaking out :(

Mostly it’s career stuff I think. I’m perfectly happy on weekends and hate everything about my life on weekdays.

Shouldn’t I have this part figured out by now?


Sorry. I know I write here about dealing with my self esteem issues and usually I post about things I’ve learned but today we’re doing an open-ended dramatic freaking out thing.


On deserving to win

July 9, 2013

The Stanley Cup playoffs were a lifetime ago, it feels like, but I thought about something we kept talking about throughout the playoffs when I read about the comments made about Marion Bartoli after her Wimbledon win. Not John Inverdale’s on-air comments, which were asinine, but the ones compiled in this depressing and enraging post here.

Basically, a bunch of idiotic sexist assholes think she didn’t deserve to win because her looks are not pleasing to them.


We used that word a lot during the NHL playoffs.

When there were some amazing close games between two amazing teams, or two not-so-great teams, we said they both deserved to win, or to lose.

When teams lost games despite absolutely dominating their opponents because of an unlucky bounce here or there, we said it was a shame because they really deserved to win.

When lesser teams worked hard, we said they deserved to win, even though they had no hope in hell.

When good teams had to exit early because they were playing against equally good teams, we said they deserved a better fate.

We said Toronto, Detroit, and the New York Islanders deserved better because they scared or even almost eliminated teams that were varying degrees of superior.

We said San Jose deserved better because we kind of would have liked to see them finally win a damn Cup.

We said Pittsburgh didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “loading up at the deadline also why does everything always come up Pittsburgh” thing.

We said the Bruins didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “Jeremy Jacobs is Satan” thing.

Then we all asked if we could just. stop. already. with this whole “deserving to win” thing.

You know what we didn’t say?

We didn’t say teams deserved to win because their players were more attractive than their opponents. We didn’t say teams didn’t deserve to win because their players were ugly.

We talked about how Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man, because he is. We said Zdeno Chara was scary-looking, because he is. We’re not above shallow comments about players’ appearances. We said we would miss Hank’s eyes and Higgy’s abs and that we were glad to see the last of Chris Neil.

But what we didn’t do was assign deservingness (if that’s a word) to players and teams based on their appearances, our opinion on which is pretty subjective to begin with. At least , not in any way that hockey media or mainstream hockey fandom noticed, or that I know of at all.

So why, when a woman wins at Wimbledon, do a huge chunk of people think it’s okay to say she does not deserve it because she is not as attractive as her opponent? When are we going to stop assigning value to women based on their looks, ignoring their accomplishments completely?

To her credit, Bartoli handled it amazingly well. And I dare any one of those sexists to go tell Sabine Lisicki that it’s okay that she lost after getting all the way to the final, because she is more attractive than Bartoli.


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