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LJI9 Week 13 - Rude Awakenings

This is my entry for this week of LJ Idol, Season 9. Please check out the entries of my fellow competitors and consider joining the therealljidol community. This week was an open topic.

Smirking reporters greeted me as I returned home from a grocery run. An ambulance pulled away down the block, moments before I carried my sleeping son inside our rented rowhouse. The photojournalist surreptitiously took some B-roll of me unloading the car -- which I knew I could not prevent, since it was a public street -- and I knew that on my third trip out, as the reporter approached, he'd be wanting to get my opinion on camera. But about what?

After asking permission to interview me, the reporter asked me what I thought about the series of reports of a prowler sneaking into women's homes in my neighborhood. Apparently, they wake to find him standing over them, and at least one awoke to being fondled.

Having once been a reporter, I immediately understood their smiles. On the range of badness, this fell neatly in the middle, above petty theft and vandalism but below a violent crime like rape or murder. I imagine the ambulance had been due to precaution, and the latest victim had been rushed to the hospital for an examination. Still, the news gave me a chill, thinking of my child sleeping just inside.

Dutifully, I answered the questions, as follows: Of course I was surprised. I intended to take extra precautions. Yes, I kept both my doors and windows locked, even on hot summer nights. "That's what air conditioning is for," I told him. Yes, it was a quiet neighborhood, where people tend to look after each other, which is why I suspected that the prowler fit in and avoided looking suspicious.

This is not what I intended to write today. But in an odd way, it fits.

I feel the same way today as I felt twenty-some years ago, when I hugged the fellow members of a weekly vegetarian potluck upon learning that our friend had been assaulted while walking home after dark. We comforted each other while resolving that we would not live in fear. We would be cautious, yes, but we would not cower.

I'd intended to write about my struggles lately in a more mundane area: weight loss. A few months ago, I broke my toe in the stupidest way imaginable, by kicking off my pants while changing in the YMCA locker room, and smashing said toe into a very solid bench. That incident led to me sitting out my regular exercise for weeks, and it coincided with some friend drama that shook my confidence. Depressed and in pain, I turned to food, snacking unrestrained in the wee hours while taking extra transcription work during the height of the Flight 370 disappearance investigation.

My weight jumped up 15 pounds in about a month. Then I finally managed to pull myself out of the mire. I stopped eating after 9 p.m. and started a 14-day herbal detox, losing 6 pounds the first week. Since then, my weight loss has been more gradual, but at least it's no longer crawling upwards.

The experience was a rude setback, since I'd lost 20 pounds over the previous year and had hoped to finally shed the remaining 38 pounds of my pregnancy weight gain, now that my baby is a preschooler. With this weight gain, I felt as if my body was rebelling against me.

My husband shared with me an Alton Brown video, where he said it better than I ever could: "Keeping weight off is like fighting zombies. You think you killed all the zombies, and then there are more zombies. There's just more of them. They never freaking go away. You have to constantly keep your 9-mil on you. You have constantly keep a machete nearby. And that's the way it is with diet, because your body does not want to maintain the weight you've set. I mean, it'll get used to it after a while, but any chance your body gets to betray you, it will."

Like Alton, I've discovered that weight loss is a never-ending struggle. A key to my success has been to avoid sweets, which tend to put me on a nasty sugar cycle of snacking and fatigue. I've also discovered I've developed intolerances for gluten and dairy. Avoiding them keeps my digestive system on track and helps me avoid the belly bloat, brain fuzziness, gassiness and other unpleasantness I suffer from when I succumb to temptation.

I got a nasty reminder recently of why I can never relent, when I snuck a sliver of my son's leftover birthday cake. The next day, I was living in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch about uncontrolled flatulence, feeling as tired as if I'd just pulled an all-nighter.

Yet another reminder that, whatever happens, I've got to stay strong. Whether it's facing down fear when I turn out the light or turning away the temptation that can derail my progress and turn my body's chemistry against me, I'm taking a lesson from bluesman Jarekus Singleton, who sings about how, despite all the trouble he's been through in his life, despite all the tears, he will not give up. Like him, I will not stop trying, despite the obstacles thrown up in my way. I refuse to lose.

To hear the Alton Brown interview, starting at the quote mentioned in this piece, follow this YouTube link: http://youtu.be/ZzzVdhyKjww?t=11m28s

To hear the Jarekus Singleton song, "I Refuse to Lose," follow this YouTube link: http://youtu.be/n8thKcGefio. Warning: It will get stuck in your head, almost guaranteed!

The story they put together didn't use the interview with me but only a brief glimpse of me putting groceries inside my house, as their example of getting in "an open door." You can see the video -- and read the story -- at the local ABC affiliate's web site.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2014 04:02 am (UTC)
I really like how you managed to take two disparate topics and tie them together. :D
Jul. 1st, 2014 07:01 am (UTC)
Thanks! I tried to write it the way I'd initially planned, but the other thoughts just kept creeping in.
Jul. 1st, 2014 06:51 am (UTC)
I like the determination in this.
Jul. 1st, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
Thanks. It's the only way I manage to get things done. :)
Jul. 4th, 2014 06:54 am (UTC)
You're welcome.
Jul. 1st, 2014 01:30 pm (UTC)
I was making weight-loss progress, but I keep getting derailed by "real life" getting in the way...
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Those dreaded zombies. Real-life.
Jul. 1st, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
These two topics collided rather well together, as different takes on the larger overall theme of your conclusion.

but any chance your body gets to betray you, it will.
That's definitely how I feel about weight gain and food cravings. I so envy people who are skinny no matter what they eat and how little they exercise, because working so hard to lose and mostly just maintaining or tightly yo-yoing is really frustrating.

As for the first topic... being cautious and being fearful are different things, and finding the distinction can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy life.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on this. Reading through them, it made me realize that what I think I was really doing here was talking about situations where you feel like you're out of control, and finding your strength anyway.
Jul. 1st, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
I too like the way you merged all these disparate ideas together into one cohesive whole - grocery run, criminal elements, food and weight loss, and how one's body can betray you in much the same way leaving a window unlocked can betray you. Nice job!
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! They all came together in my head, so I thought why not write it that way?

I have occasionally resembled that bunny in the wee hours.
Jul. 1st, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
Two very tough topics! I like your no-nonsense tone.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
Thanks. They are both tough topics, and I don't claim to have done them justice, but they just wouldn't let me go until I wrote about them.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
Yay!! to the spirit of staying strong and not loosing no matter what!..It was a nice read , esp the weight loss part since I am guilty of emotional eating myself..so could relate to most of it. Enjoyed the links too the song as well as Alton Brown's..he's fun!:D
Jul. 4th, 2014 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks. I've loved Alton Brown ever since my husband first introduced me to his now-defunct show "Good Eats." I love geekery of all kinds. :)

I'm sure there are many people who can identify with the emotional eating!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:45 am (UTC)
Really well done. I can relate so much to the slide and coming out of it and wondering how I got to that point. I did that last summer with the news of Mom's breast cancer and the loss of my uncle.

I jumped up about 18lbs. I have knocked 15 off over the winter and spring. I am working right now to regroup again. We can do it!
Jul. 4th, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
Good for you for getting back on track! Isn't it amazing how quickly we can put it back on but how long it takes to come off again? I'm going to have to remember to find another way of handling emotions when they get overwhelming. Maybe just more KFP hugs?
Jul. 4th, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
Wow .... you have really weaved two pieces so well together ... and I enjoyed the fuss and frill free tone of narration too ...It was like reading your journal and it did well for the free topic .... And weight loss yeah well dont we women eternally battle with this ... Sigh !!!!
Jul. 4th, 2014 01:21 am (UTC)
Thanks! I thought of going with something more elaborate until the incident with the reporter, and then I just needed to get it all off my chest!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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