Forever 21

When people I’m meeting for the first time learn that I am 31, they are usually shocked or comment on how young I look.  Mostly, they assume that I’m in my mid to late 20’s, which is quite flattering.  However, I was recently at my younger cousin’s bachelorette party, surrounded by girls in their early 20’s, and one of them thought I was nineteen.  My old ass was mistaken for a teenager!  I could have taken that as an awesome compliment to my apparent slow aging, but instead, it made me entirely self-conscious.  Why would a 24-year-old believe me to be five years younger than her?  Were my jean shorts and tank top too skanky for my age?  Does my quiet, reserved personality reflect that of a child?  I have not been able to stop thinking about this, and since then, if anyone comments on how young I look, I immediately become embarrassed.

My friend, Kate, had a similar experience recently.  While working in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom, a student told her that she looked more like a sister than a mom.  She jokingly pondered whether or not she should update her “mom” wardrobe.  This sparked a conversation between us, where she enlightened me to the fact that some women cut their hair short for the sole purpose of becoming a mom.  That just boggles my mind!  The “mom haircut” is no secret, but I had always assumed it was a style that trended amongst the women of our parents’ generation as they aged.  I never thought of it as a purposeful style trend today.  Sometimes I like my naturally wavy hair long and flowing, and sometimes I like it in an above-the-shoulder bob that I blow dry straight, but I’ve never decided my hair’s length or style due to any outside factors.  I’ve always gone with what makes me feel cute and confident at the time.

Ever since I was told that I looked nineteen, I have begun to evaluate my attire.  As I’ve mentioned, I like my clothes to be comfortable and sensible.  This means that my go-to outfit is jean shorts and a cotton tank top during the summer and jeans with a sweater/long sleeved cotton shirt during the winter.  While I admit, my shorts’ hemlines are pretty high and close to the crotch area, I can assure you that my butt is entirely covered, and I don’t believe anyone is thinking that they are inappropriately short.  (or maybe they are, and I’m kidding myself like those 40-year-old “Forever 21’s” you see at the bar)  The length and tight fit of my shorts does give me reason to pause sometimes.  I am 31 years old, you know.  Is it time to transition to shorts that run halfway down my thigh and hang loosely off my hips?

Basically, here’s what I really want to know: Is there an age appropriate look I should be going for, and if so, when is it time to update my clothing?  Or is there really a time that one has to change their look?  I don’t want to be one of those older women dressing like they’re 19, but I also don’t want to lose the sense of being me.  It’s probably not necessary to start integrating blazers into my attire just yet, but all those, “You look so young!” comments are really getting to me.  If you have any thoughts or feelings regarding this topic, please feel free to share them!



Shedding Pounds Like a "Woman"

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been dealing with a torn ankle tendon since last October.  So for almost an entire year, I’ve been unable to run at the intensity I want to, even going months in a row without running at all.  My ankle is still in pain, and since I had to pay out of pocket for the doctor visits, MRI, and surgery, I don’t want to run through the discomfort in fear that I might do irreparable damage.

In any case, this year of inactivity has caused me to gain an unwanted 12 pounds.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been feeling like a fatty, and would tremendously like to drop that unwanted weight.  For the past two weeks, I’ve been eating healthy, and been losing weight slowly, but being an athlete, I know that working out is what will really help me drop the weight and keep it off.  Since any impact with my foot is out of the question, I’ve had to ride my unhappy ass on the stationary bike I have at home.  (The only plus to that being that I get to watch an entire episode of Dr. Who while I’m doing it.)  However, being a runner who’s accustomed to enjoying the great outdoors, and being currently unemployed and stuck inside all day, the stationary bike is horrendously boring to me.  I needed something to spice up my workouts, and despite my mild efforts, Pilates on YouTube wasn’t cutting it.

Enter Jess: my running buddy’s daughter who just returned home after finishing grad school.  She’d heard of my ankle problems and that I needed some motivation to work out, so she invited me to go with her to check out the FitClub class on the sands of Redondo Beach.  The free class basically entails 30 minutes of yoga-like stretching (or dodgeball for the non-gimps) and 30 minutes of rotating stations for strength, cardio, and agility.

On the morning of the first class, I rolled out of bed around 6:45, wiped the sleep out of my eyes, got dressed, and threw my hair up in a messy ponytail.  I knew I looked like shit, but I was about to get sandy and sweaty at the beach, and figured everyone else would look as mangled as I did.  Nope.  Many of the girls present had, at minimum, their eye make-up on.  One girl straight up had her thick cat-eye eyeliner going on with some pink lipstick to finish her look.  Basically, I felt like an ogre compared to everyone else there.

THEN, as we were gathering and more and more people arrived, I realized that every single person around me was incredibly fit already.  I was literally the fattest person there, and even though it wouldn’t hurt for me to shed 15 pounds, I am in no way overweight! (Well, my fat percentage could be lower, but it’s still in the “average” range!)  I started to panic a little, thinking that I was about to make a major fool of myself, but then at the last minute, 20 more people arrived, and among them were a couple regular looking peeps like myself.  I was instantly relieved.

The circuits were actually really fun, and I was a bit bummed that my ankle prevented me from participating in the cardio or agility stations (believe you, me: I tried…the Mexican/German mutt that I am is chock full of stubborn!)  I was also happy to see others sitting out at times or taking breaks at their stations; even some of the really fit ones!  It made me feel better about not being able to do a single crab walk step at my very last station.  The workout ended with a protein shake party at their nearby gym.  Okay, so it wasn’t so much a party as it was a bunch of fit people with dried sweat enjoying some recovery shakes to some music bumping out of big speakers, but it was still cool.

They offer these free classes every Thursday and Sunday morning, and I’m definitely looking forward to going again!

But next time, I’ll put on some make-up.

Or in my case: "Don't Be a Manly Girl."

The Internet Hates Me

Sorry if you’re having trouble interacting with my site (especially involving the viewing or leaving of comments).  I’m currently negotiating with the internet, so hopefully it’ll be resolved soon.  Please come back and leave me awesome comments later, since my validation as a blogger comes from you.  🙂

Future Zombie

Confession: When I get nervous or anxious, I eat myself.  Literally.  I pick at the skin around my nails and tear it away with my teeth.  And when I’m trying to give the open wounds on my hands a chance to heal, I start gnawing on my bottom lip.  For the most part, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I’ve drawn blood.  I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and because of it, I have callused thumbs and a permanent crater on my bottom lip.  I can’t seem to shake this anxiety trigger no matter how mindful I try to be.  I’m starting to think that this gross habit of mine predisposes me to becoming a great zombie.
Greg and I have had countless discussions about what would happen to us during the zombie apocalypse.  Though I’ve instructed him to shoot me in the case of our apartment getting overrun, there’s a huge chance I’ll be bitten too quickly for him to help.  The reality of it is that I would be eaten immediately (my hopes being that enough of me survived to become a walking dead).  Greg would likely survive, and he may or may not come back to collect me and lock me up in a cage waiting for a cure. 
We’ve thought about the different options for me as a zombie.  Because of my passive personality and love for everything, it wouldn’t be so far fetched to see me sitting in someone’s front lawn eating daisies as opposed to the helpless child wandering the streets.  Greg and I have laughed over the humorous prospect of me trying to convert my zombie friends to vegetarianism. 
However, with relation to my skin biting, it’s likely that I may find brains delicious.  My worry is over the execution of retrieving said brains.  I’m a pacifist by nature, and I just can’t see myself hunting down an innocent human, no matter how black my own brain becomes.  It’d probably be more likely that I would just be softly growling from a distance and gnashing my teeth together ever so lightly in the hopes that the living would approach me.
Or maybe I’ll just end up resorting to this:
Zombie Erica enjoying a chicken nugget.

Dress to Impress (Myself)

I bought myself a girly shirt the other day.  Really, it’s just a glorified tank top with tiny flowing pleats and a sash to tie a bow with.  I’m still not sure whether the bow is supposed to be tied in the front or the back.  Which brings me to my point: a girly purchase is a break-through for me.
I like my clothes to be casual, comfortable, and sensible.  This new shirt is maybe one of the three, so I felt a little guilty buying it.  Plus, I feel like I need to be invited to a fancy barbeque or a semi-casual girls night out to wear it.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  It’s cute, and many other girls or women my age would wear it on a weekly excursion to Target (weekly? Who am I kidding? I visit Target, at minimum, twice a week).  Anyway, I could wear it today with some jean shorts and sandals, but I’d feel dressy.  Strangers would think I looked normal, but I’d know I wasn’t.  I’d know that I was way too dressed up.  As much as I’ve wanted to buy more girly clothes lately, the greater part of me knows they aren’t practical, and they’re not me.  Yeah, I might look cute in them, but at what expense?  To losing the sense of me-ness? 
I think my mom will literally kill me if I don’t give her a girly granddaughter one day.  I always hated those foo-foo dresses my mom would force upon me.  The lace all over the dresses itched like crazy!  I’m told that I would stick my finger under my collar, tug it away from my neck and say in slow, staccato words, “Take. It. Off.”  The only joy I found in dressing up was wearing my shiny black buckle shoes with the quarter inch chunky heel.  They were not at all comfortable, as they pretty much tore into my anklebone, rubbing my skin raw through my tights.  However, if I walked on the backs of my heels across the kitchen floor, they would leave the most satisfying black “half-moon” marks all over the ground!  Sometimes I would purposely slip, so that I could see the line of black tear across the floor.  I found use for my impractical shoes.
So I guess that’s what I’m going to have to do in my adult life.  Find use for my cute purchases.  Ideas?

This boot was NOT made for walking

Last October, I began noticing pain on the outer edge of my right foot during and after my runs.  At the time, I was running in Vibrams (those toe shoes) because I like to show off that I don’t have webbed toes.  Not really.  They just truly helped with my IT issues and knee pain.  I figured my new foot discomfort was due to the lack of support in my ankle, so I switched back to my regular running shoes, which helped at first…until it didn’t.  A doctor diagnosed tendonitis, so to let it heal, I gave up running for three months (but not Ultimate Frisbee, ‘cause I’m brilliant like that).  Long story short: I didn’t have tendonitis; I had torn my peroneus brevis tendon right below my anklebone and needed surgery.
I was told that after surgery I’d be in a walking boot for two weeks, after which, I’d be able to walk in a normal shoe, and then be back to running again in an additional four weeks.  Six weeks out would still keep me right on schedule for the beginning of my marathon training in April, so I went for it.  The reality was that I was in that damn boot for three full weeks, and then intermittently for an additional two weeks so I could build up hours of normal shoe wear vs. the boot.  And by “normal shoe,” I’m talking about supportive running shoes; not my beloved flat-soled Chucks.  I wasn’t cleared to run until eight weeks post surgery, and was told that Ultimate Frisbee was “the worst possible thing I could be doing to my foot” and I would need to ease myself back in, as tolerance would allow. (I’m still easing.)
Elevating my foot and being confined to a couch all day every day was torture!  I was forced to depend on people for every little thing.  I’m one of those independent types who gets off my ass to grab the remote sitting next to you just because I see no reason to make you get up and hand it to me when I’m perfectly capable of getting it myself.  So yes, Greg bringing me something to drink, or grabbing my Kindle from the bedroom, was torture, and a constant battle between us.  Being gimpy and in pain, I usually lost. 
At one point in my recovery, when I was still wearing the boot and using crutches, my pain had substantially subsided, so it was deemed okay to leave me home alone for the entire day.  When it came time for lunch, I was thrilled to be up at the stove heating up my soup and pouring my own juice.  However, once prepared, I suddenly realized that I needed to get the bowl of hot soup from the counter to the folding tray near the couch where I was stationed, and there was no way I could hold both my crutches and the heavy bowl at the same time while walking.  But I’m a problem solver.  I dropped carefully to my knees and placed the soup and juice on the ground.  Then slowly and carefully, I pushed the bowl and cup a few inches ahead of me, crawled forward on my hands and knees dragging my 20lb boot-foot behind me, and then pushed the dishes ahead of me again.  I tediously worked my way back to the couch in that manner.  I continued this ritual in secret for a few days until it was finally bearable to place some weight down on my boot clad foot; thus, making me able to walk a few steps sans crutches.
I was able to ditch the boot altogether after about six weeks, and continued exclusively wearing running shoes for an additional five weeks.  While I’m not a hundred percent better, and my marathon training is officially a wash, I’m at least glad that I’m finally back in flip flops and can carry my lunch easily to wherever I want it!  It’s the little things that I missed the most.
My boot would wait for me outside the bathroom door while I showered.
Now it waits for me in my storage unit.