Friday, December 25, 2009


I don't like spending Christmas without Ben. It doesn't matter where I'm off to tonight (that would be New York City, in case you didn't know). What matters is that my son is celebrating Christmas - possibly the most amazing day in a child's year (next to their birthday) with my ex and his girlfriend and I am feeling terribly lost without him.

Convincing myself that Christmas Eve day and Christmas eve would be just as good was the name of the game yesterday. I didn't play the game very well. Every time I talked about Christmas day, I teared up. "What's the deal?" my dad asked. "You're going to NEW YORK CITY! Your favorite place!" He didn't understand. I didn't expect him to.

Maybe only a mother can understand. A mother who walks the dog on this brilliantly sunny and clear day and watches other families enjoying the weather in the neighborhood. Kids rollerskating, biking, chasing dogs...all the things that Ben would be doing here with me today.

"I'll miss you," I told him this morning as I dropped him off with his dad. "I won't see you for a week, do you understand?" He gazed up with me with those big brown eyes and sad, "I get sad when I'm not with you Mommy. A week is a long time."

I had to get in the car quickly so that he wouldn't see my tears.

We all make choices in life and sometimes, life makes choices for us. We stay in marriages when we're not happy. We leave marriages when children are young. We leave when they are old. Children leave us. We compromise when we have to, especially where the holidays are concerned. We desperately wait for the light to shine through the darkness. And we wait. And it does.

But it's so fucking hard today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My grandma used to tell me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Does that count for writing too?

I'm going to assume that it doesn't and say that if I make it through this month without completely melting down, it will be a huge miracle. There. That's a dose of optimism.

I think this is the hardest December I've ever had. On every level. Scratch that. This IS the hardest December ever. Ever. EVER.

I'm questioning everything from my health to my job to my role as a mother all the while putting on the happiest face that I can for Ben. Every day, it's something new for him: another item in the stocking, a present under the tree, cookies to be decorated, multiple visits to Santas, holiday crafts. Yet at the same time, I'm feeling like it's not enough; it's never enough.

Is it wrong, when you feel like this, to set aside time to cry? I have been, every day. It's the only way that I can really be OK with myself; to be authentic and real and have some reassurance that everyone goes through difficult times and it will all work out. Eventually.

I already know that major changes need to occur next year.

My mother needs to move out. Our "situation" has now moved into the "unhealthy" category and it's simply not bearable. At times, her world terrifies me. Mostly, it mystifies me but in all honesty, it completely devastates me. That means, that I have to move. Which means that I need to find a studio space. Or a new job. And that I need to convince the bank to move forward with a short sale. Or not.

No easy answers in the mortgage world, I'm finding, with my daily calls to B of A. How much can you plead with a lender? How long will you spend on hold? How many people can you talk with in one phone call? Come spend an afternoon here and you'll find out.

Back to my mother because it's so damn complicated that the topic deserves another paragraph and more words than I could ever articulate. She and I need to re-establish our relationship as mother-daughter, not as roommate vying for mother role. I've lost my sense of being a daughter and at the same time, I don't know where my alpha female role is either. It's all lost and murky.

My ex-husband needs to keep his place in the past and let go of the idealized future he has for me and for Ben and for our family. The guilt keeps me up at night as does the sadness and the confusion...he's pining for me yet he's completely immersed with his girlfriend? I don't understand. But, nor do I want to.

Something has to change with my career. We simply cannot sustain a household with me in this job. There are too many downsides. The heavy reality of absolutely needing to provide for my child is crushing at times.

I didn't like our Christmas card at all this year. I look stressed. And I've been stressed, for way too long. The biggest challenge for me right now is to take some little steps out of this storm of stress that I've been under. I wish I knew where - and how - to start.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I always joke that I'm on a short leash. A very short leash.

Bedtime for me is around 9pm. I only drink alcohol once a week, more recently, it's been like once every couple of weeks. I avoid sugar. I read before bed. I take a long, hot shower. I don't dare turn on the television. All this to get a decent night's sleep. If I'm lucky.

My sister getting married was a major departure from my beloved and predictable leash. And I'm still paying the price of being "unleashed" for the long weekend. Here's how the leash came off, swiftly and without any regard to consequences:

Thursday night: Arrive Indy at 10:30pm. Gather bags and drive an hour to Columbus. Entire family congregates at midnight (my mom, my dad, stepmom, Alisa, Alec and mother-in-law) for a meal. At freakin' midnight! I go to bed with a stomachache.

Friday night: Dinner with friends and relatives. I have a glass of wine, some Chateaubriand (steak), lasagna, more Chateaubriand, and start to lap the dessert table. Have two of each of everything. There were four desserts. Yes, I indeed have eight desserts. And two cups of coffee. At 9pm, not decaf, because the bachelorette party is assembling and I need some pep.

Friday night, part 2: We're at the Columbus Bar. We order three rounds of kamicazes (I slip most of mine to a friend) and then order another two rounds of martinis. Then vodka shots. Again, I'm passing off most of my drinks. Then a platter of nachos. Loaded nachos. A plate of deep fried pickles. A basket of fried cheese balls. Two more platters of nachos. More pickles. Three more baskets of chesse balls. I'm right in the action, devouring the nachos like I hadn't just had steak, lasagna and eight desserts. EIGHT F-ING DESSERTS. We leave the bar at 2am and I'm doubled over in abdominal pain. I go to bed in fetal position, tossing and turning all night with nightmares of GI distress all through the wedding.

Saturday morning: Attempt a run in the park. Not happening.

Saturday night: Reception buffet. Who goes for seconds on the salmon? Who goes for seconds on the ice cream? Who has TWO pieces of cake? Who thinks that they are going to be admitted to the hospital at the end of the night? One redeeming fact: I didn't drink.

Sunday morning: We get up at 1am, Cali time, to make our 8am flight out of Indy. I am miserable. Jeans won't zip. Exhausted beyond belief. Snack all the way home since Delta no longer offers any kind of food service. Arrive home and finish up the weekend of gluttony by having three cookies and a chocolate bar.

Monday morning: Put my leash back on.

Tuesday morning: Took the leash back off to make cookies and eat four.

Wednesday morning: Leash stays off to eat cookies for breakfast and throughout the day. Sneak into the cornbread stuffing after class; oh yes, indeed, I am unleashed again.

Might as well keep it off now, seeing that Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


You would think I would know better. After 38, going on 39 years of being my dad's daughter. But no, I am an idiot.

Just one week before the big wedding in Indiana, I got all psyched up about our Presiding Bishop being in town (at my church!) and I sent off a message, with a link to the Sac Bee article which covered her visit, to some close friends and to my family members. The subject line read: "Our fabulous Bishop!"

And what was my dad's response? A scathing message back about how "scary" she is as a leader and "how could his own daughter's Christian faith have gone so awry?" Which was followed up by multiple phone calls today (he goes weeks without talking with me and THIS is the reason that he actually attempted to track me down?) and two more nasty emails which detailed what a *problem" she is as a leader and once again, how could I possibly call myself a Christian?

To that last question, my response was: "Oh, let me just count the ways. Let's start with communion. EVERY single Sunday. Liturgy. Prayer. Baptism. And lest we forget, that age old book that we ALL study: the Bible.

But beyond that, to me, Christianity carries a certain sense of responsibility to our community. Like feeding the hungry. Check. Housing the homeless. Check. Taking care of our neighbor. Check.

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. CHECK.

I'm embarrassed to write the full scope of what my dad put in the email. It's intolerant, narrow-minded and downright wrong. It's nothing I would ever want Ben to know about. There wasn't a hint of compassion, love or understanding in his messages.

I don't know what I was thinking when I sent the link to him. Oh wait, yes I do. I was thinking, actually, I was reveling in the experience of being with our Bishop. I wanted to share the details with anyone, everyone. I wanted everyone I care about to be sitting with me in church during her message. It was that powerful.

Every child looks for validation from their parent/s. Even when the child is 38 years old. Of course I want my dad to approve of my choices - how I raise Ben, how I make money, whom I choose to date, how I experience faith and spirituality. But once again, he disappointed me. This time around though, I'm not taking that disappointment to heart. It's kinda helpful to look at him like a neanderthal; like someone who cannot even try to be evolved. And then it makes me feel that much MORE evolved.

He thinks we're going to have this great "sit down" in Indy; he's told me he'll pull out the book of John and show me the error of my ways. Good thing I have an ally in my lovely sis. Somehow, an incredibly big job involving tons of bows and candles and I-don't-know-what-else has materialized and my name is all over the task. I'm assured that it will take the better part of two days so any talk of religion will just have to wait until the next family get-together. Which happens to be next week: Thanksgiving. I don't care if I have to pluck the feathers off the turkey to keep busy, I am SO. NOT. HAVING. THIS. CONVERSATION. WITH. HIM.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


My sister is getting married one week from today.

I'm trying to visualize my mother, my father, my stepmom, my brother and a church full of well-wishers, gazing at my only sister as she walks down the aisle and commits to sharing her life with Alec. The whole experience - all the family converging onto Columbus, Indiana for a weekend of festivities - feels so enchanting and so sweet - that I can't wrap my brain around the enormous amount of happiness that I'm feeling for her.

I was driving this afternoon and thinking of how much she means to me. My heart started to hurt, just a little, as I thought about how marriage can be so happy and a little sad, at the same time. My little sister, who is mostly wiser than me - her older sister - is about to be set free from the clutches of my parents, and me. She'll have a new family to blend into - which I'm sure she'll do quite well - and new traditions to start with Alec.

Misty-eyed, I pulled the car over to let the tears flow. Just for a few moments. And then I let myself feel the wonder of romantic love - and the joy of getting to fly across the country to see that love manifest before my eyes.

I was reminded of another life event; one that involved my sister, driving in HER car. When I found out I was pregnant, I called her first. She was driving and I told her my news. I heard the sob before I heard any words. She later told me that after we had finished our conversation, she pulled her own car over and cried.

My sister makes me feel tender-hearted in a way that no one else can. The connection, the bond that we have is unlike any that I have with anyone else. She shares my history, she shares my genetics, she shares a piece of my soul.

Even as I write this, I can feel the tears brimming. My sister is stronger than she'll ever know - she endured a career as a commercial airline pilot and spent long, dark days (and nights) wondering when things would shift in her life. I know that she questioned fate, on more than one instance, and the possibility of love in her life.

And now it's here. Everything that she waited for and so much more.

I might as well come to terms with the fact that I'm gonna spend the next six days in a heightened emotional state with a few unexpected tears here and there.

My sister's getting married.
My sister's getting married.
My sister's getting married.

She deserves happiness that can't be quantified, love that can't be measured and every single blessing in the world.

In the words of our beloved Dr. Seuss, whom I'll be quoting at the reception:

Today is your day!
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.
You're on your own and you know what to do.
(This is likely where the klee-nex will come out!)
And you are the couple who'll decide where to go
And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.
Oh! The places you'll go!
You'll be on your way up.
You'll be seeing great sights.
You'll join the high fliers
Who soar to great heights.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
So be sure when you step
Step with great care and great tact
And remember that Life's a great balancing act.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
Kids, you'll move mountains.
You're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!!!

I love you, Alisa.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Ben and I had a sweet visit with my dad yesterday. We've come a little ways since summer. It feels good.

Originally, I had planned to take Ben out of school an hour early and drive him down to Modesto to spend the late afternoon with my dad and his wife, and to have an early dinner with them. I was dreading the outing because it meant a later bed time for Ben (on a school night) and quite a lot of restless time in the car (at least 90 minutes each way).

I haven't seen my stepmom, Teresa since our fall-out in August so I was also a little apprehensive about how she and I would interact, although our recent phone conversations have been friendly and upbeat.

An hour before I was supposed to fetch Ben from school, my dad called and said that Teresa had been sick all day and could we meet in Stockton for some post-birthday shopping at Target and maybe a coffee after?

I was thrilled because it meant less driving for me and less whining and "are we there yet" from Ben. And for my dad to take the initiative and actually suggest an alternative, well, that's huge. Particularly when it comes to seeing his grandson.

Ben was so excited to be leaving school early. He knew that he would be shopping with Grandpa and in his mind, Grandpa has an endless amount of money (which he doesn't but he is very generous and takes great delight in giving Ben every type of remote controlled vehicle that he can find). Ben and I ran hand-in-hand to the car, all the while talking excitedly about what he might find at Target.

We went to a new Target in Stockton and as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw my dad waiting at the entrance. I pulled around and Ben flung open the door, without even unbuckling his car seat, shouting, "Grandpa! Let's go shopping!"

I gave my dad strict instructions on making Ben focus, not buying too much, making sure that the toys weren't too loud, too cheap, or too difficult to assemble, blah, blah, blah. My dad waved me off, grabbed Ben by the hand and off they went to toys as I set off to my favorite part of Target: the clothing department!

The Clearance section at the Stockton Target is unreal. Huge. Deeply discounted. I grabbed two shirts and could have easily filled a whole cart but my curiosity over what was happening in the toy aisle was piqued so I made a mental note to return to Stockton (that's a first!) and made my way to the toy department.

I found Ben and my dad puzzling over which Air Hogs to purchase. "They climb the walls," my dad announced. "Oh great," I said. "This one can go across the ceiling," Ben added. "Put it in the cart," my dad said. Surprisingly, the cart wasn't that full. Granted, it was a lot fuller than it would be if I took Ben shopping but it wasn't obscene. Yet. Ben vacillated over a Hot Wheels track versus a Tranformers RPM figure. I made him pick one although my dad wanted to get both. "Save one for Christmas, if you really want him to have it," I said.

Somehow we wrapped up the process and made our way to the check-out aisle where the sum of all Ben's toys, along with my two shirts, was actually less than my mortgage payment.

From there, we went across the parking lot to Panerra Bread where Ben wolfed down a grilled cheese, a yogurt and a juice box as my dad watched, wide-eyed. Ben then grabbed my hand, pulled me in close and whispered, "I need another grilled cheese, Mommy!" My dad, who is hard of hearing, said, "He didn't just ask for MORE food, did he?" Shaking his head, he and Ben returned to the counter and ordered an enormous scone for Ben. My dad came back to the table, which was around the corner. "Um, where's Ben?" I asked. "Paying for the scone," my dad answered. "This should be interesting," I said.

A couple of moments later, a confused Ben wandered back to the table, with change and no scone. My dad had a good laugh and walked BACK to the counter with him to retrieve a giant scone, covered in orange icing. Ben proceeded to eat only the icing and then handed the interior to my dad. More laughs.

We left right after the scone. My dad had to get back for a late meeting and I was all too happy to get Ben home for a decent bedtime. Big hugs all the way around and we were all on our way.

On the way home, Ben and I talked about how lucky he is to have such a nice and generous Grandpa. Ben insisted on having the toys piled up in the backseat so that he could look at them and the excitement over the stack of new purchases quickly turned into a huge whine session when he realized that we would be sitting in 5:00 commute traffic. And the whining turned into an all-out bathroom emergency when on I-5, in the middle of BFE, Ben decided that his bladder had reached capacity. Being the resourceful mom that I am, I had a remedy which involved a plastic cup and some backseat finagling, but Ben developed a case of stage fright and opted to wait until we could find a respectable restroom.

All in all, I'd say that the visit was a success. My dad seems to be relating much better to Ben these days and he seems less judgmental over my parenting style, as well. He actually looked happy during our brief time together. Of course, with my sister's wedding and Thanksgiving quickly approaching, he AND Teresa will be likely in high-stress mode and there will be tense moments. But I think we're on the upswing.

I'm feeling something new towards the two of them: a sense of tenderness and of compassion. It's a good feeling. I think I can make the space, carry the torch and continue on toward a relationship that is more loving, more accepting. For Ben's sake, I can.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Disregard my last post. I am sleeping horribly. HORRIBLY. I don't know what the meds are doing but I do know that I haven't slept since before Ben had pneumonia. I feel like I am in the darkest and deepest hole. My eyes are constantly burning, my head feels perpetually cloudy and I can't articulate anything clearly. I am exhausted.

I toyed with the idea today, briefly, of going into the ER with a migraine complaint just so I could get a shot of Demerol and sleep for 10 hours. I still may do it. I did talk with my doctor on Friday night. Or rather, she talked while I cried. The solution she gave me wasn't successful.

Something has shifted over the last two weeks. The pace of the thoughts that run through my head has quickened significantly. As bedtime draws closer, I feel more and more anxious. My body feels like it's in a constant flight or fight mode. I don't like it. Any of it.

This week, I'm giving a speech one evening on wellness. I have a full client load and an extra yoga class to teach. I have a date. I have an exclusive birthday event to attend. And I have an acute attack of tendonitis in my ankle again. I'm hoping and praying that my mind can find some peace soon. There has to be an answer to this sleep mystery. There just has to be.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I started a new medication for sleep. I can't disclose what it is because I don't want to be categorized into a certain type of person, but I can tell you that I AM SLEEPING!

I am sleeping so well that I'm becoming optimistic about the future! Before, I would always think, "How can I look forward to this event/activity when I don't know if I'll be dog tired or just a little tired." I was living a life of fear. Fear of being exhausted. I believe that this same fear was holding me back in relationships. In fact, I know it was.

But not any more. I went to the city yesterday and had a packed day of fighting traffic, navigating from the deepest part of the Mission to the outermost tip of North Beach, and expecting my body to cooperate through a two hour advanced yoga class and a three hour pilates intensive course. No problem. I knew that I was improved when I threw away my half consumed latte because I felt like I'd had enough. I was awake. And more important, I was present.

Yesterday was a shining example of how I can live my life. I feel like the biggest, wettest and darkest blanket has just been lifted off of every part of me and it feels terrific!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I sent my stepmom a card. I told her that she threw a beautiful party for my dad and that I didn't know what happened with the two of us. I told her that Ben started school and that his new teacher shares her name. I told her that he started soccer and that he loves it. I didn't tell her that I was sorry. Because I'm not.

But I do want to move past this feeling of unease; this feeling that the future with my dad and his wife is so uncertain. I knew one of us needed to make a move.

My dad called about a week after I sent the card and after a few moments of small talk, he said, "Here, Teresa wants to talk with you."

She got on the phone. "Hi honey. Thanks for the card. We've been really busy. How's Ben? I hope we can see him soon."

And that was that. Peace restored. At least for now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Given my new-found love of Latin men, I've begun to stalk the cute Hispanic guy who brings the great peaches, nectarines and grapes to our local farmer's markets. Anyone need any fresh fruit?

I think it started last year when I began to frequent his booth at our neighborhood farmer's market. He was always super friendly and sweet and I thought he was cute.

Now, after actually having some good Latino experience, I'm absolutely swooning over the produce guy.

Yesterday, after teaching yoga, I made a bee-line for our local market to seek out his juicy
fruit. The fruit was so good that I packed Ben up this morning and headed downtown to
flirt my ass off
pick up 3 pounds of grapes.

He mumbled something to me in Spanish. I can't be sure but I think it may have been along the lines of: "Lose the kid and meet me back here in 30 minutes when the market closes."

Thank God for year-round farmer's markets and abundant Central Valley crops

and hot Latin men who look every bit as delicious as the succulent peaches they are vending! Why do I have this sense that Shopping Shelley is reading this and calling me crazy, while planning a trip to the market next weekend just to see me in action?!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am beyond tired. I didn't think it was possible to be this exhausted.

What is with my mind waking up every single cell of my body at 2am just to inform every last piece of me, that yes, it is hard to be a single mother, pilates instructor, roommate to a 66-year-old, perpetual dater, unconditional friend, and daughter who alternates good sheep/bad sheep roles depending on which way the wind is blowing.


Maybe it's the late working nights that are becoming more and more frequent, maybe it's the choppy part of our days since Ben's school is now further away, maybe it's the simple fact that things seems so damn unsettled.

At any rate, I'm waiting - quite impatiently, I might add - for some insights from my new doctor and for some really good pills that can knock me out until next Tuesday. At this point, I'd take just a simple and straight block of 7 hours. Please?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The stepmonster strikes again. The mystery of the missing tribute has been solved. She took it.

My dad called this weekend, while she was away, and with some regret in his voice, told me that he had just found my tribute among HER things, and had just read it. "I loved it," he said. "Thank you."

He went on to try and explain her crazy behavior: "She has some issues, some deep seeded issues with you and your sister. I can't explain them."

Well, duh! She's had some issues since the minister pronounced her wife to my dad and she suddenly inherited two stepdaughters who wanted nothing more than to love her and to accept her (which we did, quite well, I might add). She, meanwhile, saw us as threats to her beloved husband, became insanely jealous and began a horrible cycle of triangulating, which works like this:

1. She talks to me about my sister.
2. She talks to my sister about me.
3. She talks to my dad about BOTH of us (not kindly)

I think she's at her happiest when there is more drama unfolding than what you'd find on any given episode of "Days of our Lives."

As for me, I'm glad that my dad broke his silence and circled back around. He also expressed some disappointment over not having opportunities to do regular family stuff with us, like impromptu family dinners and weekend BBQs.

I, in turn, feel sad about that too. But I can only make so many trips to see him. He's never even seen my remodeled yoga studio and the last celebration that he attended here was for Ben's first birthday.

At any rate, my heart is a little bit lighter, not quite as heavy as it was in August. I'll probably never know unconditional love from my dad and I've already written off that possibility with his wife but I'll take the little bits and pieces he throws my way. And I'll be grateful for those, however small they may be.

Friday, August 21, 2009


My dad never commented on the tributes that my sister and I wrote for him and then left for him at his birthday party (since we never actually had an opportunity to read them to him). In fact, he hasn't commented on much of anything lately since he won't return my calls. Or emails.

It's a very sad position to be in when you relentlessly call your parent for approval, love, whatever...and the parent can't reciprocate. Or at least return your phone calls. Or your emails.

So you decide to use your cute child as leverage and you email an update with pictures from the first day of school and news of soccer starting. Yet, nothing.

You wonder how long this is going to last. You start to think that therapy might be in your future. You lose some sleep. You just don't know what the fuck to think.

But what you do know is this: You won't be the kind of parent to Ben that your dad is to you. No matter what Ben might do to fail you or to disappoint you, you'll always be there for him. You'll call him back if he wants to talk. You'll read his emails and you'll also text him. You'll be there for him. And he'll never doubt that. Not for one single minute.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I posted this entry on the wrong 'effing blog initially. On my business blog, no less. This is the problem with maintaining more than one blog!

My ex-husband lives his life in a pattern. It goes something like this:

Meet a girl.
Get serious with said girl.
Circle back to me and announce that he wants to get back together.
Cause major insecurity on the part of the new girlfriend.

And so it goes. We've been doing this dance for the last three years. I've (almost) become used to it. It's the same cycle; as predictable as the German train.

So it should have been no surprise when our conversation, while doing a "Ben swap" took this turn:

Me: "I need to ask you something. But I can't remember what it is. Shoot, my memory is seriously going...what the heck did I need to ask you?"

Kevin: "That you want to know if I'll marry you again? I would, you know."

Then he gives me a long, deep look.

At which point I roll my eyes and tell him to take Ben and let me start my weekend.

I am always surprised when he drops this bomb. Admittedly, I do start thinking to myself, "What would that be like? Really?" And then I have to re-program my mind and my heart, once again.

Something tells me we'll be spiraling in this vortex of regrets and "what ifs" for a very, very long time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


It's 4:20am. I haven't been to sleep yet. No, not for one minute.

The reason? I have a stepmonster and thoughts of how to manage this familial situation are pounding my head.

I'm fairly certain that my dad will never find this blog so I'm going to share the details of my evening here in the hopes of clearing some space in my brain for some much-needed rest. Especially since Ben will be up in two (ouch!) hours.

My dad married the wicked witch of the west and that, to be sure, is putting it kindly. Now, to be fair, occasionally the witch (I better call her T just to be safe) does throw on her tiara and is the nicest, Glenda type fairy godmother that you could ever imagine. It just seems like recently, give or take 10 years, that the witch has been around much more than Glenda. And I've pretty much had it.

After forgetting my dad's birthday and attempting to make amends by finishing work, dashing home, packing up Ben and scurrying to to his house for what I hoped would be good family time before the big birthday bash, I quickly found T working in the backyard, feverishly preparing for the party. "Hi!" I said. "Everything looks great!" I added emphatically. "What can I do to help?" "Stay away from me," she replied. "I'm in a bad mood."

Well, hello to you too. And lovely to see you, I might add.

No sooner could I digest this greeting, when the gossipy aunt grabs me by the elbow and pulls me into the bathroom. "We need to talk," she says." "Your dad showed Teresa your blog. She is not happy."

I had recently posted a tongue-in-cheek re-cap of the notoriously HUGE event of me forgetting my dad's birthday.

I looked at my aunt. "So?" I said. "That's my dad's business, not mine. Teresa doesn't even know what a blog is."

My aunt goes on: "Well, you really hurt her feelings, blah blah blah blah blah blah..." At which point I cut her off: "She's hurt my feelings more than I've ever admitted in the last 10 years. This isn't about her. I could really care less."

I turned around, flung open the door and there was Teresa. Perfect timing. But the thing was, I really didn't care. How many times have I arrived at their house, only to have my dad tell me, "Teresa's in a really bad mood today. You need to be extra kind, extra helpful." Right, and when am I anything but all this? And more?

Ben wanted me to swim with him. So I stayed clear of the adults and enjoyed my time with him. The adults also steered clear of us and by the time we went in to dry off and get ready for the party, there was a chilly silence among the cousins who had come in for the night. I caught a few looks of disapproval and that was enough for me.

I got the hell out of the kitchen and found my brother and his kids. My sister showed up shortly thereafter and I felt much more protected, secure.

Teresa had another outburst about us not staying over.

My sister and I never did have an opportunity to present our respective tributes to our dad. It was pretty obvious that any kind of sentiment was not part of Teresa's agenda.

Then she and the cousins all sat on their butts, on the porch, while I took Ben on the rounds to say goodbye. No one spoke to me, no one made even the slightest attempt to touch my hand in a goodbye gesture, certainly no hugs were attempted. I couldn't wait to get the fuck out of there.

Ben cried for 40 minutes on the way home. Wailing about how tired he was. My head started to hurt. Then it began to throb. Then I thought I was going to throw up.

We finally arrived home at 11:30pm. I took two prescription strength pain killers and sobbed for hours. It did nothing for my head pain so I took two more. Obviously, I must have some type of great tolerance to meds because here I am, at 4:45am, still nursing the headache and not a bit tired.

I need a break from Teresa. I have absolutely had it with her back-stabbing ways. And most particularly, with her "triangulating", that is, bouncing from one daughter to the other, depending on whom is the greater threat to her at any given time.

It comes right down to being unhealthy and toxic. And a situation that I'd best avoid for a while. After all, she definitely took the lead on this one by saying: "Stay away from me." Okay, Teresa, that I will do. May I offer you some advice for the future: be careful of what you demand.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I had a date last Friday night. With a 30-something cutie. Well, truth be told, drop the "something" and that's his actual age. Yep, that right. He's 30. Years. Old.

A baby, is what he is. And he looks 25. And he is darling.

We met a couple of weekends ago, casually on the street. I gave him my business card under the ruse of potentially teaching at his dance studio. Oh yeah, did I mention that he's a Latin guy? And a dancer? And a lawyer? And fluent in three languages with an accent to die for? He is a package of sweetness, that much I know.

Am I out of my element? Clearly. Am I having fun? Definitely.

My cute boy, R, apparently likes "older" women, in which case, I definitely qualify. He writes me long, sweet email messages and sends me several text messages a day. He drops a few Spanish and French lines in his notes and tells me everything I want to know about his past relationships.

I've never dated a 30-year-old. Or man in his 30s; at least, not in the last decade.

It's kinda fun, trying on this cougar role and being the older, wiser woman for once.

Although, he's about to find out that I am certainly on the old, old side of 30. Here it is 10pm and a text shows up: "Put on a dress and your salsa shoes. Pick you up in 15. We'll dance all night." HA! He's lucky that I even saw the text since the only things that I see at 10pm, generally, are the backs of my two eyelids.

Nevertheless, this could be a fun little adventure. The claws are out, my whiskers are twitching and I'm feeling like quite the cat on the prowl...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I went out with my friend, Sabrina last night. I love Sabrina. People often ask if we are sisters, although less so now that my hair isn't blonde anymore. Nevertheless, we have similar features and we're both tall and we laugh a lot when we're together. So we just say, "Yes, we are in fact sisters!"

Sabrina just went through a nasty break-up and I was on the verge of mine. So we dressed up, got my mom to drop us off downtown, and decided to turn it up a little. Or a lot. As things turned out.

We went to Sacramento's newest nightclub, Mix, where the clientele is certainly quite a mix. Mix is located on the rooftop of a downtown building. Part of the club is an outside terrace; the other part is indoors and includes a large dance floor and several bars.

The cocktails were flowing and the music was pumping. We drank, flirted, danced, and laughed until 2am.

I forgot how much fun a wild night with a girlfriend could be. Even despite a nasty hangover.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I've said it before and I'll say it again: I sometimes think that single moms with young kids should not attempt dating. It's too damn hard.

My current beau, K, gave me the "jump in or jump out" talk last weekend. Consequently, my stomach hurt and I couldn't sleep all week.

Some say that I might be developing a pattern here. But, I think that I'm trying to discover what I need in a partner and that the road is rocky and sometimes, very hurtful for both people involved. True, my last three relationships have petered out after a few months but isn't that really about the time when you get to know someone? And isn't it better to "call it" after a few months, rather than a year? Or two?

I went over to K's last night after work. Around 8pm. I was dreading it, in all honesty. Our conversations this week were difficult, from both sides. Our dialogue felt forced. I could tell that K wanted to be all over me, emotionally and physically, the moment I walked in the door.

Right after dinner, I called a time out and said we needed to talk. I attempted to tell him that my heart isn't in it. I said to him, point blank: "Look, on MOST days, I don't want to be in a relationship with anyone other than my son (friends and family excluded)." I couldn't have been more specific.

Trouble is, he's leaving for a cruise with his family today. He kept telling me that he didn't want to go with a heavy heart. So I took on the heavy heart and am feeling like crap for sending him off to the Caribbean under the false pretense that I would be here, missing him like crazy. But then again, maybe I will...miss him like crazy. I'm definitely open to that possibility. Wide open.

And just to be clear, I tried yet again this morning to help him understand. "I'm not moving at the same pace," I told him. "It's like you're in the carpool lane and I'm in the bicycle lane." How could I have been any clearer?

What I want right now, is some time for my belly to settle down and a little distance from romantic obligations. I want to hang out with Ben and not have to worry about integrating someone else into our days. I want to come home from work and watch a DVD. Alone. I want to learn how to peacefully co-exist with my mother. I want to figure out what I'm supposed to do, relative to work.

My friend Shelley tells me that when the right guy comes along, I'll WANT to spend time with him. I'll WANT to give up a spin class, an afternoon pedicure, a dinner out with a girlfriend. On the other hand, my friend Kathie thinks I should step out of the dating world completely. For several months to a year. Yet another opinion comes from my mother: "You should be doing a lot of dating. How can you figure out what you want if you're not out there?"

Withdrawing is my default plan. Always has been. Generally, my friends know that if the phone line is silent for a few days on end, something is wrong.

I figure I have eight days before K comes home to take a good, long look at the interior of my heart. If you don't hear from me this week, you'll know why.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


As a follow-up to my last entry, here's a quick recap of what's transpired since the last post.

I made my way to Capital Athletic Club last night to teach my twice-a-month yoga class there. Traffic getting into downtown was horrible and I raced into the studio part of the gym with only moments to spare. Still in a rush, I grabbed my MP3 player and attempted to locate the connector for the stereo. Gone. A bit of panic set in since I never carry CDs anymore and I flipped the stereo around to see if the connector had somehow fallen behind the unit. Nope. Not in sight.

5:29pm. One minute to start time. No music and I hadn't even given the class a proper greeting. Footsteps behind me. I glance over my shoulder and then audibly gasp. Jay is standing right there. I think I threw myself at him in a big bear hug but am not exactly sure because I was so shocked in the moment that the details of what exactly transpired totally escape me now. I do know that he looked pretty much the same as in junior high and that the rush of emotion I felt over seeing a long-standing and intense crush was nothing short of extremely intense. I'm sure, that on the scale of emotions, his were much lower than mine. I am, after all, the one who carried the very silent torch for many years.

Anyway. Our exchange was such a flurry that I didn't have a chance to see if he was wearing a wedding ring or not. He left the studio as quickly as he had come in and I was left to teach my class. Without music. And completely distracted.

After driving home later in the evening, I logged on to Facebook and sent him a note, thanking him for stopping in to say hello and telling him that he looked great. He wrote back this morning and asked when we could have a drink.

I figure that it's been at least 24 years since we've had any kind of exchange at all. He mentioned, in his email this morning, that perhaps we had crossed paths at the mall during our high school years and I do remember those "chance" meetings, but to me, that's all they were since he really never had any idea that my crush had evolved past junior high.

Until now.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Facebook strikes again.

I can't blog about this topic over at my "public" blog, yet I have to write SOMETHING about it so for the few people who read this, you're about to be let in on a really big secret.

Everyone knows that I'm seriously addicted to Facebook. I think it has something to do with not being popular in high school and now trying to get all the validation I can, even if it's the virtual validation and only validating in the sense that I can get almost anyone to be my friend. Uh, yeah, you just read it "validate" three times. Issues, I know.

I'm checking every one's status yesterday and I get a little suggestion by Facebook to add someone that I went to junior high school with. My heart jumps into my throat and my knees get really weak when I see that the someone Facebook is trying to link me up with is none other than the crush that I had from Grade 7 to Grade 12. I think I even carried the torch for this guy into my college years because every time I would run into someone from his high school, I'd inquire as to what he was up to.

To make matters worse, his mother was my English teacher in junior high and I seriously loved her. She gave me so many great tips on writing and was a constant source of encouragement. I had junior high school daydreams of marrying the crush (let's call him Jay; no Kirsten, this is not your Jay, don't worry!) and having his mother for a mother-in-law. Living in my own little daydreamy world was my constant source of entertainment since I didn't have a lot of luck with breaking into the cliques that I thought were so cool.

After junior high, we went our separate ways to high school. I never did anything about the whole crush, other than to make sure that our daily routes to and from classes would cross as much as possible. I didn't even divulge much to my small circle of friends. I had it bad.

I'm not ashamed to admit that as recent as five or six years ago, I searched for Jay's name on I didn't find it and I gave up. Then along came Facebook.

I decided to send a Friend Request to him. He confirmed the request a day later and then, presto, we were friends. As soon as I got the notification of his confirmation of our Facebook friend status, I hopped right on the computer to check out his profile. HOLY SHIT. He's in Sacramento?

Facebook should be called "Open Book" because if you want to know something about someone, it's probably right there on their Wall. Like the fact that Jay worked with a very good girlfriend of mine two years ago. Same company, same department very likely. Or the mere idea that Jay works out at the same club that I teach at. And eats at my favorite downtown restaurant.

Now the one pertinent fact, that I'm sure you're wondering about at this point, is his marital status which to me, is very unclear. I distinctly remember telling Facebook that I was "single" and I see friends who have relationship status updates all the time but I don't see anything on his profile that indicates his availability. There are some pictures, however, but again, unclear as to the status of the relationship.

After 23 freaking years, no way was I going to sit on this and just be a confirmed friend. So I sent him a note, telling him that he probably knows my girlfriend and I also told him that his mother was one of the best teachers I've ever had (which is absolutely true). I also mentioned, as a "hey, by the way" that I had a big crush on him and isn't it fun and flattering to find these things out later in life?

I got a pretty quick and detailed reply. With a suggestion to meet and catch up.

Sometimes I wonder about fate and serendipity and God and the master plan. Times like these, for sure. Here I am - a grown up 38-year-old, single mom - trying to responsibly navigate the planet and do the best work that I can while I'm here - and then one single click on Facebook sends me straight back into junior high, feeling distracted, immature and...excited?

As I see it, there are several things to consider here. One, I'm dating a very nice guy who is in love with me. I think I love him too and I don't want to do anything that would hurt his feelings. He just might be the sweetest man who has ever been in my life. Two, who knows what Jay is thinking? For all I know, he could be very happily married and is flattered by my attention and simply wants to catch up on some of the stuff we talked about in our emails...a lot of "who's doing what" type of conversation. Innocent enough, right?

Damn that Facebook and all the suggestions and innuendos it throws our way. All I can say is that yes, we are having a drink later this month and that I have no idea if it's a good idea or not.

I'm sitting back and letting this one unfold.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I'm definitely battling against myself lately. Even more than usual.

I went to the doctor on Friday morning for some kind of explanation as to why my low back is killing me, why my stomach is always twisted in knots and why I can't muster up enough energy to maintain any kind of work-out routine.

Nope, I'm not myself. Not in the least bit.

The doctor ruled out a kidney infection which is what I originally self-diagnosed and suggested something along the lines of an autoimmune condition...chronic fatigue, fibrmyalgia, or other type of inflammation. She sent me off with several lab slips and orders to get some rest.

But I'm getting frustrated with resting. I miss my power yoga classes, my reformer sessions and even my always-dreaded spinning classes. I'm starting to feel lethargic, even a bit depressed.
A thirty minute walk shouldn't make me want to go back to bed and sleep for several hours.

This week, I'm going to try my hardest to look at food as medicine and make appropriate choices for the state that I'm in right now. No bread, no wheat, no dairy, no refined sugar, no wine.

In all honesty, I didn't do myself any favors over the weekend. On Friday alone, I drank a Frappuccino that was sweetened with Splenda, and proceeded to chug down not one, not two, but THREE diet 7-ups after that. Throw in a box of macaroni and cheese and way too many handfuls of tortilla chips and there I was...mired in my own self-misery of artificial colors and sweeteners. Yeah, I really know better than that.

But perhaps I don't because here's what happened Saturday: Got up and ate a Zone bar (can you say processed, processed, processed), several slices of deli style ham (there's the P word again), a diet Coke, two glasses of wine, and a slab of Scharffenberger chocolate that was big enough to feed the entire town I grew up in and possibly the neighboring cities, as well. Then at dinner, the choices were halibut, salmon, and steak. I couldn't make up my mind so I had all three.

And I wondered why I didn't feel good this morning? Really?

The good news is that I'm on such a downward spiral right now that it won't take much, in the way of good choices, to see some improvement.

I think, that for my own moral, good food choices are a much better prescription than any that a doctor could write. I'll report in on my progress later this week. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I had a two and a half hour session with a therapist this week. We focused directly on the triggers and the thoughts associated with my emotional eating. It was extremely insightful.

The therapist counsels from a Buddhist perspective. We talked at great length about the ego and how much the ego hates change. She stressed that it's important not to "freak the ego out" by introducing drastic change, such as, "I'm not going to eat unless I'm hungry, never again." Rather, she suggested adding TO my current thought patterns with such statements as, "It's OK to have this cookie, that cracker, whatever...but I'm going to pause for a moment, before eating the whole package, and check in to see what my ego really wants here." (By the way, she told me that I have a very "clever" ego which might seem like a compliment but in actuality, creates even more confusion between my thoughts and my actions.)

A huge "take away" for me was the notion that people can do whatever they want to soothe their ego. I'm quick to judge my mother, for instance, for watching too much television. But, as the therapist gently pointed out, "Who is doing a better job of self-soothing? Your mother? Watching television to self-soothe? Or you? Eating beyond what you need and feeling terrible about it?"


Lastly (and there were many points, but these were just what I had time to post now), I admitted to her that I sometimes, no, all the time, feel like I am unqualified to "teach" people about how to be healthy since I myself struggle so significantly with my own boundaries on eating. She reminded me, and this is something that I've always held near and dear to my heart, that I am indeed perfect as I am; that God does not create anything less than perfection.

It's very affirming to walk through the day thinking of yourself in the light of perfection. I've been trying "perfect" on all week and I kinda like how it makes me feel. Much less like eating, I can tell you that for sure.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I spent the last couple of days in Reno going through training sessions. It was brutally hard, on every level...physical, emotional, mental. Hard to go through five Pilates classes, nearly back-to-back. Hard to realize that I don't have nearly the training I need to move forward in this career in the way that I want to. Hard because I still don't "get" how the abdominal muscles are supposed to work in a true pilates sense. You get the point.

My lunch yesterday didn't occur until 1:30pm, hours after breakfast and several sessions already completed. I was starving.

I went to a deli and ordered a large salad. With extra chicken. And a cookie. The salad could have fed half of Sacramento and the cookie was big enough for three children and possibly two adults to share. I devoured the whole thing.

The drive home took too long, the errands I had to do when I came home were endless and it was hot. My belly wasn't happy and neither was I. I felt like all the energy that I needed to focus on the drive and the tasks at hand was being diverted to my stomach. Which I'm quite sure it was.

I think it says quite a lot that if you're still stuffed at 8:00pm from a 1:30pm lunch, regardless of how much you've exercised your ass off, you have eaten way way way way way too much.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It's been a good three days. I haven't had any paralyzing moments, where I find myself eating to fill a void that can't be filled by food. Instead, I've downloaded pictures, called friends, spent time with a guy I like, and I've even taken a nap. Or two.

Wednesday was my really, really horrific day. It was also the day that Ben graduated and left with his dad for a nine day stint. I felt like I was re-defining every level of sadness on that day. And by nighttime, it was all over...the full-blown binge was well underway.

I'm still sad that Ben is gone but the difference, I think, is that I'm letting myself feel the sadness without masking it with food.

The other major trigger, for me, is my mother. We've spent less time together and during the time we have been in the house at the same time, I've tried to take a deep breath, instead of a big bite, when she says or does something that annoys me.

Three days might not seem like much of a stretch but in my world, it's a very long time. What I find amazing is that in such a short amount of time, I can feel so much better...physically, emotionally, spiritually.

I don't know what my next trigger will be but it helps to know that my main two - Ben's absence and my mom's lack-of-absence, can be alive and well yet controlled in a way that is healthy and appropriate.

Three days. It's not three weeks, three months, or three years. But it will be. Someday.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I originally called this post "Self Loathing" but that seemed a little harsh and I think that the current title is a little more palatable. To be blunt, right now, I can't stand weight, my eating habits, even my hair. I feel like a stranger in my own skin.

I'm beginning to realize that when there are so many things that I dislike about myself, it's nearly impossible to accept people into my life unconditionally. I'm feeling like I'm missing out on times with my son, romantic opportunities, and situations where I can practice loving kindness toward others (particularly my mother) because I am so mired in taking apart my own self-worth.

A friend recently said to me, "Fear blocks love. And love blocks fear."

I am afraid of my weight. I am fearful of my own behavior and actions. I live in a constant state of anxiety over the next episode, and even, at times, the next calorie. So how can I expect to create space for any kind of love...parental, romantic, friendship, etc when there is so much fear that gets in the way?

Conversely, I want to love the way that I know that I can. And for me, that means removing the fear, the worry, the apprehension. At times, fear feels like a huge wedge against my heart, to the point where I can't let any love in. That, in itself, creates more anxiety for me.

This week, I'm trying to lessen the vice-grip that fear has on my life. And letting my heart crack open, one tiny crevasse at a time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


One of my favorite quotes is: "If not now, when?"

I think it's great. Succinct. Thought-provoking. To the point.

So, why can't I get the message of my beloved quote? Why is it so easy for me to push my favorite saying onto others, then not hold myself to the same accountability?

Becoming aware of my "triggers" as they relate to eating, has brought up some yucky stuff this week. Like, how the fuck am I going to live with my mom indefinitely? Since she won't consider her anxiety as being an undercurrent of stress in our household, am I going to need medication to survive this living arrangement?

As the stress mounts, so does my food intake. Then the guilt and the shame.

The reality is, she's not going anywhere soon unless I plan to leave my home. Which I'm not, so that leaves me with one option: cope.

It has to be now. It can't be another day. "When" has been haunting me for days, months, years and I won't let it take another moment away from me. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Why do we always need a scapegoat? Having someone, anyone, to blame our problems on makes it oh-so-easy to to hide from our deepest and darkest issues. I should know.

Last night I heard my mom on the phone with her brother. They hadn't talked in quite a while and she was bringing him up to speed on life in our household. I was folding laundry, trying not to eavesdrop, and genuinely out of earshot of what was being said. My mom could have told him anything. But what she said is this:

"I am so proud of Janeen. With work, with parenting, with everything...she always rises to the occasion.

My mom went on about how much I've grown spiritually, how I'm trying with all my sanity to do damage control on some of Ben's "spoilage" and generally, how great a daughter I've turned out to be.

And she kept using the word "proud."

I think all along I've known that she and I are way past the struggles we had when I was very overweight. So we're beyond all that, well into forgiving and forgetting, yet I am still eating.

What gives?

My best guess is that my eating is very closely tied to stress. Having my mom live with me IS stressful. A lot of the time. Being a single mom IS stressful. Having clients come in and out of my home IS stressful. Wondering if I'll ever be in a healthy romantic relationship again is BEYOND stressful. Hoping that Ben will grow up to be respectful and kind is brain-numbing. You get the point. But who isn't stressed?

I've got a girlfriend with three boys under the age of five and no help whatsoever. She says that her kids bring her no joy; they're too busy driving her crazy. Another friend is in an extremely unhappy marriage, with a husband who resents her, ironically, for being overweight. I know way too many moms who are juggling full-time careers, along with their mommy duties, and who are feeling the tugs of mounting responsibilities and increasing guilt. The point is, we're all stressed.

My mom and I will always have our issues but I know, deep in my heart, that this is my cross to bear. It's time to take on some accountability, to re-assign the blame and, as my mom said, "to rise to the occasion."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In Treatment

So I'm at the "Treatment" part in the book I'm reading about emotional/binge eating. I say, Bring It!

Since I can't afford to check myself into an eating disorder clinic (nor do I want to), I am attempting to find my coping resources in the book.

One thing I did yesterday and today was to completely let go of my "structured" eating. I had a big piece of cake at a party last night (no way was I going to pass up a chocolate dessert from Sacramento's famed Ettore's) and I made homemade ice cream tonight, with yogurt, albeit a LOT of chocolate chips, followed by an avocado and some crackers. Strange snack for 8:30pm? Maybe, but at least I stopped with only TWO handfuls of crackers and HALF of the avocado (these being after dinner and dessert, of course). It could have been a lot worse. Is it my imagination or am I hungrier today? Now that nothing is off limits, everything is sounding pretty darn good.

Tomorrow, I'm watching for triggers. Generally, those start for me as early as 5:30am with the dog and the child, alternating turns out of bed.

I'm also observing this debate occur between my body and my mind, something like: "You need to go to spinning class tomorrow," says my mind. "No way," counters my body. "You've done that to me three times already this week. I'm tired. Let me rest. Put less food in me. I don't want to work so hard at burning calories and then at processing all the food you'll throw my way."

I'd love to go back to the kitchen now and finish off the ice cream but I would also love a good night's sleep which I know I have no chance of getting if I return to the kitchen. And as far as spin class goes, I don't know who will win tomorrow.

But I guess I don't need to know until then, anyway.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

History Repeating

I had huge issues with my mother while growing up. I was overweight, by about 40 or 50 pounds, and she told me, repeatedly, that she could not love an overweight daughter. Ouch. She put me on a diet early on. I can't remember a time when I wasn't dieting. So I snuck food. And therein lies the origin of my food struggles.

We've since made amends, my mother and I. She has apologized profusely for the way that she treated me when I was younger. She tells me all the time how good I look. I genuinely think that she is very, very regretful of her words and actions and I have tried to forgive her.

She's living with me now, my mother, and I'm amazed at what is re-surfacing. I don't feel like she respects my work. It's not so much of what she says, rather, it's what she doesn't say. I've tried, many times, to tell her that a small business can take several years to get off the ground and that I am so lucky to have quickly established myself in the fitness community and to actually be making money. I crave her approval and I don't feel like I have it at all.

I know that my mother empathizes with my struggles as a single mom and she often says to me, "Your life is SO HARD." And yes, it is, at times. But oftentimes, it isn't and those are the times that she doesn't talk about. Mostly, I feel like I'm her charity case...that without her, my mortgage wouldn't get paid, Ben wouldn't have a good sitter, the dog wouldn't be walked, the milk carton would always be nearly empty and so on.

Her energy in my home makes me restless. It makes me a little crazy, admittedly. She's here a lot. I don't have much quiet time in my house anymore.

So I eat. A lot.

She'll look at my food choices, as she did when I was a child, and often inquire as to what I am eating.

It's easier to eat away from her, at night, and that I do.

We had a nice moment, my mom and me, last weekend. I was trying on dresses for a big party and was borrowing the full length mirror in her room. I put on several dresses and she weighed in on my choices. She actually helped me to decide on the final cut...and told me that I looked "sexy." She even saved me a last minute run to Macys by providing some jewelry to wear with the dress.

I'd like to have some more of those moments with her. I didn't turn to the refrigerator, the freezer, or the cupboard that night.


I have a problem. I struggle with food and emotional eating. I might not present like I have a weight problem but I'm one cupcake away from an all-out eating binge. Because, with me, one cupcake can't just BE one cupcake. Oh no. It might be an organic and wheat-free cupcake, but you can be certain that there will be several to follow, and perhaps, or likely, a raid on anything and everything salty.

This admission is going to be a surprise to anyone who reads this.

The problem with working in the fitness industry is that people look at you, or in my case, they look at me, and naturally assume that I don't have any issues with food or weight. And much of that is my fault. I maintain a healthy living blog, I cram my cupboards with organic and pure groceries and I have a well-rounded and active lifestyle.

I've done a good job, possibly a great job, of fooling a lot of people.

The real deal is that I have big issues around food and emotional eating. There, I said it. It's something that I've struggled with for years, in fact, I don't remember a time when food wasn't an escape for me.

Certainly there have been times in my life when the situation is better, more under control, and I find that I feel lighter, not just from a physical spirit actually feels like less of a load.

Then there are the times like now when I feel like the cycle is viciously churning, way out of my control, and there is no possible way of stopping it.

Recently, I picked up a book from Borders, having just been on an emotional eating binge, and I found out that emotional eating is a direct cause of insomnia. I guess if you cram 1,000 or more calories into your belly late at night that the digestive tract is going to be a bit busy overnight, thus, sleep becomes interrupted in a major way. It actually makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Since I've struggled with sleep for so many years, this point definitely caused me to sit up and take notice. But it didn't make me stay out of the kitchen.

Someone told me this week, "You look really stressed." I thought to myself, "Why am I stressed? For the first time since my divorce, work is somewhat stable, Ben is growing up to be a (relatively) good kid, I am dating, I'm cultivating my spirituality, I think I'm gaining (some) respect as a single, working mom...WHAT GIVES?" But I knew the answer and I knew it well. I can't get off the emotional eating treadmill. After 20 some odd years. And it's tearing me up.

I know I can't go on like this. I have an example to set to my child and I want it to be a good one. I want that lighthearted spirit back. I want to sleep at night and wake up refreshed and not with an aching stomach and a hurting heart. I want to stop living in the past - beating myself up for eating to cope - and I want to stop living in the future - worrying about my next episode and what impact it will have. I want to be in the moment - enjoying the many blessings that I do have and letting food do its job of nourishing my body, one meal and snack at a time.

The author of the book suggests that writing is an incredibly effective tool in the fight to overcome emotional eating. In her book, she actually advocates maintaining a blog; in fact, a public blog, shared among friends can be beneficial on so many levels...accountability, empathy, sharing, etc. But we bloggers already know that, don't we?o

So here I am. Ready to write. I hope that by sharing this publicly, that someone can relate to, and possibly, become encouraged by the battle I'm waging against myself. Oprah did it. I know I can too.