All of this banter about Trump's history of sexual assault and numerous posts about rape culture made me start thinking about my own experiences as a college student and drove me to dig up my old blog. So hello world, here I am years later to talk about how what happened to me, and countless other women, is #notokay. Actually, I lost my gumption to dive into it here. But I created a pseudonym on Twitter and tweeted about it. Click here to read more...
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
I've been training with my friend Jason twice a week for about 6 months now, give or take time off for holidays/illness/work conflicts. In this time, my weight has fluctuated a bit, but overall, I have lost 0 lbs. I am not really bothered by this. The way I figure, with my life as chaotic as it is right now (full-time nurse practitioner student in clinical rotations and working half-time at the hospital, among other things) and given my propensity to stress-eat, I am pretty pleased with the fact that I haven't GAINED weight this (academic) year. Jason, apparently, does not feel the same way, as I found out last week. At the beginning of our session on Thursday, he told me that my homework for the week is to do calorie counts. Easy enough. I've been keeping food journals the entire time we've been working together. Initially, he would have me send him weekly reports, which he then picked over and criticized, but eventually he either lost interest or became fed up with my obstinacy and stopped giving me any feedback on them. So, I stopped emailing them to him. I thought that perhaps I was off the hook, but alas, 'twas not the case. Jason reminded me that "we only have four weeks left." Until the season starts, that is. BIKE SEASON.
And thus, I am now to do calorie counts in order to present him with a number that he will then hack, by at least 20%. He says that we are going to be increasing the intensity of our workouts and we will also have to "teach your body to do more with less." That doesn't make any sense to me. If you are making a more powerful engine, don't you need to give it more fuel? Not less? Lest you risk it breaking down on the side of the road?
I am very resistant to his suggestions when it comes to my diet, and I pay for my attitude in the form of a very frustrated trainer. I want to listen to him. I do. I don't want my friend/trainer getting so aggravated that he threatens to "break-up" with me because I won't listen to him.
But I just can't completely trust/believe him. Yet.
My body and eating habits are the MOST sensitive topics you can ever approach me about, and I have been so disappointed and so hurt by countless other efforts to change that yielded no results, that I suppose I am hesitant to believe anybody anymore. I suppose it's a perfect example of sabotaging yourself- I am so afraid of failing yet again, that I stop myself from *really* trying.
Maybe I can stop that vicious cycle this time.
Click here to read more...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I went to breakfast this morning with a good friend who also happens to be an ex. How that works, and how we can manage to still be so close is another post entirely; for now, I'll just say that since we broke up, he has been one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to relationships. He wants me to be happy but will also give it to me straight when someone isn't treating me right and I'm too blind to see it. He's that guy who will tell a gal pal "you deserve better," then follow it with a big bear hug and likely a few tears shed when you realize he's right. My current boyfriend and I have been together just shy of 3 months but have lived together since before our first "real" date. Not a usual sequence of events, but somehow it has worked. So naturally at breakfast, Claude asked me how things were going, and if I thought this was "the" guy. I was a little taken aback by the question, since Claude doesn't usually go down such sentimental roads, but also because I was surprised to find myself not stumbling for a response. "Yeah, I think so," I said, as calmly as if he'd asked me about the weather. But, why was I so at ease? 'Twas a pretty hefty question he asked me, after all And I've been as guilty as anyone when it comes to worrying about finding Mr. Right, walking down the primrose aisle and arriving exactly on schedule to "the rest of my life." But lately I haven't really given it much thought. Maybe I've just been too busy between shifts at the hospital, clinical rotations and other grad school course work to worry much about it. But I don't think that's it, because when I'm really honest with myself, I will tell you that I absolutely have big dreams about sharing my life with this man. I have so many ideas of places I want to show him and adventures I want us to have. It's just that this time around, there doesn't seem to be that usual sense of urgency about any of it. My heart simply brims with a brilliant calm energy when I think about the two of us. Maybe I've finally figured out that things rarely happen when or how you want them to, and if I just relax and let go, everything will work out fine. Maybe I realized that I'm a pretty rad lady and whether I "have a man" in my life or not does not define my worth as a person. Maybe I finally realized that my life is already happening right now and I should stop worrying so much about searching for "someone special", and then, as if on cue, he came along. (Damn all those people who say "you don't find love, it finds you" for being right!)
So, the question then, is, where does that leave this blog? Heretofore, this has been primarily an outlet for my relational frustrations, a place for my broken heart to cry, but I've tired of this line of writing and need a new direction. Perhaps then, I shall write about my newest endeavor: bike racing, in all it's glory and aches and pains...
Stay tuned... Click here to read more...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It’s been said that the area of the brain that responds to love and passion is not dissimilar from that part of the brain that houses addiction. I can attest to the verity of this statement. I have never been addicted to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. But I have met my drug, in the form of a human male. Just like candy and sweets, I know he’s bad for me but I still crave him deeply. Men are not unlike food in a lot of ways. I *know* I should eat vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains for my own best health & well-being, but I still desire the decadence and richness of chocolate, simple carbohydrates and refined sugar. Some days, the longer I go without my sin, the easier it becomes, until that one inevitable day that my strength wanes. I want that taste in my mouth, knowing that as soon as I taste it, I will want more of it, and that even after I have eaten, my hunger will not stay sated for very long.
I try to resist the craving, to do the “right” thing, to remind myself that he will only bring pain and heart ache once he’s loved me and left me yet again, but that doesn’t stop the yearning. If I allow my mind to wander, in a split second I can recreate him- his kiss, soft and gentle before yielding to urgency and passion, drinking me in with each hot breath; his desire, matching mine; his warm embrace, his hands caressing my back, my thighs, my face as he lets out soft moans of pleasure, his beautiful brown eyes inches from mine, and finally, his breath on my neck as he curls his body behind me, holding my hands and pulling me close against him. But these mental images don’t warm my bed or fight off loneliness.
Life as I knew it was over after him. And it was over again after the second time we were together. Now that I know the possibility of him, nothing else suffices. I try to want what is good for me. I try to crave vegetables. I try to have feelings for someone who is more “sensible”. But it is doesn’t work.
I know that one cannot live on chocolate alone. Is there another side to him that would sustain me? If only he would let me find out. Like any drug, you worry about running out. You have anxiety that it won’t be there anymore when you need it most. You’re afraid to really enjoy it because you know it won’t last forever. As it turns out, he did that. Disappeared.
Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 19:18
Saturday, August 1, 2009
As I prepare to blow out thirty candles on my birthday cake later today, I am re-reading a Carolyn Hax advice column about this milestone birthday that I cut out years ago. The reader writes:
"I'm turning 30 today. So far I've cried four or five times... all before noon. Just about every time someone says 'Happy Birthday' I get all cringy inside and try to smile. I lose the smile when they start making age jokes, 'Only 21 today, right?!??! ha ha ha' (Is screaming allowed?)
I want to be happy, I want to see this as a great new beginning... but what about all those things I though I'd have accomplished by now? Does no one care that I'm disapponted in where I am in my life at this point? (i.e., single, OK but low-paying job, no degree.) Is this normal or am I overreacting to this milestone birthday?"
Carolyn says: You are overreacting to this milestone birthday. Of course people care, but this is "Whee, cake," not "Tell me about your childhood." Besides, as a measure of achievement, age is strictly artificial.
Disappointment in yourself, though, is ageless, and you're not overreacting to that. Whether you're 13 or 103, letting yourself down can feel like one of the hardest bad moods to shake.
Practically, though, it's one of the easiest, because it's all on you. Don't have a degree? Get thee to night school. Don't like your job? Ask for new responsibilities, or update your resume, or see above about night school. Want people to care about you? Show you care about yourself by doing something about where you are in your life-- besides cringing.
Single? Irrelevant. Staying happily married is a feat, I suppose, but getting married in itself is no accomplishment. Making good decisions, dealing with bad ones, resisting outside pressure, moving at your own speed, overcoming fear, growing up, facing your faults-- these are accomplishments. If they find you married, so be it. If they find you single, so be it.
And just as age is no mark of worth, birthdays are no measure of beginnings (or middles or ends). Your beginning will be the day you take on your malaise. "Now" has a ring to it, no?
I originally cut this out before I even really understood most of what Carolyn wrote about. Through the years, I've turned to it as a sort of tangible "reality check". The part about being single is especially helpful, given I've been in and out of my share of relationships, never failing to be disappointed and hurt. It helps to be reminded that the simple act of getting married is not the accomplishment, rather it is the building and maintaining of a relationship that endures that is to be celebrated. It also helps to be reminded that in the grand scheme of things, there is no "done"; we are always evolving, changing, growing, learning, etc. Saying to ourselves, "I'll be happier when..." or "my life will be better when..." not only puts undue pressure on us but also robs us of enjoying the life that is happening in the present. As someone once said to me "Life always shows up"; in other words, if you're waiting for life to begin after you finish your degree/get married/get divorced/lose those extra pounds/buy a house-- something else will come along that will get in your way. Happiness can be an attitude that you can slip in and out of without any impetus at all except your own will; rather than waiting for a reason to be happy, choose to be happy and the reasons will follow. Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 00:22
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I am smoking a cigarette for the first time in years.
I never smoke. At least that's what I tell people. In reality, I usually never smoke. Except when something is terribly wrong inside and I'm falling apart.
If I could only figure out what it was. And then, how to make it right.
I have anxiety I have never known. I feel like a ball of nervous energy. I feel an emptiness so profound it is almost tangible.
To the casual observer I am the picture of mental health. But when I inventory my scattered mind, I find more fault than attribute and I wonder what's the point of it all?
Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 22:53
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I have been insanely crushing on a particular yoga instructor for the past several weeks. I make every effort to attend every class he teaches and almost always spend 10-15 min afterwards "chatting him up". Last week, I mustered up the courage to ask him out. The response I received was highly non-commital, which annoyed the heck out of me, but allowed the hope to continue. He didn't show up at the event I'd invited him to, but considering I'd told him about it just the day before, I could rationalize that he was already busy, and thus allow the hope to continue. I finagled his phone number out of another instructor and called him last Friday. I left him a voicemail and he actually called me back and left me a voicemail. You'd think I'd discovered gold being as excited as I was! I have much too much experience with what I like to call the "Johhny-No-Calls" of this world. But when I saw him after Monday's class, chatted him up again, tried to make plans for later in the week, he still didn't take the bait. I began to wonder: Was he really that oblivious to my intentions? Did I need bring a two-by-four to class that says "do you want to go on a date with me?" in large block letters? I was trying not to be quite so overt. Or was he completely aware of my intentions and just not interested? Or, perhaps, already "taken" and failing to kindly drop "my girlfriend" into the conversation and give me a clue? I was growing quite weary of this internal conflict and the resulting anxiety. I hated feeling this vulnerable and I was becoming nearly morose over it.
I went to his class again today determined to make some headway in the situation, for better or for worse. It was a fantastic yoga class, as usual, and afterwards we kept each other company on the stair step machines for a good half hour. He is so easy to talk to, sweet, kind, caring and considerate. While we were sweating away I casually asked about his weekend plans, how's his week look, etc. No bite. Finally when we were wrapping up the workout and heading to our respective locker rooms, I got out the 2x4: "So, can I call you tomorrow and see if Friday might work to get together?" That's when it came out "Well, there's this girl I'm seeing..." Disappointed doesn't begin to cover it.
While this experience didn't yield the results I was hoping for (a date) after some processing, I am still finding much good in it. First, I actually somehow found the guts to ask a guy out that I was interested in. I was persistant and creative and allowed myself to be vulnerable. That in itself is something to celebrate. Second, when I found out he was dating someone else, I allowed myself to feel the loss and be sad about it. I gave myself permission to grieve and know that there is no shame in being disappointed. Lastly, what I lost in a potential date, I gain in a burgeoning friendship. Everything that initially attracted me to him is still there, I just have to accept it in a different form. I would be an idiot to write him off just because he's not "available", I think there's too much value in him as a person to do that. I can always use more friends, and who knows, maybe he has a friend who is single! Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 20:56
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
To begin, a poem from Dennis O'Driscoll:
when all is said and done
what counts is having someone
you can phone at five to ask
for the immersion heater
to be switched to 'bath'
and the pizza taken from the deepfreeze
I am 29 1/2 years old and have been living alone, truly alone, for exactly two days. My mom got married on Saturday and left Sunday to move to her new husband's home in the state of Mississippi. Up until this point in my life I have always lived with either family or roommates. Now it is just me and my kitty in my little apartment in the big city.
All of these changes have gotten me to wonder what the notion of 'home' really is anyways. Is home a place? A physical building? I suppose this is partly so, after all don't we always feel a bit discombobulated when moving to a new dwelling? But, don't we then adapt after a while? And what about when we return to a place that was home, and though it is still familiar, it now feels distinctly different? When we have changed yet 'home' has stayed the same and we are now somehow alienated? No, 'home' cannot be a place. Is 'home' then, a person? This notion certainly has merit, for haven't we all felt that feeling where you haven't arrived 'home' yet from a long journey until you have seen and held a particular person? Or when you are in a place completely foreign to you, yet feel suprisingly comfortable and 'at home' because a certain person is with you? That's how I always felt about my mom. But if this is how we define 'home', then my home just left me.
Perhaps then, 'home' is something entirely less tangible. Being understood? A sense of purpose? Feeling loved? Or a combination of all of these? I suppose it will be a while before I know... Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 21:28
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I have recently thrown myself back into the deep end of the "dating pool". I set up an eHarmony account last October and have slowly eased into the process. Until only recently I had not come across anyone I was even remotely interested in dating. About two weeks ago, however, I reviewed a rather promising profile. He was intelligent, funny, educated, interesting, kind of nerdy (which I like) and he accepted my invitation to "Fast Track" (i.e. skipping the exchanging of pre-fab multiple choice questions and "must have can't stand" lists). We wrote back and forth for a while and I asked him how he would like to proceed with this exchange. He promptly replied with his phone number. So I called him. We spoke on the phone for over 2 hours, which, in my experience, is quite rare for most guys. Towards the end of the conversation he very nervously asked me if I'd like to meet in person for coffee or a drink. I accepted and we made plans for a couple of days later.
We met at the arranged time (except I was late) and proceeded to have (what I perceived anyways) as a very pleasurable afternoon. The conversation flowed easily, I found him ever more interesting, there was a bit of a spark of some chemistry happening... all very good things. I enjoyed his company so much that I invited him to join me and my friends at a happy hour later that week; an invitation that he accepted. Hence my shock when the next day the following showed up in my inbox:
Leslie, Thanks for your email. I was having a hard time last night b/c, though I think you're a smart, attractive, great person, I don't feel that we are a good fit. I'm sorry for telling you this over email, but it's just easier. I wish you the best in your search. Sincerely, Jake
The gall of him! I was infuriated! Not that he isn't interested, but that he led me on and lied to me. I understand that rejection is a part of the dating world, it just isn't going to work any other way. I get that. But why accept an invitation only to back out of it the next day? The following is the email I felt like sending (but, on the counsel of my mom and good friends, didn't!)
Wow, I'm really surprised to read this considering you had accepted a second date. If you didn’t want to go you should’ve just declined because now I feel incredibly mislead. In the future, I’d recommend honesty upfront, lest you contribute to your gender’s stereotypical bad reputation. Thank you at least for doing me the favor of showing me what a ball-less creep you are this early on before I’d wasted any more of my time on you. And yes, it was really lame of you to tell me this over email, you spineless twit. I’d say good luck to you too, but I’m not really feeling that generous towards you anymore. I hope you choke on the coffee I gave you.
I talked with my friend's boyfriend about this "bad male behavior", and while he was able to empathize with the dirtbag and could somewhat explain his possible motives, I'm still lost. Why do most people have such a hard time being honest with each other (and themselves?) Is it really that hard to just say no instead of feigning interest and making promises that you have no intention of keeping? I am so frustrated right now...
Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 01:07
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I've been listening to Kimya Dawson's song "So Nice, So Smart" . There is a line in this piece that has always struck me: "You’re so nice and you’re so smart; you’re such a good friend I have to break your heart. I’ll tell you that ‘I love you’ then I’ll tear your world apart, just pretend I didn’t tear your world apart." On good days, I spend my waking hours with forgiveness and understanding in my heart over having someone I was madly in love with leave me and marry another woman less than six months later. Then on days like today, when I'm feeling lonely and alone, I hear a song like this when I'm on the treadmill at the gym and I want to break down in tears. When I think about what happened, those words could have been spoken by him just as easily as they were sung by Ms. Dawson. He did break my heart and tear my world apart, he told me he loved me after he tore it apart, and yet I still spend time with him. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just torturing myself staying in contact with him. And sometimes I can't imagine my life without him, even though he is someone else's husband and his friendship seems like nothing more than a consolation prize. Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 18:33
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A quiet evening at home with a cup of tea is how I am spending this NYE. I will soon be in bed, no "Rockin' New Year's Eve" for this gal. Instead, I am choosing to spend a little quality time with my thoughts and be well rested for my patients tomorrow.
As much as I try to avoid becoming too nostalgic at this time of year, I can't help but think back on what a tumultuous year it has been. It has been a year of tremendous challenges, life changes, more ups and downs that the world's biggest rollercoaster, and yet, also a time of incredible growth. I am proud to say that as despite everything, or because of it, I feel I have become more self-aware, intuitive and open to learning about myself and those around me. I am looking forward to a 2009 that builds on the foundations I have begun to lay for myself and the life I am building for myself takes shape. Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 21:28
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tonight I had the great pleasure of sharing my ideas about Health Care Reform with diverse group of individuals at a Planned Parenthood forum. It was an unprecedented opportunity to speak up about the health care issues that matter and help shape the Obama administration’s health care policies. As you may know, President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, has asked Planned Parenthood and its supporters to participate in a nationwide discussion on the future of health care reform.
And so, this afternoon, over coffee and cookies, I was in a board room at the Lagoon Planned Parenthood clinic where a group of supporters and I had the opportunity to meet with State Senator John Marty, Chair of the Health, Housing, and Family Security Committee, Speaker of the Minnesota House Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, and Representitive Frank Hornstein. The Obama administration has called out to the citizens of this nation for stories and experiences with the health care system and most importantly, what we think health care reform should look like. Boy did we answer that call this afternoon! I thoroughly enjoyed the lively discussion that ensued and making the acquaintance of other dynamic individuals with a passion for women's health care isues. It gives me hope that the President-Elect of this great, albeit very messed-up, nation, has asked the people for their input. Now that's democracy at its core. This meeting was a small part of what truly is a grass roots effort on a very large scale, put forth by our "Organizer in Chief" as some have called Obama. With the people behind him in a manner that has not been seen in a long time, and more pro-choice and pro-family planning people elected to Congress than ever before, 2009 is bursting with potential for Obama and I, for one, can't wait to see what's going to happen. Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 20:36
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
While being able to say "I was raped" is a gigantic feat and one to be recognized and even celebrated, perhaps even more important is that I have begun to unravel the tangle of damage that was done to my psyche as a result of it. Was the rape the cause of my emotional damage, or was it a symptom of a deeper problem? It is fascinating and heartbreaking how the tiny seed of that one night has become a powerful vine that has wrapped its way around my heart and spirit almost entirely.
An unwanted precedent was set when I was raped. From that moment forward, I believed (mostly unconsciously) that my body was something to be used, both by myself and others. Did I believe this before the rape, and thus "allowed" Ed to violate me? Possibly. I've never been entirely comfortable in my own skin, never quite knew what to do with my physical self.
I've had much too much sex that I did not want to have (and that wasn't even that good) that I've dug myself into a very deep hole of shame. Somewhere along the way I unlearned how to relate to men in a healthy, mutually respectful way, in a manner where sex and "sexual tension" were not part of the equation. Every relationship I've ever had somehow or another eventually came to revolve around sex. Whether it was the fiery love affair that I tried to turn into an actual relationship, the tepid romance that I hung onto too long because the sex was pretty decent, or the incident in the Caribbean involving a guy I know only as "Island Boy", somehow sex was the main ingredient every time. Even relationships I have with men that are not lovers- coworkers, friends, bosses- often carry an inappropriate air of sexuality.
This all changed with one amazing guy that I met in July 2006. For the first time I knew in my heart that this man wanted me for me, and that whether or not we had sex when we were together did not dictate if we had a good time or not. We loved each other's minds, the cerebral discourse we had, our goofiness, the fact that we understood each other's dreams, hopes, fears and could share our hearts with each other-- we were lovers on a level deeper than anywhere I'd ever been before. For reasons outside the scope of this post, we broke up last February, but have been able to keep in touch. He said to me not too long ago when we met up for coffee that "the sex was fantastic, but it was secondary."
This man taught me a tremendous lesson for which I am grateful. He taught me that I have value as a human being above and beyond sex and sexuality. I am a good person worthy of love because of who I am, not because I am willing to go to bed. Recognizing this is only one step in the long process of becoming unshamed, and the challenge as I go forth in my journey searching for a partner will be to keep this lesson in the forefront of my mind. When I feel insecure or unsure of myself, my first instinct is to use my sexuality. It will be difficult to learn new tools to use when relating to men, but I want to do it differently. Practice makes perfect? Click here to read more...
Posted by Leslie at 22:02