Posted in March 2018

Eat, Pray, Fat

 

monica cake
I used to be so slim and gorgeous. I should be so lucky really, and so grateful.  Just because I was young does not automatically grant me the right to be slim. I know people who have   struggled with their weight since they   were very young. But myself, I was under 7 stone in my first year of Uni and a size 6.  I wasn’t underweight or anorexic, I was just slim. I didn’t have   boobs or hips   or a butt of course.   Something that has way changed over the years.  I would be very sad without my juicy doubles don’t get me wrong, I just do miss the old waist line. I   know I’m not obese   or anything, but   being a size 12-14 is the biggest I have ever been, and I’m short, so it really only has one way to go – out!

The weight that I gained started with various medications. It’s quite scary how quickly it piles on. When I came off said medications, 2 stone fell off over about 3 months. I didn’t go the gym   or eat healthy, it just came off. I do get very frustrated with doctors who deny that anything they prescribe you can/will result in weight gain. Why the denial? The proof is in the pudding   (mm pudding. ) Also when it says in the side effects in tiny writing ‘weight gain’ – what’s the big secret? Sadly staying off what your doc prescribes you isn’t always an option.

It doesn’t help that I’m back to doing very mundane things – office life really sucks and I’m extremely bored. I’m sure loads of us feel this way. Apparently only 5% of us like our jobs and are actually doing what we want to. I wonder if those 5% are slim pieces of ass. I’ve been eating unhealthy since, well, the last 2 years?  Probably since I came back from LA.  I couldn’t afford food there which helped, ha. Also in hot climates it tends to decrease my appetite. But more than that – I was acting every day. I had movement classes with a teacher kicking my butt – and I loved it. I was active and mentally stimulated. I also had to walk 20 mins just to get to a tube station (it’s LA after all, if you don’t have a car then what the f is wrong with you. In my case – I didn’t have a car because I was an international student and not that flush.)  There is something to be said for mental stimulation. It was a very satisfying time. I was thinking more about what I was doing, than whether I was hungry. The food is awful in LA. Don’t believe the people who say it’s all healthy – I think the rich all have caterers. I had to go to a subway, just to get a salad, yeh I know.

When things suck, food is a pleasure. It actually releases endorphins, those bloody wonderful happy feelings. Everything  is shite but when I eat this cookie, things are a little less shite; that’s what your brain is thinking. Like everything, it’s a habit. Habits are hard to break. Humans are designed to have patterns, rhythms, habits. Breaking the cycle is trey difficult.

pie

I read that cheese releases the same chemicals in the brain that crack does. And I can totally believe it. Give me a hit of cheddar damnit. I should have known. You forget what an English thing good cheddar is. I discovered that when I went to Italy and I wanted a baked potato with cheese. I went to the supermarket and they sold no such thing. Plenty of mozzarella and feta though (which I also love) but I was having this craving you see. It almost infuriated me. They also can’t do cheddar in the states – it’s this weird orange rubbery nonsense. But I digress. The point is that snacking feels good. Eating, feels good. It’s no excuse, I know. There’s a hilarious moment in Friends, where Phoebe is dating this psychologist, Roger, I think it’s series 1 or 2, and he says to Monica whilst she’s eating a cookie  ‘remember Mon, it’s just food, it’s not love.’ It’s a hilarious moment that we can all sympathise with.  I have to disagree though Roger, it IS love.  Food is my best friend. It feels great. I love it. CAN I MARRY THIS CAKE?

 

roger

I think the obvious thing to do is change the mindset towards food but my god it’s difficult. You know when you are watching your fave netflix show and you think what would make this better? SNACKS! (Remember than meme with that demonic child? Yeh, we’ve all been there!)  Before you know it, you’re knee deep in popcorn and crisps. I mean I heard a friend was. I NEVER do that.

I’ve been cutting carbs on my sister’s  advice, (she’s in great shape) for the last 2 weeks, and I must say it does seem to be making a slow difference. I allow myself a carb for breakfast as this is the trickiest meal to avoid. Oats, toast, it’s all carbilicous. This morning I had the most gorgeous cinnamon bagel…mm. Then for lunch I have been having chicken and salad. For dinner, it’s another protein (fish)  and veg. I actually haven’t had crisps in 2 weeks and that’s unheard of, but your body does adapt. The cravings have stopped, and is it wrong that that disturbs me? Me and crisps were a thing but whatever. We aren’t over though, when it comes to crisps i’ll always have that weakness. Of course another obvious thing to do is up my exercise, but so far only going swimming once a week and it’s not enough. I know, need to kick my arse. If I was exercising all the time I could probably eat what I wanted. But the fact is that I’m not doing it enough, so have to accommodate that.

I would really love lipo in all honesty.  Just on the tum. If I could afford it I would seriously consider it. Although the procedure itself seems grotesque and is the equivalent on your body of being hit but a bus. I realise that makes me sound like a lazy bitch but hey, all the famous people do it! Oh yeh but Kanye West’s mum died having it done so yeh prob not the best option..

Eating right is a discipline. But it helps if you are stimulating your mind, and then the gut usually follows – in all ways.  I’m working on it.

 

What do you guys do to keep it in check? As ever, love to hear your opinions.

ANXIETY

CHARLIE BROWN PIC

Anxiety. It’s a little bitch right? I definitely think it’s something our generation (millennials) massively suffers from. My gran advises me that in her youth, it was a simpler time. Obviously there was no such thing as social media and all the crap that that brings – I’ll be writing a post on this later –but I think she’s right, the whole mental frame was different. Although my grandmother was a young woman in the 40s, she didn’t seem to suffer from repression. Of course, she was lucky. And she was smart. She studied economics and catering, back then. Her education (a rare thing at the time) meant she could walk into work, literally. You would go to an establishment, request to talk to the boss, and in her case, get the job. None of the BS we have to go through when applying to a job. These days, it’s a 15 page dossier, with essay on yourself, suggestions for how their company can improve (market research?) and several  references. Definitely a different time. It’s demoralising having to spend several days on an application only to get a big fat NOTHING in reply. There is no etiquette. It is now generally accepted that if you didn’t get the job, you are not worthy to be advised of that. You feel that you are wasting your time. I suppose in a time of letters and phonecalls you couldn’t really avoid it, but with e-mails, it’s a way of letting employers off the hook.

I suppose in my grandmother’s generation, it wasn’t expected that you be a career woman. The plan was usually to find a man, have some babies and settle down. My grandmother, a stunning brunette from the Isle of Man, did just that. As it turned out, she picked my grandfather;  A handsome officer in the RAF. To say my grandmother was (and still is) a gorgeous woman is not me being biased. Black and white pictures of her in a 50s swimsuit on the beach with perfectly coiffed hair make her look like a movie star. There was no such thing as internet dating (something I have had my fair share of but had no luck with personally and thank god it’s behind me – see my post http://bit.ly/2IJLkRm  No. She said, ‘you got a pretty dress on, you went to a dance, you met a man and you married that man.’  That’s just one angle of it. I’m lucky, being settled down is something that has never given me anxiety (I think I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe actually  - blame the parents and their horrible marriage.) My anxiety, personally stems from not being fulfilled career wise, ‘life wise.’

I have these moments in bed, the ones we all get as humans, where we realise that one day we will be bones in the ground and our existence will have ceased, and you get hot all over and your heart thumps in your chest and you realise there is not a single thing you can do about it – one day you will be dead. (You have had this too, right?) Sometimes I don’t know how we as humans just go about our business when at the end of it all, we won’t be here. It’s kinda demotivating. It’s a terrifying notion, mostly because we are designed to survive, to continue; humans cannot comprehend their own end. I have this debate with my boyfriend frequently. IF we are designed to die one day (which we are) then why are we not okay with it? Why is there not a genome switched on, that makes you not care about that. Something that means that you just accept it. Because we do not accept it.  Even people of faith, when it comes down to it, do not want to go. Do not want to welcome death. I know a very religious person who had a heart attack. As they lay on the floor, they did not think, ‘Okay god I’m ready, take me, let’s go, let’s do this shiz,’ no, they thought, ‘I’m petrified, I don’t want to die.’ When I was younger, it was the idea of it that really bothered me – not existing any more (also, going mouldy, not to be gross but this is something else that freaks me out but I digress) These days, it’s more about what death represents. I don’t feel like I have amounted to much. I have let myself down. This is how I feel. And I hate to let myself down. Other people on the outside, can’t see it. ‘But you have lived in New York, LA, you have a degree, you have travelled.’ Yes, all great stuff, that I am grateful for. But I am not where I want to be. And it bothers me. It gives me anxiety.

And I feel guilty. With all the technology that we have these days, why haven’t I made it? Why am I not more successful?

If Amelia Earheart can fly a plane in the 20s, why the fuck can’t I find a job I like? What am I doing wrong?

amelia earheart

The fear is that I have to pay the bills so I get panicked, accept some shite and invariably spend the whole time feeling miserable. I do not know how to break the cycle though. And it’s obvious to employers that this is what I’m doing and clearly that’s not attractive. But I have to work, I have to earn. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

I suspect other people feel like this. These days, we are told we can have everything. And then if we don’t have everything, we feel a bit useless. Because we have ‘so many opportunities’ we are meant to be thriving everywhere – financially, on social media, romantically, career wise. Damnit if you haven’t got stocks and bonds and 3 houses and glorious holidays and an ambition to be an astronaut in your spare time.

There are other things plaguing our generation too.

My parents’ generation got grants to study at Uni. Something my auntie once told me gleefully that she ‘spent it all on drugs and never had to pay a penny back.’ Our generation had to get student loans. And that debt hangs over me to this day, more than 10 years after graduation.

It’s harder for us to get on the property ladder. The largest proportion of aged 30-40 year olds ever are still living with their parents because they can’t afford not to. I’m lucky, I live with my boyfriend, but if I didn’t – I would have to live with family – something a lot of people in that situation find depressing.

Having a degree these days are ten a penny and don’t seem to be as valuable as ‘experience.’ And how the hell do you get experience if no-one gives you that chance? You are expected to intern for free, which is fine if you can AFFORD that. If you haven’t got someone supporting you, that can be nigh on impossible. But even when when applying to unpaid internships; because it’s a way of getting in to more desirable companies, it remains extremely competitive, and difficult to penetrate.

We have lived through a recession. I couldn’t get a job at this time and it was fucking miserable. I remember a headline at the Guardian ‘I went to Cambridge and the only job I can get is a cleaner.’ It was a damn stressful time, and one in which our generation particularly suffered.

So it’s no bloody wonder this anxiety we have! So, what to do to combat it?

I tried medication, which I found to be helpful, but it made me fat. This then made me anxious. Oh the irony. So I came off those. They don’t actually ‘solve’ anything. But if you are getting so anxious you can’t see straight, it helps to level you.

 

I tried Yoga. But the bit where the teacher says ‘okay now everyone relax, switch off your thoughts and breathe’ DOES NOT work for me. For those who can make mediation work for you; Namaste.

All the quiet did was make my brain go into overdrive. I’m very thinky anyway, so I find it difficult to switch off. If I did manage a moment of mental peace, I was then hyper aware of everyone loudly breathing/snoring/farting and I found this annoying.

YOGA

Exercise is one thing that I do find really helps. Not the pretzel, slow kind as above but actually building a sweat kind. Circuits is bloody hard, but it’s such work that you kinda forget about everything and start to see stars. My personal favourite is swimming. Although the washing the hair bit is an arse, the actual exercise works your whole body, can be done faster or slower, and I find it very enjoyable. I also do lots of thinking when I swim – but it’s more processing – I internally break down the day and the things troubling my mind and try to tackle them. Or I just think about the lastest Netflix show I’m loving and wondering what that twist means. It’s healthy thinking. Afterwards, I always feel super productive and good about myself.

I find writing really helpful. You don’t have to be Bronte to find that writing is a great release. For me, it’s therapeutic, but if you are more methodical, make lists and jot things down.  I really think I should start a dream journal too, because I have vivid, crazy, creative dreams every night, and some would make epic films. My online published story was conceived entirely from a dream I had  http://bit.ly/2IIKQLa

So, in conclusion, I’m always sort of battling the anxiety dragon. But I think we have good reason. It’s just trying to manage it. And trying to break the bad  job cycle (which I think perpetuates a lot of anxiety)

 

What do you do to combat anxiety? I would love to hear your suggestions.

 

There’s No Crying In Baseball

cry face

 

I have started to think I am an emotional wreck.

Films which I have seen multiple times which made me cry the first time, make me cry all over again. EVERY single time.

Even those videos on facebook of someone overcoming something/someone being nice/just humanity at its best, and I’m a blubbering mess. Works both ways though – if I see a story about a child or animal being bullied then I start crying too.

My boyfriend is used to it now.  I would start crying and he would be like ‘oh, what’s wrong’ *hugs* etc. Now he hears/sees me sniffling and he rubs my back patiently while he carries on reading his book/playing xbox/killing the bad guys.

Surely when it comes to film though, this is just a testament to how good that particular director is? How the whole ensemble (composer, writer, director etc) just know how to kick your ass emotionally? OR should I have got over it by now?

Films make me cry for all sorts of reasons. But I think it keys into something deeper. Maybe that’s why I am able to cry on stage? My emotions are all bubbling below the skin. I once watched an interview with the fantastic Sally Field who I think is just wonderful. The interviewer said to her ‘I’ve read that you can famously cry on command, anywhere, any how. Is that true?’ Sally proceeded to reply and started to cry. Like, properly cry. It was incredible to watch. She confessed: ‘it’s always there just below the surface, ready for me to access it.’ She hinted that she hadn’t had the best time growing up. Maybe that’s it – my unhappy childhood. Sally is a masterclass in acting – I recommend you watch her in, well, anything.

I cry when people I have never met who have had an impact on my life, die. I don’t understand people who are so cold as to say ‘I didn’t know him, who cares if he’s dead?’ You may not have known him, but he was a PERSON, with feelings, thoughts, family, loved ones. I don’t ascribe to the notion that if you didn’t know them, they are irrelevant. I find that totally dispassionate. When Robin Williams died, I sobbed. And I know I wasn’t the only one. I remember seeing a rapper on TV saying he was heartbroken about it. It was heartbreaking, it was fucking shocking. I couldn’t believe it. I was gobsmacked and horrified and so sad that he had ended it himself too. It made me wonder if I had known him, could I have stopped it? Yes, seriously, that thought crossed my mind. I thought he had been failed by the people who knew him. It was too tragic. He was a fantastic actor, in some truly poignant films.

I suppose that is something to make note of: that film and TV has always been an escape for myself and my siblings. When everything was shit at home, we could always escape into a film. When I was hating school, I would always think ‘just 6 hours until I can watch ER. It will be okay.’

There is something therapeutic about crying at films or TV or theatre.  It’s guilt free crying. It’s a sort of camaraderie for the character or situation. A lot of times when I feel like crap, I will put a film on that I know will make me blub just for a good release.  I know imdb releases a ‘films that make you cry’ list and I’m going to add my own.

So, here are some films that make me cry and the psychology behind it (for me). Don’t worry it’s not a complete list – we would be here all night!

 

Forrest Gump

forrest-gump

Think you would have to have a heart of stone not to feel something with this one. (Although I know people who didn’t like it – philistines!)  I remember watching this for the first time when I was about 13 years old and having to hold back the huge heaving tears that were spilling out of my eyes.  From losing his best friend to when his mum (spoiler alert) dies. Played by Sally Field again and she’s just fantastic in this film. It is not only the fact that she is dying. It’s the fact that she’s so lovely and that they are talking about what destiny is – what the point of life is essentially. I think we can all relate to that. The final punch to the chest is when he has finally got with the love of his life Jenny and then she dies and he is sobbing at her graveside. Kid you not I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Tom Hanks as well is of course exquisite. Can’t forget the gorgeous score by Alan Silvestri, which is just caramel for the ears. Breaks my heart every time I hear it.

 

The Theory of Everythingtheory-of-everything-2

This one is especially pertinent with Stephen Hawking recently dying – something else that made me cry. No, I didn’t know him but what he contributed to our planet and universe is immeasurable and I’m just glad I could co-exist in the same time space as him. This film is basically a beautiful portrait of his beginnings and obviously what happens to him. The music as well just melts my heart. The score is by Jóhann Gunnar Jóhannsson who tragically died recently too.

 

Good Will Hunting good_will_hed

 

The scene where Robin Williams says ‘it’s not your fault.’   Oh my heart. My brother always says this to me, half as our own in-joke and half when I’m feeling like crap because he knows it gets to me!

What a beautiful film, with Oscar worthy performances and again a beautiful score by Danny Elfman. The kind of music which is raw, rustic, golden. Almost music heard through a filter of the past if such a thing existed. Either way, the ability to tap into my emotions.

The story of a kid who has been in the social system and basically had it crap but has great friends and a wonderful therapist. Oh yeh, and he’s a genius. It helps that Boston is sort of a character in the film. I love me some Boston. Great city.

 

A league Of Their Own tom hanks and geena davis (2)

 

No, not the crummy tv series with James Corden, but the wonderful baseball movie starring Geena Davis and Tom hanks. I know, baseball!? I have no idea about it either, but it’s not really about that. It’s about friendship and struggle and sibling rivalry and competition and sisterhood and being a part of something. Dear lord I love it. Again, it is complimented by the enriching score by Hans Zimmer. That’s right, old Hans can do big epic futuristic (ala Inception) and also home grown sweet chick flick movie. The bit that makes me cry (amongst others) is when Geena Davis is leaving the league (oh god no) and she says to Hanks, ‘it just got too hard.’ And Hanks replies:

‘It’s supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard, is what makes it great.’ It gets to me because I struggle with not being creatively satisfied, that it’s just so damn hard to get anywhere, that maybe I should quit. And then I hear that quote and it gets me. He’s right. Subtext: perseverance. Love this film.

 

There are a ton more; Shawshank, Field of Dreams, Legends of the fall (gulp) and I could go on and on but the moral is that films are great ok? They can be a saviour. This is why people get so fanatical about them. Tonight, in honour of Hawking, I’ll be watching TTOE again. And I’ll be crying, again. And I’m not ashamed of it <3